Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Lakes of Montebello: a treasure in Chiapas

In a very early morning mounted in the family van my brother , two little cousins , who can be a little young for our trip since they are 8 and 10 years old, and the leader of the group my very adventurous aunt. Our destination Chiapas a province state in Southeast Mexico just a 10 hour car ride from Mexico city.  

The goal of our first day was to get to San Cristobal de las Casas.  We drove for the whole day making some bathroom stops , and one obligated stop in Veracruz for a delicious plate of toasted shrimp. We arrive to San Cristobal near  8.00 pm although we were quiet tired we couldn't resist to go out and see a little of this beautiful colonial city, but soon enough we were back in our hotel in need of some rest, aware of what was waiting for us the next day.

The next day we were ready early, and hop on the car again ! Just one hour outside the city is the National Park of the Lakes of Montebello. The attraction of this park is a set of 59 lakes. These lakes are famous for their striking colors, which they vary due to their different mineral contents, going from emerald and turquoise to dark green, purple and even reddish dark. There are 15 accessible by car or foot. The other ones you can get in boat, and some are just much more complicate to go, so they may be out of reach for tourists.

We arrive there at 10 am, and a lot of tourist guides, natives of the zone were ready to offer their service. We took a tour in our car, the tourist guide drove with us to almost every lake accessible by car, and then he took us to a place where you can rent a “boat” to take you to some of the ones which are out of reach by car. Those lakes are in the frontier of Mexico and Guatemala, so if you decide to go down in the land you will be in Guatemala, and of course this was our plan.

We took a raft made of four logs of about 2 meters long and 20 cm of diameter, with three crossed logs doing the job of seats for us. Here we had a new guide with us, he was rowing, but we needed help. After 15 minutes of rowing in that not so steady raft our little group was in trouble a very strong storm took us by surprise. While we found refuge underneath some trees our not so surprised guide have the courtesy to  tell us "I hope is a little one, last week some Spanish tourist got lost in a storm like this, took three days to find them". My little cousins excited with the adventure started to plan how we were going to live in the jungle. Luckly for us the storm wasn't that long, so as soon it started to calm down we start rowing in our way back. Half-way there the storm began again, now we were in the middle of the lake without many options, so we decided to keep rowing towards our “port”, and we got there.

We ran to a pack of small huts made of straw and wood, they didn't make a great refuge, but it was definitely better than nothing. It was a little place with no floor and there were some women who offer to cook for tourist. We needed the shelter so we decided to eat some quesadillas and gorditas despising the fact the "kitchen" was a bonfire and a pan. Eventually after more than an hour the storm start to calm down again, so my aunt ran to the car and brought it to another hut,  that the people had lend to us so could change of clothes, fortunately we had brought our bags with us. Now that we were all warm and dry, the guide who stick with us the whole time insisted to take us by car to see the border of Mexico and Guatemala. We couldn't say no, so we drive a few minutes and crossed to Guatemala. It was the same road and forest just beside the road there was a sign which say "Welcome to Guatemala" and next to it souvenirs stand.

After taking pictures next to the sign we hop in our van, ready to go to our next stop, leaving behind the most similar place to Neverland. 

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