March 9 to March 15, 2009
March 09, 2009 - Parked at Campamento Lacandon, near Bonampak, Chiapas
A Trip to the Yaxchilán Ruins
Today was the day for our first visit to the ruins at Yaxchilán.
Access is by boat from Frontera Corozal. This is 25 miles from the campground near Bonampak and we left early. There were five of us from the campground. That's plenty of people to rent one of the boats, we were quoted a price of 600 pesos for us all, pretty good deal!
It normally take about 40 minutes to run down the river but we took quite a bit longer. Part of the deal we negotiated was a slow trip - we made it clear to the driver that we were birders.
Normally boat drivers tell visitors that they have two hours at the ruins. Our's didn't, as birders he knew we'd be a while! As it turned out we spent about four hours at the ruins.
The location here is spectacular. The Usumacina River forms the border between Guatemala and Mexico. It's a big river. The ruins were built on the Mexico side of a big horseshoe bend and dominate the river, a very strategic location.
This isn't a big site compared to some others in the region but the river and the boat access make it unique - and remote. The birding was great!
March 12, 2009 - Parked at New Entrance Station, Ruinas Calakmul, Campeche
Calakmul was an important Mayan city, on a par with Tikal. The ruins here were discovered in 1931 and are some of the most extensive in the Maya area.
This is our first visit and we were blown away. Almost no visitors, spectacular ruins, and even signed walking trails laid out so that you won't miss anything. That's a good thing since these ruins cover a large area. They include the highest pyramid in the region - and you can still climb to the top. Also like Tikal, this is a remote area with lots of birds and wildlife.
The road south from Mex 186 has been upgraded and is wide enough for an RV for 12 miles from the highway to the parking lot of a new visitor center that is under construction. Soon trams will run from the visitor center the remaining 25 miles to the ruins. Most likely you won't be able to drive your own vehicle. Right now you can drive all the way in but it would be tough to pass a tourist bus (or even a car) if you met one coming the other way. Right now it appears that the few tourist busses (we saw one) are scheduling their travels to avoid meeting.
We overnighted in the parking lot at the new visitor center and drove the rest of the way in with our tow car today. The tourist bus was already there but the ruins are so extensive that we never did see the group that traveled in it.
March 13, 2009 - Overnight at Clinica Carranza, Chetumal
Yes, we're spending the night in the hospital.
Several days ago Terri fell on her elbow. It immediately began swelling and after three days the swelling had not gone down.
We visited the doctor this morning and had the elbow X-rayed. It turned out to be broken and needed surgery. Six hours later she was in the operating room and this evening she's doing well.