I recently went on an expedition with Coba Sunset to a beautiful Mayan city. If you’re in search of a bit of adventure then read on!
It was a morning like any other: got up late, banged my knee on the kitchen cabinet on my way to the coffee machine and ended up drinking a cold brew by spending too much time in the shower.
Fortunately, the Coba Sunset team was waiting for me at the van and we drove off, if in not a hurry, at least in a cheerful mood.
It takes a good forty-five minutes to get to the Mayan city and Jesús, the group’s tour guide on the day, had a special type of comedy skills that made the road-trip alone worthwhile. I could tell you that he’s a funny guide but it somehow doesn’t quite capture his personality.
I did a bit of research prior to taking the tour and most of the information I gathered was that Mayan villages inhabitants have taken the touristic wave as a way to not only survive but also nurture their lifestyle by sharing it through hands-on activities like pottery and showing off their Mayan football skills. Now, I don’t know you but I ain’t no Patrick Swayze.
After a jungle of tour guide jokes, we finally got to the actual jungle where thick layers of trees slowly opened onto the Mayan village.
As soon as we arrived, the mysticism of the place and the soft silence of a village lost in the middle of the woods made me understand that I was finding myself in a very special place. I instantly wanted to run around and see everything at once.
Following Jesús’ trail however, I made my way between the beautiful thatch roof houses and got to the bikes pick-up point. Let me tell you, that morning banged knee was just about to remind me how stupid I am to go to bed without closing all the kitchen cabinets doors. Also, while riding along the trail, I got to see a lot of jungle animals, making the trip all the more enjoyable.
I then continued to follow Jesús and listened to him explain how the Stelae around the ruins were, simply put, predicting the end of the world for 2012 and well, it either didn’t happen or it did and death looks awfully similar to life and I’m not signing up for that.
Next up, and by up I mean, literally, the group and I arrived at the highest pyramid around called Nohoch Mul. Climbing this pyramid comes with four main emotional stages.
First, derision, looking at all the visitors get on their hands and butts to go up or down the monument. Second, the realization that to go up there, you do need to use your hands.
Third, and I will take a bit more time on this one, the pure amazement at the beauty of the jungle view from above. It is very easy to forget time and thus make Jesús look up at you from the bottom of the pyramid with narrow eyes but hey, from up there, he looked like an ant so who cares. The most amazing part though was that I could see an harmonious movement of the trees made by the wind not unlike being in the middle of the ocean and looking at the big waves moving the world around you. For this, and for this alone, I would do the tour again and again as I can’t imagine how tiny photos can do justice to that gigantic beauty.
Finally, the fourth emotion hits you up when you get ready to go down the stairs and realize that you won’t be able to make it unless you use your hands, your feet and your butt. So that very last feeling is, indeed, shame.
I must be honest and tell you that I don’t quite recall much of the way back to the Mayan village as I couldn’t shake the image of that sea of trees out of my mind. It sort of created an harmonious movement inside of me and all I could feel by that time was a sense of peace. I barely registered that our group was separated into two halves: some people went to visit a Cenote and enjoy some customary zip-lining and the group I stayed in went back to the village to do some cultural activities.
Once at the village, the group and I listened to Mayan history, the healing properties of locally produced honey and the list of properties of the plants found nearby. The locals knowledge of plants and the way they constantly use them to stay healthy was very impressive. During the highly educational conversation, I couldn’t help but to exchange amused glances with the little kids hiding behind their grand-parents. There was something incredibly timid yet curious in their behaviors that made me want to know more about these people and their way of life.
Everything has to come to an end however and we left the village, waving at the habitants and of course the children, and we met with the other half of the group at a restaurant by Coba’s main lagoon. In a way, it was the perfect ending of a perfect day, eating Mayan food while letting my eyes get lost in the reflection of the setting sun on the lagoon.
I found myself meditating on the day, the beauty of the view from the pyramid’s top, the children’s eyes and the stories of the elders explaining how their traditional lifestyle was constantly threatened by our modern societies. These tours are essential to their survival and I felt blessed to be a part of their survival in any small way I may have been.
Somehow, Jesús had no jokes for us on the way back as I kept asking him a million questions about Mayans and how they survive and couldn’t help but to notice that all his answers were not only in depth but that also, he cared.
I’ll take the tour again, if not for the kindness I was given but also to get a chance to get my Swayze on as the pottery in the visit.
I can’t be thankful enough for the experience and I recommend this tour to anyone who wishes to spend a day like no other.