Becan, Chicanna, Calakmul Day Trip - pics need labels
|Having set up the trip the night before w/ Jose Louis...timing was perfect, we arr in front of Hotel Mirador Maya right at 6 when he drove up! We got to Calakmul by 8, 120 km away - 60 highway, 60 single lane in park reserve/rainforest. JL says that they will soon have a 'train' (actually, a motor driven vehicle w/ train-like cars...Disney fashion) which will limit traffic by carting the tourists most of the 60 km. We were the only ones there the entire 3 hours it took us to see the entire site(see pics)! Fantastic! On to Balam, Chicanna, and Becan - each w/ it's own special differences, all very impressive being w/o tourists and no restrictions to walking/climbing the ruins and getting up close & personal. Also, the sky was overcast so it was perfect weather - cool but not cold. JL (driver) was patient w/ us and told us about animals (cave w/ 1000s of bats, different birds in park, even a puma story). We gave him a 100p tip, he seemed appreciative (total for day = 1200p plus 360p entry fees, $130 US...really not bad considering the distances and time, 6am til 6pm).
Jose Louis story: He has 3 brothers and 2 sisters, youngest is 21, mother still alive, dad died 12 years ago. JL is 41 and eldest...owns (is paying for) his own taxi. All 4 brothers have been to US illegally working at various times - restaurants, factories in Alabama. All are now back in MX working on their small, 20 cattle farm where they plant corn, etc. He said tourism is way down for past 6 months - he was lucky, he had another tourist hire him just 2 weeks ago for day trip but meanwhile works as taxi/combi between here and Chetumal or Campeche. He is married and has 4 kids, 3 boys and a girl. Obviously, a hard worker ad seems quite serious. Loves soccer and his team is the Chivos, says they are the best in MX out of Guadalajara.
While in Calakmul saw deer, wild turkey-like bird and a mink-type critter plus lots of squacking parrots.