After leaving Tulum I went in search of beach chill in Holbox (say Holbosh). Several people had recommended it to me and I expected it to be considerable less pretentious and more chilled than Tulum. The main reason for my flight was that I wanted a beach at crawling distance, rather than a 20-minute hot and boring bike ride away. Holbox is a small island at the northeastern edge of the Yucatan peninsula, that can be reached by ferry from the sleepy town of Chiquila.
Rainy Days, Hippy Food and Mass Tourism on some islands
The town and the wider island are quite touristy, but, indeed, rather chill. The place is well-known for whale- shark watching and its flamingos. I did manage to enjoy the beach and some very good yet, slightly overpriced food, however, the few days I was there it rained a fair amount. As Holbox doesn’t have paved roads, the dirt paths become a muddy mess after it has rained and exploring the village becomes far less enjoyable; One needs to wade through large puddles and I did leave my wellies (rain boots) at home. So, after a few days in Holbox I went in search of sunnier beach chill in Isla Mujeres, a 20 minute ferry ride from Cancun. If Holbox is quite touristy, then Isla Mujeres is VERY touristy, as it attracts mass-tourism crowds. The island has a beautiful beach at the North side of the Island, which I, ironically, didn’t visit. The island is covered in shops, where one can buy clothes, souvenirs and other tourist bollocks. There are so many shops and not that many people seem to be buying as far as I could observe, shop owners and workers must be bored stiff and I wondered how they all could be making a decent living. Despite mass tourism and no beach visit, I did have a chilled time working and consuming good food in hippy cafes and practicing yoga in my room. But I could have been in any other ‘mass-tourist paradise’.
The Storm, the shattered yogic Dream and the Wandering
That I was in some tropical mass-tourism trap didn’t matter, because in a few days I was supposed to fly to the heavenly island archipelago of the Bahamas to spend three weeks at the Sivananda ashram for a yogic lifestyle in paradise. I had been looking forward to it for weeks, yet a certain meteorological phenomenon they named Irma, was seriously ruining these plans. I had my head stuck up in my bony yogic arse, anxiously spending considerable amounts of time with the airline carrier, that was to take me there, and the ashram that cancelled my booking. Meanwhile property, infrastructure and livelihoods of millions of people were threatened, as I was rather occupied with my First World problems and had totally lost a sense of perspective. I had booked two separate flights; one from Cancun to Miami and one from the city in the Sunshine State to Nassau in the Bahamas. Initially my flights were postponed, as the air carrier didn’t allow me to cancel the flights for a refund.
Cancun and Bacalar; Lake chill and where not to spend time
As I would be spending a week longer in Mexico than expected, I was wandering a bit without a clear purpose. I spent two nights in Cancun as these were already booked in anticipation to my flights to the Bahamas. In my opinion, Cancun is a shithole. I have only spent time in downtown Cancun, which has no charm, no real centre, and no real places of interest. Cancun is a major tourist centre and famed for its zona Hotelera, which is a large stretch of concrete jungle consisting of hotels along the beach. I have been informed that is pretty crap as well, unless you are totally into package deals and mass tourism. Cancun as a city didn’t exist before 1970 and has been developed with mass tourism for unimaginative yanks and other (wannabe) gringos in mind. After my time in Cancun, which felt like wasted days, I made my way down south again to the town of Bacalar. Bacalar is a sleepy place located at a fresh water lake with the same name. People predominately visit, with the purpose of chilling and doing water activities like paddle boarding and kayaking. Furthermore, the town has a small 300-year old fort and several cenotes in the vicinity one can visit. Once again, I didn’t do any of that and spent my time chilling and working in hippy cafes. Bacalar is another stinking hot place, where after 9.30 am, you just want to chill in the shade or, when you’re already boiling, under a massive fan.
As going to the Bahamas was a clearly not meant to be for me this time, I decided to keep the flight to Miami and fly from there to Nicaragua instead. Miami has withstood the hurricane relatively well, yet the airport experienced delays and cancellations several days after the storm had passed. My postponed flight to Miami was cancelled and I was put on a later flight on the same day. My connecting flight to Nicaragua, however, was cancelled, which made me spent a day in the city after I managed to enter Fort America.