It’s Family Time! Finally, we were going to have family come join us! We really wanted to have any and all family along for our adventure, but obviously it’s not easy for folks to arrange leaving their day to day life and jump on a plane. Also, we never really know where we are going to be even 1 month into the future. So we were excited when Okan’s daughter and boyfriend Mike decided to come meet us in Mexico just after their graduation from university.
Okan picked them up at the airport and brought them back to Camping Cancun, where we were practically permanent residents by now. They were able to sleep in one of the air conditioned casitas, before they were going to move into their new digs during their stay with us…our tent.
Not sure how much sleep they got, because Indigo decided he wanted to have a sleepover with them. He was so excited to see his sister, he just didn’t want to leave her come night time. We didn’t think he would actually do it since he’s never spent a night away from us, but not a peep out of him all night! Needless to say, we used the time wisely…and…slept very well.
We took a quick dip in the pool and headed off to our first adventure, Turtle Beach! Blah, the gate was closed because the lot was full. We tried another beach nearby but we didn’t like it. This was exactly what I feared, things not going as planned. We drove back to Turtle Beach and fortunately the lot was open again! Even though the cenote was closed now, the water rough, and the seaweed more prevalent, Carmen and Mike seemed to enjoy the time spent here.
We were excited and nervous to take them to our favorite campsite, Chamico’s. We hoped they would like it as much as we did. When traveling, you get used to crappy toilet situations and other oddities about various places, so we didn’t know how they’d take to our little slice of heaven. We set up their tent between the palm trees, taking special care to get any rocks out from under the sand. I really wanted them to enjoy this beach camping experience.
Spaghetti for dinner, all packed into our camper. Mike and I bonded over jarred spaghetti sauce that tasted just great to us after a long day in the sun and water. Okan and Carmen consider it blasphemous to eat sauce from a jar on pasta. We didn’t care and wolfed it down with gusto, and we brought Indigo over to the dark side with us.
In the morning, I realized what getting up early means to college kids. Past noon and we’re still not on our way. Of course, I am probably the only person that even wanted to get an early start for the Cenotes, everyone else was occupied. Brunch (ok lunch) for Carmen and Mike, a new Paw Patrol DVD for Indigo, and the coveted new drone for Okan. Christmas came early with Carmen’s arrival and delivery of goodies.
At some point we headed off to the Cenotes. The water was cold, and the place was crowded. But thanks to GoPro fun, and an adventurous crew, we had another good time. The highlight had to be Michael’s flips off the cenote cliff!
Dinner after the day at the cenotes was spectacular, perhaps because we were all starving. We had a splendid fire and a steak to cook on it. Even though Okan dropped the entire thing in the fire, the sand and grit brushed off nicely and we enjoyed it. The weather was perfect, and minimal clothing was needed in the evening to be comfortable.
Trying to inject a little culture into our itinerary, we checked out the Tulum Mayan ruins. Although very picturesque against the sea, it was a bit of a let down for us. Massively touristy, and the ruins were not very accessible for running around, and well…not many ruins left compared to the others we’d seen. We wandered around for a while, carried Indigo a lot, ate lunch, then headed off to parts unknown (RIP Anthony Bourdain). Our next destination would be a new adventure for all of us…Lake Bacalar.
We really didn’t know how long the drive would be. Google Maps said 2.5 hours, Maps Me said almost 5 hours, and the GPS said 3 hours. Most of the drive was uneventful, except the death trap on Route 307 South, which will now forever be known as butterfly highway to us. Thousands of Kamakasi butterflies smashing into the cars and trucks on this route over a particular 5 mile stretch of road. It felt like we were being attacked, and the butterflies were definitely losing the battle.
We decided to get off the main road as we approached the lake and take a small road that was parallel to the water, so we could soak up a view of the massive lake on the drive in. We coined it “the coastal road” as it appeared to be along the water’s edge. But, the road didn’t provide a view of the water, it barely provided a view of the road! We were in a jungle and had to get out several times to make sure we could actually make it through. But we were committed to this path forward, because quite frankly there was no way to turn around, back up, and in some places, even open the door!
We eventually arrived at the campsite unscathed. What a view of the lake, it was perfect! Carmen and Mike decided the tent was a bit too uncomfortable, and stayed in one of the casitas at the campsite. The kids immediately headed for the swings in the water…but wait, why was Mike heading back to camp holding his nose? Apparently attempting more gymnastics, this time things didn’t go so well, and the heavy wooden swing cracked him in the nose. It looked bad, blood and swelling, and we debated whether he needed to get medical help. We decided he didn’t, and that a crooked nose would look good on him. Back to the water!
There was a little bird’s nest just beside the deck where we entered the water, and a little yellow bird (one we’d end up seeing everywhere, in all countries) was attacking any bird or person that would get near the nest. Provided lots of entertainment for us.
Carmen and Mike were able to take out the kayak and check out the lake further. The underwater shots would prove a standard photo throughout the trip!
The blue water, against the white sand, and non-salty water was such an amazing combination. We could barely keep ourselves from being in the water all day. That and being outside the water, meant you’d have to battle the mosquitos!
Happy with our success in finding a new place, and seeing that Carmen and Mike were easy travel partners…we ventured to yet another new campsite. We checked out one place, and decided it just didn’t feel right, and decided move on. Thankfully we did because we found a really nice place, one of my favorite spots actually. Carmen and Mike were able to get a another casita, and we parked in a parking lot. We had decent bathrooms available, and a beautiful beach along a small bay, and good food next door. What more does anyone need really? I was wondering at this point how Carmen and Mike were viewing our life on the road, and if they were starting to see it’s appeal.
I really loved the water here, and we let Indigo go sans swimming vest for a while. We also started seeing how high we could toss the boy the in the air, after we ok’d the idea with him first of course.
Somewhere in our long drive back up to Cancun, we managed to fit in another centote before returning to Camping Cancun. The drive and the swimming proved rather exhausting for our passengers.
We got to celebrate Indigo’s birthday a little early while Carmen and Mike were here. Cake and sparklers in close quarters can be rather scary!
Transporting Carmen and Mike back to the airport was without incident and uneventful, which for us is a good thing as we notoriously almost miss flights with much regularity. We were exhausted when they left and let Indigo spend some more time in the air conditioned home of our hosts. Cristina kept asking Indigo if he’d like to stay with her, but he decided he’d rather hit the road again with us. We were relieved.
We headed back to Chamico’s for our final goodbyes to Mexico, and to chill out and recover from so much driving and moving around. We had good weather and the last few days there were some of our very best days of our entire trip. Man we loved that place and were sad to go. We had one last fire and we finished up the last of the wine. In the morning, dark ominous clouds were approaching, rain was definitely coming. We got in the car before 9am which was a record for us. Best to leave on a good note..
We ate some tacos in the car outside the farmacia, and we were off to collide with some butterflies on Route 307 South. Tried to photograph the carnage this time but could quite give the scene the justice it deserved.
We found ourselves at one last campsite in Mexico, near the border, and next to another beautiful blue lake. There were a few other families, restaurant, ok bathrooms, and only 124 pesos made us all reasonably happy. Then the music, which we thought would end at 6pm, kept going until 10pm and it started up in the early morning hours. This made us all pretty miserable for our drive to the Belize border. But I suspect our blue moods were also in part to missing family, and saying our final goodbyes to Mexico. At least we have photos on the fridge to remind us of the happier times.