February 21, 2016: After the mega resort, we decided to get back to basics. We headed south a bit to check out an RV park at Xpu Ha, on the beach between Playa del Carmen and Akumal.
While other coastal RV parks charge $35-50 per night, this one bizarrely charges just $16/night and has full RV services. Here’s our spot. You can’t see it, but the beach is right behind us, just over the dune.
The couple that manages the park are retired Germans who spend most of the year in Mexico, and go to Texas for the hottest months of the year. Here’s our invoice. Note the camper name:
Allegedly this place has great off-the-beach snorkeling. Unfortunately there was a very strong wind blowing in the entire time we were there and the resulting waves were too rough and the bottom too churned up to make it worthwhile. I guess we’ll have to go back. At least the swimming was good.
You see that there’s some undeveloped beach there, and what is developed is low density. A couple of stretches have hurricane ravaged former hotels, now stuck, we are told, in legal battles over ownership.
On Valentine’s Day, one of the posh small hotels on the beach was serving what I’m sure they sold as a romantic dinner on the beach, complete with purple floodlights on the beach, and while tablecloth service with roses and wine glasses on each table. It looked kind of nice, if you’re into that kind of thing. Unfortunately, there was only one couple seated when we walked by. Maybe it was too early. Or maybe people weren’t in the mood to get sandblasted while eating, thanks to the steady, strong wind.
While the beach was beautiful, the best thing about the Xpu Ha stay was the RV community we found there. When we first pulled in we found vehicles from the US, Canada, Switzerland (a Unimog overlander) and Italy. As we’ve seen elsewhere, plenty of Europeans ship their vehicles over the ocean for North and South American travel. The Italians were traveling in a van not much bigger than ours (sprinter body). It was filled to the brim with two adults and four very active boys! We believe their North American adventure is taking two years.
We spent some time hanging out with nice couples from New Mexico and California. Both are spending months at a time traveling through Mexico, year after year. The New Mexicans had been at Xpu Ha for nearly two months. This was the first time that we connected with an RV community in Mexico. It was a great fun to share ideas and thoughts about the Mexican RV experience, and the relative scarcity of Americans in such places. The more experienced couples said it was almost unprecedented to have so many Americans at a park at one. We even outnumbered the Canadians.
We also (mostly Michael) did some home improvement while at Xpu Ha. The house didn’t come with screens for the front windows. Michael’s family was kind enough to bring us some materials when they came to visit. With mosquito netting, magnetic strips and some sewing, we now have screens.
It turns out that Michael is pretty good at sewing and Laura is not. He took home-ec in middle school, she should have – sorry Ms. Huff!
Here’s a bit of a random side note. We’ve probably talked about hammocks a couple of times, but they really are a part of life. We have had several accommodations with hardware built right into the walls for mounting hammocks:
Anyway, we made one more stop back in Campeche before leaving the Yucatan on February 17. When we got up we found this guy outside our door.
He followed us around all morning, inviting us to play. He was super energetic and pretty cute. He had a rope tied around his neck so tightly that it was cutting into his skin. Michael was able to get a knife into the rope while Laura tried to hold him still, and we were able to remove it. Our new friend would have been happy to come with us, but as there’s no room in our house for a dog, we had to say goodbye. He started to follow us as we pulled away. We started to worry that he would still be right behind us when we had to stop and pick up our laundry a few blocks down the road, but he gave up just in time. We were a little sad.
Well, that’s it for the Yucatan. When you hear from us next we’ll report from the jungles of Chiapas.