This area of Mexico is certainly the most touristy that we have seen. And with tourist zones come higher prices. We first noticed it when we stopped at a toll booth and were charged $245pesos (approx $14) when we had become accustomed to tolls of $45p (approx $2.75) And after that shock wore off, we paid higher prices for camping.
Our first tourist stop was the ruins of Chichen Itza. This was a lot of fun, as we paid an elderly Mayan gentleman to guide us through the grounds. He told a few good stories and mostly ranted about Mexican politics during our walk! Camping near Chichen Itza was in the parking lot of a hotel. There we finally met up with La Tortuga Overlanders (click that link to see their website and learn about their awesome rig) We look forward to seeing them again often as we are all headed South! For a change of pace, we rented an AirBnB in Cancun for a few days. This gave us a base to do some camper-tasks and also for scuba diving at MUSA the underwater museum. The rental was a guest house behind a large family home. The hosts had an adorable litter of Xoloescuintle puppies. Click here to learn about this breed (Xolo puppies) This litter had 4 hairless and one with fur. And these puppies loved to chase Mango around the yard. Mango did not like this game!
After a week in the big city we were ready for the jungle. We found a great campsite at a place called Cavelands In The Jungle, a well-earned name! The site was tucked way back in the thick jungle. It included a teepee frame, a dining room and our own private cenote for swimming. Unfortunately it also included a daily battle with swarming mosquitoes.
While we were there we met up again with our friends The Slow Dutchman. The four of us splurged on a budget-busting day at Xel-Ha; an all-inclusive water park with snorkeling, water slide, lazy river, rope challenges, cenotes, and unlimited food/drink for the whole day! We had a great time and explored every part of the park (and at in each of the restaurants). It is always fun to hang out with these friends and we will miss them as our travels go different directions. The dogs will miss them also! In this photo we caught the Dutchman sneaking in to the camper to cuddle with Zeb and enjoy the air conditioning!
The Dutchies had recommended Lake Bacalar, so we went to check it out. It was indeed a beautiful place! The water was blue, the coconuts were plenty and the dogs enjoyed the spot. We spent a night there, but needed to visit a larger city to find a veterinarian, so off to Chetumal the next day.
The vet visit in Chetumal was interesting. We needed a certified statement of health for each dog so that we could apply for a permit to enter Belize. Mike and the dogs waited in the truck while I went in to check on the process. The front desk worker was friendly and spoke only Spanish, but she understood what I was requesting. She asked for the proof of vaccination and proof of parasite treatment. I gave her the dog paperwork and she disappeared for a while with my papers. I sat down to wait, while Mike and the dogs stayed in the truck. I saw her fighting with a printer and bustling about the office. Shortly she returned with two papers. Very official looking, including stamps and signatures and certification that my dogs were healthy and sound. I paid $500pesos (about $25usd) and we were done. The dogs were never in the office. I never saw a vet. But I had the paperwork I needed to apply for a Belize animal import permit. Very strange. We set up our wifi and submitted photos of all the papers and the application. Then we were ready to get groceries and set up camp to await a permit.
We chose the perfect location! Really there could not have been a better place to be sitting for over a week. Yax-Ha is located in Calderitas, just outside Chetumal in the state of Quintana Roo, Mexico. It is a tiny, fishing village. The ocean front RV park has electric (for our AC) and a sparkling clean swimming pool. The town offered a few small restaurants to enjoy and a couple of tiendas for basic groceries. And location was gorgeous both day and night!
We aired up the stand up paddle-board and spent hours each day on the Caribbean waves. We paddled through the mangroves and along the shoreline. Mike even spotted a manatee one day! This is a manatee safe harbor according to the signage.
One day we rode our bikes up the road. It was about 8K to the Oxtankah ruins. These ruins are notable because the Spaniards used the rubble to build a traditional Catholic church on site. We decided they were also notable as successful breeding habitat for voracious mosquitoes. We didn’t stay long!
With plenty of time on our hands while we waited for the permit, we also took a taxi to the Mayan Museum in Chetumal. This museum has a good representation of the highlights of many of the ruins in this region. And a well laid out display on the three floors. Although it was small, we enjoyed the AC and the information. WE also enjoyed a delicious meal and a great conversation with a local man at the nearby mercado!
The permit took extra long because there was a holiday weekend in the middle of our waiting. But we waited patiently, and relaxed with the features of our location. During this time we learned that Zeb is crazy about coconuts. He loves to play fetch with them. Then he begins to peel off the husks. Once he as the nut cleaned off, we throw it against the wall to break it open. Then he and Mango eat the white out of the middle. And if we are lucky, they share some with each of us!
I will close this post with three cute movies about Zeb, Mango and the coconuts! Enjoy and we will see you in Belize!