Paddle Marathon Laguna Bacalar 2015 – Bacalar, Mexico

Last week I returned home from the Paddle Marathon Laguna Bacalar 2015, which took place in Bacalar, Mexico. Bacalar is gorgeous. It’s located just north of Belize on a freshwater lagoon surrounded by a jungle.

I stayed at the Villas Ecotucan, which are run by Arturo, Gunnar and Jaqueline. (Gunnar and Jaqueline are also organizers of the Paddle Marathon Laguna Bacalar 2015.) The place was absolutely incredible!

One of the two cabins that I stayed in.

One of the two cabins that I stayed in.

The thatch-roofed cabins are made out of native materials. Jaqueline worded it well by saying it's like luxury camping.

The thatch-roofed cabins are made out of native materials. Jaqueline worded it well by saying it’s like luxury camping.

The open style restaurant was a wonderful place to relax and socialize.

The open restaurant was a wonderful place to relax and socialize.

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The lagoon was on the property and just a short distance from the cabins.

Gunnar runs kayaking trips on the lagoon for guests. I tagged along on one of these trips.

Gunnar runs kayaking trips on the lagoon for guests. I tagged along on one of these trips.

It was fun to paddle around the mangroves.

It was fun to paddle around the mangroves.

Throughout the kayaking trip we stopped several times to enjoy a dip in the warm water or some freshly picked tropical fruit.

Throughout the kayaking trip we stopped several times to enjoy a dip in the warm water or some fresh tropical fruit.

It was very relaxing to swim in the warm water.

It was very relaxing to swim in the warm water.

After returning from the kayaking trip, I headed out with Jaqueline for a nature walk in the jungle (this is another service provided to guests at Ecotucan).

There are many animals in the jungle, and although Jaguar sightings are rare, this sign was brought up in many conversations.

There are many animals in the jungle, and although jaguar sightings are rare, this sign was brought up in many conversations.

The jungle trail.

The jungle trail.

Jaqueline is very knowledgeable about the plants, birds, bugs and animals in the area.

Jaqueline is very knowledgeable about the plants, birds, bugs and animals in the area.

Seeing this tarantula in the jungle was a real treat.

Seeing this tarantula in the jungle was a real treat.

Visitors with open eyes could spot all kinds of wildlife. Here a bunch of geckos enjoy the evening.

Visitors with open eyes could spot all kinds of wildlife. Here a bunch of geckos enjoy the evening.

I spent quite a bit of time trying to find a scorpion. My last night in Bacalar, one came to me.

I spent quite a bit of time trying to find a scorpion. My last night in Bacalar, one came to me.

Of course, besides from hanging out in paradise, there was a paddling event taking place. The two-day race brought in over 70 participants in all types of watercraft; including Mayan canoes, kayaks and stand up paddleboards.

It was a treat to paddle across the lagoon on a five person stand up paddleboard.

It was a treat to paddle across the lagoon on a five person stand up paddleboard.

Steve and Lise prepare to race kayaks built by Gunnar.

Steve and Lise prepare to race kayaks built by Gunnar.

The Mayan canoes were gorgeous, and each of them held ten paddlers.

The Mayan canoes were gorgeous, and each of them held ten paddlers.

Before the race people were warming up and spirits were high.

Before the race participants warmed up, and spirits were high.

The kayaks and canoes were first to start the race.

The kayaks and canoes were first to start the race.

The stand up paddleboards started just seconds later.

The stand up paddleboards started just seconds later.

While the race was going on, I hung out at the booth chatting with people about traditional kayaking. I also ran a private class, teaching the Storm Roll.

While the race was going on, I hung out at the booth chatting with people about traditional kayaking. I also ran a private class, teaching the Storm Roll.

Gunnar's balance boards were fun for all ages.

Gunnar’s balance boards were fun for all ages.

The weather was hot, and everyone (including Tyson here) had ways of cooling off.

The weather was hot, and everyone (including Tyson here) found ways to cool off.

It was fun watching the racers come in.

It was fun watching the racers come in.

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Racing is hard work.

Racing is hard work.

Throughout the week, I had the chance to try lots of different food and drink (all of which were very tasty).

This michelada is a Mexican drink made with beer, lime juice and assorted sauces, spices and peppers. I didn't mean to order it, but I was glad I did :-)

This michelada is a Mexican drink made with beer, lime juice and assorted sauces, spices and peppers.

I also really enjoyed the fresh fruit and coconuts.

I also really enjoyed the fresh fruit and coconuts.

One evening we got fresh tamales from a street vendor.

One evening we got fresh tamales from a street vendor.

The tamales are wrapped in banana leaves and covered with a very spicy chili sauce (optional - but delicious).

The tamales are wrapped in banana leaves and covered with a very spicy chili sauce (optional – but delicious).

The airport was a four hour drive from Bacalar, and I left a day early with Lise and Steve (pictured previously in this blog) to relax for a night in the city of Tulum.

The airport was a four hour drive from Bacalar, and I left a day early with Lise and Steve (pictured previously in this blog) to relax for a night in the city of Tulum.

Tulum has white sand beaches, relaxing hotels, tasty restaurants… and the Caribbean Sea.

Tulum has white sand beaches, relaxing hotels, tasty restaurants and the Caribbean Sea.

Of course, there were fish tacos as well.

Of course, there were fish tacos as well.

All in all, it was a wonderful week. Thanks to Gunnar and Jaqueline for having me out for the event!

One Response to “Paddle Marathon Laguna Bacalar 2015 – Bacalar, Mexico”

  • Alex says:

    Thanks Helen for a great story. It was very nice meeting you at the Marathon. Gunner and Jaqulene did a fabulous job. Bacalar is a great kayak destination. See you next year?

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