Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The road of bountiful cenotes

Not actually sure where we are going today (spotting a theme yet?). The Italian couple had mentioned a camp site down the coast, somebody else mentioned the beaches at Akumal and one of the tour touts said that Xcacel was gorgeous.

Along the way, the highway passes by many cenotes. The Yucatan Peninsula has an extensive underground fresh water river system, and the cenotes are those places where the rivers surface. Some of them are in the open as rock pools or mangrove mini-lakes, others are submerged in caves. The water in all of them are crystal clear. On a whim we stop by Cenote Azul, a series of open pools right by the highway. The scenery itself is beautiful, but spending a few hours swimming in the pools and lying on the rocks in the sun was priceless.

We're in such a spell that we miss the sign to the first campsite, and almost ride right past the tattered sign for Xcacel. Unfortunately, the guide José tells us that camping is no longer allowed in the park. It breaks our hearts for many reasons - not only is Xcacel a protected Marine Park (over 1000 turtles nest on its beaches - that's 10,000 baby turtles!) and the beach cove is the prettiest we've seen, but the though of either riding 11km back to the camp site or 20 km further to Tulum is downright depressing. We site silently by the mangrove cenote and ponder our options. Now, I cannot tell you where we spent the night, but let's just way that there are some really kind people in the world and we're always very humbled when we meet them.


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