Follow Christopher Columbus to the Caribbean

Presented by Palace Resorts

Nothing should awaken your spirit for adventure more than Columbus Day – the holiday named after the Italian explorer who braved hurricanes, unchartered lands, and the general unknown in search of excitement (and riches, of course!).

On his last voyage to the New World in 1502, Christopher Columbus made it all the way to the Yucatan Peninsula (or at least the waters off the coast) where he encountered what were believed to be Mayans and may have gotten his first glimpse of temples and pyramids.  Columbus would then spend a year stranded in Jamaica after his hurricane-battered ships could go no further.

It was a lifetime spent taking chances and his life marked the history of the Americas, for better and worse. Fortunately for us, we can channel that adventurous spirit and chart a similar path on our next vacation holiday, namely visiting Mexico and Jamaica. We can also be better to the natives!

To commemorate the holiday, The Travel Current gives you Four Adventures to Experience in Mexico and Jamaica to match the four voyages ole Chris made to the New World (even if he was looking for India!).

On his last voyage to the New World in 1502, Christopher Columbus made it all the way to the Yucatan Peninsula (or at least the waters off the coast) where he encountered what were believed to be Mayans.

Touring Tulum

Now, we’re not saying that Columbus actually sailed up to the ruins of Tulum in Mexico, but we’re not saying he didn’t either. In any event, you can one up him when you visit the amazing beach front ruins that have become famous the world over.

The picturesque temple that overlooks the turquoise waters is an unforgettable sight but the town surrounding the ruins has become an equally alluring attraction. The town that has grown up around the ruins has flourished in recent years into its own tourist destination, attracting visitors from across the world with a buzzy art scene and plenty of places to dine and lodge.

Unlike Columbus, who would have come to Tulum from the water, the town is barely a two-hour drive from Moon Palace Cancun and other Palace Resorts destinations, and even closer (about an hour) from Playa del Carmen and Playacar Palace.

Chilling in Chichen Itza

If the ruins at Tulum are impressive, a trip to the majestic Mayan ruins at Chichen Itza will drop your jaw. We are fairly certain Columbus never made it deep into the heart of the jungle to see the amazing El Castillo but fortunately it’s just a day trip away from Cancun.

You’ll be lucky to fit in all the adventures available at Chichen Itza in a day, including taking a dip in a nearby cenote, walking along the ball court where the winners of an ancient Mayan game were allegedly sacrificed, and witnessing a light show at the El Caracol Observatory.

If you can get to the ruins during the spring or winter equinox, you’ll experience a once-in-a-lifetime event as you watch the shadow of the Mexican deity Kukulkan appear on the pyramid and snake its way all the way down.  

Get Stranded in Ocho Rios

Jamaica may have been the most beautiful island Columbus visited – its mountainous rainforest reaching into the Caribbean all around the island – but he probably didn’t see it that way considering he was basically shipwrecked on the island for a year during his expedition.

He is thought to have “landed” in St. Ann’s Bay or Discovery Bay, and is likely to have come upon some of the island’s amazing waterfalls. Both St. Ann’s Bay and Discovery Bay are close to what is now one of Jamaica’s most prominent resort towns, Ocho Rios. It also happens to be the epicenter of waterfalls in Jamaica. From Moon Palace Jamaica, you are close to at least five idyllic waterfalls and can bathe in the same waters that Columbus may have done.

Set Sail Like Chris

Or maybe on second thought, do it better than Columbus in terms of his Jamaica experience. Either way, enjoying the waters off Ocho Rios and Moon Palace Jamaica will give you an unforgettable perspective of the island.

From the resort you can choose to take your own catamaran or use your Resort Credit and book a Sunset Cruise where the sailing is taken care of while you enjoy the open bar and gaze at the sun.