Travel blog Mexico

03.10.- 11.10.2019 By ferry to Baja California, kitesurfing in La Ventana and sightseeing in La Paz

Camping in Kitesurfing Paradise La Ventana
Camping in Kitesurfing Paradise La Ventana

With an overnight stop in Tepic we went on to Mazatlán. On the way we passed tollbooths, which were occupied by locals. A very strange feeling. After the check-in at the hotel in Mazatlán we went through the heat directly to Baja Ferries. We were lucky and got two spots on the ferry for the next day. At that time only cargo ferries and no tourist ferries drove. So, there would be no cabins. But we didn't need them anyway.

 

We found out that our second article was published (https://www.schwaebische.de/landkreis/bodenseekreis/friedrichshafen_artikel,-von-chile-bis-nach-alaska-_arid,11121707.html) and toasted with a beer at sunset on the promenade in the evening.

 

At half past two the next day we went to the ferry. After weighing the motorcycles, the bikes were checked by a drug dog. Then we had to wait until we could finally go to the ferry. On the ferry we had to lash the motorcycles with our own lashing straps. None were provided. With bag and luggage, we went on deck. There it dawned on us that this would definitely not be a romantic crossing as to Sardinia. There was a very small room with chairs, as well as a small dining room. On deck there were two benches and tables. Since we were so many people there was not enough space for everyone to sit down for dinner. We waited as long as possible on deck until we went to our chairs and watched a movie. Or let´s say we tried. Because the movie in the room was so loud that you could hardly understand anything else. In addition, the air conditioner was set to refrigerator temperature. At least the board personnel handed out blankets so that we didn't freeze to death. At three in the morning an employee finally came and turned off the TV. So, you could at least get some sleep.

 

Breakfast was very good and we spent the rest of the time on deck. After more than 18 hours it was finally time: We entered the harbor of La Paz. But the unloading of the ferry took another hour. Then we were finally allowed to leave the ferry. After we had paid the harbor dues (approx. 4 euros per motorbike), we had to queue for the check through. It was incredibly hot and we didn't hope to have to open all our bags and suitcases now. But the officials had mercy on us and let us move on quite soon. We drove to one of the most famous beaches of the Baja: Playa Balandra. Since it was Saturday, of course the beach was full of people and not so nice. Therefore, we only had a short lunch break and then drove on to La Ventana.

 

In La Ventana we installed ourselves on a communal camping site and were happy about the news: the next days will be really windy! The "Snowbirds" (US-Americans and Canadians who spend the winter in Mexico) welcomed us very friendly and right on time for the beer Gunnar (from Germany, living in Canada for decades) came around the corner. A few beers later nobody wanted to cook anymore and so we went to Gunnar's favorite Taqueria (restaurant where tacos are served). There we were shocked: A taco was three times the price than on the mainland.

 

The next two days were windy and we were super happy. On the second day it even had so much wind that I had to wait until the late afternoon to be able to go out at all with the 9 kite (our smallest kite in the luggage). In the afternoon we sat down with Gunnar for happy hour and in the evening, we cooked tacos for each other. On the last evening we even had fish tacos with fresh fish from the town. Incredibly good! In addition, we drank "Baja Fog" (beer with tequila and lime). Cheers or better said "Fog you!”.

 

Since no wind was announced for the following days, we decided to leave. But a swarm of bees, which had settled in the tree above our tent the day before, didn't like the fact that we left. They became aggressive again and again and swarmed out to us. Since Kai had already had two stings the day before, we preferred to walk slowly away from the tent and wait until the bees had calmed down again. When we were finally ready, we went to the obligatory boot check again. This time something did not fall directly from the boot, but mini ants had nested themselves under the buckles. Of course, again with their eggs. Well great! The insect spray was of course again completely down in the panniers and the motorcycles already fully packed. So, we tried our luck with deo spray. It seemed to work! Due to the many interruptions and hurdles, it became always later and we drove again by the midday heat. What a fun drive… Not! Arrived in La Paz it became even hotter: 37 degrees in the shade!

 

In La Paz we celebrated our one-year travel anniversary, looked at the city and walked along the Malecón (river promenade) and enjoyed a good, Italian ice cream.


20.09.-03.102019 Oaxaca and the Petrified Waterfall, Family Life in Gualajara

Hierve el Agua - Petrified Waterfall
Hierve el Agua - Petrified Waterfall

After Kai was reasonably fit again, we drove from the hot Pacific coast into the coolness of the mountains. The road was a dream. One curve after the other. At 2500m altitude it was even very cool. In San Juan del Pacifico we stopped for the night. The wooden rooms and the temperatures reminded of a ski hut. The village is, beside its beautiful landscape, mainly famous for magic mushrooms. Right at the reception in the accommodation we were given tips where to eat the little celebrities and where better not. Uh, no thanks. It was quite a challenge to get something to eat in the village without mushrooms. Therefore, we renounced the homemade stone oven pizza in the evening in the accommodation. Safe is safe.

 

The next morning, we drove with scarcely 7 degrees and wind further to Oaxaca. The beautiful winding road led into a wide valley where it became warmer and warmer. In the accommodation in Oaxaca two kittens greeted us and we had to bring our luggage to safety. We stayed three days. After looking at the old town and filling our stomachs at the Taco-Festival we went to the petrified waterfall "Hierve el Agua" the following day. Since the bus was very cheap, we decided to travel by public transport. In Mitla we should change and take a shared taxi (Collectivo, half open truck). But they only drove if ten guests were on board. Not before. After more than an hour the waiting became too long for us and the other five guests and we negotiated with the driver to pay a little more, but to leave right away. Luckily, he got involved in the deal. There was not much going on at Hierve el Agua and we had this beautiful landscape almost for ourselves. Natural pools nestle at the edge of the waterfall in front of a beautiful mountain landscape. On a small hiking trail, we could still see the waterfall from below and even found a circular path back to the parking place. Back at the parking lot there were already guests waiting. And it dawned on us that it would be the same game then before. And so, it was. In the end we waited over an hour again to pay more and get back to Mitla. This time in a comfortable minivan. In Mitla the bus to Oaxaca came ten minutes after our arrival. Happy to have spent less time on the road this time, we took the bus to Oaxaca. But suddenly the bus turned off the main road and we moved more and more away from our accommodation. Kai asked the bus driver and he regretted not being able to continue on the main road due to a road block. So, we got out and walked 45 minutes to the accommodation.

 

On the last day we went again to the markets of the old town, we tasted Mezcal (spirit from Agave) and Tejate (traditional corn and cocoa drink) and ate Churros (fried pastries).

 

Then we continued through high mountains and over dreamlike roads to Puebla. We spent the night there and continued the next day to Maravatío. On the way we passed countless tollbooths, which really cost a lot. As always, Kai had paid for me at a toll booth and I was the first to drive through. Then the barrier closed again. When it reopened for Kai, a Mexican motorcyclist boldly drove past Kai! But instead of the employee letting Kai through, she wanted him to pay again! But he had already paid and the other motorcyclist hadn't! When Kai remained stubborn and partout did not want to pay again, another employee came and had to open the barrier manually. We had never experienced anything like this before.

 

After Maravatío we went to the big city Guadalajara. The heat had us finally back again. Very warmly, with a hug, we were welcomed by our guest father. In the evening his children and their children showed up. Everyone wanted to get to know the German motorcyclists with the surfboard. We got tips and improved our Spanish.

 

After we had made it from the Pacific coast without the Dengue virus, a Dengue epidemic awaited us in Guadalajara. Yay! So always use repellent!

 

Actually, we only wanted to stay two days, but we liked it so much and stayed longer. Furthermore, there was a cyclone anyway along the Pacific coast up to Baja California. The ferry would probably not drive anyway. So, we enjoyed having a "family", ate and cooked together, explored the city, worked a lot on our homepage and rested from the exhausting driving days.


8.9.-20.9.2019 Mexico´s Pacific Coast

Sunset Playa Carrizalillo, Puerto Escondido
Sunset Playa Carrizalillo, Puerto Escondido

After the hottest night in whole Mexico we went on to the surf spot Barra de la Cruz. The drive there was beautiful along a winding coastal road. We afforded ourselves a cabana (about 12 €/night), because we didn't want to die in the tent. But the fear was unfounded. It became pleasantly cool at night. But the place was overcrowded with surfers who all wanted to surf this famous wave. Then 30 people sat in the water and waited for their turn. You even had to pay entrance fee for the beach (approx. 1.40€/person). We did not like that at all. Therefore, we saddled our horses again the next morning and drove on to Brisas de Zicatela, a district of the famous Puerto Escondido. The main spot, a famous Big wave spot, was nothing for us anyway. We wanted to surf La Punta, a smaller spot in the south of the village. Unfortunately, this wave has become so popular that there is a board battle here as well. But first we had to find our accommodation. The accommodation we found was hopefully not the right one. We didn´t want to stay in this rundown house. Two men came out and asked us what we wanted, we asked if this was the accommodation "Hakuna Matata". No, it is not. Could be at the end of the road. We called the host who assured us that the coordinates were correct and that would be the accommodation. Then one of the men suddenly came out and confirmed that we were right. He did not know that the house was called "Hakuna Matata". He had been living here for two months. Well, that was a good sign... Then again, we couldn't get through the gate. We were too wide with luggage. Before we would start again to unload everything and remove the surfboard carrier, I ran to a "camping site" nearby as an alternative. But there they wanted to have one third more than in the accommodation and we would have to set up the tent next to the bar. No thanks! Meanwhile two colleagues of the host had arrived and these helped us to open the gate at least so far that we could drive through. Then in the accommodation the next shock: The rooms had no doors and the bathroom only a curtain! No privacy at all! Well, as long as we had the place to ourselves, it was ok. But in the late evening other guests arrived, so that all rooms were occupied. Super! Whereby we felt even more sorry for the other guests, because their room was completely open and we always had to pass their beds directly to the bathroom...

 

We got a tip from a surf buddy we had met in Panama that there was a smaller, gentler wave in the north of Puerto Escondido. There is a hostel with cabanas and camping on the cliff above the spot. We packed everything together again and drove the twenty minutes to the "Hostel Mondala". We turned off the motorcycles and just talked to the hostel staff when it did a loud blow. What was that? Kai screamed and ran to his motorcycle. The Yamaha was lying on the side. How did that happen? The supposedly hard sandy ground had collapsed and the motorcycle with luggage and surfboard had turned over. Fortunately, not on the side where the surfboard was. With the pannier it lay directly on a curb. Lucky again. At least we hoped. Only the pannier was a bit bent and it smelled like petrol...

 

Since we would have had to set up the tent beside the bar and it rained every afternoon and thunderstorms pulled through, we indulged in the luxury of a Cabaña. We are really not demanding, but if you already have a backache anyway and then you find a mattress that is so well-done that you can just sleep directly on the slatted frame, the night's rest is greatly reduced. Even putting two mattresses on top of each other did not bring any success. On the contrary. Now we both rolled into the big ditch in the middle again and again. Kai then moved to the bunk bed. I got the other mattress off the bunk bed. So, it was more pleasant and bearable. Only the feathers stabbed you in the back. There I praise myself my camping mattress...

 

This surf spot also enjoys great popularity, especially among surf schools. They don't care about the right of way rules and just push their students into the wave, 5-6 people find themselves on a wave. Kai dared himself into the waves. It was a real big mess. Students, Locals and Kai. in the end one surf instructor yelled at him to watch out. Although Kai had right of way and it was his wave, but who cares...

 

I tried my luck the next day when there was less going on. I paddled some waves, but could not sit directly at the break, because there were either locals or rocks. Not to mention the many surf students. When the waves got bigger and the boards only flew through the area, I saved myself back to the beach.

 

As we both had a cold due to the air conditioning and Kai was ill, we stayed longer than we thought. Fortunately, there was a doctor within walking distance who even spoke some English. Kai was prescribed antibiotics. Again...

 

While Kai was in bed with a fever and cured himself, I was washing laundry, working on the laptop in the morning (Kai watched movies at noon) and went surfing with sea turtles or reading in the hammock. In the evening I killed Kai´s beer stock (in the heat you inevitably become a beer drinker, especially if you rarely get wine and only for a lot of money). Even if it broke his heart 😉.

 

Fate had once again decided that we should stay longer in one place. Which was nice after all the driving days anyway. In addition, there were almost 2000km ahead of us before we took the ferry over to Baja California. Therefore, we had to be fit. Originally, we wanted to drive along the coast and go surfing, but almost every Mexican had advised us not to drive through the Guerrero region. Especially Acapulco is one of the three most dangerous cities in the world. Therefore, we will drive over the mountains and the inland.


01.- 08.9.2019 From the Gulf of Mexico to the Pacific Coast

Lunch break at the Gulf of Mexico
Lunch break at the Gulf of Mexico

It was difficult for us to say goodbye to Progreso. Not only two and a half weeks of kitesurfing, but also a familiar environment and routine. No route planning and search for a place to sleep. It's also good for a change. Therefore, we just went 45 minutes from Progreso to Mérida, where we had been before. We still had the contact data of the hosts and were able to make a short reservation by WhatsApp. But we had not talked about the price, because it was clear to us that we would pay the same like two and a half weeks ago. Nope. In the meantime, the price was raised and instead of an omelet there was only bread with hot jam for breakfast. Too bad. Otherwise we enjoyed the air conditioning and Kai maintained the motorbikes in the shade. We still had more than 1000km to the Pacific coast in front of us.

 

Then we went on to Campeche. The trip was super boring. Not a single curve. But an unbearable heat. The accommodation was very nice, even with a small kitchen and a (not quite clean) pool. We visited the old town (colonial city) in the afternoon and walked to the promenade in the evening to watch the fountain light spectacle on the recommendation of the host. Unfortunately, we waited for nothing. For some reason the spectacle was cancelled. Back in the accommodation everything was dark. Power failure. We waited a bit at the pool and prayed that the electricity would come back. Because: Without electricity also no fan and thus not even to think of sleep. Luckily the electricity came back just before going to sleep and the night was bearable.

 

The next day we drove on to Ciudad del Carmen. The trip was a pleasure. First curves (the first in Mexico!) and then a great panorama along the coast. With a view to the turquoise sea we took a break and a Mexican motorcyclist joined us. He accompanied us on the drive for a while. In Ciudad del Carmen we only had a short look at the city, had lunch and went shopping. Also, here we enjoyed the air-conditioned room.

 

We continued to our last stop at the Gulf of Mexico: Villahermosa. After we had left Ciudad del Carmen we made a fuel stop. You never know when the next gas station will come. But my BMW did not like that short break at all. The engine did not start afterwards. Only with patience and good persuasion she had a mercy. On the way to Villahermosa we had the first time contact with corrupt police. They said we had driven too fast in the village before and photos had been taken of us. We could pay directly on the spot or drive back to Ciudad del Carmen and pay there. Kai assured several times that we certainly hadn't driven too fast, just because of the traffic and the bumps. Moreover, we could not drive fast with all our luggage. And moreover: Where was the photo? We wanted to see it! Then the policeman got a bit nervous. After a long time back and forth we were suddenly allowed to drive on. Once again lucky.

 

In Villahermosa a rundown place awaited us next to a huge city and heat. Namely our accommodation. We already knew that the "Hotel Posada del Angel" did not have the best ratings. But the 15€ (per night) were still too much for that. The room smelled like hell, was dirty and not even the sheets had been changed. Not very inviting. But luckily only one night... Asian food and a crêpe for dessert made us feel kind, so it was bearable in the room, but only in our own inlets.

 

We left the Gulf of Mexico and drove on through the heat to Acayucan. On the way we took some traffic jams and construction sites with us. Arrived at the hotel "Arcos del Parque" we moved into our clean, air-conditioned room. The hotel directly in the old town was on the upper price range for us (scarcely 24€/night), but there weren´t hardly any alternatives. Due to the last driving days and the heat, we decided to stay another night longer to rest. We both had backache from driving and the air conditioning. Therefore, we wanted to swim a few lanes in the hotel pool. But in this pool, you could not even see the floor because of all the dirt. Then we preferred yoga in the room. We ate a lot of tacos, visited the concert on the square opposite the hotel (we couldn't think of sleep anyway) and got to know motorcycle travelers from India. They started one month before in New York and drove down to California and Mexico. In about seven weeks they want to be at the southern tip of South America...

 

We drive in the heat 200-300 km a day; they drive 500-800 km a day.

 

The next day we made our way to the Pacific coast. The last kilometers to the sea were accompanied by a strong, offshore and above all hot wind. In Salina Cruz we had a house for ourselves (16€/night!). We were warned several times that this region in Mexico is very, very hot and we were almost afraid of it. In fact, we had never experienced such a hot night as in Salina Cruz. In spite of two fans we could not think of sleeping.


13.8.- 01.09.2019 Kitesurf paradise Progreso: Kite, Eat, Sleep – and repeat!

Camping at Yuckite School
Camping at Yuckite School

The next morning in Mérida we breathed a sigh of relief. No fever. So, we saddled the horses and drove to Progreso. But just five kilometers before the kite station Kai´s Yamaha started to smoke. I honked and stopped him. Panic rose in us. 1000 thoughts shot us through our heads. Where was the next workshop? Who should we call? Where should we sleep? After a first lack of plan, Kai noticed that there were oil splashes around the oil filler plug. Then he remembered that he hadn't got the oil inlet screw right during the last oil check. This was the problem! What a relief. So, we waited until the engine had cooled down a bit, then we tried to remove the oil stains with toilet paper. Kai ran to the nearby gas station to get sand for the oil track. Meanwhile a small puddle of oil had formed. After a short break we started the engine again. But again, smoke rose. We were afraid that the oil could ignite. Therefore, we called our friend and mechanic Martin at home. He advised us to put some water on it to dilute the mixture. Smoke was still rising, but we still drove the last kilometers to the finish. We set up our tent and afterwards the kiteboard. On the water everything was forgotten. Both the motorcycle and the rash. The first time kiting in the Caribbean! Turquoise water, a hundred meters knee deep and moderate wind. And camping right at the spot. Welcome to paradise!

 

In Progreso everything fit for us: Almost every day wind, a shelter for our tent, a kitchen, showers and bath, storage for our kite material, lockers for our valuables and quite safe and shady parking lots for the motorcycles. There were small mini markets within walking distance, for the weekly grocery shopping we drove with Uber (Taxi App) to a bigger supermarket at the end of the city. There we stocked up with food, beer, wine and Mosquito Spray. These tormentors already attacked us in the morning. It was already an art to get out of the inner tent without 1. letting a mosquito in and 2. getting a stitch. While the former worked better and better with a little practice, the latter usually failed before you had the chance to spray yourself with repellent. Relaxed getting up looks different. After the chemical layer, sun blocker was added at noon before kiting. After kiting it was covered with another layer of insect spray. The whole thing was then washed off with soap shortly before going to sleep. What you are doing to avoid Dengue fever & Co...

 

The team of the kite station was super nice, a kite instructor even a real Germany fan (drives a VW Beetle). And we got to know many guests from different countries.

 

Three cute guard dogs lived in the kite station, who took their job very seriously and often kept us awake at night by their barking. But it was good to know that we were not alone. We camped on the area of the kite station, but it was not fenced. So, everybody could walk from the beach through the kite school and pass our tent. That's why we always kept the tent closed and even locked it (as good as we could) when we left the area.

 

Quickly we started a routine: working on the laptop in the morning, kiting in the afternoon. Kite, Eat, Sleep and Repeat. Often there were thunderstorms and rain in the afternoon or evening, but most of the time we could go kiting before. With a lot of vitamin T (tortillas) and vitamin B (beer) we gave back to our bodies what we demanded from them during the day.

 

EXPED USA had kept its word and sent a new mattress the week before, which arrived punctually in Progreso. So, Kai didn't have to sleep on the floor anymore. Thanks, EXPED USA!

 

Beside the dogs and mosquitos there were some cockroaches in front of and in the toilet. Twice we saw a snake. One stupidly scurried under our "terrace" (wooden raft, see photo) and didn't get out. In the night we looked with the headlamp exactly when we had to get out...

 

After about two weeks the wind forecast didn't look so good anymore. At the end of August normally the wind season ends and Hurricane Dorian had an effect on the wind system and should bring a lot of precipitation. After two days of waiting in vain for wind we decided to move on. It was probably time for us to go. Otherwise we would probably have been stayed for another week.

 

This time it was particularly difficult for us to say goodbye. No wonder with this paradise. Would we find such a spot again? Now it was time to make our way to the Pacific coast. After such a long time we had to deal with the questions again: Where do we sleep tomorrow? Which roads are safe? Can we park the motorcycles securely?


07.-13.08.2019 Waiting for wind in El Cuyo, visit of the Capital of Culture Mérida

Camping on the beach in El Cuyo
Camping on the beach in El Cuyo

From Valladolid we went directly to the kite spot El Cuyo on the Caribbean coast. We were in contact with the kite station manager in advance and he knew that we would arrive at noon. But nobody was there. After a few attempts we reached the station manager: he would not be there, but his assistant. Hm? Not really. We had to wait an hour until finally the employee of the station arrived. Then we quickly set up the tent and covered the motorcycles, because another thunderstorm was approaching. We could camp almost directly at the sea and had a view on the beautiful turquoise water. We had arrived in paradise. Since we were quite exhausted after the trip and because of the heat, it was not so bad that the wind was not enough for our kite. Tomorrow was another day.

 

The next morning, I woke up before sunrise and used the time for yoga, a walk on the beach and a swim in the sea. While bathing I was alone, but had the feeling not to be alone. To be on the safe side I preferred to swim back to the beach. When I sat down to dry, I saw dolphins hunting in the water. So, my feeling hadn´t be wrong! I wanted to go back to the dolphins in the water, but from experience I knew that dolphins are not in a cuddle mood when hunting. In Brazil even a stand-up paddler was cleared from his board! I enjoyed the view from the beach and woke up the sleeping Kai for the nature spectacle.

 

After breakfast we put together the Twintip-Kiteboard (Splitboard) as well as the surfboard full of anticipation and optimism. Then came Luis, the head of the station. He explained to us that this is holiday season and that we are not allowed to kite directly in front of the station because of the bathing people (uh which bathers??). We should walk 1 kilometer (!) further up the beach and there we could kite. Cool! With the heat particularly much fun! But our unrestrained anticipation didn't stop us, so we packed everything and set up our kite at the upper end of the beach. Kai wanted to be the first to try. We thought that the wind might not be enough, but the kite didn't even stay up and fell from the sky! Then the thunderstorm came closer and closer. Frustrated we packed everything together and ran back. Just before nightfall the thunderstorm had disappeared and the wind was blowing. Well great!

 

The next day Kai´s mattress went out of air. Two chambers had connected, like a few months ago mine. But the manufacturer reacted fast and promised replacement. Then we had an animal experience of a special kind: a small snake scurried through our tent. Hopefully her mother was not near and looking for her baby...

 

Apart from the lack of water (means no shower and no toilet!) and an empty gas bottle in the kitchen (which of course went empty during cooking), there were no further incidents.

 

Two more days we waited for wind, but there were only thunderstorms. One night so violently that suddenly our tent collapsed. We were quickly awake again. Perplexity and some panic spread. Was a pole broken again? I checked the pole, it seemed intact. Kai went in the pouring rain (in boxer short) out and looked what was wrong. The strong wind had torn the tent's pegs out of the loose sand. The thunderstorm then quickly moved away again and a wet Kai came back into the tent after he had put the pegs back into the ground. When the adrenaline had gradually been reduced, sleep was to be thought of again.

 

On the last day during the calm we could at least use the Stand-Up Paddle Board of the kite station alternately and ride the small waves that had formed over the sandbank. Even if we couldn´t kite, the time in El Cuyo was still very nice.

 

Before we went to the next kite spot we made a stop in Mérida. On the way there it became even hotter. The cultural capital attracts with a beautiful old town in colonial style. After the four-hour drive we wanted to see the city directly. It was Sunday and we hoped that there would be a lot going on. And so, it was. A local dance group even performed their dances at almost 40 degrees on the main square. They were accompanied by a music band. A great experience and even better than we had hoped.

 

The next day we wanted to replace some things in the Decathlon (e.g. towels) and buy a pillow for me (it was broken by now). We found what we were looking for, but the prices were much higher than we were used to in Europe (or Colombia). Also, the selection was not the same.

 

Full of anticipation on the next kitespot we packed everything together in the accommodation again. But when I came out of the shower, I was afraid of myself: A rash adorned my entire stomach. I hadn't been feeling well all day, if I had a fever it could be the dreaded dengue virus! You never now in these countries. Coincidentally there was also a doctor in our accommodation. She wanted to examine me immediately. Actually, I didn't want to go to a doctor until the next day, when I would get a fever overnight. But she didn't let me stop her from examining me. Everything was fine so far. However, if I still got a fever in the next 12-24h, I would have to go to the doctor immediately. So, I had to keep my fingers crossed and wait for the night...


30.7.-07.8.19 Mayan ruins in Tulum, snorkeling with whale sharks in Cancun, swimming in the cenotes of Valladolid

Whale shark
Whale shark

Before we will go kitesurfing, we wanted to make one or the other stop on the way to the coast. For two nights we stopped in Tulum. There we indulged in the luxury of a cabaña with its own bathroom and kitchen (still only 19€/night for two). We visited the Maya ruins in the brooding heat and were shocked about the extent of the seaweed accumulations on the beaches. Normally there is turquoise water and a white sandy beach. Now the sand was covered with seaweed carpets and the water was brownish. In addition, it smelled like rotten eggs. The hotel staff did their best to bring the Caribbean idyll back to the tourists, but without much success. A sad picture. Are the progressive climate change and the sewage of the industries responsible for the increase of seaweed?

 

Our cabaña was guarded by three little dogs who stole our bread in a careless moment. The rats (or big mice) tampered with our muesli and the mosquitoes had a sangria party at night at their own blood bar (us).

 

Unrested we went on to Cancun the next day. Here we had found a cheap room on Airbnb and bedded our heads for 11€ per night. For a long time, we had thought back and forth and Kai first didn´t want to do it because of the costs - luckily, we both decided to fulfill our dream: Swimming with whale sharks. We were picked up the next day in the morning by a minibus and got on a boat to the feeding place of the whale sharks in front of Isla Mujeres. We had hoped and prayed at least to see one whale shark. But we had not thought of it in our dreams: 200 specimens of the largest fish in the world stretched their fins up! We could hardly grasp our luck and jumped with 30 degrees and sun into the dark blue water to the giants. But it was also a strange feeling when a whale shark suddenly swam towards us and opened its mouth. The gentle giants do nothing and only eat plankton, but we didn't want to be swallowed accidentally. Once a shark emerged from the darkness of the depth, so we had to hurry up and escape from the driving line. The heart was beating for a short time. Done and happy we went on the way back to the Isla Mujeres. There we bathed in the turquoise sea and ate Ceviche and Guacamole. The weather was perfect just until we were back again. Then the thunderstorm started.

 

We spent another day in Cancun. It was the weekend again and loud music was playing everywhere. We just can't get used to it. Luckily the windows were so well insulated that, except for the moderators, you didn't hear much.

 

The next morning, we went further west. It rained again and again, sometimes you did not know at all from which cloud now the drops should come. In between the sun burned mercilessly from the sky, so that we took off our rain clothes after a quarter of an hour without rain. Bad mistake. A cloud let everything down at water which it had dammed up. After that, we were really showered. Well, it was much too warm anyway. We continued through swarms of lemon-yellow butterflies. But what was that? Suddenly there was a poison-green garden hose on the street. Funny, it was moving! It was a snake! We almost ran it over! Just so she managed to escape back into the thicket. We didn't want to meet this caliber again. The baby snake in the tent in Bacalar had already been enough for us...

 

When we arrived in Valladolid we had to wait a while until the room was ready. In the meantime, however, just a violent thunderstorm went down anyway. After that we wandered through the city looking for a supermarket at 37 degrees Celsius. After we had asked 100 times for the way, we finally found it. But on the way back we got lost again and resignedly took a taxi (for about 1 €, so it didn't hurt too much). After we had recovered from our defeat, we went to the Convention San Bernardo in the evening, an old building on which at 21.30 o'clock (21 o'clock in Spanish, 21.30 o'clock in English) every evening the history of the city is shown. The walls are illuminated with projectors. A great idea and a really remarkable, beautiful implementation. Afterwards the Mosquito Party 2.0 welcomed us in the accommodation.

 

The next day we explored the old town, visited the markets and bathed in the cenote "Zaci" under a waterfall. My birthday we spent in the Cenotes X´Keken and Samula. Daylight falls into both of them only through a small opening and the caves are inhabited by bats and birds that have built their nests in and around the stalactites. We enjoyed these almost magical moments in the cenotes, while small fish nibbled on our toes. After a delicious Mexican dinner and Spanish red wine from the Tetra pack, we saddled the horses again the next day and drove towards the coast. The first kite spot was on the list: El Cuyo.


20.-30.07.2019 Nerve-wracking border crossing to Mexico, camping in paradise and kayaking tour through the lagoon Bacalar

Jumping into paradise
Jumping into paradise

Some days you should just stay in bed. After the wet start into the day we left Orange Walk Town around half past seven in the rain. Finally, we wanted to cross the border to Mexico.

 

It already began with the fact that after refueling the BMW (probably because of the wetness) did not want to start any more. After a quarter of an hour and good persuasion ("Otherwise you'll get to the mechanic here!") it finally started. Just don't stall now! Good that we had spoken to Ricky (the host) the day before about the road to the border. Google Maps would have led us along a bad unpaved road.

 

The departure from Belize was a matter of a quarter of an hour. The entry to Mexico would last longer which was already conscious to us. But what awaited us then was really out of this world! First of all, we had to stand in a very long queue for the migration. We chained jackets and helmets to the motorcycles. After one hour Kai just came back from his control walk from the motorcycles and said that we should bring helmets and jackets inside, it looked like rain. Just as he had finished speaking the sentence, it began to pour. Now everything was wet! Hurray! When the rain stopped, we put the jackets over a wall to dry them and took turns keeping watch. After 1,5h we finally had our stamp in our passport. Further we went to the customs for the temporary import of the motorcycles. "OK. For 7 days?", we were asked by the official, in Spanish of course. What, seven days? Yes, we just have received a visa for seven days. Please what? It turned out that the official had only given us a visa for seven days because we hadn't said anything else. Yes, how should we know? That was our 12th border crossing and we never had to say how long we wanted to stay! We had always got the maximum number of days. Then we started: Kai talked to the officer, he said he couldn't do anything, we should queue back again and go through the procedure again. Seriously? The queue was even longer now! Then Kai grabbed another officer who passed by. He knelt at him until he helped us. We had to fill in the form again, but after that we could go directly back to the counter. Then we received the 180 days visa. Finally! Back at the customs office we presented all the necessary papers and received the next slap: She did not want to accept our international registration papers! But not because they were not the original Germans, but because our addresses (change of residence) had been changed by hand (but with the stamp of the District Office). Her argument: Anyone could come along and scribble in it. All discussion and good persuasion helped nothing. Kai unpacked all his charm, but he also bounced off her. So, we had no choice but to unload everything and get the original German registration papers (we had never used them before on this trip!) out of the panniers. Another ten minutes later and 70 € lighter (per head! plus 360€ deposit per bike!) we went to the conclusion of the car insurance. A motorcycle costs more than a car! How unfair! And the insurance costs for one year is less than for 90 or 180 days. Very strange. So again 130€ per motorcycle. Then we repacked everything on the motorcycles and drove to the next checkpoint. This time fortunately only the papers had to be shown and I had to open one pannier. Then the disinfection (fumigation) of the motorcycles, finally we were in Mexico after nearly 5h border formalities! After almost 7h we arrived at our destination: Laguna Bacalar! There it began to rain punctually with the covering of the motorcycles. We borrowed an umbrella from the hosts to get something to eat in the village. At Burritos and Corona our spirits woke up again. Viva Mexico!

 

The next day was Christmas for us: We had ordered a few things and unpacked the packages full of anticipation. The Mexican customs were well-disposed to us and thus we (in contrast to Costa Rica) did not have to pay any release fee. Beside a new tent pole (one was already broken in Panama), we got new "Sporks" from Light my Fire as well as a new card compartment for Kai´s Enduristan tank bag. We met an Argentinean again who we had met a few months ago in Montañita, Ecuador - the world is so small!

 

After one day in the town center we moved the next day to the camping site "El Jardin de Venus" at the edge of Bacalar. We stayed there for more than a week and would certainly have stayed even longer. Because it had rained the weeks before a lot, we built up the tent since a long time for the first time again. In between we had already (as far as we had the possibility) taken out and ventilated one or other of the camping equipment. It was clear to us that we would have to treat the inner tent with vinegar because of mildew stains. But we were not aware that the mattresses and the pillows had also started to get mouldy. After a few hours of work the pillows were in a reasonable condition again, but they lost more and more air. After extensive troubleshooting, it was clear why: there were leaks around the valve and at the seam. Here the manufacturer had promised us a replacement, but only in the USA. Until then a sweater will probably have to serve as a cushion replacement.

 

We spent the first two days cleaning. Kai had to treat his mattress several times with vinegar and detergent. Then we went on to the more comfortable part. With the camping-own bicycles we could drive without problems briefly into town to go shopping and indulged ourselves from time to time a croissant in the Panaderia (bakery). We bathed a lot in the beautiful turquoise water and at sunrise we kayaked through the lagoon, into the mangrove forests and to a cenote. The Cenote "Negro" (also called "Bruja") is with 180m one of the deepest Cenotes in Mexico. A strange feeling when you kayak above the cenote and from one second to the other over such a deep abyss. After such unusual sporty activity, the fresh coconuts from the garden of the camping site were a relief.

 

During the day there was a good breeze, so the heat was bearable, at night it was simply too hot. That's why we bought a small fan that can even be charged with USB. The battery lasts about half the night. A blessing.

 

Some bigger and smaller wolf spiders had made themselves comfortable in our tent during the time in Bacalar. At night you could see them well, because they reflect the light of the headlamp. Also, a small snake scurried through our tent.

 

It was nice to stay longer in one place and meet other long-term travelers. With whom we had deeper conversations and exchanged ideas. Probably we would have stayed longer at this paradise, but we moved on. We had been in contact with different kite stations for a few days and finally we wanted to go kitesurfing again! But before that we would visit a Maya place and fulfill our dream of snorkeling with whale sharks!