Categories
United States

Why would you go to Miami?

The most important tip I can give you if you are planning to go to Miami: don’t go. There are countless more interesting and enjoyable places to be found; the trio Cancún/ Playa del Carmen/ Tulum on Mexico’s Caribbean coast offers practically the same, but a thousand times better. In this blog, I will tell you about my experiences. If you still decide to travel to Miami, you will certainly find useful information here.

How do you travel by public transport? What are nice places and restaurants to visit if you are traveling on a budget? And which beaches are definitely worth a visit? This blog focuses on Hollywood as a base but also covers spots in Miami and Miami Beach.

Miami is expensive

First of all: Miami is muy caro. A beer will cost you between 7 and 12 dollars and no, that is not only the case at the beach. Even in the supermarket, a beer will cost you $3.50 or more. In the same supermarket, a prepackaged sandwich already cost 6 dollars and it was really very little. Any meal in a restaurant will definitely cost you more than $15. That is not alarmingly high, but it is annoying if it simply cannot be lower. This is also quite a task outside the tourist zones.

Coffee at Starbucks will also cost you more than 3 dollars and a McDonalds or Burger King are considerably more expensive than elsewhere in the country; a Whopper will cost you $10. Another annoying thing: the prices are never communicated as they are. After all, you always pay extra taxes, which are only on the bill, and yes, you are expected to tip at least 18%.

The residents are unfriendly

I noticed it right away on the train to Hollywood, where I was staying: the people are distant, not cordial, and often not even nice. This does not only apply to people on the street, but also in shops or bus drivers. I have to admit that after a while I found it funny again. The street scene is also dominated by commercials for lawyers, who promise to settle fights in your favor. The chagrin could also easily turn into superficial friendliness. Smalltalk, in which the complaining predominated. But I struggled to really connect with the people of Miami. This is where the American lives in his worst kind: his own place is claimed here in an angry way. Social manners are secondary: Miami is me-me-me and the rest isn´t important.

  • Miami fuck biden
  • Lawyers advertising in Miami
  • South Beach advertising

The streets are poorly maintained

I am used to the Netherlands, where perfection in public spaces is the norm. Yet I could very easily settle in Latin America. There you will also find numerous holes in the road, cracks in the street, and a lot of garbage in the neighborhoods. It often has a certain charm, that imperfection. To be honest, I expected a bit more from the United States. Well, now Miami is for a very large part also Latin America, but still: Miami is a mess. Beauty is only reserved for those who pay for it, that much is clear. The difference between rich and poor is big here; homeless people and drug users are really huge here. It makes the general atmosphere on the street dangerous at times.

Public transport

All right, let’s zoom in. If you’re going to Miami, don’t rely on public transportation. This is considerably less organized than in major cities in Latin America and no doubt in other parts of the US. Getting from A to B is a time-consuming process in Miami. The routes are completely illogical, transfers are not taken into account and the staff who work here are rude.

If you do go by public transport, let me explain.

To leave Miami International Airport, take the free train to Miami Airport Station. From here you can go in all directions; to South Beach, to Downtown, but also, for example, with the Tri-Rail to Hollywood. You pay $2.25 per trip, but you can also put a little more money on your card. I stayed in Hollywood and note: that is a different city than Miami and public transport hardly works together. The bus will also cost you $2.25. Most of the time, they accept just $2,- and let the 25 cents go.

Important advice: ask the bus driver for a ‘transfer’ if you want to switch buses. After all, without that ticket, you pay 2.25 again for the next bus. With ‘transfer’ you pay 60 cents. I found out after a few days, even though I did ask questions about the best way to move around here. You can also opt for a $ 5-day ticket. In the center, you also have the metro, which has excellent service. The same rates apply to this. In the center of Miami, there are also some free alternatives, besides the paid bus service. But really, I recommend renting a car.

Cheap hostel in Hollywood

So I was in Hollywood. Close to Hollywood Boulevard, close to Hollywood Beach. There you will find plenty of hostels, Airbnb’s etcetera. The best thing you can do is just compare and look at distances. Go to Trivago, Hotellook of whatever and no doubt, you will find a perfect spot.

Hollywood Restaurants

Hollywood Boulevard has a number of nice restaurants. Areito Bar & Grill I think is from Puerto Rico. The fish with coco is exquisite and will cost you 17 dollars. There are regular performances here and also promotions with cocktails. The Greek Joint serves Greek and sure is tasty. The pita gyros here cost $18 and is definitely not the best version I’ve ever had. On the corner is Twin Peaks Hollywood. This is a kind of sports bar, with burgers. You are helped by girls in exciting suits, where their breasts are ‘subtly’ pressed together. Never boring to watch. Parallel to Hollywood Boulevard is Harrisson Street, where, for example, Oaxaka restaurant is located. Japanese and Mexican as fusion: tasty! However, the restaurant itself is somewhat lacking in atmosphere. Further on is The Tipsy Boar, which has noticeably more atmosphere and the burgers here are really tasty too.

Having breakfast

You can have breakfast at Chocolada Bakery & Café, next to The Greek Joint. For a full breakfast with coffee, you pay 10 dollars. The service here is very friendly and pleasant, albeit shockingly slow. Another option is of course IHOP. Here I looked out my eyes; that place is anything but touristy, so you will find the locals of Hollywood here, which is not necessarily the richest neighborhood. Breakfast here is slightly more expensive, but also bigger. So dollar-wise it doesn’t matter that much.

Murals in Hollywood

If you walk down Hollywood Boulevard or Harrisson Street, you will see dozens of amazing murals. Definitely worth walking around here, because the quality is definitely worth it.

  • hollywood mural
  • hollywood mural
  • hollywood mural
  • hollywood mural
  • hollywood mural
  • hollywood mural

Hollywood Beach

Hollywood Beach can be reached from Artswork at Young Circle* with bus number 4. The boulevard on the beach is beautiful, the restaurants lively and the environment simply attractive. I rented a bike at The Bike Shack for 15 dollars for two hours, because I wanted to visit the Anne Kolb Nature Center park. This nature reserve has real mangroves with beautifully landscaped paths right through them: Anne Kolb Nature Center is surrounded by the city. Don’t expect alligators here, but you will certainly find animals here that you can expect in a mangrove. The large tower in the middle gives you a nice view of the whole.

Back to Hollywood Beach and its nice restaurants. Popular here, for example, is Mamacitas Latin Bar & Grill, but you can actually go anywhere: this boulevard is excellent for a nice stroll and to feast your eyes on. Volleyball and games are played on the beach, the palm trees provide shade. A secret highlight was drinking a specialty beer in the shade of a palm tree, with Wifi from Mamacitas. You can get beers at Corner Store & Deli, next to The Bike Shack. The Voodoo Ranger IPA Juice Force with 9.5% alcohol from the New Belgium brewery is a truly fantastic beer.

*Artswork at Young Circle is a place where things are regularly organized. However, that has come to a standstill since the corona crisis. If you’re there, be sure to check it out.

South Beach

From Hollywood, it is quite a hassle to travel to South Beach by public transport. First, you take bus 1 to Aventura Mall. Do not forget to ask the bus driver for the ‘transfer’. From here take bus 120 or bus S to South Beach / Downtown. You will be on the road for a while, take into account one and a half to two hours. I myself have not been here very long, the atmosphere here is not really my thing. I had a coffee at the Starbucks on the edge of Lummus Park and then went for a walk around. This incredibly expensive neighborhood does have a Ross Dress for Less store. Here you can buy designer clothes for rock bottom prices, which is always nice. There are more branches in Miami, be sure to check them out. You won’t get it cheaper anywhere.

  • Haulover Nude Beach Miami
  • Hollywood Beach
  • Hollywood beach boulevard

Haulover Nude Beach

Haulover Nude Beach is the only nude beach in this region. It is located in Haulover Park, right next to Trump Towers II and III. The bus that takes you to South Beach also stops here. A little north of it is a large shopping center where you can get some food and drinks because this beach has no catering facilities.

The atmosphere here is very nice and is often busy. It is said that the northern part of the beach is mainly for gay men, but sex is strictly prohibited and is also supervised, so that is not very noticeable. After the turret for the lifeguard, you will see more couples, men and women. This beach is ‘clothing optional’, so certainly, not everyone is naked. Like everywhere in the world there are men hunting, but according to a girl I spoke there, it is worse in the city. She felt safer here. The nudist beach is impossible to miss and the sea is beautiful here. In the park, itself are toilets and also a parking lot.

Superblue, museum of beautiful images and sound

Superblue is located downtown and is a museum that promises you an incredible experience. Beautiful images in a large warehouse take you to a fantasy world. Superblue is located near the Metrorail stop Santa Clara, on a factory site. So don’t worry if you arrive here and the environment feels a bit uncomfortable. With taxes, the entrance ultimately amounts to about 44 dollars. In the first room sunflowers come to life, in the second it is raining and by trying to stop the rain, flowers grow here too. The combination of music with beautiful, colorful, and moving images is wonderful. An absolute must to visit. Each room plays with the ingredients in an original way.

  • Superblue Museum Miami
  • Superblue Museum Miami
  • Superblue Museum Miami
  • Superblue Museum Miami

Vizcaya, with its illustrious history

The Vizcaya Gardens overlook the Keys, so the views are beautiful. The entrance costs 25 dollars and you will have to get your ticket online, but you can also take a tour including transport. I have not done that; I went for a walk to the Alice Wainwright Park. You also have a beautiful view. Still, Viczaya is strongly recommended to visit and the price is not that alarmingly high.

  • Vizcaya
  • Vizcaya

Calle Ocho / Little Havana

Little Havana is a nice part of the city, with Calle Ocho as the central street. Miami is home to a huge number of Cubans who moved into this part of the city. Here you will find many Cuban restaurants. Be sure to try a Cuban coffee. Sweet, full, strong, and delicious. This place is quite complicated to visit by public transport and a good tour is highly recommended. You can also go to Brickell metro stop and take bus 8 from here. Coconut Grove can also be visited from Brickell, so that is an excellent combination.

Conclusion

I have only been in Miami for a week. Nothing crazy happened here, but the overall feeling is to skip this city. Everything Miami has, the Riviera Maya in Mexico also has, but much better. The prices and the people are friendlier there, the beaches more beautiful, the natural beauty more attractive and even the public transport better organized.

Categories
Guanajuato Mexico

San Miguel de Allende: maybe the most beautiful city in Mexico

Soon here will be a text about San Miguel de Allende. But first: all my pictures about this beautiful city

  • San Miguel de Allende green
  • San Miguel de Allende bridge
  • San Miguel de Allende centre
  • San Miguel de Allende church
  • San Miguel de Allende church
  • San Miguel de Allende church
  • San Miguel de Allende
  • San Miguel de Allende
  • San Miguel de Allende
  • San Miguel de Allende
  • San Miguel de Allende
  • San Miguel de Allende
  • San Miguel de Allende
  • San Miguel de Allende
  • San Miguel de Allende
  • San Miguel de Allende
  • San Miguel de Allende
  • San Miguel de Allende
  • San Miguel de Allende
  • San Miguel de Allende
  • San Miguel de Allende
  • San Miguel de Allende
  • San Miguel de Allende
  • San Miguel de Allende
Categories
Mexico Tlaxcala

Val’Quirico, a medieval city or an amusement park?

A most medieval city, where you imagine yourself in Italian Tuscany. But you are in Mexico, between Puebla and Mexico City. Val’Quirico was built in 2015 and is still under development, so you can’t literally call it medieval.

No, this city is completely (re)built after the Tuscan example. Including the narrow passages, the squares, and the illogical bends. This is a real real estate project, where commerce, living, and tourism come together. The builders of Val’Quierico have looked closely at Tuscany, or at Mediterranean Europe, and in a way have also succeeded in bringing that authentic atmosphere to this new city. Personally, I prefer the real deal, like Taxco, San Miguel de Allende or Cuetzalan.


It doesn’t help that they’re still building, but that’s not the worst. You are really in an amusement park and not perceptibly in a medieval town. You’ve got to love it; I don’t do that so much. But the Mexican tourist loves it.

  • Val'Quirico the map
  • Val'Quirico parking
  • Val'Quirico band
  • Val'Quirico ruine
  • Val'Quirico crowded

How to reach Val’Quirico

Whether you go from Puebla to Mexico or the other way around: take exit Xoxtla, follow the signs and you will arrive in Val’Quirico within fifteen minutes. You park your car in the gigantic parking lot, pay 50 pesos for this and you follow the crowd. Entry to the village is free. You will soon be on one of the many squares of the village. A band plays in the village square, as is plenty of entertainment on offer everywhere. There are tours going to Val’Quirico, especially from Puebla. I’ve found this one, in combination with Hacienda de Chautla, which is wonderful. Of course, you can go on your own in a rental car. There is no public transport to Val’Quirico.

Restaurants, shopping and entertainment

The more than twenty restaurants easily attract everyone inside or to their terrace. They all have their own kitchen; from Africa to Italian of course. From paella to tacos. And in the meantime, you walk over the heads, because Val’Quirico is extremely popular. What will you find here?

  • 21 restaurants
  • 35 fashion and craft stores
  • 21 lifestyle stores
  • 5 bars
  • 9 cafeterias
  • 4 hotels
  • 5 galleries
  • 2 playgrounds
  • Val'Quirico empty street
  • Val'Quirico new building
  • Val'Quirico random street
  • Val'Quirico building
  • Val'Quirico stella artois

How does it look like?

There are (almost) no people living in the tourist area. The buildings are there for shops, restaurants, and entertainment. Young men cycle tourists from place to place and show them around.

There are a few hotels where you can spend the night and just outside the tourist area are houses, also in this style. Val’Quierico was built around and near the remains of Santa Agueda hacienda, from ancient times. All the alleys are paved, the houses built of wood and stones, to give it a romantic atmosphere. It is not wheelchair-friendly in that respect, just as it is not advisable to walk here in high heels.

The atmosphere

And that atmosphere works wonderfully: the buildings have been successful, the streets are beautiful, the passageways romantic and the lighting tasteful.

But everything breathes one thing: tourism. 0 history. No “real” life. You almost long for the street vendors of Mexico City, because here everyone is busy with one thing: shooting the perfect pictures. Like being in Amsterdam or Venice. And that makes it implausible for Val’Quirico because the project is of course far from those kinds of cities.

  • Val'Quirico walking on the square
  • Val'Quirico stairs
  • Val'Quirico statue
  • Val'Quirico narrow street
  • Val'Quirico new

An amusement park

According to the developers, Val’Quierico combines the best of Mexico with the best of Europe. Perhaps they are right: the town is extremely popular, partly thanks to moneylenders/sponsors such as the Belgian brewer Stella Artois and Bose.

When we go home around four in the afternoon, we drive into a traffic jam. It has been busy all day and that is actually the reason for us to leave again. In the evening it is apparently overcrowded with tourists. Street theatre, music, atmospheric lighting, bulging restaurants, and plenty of liveliness: the masses are always right, so the Val’Quierico project is a very successful one in that regard.

A visit to Val’Quierico is therefore certainly not advisable, but there is a good chance that it will be a one-off.

Categories
Guerrero Mexico Pueblo Mágico

Pueblo Mágico Taxco, in the mountains with stunning views

Disclaimer: This page may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclaimer policy here. Steven Abroad is by no means liable for any purchase of tours, tickets and any other online reservation that are made with any third party provider.

Taxco is an old mining town, but also Pueblo Mágico in the state of Guerrero. The entire city is painted white and red and is characterized by its wonderfully steep roads and the fact that there are always pleasant temperatures. Add to that the dozens of churches and churches and the beautiful views and you have a truly magical city. Taxco is an Instagram-city pur sang but is it worth a visit?

A bit of Taxco-history

The town has more than 50,000 inhabitants and is the capital of the municipality of Taxco de Alarcón. The city was founded in the 16th century, on top of an Aztec settlement. A very rich silver vein was discovered in the 18th century, and it became the center of silver mining. There is still plenty of silver sold on the street.

  • Taxco Parroquia de Santa Prisca y San Sebastián
  • Taxco Parroquia de Santa Prisca y San Sebastián
  • Taxco church from below
  • Taxco church at night
  • Taxco Guerrero church service

This Pueblo Mágico is located 194 kilometers and just under three hours from Mexico City. Check out if you find affordable plane tickets! The city is located in the mountains, which means that a large part of the route consists of sharp turns and beautiful views. A great recommendation is not to drive directly to Taxco, but also to visit Mil Cascadas, an incredible natural paradise with dozens of waterfalls.

Touristy

When you are almost at Taxco, you have various viewpoints, the ‘miradors’, which offer you a beautiful view of the town. Welcome to Taxco, famous for its mines, for its silver, for Christianity.

Taxco is touristy and you notice that everywhere: around the central square Zócalo there is always something to do and the restaurants around it make money. These restaurants are expensive and the service often leaves much to be desired. We found hair in a smoothie, once we waited over an hour and a half for our breakfast, which was cold. It is therefore recommended to look for your food or drink outside Zócalo; the town is also certainly sympathetic.

Zócalo is surrounded by colonial buildings and the impressive church: Parroquia de Santa Prisca y San Sebastián. Celebrations are held here very regularly. At Christmas even screens are put outside; Taxco is a very religious community.

Volkswagen Beetles

Taxco is also known for its taxis. The VW Beetles drive hurriedly through the narrow, steep streets and that is no superfluous luxury: driving through these streets in your own car is possible, but it does demand a lot from your car and your driving skills. Yet another disadvantage of Taxco: the traffic. A car-free center would certainly boost the city’s charm. They have successfully implemented this in San Miguel de Allende.

What to do in Taxco?

A visit to the Christ statue Cristo is highly recommended. The statue is -of course- reminiscent of the statue in Rio de Janeiro. It looks down on the city and from this place you really have the very best view. From Zócalo you pay 50 pesos for a taxi, which will take you here. Apart from the statue and the view, the place is not that much. Here you can buy some tourist stuff very cheaply. The prices here are considerably lower than in the center.

  • Pueblo Mágico view church
  • Taxco Cristo
  • Taxco Cristo
  • View from Cristo in Taxco

Not recommended

What not to do in Taxco is a visit to Mina Prehispanica de Taxco. The mine is adjacent to a hotel and was discovered around 2013. It would have been hidden from the Spaniards and thus only rediscovered a short time ago. You pay 150 pesos per person and descend the mine. That is disappointing: you go down quite a bit, but the mine is annoyingly decorated with ugly lighting and is, in addition to being a tourist thing, also a place for events. In other words: the mine has been largely renovated and almost nothing shows what it once was. The fact that an actor still tells a story about the Aztecs makes it doubly nonsensical.

  • Taxco the mine
  • Taxco statue
  • Taxco statue
  • Taxco statue

Silver

Taxco is therefore famous for its silver. We didn’t do it ourselves, but you can work silver here yourself during a one-day course.

Taxco Cableway

Normally you can take a ride above the city with the cable car ‘Teleferico’. You board a gondola in Barrio Los Arcos and go up 173 meters, to hotel Montetaxco. You get a fantastic view here. Apparently, the Taxco funicular is closed due to a major breakdown, someone told us. Hopefully, it will be restored soon.

Narrow alleys

  • Taxco Restaurante Santa Lucia
  • Taxco Pueblo Magico
  • Taxco Pueblo Magico
  • Taxco Pueblo Magico
  • Taxco Pueblo Magico
  • Taxco Pueblo Magico
  • Taxco Pueblo Magico
  • Taxco Pueblo Magico Zocalo
  • Taxco Pueblo Magico at night
  • Taxco Pueblo Magico

But especially walk through the narrow alleys. If you want to eat in the center, I especially recommend Restaurante Santa Lucía. The salmon with coconut is delicious, the service excellent. The prices are the same as on Zócalo: not cheap. There will undoubtedly be more affordable restaurants outside the tourist center, but unfortunately, we did not find them during our stay. We did two nights during Christmas and that was not a cheap option with more than 1300 pesos per night. Hotel Mi Casita is in a perfect location and has very nice rooms. More than a bed, a delicious shower, and a stunning view of the church it is not. But there are plenty of wonderful hotels. Check the website of Booking.com to find out!

Categories
Guerrero Mexico Nature

Mil Cascadas: also spectacular in winter

When you arrive at Parque Mil Cascadas, it doesn’t seem like very much. Until you start the walk. Waterfalls and cascades, even in the dry season. And crystal clear. Be surprised and enchanted by the immense caves, the waterfalls, the beautiful blue water, and the countless possibilities to jump from spectacular heights. Go ziplining or abseiling in this crazy area, near Pueblo Mágico Taxco, in the state of Guerrero. And the awesome thing in the dry season: there are no tourists. You have the parc for your own. Mil Cascadas and Taxco are about 3 hours drive from Mexico City.

How do you get at las Mil Cascadas?

It is a three-hour drive from Mexico City by car. In the last 40 minutes, you drive on a difficult dirt road, where you can drive at most 20 kilometers per hour. And when you drive here, you don’t feel like you’re going to get to this spectacle anytime soon. Google says it, the lady who feeds the chickens says it and the signs say it and yet the doubt remains. But once there, guides are already waiting for you, and you are presented with the possibilities. And you can hear the clatter of the water in the distance.

  • Mil Cascasdas: swimming
  • Mil Cascasdas floating water
  • Mil Cascasdas beautiful blue
  • Mil Cascasdas lot of green

It seems to me to be a very difficult matter with public transport. There are buses from Mexico City to Taxco, but I wonder if there are options by bus to the falls. If you don’t have a car, a tour from Taxco is the most logical option.

What is there to do?

It is at its most spectacular here in the summer months of June, July and August. We went in December and it is still beautiful here. The tour costs 250 pesos per person. We started the tour in the caves. Our guide did not consider a helmet necessary, only a life jacket for during the day. The caves are huge, with running water. There are some bats fluttering around. Furthermore, it is dead quiet.

  • Mil Cascasdas entrance
  • Mil Cascasdas entrance of the cave
  • Mil Cascasdas entrance of the cave from within
  • Mil Cascasdas in the water in the cave
  • Mil Cascasdas a ghost in the cave
  • Mil Cascasdas the rocks in the caves

You go deep into the caves and you will really have to bend here and there. Perhaps that helmet is not an unnecessary luxury; the lamp that we get on our heads is certainly not that. We arrive at the water. At least that’s what our guide says, but you can’t see it. “Do you dare to jump? It is four meters high”, he challenges me. No, I don’t dare. With trembling knees, I descend via a shaky staircase to nothingness. The lights work well but end up in the black of the water.

I arrive on the ground and see the water better now. Our guide jumps, Tania stays aside. The guide and I swim about fifteen meters until we come to rock with mud. “It makes you five years younger.” We smear it on our faces, of course. We swim back and climb up the four meters again.
The great thing about this entire area is that hardly anything has been done about it. You have to watch out in the cave. You can easily make a mistake and fall into the water. You can easily bump your head. The cave is what it is and so is most of the area.

Abseiling

For 350 pesos you can abseil here. The waterfall is 35 meters high and although there is not a lot of water in December, there is still some falling. For me, this was my first time abseiling, but the guidance is fine. The men reassure you well and take their time, as they take the time for everything. Your pace is the pace, you never feel rushed. Delicious.

  • Mil Cascasdas abseilen
  • Mil Cascasdas the waterfall for the abseiling
  • Mil Cascasdas beautiful surroundnigs

After that abseiling, the hike really starts. No, these are not huge waterfalls, but the total package can be called idyllic. Many dozens of waterfalls, up to about ten meters high, here and there. And everywhere the water is a beautiful crystal clear blue. Various types of butterflies flutter and that gives this paradise piece of the earth just that little bit more cachet.

Pay attention

You can see in the pictures that we are swimming here. The water is quite fresh, but the temperatures outside are really very pleasant. So protect yourself well against the sun and don’t forget that there are a lot of mosquitoes here. I’ve been stung at least twenty times and not just by the classic mosquito. In short: I was insufficiently protected, so pay attention to that!

Some waterfalls are beautiful, a few really breathtakingly beautiful. Swing above the water, or take a ‘shower’ under such a waterfall. The word ‘idyllic’ has already been mentioned, but it really is.

  • Mil Cascasdas blue waterfalls
  • Mil Cascasdas waterfall
  • Mil Cascasdas blue and green
  • Mil Cascasdas waterfalls everywhere
  • Mil Cascasdas waterfalls everywhere

Horses

But then the return journey begins. You walk along the same waterfalls and you go uphill. Tired? You can be brought by horse for 50 pesos. We were well tired and did this, but we regret it. The horses are thin and are beaten with a branch to move forward. So absolutely not recommended; afterward we would rather have died a little more than let these horses be treated like this.

  • Mil Cascasdas horses
  • Mil Cascasdas waterfalls
  • Mil Cascasdas waterfalls

Mil Cascadas in the state of Guerrero is therefore very worthwhile. We definitely want to return in the summer months, when the falls will have considerably more water. Our tips: arm yourself against the sun, arm yourself against the mosquitoes, bring enough food and drink for your trip, and do not use the horses. And definitely combine Mil Cascadas with a visit to Taxco!

Categories
Mexico Pueblo Mágico Yucatan

Izamal: village of three cultures in the middle of the jungle

The ‘yellow city’ Izamal is a village with about 15,000 inhabitants, in the middle of the Yucatan jungle and close to Mérida. Speaking of Mérida: Izamal was the capital of Yucatan before. Here the Mayan period transitions ‘seamlessly’ into the present time: in the center and just outside it are several pyramids, as part of the whole. The San Antonio de Padua Church with its huge courtyard is built on such a pyramid. Of course, this had to be bigger than the Mayan pyramid because just imagine. This is a Pueblo Magico and in addition to its pyramids, its church is also famous for the Yucatec restaurant Kinich, which is highly regarded everywhere. The village will become a route of the Tren Maya Ruta, which will surely boost tourism here.

Where is it located?

The village is an hour from Mérida, so don’t worry it’s a huge distance. Yet it is slightly off the beaten track, which is what makes it so likable, at least for me. It is also often a bit warmer here than in Mérida, so if you decide to travel in the summer, it is good to take that into account by wearing more body-covering clothing. If you don’t have a car, public transport is a great option. From Mérida, there are ADO buses to this village, but also the small collectives.

  • Izamal San Antonio de Padua
  • Izamal San Antonio de Padua
  • Izamal tree in centre
  • One of the Zocalos in Izamal

The City of the Three Cultures

This is the City of the Three Cultures and has been called ‘the soul of the cultural heritage of the Yucatec people’. Because, as mentioned, the Mayan pyramids are located between the colonial houses. Welcome to the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries, you would almost say. The houses are all painted yellow and white, the streets are cobblestones: it gives things just that little bit more cachet. This cute little town is described as ‘a place with a majestic style within a regional context’. Not my words, but I can’t describe it better. As mentioned, this is a Pueblo Magico, but (for now) you don’t have to worry about many tourists. There really are hardly any.

The Church of San Antonio de Padua

Dating back to 1561, the San Antonio de Padua is the main pilgrimage site for Catholics in Yucatan and is famous far beyond the country’s borders. This is unmistakably the central point of the village and has enormous appeal. The courtyard is large and grassy and a lovely place to relax in the shade. This is just free to visit. We were not allowed to enter the church itself, but it seems to be beautiful.

Be sure to take a tour around the church. Nothing is the same, this is quite an architectural masterpiece. Around it are two squares: Parque Zamna and Parque Crescensio Carillo y Anacona. This is where the restaurants and shops are. What you see a lot here: horses with carriages. You are constantly approached by the men to take a ride. Don’t, you can walk here just fine and I’m not a big fan of using animals for something like that.

  • View over Izamal
  • Izamal San Antonio de Padua from Kinich Kakmó
  • View from Izamal San Antonio de Padua from Kinich Kakmó

The Pyramids

Then, the pyramids. We did a tour that took us inside and outside the village. We were allowed to ride a quad over the cobblestones and through the jungle. From well-preserved pyramids in the center to pyramids overgrown by nature in the forest. Including an explanation about the environment and history.

  • Izamal piramid in the centre
  • Izamal Kinich Kakmó
  • Izamal Kinich Kakmó

The largest is the Kinich Kakmó, which means something like: ‘the Macaw of fire with the face like the sun’. The God Kinich would descend with the blazing midday sun to burn sacrifices, to purify. Kinich came in the guise of the Guacamaya, a parrot species that is common here. This pyramid is the largest on the peninsula and the third largest in Mexico. Other pyramids here are . Itzamatul. El Conejo and Chaltun Ha.

The restaurant

Restaurant Kinich Izamal serves traditional Yucatan dishes. At the entrance, the tortillas are already made by hand. Be careful though: the sauces you get are very spicy. By the way, we slept at Posada Ya’ax Ich. A hotel with a swimming pool, where it is really more than a good place to stay. Close to the center, easy to walk in a nice street. There are also a few haciendas in the vicinity, where you can spend the night. Be sure to check the prices on Booking.com.

  • Posada Ya’ax Ich Izamal
  • Random bird in Izamal
Categories
Mexico Nature Puebla

Las Cascadas Paraíso: a paradise with ten waterfalls in Puebla

A nature reserve, with steep ascents and descents. A walk, which will take about 3 to 5 hours, right through lush nature. It leads you past ten waterfalls, named after legends, or idiosyncrasies of their own. Las Cascadas Paraíso is one for the hikers. For the adventurers. For the nature admirers. The wooded area is more than three hours from Mexico City, near the town of Honey in the state of Puebla and a perfect going out if you want to travel in Mexico.

This place is characterized by beautiful vegetation, full of life, and changeable weather. Before you know it you are in the thick fog. Because of this mystique, this place is loved. So if you are looking for waterfalls in Puebla: this is the place to visit, but also keep Tuliman in mind.

  • Cascadas Paraíso path
  • Cascadas Paraíso view

Where is Las Cascadas Paraísos?

Honey is located in the state of Puebla, adjacent to Hidalgo. From Honey it is still a half-hour drive before you arrive at the park. If you come in your own car, you will lose quite a few pesos on the toll roads. Those costs will add up to around 1000 pesos, so a tour from Puebla or Mexico City is not a bad idea in that regard. I went with Paseos Chilangos, who charged 800 pesos. Thank you so you get transport, entrance and a guide at your disposal.

The entrance costs 70 pesos (just over 3 dollars) and after you have passed some shops, the walk starts. The route you will walk is about ten kilometers. And because of the reasonable difficulty and the view of the waterfalls, 3 to 5 hours is a very reasonable estimate. Why would you want to go faster? Would you like to stay here a little longer? There are cabins for rent. These cost about 700 to 1200 pesos per night.

The waterfalls in Puebla

You start your walk and the first thing you see is the huge suspension bridge, high above the forest. All I thought was: I want to get over that! You know that you have an amazing view, but that it is also terrifying. But you’re not there yet.

  • Cascadas Paraíso the bridge
  • Cascadas Paraíso frist waterfall
  • Cascadas Paraíso on top of waterfall
  • Cascadas Paraíso waterfall

First, you walk through the woods, and in the distance, you can hear the clatter of the water. The trails are sandy and can be muddy at times. So wear good walking shoes and know that you can get dirty. First, you do a decent descent and then you reach El Salto (the jump). This is a small waterfall. You pass the water via a wooden bridge and prepare yourself for one of the largest waterfalls in the park: La Arcoíris (the rainbow). From this waterfall, you have a beautiful view of the surroundings.

Zip lines

But during the route, you will be offered something nice. It should come as no surprise, but there are zip lines! Roch at a height of about 170 meters and see two waterfalls shoot past you. It’s two zip lines and well worth the effort. The cost for these ziplines is 100 pesos.

  • Cascadas Paraíso the zipline
  • Cascadas Paraíso waterfall
  • Cascadas Paraíso waterfall
  • Cascadas Paraíso mirador
  • Cascadas Paraíso is also a bit touristic

Fantastic spectacle

You will then pass Cañon del Sumidero and Del Ángel (the angel). First, you make a good descent, but then a big climb. This is the most intense part of the route. Then you come to Del Beso, which is a fantastic spectacle. You can come here behind the waterfall, which gives a beautiful view. Del Beso means the kiss; it owes its name to the fact that you can eh… kiss in all privacy in the back.

  • Cascadas Paraíso waterfall
  • Cascadas Paraíso waterfall
  • Cascadas Paraíso waterfall
  • Cascadas Paraíso waterfall
  • Cascadas Paraíso waterfall
  • Cascadas Paraíso waterfall

As mentioned, it is a path with many climbs and descents. You pass Senda de Luz, El Paraíso, Los Duendes (after closing time you see elves, or little people, they say!) and Agua Clara. Then you come to the largest waterfall, the Fuente de la Vida. I think it’s this waterfall where you can go on an ‘adventure’. You can get close, closer than the path allows you. You clamber up the rocks, guaranteed to get dirty with the mud, and the closer you get, the wetter and dirtier you get. Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Apparently, this waterfall literally attracts.

The walk and the waterfalls in Puebla comes to an end. You already see some food stands with quesadillas, but the dessert is yet to come. It is only a few meters from the suspension bridge. You can see the entrance from here. Rickety, long and high: the suspension bridge is the crowning glory of this nature park.

  • Cascadas Paraíso hanging bridge
  • Cascadas Paraíso hanging bridge
  • Cascadas Paraíso mist
Categories
Mexico Nature State of Mexico

Nevado de Toluca: a beautiful hike to 1 of the highest lagoons in the world

About a two-hour drive from Mexico City, you will find one of the four highest mountains in Mexico: the volcano Nevado de Toluca. The highlight of this huge natural park are the two beautiful lakes in the volcano itself: the large Lake of the Sun and the smaller Lake of the Moon. The walk here can cause some breathing problems: it is located at 4680 meters above sea level, making them ostensibly the two highest lakes in the world. 4680 meters, almost as high as Mont Blanc.

Why is the Nevado de Toluca National Park a popular tourist attraction?

Yes, Nevado de Toluca National Park is a tourist attraction. You won’t be alone here anytime soon. If you google Nevado de Toluca, you will find tours from 60 to 90 dollars, but think about it a little longer. The entrance to the park is only 2 dollars and beyond it is a matter of driving there. I myself went on a tour of the Paseos Chilangos, a walking club that organizes weekly outings. Including transport, guide and fun this cost me 500 pesos, about 25 dollars. But independently by car is also possible and then it only costs you petrol costs.

  • Nevado de toluca crater sign
  • Nevado de toluca market
  • Nevado de toluca snowroses
  • Nevado de toluca trees in the sunrise

How do I get to Nevado de Toluca?

We left Mexico City at 5:30 am, because we had about 28 kilometers of walking on the program. Then you better leave on time. You first drive to Toluca and from there it is about 22 kilometers through winding roads. First with asphalt, later on rock. The entrance to the park consists of shops and restaurants. Here you can, for example, buy a coat, a scarf or mittens. Not a superfluous luxury, however: when we arrived it was freezing. I bought mittens there for 80 pesos.

To hike or with the taxi?

From this entrance you have two choices: you can go with a van, which will take you close to the two lakes. Then you only have to climb up a (tough) part. I went with a tour of hikers, of course, so we walked to that place. A trip through the woods and the last six kilometers on the highway, right through the mountains. From that road you have beautiful views that reach as far as Veracruz and Oaxaca. So very far away. Nevado de Toluca is a natural park that covers 51000 hectares and the valley allows to see far away.

  • Nevado de toluca taxi
  • Nevado de toluca crossing
  • Nevado de toluca road
  • Nevado de toluca sunrise
  • Nevado de toluca sunrise

Straight through the woods is beautiful. Narrow paths in the coniferous forests, with winter roses everywhere and sleet on the moss in the morning. After climbing for a while, fewer and fewer trees grow, until you don’t find a tree at all. You are above the tree line. In Nevado de Toluca, many finds from the pre-Hispanic era have been made over the years, such as vegetable fibers, resins, wood, and basketry. At that time it was called Xinantécatl, “naked man”.

Breathing at this height

After those six kilometers, you come to a kind of base camp, with toilets and where you buy your entrance for 50 pesos. From here it goes up steeply. As a Dutchman, I am certainly not used to these heights and I quickly developed breathing problems here. Short steps and keeping breathing deeply is the motto.

After this steep climb, you get a view over the two lakes and that is phenomenal. Pictures say a lot, but in reality, it is even more beautiful. In the winter months, the mountains are often covered with snow, which in combination with the crystal blue water must be phenomenal. And yes, you can walk to the lakes. Here your walking sticks are really essential; without it, you have to be absolutely careful.

  • Nevado de toluca lake
  • Nevado de toluca mountains
  • Nevado de toluca mountains
  • Nevado de toluca lake of the moon
  • Nevado de toluca hike walking
  • Nevado de toluca hike

As mentioned, it is quite chilly, but the sun is still shining brightly. Sunscreen or protective clothing is highly recommended, as is plenty to drink and eat. Also bring some bars, for sugar. They don’t sell stuff like that locally.

Some more knowledge about the area

There are coyotes, reptiles, squirrels, rabbits, rodents, and birds living here. And: you can dive in the lakes if you can dive deep. You will have to deal with a very muddy bottom, which requires real experience.

  • Nevado de toluca entrance
  • Nevado de toluca information
Categories
Mexico Oaxaca

Puerto Escondido is full of beautiful beaches and adventures

Puerto Escondido (‘hidden port’) is located in the state of Oaxaca. The little town is beautifully situated on the Pacific Coast and known as a true surfing mecca. This is an increasingly popular beach destination and has its own airport, making it easy to get to too. The sea is heavy on Playa Zicatela and it is really fun to play with the brutal waves, but it is a bit dangerous, to be honest. Of course, I did and survived. This beach is much more known as one of the best surf spots out there: competitions are regularly organized here, which attract surfers worldwide. Around this beach are most restaurants, bars, and other entertainment venues.

  • Puerto Escondido playa
  • Puerto Escondido sunrise
  • Puerto Escondido selfie

But if you are just a regular, you better go to the incredibly beautiful Puerto Angelito, Playa Carrizalillo, or Playa Punta. Those are in Puerto Escondido, but of course, you can visit more beaches in the surroundings, like Mazunte or the nude beach of Zipolite. In between you will come across the Laguna de Ventanillas, full of crocodiles and iguanas.

The little town of Puerto Escondido

We are in the state of Oaxaca. Between this fantastic city and Puerto Escondido it’s only 139 kilometers, but prepare yourself for a hell of a ride: there are some huge mountains in between and it will take you about seven hours. There are direct buses to Puerto Escondido, or you will have to change trains in Salina Cruz as we did. We were on the road for 12 hours, so let’s not call this a tip. That airport might be a better idea after all.

Puerto Escondido is a lovely town, where everything is focused on the beach, surfing, the fishing trade, and gradually more and more on tourism. Of course, it is nice to go with a boat and spot turtles, dolphins, and even whales (in season) up close. The town itself is home to a number of nice hotels and restaurants, but if you really want to chill on the beach, go to Puerto Angelito.

  • Puerto Escondido in the morning
  • Puerto Escondido turtle in the sea

From the entrance of Puerto Angelito, it is still a short walk to the beach itself, but the views here make up for everything: this beach is amazing. The prices are the most friendly: if you spend at least 300 pesos, you can lie on the sun loungers in front of the beach tents. The beers are about 35 pesos, which is slightly more than a dollar. The food is delicious and also with very friendly prices. So is Puerto Escondido expensive? Not really! (Well, not yet.)

Puerto Escondido view on Puerto Angelito
Beautiful view on Puerto Angelito

Our Residence in Puerto Escondido

There is a wide choice to stay in Puerto Escondido. We ourselves slept in Bungalows El Maguey and that was more than a fine place to spend the night. We had a very relaxed breakfast at the nearby Piedra de la Iguana, where you get good portions for little money. Then you are already at the boulevard and you can go in all directions. An absolute must for diner in the evening is unmistakably La Olita Zicatela. Incredibly tasty tacos and other meals, with amazing fish.

Puerto Escondido Bungalows El Maguey
View from the rooftop of Bungalows El Maguey

The beaches of Mazunte and Zipolite

Nice to visit from Puerto Escondido are the beaches of Mazunte and Zipolite. You could say that these are just some beaches a little further away, but they all have their own charm. On the way from the town to these beaches, you will come across some hidden beaches. We went to a beach but were stopped by the army: turtles breed here. Forbidden for tourists, so also for us. So I can’t give you that tip. Zipolite is known as Mexico’s only nudist beach. This has traditionally been a real hippie beach, but of course, nudists have now also embraced this beach. Not bad, the atmosphere is still cozy and pleasant.

  • Puerto Escondido dog beach
  • Puerto Escondido mazunte
  • Puerto Escondido mazunte beach

Laguna de Ventanillas: full of crocodiles and iguanas

You will also encounter the Laguna de Ventanillas on the way and that is an absolute must. Crocodiles and iguanas grow here in a very protected environment. You park at the entrance, pay your entrance fee and walk straight through the woods towards the water, to the boat. First, you see a few breeding buckets, with young crocodiles.

  • Puerto Escondido Ventanilla little crocodiles
  • Puerto Escondido Ventanila crocodile
  • Puerto Escondido Ventanilla deer
  • Puerto Escondido Ventanilla iguana
  • Puerto Escondido Ventanilla iguana
  • Puerto Escondido Ventanilla monkey
  • Puerto Escondido Ventanilla bird
  • Puerto Escondido Ventanilla birds
  • Puerto Escondido Ventanilla lagune
  • Puerto Escondido Ventanilla
  • Puerto Escondido Ventanilla crocodile

With the boat, you sail across the lagoon and will encounter a lot of animals there, such as birds and the reptiles already mentioned. When you go ashore you will see a number of adult crocodiles that you can see up close and that is being fed. Then you walk into a field, where there are tens or maybe hundreds of iguanas. You can feed them and the critters come happily to you. Spooky? No, iguanas are beautiful and won’t harm you! A number of monkeys and deer in captivity also live here, which is a little sad, according to me. Just like a monkey-like that doesn’t have to show his butt to me, like in the picture.

The bioluminescence in The Laguna de Manialtepec

On the other side of Puerto Escondido is Laguna de Manialtepec. Here you will find bioluminescence in the water, the emission of light by plankton. This was perhaps the most spectacular tour ever for us: while the sun was shining in Puerto Escondido (with, admittedly, some dark clouds in the distance), it started to rain lightly on the way to the lagoon.

Once there, the storm broke out. The boat went into the lagoon anyway and in the middle of the lake we were allowed to swim between the plankton, while it was raining hard and the storm was raging. The water is warm (and sometimes it is too hot. The water comes from hot springs, so pay attention to that), so that’s not the problem, but is it completely justified? Not sure, but maybe that’s the beauty of it. The plankton did not try as hard because of the rain, but it was definitely visible.

After fifteen minutes we had to get back on the boat because it became irresponsible. A loud bang and all the electricity around the lagoon went out. Completely dark! You can imagine that there are no photos of this tour. It was strongly advised not to bring your phone or cameras with you and luckily: by the end we were soaked and pictures of the plankton had certainly failed. So take my word for it: this tour is worth it. On the way back it turned out to have rained in Puerto Escondido as well. The roads had become streams, water pouring in from all sides.

Liberacion de tortugas: liberate a tortuga!

Puerto Escondido is also an area where a huge number of turtles live and they are protected by various foundations. Eggs are collected, the turtles are given space and an attempt is made to let them reach full maturity. Vive Mar is a foundation that ‘wants to give life back to the sea’. The tens of thousands of eggs laid by turtles on Mexican beaches each year are collected by foundations like this one. Give these eggs the rest to really hatch.

  • Puerto Escondido releasing turtles
  • Puerto Escondido turtles

Otherwise, at most one turtle in a thousand will survive, we are explained. That figure is questionable. Internet sources are talking about one in a hundred. Still little and it is also mentioned that it is also becoming less and less. So a kind of protection. Enthusiasts, tourists, or anyone else can adopt a turtle. Costs you 100 pesos (about 4 dollars) and then you can release the reptile. It’s called Liberación de tortugas. And that makes me feel grateful. And a competitive feeling, you want your turtle to survive.

No fewer than seven of the eight sea turtles in the world are washed up on the Mexican coast. This is where they lay their eggs. The reptile digs a hole and lays its eggs in it. Two months later, the young dig their way up. That is the natural process. But yes, there is a danger: (mainly) people, iguanas, crabs, and birds lurk. Artificial light is particularly disruptive and more and more hotels are being built on the coastline. Not to mention pollution and waste.

And in the longer term, climate change and the associated problems – severe storms, beach erosion, other sea currents – is also a danger. The only thing you can do as a tourist is to be aware of it. Pay the 100 pesos and contribute a little. But consciousness seems to be the most important. Leave the turtles alone and let them live. Don’t eat turtle eggs, don’t take them home, and have some respect for life.

Categories
Mexico Nature Yucatan

Calakmul, Yucatan’s Most Spectacular Secret

Monkeys swing from branch to branch. Constantly and everywhere there is rustling. Around the Pyramids, but especially in the woods. Those pyramids are proudly standing, although the traces of mother nature are there of course. Some old Mayan buildings are somewhat overgrown or full of moss. The largest pyramids have been cleaned, but here too the ravages of time can be seen.

Welcome to Reserva de la Biosfera Calakmul. Until recently it was an almost impassable journey to get there, but the road from the town of Xpujil to here has now been paved. This reduces the travel time from Xpujil to about two hours. Instead of six hours on a bumpy dirt road.

  • Entrance of Calakmul
  • Calakmul view over the forest
  • calakmul view forest
  • Calakmul in the forest

Perhaps Xpujil is on the eve of tourism. Because not Coba, not Chitzen Itza, not Tulum, but the pyramids of Calakmul have to be the most spectacular in all of Mexico.

“Look”, guide Abel points out, “wherever the trees seem to be higher, there are Mayan temples. They are not accessible to the public. And that gray one, in the distance, that’s Tikal.”

Right, from here you can see Guatemala, with its world-famous Tikal city. It’s far away – over 35 kilometers – and all you see are trees. is green. And the monkeys keep spinning. Abel has stories. About the Maya, but also about his own tour.

  • Inside Calakmul with group
  • A pool in Calakmul
  • Calakmul with the group

“Once a German brought his dog with him. He wanted to climb a pyramid and tie his dog to a tree. When we returned, the dog was no longer there. Crushed by a jaguar. I warned him about it, but that dog had to come at all costs.”

How do you get to Calakmul?

By car or bus: this is certainly not a day trip. From Campeche, on the east coast, tours are offered that cost about 75 to 100 dollars. Then you will be picked up from your hotel and brought back. You can also go independently. It is then advisable to stay at least one night at a hotel in the town of Xpujil, because you still want to be in the park on time. Abel’s tour departed around 8 a.m., but actually, it’s too late. You want to be at the entrance a lot earlier. After all, from Xpujil it is at least an hour and a half to two hours.

Route 186 is a highway that cuts through the jungle and passes through Xpujil, among other things. This road actually starts in Chetumal, on the west coast. Route 269 will take you to Xpujil from the north, but keep in mind that this is a narrow road. From Mérida, for example, it takes about six hours. Right through the woods.

From Cancún there are only two buses a day to Xpujil. You are on the road for about seven hours. This bus runs through Playa del Carmen and Tulum and will cost you between 500 and 700 pesos. It is difficult to indicate what time exactly which bus will go to Xpujil: you are in the Riviera Maya and Yucatan, public transport is not particularly reliable. Good, by the way: ADO drives its luxury buses.

  • Calakmul monkey
  • Calakmul a bird in a tree
  • Calakmul nature
  • Calakmul a spider

Is Calakmul worth visiting?

Xpujil is therefore far away from everything and from Xpujil it is about sixty kilometers to the park. Is it worth it? Yes, that is it. Where the aforementioned Mayan temples of Coba, Chitzen Itza, and Tulum are overrun by tourists, Calakmul is so far away that most do not think it is worth it. Of course, it is. This place is for the adventurers, the people who want to make the effort.

What is there to do in Xpujil

Not so much. Keep in mind that hardly anyone speaks English and that the population is almost indigenous. You will encounter a lot of Amish here; whole families dressed in black. Please note: in the morning you can hardly have breakfast anywhere; it is advisable to just buy some sandwiches and spreads at a supermarket. Most restaurants don’t open until 8 o’clock, which is really too late if you want to fully enjoy this amazing Mayan city. The highlight of Xpujil is at most the large statue in the middle of the road.

  • Trafic in Xpujil Calakmul
  • Calakmul inside a restaurant in xpujil
  • Calakmul statue in Xpujil

What does the tour look like?

I took Abel Tours in Xpujil. Abel will pick you up with a van at your hotel, just like the other tourists. Since Xpujil is small, you’ll be on your way pretty quickly. To get to the park initially just drive on Route 186 until the exit.

Until recently, this was a bumpy dirt road, which made the adventure even greater. Six hours on an almost impossible road, before arriving at Calakmul. This is now asphalt and it takes about an hour and a half to two hours before you arrive. Here you get a tour and explanation from Abel. About how the Maya lived here, what the relationships were among themselves.

Can you climb the pyramids?

You can all just climb the pyramids themselves. Not that it’s easy, but you can get all the way to the top and that gives you an amazing view over the area. There are two large pyramids that are directly opposite each other.

  • Sitting on top of Calakmul
  • Calakmul on top of a pyramid
  • On top of a pyramid in Calakmul
  • In front of a pyramid
  • Calakmul overview from the pyramid

More information about Calakmul

Calakmul or Kalakmul is a Mayan city in the deep jungles of Petén Basin. Calakmul is 35 kilometers from the border with Guatemala and was one of the largest and most powerful greatest cities of the Mayan Empire. This was the seat of the Kingdom of the Serpent. That Serpent Kingdom ruled most of it. About 50,000 people lived here.

  • Pyramid in Calakmul
  • Calakmul in front of a pyramid
  • Calakmul pyramid

About 6,750 structures have now been found that were part of Calakmul, including the 45-meter high pyramid, one of the highest in existence. Four tombs have been found in this pyramid. The total area covers about twenty square kilometers. From the highest pyramid, you can see Tikal in Guatemala. This place was discovered in 1931 by the biologist Cyrus L. Lundell.

What does Calakmul mean?

‘Ca’ means ‘two’, ‘lak’ means ‘adjacent’ and ‘mul’ is a mountain or a pyramid, so it is City of the Two Adjacent Pyramids. By the way, in ancient times it was called Ox Te’ Tuun, which means Three Stones.

https://www.instagram.com/p/B6mSF60hSa5/

To go?

This is an adventure, in the deep jungle. If you want to go independently: you pay about 4 dollars to use the road and about 5 dollars entrance. There is no trade, so you will have to bring your own food and drink. There are toilets at the entrance. If you are hesitant to climb the pyramid: do it anyway. It is always more than worth it.

Bat cave

Last but not least: in the surroundings is a very spectacular batcave. Most tours will bring you there, but make sure you go there too. Thousands or maybe millions of bats fly there around a cenote. A bit smelly, but beautiful!

  • Calakmul near the bats
  • Calakmul the batcave
  • Calakmul look at the batcave
  • Calakmul the bats in the air