Tag Archives: Mexico

Somewhere in Mexico: Beautiful Bacalar

Standard

Bacalar Lagoon, MexicoWe weren’t supposed to stay there, in fact we considered driving right on by and not even stopping.  However, we hate to feel like we might have missed something (like a talking cross that doesn’t talk, or incidentally – sing!).  So, into the town of Bacalar we went.  The town is small, and still relatively untouched by the tourism hordes.  In fact, it reminded me of the quiet, bohemian feel of Playa Del Carmen long before the overflow from Cancun turned it into a perpetual spring break.

Maybe we were lucky, maybe it was kismet or maybe we simply paid enough travel dues (like flying all the way to Ecuador next to “Forrest Gump” , getting his views on the countries’ high altitude, “lawdy, lawdy it’s high up in there”) – whatever the reason,  we found ourselves outside this gate…

Bacalar, MexicoLike a Mexican gated community.

Our tentative knocks on the gate were greeted by a young women’s head squeezing out of the smallest crack in the gate opening.  We explained to her head that we were looking for a room for the night. We must have looked normal and harmless enough, with one teen’s face stuck to the screen of his phone, and the other scarfing Mexican Doritos and thus we were allowed into the secret chamber.  As soon as we walked in, the reason for the secretive nature became clear…

Bacalar, MexicoWho wouldn’t want to guard this?

The hotel had 5 cabana type rooms, right on the lagoon, nestled in palm trees.  Lucky for us, one of the reservations had decided not to show up and we were more than happy to take their place!

Bacalar, MexicoA room with a view.

We didn’t waste any time jumping into the that beautiful jewel green water…

Bacalar Lagoon, Mexico

Or making use of the hammocks…

Bacalar Lagoon, Mexico

Or digging our toes into that soft (albeit a little creepy in that soft squishy, ‘what exactly is that stuff’  kind of way) spa like mud/sand lagoon bottom.

Bacalar lagoon, Mexico

Or lounging and enjoying meals in the open air lobby…

Bacalar, Mexico Casa Caracol

Or hanging out on the jungle encased swing set…

Bacalar, Mexico

But, eventually we had to say goodbye and move on down the road…

Bacalar Lagoon, Mexico

At least now, we know where the road leads

Bacalar, Mexico

and how to gain access into the inner sanctum…

Bacalar Lagoon, Mexico

Until we meet again…

Bacalar, MexicoFor more travel in Mexico:

Somewhere in Mexico: Roberto Barrios Falls

Somewhere in Mexico: The Talking Cross

Thanks for the Memories, Mexico

For more SWEET SPOT Travel: GO HERE

Advertisements

Somewhere in Mexico: The Talking Cross

Standard

Felipe Carillo Puerto, MexicoI had to keep reminding myself we were in search of a “Talking Cross” and not a “Singing Cross.”  As much as I wanted to be in a Disney movie, the legend only accounted for a cross that had talked (although, seriously, I think the big bucks would have been to go with a cross that could belt one out).  Anyway, as the legend goes…

in 1849, when the War of the Castes turned against them, the Maya of the northern Yucatan Peninsula made their way to Carrillo Puerto seeking refuge.  Regrouping, they were ready to sally forth again in 1850 when a ‘miracle’ occurred.  A wooden cross erected at a cenote on the western edge of the town began to talk – exhorting the Maya to continue the struggle against the Spanish and promising victory (bold cross or ventriloquist?). The oracle guided the Maya in battle for more than eight years, until their great victory, conquering the fortress at Bacalar.  Carrillo Puerto today remains a center of Maya pride – as a symbol of the Maya people’s struggle against inequality and injustice.*

On this particular day of driving from Bacalar to Playa Del Carmen in the state of Quintana Roo in Mexico, we found ourselves in the vicinity of the town of Felipe Carrillo Puerto.  It was decided we could not move forward until we had found and seen this talking cross (secretly, I was still hoping for a Let It Go reprise).

We, duh, went to the main church square in town – seemed like the logical place to find a revered cross.

Felipe Carrillo Puerto, Mexico

I don’t see any inanimate objects here that look loquacious…?

But no luck.  Further inquiries with the very kind overseer at the old church led us next to a location a few blocks away – down a deserted road on the edge of town…

Felipe Carrillo Puerto, Mexico

…where we found the talking cross housed in an old thatch roofed building, with some – while not so illustrious – but very attentive caretakers:

Felipe Carrillo Puerto, Mexico - The Talking Cross

No shoes allowed, no shirts required.

No shoes were allowed worn inside the premises, and apparently one of the caretakers felt this translated to shirts as well.  Anyway, at long last, we were finally able to view the Talking Cross.

The talking cross - Mexico

Teen is enthralled…with the thought of getting an actual coke soon. 

It’s back there behind all the garlands, liter coke bottles filled with water and other various offerings – the reason for which our guide was not really able to explain to us (the cross might get thirsty if it decides to talk again…?)

It did not talk for us (nor did it sing) – but I thought I might have heard a few bars being hummed as we left the premises…or, that might have been Teen doing his best ventriloquist imitation.

For more travels in Mexico:

Somewhere in Mexico: Roberto Barrios Falls

Somewhere in Mexico: Beautiful Bacalar

Thanks for the Memories, Mexico

 

For more SWEET SPOT TRAVELS: Go Here

*Mexico Lonely Planet

Somewhere in Mexico: Roberto Barrios Falls

Standard

Roberto Barrios Falls, MexicoWe briefly wondered if we had made a mistake as we watched the large tour bus, bound for Agua Azul, pull out of our hotel parking lot in Palenque, Mexico.  We, my husband, two teenage sons and I,  had decided instead to go on a quest in search of a different set of waterfalls that day – Roberto Barrios Falls in the small town of (you guessed it) Roberto Barrios.  We were excited about the prospect even though the town of Roberto Barrios was not on any map we could find,  the Cascades de Roberto Barrios were not listed in any guide books or brochures, and other than some random blog posts and a few references on Trip Advisor, the falls seemed to be a bit of a hidden secret (which meant we absolutely had to find them!).

Here is what we did know:

  1.  If we drove 7 km on the road towards Agua Azul there would be a right turn onto a “paved road” and 14 km later we should arrive  in the town of Roberto Barrios.

2.  Once in the town, we needed to find the “central park”.  The central park turned out to be more of a large grassy area with a neat old church.

Photo Aug 04, 6 05 58 PM

3.  We would know we were in the right spot when local children approached us to be our guide to the waterfalls for 20 pesos (about $1.25) per person.

With that limited amount of information, we actually made it to our destination!

Since there was no actual indication of where the falls were, we decided to take up the offer of a guide. Our guide was a teenage boy named Rafael.  He spoke only Spanish.  As we walked down the dirt path into the jungle he explained that the people of the town owned and operated the falls together.  Tourists had only started coming there in the last 4 years but (unfortunately in a way) interest seemed to be growing.

After a relatively short walk down a jungle path,

Roberto Barrios Falls, Mexico

we came upon the first of the several waterfalls and it took our breath away!

Roberto Barrios Falls, Mexico

At Rafael’s suggestion, we continued on the path to the lowest of multiple falls and began our exploration there.

Roberto Barrios Falls, Mexico

We moved up the falls both by walking the path or (in the teens case) climbing up through the rocks and falls to get to the next level up – Going behind waterfalls into small caves to see bats and swimming in the bigger pools.

Roberto Barrios Falls, Mexico

At  one of the upper level pools, there were some natural diving boards to jump off of.

Roberto Barrios Falls, Mexico

At every turn there was another beautiful vista.

Roberto Barrios Falls, Mexico

All of water was a clear sea green, warmed by the sun.

Roberto Barrios Falls, Mexico

We were loath to leave, but as we made the walk back we purchased from local merchants some sliced mango (the most amazing ever,  according to Teen).

Roberto Barrios Falls, Mexico

… fresh off the tree coconut water.

Roberto Barrios Falls, Mexico

 

And homemade fried plantains.

Side note: Afraid to eat homemade food in Mexico? GOOD – that means more for me.  The best food I have  had in Mexico has been at the hands of locals, cooking right on the street or out of their own kitchens and no “Montezuma’s revenge.”

Teen says, in actuality,  bad WiFi in Mexico is Montezuma’s true revenge.

As we were leaving, the local boys were reclaiming their watering hole.  I hope it stays that way.

Roberto Barrios Falls, MexicoFor more Sweet Spot Travels: GO HERE

For more on Mexico:

Somewhere in Mexico: The Talking Cross

Somewhere in Mexico: Beautiful Bacalar

Thanks for the Memories, Mexicog

Thanks For the Memories, Mexico

Standard
Taxco

Taxco, Mexico

I love Mexico.  Not for the obvious reasons, the beautiful beaches and coastal resorts, but rather for the fact that if it wasn’t for Mexico, our future family traveling experiences would have been vastly different.  You see, my kids cut their teeth, in a travel sort of way, by experiencing the historic, rustic and colorful country that is Mexico.

Starting when our kids were 4 and 6, between the years of 2004 and 2007, we took several trips to Mexico.  On each trip, we would map out a section of the country we had not seen before, fly in & rent a car, have on hand a slush fund for “extras” (aka payments-for-tickets-while-traveling- in-and-out-of-Mexico City-that-made-no-sense-whatsoever-but-satisfy-police-officer-so-could-proceed-on-our-way), and start driving.

We would go on the cheap – staying mostly in rustic and often historic little hotels as opposed to chain options and eating at the home cooked local street stands (we were never revenged upon by Montezuma).  We would carry throw-away clothes that could be left behind in order to make room for all the cool hand-made swag we would accumulate at markets along the way.  We would seek out colonial towns and cities, ruins, eco adventures, beaches, waterfalls, cathedrals and oddities of any kind (the mummy museum in Guanajuato filled with actual mummies excavated from a nearby cemetery a long remembered fave).  We looked for local festivities and parades (they can carry a saint through town like nobody’s business). And we would travel for as many days as we could afford to be away– usually between 14 and 16 days.

After several years of experiencing Mexico’s culture, sites, language, people,  colors, my kids (and myself) were officially hooked on the whole idea of foreign travel and discovery.

For this reason alone, Mexico will always hold a special place in my heart.

But honestly,  it is so much more than that. For when I go back and look at all the pictures from those trips, it is as if my kids at 4 and 6 (ish) are somehow mysteriously still there, forever fixed in time at that age and in that place.

As if they are forever standing underneath the colorful hand crafted banners

Puebla

Puebla

Forever chasing pigeons in the historic squares

Guanajuato

Guanajuato, Mexico

Forever climbing the pyramids

The pyramids of Ek Balem

The pyramids of Ek Balem, Mexico

Forever exploring the wilds of Mexico

Casa de Cortez

Casa de Cortez, Mexico

And when I want to find them,  laugh with them,  be with them…

Bernal, Mexico

Bernal, Mexico

I  always know just where to look.

For more Sweet Spot Travels: Go Here!