Laguna Bacalar “lugar rodeado de carrizos”
I’ve finally had some time to travel these past few weeks! With a friend, I made my way over to the kaleidoscopic waters of Quintana Roo’s coast. Between the ocean and the famous Bacalar Lagoon, these are calm waters that are perfect for exploring in a kayak or taking a long afternoon swim. In appreciating the beauty and magic of the region (from what I’ve seen so far in Campeche and Quintana Roo), one also has to ponder the fine balance between appreciation and exploitation. Bacalar is a good example. Before becoming a popular tourist destination in the 1970s and 1980s, it was home to quite the menagerie of flora and fauna – turtles, rays, crocodiles, sea snails and the tall cane that Bacalar is named for in Maya (place surrounded by cane), among others. Now the lagoon, as captivating as it is, sits comparatively lifelessly and quietly between the sea and the jungle. A few fish swim throughout the remaining reeds and lily pads. In recent years, there has been a great push for eco-tourism (an oxymoron to be sure, but if there’s gotta be tourism, it’s the way to do it) in Southern Mexico, which is certainly reassuring, but we also have the responsibility to educate ourselves about an environment in order to understand and curtail any impact.
My Spirit Animal
I couldn’t turn down the offer last weekend when a student/friend of mine invited my roommate and me to trek through the night-fallen jungle to join a bat party with a group of biologists. So, truthfully, more of a survey than a party, the biologists had set up nets to catch a bat that they are currently studying, the False Vampire. Erroneously classified as a vampire bat at one point, the False Vampire is a large species of bat that can be found throughout the jungles of Southern Mexico all the way to those of Ecuador and Colombia that feeds on small mammals and birds. We didn’t end up coming across the holy grail, but we did get to see plenty of these cute little guys that feed on fruit and/or insects!
More adventures to come…