Royal Resorts members for 16 years, Bruce & Cherie R. from the Twin Cities, Minnesota recently took the Bacalar and Muyil trip and loved it. They very kindly granted permission for us to share their review on the blog.
We enjoyed a day-long van tour to the temple at Muyil and the lagoon/cenote at Bacalar. It was a great view of archeology and Mayan history, and a view of a lagoon/cenote with seven levels of color in the fresh water.
We stopped in the city of Tulum for fresh fruit. It was interesting to us to view the market and all its fresh produce. The city of Tulum, and all towns we passed through south of Playa del Carmen were interesting to view as typical of the state of Quintana Roo. The colorful buildings, plazas and courtyards, flowers, the residents and the big tricycles all paint a wonderful mental picture for us.
Our guide, Albert, gave us a talk on the history of the Mayan culture, which was very enlightening, and gave him a feeling for our knowledge. We learned from the topics he covered, and he went into detail for us as he learned we had studied Mayan history for many years.
We arrived at Muyil, put on our bug spray (no bug problems), and toured with pertinent information from our guide. There is good signage there, and he also answered our questions beyond the signage. He pointed out other interesting items, such as the termite nests, and various trees we do not see in the northern U.S.
We ate our bananas and golden mangos from the market, and the tour staff provided plenty of cold water to keep us hydrated. The trip proceeded to Bacalar, which was still a distance south. As we approached, we could see the lagoon from the highway.
We entered the Hotel Laguna property, and our party joined the pontoon guide, Victor. He spoke to Albert in Spanish, who translated for us. The area is interesting ecologically in the past and present, with freshwater stromatolites and the white sand that creates the seven-color variations, depending on the water depth. We loved the well-kept hotels and private homes along the shore. We motored out to the channel across the lagoon where we could swim in shallow water, and learn how the pirates (English) entered in small boats to come ashore away from the cannons at the Spanish fort. The large galleons could not enter via this shallow channel.
We tied up to an abandoned nightclub built as a concrete ship. It was never used because it was in an ecological area. The sand is not like Cancun or Playa del Carmen, which has small grains of coral. At Bacalar, it feels more like sand in the U.S., and is muddier when you pick up a handful. The local people use it as an exfoliant. The freshwater was very warm, in some places like a mild hot tub. Soooo relaxing! We returned to the hotel passing an island with spoonbills and other birds living in the trees. It is a de facto bird sanctuary the local residents protect.
On returning to the hotel, we changed and had our meal. I refrain from calling it lunch, it was a wonderful meal, as filling and scrumptious as a dinner. We had three choices each for appetizer, main course, and beverage. We also found out we had a dessert as well. We chose the nachos with refried beans & melted cheese, plus salsa & guacamole. It came on a dinner-sized plate. The entrée was grilled fish and pineapple, rice and corn; with tortillas on the side. The dessert was a large sundae glass of flan, one of our favorite Mexican treats. This meal was served on the ground level deck, overlooking the lagoon and the hotel paths winding down to the shore.
Our day was sunny, with perfect temperature & breeze, and a cozy feel at the hotel. We were on a private tour and being taken care of very, very well.
This tour does start at 6:45 AM, and returns in the evening. If your group would like a ride south with a few stops, and a return trip with one stop on the return, this is a very low key, relaxing tour. Truthfully, our guide let us snooze.
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