Chaccoben and Bacalar - Central America - CycleBlaze

December 15, 2022

Chaccoben and Bacalar

Today was the longest ride of the trip thus far (42-40-60- and today at 80), and one of the longest of the entire remainder.  So, I started early with full lights.  I was actually glad to leave Felipe Carrillo Puerto, as I was unpleasantly surprised at the town and my hotel room.  I think that was the first time I was unpleasantly surprised (well, Cancun too I suppose), so now I know to manage expectations better.  I'm not expecting much for the next couple of days - mainly just travel days with nothing much in the towns I'm staying in.  Admiration goes out to the Mexico Minister of Transportation for the quality of these roads though.  Wonderful on a bike!  Today was a total gem however, both at Chaccoben, and Bacalar!

I was not expecting each day of the last three days to have continually improving Mayan ruins, but it has been.  I made it to Chaccoben about 11:30, and it was absolutely packed with tourist buses!  I didn't realize it was that popular, but when I went in, I could see why!  The site was only discovered about 50 years ago by an American scientist while flying over with a helicopter - that's how remote it is here.  It is believed it was first inhabited about 200 BC.  And this one, you could actually climb on some of the structures.  There were hundreds of tourists there from the buses though.  I'm so glad I'm able to visit these places without a bus or a rental car.  Such freedom and control this way.  I mean, they're just like a bunch of cattle in a field with no ability to break out and do their own thing.  A bunch were watching me get ready after lunch, but no one chatted.  I don't know if they were thinking; "lucky guy", or "what an idiot" because of the heat.  I'm sure I'll be there eventually though, but for now, I'm loving this style.  After a quick lunch of quesadillas, I was off to Bacalar.

Bacalar only has a very small downtown area that is very touristy - not more than a few acres, otherwise, it is full of history and culture, and also very poor.  It's claim to fame is Lago (lake) Bacalar - the lake with seven colors.  It has a fort downtown that kind of looks like Mayan ruins, but it was built for protection from the Spaniards in the 17th century.  I was super impressed by my room.  Very new again with tile everywhere, and all concrete again, like the last two nights.  I broke the pattern though with getting room #1 for the past three nights!  I walked around the water and stumbled into this one super cool Hostel.  They had events planned for each day of the week, a great chef always cooking something, and a bar right on the beach.  All this for $20/day.  I would love to stay there and just have conversations with people from all over, but they were all really young so I would not fit in anymore, plus I'd never get to sleep since I am such a light sleeper.  In another life maybe...

Since I had an 80 mile day today (in 90 degree heat, but with high humidity it felt crazy hot) plus stopping off in between, and doing daily laundry, it is getting late now, and I want to post some video coverage too - especially of the birds here in Bacalar, so be sure to check that out.  To save time then, I am currently working on this post at dinner.  I tried to take a picture with my phone, but the battery died, so I have a picture below from my MS Surface as I am typing away on it at dinner here.  I am surrounded currently by a live Mexican band, Futbal playing on the TVs around me, and the birds just on the other side of the street from me (really - watch the video!).  I have a early sunrise 1.5km paddleboard reservation tomorrow in Lago Bacalar before I head off to Belize!  I just can't leave Mexico without swimming in a Cenote here (you'll have to Google Image that - there were a few around Tulum too, but I didn't have time for that there)!  What a great night for my last night in Mexico! 

My first shot of the day, about an hour from my room
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On the way to the ruins
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Herding sheep on the side of the road
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A weird tree at the ruins
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Bill ShaneyfeltA species of strangler fig taking over a small palm.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strangler_fig
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1 month ago
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Heading down the steps
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A giant ant hill?
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Bill ShaneyfeltDead palm tree. Trunk rotted and only roots left.
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1 month ago
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A new best friend after I shared my leche with him from lunch. I figured he needed it more than me. There are a lot of strays in Mexico.
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I've been seeing these great Blue Morpho butterflies everywhere. They fly across the road, and some get hit like this poor fellow. Trivia: The Blue Morpho is among the largest butterflies in the world!
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My hotel room in Bacalar. I love the stone and tile work!
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Steve Miller/GrampiesAre you finding these great hotels on Booking, or by some other magic?
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1 month ago
Ken DyckmanGreat question - keep them coming! Its a combination of pre-trip planning, but also checking the night before based where I'm at, the weather the next day, the quality of the hotel the night before (and location - checking for rating and if bars are near by on Google), and then yes - also Booking (is my go-to site usually)
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1 month ago
The whole bathroom floor is the shower drain
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Outside my room.
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The fort downtown
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Working on my post tonight, taken with my laptop.
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Today's ride: 80 miles (129 km)
Total: 232 miles (373 km)

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Bob DistelbergKen, I’m enjoying following along. Looks like a great trip so far. I’ll just mention that your YouTube video is currently listed as ‘private’ so we can’t see it.
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1 month ago
Ken DyckmanThanks Bob for the heads up! It should be viewable now.

I think I have a rain day coming up, and then I'll catch up with all the other comments from everyone. Thanks!
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1 month ago