Crossing the Border into Guatemala

After a relaxing time in San Cristabol it was time to tackle the border into Guatemala. I first wanted to get a little closer to the border. But not too close as border towns are infamously chaotic places. I chose Comitán de Domínguez.

Comitán de Domínguez

I arrived early to Comitán. As usual the weather forecast was for rain everyday. But I am discovering the pattern. It is nice in the morning and afternoon. Then late afternoon and into the evening it rains or thunders. So the plan was to get to Comitán before the rain started.

Comitán surprised me! What a nice place. Hardly any foreign tourists and the town plaza was beautiful.


comitan zocalo 3

comitan zocalo 7

Comitan zocalo

Of course there were the usual amazing churches.


Then the rain struck.


It didn’t last long though and I was back to the plaza to enjoy some wings and beer 🙂

Checking out of Mexico

The next day I tackled the border into Guatemala at La Messila. I had done some research but there wasn’t the detail I wanted to really understand where to go etc. So hopefully here I can provide a little bit more for those who may wish to follow.

First I needed to check out of Mexico. Where to go? Where to go? As I got close to the border I saw on the other side of the street some buildings that looked like an Aduana. I turned around and headed back.

No one was around. I walked into building #1 in the photo and was greeted by a security guard. He said to wait a minute. A little bit later an older man came to the desk. He looked at my passport, visa, and my 500 peso entrance fee paperwork. He handed my passport back and that was it. He didn’t say a word.

As I walked outside, another security guard asked me to pulled my motorcycle up to building #2. He then directed me to the Banjercito bank booth and told me to wait.

Eventually a gentleman came and took my paperwork for the $400 USD temporary import permit for my motorcycle. He then went outside and took a photo of my motorcycle VIN and came back inside. Moments later he handed me back $400 USD and that was it! Pretty simple. No hassle.



Crossing the Border in Guatemala at La Mesilla

Now for the hard part. Well …. it really wasn’t that hard. Just more chaotic.

So there is a long stretch of no man’s land between when you check out of Mexico, #3 in the photo and reach the Gautemalan border at #4 in the photo.


I reached an open gate at the border, #5 in the photos. I did stop before the gate as it looked like a government building there. But I was waved on by a money changer who said the fumingation and border was on the other side of the gate.

Just on the other side of the gate, at #6 in the photo, is where you have to get your motorcycle fumingated. It cost 11 Q or about $2 Canadian.

I then exchanged my Mexican pesos with the money changer that showed me where to go. He was the only one there. I didn’t have much so I really didn’t care about the exchange rate. Plus he had helped me. But the rate seemed reasonable.

Right next door at #7 in the photo is the immigration office. They were really friendly. I just filled out some paperwork, and he stamped my passport. That was it. I hope that is all that was required … huuummmm. I guess I will find out.

The Aduana for my motorcycle entry is just next door at #8 in the photo.



The people at the Aduana were equally as nice. I gave him my registration, passport and drivers license and he spent what seemed like an eternity filling out paperwork. I then had to go next door to pay a fee of 160 Q or about $30 Canadian. Then it was back to the Aduana where he had more paperwork to do ha ha. Poor guy. After all that he came out to my motorcycle and put a import sticker on my windshield.


I was now in Guatemala! I let out a cheer. The policeman next to me said welcome to Guatemala 🙂

Riding into Guatemala

As I left the Aduana it felt like I was riding into the abyss ha ha.


I didn’t want to stay too close to the border but still close enough because I had no idea how long it would take to cross. I decided on Huehuetenango.


The hotel I stayed at, La Chacra de Joel Hotel, was tucked in off the street in a quiet treed area.

As usual I decided to explore the town a bit. Boy, there wasn’t much there that I could find of interest.



Tripadvisor did recommend a coffee place nearby, Fuego Café. I headed there hoping it would be a bit a refuge in unknown territory. It was.



I had a victory coffee and sandwich for crossing another border 🙂

My Route from San Cristabol to Comitan on May 15, 2017


My Route from Comitan to Huehuetenango on May 16, 2017


Cool San Cristóbal de las Casas, Mexico

Time to ride to San Cristóbal de las Casas for some cool weather. San Cristóbal is in the mountains and the weather forecasts showed mid 20s Celsius. Perfect! But they also showed rain everyday 🙁 I debated staying in Palenque longer to avoid the rain. But there seemed no way to avoid it. The best time to ride there was the day I planned.

Now … I don’t mind riding in the rain if I have to. But why would I if I don’t have to? It is harder to enjoy the sights and ride in the rain. I have no deadlines or places I HAVE to be, so it would serve no point to ride in the rain.

To get to San Cristóbal I had to ride the same route I took on the tour. A lot nicer riding it though. And after the exit to Cascadas de Agua Azul the road got better. Also the weather got cooler too. No rain yet though.

As I was riding I saw a group of women in white putting out things to sell. I also spotted a small store. I decided to stop for a break.

snack 1

snack 2

snack 4

With the break done it was onto my hotel.

Parador Margarita Hotel

I made it to the Parador Margarita Hotel and no rain! I had a hard time finding the hotel at fist as it is tucked into a narrow one way street.

hotel enstrance

The courtyard to the registration was a refuge.

hotel lobby

No English spoken here but I managed to register with my broken Spanish. They put me on the 3rd floor which meant lugging my luggage up a flights of stairs.

The patio was awesome and I would spend time there just relaxing.

hotel patio

But my room on the third floor was just as relaxing!

hotel looking at my room

hotel hall to my room

hotel view from my room

One free breakfast came with the hotel. It wasn’t your ordinary stale croissant breakfast.

hotel coffee

The hotel was a bit over my budget, but well worth it. Very relaxing for the 11 nights I would be there.

The only downside was that the WiFi always went on and off. I went to the office lots to get them to fix it or reboot the router.

With my home base established it was time to explore the town over the next week or so.

Carajillo Slow Coffee

The first thing I like to do is find my morning coffee spot where I plan my day, write posts, and looks at emails and messages. I found the perfect spot in Carajillo Slow Coffee. Awesome food, lots of different kinds of coffee, and reliable and strong internet with electrical plugs.


working Carajilllo

It wasn’t long before the staff got to know me. They greeted me with a smile, knew my order, and some would start up a conversation with me. It was my home.

Real de Guadeluope, Avenue 20 Noviembre and Miguel Hidalgo

Real de Guadeluope, Avenue 20 Noviembre and Miguel Hidalgo are the main tourist walking streets in the town. They all meet at the Plaza on March 31 – Zocalo. Very cool walking.

other street

other street 4

other street  6

street looking at hill church

Guadalupe street

Guadalupe street 2

As I walked the streets I could have easily been mistaken into believing that there was a Rastafarian convention taking place in the town. So many people with dreadlocks, piercings, balloon pants, tattoos, and carrying bongos or a guitar. Some would be selling trinkets on the street.

selling trinkets

trinket selling 3

While others would play their instruments for money.


Iglesia De Guadalupe

I had a few places I wanted to see in town. One of then was the Iglesia De Guadalupe. It was a bit of a walk up hill at the end of Real de Guadeluope Street.

street looking at hill church 2

And a few stairs to walk up.

hill church 1

hill church looking down 2

But it was worth it. A nice church.

hill church 2

hill church 8

hill church 6

Catedral de San Cristóbal and Iglesia de San Nicolás

Right at the center of town are 2 churches, Catedral de San Cristóbal and Iglesia de San Nicolás. The Catedral de San Cristóbal is the main church.

plaza church 2

plaza church

plaza church 10

inside plaza church

inside plaza church

Iglesia de San Nicolás is an old church with trees growing from it.

old plaza church

old church at plaza

inside old plaza church

old church plaques

It wasn’t open very much but I did manage to get inside once when it was.

Iglesia Santo Domingo

Iglesia Santo Domingo is a church a few blocks from the center of town. It was actually difficult to find as I walked through the busy streets towards it.

market 2

I finally saw the top of the church but it was surrounded by stalls selling everything imaginable.

old church market

It took a while of wandering through the market to find the entrance.

old church 8

The doors appeared to be locked so I walked back to the main center by taking some other streets.

around church

old church side 3


La Viña de Bacco

For dinner I usually try different places and attempt to keep my food budget in tact, like this pizza place 🙂

Pizza Dinner on Guadalupe street 4

After a few days though I found such a good place for the single traveler – La Viña de Bacco. The reason it is good for singles is that it is on the street where you can people watch. Also, because it is so popular, the singers and bands gravitate there, so there is entertainment too. Lastly, they serve mostly tapas and wine so you can just lounge there.

tapa restaurant 3

tapas 5


Such good food.

The only problem is that is is busy and people linger there for hours. So a few times I wasn’t able to get a seat outside. When that happened I settled on the restaurant next door where there was always a seat outside ha ha.


Ever since Cuba I have had an upset stomach. Nothing serious, just cramping mostly. But it was irritating and wouldn’t go away. I was also feeling a bit down. Not sure if it was related or not.

Anyways, I had brought some Cipro with me for just such a thing. But I didn’t want to use it all up. I learned while I was in Oaxaca that the pharmacies are pretty lax in dishing out what would be prescription drugs back home. So I went the the pharmacy in San Cristabol and asked for Cipro. No problem!

cipro 1


I mentioned that rain was in the forecast every day. It was weird weather. The mornings would be clear and the afternoons would cloud over. Despite forecasting rain everyday, it only rained once in the evening for a bit. And some thunder and lightening too. No one seemed to care. The rain ended soon. I learned to ignore the clouds and forecast.

Where to Next

San Cristabol is an awesome place. Lots of restaurant and good people watching. And the weather was cool. But where should I go next? I thought about heading back to Oaxaca to see some sights I had missed there, and then ride to Puerto Escondido before entering Guatemala. That would be another 3 weeks. But I was starting to feel the itch to move on. The rider I had traveling Alaska with had already been to the tip of Argentina and had shipped his bike back to the US and was riding there. A couple who I was so close to meeting up with in Mexico were now in India after reaching the tip of Argentina!!!

The other issue for me was that my left fork seal was weeping. I am not a mechanic at all and can’t fix anything. For sure my Achilles heal. For that reason, I like to do lots of maintenance and take care of things as soon as I see a problem. The closest BMW Mottorad was in Guatemala City. I know …. I could go to a generic mechanic … but I am weird that way in that I like to have my maintenance done at Mottorads whenever possible.

For those reasons I decided to ride into Guatemala.

My Route on May 4, 2017


My Location from May 5 to May 14, 2017


Cascada de Misol-Ha and Cascadas de Agua Azul

Our tour continued from the Palenque ruins to Cascada de Misol-Ha and Cascadas de Agua Azul. Actually it wasn’t so much a tour as just transportation to these locations.

The road to these locations had lots of construction, curves, topes and potholes. One person in the van was getting sick and I was trying to fend it off myself as I was sitting one row up from the back.

The first stop was Cascada de Misol-Ha.

Wikipedia on Cascada de Misol-Ha

According to Wikipedia:

The Cascada de Misol-Ha (Ch’ol language for “Water Falls”) is a waterfall located in the Municipality of Salto de Agua, 20 kilometers from Palenque by the road that leads towards San Cristóbal de las Casas.

This waterfall consists of one single cascade of 35 m of height that falls into a single almost circular pool admits tropical vegetation. The water is of clear blue color due to its high mineral content. Behind the cascade there is a cave of approximately 20 m length. The pool is suitable for swimming.

Cascada de Misol-Ha

The Cascada de Misol-Ha waterfalls were nice but I wouldn’t describe them as spectacular.






It turned into another hot day by this time. Luckily the van was air conditioned. We headed off to Cascadas de Agua Azul.

Wikipedia on Cascadas de Agua Azul

Wikipedia says about Cascadas de Agua Azul:

The Cascadas de Agua Azul (Spanish for “Blue-water Falls”) are found in the Mexican state of Chiapas. They are located in the Municipality of Tumbalá, 69 kilometers from Palenque by the road that leads towards San Cristóbal de las Casas.

This waterfall consists of many cataracts following one after another as can be seen in the first photo in the picture gallery, taken from near the top of the sequence of cascades. The larger cataracts may be as high as 6 meters (20 feet) or so. The one pictured to the right is next to the bottom of the sequence.

The water is as blue as it looks in the pictures, and has a high mineral content. Where it falls on rocks or fallen trees it encases them in a thick shell-like coating of limestone. Some fully coated log shapes can also be seen inside the fall in that same picture, as well as coating on the rocks.
During much of the distance the water descends in two streams, with small islands in the middle.

Cascadas de Agua Azul

I was excited to see these falls as I had seen other motorcyclist pictured beside them. We were dropped off at the bottom of the falls. There was a pathway up beside the falls that were lined with food and tourist stores. There must have been a 100 of them! I have no idea how they all make money.

I started my long walk up the path beside the falls.












After the hike up and down, I settled in with a couple of beers and watched people. I was fascinated by these two young boys, maybe 10 years old, attempting to flag cars down so they could wash them. When they finally got one they were so excited. They went to the river with a pail for the water and were very careful using the water. They were so meticulous.

The Ride Back

The ride back was down the same terrible road we came up. The girl who was car sick decided to sit in front of me and put her seat all the way back. I had no room for my legs and it made my feeling of getting car sick even worse. Luckily, a couple in the row behind me got off part way through and I was able to move back there where I had leg room and could look out the front window.

Free Day

The next day was a free day. It was still stifling hot. I walked around town a bit – nothing to really see – and spend most of the daytime in my air-conditioned hotel room and oasis hotel.

hotel 1

Although I did find a nice coffee shop called Cafe Jade. It has to be good since my daughter’s middle name is Jade.

hotel 2

I popped my head out again at dawn and took another walk in the slightly cooler air.

The next day I would be riding to San Cristabol where I heard the temperatures would be much cooler. I was looking forward to it.

The Route to the Palenque Ruins, Cascada de Misol-Ha and Cascadas de Agua Azul on May 2, 2017


My Location in Palenque on May 3, 2017


Palenque Ruins

I was really looking forward to visiting Palenque and the Palenque ruins.

Once again it was HOT as I rode. Most of the time it hovered around 40 degrees Celsius. And once again the road was straight with bushes on either side. That is until just outside of Palenque when the vegetation began to change. All of a sudden there were trees and greenery. It was still hot though.

Hotel Maya Tulipanes

I had booked the Hotel Maya Tulipanes in Palenque. It was like an oasis during the hot day.


My room wasn’t ready yet as I arrived early in the afternoon as I normally do. So I just relaxed for a bit and talked to one of the staff about tours. I like the tours to sites only because I don’t have to worry about my motorcycle when I am at them.

I ended up booking a whole day tour for tomorrow to three different places – Palenque Ruins, Misol-Ha Waterfalls, and Cascadas Agua Azul.

The next day I woke up early to head off in a van to the Palenque ruins.

UNESCO on the Palenque Ruins

The UNESCO website describes the ruins:

The archaeological site of Palenque in the state of Chiapas is one of the most outstanding Classic period sites of the Maya area, known for its exceptional and well conserved architectural and sculptural remains. The elegance and craftsmanship of the construction, as well as the lightness of the sculpted reliefs illustrating Mayan mythology, attest to the creative genius of this civilization.

The city was founded during the Late Preclassic, which corresponds to the beginning of the Christian era. Its first inhabitants probably migrated from other sites in the nearby region. They always shared the cultural features which define the Maya culture, as well as a level of development that allowed them to adapt to the natural environment. After several centuries, ca. 500 A.D., the city rose to be a powerful capital within a regional political unit. Without a buffer zone the total area of the archeological site is 1780 hectares, 09 areas and 49 square meters and 1,400 buildings have been recorded, of which only about 10% have been explored.

Palenque has been the object of interest of numerous travelers, explorers and researchers since the 18th century. It illustrates one of the most significant achievements of mankind in the American continent. The ancient city has a planned urban layout, with monumental edifices and some of the largest clearings found in all the Maya area. Numerous residential areas with habitation units, funerary, ritual and productive activity areas were placed around the administrative and civic ceremonial centre.

The palencano style is unique for its high degree of refinement, lightness and harmony. It includes buildings with vaulted roofs upon which pierced crestings emphasized its height. Its architecture is also characterized by its interior sanctuaries and modeled stucco scenes found on its freezes, columns, walls, crests, as well as ogival vaults, vaulted halls connecting galleries and T-shaped windows, among other unique architectural features. The sophisticated architectural designs and the rich decoration reflect the history and ideology of the ruling class and incorporate the writing and calendaric systems. The architecture of the site is integrated in the landscape, creating a city of unique beauty.

Once the ancient city of Palenque was abandoned around the 9th century, the thick jungle surrounding it covered its temples and palaces. This vegetation largely protected the buildings and their elements from looting. Furthermore, the fact that the area remained uninhabited, from its abandonment until the Colonial period, aided the protection of the site’s integrity.

Residential areas, buildings with political and administrative functions, as well as those whose function was ritual are conserved in their original setting, turning the site with its exceptional artistic and architectural features into a living museum.

As in the case of the site’s integrity, the authenticity of the site and its elements was protected by the dense vegetation and the fact that the city was abandoned already in pre-Hispanic times. Furthermore, factors like the choice of durable raw materials and high quality manufacturing techniques aided in the conservation of the material culture of Palenque and in conserving the form and design of the property.

Visiting the Palenque Ruins

It was a pretty short drive to the ruins where they dropped us off to explore.

The ruins were in the middle of a jungle. And it was misty. And you could hear the sounds of animals that you just don’t hear back home. Soooooo cool.

I won’t try to describe what I saw as I wondered around. So here are a lot of pictures.





















Now that was the main terrace of ruins. To get to where the van was going to pick us up I needed to climb down to the road. Along the way down there were other ruins, where the commoners would live. the walk back down along a trail was awesome.












What an amazing experience. Loved it.

Back at the bottom I waited for the van to go to Misol-Ha Waterfalls, and Cascadas Agua Azul.

My Route from Campeche to Palenque on May 1, 2017


My Location in Palenque from May 1 to May 3, 2017


The Route to the Palenque Ruins on May 2, 2017


The Palenque Ruins on May 2, 2017


San Francisco de Campeche, Mexico

When I got back from Havana, I spent two night in Merida to get my act together, and then it was onto Campeche, Mexico.

The ride there wasn’t anything spectacular, the road was straight with bushes on either side, and it was hot!

It was a short ride so I stopped in at The Italian Coffee for a Frap. I was do hot.

I checked into my hotel but the power kept going off. That meant no WiFi and no air conditioning. The hotel was right across from a modern mall with recognizable names such as Chili’s and Starbucks. So I spent the evening enjoying the air conditioning, walking around the mall, and having a salad at Chili’s.

Wikipedia and Campeche

Wikipedia says about Campeche:

Founded in 1540 by Francisco Montejo, Campeche was terrorized by pirates and marauders until the city started fortification in 1686.

San Francisco de Campeche was originally an indigenous village, Ah Kim Pech, where the Spanish first landed in Mexico in 1517. The city of Campeche was founded in 1540 and fortified against pirates during the 17th century. It still has the appearance of a fortress. Historical monuments and buildings, such as the Franciscan cathedral, old Maya ruins, and the old city walls and forts, attract many tourists.

The fortifications system of Campeche, an eminent example of the military architecture of the 17th and 18th centuries, is part of an overall defensive system set up by the Spanish to protect the ports on the Caribbean Sea from pirate attacks like the 1663 Sack of Campeche.

The state of preservation and quality of its architecture earned it the status of a World Heritage Site in 1999.

Historic Campeche

My hotel was a good walk away from the historic site of Campeche. I walked there along a nice malecon



And finally arrived at the entrance to the old city.


The historic center was so clean. Almost sterile. And there wasn’t really much happening. Where were all the people?


Perhaps it was too hot out. Who knows. I walked around looking for some sort of action.

Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception Cathedral

As is the case in practically every Mexican town, the main plaza and church are the focal point.



I always like to check out the inside of these churches.


Well, even at the main plaza there wasn’t much happening. I sat on the church steps in the shade for a while just people watching. But there weren’t many people to watch. So I walked to check out another church.

Ex Templo de San José

This temple was erected by the Jesuits in 1716 and was an institute of higher learning until the Spaniards took over in 1767.


The doors were locked so I couldn’t check out the insides. It is a museum now. Not much into museums.

Well, there just wasn’t much happening in the town and no place that appealed to me to sit down and have a drink. Plus it was soooooooo hot!

So I headed back to the mall across from my hotel to have a Starbucks Frap and sit in the air conditioning.

Campeche is actually a modern and beautiful city. Just not much happening while I was there.

My Route for April 29, 2017


My Location for April 30 & 31, 2017


Merida, Mexico

After visiting Chichen Itza I booked another two days in Merida. The reason for this is because I wanted to go to Cuba and the only flights out through Interjet were Thursday and Sunday. My time in Merida was relaxing.


I spent a lot of time researching hotels to stay in Merida. Normally I try to stay within walking distance of the historical centers of towns. However, all the hotels in Merida by the historical center were too expensive. Compared to the parts of Mexico I have been to, Merida is rich. The prices of accommodation reflected that.

The Hotel Zar was on the outskirts. Its benefits for me though were that it was next door to the UPS store who would be delivering my new credit card, and there was a Starbucks nearby 🙂

The hotel had mixed ratings but I found it really good. It was clean, new and modern, good WiFi, hot showers even if you had to let the water run a bit before getting to the hot water, and the staff were friendly and accommodating. They even said they would keep my motorcycle and motorcycle clothes for free while I went to Cuba!




Yes, I went to Starbucks most every morning while in Merida. People love to bug me about that. Some people hate Starbucks as it is a US international company and the boutique coffee shops are in these days. People feel a sense of pride and I would even say smugness about going to a boutique coffee shop.  The same goes for craft beer. But that is a different post ha ha. Now, I like these too!! I can be smug at times ha ha. I am in such a place as I am writing this now. But when I have lived in a foreign country or when traveling long term like I am now, Starbucks gives me a piece of home. It is a familiar place in what sometimes is chaos either physically or mentally.

I met a Barista at the Merida Starbucks who spoke near perfect English. I asked her how she learned. She said no classes, just through watching reality TV ha ha. After that she remembered my name and greeted me by name each time I showed up. This made it feel even more like home.

Rich Merida

As I mentioned, Merida is a rich city compared to the other parts of Mexico I visited. Here there are functioning street lights, well maintained roads and nice houses.

Montejo Boulevard led to the historical center from the Hotel Zar. The Boulevard was originally created as a street for the wealthy to live. Many of these home still exist. However, now they have been converted into museums, banks and company headquarters.






Of course, I notice the police where ever I go. The Federal Police always drive nice vehicles, and well kitted, the State Police less so, and the Municipal and Transit Police are in old vehicles and wearing tattered uniforms. In Merida things were noticeably different. The police here drove fancy cars with low profile lights and nice paint jobs. There were also lots of motorcycle cops riding Harleys and what appeared the be BMW 650 dual sports. All of them nicely kitted out.




Historic Merida

It is a long walk to the Merida historic center from my hotel.  Every town in Mexico seems to have a Zacalo with a large church at one end. They are the meeting place for people. There is always something going on there. Merida was no different.










La Negrita

One night I looked for a cheap local place to have some Mexican food and enjoy some Mexican atmosphere. I have to admit that up until this point I had been mostly getting cheap food at the local OXXO, a local grocery store and from the Burger King across the street.

OXXOs are everywhere in Mexico. They are like the 7-11s in Canada. They have cheap food well within my budget. I have gotten food from them lots while I traveled Mexico.

Burger King was just convenient.

There was also a McCafferty Irish Pub next to my hotel so I had a meal there to eat some veggies.

Too look for someplace different I checked out tripadvisor. A highly rated restaurant was La Negrita and it was suppose to be cheap. It was a long walk away but I wanted to experience something more Mexican while in Merida. It didn’t disappoint.





Rainy Season

When I left for dinner to La Negrita it started to rain. This was the first rain in a very long time since I have been in Mexico. In fact, I really haven’t even been checking the weather forecast I just assume it will be sunny out.

When I got back to the hotel I checked the forecast for Merida and Havana. Rain for the next 7 days. I guess the rainy season had finally arrived. I will have to start watching the weather for my rides.

My Location from April 11 to 19 and April  27 and 28, 2017


To Merida and the Famous Chichen Itza Ruins

It was time to leave Cancun after a week and head to Merida and Chichen Itza. I could have stopped at Chichen Itza along the way but decided I would get a hotel in Merida and then take a tour to Chichen Itza after my new credit card arrived.

On the way to Merida I just had to stop at the Italian Coffee Company for another Oreo Frap.


Once again I took the toll road to take it easy on my stomach. I can still feel the effects of the operation I had. It was boring though. Just a straight road with brush on either side.

Waiting for my Visa Credit Card Again

The hotel I chose in Merida was the Zar. It is right next door to a UPS store. Surely they would know where to deliver my card to this time around 🙂 Right away I Skyped with Visa and let them know where to send the new credit card to. For the next 3 days I waited for my new card to arrive. This time I didn’t wait around for the first 2 days as I knew it wouldn’t arrive that soon.

As I normally do, I walked around the area to get the lay of the land. A Starbucks was nearby! Great choice in hotels Brian ha ha. The Barista there was really nice and spoke such good English. I asked her where she learned. She told me she never took any classes but learned through watching reality TV shows! Her accent was near perfect. For the next few days she would greet me by name every time I showed up. For me, as a solo traveler, this means a lot. The one thing I miss are connections with people. I am not an outgoing person, although I try to be on the road, so these connections do not come often, especially where there is a language barrier.

A laundromat was a little more difficult to find. The directions I got from people led me to drycleaners and not a laundromat. With a little research, and intuition where one might be, I found one just up the street.

On the third day my Visa card arrived first thing in the morning. And this time is was a new number. Finally this fiasco was over. Now I could book a tour to Chichen Itza. I heard so much about it. They are famous ruins. My expectation were high.

Chichen Itza According to UNESCO

The UNESCO website says this about Chichen Itza:

The town of Chichen-Itza was established during the Classic period close to two natural cavities (cenotes or chenes), which gave the town its name “At the edge of the well of the Itzaes”. The cenotes facilitated tapping the underground waters of the area. The dates for this settlement vary according to subsequent local accounts: one manuscript gives 415-35 A.D., while others mention 455 A.D. The town that grew up around the sector known as Chichen Viejo already boasted important monuments of great interest: the Nunnery, the Church, Akab Dzib, Chichan Chob, the Temple of the Panels and the Temple of the Deer. They were constructed between the 6th and the 10th centuries in the characteristic Maya style then popular both in the northern and southern areas of the Puuc hills.

The second settlement of Chichen-Itza, and the most important for historians, corresponded to the migration of Toltec warriors from the Mexican plateau towards the south during the 10th century. According to the most common version, the King of Tula, Ce Acatl Topiltzin Quetzalcoatl, or Kukulkan as the Maya translated the name, reportedly took the city between 967 A.D. and 987 A.D.

Following the conquest of Yucatán a new style blending the Maya and Toltec traditions developed, symbolizing the phenomenon of acculturation. Chichen-Itza is a clear illustration of this fusion. Specific examples are, in the group of buildings to the south, the Caracol, a circular stellar observatory whose spiral staircase accounts for its name, and, to the north, El Castillo (also known as the Temple of Kukulkan). Surrounding El Castillo are terraces where the major monumental complexes were built: on the north-west are the Great Ball Court, Tzompantli or the Skull Wall, the temple known as the Jaguar Temple, and the House of Eagles; on the north-east are the Temple of the Warriors, the Group of the Thousand Columns, the Market and the Great Ball Court; on the south-west is the Tomb of the High Priest.

After the 13th century no major monuments seem to have been constructed at Chichen-Itza and the city rapidly declined after around 1440 A.D. The ruins were not excavated until 1841 A.D.

Chichen Itza Tour

I had booked a Grayline tour through the hotel concierge that picked me up at my hotel. Chichen Itza is a hour and a half drive from Merida.

The tour seems to come out of the Mayaland Hotel situated right on the edge of the Chichen Itza ruins. A really nice hotel with an amazing old tree.



This is wher the Chichen Itza tour started.


Before getting to actual ruins we had to pass through a gauntlet of people selling stuff to tourists.


This is all over the ruin sight. They are everywhere. No souvenirs for me as I have no room on my motorcycle for them.

Finally the ruins appeared. The famous El Castillo:





The Great Ball Court where the winners of the game were sacrificed to the gods. The losers were banned from the city and were to make babies for the gods. Huuuummmm I think I would throw the game.



Juego de Pelota:


The tour was rather short. There seemed to be a bit more that we didn’t see on the tour. We had a hour of free time so I went exploring around some crumbled small ruins before a buffet lunch that came with the tour.

Perhaps my expectations were too high, but I have to say that for me the ruins were a disappointment. Teotihuacan outside of Mexico City were far more impressive and larger. Plus you could climb up on the pyramids. Perhaps Chichen Itza has more historical value, but from a uninformed tourist point of view (me) I liked Teotihuacan much more.

My Route for Location from April 10, 2017


My Location from April 11 to 14, 2017


The Route for my Chichen Itza Tour


Cancun Conundrum

On arriving back in Mexico I stayed a night in Chetamul and then rode to Cancun to face a conundrum. I was looking forward to Cancun as I have heard so much about it. But my first priority was to get my new Visa credit card after mine had somehow been compromised.

Waiting for my Visa Credit Card

I booked Monday to Friday in the Hotel Margaritas to wait for my new credit card which Visa said they were couriering over. It was suppose to reach me in 2 business days. The one catch was that they said I needed to personally sign for it and that they couldn’t give me a tracking number yet.

Soooooooo, for the next three and a half days I waited and waited and waited in the hotel lobby for my card to arrive.

waiting-for UPS

And spent the evenings in my room, playing Age of Empires and watching Hogan’s Heroes. Love that show.



On day two I finally got a tracking number which helped. It said the package was in Cancun. Later the UPS site said it was undeliverable because the address was wrong. WHAT?! I gave the hotel name twice to the Visa rep I talked to. And read the address to him a couple of times. I got the hotel staff to phone UPS and explain where I was. UPS said it would be delivered the next day.

It didn’t arrive!

By this time I was extremely frustrated. I could feel it welling up inside me. I shot off a couple angry emails to UPS just to vent. They didn’t answer and that made me even more ticked.

By the afternoon of the fourth day it finally arrived. For a moment I was elated. I went to my room and opened the package. The elation came to an abrupt end when I realized Visa had sent me the exact same card I already had! How was this going to solve the problem of my card being compromised?!

I Skyped with Visa and after being passed to three different people they discovered they had made a mistake. I guess those things happen but I was so pissed. I had wasted 4 days in Cancun waiting for this. Visa gave me 5,000 Aeroplan miles to compensate, but this hardly made up for everything. All I could do is phone Visa back when I had another hotel for them to send it to. Cancun was too expensive for me to stay longer.

Searching for Hotels

I had gotten my hotel for a good price from Monday to Friday. But I had wasted those days waiting for my Visa. Everything is expensive in Cancun 🙁 My hotel was going to be double the price over the weekend. At the same time I wanted to see Cancun, especially the famous beaches! So I bit the bullet and booked the weekend at the same hotel.

Cancun Beaches

The hotel had a free shuttle to the beach. I took advantage of it and on Saturday and Sunday I headed for the beach.

When I first saw the white powder beach and the crystal clear turquoise water I got a huge smile on my face. It was truly amazing! I spent most of the day walking up and down the beach in the water.










Cancun Beach Strip

It was hot walking the beach and by the afternoon I could feel myself getting burnt. I headed to the strip to see if I could find a cool place for a drink and use wifi.

The strip is made to party! It is filled with clubs and tourist stores.



This was certainly not the Mexico I had know for the last few months. I settled on going to Hooters as it was one of the few places open. It was only the afternoon so everyone must have been still sleeping.

It was cool inside and had wifi. My server? Well she was from Russia … huuummmm. Hard to tell I was in Mexico.


After my “Big Daddy” beer I saw this sign.


I guess I won’t go back on Sunday ha ha ha.

On Sunday I went to Haagen Daus for ice cream instead. I couldn’t believe it … 136 pesos or about $10 Canadian dollars for 2 scoops of ice cream! Things are very expensive in Cancun! Definitely catering to the reach tourists on vacation. That wasn’t me. This is everyday life for me.

While beach were so nice, the prices weren’t. It was time to leave Cancun.

My Route on April 3, 2017


My Location from April 4 to April 9


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