Travels in Mexico, 2019: Part 2

How are you all doing out there in quarantine land? Staying safe? Not too bored or broke, I hope? Me, can’t complain. In case you don’t know—and why would you?—I don’t live in Mexico anymore. More on that another day.

Two months after Part 1, I’ve finally gotten back to some happy reminiscences about travels in Mexico in 2019. What a year. Despite serious problems and general craziness, Mexico is a wonderful country to travel in. I made the most of it during my ten years there.

Barcelo Resort during Phish 2019

Barcelo Resort during Phish 2019

In 2019 I went to the Mayan Riviera not once, but two times. The first was in February. I spent the entire time at the beach, at the Barcelo Resort watching three nights of Phish.

Phish at the Barcelo, Riviera Maya, Mexico, 2019

Phish at the Barcelo, Riviera Maya, Mexico, 2019

Phish is one of several U.S. bands that performs multi-night events at resorts on the Mayan Riviera. The great thing about Phish is that when you see three Phish shows, you’ll see three completely different concerts, without any songs repeated. And it’s always fun to do the all-inclusive thing, especially at a place as huge as the Barcelo. It was a quick mini-vacation with my wife, some friends from Oregon, and my favorite live band in the world.

Barcelo Resort during Phish 2019

Barcelo Resort during Phish 2019

My next trip to Mexico’s Caribbean coast was last October, when I traveled from Tulum to Chetumal with a stop at Bacalar in between. (Actually, I flew into Cancun, and spent an afternoon in Playa del Carmen on the way to Tulum, so technically I traveled all the way down.) I attended an academic conference in Chetumal, with some fun and adventure in Tulum and Bacalar before.

I’ve been to the Mayan Riviera many times, but that trip was the first time I never even went to the beach. Why? Cenotes!

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Cenote Dos Ojos, near Tulum, Mexico

Cenotes are freshwater sinkholes that lead to the underground system of flooded caverns throughout the Yucatan Peninsula. They are nice to swim and snorkel in, but the coolest thing of all is to scuba dive in them, which is one of the coolest things I’ve ever done, anywhere.

A year earlier, also near Tulum, I went scuba diving in cenotes for the first time. It blew my mind, so it was top priority this time around. I went to the same dive shop in Tulum, Space Dive (AKA Dive and Snorkel Tulum, about a block from the ADO bus station), for a day of diving with three tanks in two cenotes: Dos Ojos and The Pit.

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The previous year I went to Angelita and Dreamgate. All four were phenomenal. I wrote a story about the experience, which I’ll publish on this blog soon.

The next day in Tulum I rode to Kaan Luum, a lake just south of Tulum with a cenote in the middle, on a cruiser bicycle provided by my beautiful, friendly and affordable hotel. You can see Kaan Luum’s cenote in the photo below; it’s the circle of darker water.

Kaan Luum

Kaan Luum lake, near Tulum, Mexico

From there I biked on the shoulder of the hot highway farther south to the Muyil archeological site. It had some interesting structures and trails deep into the jungle. Exploring the area after swimming in Kaan Luum was a good way to spend the day, even if riding back on a bicycle under the hot sun was nothing easy.

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Muyil archeological site, near Tulum, Mexico

The following day I took an easy three-hour bus ride to Bacalar, the small town on the huge lake of the same name.

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Bacalar is also called the lake of seven colors, because the fresh water glows in different shades of blue and turquoise, depending on the depth of the water and the angle of sun. Wow, how gorgeous. I spent the first day swimming, and the second on a boat trip around the lake.

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Bacalar, the lake of seven colors

After Bacalar, I traveled to Chetumal for an academic conference at the large university there.

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I don’t know what this thing is, Chetumal, Mexico

Many years ago, when I traveled from Cancun to Roatan, Honduras over several months, I passed Bacalar and Chetumal before crossing into Belize, but I didn’t spend any time in either place. I’m glad I did this time, especially for the seafood tacos! Below are fish, shrimp, octopus, and conch (caracol in Spanish.)

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Thanks for reading. I will write at least one more post about traveling in Mexico in 2019.

As always, if you are interested in the Mayan Riviera (or Chiapas), please check out my books:

(Amazon Affiliate links)

About Ted Campbell

U.S./Canadian writer, translator and professor in Mexico. Travel stories and practical tips on my blog No Hay Bronca: nohaybronca.wordpress.com // Twitter: @NoHayBroncaBlog // Contact: nohaybroncablog (at) gmail.com

Posted on May 29, 2020, in Mayan Ruins, Mexico, Travel, Travel in Mexico and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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