Day seven started bright and early with a yoga class headed by Leon, the owner of Organic Yoga in Akumal, Mexico. Leon has a separate hut for yoga lessons, complete with mats. It was cool to do yoga in the middle of the jungle. Nic and I practice yoga a few times a month, but we are not pros. Claudia, Leon’s live-in worker from Italy also joined us, as well as his chihuahua. The class was relaxing and it really helped stretch out my back. Nic and I both have back problems. At one point, when we were doing downward dog, the little chihuahua thought it would be great fun to play with my hair. It is hard to concentrate with a little puppy licking and chewing your face, but it brought some laughs. Leon had us doing headstands (which I am not very good at) and Nic even tried the scorpion, which is a very hard pose. Continue reading
On day six, Nic and I woke up very early and had breakfast at the ecolodge. There was a large Christian group from Wisconsin that had arrived the night before and they kind of took over the lodge. They were really loud and pretty obnoxious. We were kind of in a rush to get on the road and get away from them.
Bacalar really stole our hearts.
When we woke up, we decided to go kayaking before it was too windy on the lake. It seemed that it was calm in the morning and just go windier as the day progressed. Villas Ecotucan had kayaks that you could borrow, so we put on our suits and went down to the water. It was a tandem kayak with a flat bottom, and the waves were already forming, so paddling was kind of hard. Continue reading
It was day four in the Yucatan and we finally felt like we were getting the hang of things. We successfully got gas without being ripped off, and we getting used to the roads. We left Santa Elena pretty early in the morning after another big breakfast and headed to Bacalar. When I first started researching Mexico, one of the places that really caught my attention was Bacalar. It was a little town located just north of the Belize border, on the eastern part of the Yucatan Peninsula. It was right on a freshwater lagoon, or lake called Lagunas Bacalar. It looked beautiful, and it sure was.
We easily found the eco-lodge that we reserved a cabana at. It was at a place called Villas Ecotucan. The lodge was located on a big piece of land on the lake. When we arrived, we were met by Jacqueline, a German who spoke great English. She showed us around and was very helpful. The cabana was gorgeous and very similar to the last hut that we stayed in. It was made of mud and had a straw roof. This cabana had a bugnet both over the ceiling and the beds also, which we found to be helpful with keeping the bugs out. But they still got in, so we covered our things with the nets on the beds and it worked well. The electricity and hot water was all solar powered, so that was cool. Nic went down to the lake and jumped off the dock right after we go there because it was so hot.
Day three was…..
- One of the most frightening days of my life.
- The day that Nic said he was very proud of me.
- The day that made me really appreciate sunlight.
Let’s see why.
We started the day with a huge breakfast, full of fruit and homemade bread with local honey at The Pickled Onion. Then we went to Uxmal, which was less than 15 minutes down the road from Santa Elena, where we were staying. Uxmal was pretty cool. I had heard a lot about it because it is one of the more popular Mayan ruin sites in the Yucatan. It costs 177 pesos a person and then another 22 pesos to park. We expected there to be a lot of tourists, and indeed there was, but the place was so huge that you could escape to quiet places if you wanted. We opted to explore without a map or a guide. It took about 2 hours to see the whole place (who knows if we saw it all). The views from the top of the pyramids were great. You could see for miles. It was so hot there and the sun was really strong. We kept picturing scenes from Apocalypto while walking around (It is a must see before you check out the Mayan ruins). It is amazing to think that such an ancient culture could build these huge buildings.
It was day two of the trip and Nic and I actually woke up very well rested. We got dressed and decided to skip breakfast at the hotel and walked into town instead. We went to the main square and found a convenience store. We stocked up on supplies (coke, water, juice, cookies, chips, sandwiches, pudding :)…the necessities of course). Everything was so cheap, we couldn’t believe it. It was under 6 US dollars for everything! I feel like I spend that at a gas station in the US when I only get a bag of chips and a pop.
There were a lot of street vendors out and we bought some cheese empanadas with salsa and crema (sour cream) for breakfast. 3 for 10 pesos…what a steal! I thought they were great. Nic wasn’t impressed. Either way, they filled us up.
- Note: 100 pesos equals around 8 dollars and 1 dollar equals 13 pesos.
After we had breakfast, we packed up and left the hotel early. We had some miles (correction – kilometers) to cover today. The plan was to drive from Merida to Santa Elena, near the ruins of Uxmal.
The flight from Cleveland to Cancun went fine. We were very excited and I was hoping to sleep but that didn’t happen. As soon as we got off the plane, it was hot and sunny. Going through customs took over an hour. There were so many spring breakers. Once we took the shuttle to the car rental company, our day started going downhill… Continue reading