There will be three parts to this road trip; at the end of this first part, you will find the links to part 2 and 3.
With the car packed we were traveling toward Merida.
Along the 305 there are rope structures stretched across the highway from one side to the other. Any guess why?
They are there, so monkeys and other jungle animals can go from the jungle on the one side highway to the jungle on the other side without the risk of getting injured or worse – killed. How fabulous.
The scenery varies very little, and the road is flat and smooth giving the journey a comfortable ride. Playing trivia my daughter and son-in-law makes the journey even more enjoyable.
What wasn’t too pleasant was the $254mxn we had to pay at the toll (cuota in Spanish) which took us onto the 180. That was frightfully expensive, we were a little wiser on our return trip and used alternative roads.
These roads were more interesting anyway.
Our first destination was Las Coloradas, (in the Yucatan province) or otherwise known as the Pink Lakes. Nearby the town Valladolid we veered right for the longest stretch of the trip. As I said the scenery varies little but the roads are busy, and the towns that pop up along the way are interesting with their colonial architecture and quaintness, namely Temozon, Tizimin, and Ki Kil.
Heading into Las Colordas, you will drive along the coastline. The ocean cannot be seen from the road, but there are various entrances where it is safe to park your car and enjoy the turquoise and very salty ocean.
As you enter the pink lakes you first pass the salt mine, it is unattractive but once passed that you get your first glimpse of the pink lakes. The initial reaction is ‘wow.’ It is a short distance alongside the lakes until you get to the popular viewing spot; this is merely a big area for parking you can actually stop anywhere alongside the lakes.
The pink colour is due to due to microorganisms from the evaporation of salt from the sea water.
Now, this is where it becomes interesting and left a bad taste in our mouths. We were barely out of the car when we were approached by a person wearing ordinary clothes and with no form of identification. He informed us that if we wanted to go and walk at the edge of the water (Take note – you are not permitted to put so much as a toe in the water), we had to pay $50mxn each. This is absolutely absurd as we can see the lakes just as perfectly from the roadside. There is a nylon type wire all along the roadside preventing anyone going into or near the water; this, however, does not obstruct your view. They made a makeshift gate, and you will pay the $50mxn to enter through this to walk alongside the pink water. It makes no sense whatsoever. We queried this as we did not find any notification of such a fee on the internet before our visit nor is there any signage or notification on the site. Needless to say, we did not pay the money and took great photos from the roadside anyway.
But this is not all that happened. My son-in-law, Sasha has a drone! All he wanted to do was take a few photos of the lakes from above. Well!! The drone was barely in the air when a man on an off-road bike appeared out of nowhere and was yelling at Sasha to put it down. Sasha questioned him as to why and that there is again no signage or notification to say it is prohibited. There is a sign that says private property but then if you are allowed to take photos of the private property why not a drone? Anyway, after a second or two another man on a bike appeared and they were getting very excited and aggressive, a few of the unidentifiable personnel also showed up on the scene. Some of the visitors got involved and were arguing for our part as to why firstly we had to pay the $50mxn and secondly why not the drone. The men on the bikes were covered from head to toe and very aggressive.
(Lady arguing our case and you can see the base for the drone on the sand in the left of the photo)
We packed the drone away as they threatened to confiscate it and I’m sure they would’ve done just that. It all begs the question – what are they hiding? It’s only a salt mine?
Las Coloradas is as small a town as you can get with only a handful of hotels for accommodation. There is nothing to do there other than go to the beach or view the pink lakes. So after our debacle, we headed to the beach to cool down (literally) and then we were back on the road to the Hotel Dolores & Alba in Chichen Itza.
PS!! Sasha flew the drone on the beach on got a view of the pink lakes anyway!!
I hope you will continue to follow us on our Mexican road trip.
Professional photos courtesy of Mik ‘n Drik Photography