Hiking in Yucatan
Replies: 11 - Last Post: Jun 16, 2012 6:45 AM Last Post By: Ryon
Jun 14, 2012 3:53 PM
Hiking in YucatanMyy friends and I will go on a two-week holiday to Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo. If possible, we would very much like to spend a day or two hiking through, and camping in, the jungle. We would not mind travelling to (northern) Guatemala, Belize or farther west into Mexico. As we are not really experienced hikers, nor familiar with jungle, we will need a guide.
What are our options?
Thanks in advance!
Jun 14, 2012 4:45 PM
1During what month will you take this "holiday"?
Except during the winter (roughly December to mid-March) the low lying region that you plan to visit is extremely hot, humid, and in some places buggy. That seasonal heat doesn't stop people from enjoyably performing aquatic activities at beach locales like Playa del Carmen, but it can sap people's energy, reducing their desire to hike very far through lowland rain forests.
I like to hike and camp and have done so a fair amount in both Mexico and Costa Rica. If I were taking a hiking/camping detour trip from Playa, I'd do so during the winter, perhaps spending several nights at the campground that is located at the beginning of the access road to the Calakmul Mayan ruin.
Or, if I wanted to hike and/or camp sometimes during the warmer part of the year, I would do so up at a higher elevation, staying above 1,000 meters/3,300 feet elevation. Many places in Mexico and Central America meet that requirement but unfortunately none of them are near Playa del Carmen. Perhaps the possibility closest to Playa would be the Chiapas highlands that surround San Cristobal de las Casas.
Jun 14, 2012 8:10 PM
2Another thing to think about is Calakmul is a preserve for Jaguars...
Jun 14, 2012 10:07 PM
Jun 14, 2012 10:33 PM
4Yes, jaguars live in Calakmul's forests, and some other wild cats of varying sizes probably do as well, along with many snakes, some of which are poisonous. But, the presence of those critters should not deter people from visiting tropical forests, in my opinion. The aforementioned creatures tend to be reclusive.
I've probably never have the luck of seeing a jaguar in the wild, but I've have enjoyed tramping bit through several places that they live. I'd be more concerned about the possible presence at Calakmul of man eating mosquitoes. But, tropical forests, both down in the hot lowlands and also up high on cool mountainsides, can be good places to observe birds and insects.
Jun 15, 2012 6:10 AM
5Go to Palenque and stay at El Panchan, then take the trip down to Tikal. You will get plenty of jungle, hiking, pyramids, monkeys, birds, and river boating in pangas. And like #1 says, do it in the winter.
Jun 15, 2012 6:21 AM
6Bear in mind the higher elevations Chris talks about are not 'jungle,' they're drier pine/oak forests. If the jungle conditions Chris describes don't bother you, a great area would be the Sian Ka'an Reserve east of Felipe Carrillo Puerto. You could easily take a bus or taxi from Playa del Carmen.
We did a long day hike from a boundary gate along the Vigia Chico road. It's a very good semi-deciduous forest, but depending on the time of the year it could be hot and buggy.
I'm sure you could get more details online and in the area. I don't think you need a guide for that trip, but if you want one I'd contact the protected area directly. There's lots of detail in Steve Howell's 'A Bird-Finding Guide to Mexico.'
I also agree Calakmul is another very good option, but Sian Ka'an would be much closer and easier (especially in terms of access and lodging) for a short trip.
Jun 15, 2012 7:06 AM
Jun 15, 2012 7:10 AM
Jun 15, 2012 9:08 AM
9Since the Peninsula is just about the flattest place EVER, of course for mountains you'd have to head to Chiapas. But if you prefer to stay closer, then I'd head to Punta Laguna. It's a monkey reserve and you can canoe across the lake and then take a hike through the woods with a guide. I had an amazing day when we did this!
Jun 16, 2012 3:53 AM
10Thanks to all for your replies! I will look at the Calakmul, Sian Ka'an, Punta Laguna and Palenque options mentioned above.
We will be going early september. The jungle conditions described by Chris will not bother me.
I have been looking on the internet and found some tours of Belizean agencies that arrange overnight jungle tours and three day excursions. I've read in other threads that we could catch a bus to (southern) Belize, but this would take us a lot of time and we're discussing whether it would be worth it, or not.
Would anyone happen to know tour agencies that organise overnight jungle tours in Mexico or northern Belize?
Jun 16, 2012 6:45 AM
11Tourism is big business in Mexico. If there's anything at all to see, there will be someone to take you there to see it. Any hotel lobby, and every other shop in town will have posters and brochures, and chances are good that they will sell tickets there as well.
And you will be at least one step closer to the people that actually run the tour.
Cancún & AroundBook now
(3 star Hotel)
From US$526.40 per night
(0 star Hotel)
From US$12.10 per night
(3 star Hotel)
From US$66.74 per night