I’ve been thinking a lot about the future of family outings in Yucatán as obviously I’m obsessed with exploring this region and yes, I’m going just a little nuts in my house not being allowed to get out and enjoy the privilege that is living here.
Just as my kids have reached the age where we no longer need military precision to plan our adventures, COVID-19 rears its ugly head, laughs in our faces, and demands we will have to follow a whole new series of protocols if we want to continue adventuring safely. And the super awesome bit is that we don’t even really know what those protocols are yet.
In my family, we’re being clear with our kids that the world has changed and that if we want to keep adventuring then we need to adapt. We don’t pretend we love the new rules but we are absolutely clear that they are fundamental to our ability to enjoy ourselves now.
It goes without saying that for the foreseeable future we all must wear our masks when out and about. Wearing a mask might be annoying but in no way does it prevent us from marveling at the beauty of a tree in full bloom or from enjoying the sound of birdsong. Thankfully my kids are pretty much okay with masks thus far.
They’re less keen on the requirement to wash their hands thoroughly and regularly. “But mummmmy, we just used hand sanitizer, whyyyyy do we have to wash them againnnn?” is a common sound in our house right now. Have you ever tried telling young kids not to touch stuff? Yeah. Exactly. I never expected to have to utter the phrase, “please don’t lick the bus” to a human child. Even though my kids are older now, I don’t hold out much hope that they’ll be able to keep their hands to themselves. Hand sanitizer and soap may be annoying to little kids but if they keep us safe and mean we can leave the house; we will wash our hands a billion times a day.
When we are allowed to start having fun again, for me, the most obvious answer is to head outside to where there aren’t so many people. It’s the perfect opportunity to enjoy all the beauty our state has to offer. Personally, I plan on supporting local tourism agencies and eco-options. To start with, we will explore the mangroves at Sayachaltún in kayaks and we will head out with Co’ox Mayab supported communities to discover and learn. In fact, I’ve already bought a Co’ox Mayab voucher for a future overnight stay and tour of the mangroves at San Crisanto. We’ll be able to social distance and support communities at the same time.
I suspect cenotes and archaeological sites will be some of the last places to re-open to the public, so we’ll just have to hold off on the typical Yucatecan fun for a little while longer. When they do open, you’d better believe I’ll be running around my favorite sites and splashing joyfully in cenotes with my kids. Some of the lesser-known Maya sites will absolutely be coming into their own when social distancing tourism becomes our new norm. Sites such as Aké or Xcambó are easily accessible from Mérida and rarely receive more than a handful of visitors during “old normal” times. They’ll be absolutely perfect for “new normal” social distancing tourism.
If, like me, you’re water-obsessed, then of course, quite apart from the two options given above, private Ría tours from Celestún, Río Lagartos, and San Felipe will absolutely float your boat (groan) while you stay away from crowds.
Our patience will pay off. We’ll keep our state and ourselves safe and just think how much we’ll appreciate the wonders of Yucatán when it’s safe to play again.
Editorial by Cassie Pearse
Freelance writer and blogger
Adventure lover who never lost her sense of fun or wonder
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