Chacchoben Ruins Tour with Mayan Trips

Yesterday was a sleepy Sunday in Mahahual. The spring breeze was lightly blowing, sending up dust from the beach sand that collects in town and gives a light sugary coat to everything during the dry season. My wife and I headed out to a late morning coffee, sipping slowly and chatting easily with a few locals about how their week had gone. We usually have plenty to do surprisingly, but on this particular Sunday we really didn’t have anything on the agenda and the beach was out of the question because we had gone diving the day before and were already sun-kissed to the brink of a burn.

As we meandered lazily back towards our house trying to figure out how to spend our day we ran into a good friend of ours, Carlos, who runs a tour company, Mayan Trips, at the local corner store. He seemed awfully preoccupied with something, given the present vibe of the town, so we asked him what was going on. He told us the cruise ship for the day had just docked and he was stocking the supplies for his tour to the Chacchoben Ruins. Then he just casually asked, “do you want to go?”. We looked at each other and thought why not? Our Sunday was set. We were to meet the van on the corner in 40 minutes.

The comfy white van pulled up just at the moment that we arrived to the corner and when the door slid open and the cool air conditioner hit us it was the perfect antithesis to the blazing sun. We loaded in and spoke to two adventurous older women, who were the only other passengers that day, and the friendly guide. We were on our way.

The ruins rest about 50 minutes from town and on the way the guide spoke to the curious tourists about local flora, fauna, customs, income, you name it. he was a wealth of information and happy to do it. We sat back and enjoyed the ride and AC while they chatted. We had both been to the ruins before with some friends of ours but were unable to really take advantage of the experience because of a heavy stomach bug I had been fighting that left me too weak to walk far without stopping, let alone climb, so the excitement was building to get another crack at it and have a guide to fill us in on the goodies.

When we arrived the guide offered us waters from the icy cooler they had brought for the passengers and showed us to the gate. If you have never been, the ruins are very impressive. We have visited various ruins around the peninsula and other parts of Mexico and something about Chacchoben is very special. It hasn’t been packed like other ruins we have visited such as Tulum and Chichen Itza either time we have visited and a lot of the tall trees and jungle vegetation remain intact, giving you a nice shady canopy to protect you from the sun. It also somehow makes the experience feel more authentic when everything isn’t clear cut. You feel like you are really seeing the Mayan world as it was.

Entering the park and taking the nice trail the first thing you come to is a huge pyramid known as Templo 24. Not a lot is known about Chacchoben but experts date the settlement of the area to around 200AD and most of the major structures to around 700AD.

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Off to the right there is a little trail that leads to a small area of ruins that isn’t on the maps of the park. Being ever curious, I decided to Indiana Jones my way down the trail to see what was at the end and even though these ruins aren’t on the map and aren’t big compared to the others, something about the juxtaposition of them against the back ground of the surrounding ranch was sublime. It is a beautiful area and I enjoyed this section just as much as any other. Ask your Mayan Trips guide about it and if he has time he may take you!

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Getting back and course and traveling down the trail you pass through “Plaza B” where you get a nice view of the other side of Templo 24. Then you enter the area known as “Las Vasijas”. This is the area where most of the trading and commerce of the site was done. It is a long stretch of sunken earth bordered on both sides by steps that definitely make it seem like a good place to bargain shop.

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After leaving Las Vasijas and continuing on the trail you come to the side of a platform that is easily two stories high. You just get the feeling that it is holding something truly special on top. Once you come all the way around to the front you can see the only stelae that remains from Chacchoben sitting peacefully in front of the main staircase that takes you up to the “gran basamento” where the other two pyramids sit.

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As you arrive to the summit and get a glimpse at the majesty of “Templo 1” you suddenly forget about your profuse sweat and lack of breath. The beauty of this main platform and remoteness of the location make you feel like you have stepped through time and the owners are just out hunting and will be back soon.

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After wondering around the Gran Basamento for 30 minutes or so it was time to head back to the van. The tour is only about 4-5 hrs round trip so it is perfect for a cruise excursion. You can take more time if you are staying in Mahahual and have your own car but then you miss out on the info that the guide has to give.

There are some photos and information that I have purposefully left out of the article so I wouldn’t spoil your dinner if you ever decide to go. With the internet the way it is I try as often as I can to leave some things to wonder before that artform is lost to humanity! Taking the trip to these ruins is definitely worth your time and money and Mayan Trips was a great tour group to go with. For bookings you can e-mail mayantrips@gmail.com.

 

 

 

 

Spring breakers reportedly chant ‘build that wall’ during Cancun cruise

I never thought I would see the Fox News quote a publication I write for, but Fox News recently quoted the Yucatan Times as a source.  I came across this today from the editor of the Yucatan Times on Facebook, and I thought some of you might find this interesting.

“Thank you to The San Francisco Chronicle and Fox News for using The Yucatan Times as a source of local news!!!”

Spring breakers reportedly chant ‘

build that wall’ during Cancun cruise

A Mexican newspaper on Monday criticized a group of tourists from the U.S. on spring break who reportedly chanted “build that wall” during a cruise off Cancun, The San Francisco Chronicle reported.

The chanting occurred on a “Pirate Ship” attraction. The Yucatan Times called the chant an act of “xenophobia and discrimination against Mexicans within their own country.”

The paper described the cruise as an entertainment excursion allows attendees to witness sword fights and drinking. The paper reported, “This situation is far from being an isolated incident, and it adds to the growing number of complaints from tourism sector workers, who point out that in recent days many Spring Breakers have been offensive, rude and haughty towards Mexican people.”

The Mexican paper referred to a social media post by a Peruvian man who was on board the ship.

“Today I was with Suly, my wife (who is a native of Mexico), watching an entertainment show off the coast of Cancun aboard a boat, and at the end of the show, a flock of Americans (maybe under the influence of alcohol, or maybe not), began to sing the infamous ‘Build that wall’ chant louder and louder’.”

source:http://www.foxnews.com/world/2017/03/21/spring-breakers-reportedly-chant-build-that-wall-during-cancun-cruise.html

That is the Fox News report, now here is the editorial that Fox News I think was referring to from the Yucatan Times.

EDITORIAL: Spring Breakers chanting “Build That Wall” in Cancun is unacceptable

CANCUN — What would be a dream night for Suly and Anaximandro Amable, a newly married couple who went to Cancun for their honeymoon, became a bitter experience on Monday March 13.

During a family show on the high seas, young American spring breakers began to sing the controversial “Build That Wall” chant, which shocked Mexican national tourists and workers.

This is just one of the many blameworthy behaviors that young spring breakers have shown recently in Cancun and that are described as acts of xenophobia and discrimination against Mexicans within their own country, which is (or should be) totally unacceptable.

Anaximandro, from Perú, made the following statement on social networks: “Today I was with Suly, my wife (who is a native of Mexico), watching an entertainment show off the coast of Cancun aboard a boat, and at the end of the show, a flock of Americans (maybe under the influence of alcohol, or maybe not), began to sing the infamous “Build that wall” chant louder and louder”.

This chant became popular across the US in the wake of Trump’s Election Day victory. And it went viral on social networks, when students at a Michigan middle school began chanting Build the wall!” during lunch on the day after Trump’s election, November 17, 2016.


The “Pirate Ship” sails out from Puerto Juárez, and the show takes place in the middle of the ocean, where attendees can witness the clashing of swords and the explosion of cannons along with a constant flow of drinks.

Several Mexican tourists on board the ship expressed their annoyance, but the Americans did not stop at all and continued singing the racist hymn.

This situation is far from being an isolated incident, and it adds to the growing number of complaints from tourism sector workers, who point out that in recent days many Spring Breakers have been offensive, rude and haughty towards Mexican people.

pirate ship 2

American Tourists at Pirate Ship Cancún (Photo: Google)


post anaximandro

Anaximandro Amable Facebook post (Source; Facebook)

TYT Newsroom with information from:

source:http://www.theyucatantimes.com/2017/03/editorial-spring-breakers-chanting-build-that-wall-in-cancun-is-unacceptable/

Thanks for reading,

Stewart Rogers USA-South Carolina

Yemaya Beach Club and Resort, Mahahual

First of all I would like to apologize to Robert Gruber, owner of Yemaya Beach, for taking so long to get this article out.  I went to a birthday party about a month ago, took some photos, at Yemaya Beach, and I told Robert I would put them on this blog with his information and website.  Well I had to leave the birthday party early, and kind of forgot about the article until I found photos this morning.  So again sorry, I have been a little behind schedule.

Like I said, Yemaya Beach is owned and operated by Robert Gruber, originally from Germany.  I have seen Robert around Mahahual since I have been here, so he has been here quite a while. Well he has opened a beach club south of town on the coastal road to Xcalak.

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His place is about 4.5 kilometers south of town.

Entrance to Yemaya.

It is a great little spot on the beach, and you can see the port and Mahahual from the beach there.

Beach at Yemaya.

Robert has a swing bar, a restaurant, and all the other beach club amenities. You can hang out on the beach, snorkel, get a massage and there are also kayaks.

Cool swing bar.

Birthday party I was at.

They also have rooms, or cabanas I should say, you can stay in.  Here is their ad off of booking.com.

“Offering a barbecue and views of the sea, Yemaya Beachclub & Resort – Mahahual is set in Mahahual. The resort has a sun terrace and a private beach area, and guests can enjoy a meal at the restaurant. Free WiFi is offered throughout the property and free private parking is available on site.

The rooms have a private bathroom.

You will find concierge service at the property.

A range of activities are offered in the area, such as snorkelling, windsurfing and diving. The nearest airport is Chetumal International Airport, 68 km from Yemaya Beachclub & Resort – Mahahual.

We speak your language!”

Also I got this off of their website.

“Our secluded, private beach club offers an authentic “off the beaten path” experience, while our friendly staff, full service bar & restaurant provide all the necessary comforts. Kayaks are available for guests as well as massages (upon request).

Whether you are looking for an exclusive beach location where to kick back for the day, a serene spot where to settle for a camping vacation in the Caribbean, a gorgeous setting where to celebrate a special occasion, or just a place where you can enjoy doing nothing, Yemayá Beach Club & Resort is waiting for you!”

So if you are here on a cruise ship, or on vacation, or an expat looking for a different place to go for the day or night, check out Yemaya Beach Club and Resort.

If you are interested in visiting or booking a room at Yemaya Beach Club and Resort, I am enclosing their website below, so you can check them out for yourself.

http://www.yemaya.com.mx/

Thanks for reading,

Stewart Rogers USA-South Carolina

Spring Breakers in Mahahual

It is that time of year again, spring break in Mahahual.  This week, and for the next two weeks, there will be a lot of cruise ships stopping here loaded with college students from the USA on spring break.  This is one of my favorite times of the year here in Mahahual. There are college students from universities and colleges all over the southern part of the USA.  There are also students from northern states as well, but the majority of the spring breakers we get are from the deep south part of the USA.

They get off the cruise ships ready to party.  I remember when I worked for Shark Tours at the port, we had a special all you could drink package, and we used to sell that out during spring break.  It was like $35.00 usd for an open bar at the Senor Frogs on the beach.   It has a pool, and a swim up bar, which the college students love.

Bar at old Senor Frogs on the beach. It is now run by Groupo Cancun, and they now sell these open bar excursions on the ships.

When I was working at the port I would meet college students from all over the USA, and I was surprised at how many college students take cruises on spring break now. When I was in college, Fort Lauderdale and Daytona Beach were big college spring break destinations.  In those days that is where you went, we never even considered booking a cruise, nor could we afford it.

My buddies and I in college would usually pool our money together, load up a car and head for Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.  We would sleep 5 or 6 to a room, and party for a week in Myrtle Beach.  We would meet other college and university students from other schools like North Carolina State, North Carolina, Wake Forest, Georgia, and other schools in the southeast part of the USA.

Now college students show up here with lots of money, credit cards, and are ready to cut loose.  Different times, we could barely put $10 together in my college days.  But I have to admit it, these young college students know how to have a good time.

College students at swim up bar having a good time.

Pool full of spring breakers.

And like every year before, as soon as the party gets started the young female college students start dancing on the bar.  I see it every year, and it is a sight to see.

Well this year I just happened to look over, and at that moment I saw a woman fall off the bar while she was dancing, right on her back on the ground.  I thought to myself, this does not look good.  Well the music stopped, all the woman’s friends ran up to her to see if she was all right.  She laid there for a while, then jumped up, and the crowd went wild, and then they all just went back to partying.  She seemed all right, and went back to drinking, I bet she was sore the next day.

Also like every year since I have been here, I always meet pretty little female co-eds from the University of South Carolina, my alma mater.  This year was no exception.  I met some yesterday, and I found them a place for lunch.  There were some South Carolina and Virginia Tech students here together.  I got them a table at the Blue Kay, and chatted with them a while.

South Carolina and Va.Tech college students at lunch.

Jessica Watts from Myrtle Beach, SC in black top, Casey Cleffi from Manasquan, NJ with me yesterday. They are both University of South Carolina co-eds.

So next week there will be even more college students here, because the majority of the colleges and universities in the USA start spring break next week.  So it should be an interesting two weeks ahead for Mahahual.  And trust me, every Mexican man in town loves spring break, just as much as I do.  There is nothing quite like seeing hundreds of young female college students in bikinis running around the malecon.

Thanks for reading,

Stewart Rogers USA-South Carolina

Just Another Saturday in Mahahual

I had a very interesting day yesterday, one probably that is only unique to Mahahual.  I stated my day with some French Canadians, had lunch with an author from Australia, then met my first Trump victim, and ended the day talking with some people here from Belize. That is what I like about Mahahual, lots of different and interesting people that come here. And what was also unique, all of these people read my blog, and they came to Mahahual because of me.

About four years ago, I was sitting by the pool in Playa del Carmen, and I met this French Canadian woman who was staying with a friend of hers there.  She is a novelist from Canada, and has had books published.  We got to talking, and I told her I lived in Mahahual, and I described it to her.  She had never heard of Mahahual, and decided she wanted to see it.

So we decided we would take a trip from Playa del Carmen, and I would show the two of them around Mahahual.  I even wrote a story about our adventure on this blog several years back.  We went to Bacalar, and stayed in Mahahual for a couple of days.  We stayed on the malecon, and I took them several places.  They had a great time and Lilli, the novelist, fell in love with Mahahual.  So for the last three years she has been coming to Mahahual and staying a couple of months in the winter.

Lilli and her husband Roger on the beach.  2 French canadians in mahahual.

Lilli and her husband Roger on the beach. 2 French Canadians in Mahahual.

She has brought her husband with her the last several years, and I think he likes it here also.  Since I met her, she reads this blog, and follows what is going on in Mahahual.  Her husband is leaving and has to go back to Canada, but Lilli is staying for a month or so longer, and is going to do some sight-seeing.

So yesterday morning, I stopped by to see them, and say good-bye to her husband Roger until next year.  We talked for a while, I met another French Canadian.  I answered some questions for them about Merida, and gave them some suggestions on places to stay and things to see.

For lunch I met Roderick, an Australian author who is staying up near Uvero Beach. Roderick reads this blog, and that is how I met him last summer.  He contacted about helping him find a long-term rental, so he could get some writing done down here.  We looked, and could not find anything for him to rent, but he did luck up and find a cool caretakers gig on the beach north of here.

He originally brought an American friend with him to help out, but I don’t think his friend liked the solace and living in the jungle.  His friend also found the life here hard to adapt to, so he skedaddled back up north, we don’t think he will be back.  Roderick is trying to get a book published, and we had a nice lunch discussing writing.  I need to find a way to get some of my stuff in a book.

Roderick has a couple of weeks off from his caretaking job, so he is either going to visit Merida, or Mexico City.  I suggested Merida one of my favorite places, and gave him some tips about the city.  He is heading out Monday.  I like talking to Australian chaps, they are interesting.

After that I ran in to an American contractor here that is doing some work here on condos on the beach.  I met him on his way to Belize a year or so ago, I told him how Mahahual has a future, and some of the horrors of Belize.  He went to Belize and came back, and lets just say, he has decided to open a contracting business here in Mahahual.  We talked he showed me a pool he has just built, and I gave him some maps of New Mahahual and lots that are available.  I will have more on the contracting and building company later.

When I finished chatting with him, I went to check in with a Mexican friend of mine, who has a shop on the malecon for cruise ship tourists.  He needs some more Mango Moonshine for his shop, so I worked out a deal where he can trade some pigs for some moonshine and liquor.  The moonshine guy needs some pigs, so we traded moonshine for pigs.  Now that is a story right out of the mountains of North Carolina or South Carolina, trading pigs for booze.

While I was there I met my first Trump victim, a Mexican man from a village near here, freshly deported.  He told me his story, he was caught driving without a license, and ICE came and scooped him up, and deported him.  He has a wife and still two children in Virginia, and has worked and lived in the USA for years.  He now has to find a way to get them down here.  He is a contractor, and even had his own business in Virginia on the side.

I gave him the card of the American contractor I had just talked to, and told him to check with him, he probably had some work for him.  The Mexican guy told me he is not going back, and has decided it is not worth it to live in the USA now if you are a Mexican.  I asked him besides his family, what will he miss most about the USA.  He told me the “$18.00” an hour, plus overtime he would miss the most, plus he loved the work he was doing.  He speaks very good English, so he should not have any trouble finding work here.

On my bike ride home at the end of the day from downtown Mahahual, a lot of times I will take a break at the lighthouse.  It is one of my favorite places in Mahahual, I just park my bike, sit on a bench and watch the world go by.  There is always a great breeze there, and I like to see the cruise ships come and go.  I have met a lot of people just sitting there.

Yesterday at the end of the day, I was sitting there at around 5pm or so, when I noticed a car with Belize license plates pull up.  I just sat there and watched four white people get out of the van, and start to walk around and look at the lighthouse and enjoy the view.  So I am just sitting there on the bench minding my own business, the only one sitting on a bench.

I knew these people were expats from Belize, I could tell by how they talked and acted.  So after a while of me sitting there, one of the women walks up to me and asks, “You would not happen to be the guy who writes the blog about living here, that used to live in Corozal, Belize, are you?”  I said, “Yes, I am”  She then started to tell me, she reads my blog, and she knows like ten or fifteen people who have left Belize and moved to Caldaritas and Mahahual because of my blog.

She then told me I was not too popular with a lot of expats in Belize, because of my blog. She also said that everything i wrote about Belize is true, and her and her friends were in Mahahual scouting around to maybe live here in the future.  She said is getting bad in Belize.  She also told me they had been looking around for me, and wanted to meet me before they head back to Belize.  I gave them some information, answered some questions, and they said they would keep in touch.  They then loaded back into the van, and headed back to Belize.

Just another Saturday in the life of a blog writer in Mahahual.

Thanks for reading,

Stewart Rogers USA-South Carolina

 

 

 

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