A lovely little highlands town and way more tourists than the last two stops. I can see why, pedestrian only streets lined with cafes, cobblestones and artisan gift shops. Street vendors selling items you actually want to buy ( hence the new poncho), which was needed. This is the first time I’ve been cold in Mexico, even had to wear jeans at night. Another picturesque town, where you can wander about all day and just get lost in its quaintness. Ofcourse they have some beautiful churches, my new friends Ruth and Claudia recommended we check out San Christobal church perched on the hill, it dominates the skyline, I was surprised to see yet another “Christo Negro”, it really is a regional delight. We came across St Christopher and I explained to Nea he is the Patron Saint of Travellers. My own version dutifully hanging from my neck for over 8 years, since I came to this part of the world the first time in 2008. Oh South America, what a baptism of fire that trip was, much less calamity this time round.
With some gorgeous natural sights in the area and Nea keen for a study day. I ventured of to see the El Chiflon waterfalls and the lakes of Montebello National Park. A 3 hour drive the 12 on tour slept on the way there and with a Spanish only speaking guide, I blindly headed up the path in search of these famed falls. El Chiflon it turns out is a series of waterfalls (cascades) and a busy picnic spot for tourists and locals alike. I
took a glance at the lower level falls and met some of my tour mates at what we thought was the top. Famous last words from our guide “You might get wet.” I think he meant “You absolutely will get saturated.” The falls were stunning and yes I was drenched, Maria (our newly appointed guide, as she is the only one with English and Spanish) lead the way to the actual top. It was a fair climb, but we were rewarded with sensational views and even spotted an iguana.
On the way down, we found a shortcut…by zip line. I’m in! I harnessed up and with momentary hesitation I leapt off the podium and soon after “landed” close to the bottom. The view from the valley was fabulous as it flew by, best idea ever.
Next stop Montebello Lakes. Having bonded over our climb, would you believe the English speakers of the group were Sandeep the Sikh from Leicester, Sunita the Hindu also from the UK, Maya the Israeli Jew and Maria the Mexican Catholic. Well it goes without saying the rest of the day was spent swapping perspectives, beliefs and they all gave me invaluable advice on destinations and festivals for next year. This intinery just keeps on growing.
The lakes were magnificent and certainly beautiful to see. However, practically at the Guatemalan border, I’m not sure they’re necessary on a day trip (we left at 8am and got back at 9.30pm). Especially, given the time available, our drivers instructions went something like this ” Ok chikas, get your picture and let’s go.” There is 2 and 3 day trips which I think would be better. That way you can enjoy the lakes, go for a swim, have a picnic or take the traditional log boats out to the island in the middle and see the Cenotes. Exhausted and a little anxious because I had a night bus to catch, our new clique giggled and chatted life, love and faith all the way home. The day best summed up by Sandeep ” I love the ride home from a tour when all those strangers are now your friends.” Amen to that.
Next stop, Mazunte for a 3 day silent retreat..Eek!!
Yours in Faith
The Unlikely Pilgrim