Ad Astra has been in the Mayan Riviera - the Yucatan for nearly six months. One month anchored off Isla Mures and the other five months in the most sublime Puerto Aventuras. Our previous record stay was Martinque for five months.
We love it so much here, we will return in November 2018 after we tuck into the Rio Dulce for the hurricane season of 2018.
Every few days the crew of Ad Astra discovers another amazingly cool aspect of this magical place that kicks off another round of “Oh, yeah, I could live here forever!”, “Yeah, me too!”
Sub-vocalized I often mutter simpático to explain to myself how I feel.
First of all, the people of the Yucatan are perhaps the warmest people I have met. Yes they are warm and wonderful like most Mexicans, but majority of them are Mayans, and then other more liberal, free-spirited Mexicans adventuring out from the other states, and then a surprisingly cosmopolitan expat community with folks from literally everywhere - but particularly Europe and the Middle East.
The Hermana Repubic
As the sun was setting one afternoon, after a day of play in a few cenotes, my Dad and I explored the town of Tulum. CHecking out a few shops, he bought some amber jewelry for his lady, and made a killer deal for an epic new hammock for our arch. Then we took a turn and then another turn through these lively cafe-lined streets with that magic hour of sunset lighting and saw cue dramatic music a craft beer pub!
Slick concrete floors and craft beers on tap. We both order their IPA and settle into stools and start soaking in the decorations. My eyes ketp going back to this flag with a green field of stars and alternating red and white stripes. Of course, it looks like the star spangled banner, but with just 5 stars, and 3 stripes. But clearly designed to evoke the sense of Life, Liberty and Pursuit of Happiness.
My dad and I were both riveted by the story of the Hermana Republic. There is so much rich and amazing history that I never heard about - the flag of course also is earily similar to the Texas flag - and that was no accident - they were “sister” repubilcs!
Then you find out the incredible story of the caste war a 50+ year war of genocide between the native Mayan people and the European descendents from the mid 19th century officially ending in the early 20th century but skirmishes continued even to the 1970s! While exploring the area around Merida we chanced upon the rarely visited Loltun Caves. These Loltun caves geeked me out - miles of underground and still unexplored caves that inlcude bones of hunted mastadons and other exctint megafauna and the hand-print paintings of the earliest pre-Mayan settlers of this cave system back 3000+ years. The cave itself has been continually inhabited for over 10,000 years and was the main stronghold for the Mayan during the Caste War.
Incredibly the Yucatan was not linked by rail to the rest of Mexico until the 1950s and highways until the 1960s. Mayan is still spoken by 7 million people, and now at the federally protected cultural sites the inscriptions are now rendered in Spanish, Mayan and English.
Here are the links to our various adventures in this magical land:
- Ek Balam
- Chocolate Museum
- Loltun Caves
- Chitchen Itza
- Puerto Aventuras
- Playa Del Carmen
- Isla Mujeres