As we coasted at 80 mph on well tended roads into the Yucatan peninsula, Mexico was essentially behind us. It was time to start our training. After two long months in Mexico we were almost to the Caribbean. Before entering Belize though, we had to practice laying around in hammocks, counting sand, and painstakingly ensuring that our tans were just the right touch of scorched paste. We decided that our first stop would be Tulum.
We found a campground on the beach and quickly got to work on our new training regimen. Sheena tested the hammock- sadly the first time we’ve pulled it out on this trip. Meanwhile I strutted around without a shirt, and later we both went snorkeling before retiring to the beach for a lounge. Our first day of Caribbean training was tough, but we survived.
Bright and early the next day we made it out to the Mayan ruins perched on a short cliff by the sea. They sure had a knack for choosing nice settings, but the ruins themselves were a far cry from the epic ruins at Palenque. All of the buildings were roped off, and the magnitude of the place was much smaller than our last stop. Still, we had a really nice time walking around.
With some laziness practice under our belts we headed South. We had to hurry up and act really lazy before leaving the Yucatan and putting our preparation to the test. The perfect place it seemed, would be a small town that we’d seen on the way to Tulum. The town of Bacalar sat on the shores of a clear fresh water lagoon with a nice clean white sandy bottom, only a few miles from the Belizean border. We found a campsite right on the shore in a grassy lot. Later we would discover that our lot was in the territory of a queen ant who decided to lay thousands of babies inside of Nacho, but who the hell could have seen that coming?
Over the ensuing couple of days we really did our best to get in some last minute relaxation training for Belize. We practiced the essentials: paddleboarding, swimming, regular dock diving, shrimp eating, hands-clasped-behind-the-back dock diving, strutting, muscle flexing, and flipping water with our hair.
We found Bacalar to be very enjoyable and laid back. It seemed most of the sun-seekers had skipped over it en route to the more popular Caribbean beaches farther east on the Yucatan. The visitors we met here were primarily Mexicans on vacation. We even ran into our first couple of Mennonite families; a group that has fairly extensive presence in Belize. We weren’t really prepared to see people dressed like characters from Little House on the Prairie eating seafood at waterfront thatched huts. We continually caught ourselves staring at them, analyzing their every move. This was one thing that our extensive training program hadn’t prepared us for.