Once again, another 91 days have come and gone. This time, we’re saying adiós to the Yucatán Peninsula. Our three months here were amazing; an almost perfect mix of history, culture, sight-seeing and adventure. We’re leaving with tanned bodies, relaxed minds, and memories that we won’t soon forget.
Despite the fact that it borders the USA, we had never bothered to visit Mexico and, worse, we knew next to nothing about it. But overlooking our neighbor to the south is a mistake which Jürgen and I won’t be making again. Our three months in the Yucatán consisted of highlight after highlight, surprise after surprise. From the henequen plantations around Mérida to the walled city of Campeche, to the pristine waters off the coast of Quintana Roo, to the ancient Maya cities, we saw as much of the peninsula as humanly possible.
Yes, we had a hectic schedule, but don’t feel too sorry for us. After all, our itinerary was filled with items like “pearl farm on uninhabited beach” and “lagoon tour to see flamingos” and “excursion to forgotten Maya ruins” and “swimming with sea turtles”. There were times we got tired, of course, but whenever I felt myself about to whine, I remembered that my only complaint was having too much of a good thing.
Tulum. Uxmal. Poc-chuc. Sotuta de Peon. Celestún. Maní. Panuchos. Cenotes. Cozumel. I don’t think we’ve ever had so many experiences that I would immediately like to have again. That I would happily repeat the very next day. But that’s not to say that I was ready to sign up for another 91 days in the Yucatán, right away. After three months, there were aspects of life here that I was eager to escape, chief among them the heat and the mosquitoes. The noise and chaos of Mérida, initially fun and invigorating, wore thin. The unreliability of public transportation was infuriating. The lethargy and grime. The littering and the police stops.
But without a few little gripes, a place wouldn’t feel like home, and we knew that we were seriously going to miss the Yucatán. More so than in other places, I felt as though we really improved upon ourselves during our time here. We learned to scuba dive. We became versed in the history and present-day situation of the Maya, one of the most fascinating cultures we’ve ever encountered. We improved our Spanish, discovered a new cuisine, communed with nature, and met some wonderful people. While in the Yucatán, we grew in ways I hadn’t anticipated.
As always, leaving was hard. If nothing else, our time in the Yucatán opened our minds to the wonders of México, and I know for a fact that we’ll be back soon. We’re already starting to look forward to it.