Canyons and Ruins

October 18th-24th
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October 18th

Today was the day to finally get Savannah in the shop! We showed up bright an early at 8am when they opened and got Savannah into the workflow. So, we hung around the city of Tuxtla Guttierez while waiting to hear back from the dealership. We were in a super busy part of town without many attractions, so we mostly hung out around the hotel pool, but we did take one walk to a nearby park at sunset to get out of our cage! Eventually they got back to us that they would need to order a part and it should be ready by 10am tomorrow morning.

A canal in Tuxtla Guttierez

Kelly on the typical Mexican side street

October 19th

We picked up Savannah, and apparently it was an issue with some of the wires, and after replacing them the computer was working properly again! We payed up then blasted off for Sumidero canyon.

Getting into the town where the tour boats leave from was intense, and it was clear that was the main thing for them. As soon as we got to the square we had people running up to the windows waving papers, presumably trying to flag us down to take their boat tour. One of them guided us to a parking spot and then led us to where we could get tickets for the boat.

After Enough people purchased tickets, we boarded a boat packed full of fellow tourists, mostly Mexican, but there was a pair of Germans behind us!

The canyon was super cool. The walls soared above us for the entire 2-3 hour tour, we saw a couple crocodiles, a spider monkey (no picture of that, he was too far away to get on camera), and a ton of beautiful views! I'll let the pictures speak for themselves.

Just entering the canyon

Sweeping views of canyon walls

Some goddamn beautiful views

The tallest wall (pictured) stands at 3,300ft

There were lots of neat caves

A statue of Mary in one of the caves

Lots of trash and junk accumulated in the water in that cave, though

Another neat cave

Many people brought beer! (It's her dads)

This is called The Christmas Tree, all that moss is fed by the waterfall!

The water from the waterfall was quickly blown away by the wind, and the captain of our boat took us close to the wall to boat throught the spray!

A crocodile

This is the second of three crocodiles we saw, and the only one I got a half decent picture of. This one was pretty small, the first was absolutely enormous and seemed a little pissed about getting caught in our wake. As he rocked in and out of the water in the waves from the wake of the boat I saw a ton of his shiny teeth :shock:

After the boat tour we got some lunch and wandered through the small shops that lined the streets for a bit (I got some neat parachute pants that are super comfy!), then headed out to our chosen campsite at a cave/waterfall (if you want to follow our campsites I'm religiously keeping up with this handy dandy map). They let us camp in the parking lot of the cave/waterfall for 100pesos! The place was pretty neat, we could scramble into the cave a little ways and the waterfall is fed from the stream that formed the cave! I didn't get any pictures of the walls of the cave, but top to bottom the rock was scalloped, which indicates that the walls were formed from fast moving water... the walls were all about 30 feet high, so that's a LOT of water.

Kelly inside the cave

Sans Kelly

There was a VERY cute stray dog hanging around camp who got all our scraps that night and the following morning. It was so tempting to keep him, but sadly adults have to make hard decisions sometimes so we had to leave him be when we left.

Kelly feeding the dog

October 20th

After an adventure day, time for a driving day! We drove several hours through beautiful, rural mountain countryside to visit Agua Azul, a famed beautiful area with brilliantly blue, cascading waterfalls from pool to pool. Except when it's raining, in which case it's muddy brown cascading waterfalls from pool to pool! It was still fun to see all the waterfalls and check out the shops, but sadly they don't allow swimming when it's rained as the waters are engorged and you can't see what's under them. Here come more pictures speaking for themselves!

An example of the buildings we would see while driving

A small town nestled in a high valley

Our first view of Agua "Azul"

From higher up the falls. It hadn't rained a ton that day, so I imagine they would look similarly but a lot more blue when times are good

Near the top of the tourist accessible part, we found a rickity bridge crossing the river made of planks and barbed wire (like cords of barbed wire twisted together spanned the river with boards attached to them). It wouldn't be fun if it wasn't a little sketch!

Selfie on the bridge

The bridge after crossing the river

After checking out the shops and having some dinner, we settled into Savannah to sleep in the parking lot. It rained all night.

October 21st

We had intended to spend an entire day at Agua Azul to relax, but after the rains overnight the water had become even more inhospitable, so we decided to just kick it and make for the Yucatan Peninsula.

The water was way worse the next day, after more rain. (same exact perspective as the first Agua Azul picture)

So, off we went! We had about 5 hours worth of driving to get to the coast on our way to the Yucatan. We only made it perhaps an hour before a tope (a small speedbump that absolutely riddle the roads here) busted one of Savannah's tires in the middle of nowhere.

This was probably not the best time for us to realize neither of us had ever changed a tire before! We lucked out though, and there was a man nearby who we managed to sweet talk into helping us swap it out, and we gave him 700 pesos for his troubles. Now we know how to change a tire!

We were driving on the spare, so we wanted to get to a tire shop stat to either repair the original tire or get a new one. We drove to the nearest place with a Firestone (about an hour) in the hopes they would honor the warranty (the tires on Savannah are fairly new from a Firestone in Durham, NC). Sadly, the original was busted from rolling on it for as long as it took us to have room to pull over on the thin mountain road. And they couldn't get a replacement until the following day. Shoot.

We had no choice but to go for it, since we couldn't just keep driving on a spare forever (and having a spare in case of another flat is hella nice), so we sprang for the new tire and headed to the cheapest nice hotel we could find to regroup. It was a pretty damn nice hotel with two infinity pools, a bird host, and a general feeling of fancyness that made us feel like hella pretenders rolling up in our dirtbag vanhome.

The bird host

The bird host wasn't good at his job, he nipped at me.

After such a stressful day, we just chilled at the hotel around the pool and had some drinks and poked around the internet for stuff to do in the area. As it turns out, there were some major Mayan ruins right in the outskirts of town that, pre-covid, attracted thousands of visitors every day! We planned to get the tire replaced, pick up our laundry we'd gotten started before hitting the hotel, head over to the ruins, then spend one last night in the hotel before booking it for the Yucatan!

We slept like drunken rocks in the ambrosial hotel king bed, so well in fact that when I woke up in the morning I wasn't sure if it was still the 21st or the 22nd!

October 22nd

Getting the tire swapped out with the new one and picking up the laundry went without a hitch. The weather forecasted drizzling rain starting at about 2 or so, giving way to thunderstorms later in the afternoon and evening. When we parked at the ruins we were immediately accosted by guide after guide offering their services, people trying to sell us ponchos and water whatever stuff, and shopkeepers shouting at us to come check out their wares. The whole Mexican culture of shouting at and/or accosting people for their attention is really starting to wear on us, we just want to be left alone.

After getting into the ruins proper though, the accosting stopped! The ruins contain the palace home of the local royalty, quite a few religious temples, many tombs, and other archaeological destinations. It was once the big city! Once again, I'll let those pictures speak for themselves.

People restoring stucco freizes on the palace

A classic Mayan temple ruin

Another angle of the temple. Imagine this being your home!!

Kelly checking out one of the tombs

A closeup of one of the tombs

Half of this structure, built into the hillside, has collapsed.

This place was so. Big. And people were only allowed in a couple parts of it!

Even more ruins

After thoroughly checking out the ruins and wondering about life in ancient Maya, we hoofed it back to the hotel before the rain would really come. Our first stop was the pool again, because who doesn't love to swim in the rain??

Kelly in one of the infinity pools in the rain

After the pool we decided to splurge even more and order room service over a movie, which would be both of our first times getting room service! We had a pretty awesome time living it up before moving back into Savannah the following day.

We were both so looking forward to another night in one of the comfiest hotel beds we'd ever been privy to... until our neighbors arrived. Honestly I wasn't sure if I should even write about this but, here I go anyway!

They arrived at around 11pm, and we theorized they were drunk (who can blame them, it's a Friday night!). That didn't bug us, until the sex noises started. Then continued on and off for about 4 hours. The worst part was definitely the faint sex noises through a wall for 4 hours, the second worst part was it didn't even sound like it was that good! So our last night in the fancy hotel wasn't quite a restful as we'd hoped, but a new day is on the horizon!

October 23rd

And off we went to the Yucatan! Again!

As we left we were super glad we didn't run into our neighbors.

Driving through a small town on the high way... Savannah conked out AGAIN. We used our diagnostic tool to check the error codes, which only showed two codes that were included among the 9 from last time, so that's good I guess? We turned her off and cranked her back up again and the codes went away and she worked fine. However, she's still randomly conking out on the highway, so we need to get her back into the doctors office again!

The nearest ford dealership was about an hour and a half away in the city of Campeche, so that's where we went. It opened at 10am the following day, Sunday, so we found a camp spot in town using iOverlander and stayed in a parking spot for the boardwalk in town. Before the sun set we wandered about town, which has a historic district with some really old colonial stuff, checked out some shops and a restaurant where the waiter gave us one menu to share and stood over our table for the few minutes it took to decide what to order.

As a kid I was always impatient because when I was ready to order the waiter always seemed to take ages to show up... now I see.

October 24th

And that brings us to today, the day I'm writing this post! It turns out the service center isn't open until tomorrow at 8am, so we have another day to kill in Campeche. Also yeah, I'm DEFINITELY not making it to Chile before school starts in January, so I'll make it with Kelly as far as I can then support her journey from afar!

So here I am writing this post in a coffee shop. Part of why this post took a while to make is because so much has been happening with the trip, but also things are moving with the lab I volunteer with. I may have to learn SQL so my mind is spinning with SQL things and taking the time to learn that as well as write posts! I'll do my best to keep you all updated, and I'll be sure to get to everything!

If I'm strapped for time I may skip over some small details, but as the sidebar always says, feel free to comment or reach out to me if you want to hear more about literally anything! Hit me up!

More updates to come!


We got Savannah fixed, checked out Sumidero canyon, learned how to fix a flat from a middle aged mexican man in the middle of nowhere, stumbled upon some huge ruins, and broke down again.

If there's something I wrote too little about, make a comment or reach out to ask to hear more, I'd love to answer any questions!

Kelly's Post

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