Tuesday, 17 December 2013

The tropical Mexican final

Family, friends, fellow travelers, curious readers and people redirected to this blog without any specific reason: Welcome! We are very happy to see you have found your way to our blog again! To start: We have left Mexico! 

Who could have imagined that we would have almost exceeded our allowed stay of three months in Mexico without even realizing it? We sure couldn't have imagined this. To start we were imagining to go through pretty fast, having spend 7 weeks in the USA, 6 weeks should have been sufficient for Mexico. Well we were wrong, the truth is that Mexico is a great country to visit, there is such a variety of things to see, the country seriously has everything from good food, to friendly people, nice mountains and beaches. And can you imagine that there are still many popular destinations which we have skipped (like Baja California, James Ensor's house and not to forget Queretaro. Oh how many people have asked us if we have been in Queretaro, and every time we had to tell them we haven't, but that we have been in hundreds of other places). So to be clear: if you think that Mexico is dangerous, it is not and if you think there is nothing to see: you are wrong. We don't want to start a travel agency here, but can only encourage people to visit this country.

So after this long introduction let's get to business. Last time we left you in San Cristobal de las Casas ( for your convenience we have again added a small map of our latest adventure). Before leaving there we suddenly met many other long term travelers on the local camping, two french couples travelling in a regular camper and in a large school bus, and one English family travelling in fully equipped MAN truck, very cool thing to see. After having spend a great time in Oaxaca, we explore the province of Chiapas in detail. Located next to the boarder of Guatemala (in the past it actually even belonged to it) the place is a nature paradise with many jungles, waterfalls and animals. After visiting the breathtaking waterfalls of Chiflon we go to the Lagos of Montebello - a series of 50 lakes located nearby each other known for the different colors of the water (of which we could not appreciate any of them- maybe because of the bad weather...). Here we met three super nice Basque with who we went to explore Chiapas together. From the lakes we go to the next village, Las Nubes, where we enjoyed a nice waterfalls. We can imagine that you are already very bored with all the waterfalls. be patient, as there are many pictures of waterfalls following. Las Nubes was amazing: the relatively calm river is squeezed through narrow parts resulting in non stop violent rapids at which we could look hours. Having no food here the locals were prepared to kill (our request was unusual and difficult: chicken with no head, no lungs, no heart, no legs...they just laugh) a chicken for us, which we could put on the barbecue after our order, yammie yammie! From here we continue our trip passing the jungle of las Guacamayas where the howler monkeys make you believe that they are gorillas and you can see guacamayas (season is around June) . After a guided tour through the jungle we go to Yaxchilan, a Maya site located in the dense jungle and only accessible via boat - this was truly a spectacular location.

From this site we drive to Palenque, were we can visit another, but more popular, site. Having found a camping here we decide to stay a few days to relax a bit and visit the waterfall of agua azul. Here we will also say goodbye to our new friends, who were continuing their voyage in Mexico City. We would tackle Mexico's most touristic region: the Yucatan. To be brief, we had some great visits here and some mediocre ones. The city of Campeche was our first stop in the area, and it would be the last colonial village we pass. Nearby here we could visit the ruins of Uxmal and the ruind of Chichen Itza, one of the new wonders of the world. The area is very known for it's cenotes (underwater caves). It is claimed that these holes have been created over 65 million years ago by meteorites, the same ones which would have lead to the extermination of the dinosaurs. The water in these cenotes is very clear as it comes from underground rivers, filtering the water continuously

The famous Maya riviera went from bad to good for us. We start in horrible Cancun, to go down towards Puerto Morelos where we could snorkel through the second largest barrier reef in the world. After we pass in Akumal where there is a beach with over 30 resident turtles with who you can swim (apparently they are staying there naturally). After swimming in the water for 20 minutes we were almost going to give up and go back to the beach, until we suddenly saw two enormous turtles swimming. The water is not deep at all so we could hoover above them while they were eating there the seagrass. From there we could go to the famous beach ruins of Tulum, build high on the cliffs looking at the beautiful Caribbean sea and where we stayed for 2 days.

From there we have left Mexico and entered Belize, on which we will say more in a next post. We have been truly blessed in life to have already lived what we have lived so far and are looking forward to the rest.

With the end of the year approaching, we would also like to take the opportunity to wish all of you a great holiday season! We'll be thinking about all of you!

Happy picture watching,
Mire and Alex

voila: Our route!

Waking up in San Cristobal de las Casas: from left to right, small to big (on the far right a French couple travelling in a 13 meter long school bus!)

Waterfall time at Chiflon - the lowest of three consecutive waterfalls

The highest of the three - very impressive

With the right positioning the waterfall seems very familiar

The lagos de Montebello are a series of 50 lakes located nearby each other

We had the pleasure to explore these and the rest of Chiapas with three Basque (Left to right: Eneko, Mikel and Iker)

Next stop: another waterfall at Las Nubes

The river originally is calm but when all the water has to pass via the most narrow point it becomes clear why you cannot swim here

Finally the water spreads out and continues to descends via dozens of smaller falls 

Not much going on in the Las Nubes

After, we go to Las Guacamayas, located in the jungle of Chiapas nearby Guatemala, which is named for it's presence of the Guacamaya ( named Ara in Dutch). These birds are much larger than expected. 

A tour through the jungle gives us an insight in the fauna and flora, including Mata Pallo, Howler monkeys pooping and peeing on you to defend their territory and many birds

Going to the remote ruins of Yaxchilan which are only accessible by boat
More ruins wait for us the next day in Palenque, also located into a dense forest/jungle but very well maintained: good views and good company!

Palenque with a local beauty

The great thing about yoga is that it can be done everywere

After some pyramids we have some more waterfalls on the agenda: Agua Azul. The water is indeed pretty blue/greenish and is perfect for swimming as there are many calm spots

Nearby one of the calm swimming spots

We also get ready for christmas (Campeche)

After Campeche we are up for the ruins of Uxmal, which has some super cool structures and some beautiful mosaic type of facades

A snapshot of our daily breakfast while camping at Uxmal: Coffee, juice and syncronizadas (like a croque monsieur but than with tortillas)

In Progresso we were enjoying a funny American-French theater show

A coco a day keeps the malaria away

At a pretty boring and expensive ruin we could take a swim in a cenote, which apparently only exists in the Yucatan area. The believe that the holes might have been created by meteorites. The water comes from underground rivers, making the water super clean.

Going on a cenote tour! Our guide brings us to three cenotes on a 200 year old rail track which was originally build by the spanish and which was used to transport agricultural products from the haciendas to the neighborhood villages 

Cenote #1: was boring- no pics to be shown
 Cenote #2: pretty cool, isn't it? What you see hanging in the middle are the roots of a tree, which enter all the way into the water

Cenote #3 is equally impressive and the water is approximately 45 meters deep

The clear water is ideal for a swim although the underwater caves are pretty scary

The main temple, El Castillo, at Chichen Itza is very impressive and is the largest Maya calendar (formed by the number of stairs, steps, balconies and the top temple). Twice per year a natural phenomenon attracts thousands of people to this place (have a look on the internet for the equinox, it's to difficult to explain)

Chizhen Itza is one of the new world's seven wonders, partially due this building named the caracol. It served as a observatory of the sky and 20 sight lines indicting astronomical events have been found here.

Also here we could enjoy some scary faces

The Yucatan is mostly famous for the Maya riviera, attracting millions of tourists each year. Here we are at Puerto Morelos and have to accept that it can also rain here

Still this doesn't stop us to explore everything - Jacques Cousteau style

So in Akumal we swim with super big turtles - in total we so more than ten different ones here

Big turtle going to the surface for some air, not noticing our presence and the smiles on our faces

Further south we make our last visit in Mexico: Tulum. This beach is great for relaxing and it also has the only Maya site built next to the sea (at least that is what they claim)

Temples + Sun + Perfect Caribbean blue water and white sand = Smile on face

Similar shot as before

Last time: blue water

Our set up in Tulum was pretty comfortable (hammocks, table, chairs...)although we had to install something against the rain


  1. Wow, looks great. My colleague claims Belize is one of the most beautiful countries in the world, so enjoy! Here we're getting ready for the end of the year, unfortunatly with fairly gentle weather and no snow...Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!! groetjes, Annelies

    1. Hi Annelies! Yeah it was veryvery beautiful - pictures will follow soon!

      Have a great end of the year and a merry christmas!
      Alexander and Mireia

  2. alaa!!! qe guay.. et trovem a faltar MIREEE!!!! PETONS GABI!!!!! XC.....

    1. Gabi! Jo ambé us trobo abfaltar! Disfruteu del nadal en familia, ja que jo no puc!

  3. Wow chicos! Looks amazing! Now I really want to go to Mexico! Swimming with the turtles, awesome! Keep having fun and Merry Christmas!!

    1. Do you still have the job offer there, you can reconsider?! Anyhow, we hope you ahd a great time and that you are enjoying the end of the year with the family and friends!
      Take care,
      Alex and Mire

  4. Brutal!! me'n alegro que esteu disfrutant tant alla!! i que Mexico us hagi agradat tant!! Sou els millors! Petons als dos!! Marc Guillot

    1. Marc! Gracie :) ho estem disfrutan molt, xo sempre trobant a faltar a la familia!

  5. Que bestia Mire i Alex:
    Espero que tingueu un Bon Nadal.
    Y no tardeu en tornar a publicar.

    1. Hola nacho! Bon nadal a tu tmb! No et preocupis, publicarem aviat!

  6. We are spoiled getting always the journal with these nice pictures....
    btw: Can you bring us a few of those big Christmas balls (Campeche) - lets say a box of 12 :-)

    1. We put 12 of them on our roof, who knows they survive to the end!

  7. Feliz Navidad! Me alegro que esteis disfrutando tanto! Un beso a los dos!!!!

    1. Bon nadal!! Ens encantaria estar amb Vosaltres en aquest dis tan importants!

  8. Impresionante chicos! feliz Navidad y mejor año! Se os quiere! Olga y Pablo

    1. Igualmente pulguis!! Felicidd ipy amo alla dinde esteis! Os echamos de menos!!

  9. Increíble chicos!!!!!! Feliz Navidad!!!!!Un beso fuerte!

    1. Lucia feliz navidad y año nuevo a ti también!!