Recently the owners of the house we house sit for came into town to spend some time here in Xcalak which gave us the opportunity to head out for a few days. Somewhere, anywhere, we were ready for an adventure! We had grand plans of going to explore the neighboring Mexican state of Campeche, climbing pyramids, exploring undiscovered cenotes and visiting some pueblos mágicos (magic cities) for a few days. But then I was attacked by a conch. The healing process from my conch shell injury has been painful and excruciatingly slow. Walking is still a challenge and it is particularly hard to keep sand out of an open wound on your foot when your front yard is made of sand. This meant our vacation options were severely limited so we had to figure out an alternative plan, something that involved quite a bit of sitting and less sand. Our adventurous spirits sagged a bit until we started thinking about what these days away could actually be.
We have been hot and sweaty 24/7 for the last month. Areas of the Caribbean, including here in Xcalak, are facing a drought that continues to worsen every day so we are facing a water shortage. And there have been some days that between working around the property and working at our ‘desk jobs’ we’ve put in 10-12 hours per day. All of the sudden our adventurous personas weren’t so sad as we realized we had the opportunity to get away and do a mental and physical reset. We now had images of air conditioning and fruity drinks and swimming pools and food that didn’t still have its head attached floating around our imaginations and we became determined to make this a reality.
Originally we were going to take a 2.5 hour boat ride over to the island of Caye Caulker in Belize but at the last minute another great opportunity came up and off we went to the town of Puerto Morelos. Puerto Morelos sits about halfway between Cancun and Playa del Carmen along the Riviera Maya but is much, much, much smaller and more low-key than both of those cities. Known as a ‘fishing village’ Puerto Morelos is one of the oldest communities in the area and has a sleepy, laid-back vibe. It’s kind of embarrassing that we lived in Playa del Carmen, a mere 20 minute drive away, for more than a year and up til now had spent all of one afternoon in Puerto Morelos. It’s really an ideal spot for us. There are wide stretches of beautiful, wide beaches, there is great snorkeling and diving all along the coast here and there is a town square that is full of charming shops and restaurants.
Puerto Morelos ended up being the absolutely perfect spot for us to get away for a few days. We stayed in our friends condo and we rested, we relaxed and I worked on healing up my foot. If we weren’t cooling off in the air conditioning or hanging in the pool or enjoying beautiful sunrises and sunsets, we were eating. And not just eating, but eating out – no food truck deliveries or cooking for us – and I ate ice cream. Oh my god I ate so much ice cream. Also, every day we were able to stop at the local corner Oxxo and get ice. Cold drinks! I wish I could say I’m joking but the novelty of such a thing is our real life experience and part of the cost of living in remote Xcalak. You eventually get used to lukewarm drinks and no ice cream. You don’t necessarily like it, but you get used to it.
So right now we are probably the most boring vacation takers you know. We didn’t climb a pyramid or scuba dive a shipwreck or tour a single museum. What we did do, though, was get our heads and spirits (and foot) back to a good spot. We love it here in Xcalak but some days the reality of living in a remote jungle can wear on you and sometimes you need to step away from a place to understand and appreciate how great it is. So lame vacation goers? Right now I’m okay with that.