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Nichupte’ Lagoon, Cancun, Mexico – Very often we underestimate the value of what we have right in front of us. We are always thinking that in order to discover beauty, happiness, the true self or whatever we want, we would need to fly away, far from our daily reality. It’s always like that. I need to dig further on the reasons why we do that. Do you have any idea? when I was living in Italy I dreamt of the Caribbean, now that I am in the Caribbean I dream of Chile or Africa. It might be because curious minds are always attracted by the unknown; a very logical answer and likely the closest to the truth. When something becomes familiar and is no longer a mystery it looses appeal and allure … at which point is time for something different. Also whatever is at an easy reach, it’s here and we can always check it out, no rush. Since I have lived in Mexico, I have been travelling to Peru, Tanzania, Colombia,… and I have totally ignored what is around me for the above reason. Isn’t it silly? I am however going to make up for it, starting with Cancun, my hometown at present.
It starts today! (well, a few days ago)
I have always appreciated Cancun for many reasons as I mentioned in a previous post, however not with the explorer’s eye and the investigating mind that I put in action every time I travel. One of the great benefits that I find from writing a blog is exactly this. Curiosity becomes tenfold, I ask myself more and more questions, investigate things that I previously took for granted or I didn’t pay attention to. I do stuff, and really look at things, with more mindfulness.
One of the places that I have always looked upon with respect and admiration and probably also some fear is the Nichupte’ lagoon, a huge mirror of the Cancun’s Sky, separating downtown Cancun ( where “normal” people leave), from the hotel area, (locally called “Zona hotelera”) a strip of 30 km which also separates the lagoon from the sea.
The lagoon system is an enormous body of water made up of 5 lagoons, including, Nichupte’ itself, Río Inglés, Rio del Amor, Caleta Nizuc y Bojórquez, and it is the only natural eco system that remains after the construction of the Hotel zone and the entire touristic area. Nobody thought in the 70s when Cancun was being built, that it would have become one of the most important tourist destinations in Mexico and possibly in the world, nor it was taken into consideration (or at least not enough) that the rapid growth of the successful entertainment industry would have put in jeopardy that so precious eco system. I don’t want to get into the socio political implication of the topic but let’s just hope that the government and the competent authorities will insure that this unique treasure will be kept preserved.
It is a jungle indeed, a paradise for bird watchers and biologists. Here the sweet water coming from the rocks underneath merges and mixes with the salted water from the sea offering a comfortable, prosperous and protective environment for all the spices of fish to reproduce and to juvenile fishes to grow, before going back to the sea.
You can even spot dolphins sometimes – or so I was told- and yes there are crocodile even though they hang out in specific zone where they can find food, feel protected and can lay in the sun without being disturbed. You might have heard of crocodile attacks in the past in the lagoon, but they were situations where the victim didn’t use the necessary precaution and didn’t respect the course of nature. Crocodiles, just like any other animals, don’t think, they just follow their instinct which basically boils down to defending themselves from the enemy (i.e. humans) and searching for food. So it is our duty to understand how to move around in their territory without invading and disrespecting their space.
That said, there are way to enjoy the lagoon without risks and this is precisely what I just did today, the very same day I wrote this post. I was so excited that I had to put it down in words like a sort of plea for forgiveness for the such little consideration I have given it all this time. I knew there were a lot of tours organised in the lagoon, but they were all by motorboats or Jet skies and I am really against those. I believe they are an unnecessary exploitation of nature. So I would have rather stared at the immensity of this pond from the Malecon Tajamar while doing my run or while experimenting with my photography; or perhaps from the Hotel zone, at La Isla shopping center from where you can admire beautiful romantic sunsets across the lagoon. I was just a silent passive admirer… until now.
[How to experience the lagoon in an eco friendly way]
After this morning I’ve changed my perspective. Through word of mouth I found out about this ecotour kayaking around the lagoon and I immediately contacted them to organise the tour. I was excited at the idea of the morning exercise in the noisy silence of nature. It would be from 6 to 9 am and despite the early rise I managed to convince a couple of friends to join me. It would have been more fun. I was sure they would have loved it too and I was right. It would be at that time of the day when the sunrise is magical, especially if you are surrounded by nature, and in fact, it didn’t disappoint. It was magic, indeed. We cruised all around the mangroves and stopped to watch the birds flying around, in search for food, or just hanging out. We were only disturbed by the noise of a couple of boats passing by. Other than that it was just us and nature, the sunrise colours to the west, the turquoise blue to the the east and the clouds mirrored in the water: my perfect shot.
I also found out about a secret beach which I didn’t know before, where we actually took a break from our sitting position which was starting to become a little uncomfortable after 2 hours. We took a swim and hung out in the cool water for a long while. it was beautiful, peaceful and refreshing. Then we head back to the hotel by 10.00 am.
Our guide Rodrigo was very knowledgable and patient, he does this out of passion and you can definitely tell. Time is not an issue. You agree beforehand what time you want to leave and the circuit is decided on the spot, according to the currents. Sometimes you will be able to row a little through the bridge and out to the sea if there is not much current. Otherwise, it will be all among mangroves. They can also organise tours at different hours of the day and of course the colours and landscape change. I would also recommend the sunset tour, which we will do soon. Starting around 4 pm until the sun goes down it must be an amazing show of nature. You can contact them on their facebook page and they will set up the perfect tour in this beautiful treasure.
Recommendations: Anybody can do the tour, you don’t need to be an expert. Even a beginner can learn instantly. Wear sunblock, (preferably eco-friendly), mosquito spray (also eco-friendly) if you leave early in the morning, hat, sunglasses and if you have a dry bag it is better. Also if you wish to take pictures make sure your phone is protected from water. Even if you don’t fall you get wet. Oh and don’t forget… lots of good vibes !!!
Another fantastic experience, if you are an early raiser, is paddle boarding, or stand up paddle, or SUP. You don’t really need to be an expert, as Max, the instructor, will give you the necessary tips for you to find your balance. He is a professional surfer, who knows the sea and how to respect it and will be with you all the time so that you will feel safe. He will change the itinerary according to the winds and currents. You will meet in playa Langosta (km 5) and according to the condition of the sea he will decide whether to stay on the sea side or paddle back towards the lagoon, where the water will always be calm.
All you need to do is just follow him, relax, paddle and enjoy the beautiful view as the sun is shyly showing up from the sea and slowly changing all the colours around you. It is an amazing experience, soothing and energising at the same time as it puts you in full contact with mother nature and keeps you happy all day. Well and if you are happy already, you will get an extra dosis of happiness. Why not? You can contact Max on his facebook page where you can find out prices and availability.
I hope you will follow my tips on eco-watersports on Nichupte’ lagoon so that you will thank me for ever. I am sure you will enjoy Cancun even more.
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