A BIT OF CARIBBEAN...

A BIT OF CARIBBEAN…

After our jungle adventure we’re relaxing on the Caribbean coast of the Yucatán Peninsula overlooking the turquoise sea. It doesn’t take long to find suitable palm trees for our hammocks and then we’re swinging through the days with a cooling sea breeze… We are near the border to Belize and so we meet a couple of overlanders who are preparing to cross the border and continue their journey in the next country. But for us it is not yet time to do so! We want to see more of Mexico and therefore we will travel slowly northward back to the capital Mexico City. There we plan to store our vehicle for a few months, interrupting our trip along Pan-American highway for a visit in Switzerland. But for now, we’re still swinging comfortably in our hammocks…

 

FRESH INSTEAD OF SALTY

We know the beautiful natural jewel with the sounding name “Laguna Bacalar” from an earlier trip. The lagoon was formed by the combination of seven cenotes and thus is actually a lake and not a lagoon. It is renowned for its striking blue color and water clarity, partly the result of having a white limestone bottom. Like most bodies of water in the Yucatán Peninsula, the lake is fed by underground rivers, whose regular open pools are cenotes. Due to the different colors of the water surface, the lake is also called the lagoon of the seven colors.

Here, too, one can swing in the hammocks and the hot weather and the crystal-clear fresh water invites us for a swim. We’re spending the days editing photos and videos, reading books and sharing our experiences and stories with other long-term travelers. We keep extending our stay again and again, but before we put down roots we decide to continue our journey 😊

THE DOWNSIDE OF TOURISM

There is so much to discover on the Yucatán Peninsula! Unfortunately, word has long spread and the area between Tulum and Cancun is a prime example of the negative influence of mass tourism. Huge hotel complexes destroy the beaches around Playa del Carmen, actually the whole coast and for us as overlanders it is not easy to find overnight spots anymore. Furthermore, the few places we find are neither beautiful nor do the have an attractive price-performance ratio… In addition, there has been an immense seaweed plague for several years in a row now, which affects almost all beaches. The mountains of Sargassum brown algae pile up meters high on the previously white sandy beaches. When they rot in the hot tropical sun, they stink really badly. The Mexicans do what they can, remove them with trucks from the famous beaches around Tulum and Cancun, but unfortunately, they only have little success due to the unbelievable quantities. Observations over the last few years have shown, that the seaweed obviously comes with ocean currents from South America. What leads to the explosion growth of the Sargassum in the Atlantic off Brazil is not yet clarified and subject of current research.

SWIMMING HOLES

We decide to avoid this mass tourism as much as we can and concentrate on the many “smaller” highlights in this area. In search of cooling, we visit more remote cenotes and are always looking forward to the refreshing swim in those deep blue water holes. A highlight is the Suytun Cenote where we witness thanks to appropriate timing the spectacle of the midday sun light. Around noon the sun sends a ray of light through a hole in the ceiling and lets everything shine in the cave.

Here we also find beautiful overnight places again at borders of lakes and once even directly at the shore of one of the innumerable cenotes. This way we support the local tourism in the small villages and avoid the places full of package holiday tourists.

MORE RUINS…

We use the cooler morning hours to visit more of the countless Mayan ruins in this area. In contrast to the pyramids we have seen in Chiapas, these here are maybe less impressive, for this one can find well-preserved stonemasonry. We get an impression of how splendidly decorated all those ruins must have been in their heyday. The ruins of Uxmal on the so-called “Puuc Route” are particularly worth mentioning. Our big advantage on this trip is, that we have our own accommodation and transportation with us all the time! It enables us to stop whenever we feel like and also, we don’t depend on group bus tours to get from one ruin to another. This is the true freedom of an overland adventure with own vehicle 😊

WE’RE GOING HOME…

After a few weeks of exploring the Yucatán Peninsula, we slowly make our way up the mountains of the Sierra Madre and back to Mexico City. We first drive for a few days along the Gulf of Mexico, then leave the coast and climb over 3000 meters of altitude in one day on the way to Oaxaca. From there the journey always leads us north to the capital, where we found a secure parking for our vehicle.

And then the time has come: after more than a year on the road we leave our beloved home-on-wheels – not without a thorough spring cleaning – behind and go on holiday to Switzerland 😊

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