May 6 – 24, 2016.
This is our 9th and final post on Mexico.
The Yucatan Peninsula is probably the best know Tourist destination in Mexico. Magnificent beaches with turquoise water, Mayan ruins, night life, world class Hotels and Resorts, Naturals Wonders, Colonial Cities, diving and snorkeling … no wonder it is so popular. The Yucatan Peninsula encompasses 3 states: Campeche, Yucatan and Quintana Roo.
On May 6, 2016, the day after celebrating our first year on the road, we entered the Yucatan Peninsula and stopped in the Colonial City of Campeche. After a long drive through steep roads, as we were arriving, our truck lost all engine compression, we barely made it to the Dodge dealer. It was 4pm on a Friday and they were about to close but we must have had a desperate look because the Service Manager agreed to take our truck in for a computer analysis. It turned out to be a computer glitch with the fuel injectors, they reseted the computer and we haven’t had any issues since (knock on wood!). They were so nice and did not even charged us a penny!
Izamal is a small colonial city near Merida, the Capital of the Sate of Yucatan. Sorry no pictures of Merida! I was actually sick with an ear infection so we stayed in the parking lot of a Walmart where I got some ear drop from the pharmacy. We didn’t even venture into the historic part which is suppose to be very nice. It was also extremely hot so we were looking for a nice resting spot with a pool. After a little bit of research we came across a small hotel, owned by an Austrian and his Mexican wife in this cute little town (Izamal) only 45 minutes from Merida.
We did not really explore the town but we did stop for a few pictures of the main Plaza. Izamal is a Pueblo Magico (Magic Town) where all the buildings including the massive convent are painted yellow and where horses wear hats! Their claim to fame was the visit of Pope John Paul in 1993.
We stayed at the Hacienda Santo Domingo. The small hotel also had a few spots for campers and we could use the pool so it was a nice place to recover from my ear infection and rest for a few days. The gardens and the pool area were so pretty and romantic, they tried to recreate the Mayan charm and did a great job!
There is literally thousands of Cenotes (sinkwholes) throughout the Yucatan Peninsula. Once revered by the ancient Mayans as sacred wells, they are now magnets for tourists. The first one we visited was Cenote Yokdzonot, located 15 km from the ruins of Chichen Itza, it’s operated by a group of Mayan Women a great example of sustainable community project. It was our first experience and with the intense heat, diving in the cool water was just divine and we had the place pretty much to ourselves. A few small groups came and went throughout the day but since we camped just outside the entrance, we could go in and out as often as we wanted. The entrance fee was only 70 pesos per person (less than $5).
Pyramid of Chichen Itza
The most famous and best restored of the Yucatán Mayan ruins is Chichén Itzá, it was also named one of the New 7 Wonders of the World. The ancient city thrived from around 600 A.D. to 1200s. It was an incredibly powerful economic power in the Maya world, they established trade routes as far as South America even though some believe they even went beyond the American Continent!
Chemuyil near Tulum (house rental)
A few hours drive south of Tulum away from the hustle and bustle of the Riviera Maya is the tranquil Lake Bacalar. The long (42km) and narrow (2km) lake is fed by underwater Cenotes and is the second largest natural body of fresh water in Mexico. It is also called the “Lake of the Seven Colors” by the ancient Mayan.
Chetumal is the State of Quintana Roo’s Capital and the last Mexican City before crossing into Belize. This is where a lot of Overlanders overnight and do some chopping at Walmart and Home Depot before crossing into expensive Belize. Fuel, propane, groceries, water, repairs etc… And it has a nice campground called Yax Ha Resort & RV Park for 300 Pesos per night ($16 USD).
Our last errand on an extremely hot day was filling our diesel tanks including our small tank for our appliances, the tank is located in the back of the camper. To reach it, we have to pop the camper up and to do so we always open the side entrance door of the camper. We must have gotten distracted because we drove off from the gas station with the side door open! Just before arriving to our campground we pulled over to look up an address, that’s went the open door got knocked off by a cement post! After earing a gut wrenching noise, I was afraid to look out my window! But I did and saw our camper door lying on the side walk. I don’t know if it was the eat or the fact that our Mexican tourist visa was expiring the next day but I LOST IT! I got out of the truck and screamed at Joe: WE ARE FUCKED!!!
Joe calmed me down, put the door inside the camper and we drove to our campground where our Overlander friends helped us put the door back! (temporarily anyway).