I swear, one of these days we really will move on with our trip and stop lounging on beaches. Maybe after Belize? For now though there's just too many to choose from. The small village of Punta Allen sits at the end of a long narrow peninsula in the Sian Ka'an Biosphere Reserve south of Tulum.
Viewing entries in
The Yucatan Peninsula and its pristine, post-card-ready Caribbean beaches are the reason we extended our stay in Mexico. Shortly after we arrive our enthusiasm fades. The camping options are expensive, which we expected, but no one seems to want us. We, along with our friends, are turned away from several spots for various reasons, so the last three weeks are spent away from our camper in an apartment; time we thoroughly enjoyed, but not what we wanted our stop here to solely consist of.
Even though we are incredibly lucky and even more thrilled to be doing what we're doing, living on the road in a small camper comes with its own set of stresses and challenges. Doing it in a foreign country with an unfamiliar language and customs just adds to that. And although we have been moving at a snail's pace, we still felt like we needed to just stand still for a little while and decompress. We'd been looking forward to the Yucatan Peninsula the whole trip so it seemed a likely place to stop.
The hardest thing about this trip is being away from my family, particularly my parents. It's quite the change from my nomadic, egomaniacal twenty-year-old self that wanted nothing more than to be far away from home. I would wander for long spells only thinking to call them every couple months and gracing them with my highly annoying “I'm more worldly than you” presence once a year.
Since reading about the Mexican state of Chiapas, known for its natural beauty, I've been daydreaming about its landscapes being swathed in the blues and greens of its numerous waterfalls and lush jungles. Unfortunately because of our lengthy border crossing debacle we have less than two weeks to explore the entire region before family come to visit us in the Yucatan.
Sitting in the truck at the southern most Mexico/Guatemala border I'm staring intently at the customs building, not daring to take my eyes of its darkly tinted front doors. I'm waiting for Pete to reappear so I can read the expression on his face. Will he be smiling or wearing the same expression he's worn for days, the one that emulates despondency and frustration?
To say that we're going slower than we planned would be an understatement. In fact, we're moving so slow we think we've coined a new term; sloverlanding. We figured we had enough money to stay on the road for about a year and a half. South America is huge, and we wanted plenty of time to explore, so we gave ourselves six to seven months to get through Mexico and Central America. Five months into the trip and we're still in Mexico. And to make matters worse we still don't want to leave. We love this country.
Our seemingly insatiable search for calm, warm blue water and talcum powder sand is over. We've surprisingly found it at Playa San Augustin on the Oaxacan coast. A coast we almost skipped because, from what we'd researched, the water was more suitable for experienced surfers than beer clutching, lackadaisical swimmers.
For most of our time in Asia we traveled by public transportation. We took boats, trains, buses, tuk-tuks, the backs of motorcycles, and pedi-cabs. It wasn't until we rented a motorcycle for three weeks in Lao that we truly discovered the joy of having your own transportation to be able to explore at will. It's partially what inspired us to do the trip we're on now.
It's obvious we have arrived at Teotitlan de Valle. Displayed rugs hang from almost every house and store front; their once vivid colors muted by long days exposed to the sun. We've come to this famous weaving village to replace the rugs in our camper.
We've been carrying our backpacking gear with us for months and I was starting to wonder if we'd ever use it. We found the perfect opportunity outside of Oaxaca. High in the mountains, there is a group of small villages that have joined together to form an eco-tourism collective called the Pueblos Mancomunados.
After a week in Guanajato we weren't ready for another city so we just spent an afternoon in Oaxaca checking out the main plaza. We were more interested in the natural beauty that Oaxaca state has to offer.
Driving around in a self contained camper means we can stay just about anywhere that feels safe and we don't think we'll get kicked out of. Here in Mexico, that's a lot of places. But the internet being what it is, we end up spending a lot of time chasing pictures. We'll see a fellow traveler's blog or Instagram post and think, “Whoa, that place looks amazing! Where is that?”
I may have mentioned that we aren't really crazy about cities. Especially huge metropolises like Mexico City. Unfortunately, heading south from Guanajato, it seemed to be smack dab in the way of anywhere we wanted to go. Luckily, the ruins of Teotihuacan are thirty miles outside the city with a conveniently located RV park in the small town of San Juan Teotihuacan just minutes away.
Natasha and I aren't much of city people. We're typically more at home on top of a mountain or on a deserted beach miles from civilization. That being said, there are a few cities that we've been excited to see ever since we started our trip. Guanajato is one of them
Driving north the landscape changes drastically, trees and mountains increasing in size as we gain altitude and head towards the mountain town Tapalpa. Without knowledge of any spots in town we chose to camp a short drive away at ….....which turned out to be the home of a paragliding school,
Well we can't live on a beach forever. It was time to give up our search for the perfect playa for a while and enjoy some mountains. We headed inland towards the city of Colima and the giant volcano that looms above it. At over 12,000 feet you can see the Volcán de Fuego from just about everywhere for miles around.
After our failed attempt at finding the perfect swimming beach we pack up and head east to try our luck at La Manzanilla, a small town on the other side of the Bay of Tenicatita.
While in San Pancho, we heard an enchanting tale about a protected bay with placid, translucent water where the snorkeling was excellent and one could most certainly catch their dinner if they could figure out the mysteries of the Hawaiian Sling. Being on a never ending search for the perfect beach, we were intrigued.
With feet outstretched on the sidewalk, we lazily drink our morning coffee, sitting on what has recently become our front porch, the town square curb . Directly behind us are the public bathrooms we've partially commandeered and down the street, at a fishmonger's house, is where we pay ten pesos to use his outdoor shower.