Back when we were in San Cristobal, we heard about an abandoned ecotourism settlement out in the jungle on the Lacandon River, accessible only by boat from the village of Ixcan.
We arrived in Ixcan last night and ask around this morning, finally locating Alvero, who has a boat and can take us there. This is where we’ll spend New Year’s, off the grid and out of the guidebooks.
After a very quick ride down the fast moving Lacandon River, the boat pulls up to a steep muddy bank where we clamber out with all we’ll need for the next two days.
The area has two sizable structures and multiple smaller buildings. It’s a mystery how they were able to build this when there are no roads. It must have been done without the help of heavy machinery, because I doubt they could have transported them on the river. The most impressive building is a massive 4-story steel and wood structure, originally intended to be a hotel. It was built a mere eight years ago, but fell to ruin due to faulty roof construction and the area was abandoned one year later.
We have fun exploring, being careful where we step as the wood floor is rotting away. It is clear how quickly the jungle reclaims its space. Reminds us of the TV series Life After People. If humans were to suddenly become extinct, what would happen to all that we have created (or destroyed)?
The place is no longer abandoned though. Alvero owns it and Mateo is its caretaker. They are slowly getting it back to a functioning hotel. It’s not there yet, but they’re cool with us staying here for a few days. Alvero’s family is here for the day having a New Year’s celebration. They share some delicious fried fish, caught fresh from the river.
We hear howler monkeys on the opposite side of the river. They sound like what I imagine angry dinosaurs would sound like. The Lacandon Jungle has a Jurassic Park feel to it. I’m half expecting a T-Rex to come running out at any moment.
To our surprise, there’s a 2-story structure with rooms overlooking the river that we can stay in, instead of camping like we had thought. Thankfully this building has a better roof, because the rain has started again.