The beginning of an adventure
My mother is very adventurous. She thus orchestrated, in December 2000, a crazy travelling adventure without a destination, driving all the way to Merida, to explore whatever came our way around the Yucatan Peninsula. We thus drove all they way to Rio Lagartos, and then someone told us about a very special island that one could only reach through the small harbor of Chiquila. After a couple of hours of driving on a small dirt road, we arrived late at night to the town Chiquila, a small, quiet town, with dim lighting, with a few dogs running here and there. When we approached the port, some fishermen asked us whether we wished to take a small ferry boat, to Holbox island. We had never heard of Holbox island.
“Holbox”, the fishermen told us, was the Mayan word for “Black Hole”. We decided to follow their advice and crossed to the island in a small ferry boat that was quite old and noisy. We were hesitant about the destination: a “black hole”, in the middle of nowhere, an island no one had ever really heard of, a little but beautiful fishing town apparently. We did not really know whether the destination would be worth going, but with my parents, and us as kids, we were hungry for the unknown, trying to decipher each moment and noises of nature. And this journey into the unknown in a magical country like Mexico became an adventure worth a thousand lives.
A detail called my attention. While on the boat, I observed a lot of pleasant and very friendly people, who, when they realized that we had no idea of our destination – assured us that we would soon find paradise. These people were travelling with all kinds of food and merchandises. When getting off the boat, we noticed that the means of transport of the people was very particular. A golf cart painted in yellow and black, similar to a New York taxi, approached us. The funny thing was that they were very few and so, when we tried to catch one of these taxis, there were none.
We walked through a small sand street which led downtown. We started walking while pulling our suitcases wondering whether there were hotels or flats to rent. We finally reached a town square, where the villagers were celebrating the 15-year old birthday party “quinceañera” of one of the villagers’ daughters. As soon as we were near, the party host came straight to us, took our suitcases while at the same time welcoming us with a smile and placed us, without asking, on one of the tables. He then asked us where we came from, and generously offered us to drink and eat dinner. We were welcomed as guests.
It was quite an unforgettable evening, filled with joy and happiness, meeting and dancing with nice and pleasant local people. When the party was over, we were all exhausted but with happy feet. The party host then drove us to a small hotel, through a sand road with no lights but the golf cart’s. Even though we could hear some waves (albeit small), we were unable to see anything. We were welcomed by a nice couple who gave us a very cozy room, with snails outside the door and comfortable hammocks.
The next morning, we woke up in paradise, the beach was mind-blowing. It looked like a pool of turquoise, green and blue colors. There was nobody else around us, we were alone at the beach. The land lady prepared us a delicious Mexican breakfast, which fed our inspiration to begin the adventure of exploring this beautiful island.
My father and I decided to take a walk with the intention of reaching the end of the island (and the northernmost point on the Yucatan Peninsula), the place is called Cabo Catoche. We started walking around 9 in the morning. We crossed a river, and we walked for almost 5 hours until we realized that Cabo Catoche was farther than we expected. We saw flamingos, pelicans, rattlesnakes, starfish. We had never seen a beach like this one, a beach beyond words for us. Our adventurous hearts were satisfied with the idea that we had just discovered the most beautiful place in the world. We were in paradise. It took us about 5 hours to return and when we finally crossed the river again, it was quite late at night. Upon arriving at the hotel, our hosts reminded us of our foolishness as apparently there were many crocodiles on the river at night, which amazed us, as we had no idea of the danger we had just survived.