It seems obligatory for all overlanders to write a “Reflections on Mexico” post after their travels through the country are completed. Not only for collecting their own thoughts but also to share the truth about this “dangerous” country. While Lauren and I were preparing for this trip many people thought we were insane. Oddly, It wasn’t for the fact that we were planning to drive 25,000 miles to the bottom of the world. We were primarily labeled insane for simply wanting to drive into Mexico.
I spent 20 minutes trying to come up with a clever title, not much rhymes with Yucatan. I thought maybe YuCAtaN DO IT! but then gave up on that. I considered making up a fictional character named “Yucatan Dan” who lives in the jungle and grants 3 wishes to lost gringos. “I wish for 20 gallons of DEET bugspray…” Perhaps “Doin our thang in the Yucatang”… I don’t know! I have spanish class in 30 minutes and need to get this post done. Focus James!
We pushed further down the Caribbean coast headed towards a concentration of Mayan ruins called “The Ruta Puuc” The Ruta Puuc is about 25 miles of backroad that connect 6 different Mayan ruins together. In Mayan times there was actually a road of limestone running through the jungle connecting many of the large sites. Unfortunately this road is long gone and were stuck to boring ol’ tarmac.
We drove on and on through the jungle on the paved roads eventually arriving near the Mayan site of Uxmal. The Sun was setting and we needed to find a camping site quick. We pulled our usual maneuver of scoping out the surrounding areas for cutty backroads, eventually finding one that looked good and turned off into the deep jungle.
Sorry it has been so long since we have updated, We have been caught up in a whirlwind of travel lately. (This is a good thing!) We have now settled down in a beautiful place called San Pedro De Laguna, Guatemala. We found a great spanish school that rents out nice little cabanas for $25 a week! We are right on the water and loving it here. I am lounging in the shady hammock outside, typing this up and listening to the birds chirp in the trees. Behind us about 100 yards is gigantic lagoon ringed by 3 massive dormant volcano mountains. Have we found paradise already!? Perhaps… Needless to say we have decided to stay here for a month taking spanish lessons and slowing down the pace.
Now back to our regular scheduled programing!
After our hectic day in Oaxaca we decided to put some miles down. My friend Doug runs a community center for a small barrio in Cancun. We had told him we were going to stop by and help him out so we set our sights for the tip of the Yucatan peninsula. As we descended from the top of the Oaxcan mountain range towards the isthmus of Mexico the change was immediately apparent. The pine trees gave way to jungle and the the cool dry air was now thick with humidity. Toto…We’re not in Kansas anymore.
We waved goodbye to Mexico City as we climbed up and out of the smog-choked valley into the highlands. We were headed towards Oaxaca, we had been communicating with a volunteer organization there and planned to spend a week or two assisting them. There were a few sites along the way to see first.
First stop was a small town named Cholula, just outside of Puebla, MX. Home to the 2nd largest pyramid in the world (by volume). Sounded like something we had to check out. When we arrived in town we expected to see a huge Egyptian style pyramid dominating the landscape, instead what we found was a huge hill with a giant church on top of it. Can this be it?? Looking at the signs, sure enough, that was it. We stowed our King Tut costumes and went to check it out anyway.