Fall greetings to all my readers out there. We’re getting into our school rhythm here in Merida now that Eduardito is back in “real” school this year. Every morning we leave the house at 7:30 so that he’s there before the 7:45 start time. So far, he’s really enjoying his new school, classmates, and teachers. With the hope of making the weekend special, we made a road trip to Motul, Yucatan on September 9th to see what we might find.
The road trip was made possible by an old college buddy of mine who lives here in Merida. He and his family are in year two of their adventure, so they know their way around the region. Plus, they have a car…which is very important for a road trip! They picked us up early Saturday morning around 8:30 and we made the drive from Merida to Motul in about 45 minutes. Why Motul? Simple, Motul is the birthplace of a regional egg dish known as huevos motuleños. We also wanted to check out the town and visit its cenote, a kind of subterranean swimming hole found all over the Yucatan peninsula.
Motul: Eggs, Plaza, and Cenote
The first thing we did in Motul was head to the local market. Then, we went upstairs and found a table at El Mirador, a restaurant specializing in huevos motuleños. We all ordered the special egg dish with a drink for 60 pesos ($3.25 U.S.). The dish is a tasty combination of simple ingredients: three fried eggs, hard corn tortilla with refried black beans, tomatoes, ham, peas, plantains, and a habanero pepper on top. Edwina and I thought they were great while Eduardito rated them “so-so.” Here’s what they looked like:
Even though he was not too impressed with huevos motuleños, Eduardito did give them a try. Here he is before launching into them:
After breakfast, we took a walk around the main plaza of Motul. It’s a small town, so there’s not much to it. We walked through the plaza to get to the San Juan Bautista Church (the big red building in the background below).
We did a quick walk through the church. I felt a little awkward since we were all wearing our bathing suits in preparation for our cenote swim. The church was beautiful:
After a quick tour or Motul, we went to the Sambulá cenote just a few blocks south of the main plaza. For the three of us, it cost 70 pesos total; that price included two life-jackets. (Me, I don’t need no stinkin’ life-jacket!) This cenote is managed by friendly staff who keep the facility in good condition:
This cenote is 100% underground, so be prepared to swim in the dark. Actually, there was enough ambient light to swim without any problems, especially if you give your eyes a few minutes to adjust to the conditions.
Here’s a video of us descending into the cenote:
Los Manglares de San Crisanto
From Motul we drove north to the coast to take a mangrove (manglar in Spanish) tour in San Crisanto. The tour cost was $60 peso per person, and we had to wait about 30 minutes for a boat guide. While we waited, we ate coconut candies (not pictured because they were inhaled) and fed the alligators. They love fresh fingers:
When we arrived to the mangroves, we got into a small dingy that the boat guide steered with a pole. You know, just like in a gondolier in Venice, but with a notable exception. The mosquitos were unreal! Suddenly, we became a floating mosquito buffet with no recourse but to suck it up. Holy cow, was I every bummed; the mangrove tour had mutated into a mosquito exhibition. Mind you, we had sprayed with insect repellent but those little blood-suckers were determined.
After about 25 minutes of mosquito king-fu fighting, we arrived at the tour’s main attraction, the mangrove swimming hole! There was a natural pool that was partitioned off from the mangrove itself. The water was refreshing, but best of all, there were no mosquitos below the water biting us. Oh happy day!
Everyone enjoyed the swim, but there was a pending sense of doom: the trip back through the mosquito gauntlet. Nonetheless, it really was a good swim:
Eduardito and his buddy had a rocking-good time. Let’s face it, a cenote swim and a mangrove swim in the same day…that’s pretty hard to beat.
The highlight of my swim was landing on top of some big fish when I jumped in. I forget what kind of fish they were, but they were very big. They were also very slow; you could touch them underwater without much effort. (I guess that suggests that they don’t fear people, right?) Try to spot them in this photo:
After about twenty minutes of swimming, our guide signaled that it was time for us to go back. Party officially over! We sprayed up as best we could and got back in the dingy. Fortunately, the mosquitos weren’t as bad as the ride in, but it was still no picnic (at least, not for us). We did manage a group selfie through the agony of our mosquito bites:
Afternoon Dip at Telchac Puerto
The last leg of our trip was a quick stop in Telchac Puerto. Initially, we were going to grab a seafood dinner there, but we decided to eat when we got back to Merida. Instead, we went swimming for a third time! We found a deserted beach area, changed back into our bathing suits, and took a dip in the ocean.
There’s not much to do in Telchac Puerto if you’re not into fishing and swimming:
From Telchac Puerto we made our way back to Merida where we had an awesome tacos al pastor dinner. (You’ll never guess what happened at dinner…the mosquitos ate us for dinner. For the day: Mosquitos 2, Us 0) All in all, it was a memorable day: we had huevos motuleños, we swam in a cenote, a mangrove, and an ocean, we enjoyed a pleasant drive in the Yucatan, and we spent time with our awesome friends. I can’t wait for our next road trip!
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