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.
Bacalar (day one)
Today is the first day of our honeymoon. Well, we got married 6 days ago but there was so much to do after the wedding that it took us a few days to get organized and unwind. We are in Cozumel, Mexico and heading to Bacalar, Mexico. Once we get to the mainland it should take us about a 3-4 hour drive to get there. Its a straight shot once we get on the main highway heading south on Hwy 307.
It’s 5 in the morning and we are heading towards the car ferry to get in line. Did I mention Cozumel is an island? Well, even though its a small island there are only 3 crossings a day and there are lots of people trying to get on. We were really happy we were able to make the first crossing. People asked us why we chose Bacalar since we have the world at our finger tips. With getting married within 6 months of getting engaged, planning a wedding, remodeling not only a house but a restaurant in the past 6 months, well we just decided that planning a honeymoon on top of all that would have just been TOO much. I’ve never been to Bacalar and I’ve heard so many wonderful things about it. We are saving our big honeymoon for our 1 yr anniversary when we intend to go to New Zealand and Fiji.
The road to Bacalar for the most part is a 4 lane road and in some areas it drops down to only two lanes. I was a little scared about driving down these roads but I realized quickly they are just like any other highways around the world. We came to the town of Felipe Carrillo Puerto. We decided to detour here and found the main “Mercado” or market. Every little stand had tons of amazing looking pineapple; my guess is they grow them in this region. They had lots of other fruits, flowers and even a butcher shop which displayed the head of the pig. There was a food court area that was really busy serving up tacos and other guisados ( home-cooking preparations).
After our brief stop we got back on the highway and continued our journey towards Bacalar. There wasn’t much in between the towns but being able to view the different reality of how people lived and yet they seemed to be content with what they have was both eye opening and rewarding. We came to one little town where they had lots of fruit stands lined up along the roadway. They had fresh juices and fruits. We grabbed a few bottles of pineapple and coconut water (10mxn or .50 US) and a bag of tangerines (20 mxn or $1us).
The next place we decide to detour to was Chacchoben Ruins. We are driving down a two lane road and then all of a sudden we make the turn towards the ruins and wham bam there are lots of tourist buses. I couldn’t think of where these buses with all these tourist would have come from but then realized we were about 50 miles from the cruise ship port of Costa Maya which is near Majahual.
Chacchoben cost $70 mxn per person to get in. Operating hours are daily from 8-5pm. For more information I’ve provide a pretty good link for your convenience
Please be sure to lather up with some mosquito repellant. There weren’t to many mosquitos when we were there in November but there were still a few. Bring your camera and a bottle of water and set off to explore the area. There are tour guides you can hire if you choose or you can be like us and wander aimlessly just reading the information provided by the park about the ruins.
I was pretty impressed with these ruins. I’ve been to Chichen Itza and thought those were the nicest ruins in Mexico. That is playing on my dumb side of life stuck in a small box. However, Mexico is speckled with Ruins from the Mayan and other cultures all over the country. We spent about 2 hours here going from ruin to ruin. They do not provide any brochure so you can do it your self, but they did have some signs with little descriptions on it. I would advise if you are going to go that you download information on it or spend the money and hire a tour guide. We however weren’t smart enough for this as I for one didn’t research where we were going and as we were approaching the turn off my husband suggested we go and check it out. Most of the ruins that we did see are in good shape and well intact. There are still lots of ruins in this area they have not unearthed yet. If you can get away from the big tour groups there are times when you can hear the monkeys hallooing in the trees. We actually stumbled across a monkey hanging out in the tree along the path. The jungle around the ruins made this whole area breath taking, serene and beautiful. Its amazes me how folks lived in these so many centuries ago. I just sat there thinking what it would have been like to have lived here so long ago, about how busy the town was, the little kids playing on the dirt paths, and how simple life may have been back then.
There aren’t any ruins you can climb here but you can definetley get up close and personal with them. There are a few where you climb the steps to get to another platform where the ruins are.
I would say if you are in this region that you should stop and visit them since, in my opinion, they are certainly worth it. It was only a short detour off HWY 307.
We are back on HWY 307 and I’m getting anxious to see our airbnb we reserved and Bacalar. It took us a few tries with finding the correct “dirt” road to turn down to head towards our house we rented.
The past weekend it rained for about 4 days in a row so this road is barely passable for our type of car. I think we are lost since he said it was only 2km off the main road. It took us 35 minutes to go 2km on this road. Yes, use your imagination on what the road looked like and how difficult it was for a “mini-cooper” to drive on it. I did read someones post about it being difficult but it should clearly state not advisable for low ~lying vehicles. By the time we got to the house I was so frazzled . I can’t imagine having to take that road every time we need to head to town. The guy who met us didn’t have any empathy for our situation. He gave us a brief overview of the house and off he went.
The one part I do NOT remember seeing was the “dry toilet”. What the heck! I’m from the desert and grew up playing there but its 2018 for pete-sakes. We also noticed quickly there was no refrigerator. I looked back at the description of the house again and no mention of NO refrigerator but they did say they have a cooler for use. I too have a rental property and have a cooler for my guests to use but I certainly have a refrigerator to go along with it. I’m thinking instead of saying “we have a cooler you can borrow” maybe they should have said, NO REFRIGERATOR , cooler use only so please bring ICE!!!!!! There was no way we could drive out tonight to get ice and the ice we once had in our cooler had melted. Had they advised us of bringing in ice we would have certainly made a pit stop for it. URGH! This isn’t starting out so great.
We changed into our suits , grabbed our rafts and headed to the lagoon. The water was so refreshing but a little chilly for me in the shade. It was so clear and the area around us was serene. We met the couple who lived on the property as they were heading back into shore after going out for a paddle board trip. I wonder how they got used to the “dry toilets”. We hung out until the sun started to go down and we got to chilly and went in and showered.
The other couple living on the property were heading into town and we told them our dilemma regarding the car and needing ice. They were gracious enough to go out of their way to grab two bags of ice for us on their return home that night.
The house was cute despite the few issues. We knew it was solar and that didn’t really seem to bother us. The bed was upstairs in a loft which was equipped with a mosquito net. The main floor had a nice shower with hot water and then the darn “dry toilet” . Whats a dry toilet you ask? Its a glorified outhouse that has a lid with two sections on it. If you have to do #1 you sit as close to the front of the toilet without getting any liquid into the section for only #2 products. If you have to do #2 you must get it into the #2 hole only. The difficult part is when 1 & 2 want to come out at the same time is where the issues start to happen. Just having to think about what you need to do on the toilet got me all stressed out. The toilet paper goes into the trash can and then there is a bucket with sawdust that you sprinkle a can of into the #2 hole only. I’m not really sure what one does if #3 happens. Thank Gawd that didn’t happen to either of us.
Thank goodness there were two hotels within walking distance to where we were staying so we could go over and get something to eat. The hotel was maybe a 5-10 minute walk. Their men choices weren’t that great but they did have fresh fish. The grilled fish was delicious and they also had potatoes with olive oil/garlic/parsley which was their specialty. The hotel was eco-friendly and the grounds were really beautiful. I’m thinking we should have researched a little better on where to stay. But, with planning a destination wedding, organizing things for our guests to do we kinda forgot to plan a honeymoon.
After walking home from the restaurant in the dark we lit some candles and sat outside on our little porch. The needy kitty that lives here came and stayed with us talking up a storm. He is super sweet. The only other sounds you hear are the birds chirping and the sound of nature all around us.
It’s getting late and the lights will be turning off soon so we must go to sleep. We don’t want to waste all of our reserved solar for the night. It was a long day and we are beat. I can’t wait to see what tomorrow has in store for us. Buenas Noches!!!