I feel like writing when any of three things occur. 1) I’m drinking 2) I can’t sleep or 3) I’m driving. Hypothetically that means I could churn out some top-notch blog posts if I could find a stenographer willing to document my thoughts while we go for an insomnia induced drunk drive. This is a bad idea for many reasons so you’re left with the disjointed rambling that is presently the Travel Amateurs blog. In an effort to catch up to our travels and begin writing about something even remotely current, I am stuffing the remaining entirety of Mexico into this here post!
Hopefully this allows me the chance to write about travel memories that haven’t become fragmented by the incessant potholes and watery beer. Think of this post as a trip to Applebee’s…you’ll get lots of quantity, little quality, and wish you had spent your time elsewhere. Unfortunately there won’t be a chocolate lava cake at the end of this bad decision…but scroll scroll scroll.
After getting our fill of croissants and beach bums we drove into Chiapas, Mexico. Chiapas is hot, there’s some action going on with the Zapatistas and it’s super duper purdy. If you wanna know more about it, quit being lazy and ask the Google.
We hiked down, way down, to a waterfall. There were cows, there was water…falling, and it was nice…the end.
Next we attempted to do a boat tour of the Sumidero canyon. We entered the park and drove up and up and up. I remembered that water is generally found at the base of canyons in the U.S. but figured things are different in Mexico, and ignored my suspicion. We reached the canyon overlook (mirador) and realized that we had made a wrong turn. Gravity does indeed work the same south of the border. It was a cloudy day so we decided against finding the other entrance and skipped the boat tour. Besides, Jenna booked a hotel for my birthday and I needed to get back to that fluffy bed, order a pizza and watch Game of Thrones pronto.
We were thinking San Cristobal was a cool little town until someone grabbed Jenna’s butt. While heading to the grocery store I heard Jenna yell. Luckily it was just our friend Jennifer who randomly spotted us walking passed the best wine and tapas bar in town. Glasses of wine for $1.25 and you get a snack with each purchase a la Espana.
Beware of Dogs
Sight-see, wine bar, Thai food, wine bar, chocolate store, wine bar, wine bar. As you can tell, Jenna was in charge of our San Cristobal itinerary. This made her super happy until she was bit and cried about hot sauce. What had happened was…we were picking up our laundry when a mongrel of a poodle jumped up and bit her hand. After all the scary looking street dogs we’d encountered…a poodle?? The little turd actually drew blood.
When we got back to camp I was talking to Chris and Jennifer when I heard a few choice words come from the camper. I opened the door to find Sriracha on everything and tears running down Jenna’s face. The elevation had caused a Sriracha eruption of delicious spicy magma and combined with the dog bite, Jenna had reached her limit. I too, have a special place in my heart for Sriracha so I completely understood her momentary breakdown.
Cascadas El Chiflon
We chose to do the southern loop trough the Mexican state of Chiapas knowing full well we would sweat for a week straight. We barely slept through the steamy nights, but it was totally worth it.
After a picnic with the crowds, we camped and had Cascadas El Chiflon all to ourselves in the morning. The place was unreal and the chilly water a welcome reprieve from the heat.
Lagos de Montebello
A collection of beautiful lakes; each a different shade of blue. The roads around the lakes are lined with vendors selling homemade sausages, cocoa beans, coffee and typical food of the region. After stocking up on fresh roasted cocoa beans and two types of Mexican chorizo we toured the lakes and could see ourselves renting a cabana and unwinding for a week or two.
Just another collection of amazing waterfalls and Gatorade colored water. If there’s a place that can make you bored with waterfalls, Chiapas is it.
We read that doing a tour of the Yaxchilan Ruins was akin to an Indiana Jones jungle adventure, but arrived in town to find the tour prices a bit high. We asked a second location and lucked out after some serious negotiating which went as follows: Ask price. Walk away and talk about how hot it is – “Do we even want to do this?” Man comes over with better price. Continue talking about the heat – “Even my elbows are sweating!” Man comes back with lower price. “I’m gonna die if we don’t get a beer soon.” Man returns with irresistible price. Negotiating complete!
After a sleepless night we woke up at the crack of dawn and hopped on a boat. A 45 minute ride took us up river and into a jungle alive with howler monkeys, toucans and parrots. We walked the ruins without a soul in sight, sweated profusely, dodged a few bats and returned to our boat for the ride back. Was it worth it? Hmmm… In hindsight we’re glad we did it, but can’t truthfully say it was worth the sweat it took to see this particular site. Keep in mind that we were touring southern Chiapas at the peak of sweaty-back season. Had it rained just once we would have had some relief.
Palenque was impressive. The site has been well excavated and maintained, attracting visitors from all over the world. The partially air conditioned museum near the exit was definitely worth the stop and a good place to cool/dry off before getting back on the road. We really enjoyed these ruins but were ready for less humidity, so we decided to book it to the Mexican State of Quintana Roo. Adios Chiapas!
We weren’t sure what to expect from Quintana Roo. It contains some of Mexico’s most touristy locations including Cozumel, Cancun, Riviera Maya and Tulum. Our type of travel doesn’t generally blend with the development and prices of such areas, so we headed for the beautiful Lake Bacalar. We were kindly shooed away from our first stop due to some sort of water-meditation-healing event, but found another camp just up the road.
Unbeknownst to us, it happened to be one of Mexico’s many holidays and we were quickly surrounded with tents, yelling children and a night of music and singing. On such nights it’s best to join the party rather than curse the noise; we hadn’t had a decent night’s sleep in forever, and added another to the tally.
Searching for a bit of quiet and some coastal breezes we headed north and stopped into a place selling tasty al pastor burritos to plan our next stop. I don’t know who came up with the idea first, but it caught traction immediately. We had been on the move nearly every day, sweating every day and sleeping next-to-never for weeks. In a flash we decided that rather than avoid the tourists, it was time to join them. All-Inclusive in Cancun? YES PLEASE!
We cashed in some of the points I hunted down before the trip and checked into the Hyatt Zilara in Cancun. For what it’s worth, we feel zero shame in taking a vacation from this trip to recharge the batteries…especially when it’s free! That’s right, we were tired of beautiful waterfalls, ancient Mayan ruins and freedom of exploration 😉 We basked in the A/C, took showers at will and slept like babies. We may have also over-eaten, over-drank, ordered daily room service and attended a foam party; gotta love an all-inclusive!
Jenna told me she was mildly depressed when we checked out of the resort. She even mentioned different ways she thought we could sneak back in and I can’t really blame her. Luckily our friends Pete & Natasha caught back up to us and eased the transition. We tried and failed at a few beach camps, left another due to the rude owner and settled on an Air BnB Jenna found in a pinch. We camped in the rigs but had access to a room w/bathroom, pools and grills. It had been a while since we’d seen these guys and the grilling, margaritas and rounds of golf (card game) were a perfect reunion. Good people, good times!
At our last camp spot we toasted to our time in Mexico, relaxed in the cool ocean breeze and shared a good laugh at the disparity between what we’d anticipated and our personal experience. Instead of imparting the knowledge you might expect to gain from six months in a country, Mexico left us with a feeling we often find when traveling; the feeling that we’d only scratched the surface.
Next up…Adios Mexico!
Even if we began today, and traveled every day for the rest of our lives, we would experience only a fraction of the people, culture and beauty this world has to offer. We will always be Travel Amateurs.
You’re looking a little skinny, Josh. More beer
Plenty of beer! I just need more lazy days on the couch with some Pad Thai & Drunken Noodle!
Great post guys.. love the look of the blog these days and gorgeous photos. Can’t wait to experience some of the same places last this year after our time at Lake Atitlan.
Thanks guys! We figured the blog could use a little refresher. We love that you guys are going back for more Mexico!!!
Yep….not quite done with her yet! But, first the amazing climate of the lake was calling us 🙂 What can I say.. we’re wimps! lol