After busing to Chetumal from Cancun you change buses and are ready for the ride of of your life. The undeveloped Costa Maya region doesn’t even start until you get 100 miles south of Tulum, which is already 80 miles south of Cancún. The road changes from a four-lane highway to a narrow two-lane one barely holding its own against the forever-growing jungle.
As the bus driver swerves and shift gears he heads up Highway 295 and turns south at the Majahual turnoff. If you wanted to find the longest dirt road that traveled along side the turquoise sea— this is it. Eighty miles of pristine coast, sand, coconut trees, and bright blue caribbean sea. As you drive through The U.S.-funded Mexican-army drug checkpoint the bus comes to a halt. A stern looking army officer boards the bus and examines your passport and opens up a sampling of backpacks and luggage. With a nonchalant salute he steps off the bus and heads for a well deserved siesta— as this is as busy as it gets. Rambling along miles of road and vacant land— once in a while you see a homemade sign: land for sale and maybe the start of a house, lots of wildlife and birds flying through the jungle and in the air as if scripted to the yet to be written opera ” A Bird-Watchers Dream.” This is my favorite form of travel. You have your backpack, your imagination, and time— which is the secret ingredient to exploring. Who knows whats around the next bend?
When you have finally arrived at the tip of the Costa Maya you are at the end of the line in a small town called Xcalak. You say to yourself maybe this is it! It’s small, you can walk, fish, dive, excellent weather and be totally relaxed. A tourist is swinging in his hammock smoking a large cuban cigar. I will always have that image. You can’t get much more laid back then that– unless they lay you out for your final resting grounds. I will say it now and anyone who reads this is my witness. I want to be buried in Xcalak. Nothing like putting a little pressure on your family and friends. I can see it now as they take the long trek. It will at least give them a paradigm shift as they gain a new perspective on what it is like to have the incurable wanderlust. I already have the prescription antidote. Keep Traveling!!!!
The entire Costa Maya region has a history of Mayan temples, legend, and yet to be discovered secrets and burial grounds. Following the footsteps of Belize, Cozumel and other eco-friendly growth areas— they are trying to keep this area at a slower growth than Cancun and other tourist areas. Time will tell. Maybe the last area of planned development on the Mexican Costa Maya, but you better hurry— because the gringo’s are already setting up land sales and the Mexican government in conjunction with tourism will add thousands of rooms in the near future.
Just when you thought you had found Nirvana— the beer truck rolled in for a three day Mexican fiesta. The speakers were so large mounted on flatbed trucks— music permeated through my skin three blocks away at the only local hotel.
The Belize softball team was playing their Sunday afternoon game with Xcalak. I made arrangements to go by boat with the softball team over to Belize— which is only 7 miles away across the open sea. I went to the immigration office only to be told it was closed until after the fiesta. On Monday I went to the immigration office to get my passport stamped— only to learn the immigration officer was in Mexico City and might return by mid- week. If you are traveling by bus you better forget about your tight schedule like the typical 4 day American vacation with its fly in fly out program. Manana is the word!
Fiesta over— I got to talk to the locals, look at property, and discover most of the men had tiny little shops, which were open from two until four. The rest of the time they drank beer, relaxed, fished, danced, and swapped stories. Of course their is some bad news for the Starbucks set– they don’t have blackberries, porn, video games, BMW’s, traffic jams, etc. As my friend used to say: “everything is a tradeoff off anyway.”
Their electrical is provided free of charge to all of its citizens, which comes from a huge windmill driven turbine, that the town invested in for it’s electrical service. Talk about being ahead of the curve and also including it’s citizens— it sounds too good to be true.
“Xcalak is the most southern town in the state of Quintana Roo, just 7 miles by water from the Central American country of Belize. Xcalak has the look and feel of Mexico and Belize all rolled into one; so close to Belize that English is spoken fluently by many, but Spanish is still the predominant language. This is a great place for those who are seeking the remote, less refined areas of the Caribbean Coast, with all its natural beauty above and below the waterline.
Xcalak is one of the top saltwater fly fishing~ flats fishing and bonefishing areas in the world, and a less traveled but much revered scuba diving destination as well. Scuba divers and snorkelers can enjoy diving on part of the world’s second longest barrier reef, and when conditions are good, even take a boat ride to the Chinchorro Bank (a large coral atoll that lies offshore with a virtual graveyard of shipwrecks that have sunk over the centuries). The mangrove waterways of Bacalar Chico, just south of Xcalak between Mexico and Belize, are home to many varieties of birds and fish. Bird Island is a popular destination for bird watchers visiting this area, and anglers will seldom see any competion from others for coveted fish like permit, tarpon and bonefish.——locogringo.com
” A tiny fishing hamlet surrounded by marshes and located on the southern end of the Mayan Coast, known in Spanish as Costa Maya. The town of Xcalak is older than the Quintana Roo state capital of Chetumal, Mexico. It is approximately 120 miles by road, but only about 30 miles east by boat across the Bay of Chetumal from the capital.
Located at latitude 18 degrees, 10 minutes north, Xcalak is approximately 1,090 miles north of the equator. As with the fishing village of Mahahual, 30 miles to the north, the fishing, diving, and the Chinchorro Reef is spectacular.
A channel separates the village of Xcalak from Belize’s Ambergris Cay. Once a Mayan fishing community, because of the decline in coconut production, Xcalak is now only one tenth of its population 50 years ago. From this southern most point on the Mexican Caribbean, one can hop a short boat ride south to Ambergris Cay in Belize.
The government of the state of Quintana Roo, Mexico, has constructed a new pier on the north end of town. The coral reef approximately 500 yards from shore, provides Xcalak with a natural harbor for yachtsmen traveling north or south on the Caribbean. Visitors will find stores to purchase canned goods, a few tropical bars, and seafood restaurants. There is a tiny Catholic Church, schools, and a small medical clinic for routine health needs.——beaches-r-us.com
So there you have it. If you truly like to get off the beaten path, like clear, pure caribbean turquoise waters, like to hang out and consummate your dreams– why not head to Xcalax and become a part of history. One thing that is for sure is change, but this clock moves slower than some. Unless you are Mayan and can time travel— how many lifetimes do you have anyway? Will Rogers said about real estate: “Buy on the water, buy on the hill —throw the book away. Go there before anyone knows about it. Wait until the people come, sell and move on.”
QUOTE:”Everything is a trade-off! —–a friend
THINGS YOU MAY NOT KNOW:”How Do We Know So Much About Extinct Mammoths? The wooly mammoth, which is an ancestor of our modern elephant, lived on earth for 3,000,000 years, and became extinct only 10,000 years ago. However, we know a great deal about these creatures, more probably than about any other creature that lived at the same time.
Some of these mammoths made their home in the far northern sections of Siberia, around the Arctic Circle. Because of the constant icy conditions there, several complete carcasses have been uncovered in this region buried in the ice. The mammoth’s meat was found to be still fresh enough to eat, and even the contents of its stomach, herbs and tall grasses, were fresh enough for scientists to identify what these animals fed on.
These mammoths also found their way to the North American continent by crossing over a prehistoric land bridge that once existed over what is now the Bering Straits, between Russia and Alaska.”——–bigsiteofamazingfacts.com
THINGS YOU MAY WANT TO SAVE: Our Reefs!
ZENTRAVELER SAYS: Travel often, travel light, and open your eyes. You might be surprised what you might see.
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