Bacalar ( Day two)
We got up rather early today. Our sleep last night was ok, we woke a few times during the night due to some house things. One never sleeps well when they are not in their own bed. We had a little breakfast outside on our patio and Mr Chatty Katty was here again telling us more stories. We were debating on what we should do about our car and the road. My fear is ripping off the oil pan or doing more damage. Our thoughts were to go for a run and see if we can find another road to get out. There were two potential roads and we went with the second. We walked the whole road clearing branches and checking out the mud puddles. We came home and got ready. We grabbed everything we could possibly thing we would need for the day. We set out on our path. It started our good until the little hill. There was so much mud on our tires that our car had no thread to get up the hill. We had to back out to get to the place to turn around. There was another road we passed up and we decided to try this one. It wasn’t any better than the first road we took getting to the house but we are stuck. It took us 45 minutes to get to the main road. I can’t believe how bad these roads are. It stresses me out just getting out of the house. Thank goodness we won’t let it ruin our day.
We have a full day planned ahead of ourselves. We want to go to the Cenote Azul, the Ruins of ###, the Fort, and to wander the streets of Bacalar.
Our first stop is Cenote Azul. Opening hours are from 10a-5pm daily. Its one of the “must” stops in Bacalar.
The entrance is right off of HWY 307 a few miles past the main town of Bacalar. There are signs posted along the highway. Once you enter there is a small parking lot to park in for free.
Entrance into the park was really cheap and they give you a bracelet so you can come and go if you would like for the day. There are no lockers here so you have to just leave your stuff in a pile. My suggestion is to leave your valuables in the car and pay the parking lot attendant a some pesos to keep an eye on your car. (tip again when you leave). We brought our mask and snorkel but in this particular area there really isn’t much to see except when you are at the edge of it. I’d just leave all that stuff in the car. Just bring swimsuit, towel, clothes to change back into, and some money to get in and buy something to eat or drink.
If you take the stairways to your right it will lead you to a place to view the beauty of the Cenote from above it. There is a huge restaurant here, bathrooms and just the lagoon. We didn’t find any area to just chill out at other than the tables at the restaurant. There are a few vendors selling souvenirs.
Once you jump into the Cenote there is a huge rope that extends the width of the Cenote. We just swam around the crystal clear water. The Cenote is renewed by underwater rivers. Its about 90 meters deep at the edge and about 150 meters deep in the center. Its so deep it just black wherever you look under the water. The edge of the Cenote was interesting and goggles would be worth it to view this area. Just to see the branches in the water and the different levels and rock formations.
I had a beer and we ordered some guacamole and just took in the atmosphere while some music played in the back ground.
We packed up and headed out. We are now heading to the Kohunlic Ruins. Its approximately an hours drive inland (65km/40miles). Again, the roads were very well maintained and safe. It was a straight shot inland from Bacalar on HWY 186. We finally got off the main road and are now heading further inland on a two lane road approximately 9km. There is nothing around us. About half way down the road there was a huge resort called the Explorean Kohunlic. I’m sure its absolutely beautiful. I thought it was a strange place to place a resort and to invest in the middle of what seemed to be nowhere. But, I could totally see enjoying something so amazing with nothing to do but think and write. I looked it up on line and well, its NOT cheap by any means and the grounds look amazing. It is an all inclusive and that also includes daily tours and adventures.
Kohunlic Ruins (koe-hooh-leech)
Cost-$70 pesos per person
Hours- M-S 0800-1700
some information on the signage in front of the buildings
bring mosquito repellant, hat, water, and good walking shoes
no gift store
use toilets prior to entering…no facilities inside.
There are no real facilities here except a bathroom and the reception area to pay for your entrance. We arrived early afternoon and when we got there, there were only two other cars in the parking lot. My first thoughts were where is my husband taking me?
The area is very secluded and beautiful. Its set in the middle of the jungle which seemed to have a river to the west of the complex that went around the facility. Its so peaceful here. The only sounds I hear are the monkeys and the river flowing. Its a very large complex supposedly about 21 acres. The part that is accessible is huge but there is so much more they still haven’t unearthed to see.
This Mayan city was once a lively area. This town was built with brilliance from the early Classic Period, in my opinion the architects really knew what they were doing here. There are palaces, residential homes, a ball court, an administrative building, citadels, raised platforms to name a few buildings. They say there are still over 200 mounds of unearthed ruins in this area. The site was settled by 200bc. but most of the buildings are from after 250bc.
The Temple of the Mask has some amazing well intact huge Masks. There are still 5 remaining of the 8 that once were housed here. Some of the paint is still visible on the masks. The steps are not normal steps so please be careful while climbing here to get a better look and photos. This place is tucked away in the far back of the complex. We just stumbled upon it as we saw the others in the complex walking back from this area. Don’t miss this if you venture all the way out there.
I think the best part of being here is being in the middle of nowhere and most likely having the entire place alone. The few tourist that were here when we arrived have left already. We had the entire place to ourselves. It was truly magical.
Definitely worth a side-trip from Bacalar. I promise if you use your imagination, love ruins that this place will not disappoint you. Come early or late in the afternoon. I’m sure some cruise ship passenger find their way here on a tour but would most likely be gone by early afternoon.
There are about 8 or so sections to explore while you are here. I’d plan a few hours to get the most out of it or it can be done in a much shorter time if you walk quickly through the complex.
We still have a full day ahead of us so back to Bacalar we go.
We took a different route into the town off the highway. This is where all the homes were perched on the lagoons edge. There were some amazing places. I’m wishing we would have picked on in this area opposed to the north part of the lagoon. I’m sure they have electricity and a working toilet. lol! Okay, okay I will let the dry toilet go already!!!
We found a spot to park in the main square area. It is free parking and its near the fort.
The Fort of San Felipe
The fort has a great view of the Lagoon and the “pirates channel”. It was used to ward off pirates back in the day. It still has some canons and there is a small museum that has some artifacts and some history of the area. The fort is surrounded by a moat.
It worth the entrance fees for the great pictures you will take of Lagoon and the views.
There isn’t really much of the town. There is a great square that is surrounded by shops, restaurants, ice-cream shop and is the heart of the city.
We didn’t find a real big grocery store but there are lots of markets and stores to buy items to get buy. The peacefulness of the town is that its not crazy busy. Just find a bench in the park, grab a scoop of ice-cream and watch the world go by; its the lagoon that has all the answers to this peaceful place. I can’t explain the energy it has. Its soothing, like stepping back in time, it slows you down, it lets you think. I can just stare out at the lagoon and watch the water change colors as the sun moves over it.
I’m really happy we came down here. Its only been two days but its just a beauty like you never seen before. That lagoon is breathless!
We decided to find a store and grab some items before we have to wander down that awful road. We asked the locals where the grocery store was and we were informed the closet was in Chetumal.
However, there is a Bodega that has food items here. We went there and bought a few items but it didn’t have all our items we needed for dinner so we had to drive around to other places to get them for dinner and breakfast. It was like a treasure hunt. lol!
We made sure there wasn’t anything we had forgotten and headed back. We wanted to be sure to be back before it got dusk. I can’t imagine how bad it would have been in the dark.
We got back in time to head out to the lagoon with our floaties before it got dark. Its so tranquil here. We are happy to be back after a very long day and can now have a good dinner and relax before heading to bed.