Our guide, Pastor, who rode with us in the van to Muyil, just south of Tulum, gave us a fabulously informative tour of the Muyil archaeological site. The site is still being excavated and is wonderful to visit because there are very few tourists. There are some incredible sites to see including the Pink Palace and the Castle ruin. We followed a Sac-Be, a white road, much like the Mayans did so long ago when this was a very different and thriving part of the world. Pastor was extraordinary and he filled us with many facts about the Mayan culture, history, and language as well as the indigenous fauna and flora. We were able to climb up a few of the ruins to get a closer look and appreciate the views.
After exploring the ruins we had a lovely walk through the jungle where we learned even more about the trade routes of the ancient Mayans and the plants and animals that thrive here. Many local plants have great medicinal purposes, while others where used during ancient ceremonies because of their hallucinogenic affects. This may explain the legends of the “little people” who supposedly dwell in the jungle. Towards the end of the jungle walk there is an observation tower for you to climb. The view from up top is quite spectacular with the lagoon just off in the distance and jungle as far as you can see. I know this because our friend Sam was kind enough to take my camera up with him and took some incredible shots.
The hike ends at the lagoon. Here we enjoyed the lovely breeze off the lagoon as well as some wonderful healthy treats. After we relaxed a bit it was off to the boats and a ride across the lagoon, one of the few above ground water sources in the Yucatan. The lagoon is amazing, when the sun shines down on it you can see several colors of blue, and there is not a building in site. You feel totally in touch with nature.
At the other side of the lagoon we navigated through a small canal lined with sawgrass. This canal is over 1,000 years old and was carved out to create trade routes that reached as far away as Belize, Guatemala and Honduras. Along the way Pastor continued to share his knowledge. We journeyed on through the first canal and into a second body of water. When we got to the opening of the second canal we stopped at at dock in front of a small ruin that. Many believe that it was a customs post for the trade that was conducted on this water way.
We got out of our boat, took a quick look at the ruin, then grabbed our life jackets and said good bye to our boats and drivers. We would catch up with them later after what our group unanimously agreed was the highlight of our day, a luxurious float down the canal. The water was the perfect temperature, There was not a tourist to be seen, no screams, no engines running, nothing but the lapping of the water, the sounds of birds and the wind rustling through the mangroves. We had found paradise. Pleasures that have been almost entirely lost. And an amazing thing happened as we floated down the canal – we all became children once again. We relaxed, and splashed, and giggled and had the time of our lives. With no one to see us but ourselves and the clouds above. On one side of the canal was miles of mangrove and, on the other, was endless acres of saw grass and, in between, was crystal clear fresh water with a wonderful current that meant we just had to lay back and enjoy nature's ride.
But alas, as with all good things, this too had to come to an end. We all sighed when we saw our boats waiting for us. We climbed aboard and headed back to the spot where we had had our snacks. When we arrived the picnic table was set and our lunches, that were ordered at the beginning of our trip, were there waiting for us. We didn't realize just how hungry we were until we took that first bite.
After lunch we piled back into the vans and made one more stop at an incredible cenote along the way. A refreshing dip in the cool waters of the cenote was the perfect way to end a delightful day.