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3 weeks volunteering in an ecolodge

Last weeks in Mexico

Hello from Costa Rica!

There was so much going on lately that we haven't taken time to write any update over here but we're back to tell you a bit about the last three weeks we have spent in Mexico. We found another opportunity to volunteer and to save some money while learning new techniques and while getting to know better how local people are living.

We have therefore spent these weeks in Bacalar at Greta's and Juan's camping, called the Guarumbo. Greta is Italian and Juan is Mexican. After travelling around together in hostels, they have decided to build their own and they settled down in Bacalar, a beautiful city located in Quintana Roo, famous for its turquoise lagoon, far from the party mood of Tulum and Cancun. Thanks to Juan's background in architecture, they drew all the building's layouts and elaborated the concept together. While building the house with the help of a succession of volunteers, they installed a few tents in the garden to offer accommodation to travellers. They have designed the full concept to be eco-friendly (using sustainable materials sourced locally, having their own compost, using plastic waste as a filler to build walls, ...).
During these 3 weeks, we have helped them with the guests (preparing breakfast, cleaning and preparing the tents, going to the laundry etc) but also with a lot of diverse activities like gardening, cutting and sanding down wood for future shutters and tables, sifting sand, making concrete with water, salt and lime, building walls with plastic bottles, painting etc...). It was hard physical work especially with the high temperatures but we loved it. We have learned so much thanks to Juan and Greta who shared their knowledge with passion. Within the three weeks, we managed to finish one dormitory (without the furnitures) and to start the rooftop. Here below are a few pictures of the before/after.
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The heat was so strong that Laura and I could barely sleep in the same tent without suffocating. I was therefore sleeping on the rooftop in my sleeping bag where I could feel a bit of wind. Even though it wasn't the most comfortable thing ever, I have enjoyed every single night as I could observe the numerous stars before sleeping and could wake up with an amazing sunrise every morning before starting with my fitness routine.
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After work, we were taking the bikes and riding to the lagoon to chill out in the clear water. There is worse in life ;).
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During our stay, we had the opportunity to travel around over the weekend. We spent the first weekend camping and exploring Calakmul Biosphere reserve. This reserve is over 723,000 hectares and is UNESCO protected. It is located a few kilometers only from the border of Guatemala and was one of the biggest city of the Mayan civilization. The reserve is the home of many wild species like jaguars, pumas, hawling monkeys, coatis, scorpios, snakes etc... We rent a car and formed a team with 3 other adventurers to sleep in the middle of the jungle and to discover the beauty of this Mayan site, which (to our great surprise) wasn't touristic at all.
What a unique experience to observe the Milky Way from our tent (to which we removed the roof), being rocked by the intriguing noises of the deep jungle! The night was very short, not only because we were afraid of being awakened by a jaguar but because we wanted to start visiting the site before the sunrise to get the chance to spot some animals. Here below is a glimpse of what we saw.
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During the second weekend off, we went to Mahahual, small fishermen's village, very quiet except twice to 3 times a week when cruise ships stop by and the tourists invade beaches, restaurants and massage tables. No need to book a snorkeling tour there, we swam a few hundred meters from the shore and could observe colorful corals, fishes and even 2 turtles. One of them was one meter big and was swimming towards us. Another proof that money isn't the key to happiness but nature can lead us to it.

Over the three weeks, we had the visit of friends from Switzerland and from Canada, with whom we spent great moments. It's always a pleasure to meet friends on the other side of the planet.
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This is how we spent the last weeks together in Mexico. We then split to travel to Belize (Laura with her boyfriend, and me alone). We'll tell you more in the next article. Stay posted! ;)

Posted by Ecoworldtrip 22:52 Archived in Mexico

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