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12 Days in Southern Mexico Jungle (Calakmul Biophere)

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    12 Days in Southern Mexico Jungle (Calakmul Biophere)

    Leaving in two weeks for the Calakmul Biosphere, located on the Yucatan Peninsula, bordering with Guatemala. There are many Mayan ruins, some of which we have already seen, many of which we have not, including the new archaeological dig at Chactun, just kilometers away from Xpuhil, our home base. The wildlife won't be as exotic as Ecuador, but still wonderful. And the ruins? What can I say? We will be meeting and having dinner with the archaeologist in charge of the new dig!!

    I am taking a 20" rollaboard and my CoPilot. (Sorry, but my almost 70 yr.old back doesn't want to carry much of anything anymore.) My packing list is below for those who are interested and I would appreciate any comments if you notice something important missing.

    So in my roll aboard:

    In a large EC packing cube:
    1 pair long tech pants
    2 pair tech capris
    2 LS tech shirt
    2 SS tech shirts
    1 lt. wt. cotton shirt with 3/4 sleeves (dressier for city dining on our in's and out's)
    1 lt. wt. sleep shirt

    Rain poncho, breathable

    In an EC tube:
    3 pr. quick dry socks
    5 unders, 2 bras

    In another EC large packing cube: (This is for the first night in Merida, so I don't have to dig through everything for sleep wear and next day's clothing as we are moving on right away.)
    1 tech capris, 1 tech SS shirt, unders, sleep shirt, travel slippers, collapsible water bottle, 1 large SS for laundry

    COP: containing first aid kit and clothing care

    In Co-Pilot:

    Camera kit and meds (center outside pocket)
    Cables and chargers, and I-pad mini (outside end pocket)
    Dry personal care kit in COP (other outside end pocket)

    SE (packed with EDC stuff), pesos, passport and tickets, Travel Book (that I put together for every trip), parts of Cadogan Guide on Yucatan (the best southern Mexico guide on the face of the earth), ear plugs, snacks
    3-1-1 plastic bag which is 1/3 full and folded over, wipes....all in main compartment

    Long tech pants
    Lightweight slub tunic with rollup sleeves
    Black light weight merino cardigan
    Light jacket (either a breathable rain jacket or a breathable wind jacket--haven't decided; either one will be too hot for southern Yucatan this time of the year, but there is the ride to/from airport and ride in plane).
    Jambu sandals with wool socks (don't worry, they have covered toes).

    I plan to use my SE as my evening purse and my Co-Pilot as my "field bag".

    Thoughts, comments?
    The stockpile keeps growing...I'm in serious trouble.

    It sounds like a great trip. My brother worked on a dig in the Yucatan some 20 years ago but I didn't have the wherewithal to visit him then. I think it still ranks as one of the top experiences in his life (he was a history/archaeology student then). So enjoy! And thanks for introducing this packing cube newbie to the concept of using a cube as a first night bag. It might have taken me a couple of trips to get there on my own.


      Sounds perfect to me Nicely organized too. So envious of the chance to visit a dig and dine with the archeologist!
      Last edited by jannilee; 10-15-2014, 08:17 PM.


        @monkeylady Do you have any comments on the recent SnarkyNomad posts about backpacking in Guatemaia and the listed sites (probably more conventional than your travel itinerary)?

        Also, for those who like to follow up on the Mayan ruins, there's an online exhibit of Frederick Catherwood's illustrations at this Smith College Libraries web page. For those who want a hard-copy fix of the illustrations, Fabio Bourbon's book, The Lost Cities of the Maya: The Life, Art, and Discoveries of Frederick Catherwood contains these illustrations (price seems to have gone up from the older Abbeville Press edition) (If you're not familiar with Catherwood's illustrations, and have only read the text copies of the volumes by John Lloyd Stephens and Frederick Cartherwood, don't expect these to be exact replications of the structures they saw -- Catherwood took some artistic liberties. But it was a stunning way of conveying the sense of wonder and exploration to the world at the time they made their discoveries -- much in the same way that the public imagination was fired by photographs and film records of Hebert Ponting and Frank Hurley of Antarctic Polar exploration (one of the reasons I envy @vivelly's location wrt exhibits in New Zealand).

        HTH moriond


          @moriond, We have not yet travelled to Guatemala. It is most definitely on our list, rising to the top, after reading articles like Snarky Nomad's, or sinking to the bottom based on an ebb and flow in car jackings and robberies. We most definitely prefer to rent a vehicle, pick two areas as bases, and explore the countryside. This can be far less safe than taking a public or tourist bus/van to your selected sites...and you have far less mobility in seeing the environs. Tikal and surrounding area are of major interest to us, as is Antigua. BTW, Calakmul in Mexico, was a vast, rival city frequently at war with Tikal. Lake Atitlan sounds less and less like our cup of tea.

          Mr. Snarky's packing list, and comments about how your packing needs are altered by 100% humidity are spot on. There is no such thing as quick dry in these circumstances and one needs to find laundry service.

          Thanks for links/info on the Maya. I have read a fair amount about the civilization, but there have been so many discoveries/excavations begun in the very recent past which have shed a new light on the culture, it is very difficult to find more up-to-date reading. I'll check out your references. Thanks.

          Photos from left to right: jungle view from top of Grand Pyramid, Calakmul; mural at Bonampak, Chiapas; yaxchilan, Chiapas.
          Attached Files
          Last edited by monkeylady; 10-16-2014, 03:01 PM.
          The stockpile keeps growing...I'm in serious trouble.


            The Catherwood drawings on exhibit are gorgeous! Thank you.
            The stockpile keeps growing...I'm in serious trouble.