Thursday, November 26, 2009

New to Valladolid, guided bike tours and rentals.

On a recent bike trip around the Valladolid area, we were happy to discover Mexigotours. Plan an extra day in Valladolid and take the tour. It is well worth the time and the price is economical.

Vivyana Hernández Molina and Toon Vande Vyvere, owners and operators of MexiGO.
Tours in English, Spanish, French, Dutch with a guide who speaks Maya.

They take you to the out of the tourist trap places for an unforgettable experience of a lifetime.
The tour takes you to two beautiful cenotes plus a visit to a Mayan home and a couple of villages.

Take a guided bicycle day tour in the heart of Yucatán that is not only ecologically friendly but healthful. Photo opportunities in bird watching country plus sampling authentic exquisite Mayan foods 100% natural are just part of what you will enjoy.
Phones; +52 (985) 8560777 cel: 521 (985) 1082018
Above is one of the two beautiful cenotes that you will visit on the tour.
Jane in front of the MexiGO tour and bike rental office in Valladolid. MexiGO is located behind the cathedral and 1 block from the central park at Calle 43 No. 204B between Calles 40 and 42. For a map, click here.

We have biked to the places on this tour. Check out our website * for stories of some of the places we visited on our trips to Valladolid from Tulum and along the Caste War Route.
* the Valladolid web page is currently being updated and should be ready in a few days.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


Twenty-six meters above sea level, seven kilometers south of Valladolid along a quiet paved bicycle path is the little unassuming town of Chichimilá with 7, 500 inhabitants, most of whom speak Maya.
In a zone of cenotes, heavily wooded Chichimilá has fifteen cenotes and could be considered a suburb of nearby full-service Valladolid. Cenote Xlakaj is the best and most accessible of the centoes.
Traditional Mayan food and dress are the standard and the only claim to fame seems to be that the chief martyr of the uprising that led to the protracted Caste War was born here.
In the city center park across from the church is this unpretentious little monument to the city hero
Mayan rebel Manuel Antonio Ay’s arrest and execution in 1847 was a major factor in the start of the Caste War. For Chichimilá, the Caste War didn’t officially end until 1975 when a treaty was signed with the Mexican government.

Everywhere in Yucatán that a church stands there was once a Mayan temple.
This no-frills neglected stacked stone, mamposteria relic of the past structure still has its arched ceiling of wooden beams that has miraculously outlived most others of Yucatán. This was a site of a Franciscan mission and the church was added in the 17th century.
Inside the modest Chichimilá church you can see this has always been a poor little town.
At the city center park of Manual Antonio Ay across the seldom traveled main street from the old church, Jane and I procure some welcome shade to have our afternoon coffee and some corn tortillas lightly sprinkled with salt.
We travel light and pack all we need for our excursion aboard our little folding bicycles.
This is most of Chichimilá’s business district. There is also a building supply and cantina.
Jane and I, out of curiosity, wanted to check out the housing market and these two local men guided us to the only house in town for sale. It was just three blocks removed from the downtown business district, has a palm thatched palapa house, city water, electric and a water well eighteen meters deep. The large tract of land was planted with many kinds of fruit trees.
This slice of paradise required a lot of youthful exuberance to conquer and saintly patience in waiting for things like a phone or internet service. This isolation is not for everybody.

Nearby to Chichimilá is a the cenote Xlakaj. The people of Chichimilá have made improvements to the cenote and it serves as a recreation area complete with cabins, restaurant and access to a swim in the beautiful cenote. Mexigo Tours will rent you a bike if you don’t have one or they will take you there on a tour.

Saturday, November 21, 2009


This off the beaten path and almost suburb of Valladolid is in no way tourist oriented, but has the unique feature of having been totally overlooked and bypassed.
Just a seven kilometer bicycle ride from the central plaza, first going south to calle 49 in Valladolid, then east on that street though a slightly downtrodden neighborhood past several schools you are on your way. Then where the street meanders into the woods and meets a slightly busier roadway you turn east and you get to enjoy rural outback Yucatán. (You can rent a bike from MexiGO bike rentals and tours in downtown Valladolid.)
The above roadway sign greets your entrance to the little slice of nowhere… known as Tixhualactún, “the town tourists miss most”.
The most striking feature when you enter Tixhualactún situated on the quiet as a ghost town central plaza is the huge crumbling old church, La Iglesia del Santo Cristo de la Exaltación or The Church of Saint Christ of the Exultation.
As the falling down information sign states; the church is three hundred years old, you should conserve its splendor and don’t take away any of the building stones.
In a state of nearly total neglect for the past three hundred years the stacked stone, mamposteria structure has lost its massive roof to a cave-in and the walls are in the process of taking departure in different directions headed from the vertical to horizontal.
Outwardly you could easily assume that this three century crumbling structure was totally abandoned, not so, it is actually still functional to a degree.
An interesting thought to contemplate is the reality that the Spanish conquistadors were actually re-cyclers.
All of the building materials used to build this old church and the entire community for that matter were in fact re-cycled from a previous Mayan temple standing here.
The walk of a few steps from the central plaza to this still ornately adorned entry door of the church is on a dirt path lined with knee high clingy weeds.
Peering into the church you are in for several surprises.
First the most striking feature of all is that the entire roof has completely vanished and the sky is the limit so a glimpse of heaven is afforded.
Next the inner walls devoid of paint are starkly bleak and darkly blotched by mold interspersed with occasional outcroppings of rank vegetation.
A tiny persistence of faith is evident here within the open air nave where a tin roofed pole shed sits before the sanctuary altar surrounded by green grass and vacant walls.
A radiant beauty of glorious days in centuries gone by still catches the eye when viewing the ornately adorned arched entry way that seems to capture your spirit.

The Spanish conquistadors overran and expelled the Moors from Spain but also took their trademark architectural designs to the Americas as you can clearly see here in the ogee arch and Moorish pillars of the church cloister.
The mystery here is just what led this particular community that originally erected the monumental church to sink into three hundred years of apathy.
You are looking at downtown Tixhualactún and its silent central plaza and business district.
Though the old church crumbled and its bells fell to earth as you can see they have been resurrected to call in the faithful.

No tour buses or hoards of street venders hawking their hand crafts to camera snapping sightseeing visitors will be found here which in itself makes a little side trip like this well worth while.

Wait! There is more to Tixhualactún. Adjacent to the main plaza is a cenote, in Maya Dzonot. The cenote, a type of sink-hole, that here is in the limestone bedrock actually has flowing water. The water level in the cenote would be at the same level of area wells which is the water table, about eighteen meters down.
Well, Jane and I were treated to a strange display that continued all the time we were there. Huge flocks of bats were swarming, screeching and circling at a hurried pace around and around within the cenote and we were lucky enough to capture this event in a video.
This little girl came to greet us to Tixhualactún on her bicycle that she had received from the government at her school. She was talkative, inquisitive and full of town facts…a pleasant welcoming committee of one.
Dzonot Kaaj - Cenote Kaaj
It was an incredible experience to view the bats flying in this cenote in the quiet village of Tixhualahtún.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Time to get out on the bikes!

Yucatán is cooling down and it is time to get out on the bikes. It is a beautiful time of year to visit Mayapan and the surrounding area.
For ideas as to where to go, check out some of our trips on our website: