When I go to a different country, I want to explore. I want to see things I'll never see anywhere else; do things I won't do anywhere else.
I was pleasantly surprised to find an excursion that bundled four things I've never done before but always wanted to try:
- Driving an ATV through the jungle
- Rappelling down a ravine
- Zip lining over a forest
- Swimming into an underground cavern
Once we got to the excursion site, the boys were noticeably antsy. They later admitted to us that, from the sight of the dilapidated building, we were about to be murdered. They seriously thought that. Then again, reflecting back, I can understand their concern. Our driver hadn't really said anything to us in the time between the hotel and the excursion site, and the site, itself, was something out of a horror movie.
Of course, everything was fine and we were soon beginning our adventure with a ride through the jungle on personal ATVs. Here's a photo of Chrissy with one of our guides:
After the 20 minute trip through the forest, we arrived at a small campground that served as a welcome station for explorers. It was here that we suited up for our training. First up, rappelling!
After we'd finished rappelling, we were taught how to use the zip lines. I had really been looking forward to this. I'd ALWAYS wanted to try zip lining, and now I was about to do it over a Mayan jungle! Doesn't get much cooler than that.
We all took turns zipping down the line, and it was SO MUCH FUN! They showed us how to go forwards and backwards. I thought it would be somewhat scary, but it wasn't. It was a similar sensation to being in the car with the windows rolled down. You're not SUPER speedy, but the wind in your face makes you feel like you're going faster than you are. The views were incredible, though. What a fun experience!
Finally, after the zip lining, we were instructed to change into our swim suits, rinse off under their outside showers and head towards a small hut behind the welcome camp. It was here that we experienced a Temazcal. I'll discuss this more in my next entry, but suffice to say this ancient ritual prepares the mind, body and spirit of adventurers to take part in the unique experience of swimming in a cenote (which is basically an underground cave full of water).
The cavern was alive with fish, bats and bugs. It was fresh water, not salty, and felt cool and refreshing. The cave, itself, was beautiful. So many unique formations carved by years of erosion... it was amazing.
So we swam through the narrow waterway which cut us off from light. We relied on tiny flashlights that, in my opinion, were annoying. I gave mine to John because I didn't want to be burdened with holding onto it. I wasn't afraid of the darkness. I wasn't afraid of the bats above us or the fish that nibbled at our legs. I just wanted to thrust myself fully into the experience of being surrounded by such pristine, natural beauty, and it was such a rush. By far, this was my favorite experience of the entire trip.
Finally, however, it was time to head back. We were given a snack of home-cooked salsa (made with fresh tuna, vegetables and herbs) and baked tortillas. One of our guides had cooked it up while we were diving. It was so delicious!
But soon we were on our ATVs to travel back to the original starting point. From there, we were given drinks for the ride home. All in all, it was my favorite part of the entire trip. Adventure, new experiences, gorgeous pictures, and wonderful memories. Here are some additional photos: