One of my favorite things to do is simply get out of the house and drive somewhere new, to see whatever it is there is to see. Occasionally it will be someplace I have heard about, other times perhaps a highway I haven't driven before; the idea is to get to know all the wonderful things that there are here in the Yucatan to experience and take photos. Lots of photos.
On this first of what I will call the Magical Mystery Tours (the destination is a mystery until I am on the road), I decided to go to the Mayan site of Oxkintok, a site I had only seen in passing and was interested in visiting more calmly and with a guide. I know Victor, who has taken me and guests to a nearby sacred cave, is the official guide on site and so I thought I would drop in and have him give me the royal tour of this site, which, to me at least, looks to be even larger than Chichen Itza or Uxmal, but is in a complete state of neglect. Not even a proper paved road graces the forlorn entrance to this magnificent site.
However, and as luck would have it, there was a diversion. Signs on the Maxcanú highway to the area indicated that the Hacienda Santa Rosa, one of Roberto Hernandez' Starwood luxury hotels, was in the area, so the itinerary changed and the hacienda became the new destination. I have seen Temozon, San Jose and others but this one I had not yet visited.
And so, my first stop that day after about an hours drive, was at the Santa Rosa Hacienda where I visited the town, had lunch at the hacienda restaurant and took many photos of the beautifully landscaped grounds and colorful buildings.
After a delicious lunch of perfectly cooked spaghetti in a chaya pesto sauce, I decided it was time to make my way to Oxkintok before the site closed at 5 PM. It was getting a little late, but the afternoon light was so perfect and I was admiring the scenery along the side of the road when a road sign appeared that read "Granada". Granada? In the Yucatan? This I had to see. So I turned off the road and went to see the town, which was the tiniest of towns surrounding a dilapidated hacienda being used as a baseball diamond by what seemed an inordinate number of people given the size of the town. I snapped a quick shot of the pretty church and continues on to Maxcanú and then Oxkintok.
Of course, once in Maxcanú, with a sunny foreground and a sinister black background threatening a rain storm, I had to take another photo or three.
Finally, with 20 minutes to spare and under a light drizzle, I arrived at Oxkintok. By the time I got out of the car and had the caretakers permission to quickly spend 15 minutes on the site before they locked the gates for the day, a veritable downpour had begun and I was only able to snap a few photos before tucking the camera inside my shirt. I returned to my car, completely soaked and thankful that the rains in the Yucatan are never chilly.
If you would be interested in coming along on a Magical Mystery Tour, let me know. There is no cost for this other than the cost of a tank of gas which you and the other participants will share, but you won't know where you are going - just that you may be able to see something completely new and take some great photos - because these tours are about places I want to explore and you are invited to explore them with me. And if there are more than 3, you all pitch in for the van and the gas. That's it.
The day may be a bust, or it may be a completely unique adventure. That's why it's called a Magical Mystery Tour. Stay tuned for tour number two.