|View down into one of the larger lakes.|
|Laurie, me, and Holly about to take off. Then|
the rower showed up to take us
across the lake!
|The cenote at Chinkultic, large and deep.|
On the way back to San Cristobal, we stopped at the ruins of an old Mayan city, Chinkultic. It is the only city with a cenote in Chiapas, though cenotes (deep wells used for water and drowning-sacrifices) are common among the Mayan cities in the Yucatan. We were able to climb to the top of the ruins before getting kicked out at 5:30, closing time. It was not well excavated, though the main plaza with ball court and sacrificial altars were exposed and in good shape. Clearly it is a much larger city than it looks, as most of the buildings are still covered with vegetation.
After all that, we were starved and our guide took us to a lovely hacienda and coffee plantation. It is also a bed and breakfast, with an outdoor restaurant covered with a palapa. It rained, and then poured rain, then let up and sprinkled, then rained again over the course of our nice dinner of soup and guacamole.
|The Hacienda on the coffee plantation|
Surrounding the hacienda were coffee 'trees', fairly short bushes with red berries, interspersed with banana plants, some of which were heavy with green bananas. I had been told once, by a man from Hawaii, that the red coffee beans are tasty so I popped a few in my mouth. They look like small cherries. Inside the sweet outer coating are two half-round 'beans' we normally think of as coffee, and they were so pale they were almost white. It's a bit astounding that human beings over time learned to roast those beans to create a beverage that bears no resemblance at all to the taste of the red berries.
|One lake was turquoise....|
|Another lake was sea green.....|
|Yet another was teal.....|
|And the last one we visited was the border to Guatemala.|
|Very odd triangular hole at Chinkultic,|
about 2 meters deep.
|Portal leading to the bedrooms|
at the Hacienda.
Post-note: I'm less convinced now that the Montebello lakes have a volcanic origin (our guide didn't know about the geology). I think they might be limestone sinkholes. It's hard to find good information on the local geology, but treatises on the general geology of Chiapas talk of volcanic activity due to the nearby Pacific Rift, as well as ancient Carboniferous limestone layers. We saw evidence in volcanic rocks, but the walls of the lakes would indicate some sinking activity, and certainly limestone formations are known to do that! And limestone does form underground rivers which might allow water flow from one lake to another. Also, the name of the lovely hacienda is Posada de Santa Maria. The rooms rent for about $200 US per night.