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Finca Ixobel (Poptún)

December 16th, 2011

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In Santa Elena I jumped into a mini bus and was ripped of. Everthing was happening fast and quickly I found myself inside a little bus still thinking if the price was okay or not. 75Q is not that much for me for a 2h ride, but it should have been between 30Q and 40Q actually. I was more concerned however if my big backpack really had been put in the back of the bus, since I wasn’t watching the guy who took the backpack from me.

My worries ceased the closer we came to the Finca Ixobel which was a few kilometers south of Poptún. The bus brought me directly to the entrance and I received my backpack back. I stayed in a private room for 80Q (dorms for 40Q also were available, as well as tree houses).

During the introduction several tours were advertised and I was wondering how many people would be staying right now at the Finca. I was told I was the only one at the moment, which makes it a bit more difficult to go on tours were you need at least two people. Anyway … I decided to do a little hike up to the Pyramide near the Finca.

Pyramide

I followed the huge red arrows pointing to the hill shaped like a pyramid. I missed however the correct entrance for the path, which was signaled by a red marked tree. Instead I went further and approached the hill from the other side, which was fine in the beginning, but as soon as the trees and bushes started to occupy my way it became more difficult. I saw several footprints who recently have been set onto this place and so I continued to the place where I put the GPS mark.

I fought my way through and had to take care not to grab one of those trees with huge thorns as a support. The muddy ground made me slip in the end, my pants dirty and a few bruises. Eventually I reached the top, or at least I thought it would be it. From there I couldn’t find any other path so that I thought that there just is no really nice view. Two days later I went to the real top which was around 50m away from where I have been. That one was much better to walk, or better to climb! It was quite hard and steep but you had a somewhat quite nice view.

On my way back I found some other visible path which I followed. That however was a mistake and I got into more and more thick bushes. Following the GPS signal to the Finca I received more scratches until I was out of the woods.

When I returned from my hike as if I had bathed in sweat, a new visitor has arrived. I was lucky to meet up with her, Jopie, who was great to talk to and good company for the cave trip, we did the following day. If I wouldn’t have stayed in Flores the last two days I probably wouldn’t have met her. In return I guess she was also happy to hang around with someone similar thinking. Although she was pretty young, she already had a lot of experiences from living/traveling abroad and seemed very self confident.

River Cave

One of the highlight tours around the Finca, was to explore the River Cave. You needed at least two people to do this tour, so Jopie and I joined together and created a group. The evening before a little group of obnoxious Americans arrived, whose main topic seemed to be food. We both couldn’t stand their talks and hoped that they wouldn’t join our tour. Later on we thought that they wouldn’t be able to do it anyway. It’s a two hour hike/walk to the cave, then another two hours that would be spent inside the caves and another two hours hiking back. That was quite a program, especially if the hike would be difficult.

The hike was not that difficult. The only problem was to find a dry path through several muddy puddles. When we reached the entrance of the cave, we hid our backpacks, since it happens, that people come and steal them. When out guide, Manuel, was hiding our stuff, his flash light fell into a hole and couldn’t reach it. I offered my help and when I reached into the hole I could touch his flash light, but as it happens in movies too, it fell even deeper when I touched it. We tried to remove the top most rock and succeeded after some minutes. Then I finally could grab the flash light and we could start our cave exploration.

I was surprised that Manuel had brought several candles and first thought that it would destroy the cave experience, where the total darkness is the highlight. However it was even better, since those repeatedly placed candles gave you a pretty good idea about how the cave is formed like. Moreover it had a romantic touch!

Another thing I was curious about, was my flash light, which I had no idea if it was water proofed or not. Soon I found out, when we had to swim the first meters. I cannot swim well with just one hand, so I quickly used both diving my flash light under water. There it continued to shine to my luck. Otherwise it would have been difficult to make the right steps through the dark cave. But even so it was not that easy and every step through the water you were being surprised where your step would go to. This way I received several new bruises and my knee would start to hurt in the evening.

At one point it was very easy to swim since there was a little current which got stronger and stronger by the time. Then however we weren’t swimming anymore but walking close to the walls while the river passed us in its noisy way.

We climbed some rock eventually and Manuel told us, that we could jump now. We both wondered if that was a joke. All we could see was a rock one meter in front of us, but not what was below us. Manuel climbed down a rope and lit more candles on a little rocky island. Afterwards we could make out what lay in front of us and Jopie jumped. I cowardly refused and used the rope instead. I wished that I had a headlamp, especially when you need both hands, like for that rope. Otherwise it’s quite difficult where to put your foot when you cannot see a thing. So I made a mental note to get one of those things soon.

We continued walking a little while until we reached the end as it seemed. There we stayed for a few minutes, swimming around and, as it got colder, returned. The way back seemed much faster and easier. However I got in a little panic, when I was swimming against the current I mentioned before. According to the walls I saw that I didn’t move on at all. I tried to swim faster, but my clothes let me feel like a big clumsy something. Then I saw something hanging next to me, which I grabbed. It was a rope. I could relax for a moment and continued finally overcoming the current.

The two hour hike back wasn’t as bad as I thought and time flew by quickly. We also had some lunch at a little river, where we gathered some more strength and went on hiking refreshed.

Around the Finca

The Finca also has other things to offer. Several cart board games were offered and even a place to play table tennis. A little walk around the Finca brought you to a cute clear lake which was right next to a bar. This is opened only on the weekends however. It’s exciting to explore this place when it’s dark! Especially if you’ve never been there before!

Really nice food was offered every day as well as tasty pastries. Everything was prepared at the Finca and the fresh smell of bread made you longing for it.

As it seemed the Finca was made for bigger groups. One evening a big German tourist group was appearing which destroyed the atmosphere that I expected from this place. And so I left on my 3rd day, heading south to Río Dulce.


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