Chetumal is a small city in the south-east of Yucatan Peninsula, close to the border, making it the perfect place for spending the night before heading further south. We ended up spending there more time than initially planned and it turned out to be the place with the most "authentic" mexican experiences.
Laguna Bacalar, close to Chetumal
We arrived at the hostel on Saturday evening and we were happy to finally enjoy a proper hostel - friendly travelers from all over the world, people playing guitar and a welcoming staff. It's funny how a hostel otherwise considered OK now seemed great to us, after the experiences in Tulum.
The next morning started off with a walk around the city. Sunday is the day of local markets and we were lucky to find one on our way to the bus station. After putting together all the Spanish knowledge we had or did not have and all the signs we knew, we enjoyed fresh papaya and some unidentified fruits (at the beginning we have mistaken them as being potatoes). Finally, a place not crowded with tourists, but with locals, enjoying their life, their food and their music.
They also have some 'lovely' houses
The plan was to spend a full day at Laguna Bacalar, which according to the photos was supposed to be a great place, with turquoise waters and perfect for chilling out. However the cloudy weather, the deserted village and the increasing hunger brought as sooner as planned in Chetumal.
In the evening, the guy taking care of the hostel invited all of the hostel guests to a local bar for a concert. His friends, a Spanish couple gave an amazing guitar and voice concert and we all ended up dancing (or at least trying to).
At first impression Chetumal seemed no more than a small and boring city good only as a connection point. However, at the end of the day, I was happy to get the benefits of a non touristy city, to enjoy a concert that gave me goose bumps and to meet other warm and happy people. Time to say good bye Mexico for now and to head down to Belize for New Year's Eve.
And if somebody who reads this post considers visiting Chetumal, here are some tips:
Sleeping: We slept here: clean, cool host,a big shop nearby, basic breakfast included. However, only cold water.
- Go to Laguna Bacalar, but only on a sunny day. Don't come too hungry, there is not much there. Easy to get there by ADO bus or by shared cab (the price is the same in the end)
- Enjoy the Sunday local market in Chetumal
- Plan the next days :)