I swear I’m not a fun-fighter. I mean lately I realize I’ve shared nothing but death and destruction with you. Okay, that might be a tad dramatic, it’s been more like illness and injury, but still, based on what I’ve shared recently you’re probably thinking that this girl might not be the funnest to hang out with. And lately, I would kind of have to agree with you. I mean in my prime (which I guess means pre-Xcalak) I was no life of the party, but I have always enjoyed a night out, a new adventure or just hanging out with friends. And knowing how remote of a place we were moving to Jason and I were both a bit worried about what we would do for fun in Xcalak. We get along great and enjoy each others company, but a party of two isn’t really that much of a party.
And so when we first arrived here we immediately thought there was going to be a bit of a challenge to us in the fun department – at least what our traditional version of fun used to be. There aren’t a bunch of restaurants and bars to hang out at. We don’t have any cable or television, there isn’t a movie theater, mall or, really, much of anything that you’d find in a city. But here’s the thing. We actually do have an awful lot here. We have an ocean right outside our front door, a lagoon behind our house and a few friends we’ve made along the road. Combine all of that together with some creativity and we’ve come up with some pretty great ways to have some fun in Xcalak. Here are a few of our favorites.
Fishing – Okay, this one isn’t really one of MY favorites. Xcalak is a fisherman’s dream. Not mine, because I am neither a fisher or a man, but most of the people that vacation here (both male and female) do so because of the incredible fishing. And while not how I chose to spend my time, Jason has been loving everything about it. If he has a free hour he’ll head down to our pier and cast off there for a bit. Or, if he has a bit longer, he and and a friend will take a canoe or kayaks to one of the many lagoons that surround us for a bit more of an adventure. We’re located in a national park which means all of their fishing is catch and release, but they’ve snagged tarpon, permit, snook, barracuda and grouper.
Snorkeling/Scuba Diving – Jason and I got certified to dive about 10 years ago. Since then our vacations have always been planned out and centered around places we can dive in. We now live somewhere where I can see the Mesoamerican reef when I’m sitting on our front porch. This reef happens to be the second largest reef in the world. In the WORLD, I said. Which means the scuba diving and snorkeling around here is simply amazing. We’ve seen reef sharks, schools of squid, barracudas, moray eels and loads of fish and coral on our adventures. In addition, Chinchorro Banks, the Western Hemisphere’s largest atoll, is about 35 miles straight out to sea. It’s apparently spectacular to see and we will be diving it before we leave here.
Kayaking/Canoeing – Taking the boat out for a spin has taken on a new meaning for us here. The owners of this house have a couple of kayaks and a canoe. On calm mornings we’ll paddle out to the reef for a little bit. Or sometimes we’ll be a bit more adventurous and head a bit further from home. There are an endless number of lagoons and bays around here that all offer a unique experience.
Hanging with Friends – Many of the home owners in Xcalak spend the summer months somewhere cooler leaving the beach road and town pretty quiet. But thankfully there are a few other house sitters and caretakers and a handful of people that live here year round so sometimes we get together for potluck meals, campfires on the beach or we all meet up at the one restaurant in town. Someone might fry up some fish picked up from a local vendor and everyone else brings what they can cobble together from the goods off the food truck. Or we’ll meet at the restaurant to grab a beer and socialize or watch some football on the television that the manager brings in from his own apartment.
Surfing – Okay, this one is a bit of a stretch since there isn’t that much of a surf here. But the rainy season has finally arrived and along with the rain has been high winds which have given us a few more waves and an opportunity to have a bit of creative fun. Considering we’re using a surfboard found washed up on the beach, we have no idea what we’re doing, or how to surf, well this might not have been one of our more successful ideas.
Events in Xcalak – Xcalak only has a population of about 300 people, but that doesn’t mean they don’t like to throw a good party from time to time. We’ve headed to town to celebrate everything from Xcalak Days to, just recently, Mexican Independence Day. We’ve cheered at soccer tournaments, watched kite flying contests and feasted on tamales, tinga and noplaes. While not common events, you can really only celebrate your town once a year, they’re certainly a nice change of pace.
There are other things we do as well. We might head to Mahahual for the day to enjoy some lunch at an actual restaurant and pick up stuff from the cheese lady. We also play with the dogs, take walks on the beach, go exploring in the jungle or sometimes we just lay in a hammock and enjoy a good book.
So finding ways to relax and have fun in Xcalak hasn’t been nearly as challenging as we thought, the challenging thing has been finding the time to do all these great things. Restless sometimes? Yes. Bored? Never. And I think there’s still so much to do around here and find out about so I’m eagerly looking forward to the day that I have defeated dengue and conch shells and can start having fun again.