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House Hunting Along the Gulf of Mexico

Karita’s Spitfire bombs up Highway 261 at speeds exceeding 120 kph, heading toward the major port town of Progreso. Is is rumored that Jack Nicholson is buying property there. There is also some buzz about a ferry between Progreso and Tampa, FL. Things happen slowly here in the Yucatan, allowing for much speculation. We, however, are on the move!


Chelem’s bustling downtown commercial district.

At Progreso we go West to look at houses in Chelem and Chuburna, among the last beach towns before the Parque Natural Ria Celestun – flamingo nesting grounds. [Aside - flamingos must eat for 12 hours each day]. Okay! It’s wild here. Little storefronts on dusty roads where homeless dogs roam, brightly colored seafood shacks, and lots of smiley kids in inner tubes running down the road to the beach.

This Gulf is gorgeous! I am relieved to report. A pellucid seafoam green near the shore, becoming a deep sparkling gray blue farther out. It’s not all show-offy like some other oceans around here, and I respect that. Little waves lap the sand, which is pretty white, clean and fine.


View out the back door.

House numero uno is, I think typical, idiosyncratic. I’m not gently saying that it’s a dump, but it would need gutting almost entirely. Because, for example there are two tiny bathrooms with all the same amenities across the hall from one another. It has terrific tile throughout. And an expansive porch (facing the water). The property is lined with producing coconut trees. It’s a sweet little place, but not without its challenges.


Impressive bathroom.

The second place is owned by a nortamerica – Steven from San Francisco – who greeted us with his furry old chest out and introduced himself by explaining that he needed to be closer to town, and therefore the bars. He is, in the earliest sense of the term, a very cool guy. And he has made the house a paradise of outside showers, enclosed porches, swingin’ bar areas, and all the technological/media accoutrements. The trouble is, he’s taken all the fun out of doing it ourselves. Insert joke [here].


Not shown: Breathtaking view.

On to San Crisanto, about an hour’s drive East. I’m happily in the backseat, observing fabulously huge homes, water birds, coconut groves and wetlands. It is rather remote; a (sleepy!) fishing village, where one can tour the mangroves in a gondola and swim in a cenote. Very near the border of another eco preserve that rounds the peninsula to the Caribbean Sea side. I have already formed a romantic attachment to this town.

Malcolm liked this house a lot. It has potential, for sure: a pristine beach with one perfect palm tree classically framed, and what seems to be an abandoned restaurant/bar across the sandy road. Having consumed about 3 liters of water during the drive I immediately pee first and discover the toilet won’t flush later. Points to the place for the presence of a bidet. It didn’t strike me as “The One”. The more I look at pictures, though…


Back corner view.

We buzz back to town, for now we are starving, and discuss our next outing, planned for Tuesday evening.

This is getting long and windy, so let me sum up by saying that we walked 3 miles to Bennigans, ate like marauders, walked back home, found a rad place in San Crisanto, drank tequila, watched U-Turn (the entire celluloid catalogue of J-Lo is celebrated here), and when we felt too sleepy, we retired to the bedroom for reading. Or, in my case, an almost immediate faceplant into Lady Chatterly’s Lover.

I’m spent, but let me just say this… I am enchanted by these beach communities. I am stunned and humbled and delighted by the beauty of all the life I’ve seen there. I cannot wait to return.

There Are 4 Responses So Far. »

  1. In that first picture, what’s the sign with boobs and the arrow pointing down mean?

  2. Who is Karita? Is someone just driving you around?

  3. Adam,
    That’s the sign for topas – speed bumps – ubiquitous here. A boob sign is a little different. will post, haste.

    Lauren,
    Karita McLoughlin is our Canadian Mormon aspiring recording artist realtor. duh.

  4. I heart humpage signs.

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