After our trip to Ria Lagartos, we now have a decision to make: drive all the way back to Valladolid, or try our luck and find a place to stay in the jungle. It’s getting late, the sun has already set, we are tired and hungry; and considering we want to head out early the next day to avoid the crowds and the heat at the ancient Mayan ruins of Ek’ Balam, we decide to stay in the jungle.
After getting lost only once we finally arrive into Ek’ Balam, a small pueblo with nothing more than a few buildings around the main square. Driving another few miles in almost perfect darkness we finally reach Genesis, our destination, a hidden gem deep in the Yucatan jungle that turns out to be a welcoming refuge for the night. Although fully booked with no available room for the night, our hosts Elaine and Bud improvise two beds while we’re treated to a quickly reheated, delicious dinner so we don’t go to bed on an empty stomach.
Even wearing all of our clothes packed for the trip and hiding under the acquired woolen blankets, nothing saves us from the cold. I use some towels as blankets, hug the covers as close as I can, yet the bed still feels damp and cold, and I can clearly see my breath. I think twice before venturing out to find the toilet, and also make a mental reminder: next time pack a fleece (or two). I’m still shivering when I fall asleep while watching the myriad of stars through the mosquito net, and listening to the birds and crickets.
I stir again around 3 in the morning when the village roosters start shrieking their mating calls. Not much fun when it sounds like it’s coming from underneath the bed. I watch as the rising sun finally illuminates our little retreat deep within the jungle. I go for a short walk at first light, and I’m not disappointed, for I find myself surrounded by lush vegetation and incredible serenity. Elaine is already up preparing for the day, and she tells me a little bit about the history of the place dating back to the start of the excavations at Ek’ Balam. I also learn that the pool in the middle of the lodge draws water from an underground natural sink hole called cenote.
Genesis is indeed a wonderful oasis, owned and built by Canada-born Lee Christie. Her story is quite unique, that teaches receptive visitors about following our dreams, about compassion, and the sense of community. If you want to know more about her story I highly recommend visiting her website. If you want to visit, make sure you take some time to talk to her and some of the other guests. The diversity of people visiting while we were there amazed me.
We might not have been prepared for the cold night in the jungle, but I wouldn’t have missed the opportunity for anything. Spending the night at Genesis and visiting the ruins of Ek’ Balam the next day are among my fondest memories of Mexico; these are the experiences that made the trip most memorable. Although next time I’ll probably book a room before showing up on their doorstep.
Stay tuned for our trip to Ek’ Balam, an only recently excavated
Mayan archeological site.
Visit the gallery for more pictures from my Mexico trip here.
For more information on Genesis Eco-Oasis, click here.
Visit the page on village life, Mayan culture and how you can
take part in its preservation here.
To read more on the archeological background of the area, click here.