Our Christmas cruise took us back to Progreso for the 5th time in 10 years. We don’t intentionally pick a cruise that goes to Progreso, but occasionally when we just really feel the need to get on a boat… that is the cheapest and easiest route for us. So back we went.
We had a leisurely morning. I don’t recall what time we got off the boat because I wasn’t paying attention. There were no issues getting off. One new thing I noticed was they were offering massages in the port area. I was on the lookout for a massage… but the port area right there isn’t really relaxing.
We took the free bus into town. We got a good bus with an air conditioner…. Score! The market area has changed some. I liked the layout they had last time better and there was a nice place for massages. I never found them this time near the market, so they must have moved up to the port. The shops were ok. Typical Progreso, hounding you to purchase anything. They were still offering the tour we did last time all inclusive for $35.
They have a new marketing ploy I thought you guys might be interested in. As soon as we got off the bus a lady offered me a pair of Oakley sunglasses. I said no and kept walking and she said “Only $1”. So I told Mark and we actually turned around and went back to her. She was talking to another couple then and the wife told me she was trying to get her husband to buy them for $20. We said ok and walked away.
Around the corner there was another guy with Oakley sunglasses and he tells Mark “only $1.” So Mark starts looking at them, picks up the pair he wants, puts them on his head and goes to hand they guy $1 and the guys says “Ok, Amigo… I tell you the real price now… they are $1 off.” Mark says “Oh really, what is the real price and they guys says $20.” Ummm.. no thanks. I can’t tell you how many shops we walked past afterwards that were offering certain items for only $1. So that’s what they are saying just to get you to stop now. You have been warned. Unless you want to pay $20 for some knock off sunglasses and there you go… now you know their starting point :)
We walked out to the main area and inquired on some excursions. We ran down the list of things we have done in Progreso and asked the girl what else she had. She shows us a sign for El Corchito.
They said $20 per person. Honestly, I think we should have tried for a better deal, but we weren’t in the mood to haggle and just paid for it. They asked us to wait and said a van would be by to pick us up soon. We waited 10 minutes or so….
It was a 10 hour wait if you asked Trenton. Finally our van shows up and as we are climbing in the lady who sold us the tour runs over and says “The driver will drop you off and come back in 1 hour to pick you up… don’t worry.” Ehhh That’s not reassuring.
So we climbed in this semi dirty van and the driver tells us he speaks “poquito English.” Mark replies “That’s awesome. We speak muy poquito Spanish.” …. And so our day began :)
We attempted some seriously failed conversation on the ride through town until all parties decided it would be better if we just rode in silence. 10-15 minutes or so we arrived at our destination and climbed out of the van. We essentially seemed to be on the side of a road somewhere. There were some people attempting to make a bridge maybe… out of wood.
I am pretty sure it will never be safe to travel on so make a mental note here for future visits. Trenton and I looked around and saw a river and pretty much decided… we weren’t going to stay. Mark and his muy poquito Spanish are attempting to converse with the poquito English and finally it was understood that we were supposed to get in a boat.
Soon after a couple of car loads of people showed up and I was feeling a little relieved until I realized they were all from Mexico and spoke No English either. As they started putting us in boats… it became clear that no one really wanted to ride with us! Ha ha Eventually about 5 other men climbed in the boat with a mumbled “Buenos Dias”. Right before the boat left our van driver came running up with 3 little pieces of paper and rattled something off in Spanish. I figured they were our receipts. So I said “Gracias” and shoved them in our bag.
The boat entered this little canal place and through the trees we went. It looked somewhat more promising than the initial dirty river.
We soon came to a stop and were directed to climb out. After we climbed out of the boat and started to look around there was a terrible commotion and lots of arm waving and Spanish words coming out faster than any sane person could keep up with. What I finally caught wind of was “ticket” over and over again… so clearly those pieces of paper were our tickets… for the boat ride? Or the destination? But obviously… they were important so I dug them out handed them over. That seemed to make everyone happy. Whew!
As I was regaining my composure from the Spanish mob about the tickets, Mark started laughing and said look behind you.
There were raccoons everywhere! I was pretty sure you weren’t supposed to feed them… The raccoons in Texas aren’t the friendliest. We have some around the hospital where I work. One of them was stalking some nurses as they were going to their car one night so our female security guard shined her light on him and resorted to taking her shoe off and throwing it at the raccoon. She pegged it straight on the head… square between the eyes. Knocked it silly for a moment…. Long enough for the nurses to get into their cars. Then it sat up… stared at the security guard, grabbed her shoe and took off sprinting down the drainage ditch with it! She still had 7 hours left in her shift and only had 1 shoe! True story… can’t make this shit up!
So holy crap! They brought us to the land of raccoons! Here’s the sign…
Obviously having no food to feed the critters with we decided to go walk around and hope we weren’t attacked. There were beautiful streams that led into the cenotes.
Here’s another sign… My Spanglish interrpretation was… This is a cenote. It is cold. No beer … ever.
Trenton asked if he could swim. I said… I don’t know. It says it’s cold and you can’t have a beer.. I am not sure what the other red No’s are, but let’s not take a chance :)
What I decided this one said was:
In 1990 …something happened here. Family. Thank you for visiting.
We found a little nature trail and decided to venture down it. What lives in El Corchito? Raccoons… bees… and termites.
Our trails led us back to an extremely large pond… but it wasn’t clear like the others and one grown man was hanging onto a rope in the middle of it. I decided… Trenton probably shouldn’t get in that one either. No clue what was in the water and that dude was probably the 1 crazy family member that always does what they shouldn’t. You know you have one.
More critters came up. Trenton made a new friend.
He tried to climb in Mark’s backpack because he was certain we really had food and were just being stingy. On our way back out of the trail more people had obviously arrived and were walking towards us. Mark says “Hey… this dude coming up looks like he speaks English.” Followed by me laughing… Not likely! We pass the guy and Mark says “Hey man, how are you doing today?” The guys looks at us like we are crazy and mumbles “Buenos dias”. Ha ha “Told ya so!”
We decided we had had enough culture and were feeling more and more like the obvious minority so we asked the little guy who drove the boat if we could go back. Not sure he ever caught on to what we were saying, but as we all started climbing in the boat he started shaking his head and say “Si.” Thank God he didn’t ask for a ticket or we might have been swimming back!
Not the best driver… we almost hit another boat head on during our trip back… I turned around to make sure he was still back there and yep he was. Obviously texting and driving is a problem in Mexico too!
We were so very thankful our driver was still there waiting for us. I think we made him nervous because I started taking pictures of his van before he left… after Tyrone in Barbados I wanted to make damn sure we could find him. Mark told him “Tip? Grande tip? You stay.” LOL
So we made it back safe and sound. We decided that was enough adventure for the day and hopped a bus back to port… this one didn’t have air conditioning, but did have windows that opened atleast.
It was a fun little excursion and definitely a blog worthy adventure. For future visitors… take food for the raccoons. Yes you can swim… I think. We saw some kids swimming on the way back that had floaties and stuff. There were some sketchy huts that maybe you could have changed in?? I would come prepared. Take a Spanish to English dictionary with you or speak better Spanglish than me.
Side note: I did take 2 full years of Spanish in high school, but due to a complete inability to roll my R’s and the fact that my Texas accent is so ridiculous they finally asked me to stop reading out loud in Spanish class :)