Traveling the Yucatán Peninsula

As I finished my environmental placement at Ninth Wave Global, I headed off to the Yucatán Peninsula. With only a week to do so, I choose three cities to visit. Here they are:

Mérida

This was the biggest city I went to in Mexico, they even had Uber! As I set off early in the morning to discover some of it, I had the pleasure of walking along the Paseo de Montejo which is a street filled with grandiose colonial houses from Mérida’s past as a merchant city.

Mérida’s central plaza

From there I headed to the Museum del Mundo Maya. I was very eager to learn more about some of Mexico’s past Mayan civilizations, but sadly it was closed even during regular opening hours. After two months in Mexico, I have come to realize most places follow their own timeline with stores with no official opening hours, randomly closed sites and even public transport with no official departure times. Instead, I headed to the city center to visit the market and meandered my way through its many streets throughout the afternoon.

Along the Paseo De Montejo, there is the

After supper, I tested my Spanish skills and watched Dune by Denis Villeneuve at a cinema. Although I did manage to understand most of the movie (helping that I had recently read the book), I still have lots of work to do to get to par with my goals! The very next morning I was off to Valladolid.

Valladolid

Halfway between Tulum and Mérida, Valladolid is a lovely city to wander in with nice little shops and vibrant streets, both in colour and in sound. The colonial city was built atop an important Mayan one if only by the testimony of the cenote which both were constructed around.

Although that particular one was promptly closed to visitors (ahh Mexico!), I had the chance to visit three others with friends from my placement in Campeche. Some were caves, others were open-aired; it was interesting to learn about the importance of these sites in matters of survival as the main water source and for religious purposes too.

Valladolid’s colonial church

We also spent a day heading up North. We were on the lookout for pink! Along the coast of Yucatán, there is a town called Las Coloradas. Known for its salt flats, the water turns pink by the presence of a particular mineral.

Then, we drove to Rio Lagartos where a 45-minute boat ride brought us to the feeding grounds of flamingos. Even if I had already seen them in zoos, seeing them in flesh and feathers was something else!

I also had the pleasure of visiting the Casa De Los Venados. Inside the house of an American couple lies well over 5,000 pieces of Mexican folk art. The man first started amassing his collection at the age of 18. He is now well over 80 years old and has opened his home for the curious to come and appreciate the various pieces on display. I loved seeing the different statues and paintings, I even could recognize some styles from my time in Oaxaca!

This is but their entryway!

Bacalar

Home to a beautiful lagoon, Bacalar was but a mere resting spot at the very end of my week in the Yucatán peninsula.

Early in the morning, after a full day of scouring the city for transport information, I prepared for a border crossing into Belize. Gold Standard accommodation and transportation booked as well as my vaccination records in hand, I headed over to Chetumal by bus before grabbing a taxi to the border. As I zipped through the border presenting my proofs of model visitor and getting a Covid test result in under 15 minutes, I was in Belize! After a seemingly quick two months in Mexico, I was saying bye to the country to meet up with my mom in Belize who would be travelling with me in the next few weeks.

Thank you for the welcome Mexico and on I go to my next gap year adventures!

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