A Travellerspoint blog

A Short Sojourn through the Yucatan

sunny 30 °C

During the past six weeks we’ve marguerite’d with the party-goers on the Caribbean shore at Playa del Carmen and day-tripped our way around the well-trodden Mayan ruins and colonial towns of western Yucatan, so we thought it was time for a break - time to pack our bags and take the less travelled path to a couple of sleepy fishing communities on the northernmost tip of the peninsula. Rio Lagartos and San Felipe are on the tourist maps, but they are several hours drive, and at least 50 years away, from any major conurbation. The thin ribbon of tarmac that stretches, arrow straight, through the seemingly endless jungle and mangrove swamps to these villages starts in the colonial town of Tizimin and leads past the Mayan ruins of Ek Balam. This city, about the same age as Chichén Itzá, has cunningly hidden itself in the jungle a few miles off the road so has escaped the rampant commercialism of its more brazen cousin. We left our hotel early to beat the heat and caught the handful of guides and venders napping. We almost had the place to ourselves as we climbed the hundred plus steps up this giant pyramid…
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But what a view from the top…
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Then on to Rio Lagartos where the main attractions are the flocks of pink flamingos that feed in the salt pans, (salinas), carved out of the mangrove swamps. The water colours were spectacular and contrasted sharply with the roadway made of salt…
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But where were the flamingos? We know what you’re thinking…”Once you’ve seen one flamingo…” and we had certainly seen our share at Celestún, but flamingos are like shooting stars and killer whales - you can never see enough of them. However, casting a net for tourists is clearly more lucrative than angling for fish for the local boat owners so we were mobbed by guides’ touts from the moment we entered the village. Some leapt out of the bushes to flag us down while motorcyclists raced alongside as they tried to corral us to their boats. But we had been warned, so we relied on our hotel to find us the ‘right’ man. Wrong! Our man was named Jesus, but he was no saint, and the conniving devil persuaded us that a three hour boat ride into a howling gale in the midday sun was the perfect time to see the birds. We certainly saw birds…ibis, herons, pelicans, white pelicans and dozens of others…
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And we even got a close encounter with a very large saltwater croc…
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But the promised flamingos? We should have gone at dawn as we had wanted. No matter, we had time to visit the neighbours in San Felipe and admire their quaint little houses that reminded us of English beach huts…
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And their immaculately tended cemetery where every grave was lovingly adorned with plastic flowers …
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Stay tuned, dear blog reader, for more about our Yucatan Sojourn.

Posted by Hawkson 13:14 Archived in Mexico

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Back home after dog sitting for 3 weeks. Book Club was well attended on Wednesday - even Wendy came but didnt say much. Library is expanding in the village looks good. Its raining for the next 7 days. That picture of the birds in the tree is spectacular....love Jean

by Jean

Natives leaping out of the bush at you, well fed [it looks like] crocodiles way too close and driving Mexican highways? Hmmmm. We want to see both of you back on Gabriola--safe and sound. Take care.

by R and B

Amazing colours in the cemetries and the wildlife. Would love to visit that huge pyramid.

by Janet

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