Thursday, April 01, 2010 11:14 AM
Road Trip 2010 - Day 1 - Playa del Carmen to Calakmul
Welcome to the Kinnon Family Road Trip 2010! Day 1 of our itinerary brought us from Playa del Carmen to Calakmul, a ruin site of great cultural significance in the Classic Period, located in the state of Campeche. We made great time moving south on 307, the same road that carried us to Belize in 2008 and then Guatemala in 2009. As expected, as every year, we noted more and more construction, particularly in Tulum and Bacalar. The turnoff toward Escarcega took us into new territory but through a countryside that remained familiar. The well kept, wide two lane highway stretched out long and straight, through acres and acres of small farms and sugarcane plantations. While this kind of ride bores my husband to tears, I enjoy trying to make out what crops are being cultivated by the campesinos and what also seems to grow wild in the fields along the road.
No video games. No DVDs. Just books and a lot of imagination.
The ruins at Rio Bec
This is an area far more dependent on agriculture then the Riviera Maya. One can finds numerous breeds of cattle, horses, sheep, goats and all manner of poultry being raised next to wide tracts of corn and sugar cane. Fruit bearing trees are plentiful and prolific, the ground often littered with rotting citrus fruit, a pleasant snack for wandering livestock. The wide, flat farmlands slowly gave way to gently rolling hills and soon we arrived at our destination, the eco-resort, Puerta Calakmul.
Our cabana at Puerta Calakmul
The kids love those mosquito nets.
We checked in quickly to our accommodations, a rustic screened in cabana in the jungle with two matrimonial sized beds draped with elegant mosquito netting. Dropping off our belongings and changing into appropriate shoes, we immediately headed out on our first excursion. Located about 5 minutes drive back east toward the pueblo of Xpujil, is an enormous cave system that is home to millions of bats. Every evening at the same time, the bats pour out of these caverns in search of food.
On the edge of the cavern
We arrived in time to witness this amazing spectacle along with some fellow guests and a handful of students armed with video camera and tripod. Everyone was mesmerized as the bats flooded out of the cave like a thick black ribbon of smoke. The bats spiraled, en mass, around and around, slowly rising up and out of the gulley and into the night sky. We stayed for over 20 minutes and still the bats kept coming. It was a real Animal Planet moment and one we are not likely to forget.
It was very hard to capture the bats on film but we will post a video when we get back.
We returned to our hotel after dark and enjoyed a nice dinner of chicken fajitas. Pretty pedestrian fare by our standards but tasty and good enough to fill our bellies before heading off to bed. An early night for us all as we plan to tour the ruins of Calakmul in the morning.
We found no internet in this remote location, nor would we until San Cristobal.
More to come......