Puente= long weekend= trip!
Picking the destination semi-randomly, not knowing too much about it, rather than the price of the flight … this time the choice was Campeche! 🙂
Quick look at the Mexico Desconocido (Mexico Undiscovered website) and turns out the region is dotted with ancient Mayan pyramids and the vast part is nothing but the jungle. When it comes to Campeche City, the only thing I have heard before was that the heat is almost unbearable, and people sleep in hammocks.
The city reminded me of Cartagena of Colombia, or rather what I imagine Cartagena would be like as I have never visited it myself. Surrounded by walls and forts which you can climb and get a good panorama of the waterfront, the city is easily walkable (1 day is enough:) ) and accessible. The biggest problem of moving from point A to B is the heat, honestly had to make stops every hour to get an iced drink or hide somewhere air conditioned, like in the trendiest café which was serving blue caramel capucchino.
We arranged the car rental a night before and got it cheaper than Hertz or other rentals available at the airport. With a little help of GPS we began the roadtrip, taking us 3,5hrs far from Campeche city. The destination was an ecovillage located in the jungle, between various archeological ruins and a little town with nothing to offer.
The way from Campeche to Chicanna couldn’t be easier, as there were only two highways to go through. On the way, we passed through countless little pretty villages and a waterfront. You could still spot the flags hanging around and the absence of people was indicating the widespread after-the Independence day hangover.
In Chicanna, there was no signal nor internet (only in the hotel reception) that has only strengthened the feeling of remoteness. But I didn’t know that the following day we were about to take another trip right to the heart of the jungle. With every kilometre passed, I was feeling more and more anxious as there was literally NOTHING around us and the poorly maintained route. I wonder why wouldn’t they clean it of the benches and bush that were really limiting the visibility on the road; considering we were charged three times to enter the zone. *really please be careful if you decide to go
And it was all so worth it, Calakmul is beautiful but not that popular amongst tourists (probably because of how hard it is to get there), which probably prefer to spend more time on the other side of Yucatan Peninsula, in Cancun. Calakmul is also close to Guatemala and Belize, so once you’re there you might consider driving to Tikal de una vez. A brilliant Ruta Maya experience!
On the last (3rd) day there was no time to chill as we got plenty of other ruins scheduled on. Becan and Chicanna, located in walking distance from the hotel, were hidden in the jungle forests and almost desolated just like Calakmul. You might think that all ruins are the same but that’s not true. Some of them have preserved its decorative elements, and the constructions vary from tumbs to residential houses to pyramids and more.
As it turned out Campeche had more to offer than ‘just’ the archeological site, like a cenote. In Miguel Colorado, we stopped for a dip in the turquoise water, and the highest zipline I did in my life. Not that I’m a zipplining professional either but over 2000m seems high enough for me.
On the way back to Campeche city we followed TripAdvisors recommendations and had a meal in a ¨Mexican¨ restaurant featuring items like fajitas (never served in any genuine Mexican restaurant) and non-spicy salsas, obviously suiting the gringo taste. Couldn’t complain though, a massive big stack of grilled veggies and fresh guacamole hit the spot.
Apparently, the best place in terms of gastronomy is Xocol¨ha, and its not even a restaurant but a chocolate drinking hotspot. Not lucky enough, finding the place shut on the Sunday, we headed to the nearby evident competitor, also specializing in chocolates- particularly in those with pre-hispanic names, with no added sugar etc. There were vegan options such as a sandwich with a raw cocoa spread and veggies (doubtful combination if you ask me), and breakfast options: chocolate mole chilaquiles, chocolate mole enchiladas, etc. We ordered some traditional bread baked in one of the nearby villages with anis. The afternoon was so beautiful I was really glad we had a chance to be in Campeche without suffering the heat.
As the sun was setting down I just thought to myself how pretty Campeche was, whether in the middle of the jungle or in the city with streets lined up with colourful houses. Really wanna explore more of Yucatan now!