Our Sidetrip to Bacalar
Our time in Mexico is winding down. We decide we better do one more sightseeing trip to a wonderful place before going back to the US. Bacalar has been at the top of our wish list for awhile, but at over 5 hours away,
we just hadn't managed to carve out the chunk of required time to do it. Funny thing about Bacalar; if you mention it, people get a kind of dreamy look on their faces and murmur, "Oh, it's a beautiful place", or "Oh, you must go there, it's magical"...
So we pick up our rental car from Mayan Wheels, and head out after picking up our laundry at the neighborhood lavenderia. We stop for fuel on the outskirts of Merida, and hit the nearby Carl's Jr.for an early lunch ....yup, Carl's Jr.
We love the local cuisine, but every once in awhile you just crave a good ole, American style burger. Car fueled, and bodies fueled, we set forth.
The road is good, most of it has been repaved and it's considered freeway driving,
so we aren't dodging dogs, scooters, carts, and bicycles like we do in town. Also very few taxi drivers are out here trying to run you down, so overall it's as relaxed a drive as you get in the Yucatan.
good until we hit the Quintana Roo border, go through a small town, and get pulled over by a motorcycle cop. He indicates that we were speeding, after a bit of trying to tak to him, he brings over a kind of a ticket, 3,000 pesos. (150.00 usd) We ask where
we need to go to take care of it, as we have heard if you pay right away they cut it in half. But he says "AKI" and indicates we are to pay him. Thanks to our connections on the facebook page "Yucatan Beach Friends", we know that is NO BUENO, and Robert
tells him emphactically, "No, JUDICIARY".
I was digging in my purse for the rental car owner, Francisco's, card, who had told us if we ever got pulled over to call him. (One of the many reasons we only use this
local car rental company), when the cop realised we weren't going for his scam, abrubtly said "OK, OK", and got on his motorcycle and drove off.
Almost to Bacalar, we start seeing signs for Ruinas, and we
just have to hit one more. This one is Chacchobén, and it does not disapoint! We forego the offered guide, and walk the site unaccompanied. No matter how many sites
we visit, we always find ourselves gaping in wonder at the thousand year old stuctures. This site was only discovered in 1942, by a farmer clearing his land. We hike, we climb, we get a little sweaty, and it's so worth it!
arrive in Bacalar around 5:30 PM, and start looking for food. I spot a place touting Gourmet Mexican Food, sadly, it was neither of these things, and one of the worst meals we have ever purchased in Mexico., accompanied by the worst service. While trying
to choke it down, I book a hotel nearby. Note to self, ALWAYS take the few minutes you need to find a restaurant with good reviews online. Yelp is pretty reliable. Signs that say "Gourmet" are not.
The hotel, Casca
Chukum, was a little more expensive than we are used to paying, but included breakfast. This little place was like an oasis! We are checked in by one of the owners, Deborah, and they tell us about the tours available on the Lagoon, and show us to the immaculate,
well appointed room. It's beautiful, the grounds and pool are beautiful, and we could not be more pleased. We walk around the corner to a tienda and grab a couple snacks, go back to the room, and I start googling what to do here. We decide to try one of the
boat tours the next day, and we sink into the super comfortable bed to read and relax.
Breakfast at Casa Chukum, fantastic. Simple, but hot and tasty. We book the four PM tour. Deborah makes all the arrangements,
and gives us an email confirmation. It's a three hour tour with several swimming stops, and cost of 400 pesos, or about twenty dollars each.
With some time to kill, we head to Chetamal, the capitol city
of Quintana Roo. We are going to stay there the second noght, so we can hit the Mayan Cultural Museum before heading home to Progreso. I have us booked at Hotel Urban. We go by there just to take a sneak peek, and there's a little bit of a parking issue, but
we snag one after a short circle around the block. The hotel is clean, modern, and cheap! (around 32.00 usd) and they go ahead and let us check in!!
Luggage unloaded, we walk to a nearby Italian place called Sergio's,
and enjoy a very good pizza. It's strange to see this traditonally Italian decorated place, full of wood and stained glass, here in one of Mexico's capital city. You just never know what you will find here!