14 March 2015
We are all waiting in reception before 6.00am. Max, our friendly golf cart driver is there ready to transport our bags. Most of us have ordered a lunch box from Amor y Café and pick these up as we walk past. The 6.30am water taxi arrives and we are all loaded on board for the 1 hour trip back to Belize City.
Harry the van driver meets us and has a big trailer for our luggage. We have a 3 hour trip to the border and were originally scheduled to meet a public bus on the other side but it was uncertain which one we would be able to get on and therefore how long it would take. Overnight, Hugo has found a private minivan driver for us which will cost an extra USD5. This means that we can go to a smaller border crossing: a different process this time – we all individually pay our B$37.50 departure tax and then get our passports stamped; and change our money to pesos. Back in the van to go to the Mexican side across a tax-free zone that also has casinos. Then we fill in our Mexican arrival documentation and line up again for passport stamps and then again for customs.
We meet our new minibus driver Ernesto and load all our bags onto his minibus. Although we have all brought lunch/snacks with us, one of the advantages of having our own vehicle is that we can make stops. So we head to Cenote Azul (the Blue Cenote) in the town of Bacalar for a lunch stop – which for most of us is just a drink. This is a popular place with the locals and they are clearly surprised to see foreign tourists there. After lunch we have a photo opportunity at Lake Bacalar, popularly known as the Lake of Seven Colours.
Another 3 hours driving takes has through to Tulum, on the Riviera Maya. Tulum is primarily a tourist destination known for its archaeological site but it also has a biosphere reserve that is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Our hotel Villa Tulum is 20 minutes walk out of town. We have a bit of time to relax before our orientation walk. The walk takes us past ATMs and the restaurant strip, then to the main square where there seems to be a talent quest going on – complete with clowns.
We all go for dinner at La Malquerida (The Unloved – which is the name of a popular Mexican TV soap). The proprietor takes a shine to Gill and gives her special treatment. I have a delicious Shrimp Fajita with the obligatory Margarita. At the end we are offered free tequila shots but these are served with compulsory sombreros and having the shots delivered directly from the bottle to our upturned mouths. Gill is offered a kiss with hers!
For this and other similar trips see:
Peregrine Adventures Travel Destinations (Comfort and independent tours)
Geckos Adventures Deals for South & Central America (for 18 to 30s)
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