Isla Coronados – 16/6/2019 – 18/6/2019

16/6/2019

We decided mid-afternoon after the Loreto anchorage became rolly, to make the short hop over to Isla Coronados. As you approach the anchorage you have a sweeping view of the island, with its volcanic cone in the background and white sandy beach dotted with black volcanic boulders and turquoise waters in the foreground.

P1130942b

We had the rest of the afternoon free so we went to shore to have a look around. Unfortunately the water is still freezing, only Ava and Andrew went knee deep into it. Ava and I went for a wander around and spotted a bird squawking, Ava thought it was a seagull, I was adamant it wasn’t. Eventually the beige coloured bird started chasing after a seagull, who turned out to be its mother. I guess Ava was right.

The kids decided to stay on the beach with the kayak and do some exercise. Andrew and I went across to another beach for a look. As we moved closer to shore we noticed a lot of stingrays below us, in various sizes scoot away. It appeared that this area was the seagull rookery as there were baby seagulls everywhere, almost the same size as the parents. The babies were curious, but a little intimidated by our presence and very slowly moved as a group closer to us to have a look, until Andrew went for a swim and they all scattered.

P1130943b

It was hot and I’d had enough, on returning to the boat we discovered about 40 bees inside buzzing around. As Max has a bee allergy we did have to resort to some spray to try to get rid of them and closed a lot of the hatches to prevent their return. Thankfully it appears at sunset the bees disappear.

17/6/2019

The kids had a morning of school work before we headed ashore to have a BBQ with Totem. On our way in Andrew spotted large dolphins.  We dinghied nearby and cut the engine to watch, while Max kayaked past us.

The National Park have erected palm leaf covered shade structures with tables and seating, which is great for the tourist who come from Loreto and the cruisers. We had a nice time chatting, while Andrew Barbecued and Jamie and Behan used their solar oven to make some bread rolls to go with the sausages.

The kids and even some of the big ones messed around on the kayak, paddle board and pool float after lunch. There was lots of laughter, splashing and talking going on.

P1130989b

San Cosme – 11/6/2019

Another early morning stop leaving the anchorage at 7.45 am headed for the hot springs of San Cosme.  The boys anchored, while I admired another beautiful backdrop.

P1130884

A beautiful backdrop with Totem in the foreground.

Another beautiful view.  On the right is Siobhan french braiding Mairen’s hair while dinghying to shore, not an easy task.

We used the cruiser’s guidebook’s description to find the area where the hot springs were located, which Behan found first.  The water is definitely warm and on a warm day like it was the nearby cool waters out of the springs was a welcome relief.

The springs has 5 or 6 little jet streams of bubbles coming from the rocky floor and rising to the surface.  Interestingly the jet bubbles start and a few minutes later stop and it is then that you will notice another jet start up somewhere else.

P1130899

Its an interesting stop for about 45 minutes.  The kids wandered over the rocks looking for interesting things.  The anchorage is a fair weather anchorage and with the weather prediction forecasting increased wind we pulled up anchor and continued on to Bahia Candeleros.

P1130905P1130914

Bahia Candeleros offers something very important, internet.  After a week the kids needed to catch up with some school work and we needed to check in with Josh and Tristan in Australia to make sure they were okay.  It looks like a couple of intensive school work days ahead for Max and Ava, as the end of term and assessments close in.

 

Agua Verde – 10/6/2019

Agua Verde is a small village located on the Baja Peninsula, close to Loreto.  The village’s name, Agua Verde is derived from the greenish waters that fill the bay.  The village population is close to 200 people and its main industry is fishing.  The village has two restaurants for both locals and tourists with a fish based menu.  The area also has goat farming and it is possible to buy both goat cheese and a goat if you want.  The village offers hiking, snorkeling and diving opportunities and nearby you can also visit cave paintings or bathe in the hot springs.

P1130875

One of the local restaurants in town offering fish tacos

We left our anchorage at Puerto los Gatos at 8 am for a 2-hour sail to Agua Verde, also on the Baja Peninsula.  As we approached a next anchorage we past a small rocky island or the San Marcial Reef and all we could hear was seals bellowing.  After anchoring we decided to go and explore seal island before the wind picked up and it got too rough.

Andrew, Jamie, Ava and I geared up in our wet suits and packed up the dinghy with all our snorkel gear in the hope that we might be able to swim with them.  On arriving it soon became apparent that we would not be swimming with them.  It is mating season, and, on the island, there were two very large males.  The males were surrounded with 6 or 7 female seals.  The males made it very clear from the beginning who was boss with their bellowing.  Within minutes of arriving all but the largest male and one sick looking seal were in the water, swimming around us with the male continually barking.

P1130765

We enjoyed the show.  Eventually the largest male gave in and joined the others in the water.  You don’t really appreciate how big the males are until you get that close to them and you can understand why on Espiritu Santo you are not allowed to swim with them until breeding season is over in August.

Eventually the largest seal had, had enough and managed to lumber his large body ashore.  There was a small seal who had remained on the rocks the entire time we were there and apart from lifting her flipper and head a couple of times she didn’t move or go in the water.  We can only imagine she is sick.  Poor thing.  It was a fantastic 45-minute visit to the island.

After our seal island trip, we stopped at the pinnacle, aptly known as the Roca Solitaria for a snorkel and the water is getting colder the further north we go.  You definitely need a wetsuit.  Despite the cold and the crying of the gulls, we had a good snorkel.  The rock floor is scattered with starfish of various colours, shapes and sizes all gripping onto the rocks.  We even saw a few crown of thorns among them.

DSCN3042

The pinnacle where we went for a snorkel

Some of the many starfish and crown of thorns we spotted.

I did spot a couple of Christmas trees which I haven’t seen in a while and just as we were getting in the dinghy Ava spotted what think was a snake or I guess it could have been an eel.

We ended our day by going ashore at about 5 pm to the village, just as the goats were meandering up the steep slope. 

The village consists of a few houses, two restaurants and a few small tiendas, shops.  Among the houses were more grazing goats, kids running around, dogs playing and a turkey all ruffled up. 

We wandered the small village waving to the kids and admiring the local artwork on the buildings.  Behan actually pointed out that the paintings had paintings within them of their local landscape and people.

Eventually we found a lady who had goat cheese, made into a heart shape.  With our cheese in hand we went back to the dinghy. 

P1130871

Reaching our dinghy we found the beach population had exploded with kids swimming and jumping off a local fishing boat, others running along the beach, pelicans fishing and fighting for space on any available boat, dogs barking and parents chasing kids, it was all happening.

We decided to retreat to the quiet on our boat for sun-downers with crackers and fresh goat cheese.

Puerto los Gatos – 9/6/2019

We had an early morning start or at least by our standards, leaving at 8 am.  We continued to Puerto los Gatos arriving at lunchtime.  Puerto los Gatos is well known due to its smooth rocky formation that rise from the water in variegated shades of pinks and red.

P1130673

I didn’t go in to shore until later in the afternoon as it was too hot.  So when Andrew returned from spearfishing I went to explore.  On one end of the bay along the pebbly shore are more vertical rock formations.  In fact the rock was rather brittle flaking off a bit like shale.

On the left the view of the bay from the southern end.  On the right the flaky rocks, some with peculiar rocky growths, also on the southern end of the bay.

Now the other end of the bay, I think has the really beautiful rock formations.  The rocks look a bit like ice-cream or marshmallows that have slowly melted. 

P1130718You can climb on the rocks and see the spectacular range of pinks and admire the view over the bay.  If you look closely in the crevices you may find a skeleton of a bird or sea creature, but hopefully not a rattlesnake or scorpion.  The sand surrounding the rocks was filled with tracks or varying sizes and shapes, I don’t want to imagine what creepy crawlies you would find.  In fact, we spoke to somebody camping who said in the evening the beach comes alive with hermit crabs, everywhere.

P1130705

We didn’t explore too far, but there are many other little bays which Jamie explored finding a midden and a geode among the strata layers of rock.  I think this has been the most beautiful anchorage so far.  A few more pics to show its beauty.

P1130708P1130695

Early morning view as we were getting ready to leave the anchorage.

P1130730

Isla San Jose – 8/6/2019

Bahia Amortajada

Our first stop for the day after leaving Isla San Francisco was Bahia Amortajada.  However, our plan for a dinghy trip through the estuary had to be delayed until the tide had come in further to allow us entry with the dinghy.  Apart from hitting the bottom a few times it was a peaceful and serene trip.

P1130553

We stopped at a rocky spot that Totem had visited in 2009 and went for a look.  It was only a few moments later that Jamie and Mairen had spotted the skeleton of a puffer fish, followed by skeletal remains of trigger fish.  The kids happily ambled along collecting various treasures, I think Mairen collected the most with everything from the exoskeleton of a crown of thorns, bird bones, trigger fish skeletons and some other unknown bit.

Behan and I sat and chatted as the kids continued scouring.  Siobhan raced over with her excited discovery, a nudi branc.  It turns out Ava had spotted it and was keeping an eye on until we could get there.  After stumbling along over the rocks for a few minutes, the two girls eagerly pointed out their find in the shallows of the water.  I must admit that I have not seen one before or I have overlooked it, but it was very cool.  I did discover as soon as I zoomed in with the camera I would lose it, so Siobhan helped out by keeping her finger near it so I had something to focus on.

We had planned to stop at a little beach on the way back to the boat, but after a few attempts and hitting the bottom we gave up.  No one was keen on accidently stepping on either a sting ray or a stone fish to pull the dinghy in.

P1130594

We had a relaxing trip back to the boat before we pulled up anchor and continued on.

P1130604bP1130622

Punta Salinas

Our second stop on this island was at Punta Salinas.  Punta Salinas was once home to a large salt mining operation, but today it largely resembles a ghost town.  The beach is scattered with rusting and slowly disintegrating abandoned buildings, vehicles and other debris.

P1130641P1130644P1130633

Max stayed onboard our rocky anchorage while we dinghied to shore.  Its safe to say it was our worst beach landing yet.  The beach slope is quite steep and with the waves it made it difficult to get out and move the heavy dinghy quickly.  The dinghy was swamped and partially filled making her heavier.  Andrew quickly bailed her out as we all scrambled ashore with her.  We finally got up the slope with both the dinghy and us all very wet.

We spent about 45 minutes wandering around the site admiring the pink salt pools in the distance.  Although the guide book said the mine was closed it did look like there were ponds on the other side of the island in use. There remained a couple of cars and a bulldozer, although they scarcely resembled the pictures in the cruising guide book.  I guess years of salt water and air has rusted some things beyond recognition.

P1130648P1130635P1130634

A few windowless buildings remain standing with views over either the beach or the salt ponds.  In fact, one of the floors still had perfect sections of tiling amongst the crumbling debris.

P1130642

While mindful of snakes, we did step on some of the myriad of cactus needles scattered amongst the sand and ruins, you definitely need some type of footwear.  Leaving the beach in the dinghy thankfully was easier than the arrival, but that may have been because we waded the dinghy out past the shore break.

San Evaristo

Due to the rolly anchorage and wind on Isla San Jose, we continued to the protected anchorage of San Evaristo.  The following morning with the rising sun gave a beautiful view of the anchorage.

P1130656

Isla San Francisco – 6 – 7th June 2019

Isla San Francisco is located about 44 nm north of La Paz.  The island has a beautiful crescent shaped bay with a white sandy beach, although it has a pinkie hue from the red pebbles.  The bay is surrounded by a ridge of rocky, pink cliffs and has the backdrop of the Sierra de la Gigantas on the Baja Peninsula.

6th June

We arrived mid-afternoon from La Paz and anchored in this beautiful, somewhat busy bay.  Andrew and the kids jumped off the boat for a swim and discovered that the water was ‘freezing’.  Siobhan and Ava paddle boarded to shore, while Andrew and I took the dinghy and walked along the beach.

The shoreline looks pink from the wet, red rocks which lie beneath the water.  Interestingly there were also a lot of shells with pinkie tones to them.  We walked to the point and back watching lizards sunbathing on rocks or floating across the bushes and dry ground, their feet barely ghosting the ground.

P1130424 (800x534)P1130422 (800x438)

Andrew enjoyed a relaxing drink on deck in his bean bag chair, which hasn’t been used in a long time, while watching the sunset and listening to the Eagles.

P1130441 (800x426)

7th June

Mid way through cooking an English breakfast we had a call from Jamie on the radio, wanting to know if we were up for a hike along the ridge.  I had been keen to do the hike, so Andrew readily agreed.  Ava was not so happy as it was disrupting her routine and she couldn’t understand why we couldn’t do it in the afternoon.  It’s a desert Ava, its going to be stinking hot in the afternoon.

By 10 am we had dragged the dinghy up the shore and were all clambering along the sand and up the rocky slope to reach the ridge.  Mairen spotted a cute little lizard sunbaking on the way and a backbone, which Jamie thought was either an eel or a ray.  Behan spotted hermit crab tracks and what she and Andrew suspected were snake tracks.  Andrew is a little anxious after having read that there are both rattle snakes and rattle less rattle snakes.  If it doesn’t have a rattle, then how can it be a rattlesnake?

P1130452 (800x526)P1130447

As you ascend to the top and walk along the ridge it affords you beautiful views over the boats anchored in the bay in turquoise and blue water and surrounded by the rocky cliffs in different shades of pink.  Gorgeous!

Looking down into the water below was a big black ball at first we thought it was a submerged rock, but discovered that the ball was moving.  Andrew thought it was a bait ball and Behan thought it was a group of stingrays.  We watched intermittently as the ball moved and also as another one on the other-side of the bay formed and moved too.  There was an occasional jump as one of what we suspected was rays leapt from the water.

P1130456

When we returned to shore we saw a smaller ball of black move past us and sure enough it was stingrays.

We returned to the boat so the kids could do some school and Andrew and I got al of our gear ready to go for a snorkel.  As we got in the dinghy we saw the black ball again and went for a look.  Jamie and Behan soon joined us and within a flash Behan was in with the stingrays.  I did go in too a few minutes later.  There was at least a hundred of the small rays moving in a pack.  There appeared to be smaller olive coloured ones that swam closer to the sand and also larger grey ones.  I managed to get a few photos of them, not wonderful but if you look closely you can decipher what they are.

DSCN3019bDSCN3018

While Jamie and Andrew went spearfishing and returned with dinner, the rest of us relaxed or finished school work.  The kids gathered later in the day to play games or go paddle boarding.

Andrew enjoyed sundowners on the bow and I joined him briefly as we watched numerous turtles surface around the boat and two seals in the distance frolicking in the water.  A very cool day.

P1130493

Isla Isabel – 26th – 29th May, 2019

History of Isla Isabel

Isla Isabel is a volcanic island in the Pacific Ocean and is located about 18 miles of the Mexican mainland.  The island is nicknamed the ‘Galapagos of Mexico’, because like its famous brother, it to is home to breeding birds including the frigate, several varieties of boobies and resident iguanas. The island was granted National Park status in 1980 and later in 2003 it became a World Heritage Site.  The island was home to marine explorer Jacques Cousteau for 9 months while filming for his TV series and he was also involved in helping the island gain protective status.

Probably the most recognisable resident of the island, the blue footed booby

In the early 1900s rats and cats were introduced to the island and resulted in the predators killing both the bird and reptile populations on the island.  The cats have since been eradicated and steps have been taken to reduce the island’s rat population.  As the island is relatively predator free, the birds are relaxed about the camera snapping humans who visit, although the frigates may warn you by clacking their beaks and the boobies will honk if you get a little too close.

Our Visit

We went ashore twice during our time anchored off Isla Isabel.  The first trip we went with ‘Love and Luck’ and ‘Totem’, landing the dinghies near the fishing village.  The fishing village consists of a series of shacks for the men’s sleeping quarters, behind these are a string of toilets each with labelled with the owner’s names. All of the trails on the island begin at the fishing village along with a map and information on the island.

The lower half of the hill features the nesting frigate birds, who sit solemnly on their nests casting their gaze down at you.  There is something a little creepy about the frigate birds, I’m not sure if it is their size, their black beady gaze, the adults dark coloured feathers or maybe the frigate bird body parts scattered around.

On our way up the hill we passed many iguanas including one group fighting over a piece of fish.  Siobhan and Ava held out a piece of grass to one iguana who hung around for a look, which quickly led to several more ambling over to see if there was any food on offer.

P1130179bP1130190

While we were looking at the girls interacting with the iguanas, Behan spotted some other beautiful little lizard, after a little research I discovered it was a western fence lizard.  He camouflaged so well with the tree, the only colour on him being a vivid blue on his chin and stomach.

After a steep hike uphill, we finally reached the booby nesting area on top of the mountain. You may be wondering, like I was, why are they called boobies?  Well after a little research I discovered the name comes from the Spanish slang word ‘bobo’, which essentially means stupid, because the Spanish were able to catch them so easily.  As boobies are sea birds, they can spend weeks out to sea and if they see a passing ship they will land and rest a while, they have certainly done it on our boat.  Once on board the birds were easily captured and provided an easy meal for the Spanish sailors.

P1130387

The view from the top

During our morning visit we saw a lot of single parent nests at different stages of breeding, some with eggs, others with baby chicks and some where the baby was as big as the adult.  It did make me laugh when we approached one mother/baby duo and the mother was honking to protect her baby who was bigger than her.  I guess it shows that they too feel that regardless of the size or how old they are, you still want to protect them.

We saw a lot of blue footed boobies and some members of our group spotted a red footed one, I must have missed that one.  There nests seem to consist of a little dried grass and a lot of bird guano.   It was amazing how close you could get to the birds especially as we were a group of six adults and eight teens.

 When we reached the shore one of the boats had returned and was unloading their catch, which of course drew the curious gazes of the men in our group.  We wandered over to have a look at their haul, which consisted of some very large red snapper all of which were quickly and efficiently gutted, washed and stored away.  Of course, the fresh fish drew the attention of the gulls who quickly encroached looking for their share.

After our hike, the kids dug out a paddle board and went swimming, while Andrew and I went for a snorkel/spearfish around one of the rocky outcrops.  It is a little different from what we are used to as there is no coral.  We did see some recognisable fish and Andrew did get a couple of fish for dinner.

For my second visit I went in the late afternoon with Jamie and Behan. Julie from Love and Luck had told us that the birds were more active and seemed to do a mating dance in the evening, so we went to experience it.  We tried a different trail which led us past a caldera filled with greenish water and is called Lago Crater.  After walking past many frigate birds and fighting of the bugs, we decided that there were no boobies on this track and headed back to the one we went on yesterday. Glad to no longer fend off the insects.

Passing through the village to reach the trail we passed a frigate bird sitting on the rocky shore, it appeared to have a broken wing and didn’t look like it would survive much longer.  Everywhere you go there are detached wings, dead frigate bird bodies and bones.  While the island displays the full circle of life, it is still sad to watch these giant, archaic looking birds dying and unfortunately, we witnessed two during our visits. 

While the frigate bird can’t really be described as beautiful, they do exhibit some extreme qualities.  Firstly, the mother spends between 9 to 12 months feeding the baby in the nest, which results in them breeding on alternate years. Secondly frigate birds spend weeks in the air and sometimes up to two months, not only that, but they don’t have a lot of oil in the feathers and as such can’t dive into the water or they risk their feathers becoming sodden and drowning. As the birds can’t dive in the water they have to skim the surface looking for fish, steal baby chicks and fight other birds for what they’ve caught.  Certainly not an easy life.

The most notable difference with visiting the boobies in the afternoon is that both parents are near the nest, so I can only assume that in the morning one is off fishing.  Again, the birds weren’t particularly fazed by our visit, but they postulated and honked when you approached.

During this visit I spotted some pairs of green footed boobies.  The green footed boobies are much sleeker looking and probably a prettier looking bird, their feet just aren’t vibrant blue like the blue footed boobies, but rather a pale green colour.  Funnily enough, it turns out that they are not green-footed boobies but are brown boobies. I think the name really doesn’t do the bird justice as brown is such a non-descriptive colour and these birds are beautiful.

The boobies were more active during our second visit with some birds sitting on rocks, timber, building remnants looking over their nests and enjoying the last rays of sunshine for the day.  It reminded me a bit of a bird’s version of afternoon sun-downers.

I’m so glad we visited this island, I loved looking at the birds and you could easily whittle away many hours admiring them.

My favourite mother and child pair

Access to Isla Isabel

The island can be accessed either by private boats or by boat from either San Blas or Boca de Camichin, the latter involves a shorter boat trip.  You can also book a trip to camp on the island through different tour organisers.

Passage from Chiapas Marina to Zihuatanejo – 9/5/2019

While our passage started off as peaceful and uneventful, over the four and half days that changed. 

10/5/2019

The afternoon of our second day of passage began with a single white booby landing on the rail of our bow.  Within a couple of hours, he was joined by a further two boobies.  It appeared that it was a little easier to migrate by catching a lift on a boat than to fly.  I finished by shift at 3 am and the birds were still sitting on the bow some 15 hours later with only the occasional bickering between them.

11/5/2019

By morning the birds were gone, and we settled in to another somewhat boring day.  I worked on the blog, Max and Ava watched movies together and Andrew kept himself busy on watch and listening to music.  By mid afternoon we were beating in to head winds and the boat was slamming into the waves, the worst king of sailing.  We ended up having to shut the hatches as there were waves coming over the bow.  I left the hatch in the kitchen and lounge areas open a fraction because it was so hot. Everyone disappeared to bed or more movies as was the case with Max and Ava when a large wave came over and poured through the hatch like Niagara Falls, soaking both me and my computer.  After cleaning up, Max and Ava had a look at my computer which would not turn on.

12/5/2019

Andrew woke me up early as he had extracted the hard drive from my computer and wanted me to copy my files onto a backup drive.  He was concerned that the strange noises emanating from the hard drive was a sign of its impending doom. Six hours later, after copying most of my files, I could no longer find the hard drive, nor could Andrew and it appeared that the hard drive had bit the dust.  Max took great pleasure sending my computer flying in the air from the cockpit, before it took a nose dive into the Pacific Ocean, never to be seen again.

Soon after dinner, while Andrew was on watch he noticed the light on the temperature gauge was on, although the alarm didn’t go off.  The engine was quickly turned off and we just drifted in circles a couple of miles off shore, while Andrew identified the problem.  Eventually he discovered the alternator arm had snapped off and that the belt was no longer attached to it or the water pump and therefore the water was not cooling the engine down.

Max and Andrew set to work finding a way to solve the problem, while Ava and I went up to the cockpit on watch.  Ava and I got a little concerned when two local boats appeared to be headed towards us and Andrew suggested we call up Love and Luck with our co-ordinates in case anything went wrong. Mark said they would put both engines on and get to us as quickly as they could.  Meanwhile the local boats had veered away from us and there was no trouble. 

A couple of hours later we had love and luck circling us in case we needed help and Andrew frantically trying to get the engine fixed.  Finally, some three hours later and a lot of cursing from downstairs, the engine was again running, with the alternator tied on to the motor with spectra. (left over from Jamie doing our life lines a few years ago) Thankfully Utopia and Love and Luck were back on course and Andrew was able to get a couple of hours of restless sleep during my watch.

13/5/2019

We arrived at about 9 am in to Zihuatanejo, after what seemed like a very long passage.

Sumediro Canyon – 2/5/2019

Background Information on the Canyon

Sumidero Canyon is situated within the Sumidero Canyon National Park, located north of the city, Chiapa de Corzo in southern Mexico.  The area surrounding the Sumidero Canyon was decreed a National Park in 1972 and currently incorporates 21, 289 hectares of rainforest, grasslands, canyons and the Grijalva Rivera, which is managed by a number of different organisations. The canyon was formed around the same time as the Grand Canyon by a crack in the earth’s crust, which was subsequently eroded by the Grijalva River, creating the canyon we see today.  Within the canyon there are some thirty rapids, five waterfalls and three beaches. Thirteen kilometres of the river still runs through the canyon.  Towards the end of the canyon is the Chicoasen Dam, which is one of several dams along the Grijalva River that provides not only water, but also generates hydroelectric power for the region.

Our River Trip

We drove from San Cristobal downhill to the town of Tuxtla Guttierrez.  We did make a wrong turn and end up at the gates to the miradors instead of the river, but we did eventually get there. We purchased our tickets which included both the river and the drive around the top of the canyons, where you can stop at the miradors for photos.  We were told that we would have to wait 15 minutes before the boat would leave, which turned into an hour as the boats don’t leave until every seat is sold.  Despite having left home at 8 am to do the boat trip early, it ended up being close to lunch time before we left and it was incredibly hot by then.  The boat have no shade top, so you definitely need hats, sunscreen and water.

P1120530b

The canyon is characterised by being tall and narrow.  Its walls range in height of between 300 and 700 meters high, but do reach 1000 meters at points. The width between the walls varies between one and two kilometers.

 

The canyon is home to the endangered American river crocodiles, however we did not see any during our trip. We did stop a couple of times to watch the spider monkeys climbing in trees close to the river.

The canyon walls contain numerous small caves, we went inside one cave in the boat.  Unfortunately the tour was in Spanish so we had no idea what we were looking at, with the exception of seeing an image of the Virgin of Guadalupe. It turns out that the cave, named the ‘Cave of Colors’ gets its name from the magnesium, potassium and other minerals which creates the colours on the cave walls.  We did notice the pink rock when we were there.

Another cave that we motored past had a stalactite called the ‘Caballito de Mar’ or the ‘Seahorse.’ Someone in our group did comment that the stalactite looked like a seahorse.

P1120546

The stalactite hanging from the center of the roof is shaped like a seahorse.  Can you spot it?

Our boat trip continued along the river until we reached the ‘Arbol de Navidad’ or the ‘Christmas Tree.’  The rock formation, which is in the shape of a tree is created by deposits from the waterfall when it is active and from the moss that covers the rocks.  During the wet season this rock formation is transformed into a waterfall, as it was still the dry season when we visited, there was no waterfall, not even a trickle.

The trip continues on until you reach the Chicoasen Dam, at this point there is a boat vendor selling refreshments and the driver who collects tips.  We sat there for about 20 minutes in the heat with a few complaints from the kids, mainly mine, at how hot it was.  Finally we did the return trip along the river to the dock.

P1120577

Tourist Information on Sumidero Canyon

Opening Hours:

Technically the river boats run from sunrise to sunset, however later in the day if the boat is not full they will cancel the trip.  You don’t need to pre-book, just turn up and wait for the boat to be full or alternatively you can pay extra and have the boat to yourself. The boat trip lasts about 2 hours.  Get there early as it is incredibly hot.

Cost:

Your ticket/wristband includes the river boat cruise and the 5 miradors and costs 230 pesos or about $17 AUD.  You have 24 hours to use your wristband drive the canyon top to see the 5 miradors.

Agua Azul Cascades (Blue Waterfalls) – 3/5/2019

Background Information on the Waterfall

You may be wondering what is so special about Agua Azul waterfall and why we bothered stopping.  The waterfall is special because of the water’s colour, indigo blue and the lush, green vegetation surrounding it makes it even more picturesque. As the Agua Azul River descends down the limestone bed steps it forms waterfalls which fall into natural pools below them and are otherwise known as ‘gours.’  The lower natural pools are where both locals and tourists congregate to swim.  The water’s colour is created from the dissolved carbonate salts and the rocky limestone beds of the river.  That being said, during the wet season the beautiful blue colour changes to a chocolaty brown, lucky we were there in the dry season.

P1120623 (800x523)P1120620 (800x533)

Our Visit

On our drive from San Cristobal to Palenque we made a stop at the Agua Azul Cascades with our friends, ‘Love and Luck’ and their Portuguese water dog, Willie.  We no sooner arrived at the cascades when Willie and Mark went for a quick swim, before catching up to the rest of us, who slowly meandered uphill to look out at the waterfalls from the differing miradors.

P1120615

It was hot, so we only visited a couple of the miradors.  Surprisingly there are a lot of food and souvenir vendor stalls as you walk up the river. We did stop and get some empanadas for a snack, before finding a picnic table to eat among the crowds of mainly locals.  After our snack we all went for a swim.  I have to say the water was cold and it took me a long time to get in, Andrew decided it was too cold for a swim.  Willie had a great time swimming in the water pool, but he looked a little weary by the time we got back to the car.

P1120619P1120621

Tourist Information for Agua Azul Cascades

If you are driving to the Agua Azul Cascades, beware that as you get closer to the cascades you may find that some of the local kids hold either rope, knotted grass or even a daisy chain with the purpose of stopping tourists and either selling fruits to them or demanding money.  The day we visited we were stopped by kids a couple of times with a daisy chain and string, we did not buy anything and continued on our way, but we looked in the rear view mirror and saw one child throwing rocks at a car behind us. 

Cost: 40 pesos per person for the entrance to the falls, but if you are driving you will also have to pay to park your car.  The cost for us was 20 pesos.