It was my last full day on a trip I took to the Riviera Maya region of Mexico. I’m mobbin a buggy through the Mayan Jungle outside of Playa Del Carmen. Blasting through mud puddles and just letting go of all the worries that had been on my mind. We shredded up and down different jungle dirt roads for about 45min before coming to a remote cenote, which we had to hike a very short ways too.
The cenote was nothing like the tourist cenotes that you can visit all around the Riviera Maya region. This was totally out in the middle of jungle and definitely gave you a very authentic experience of discovering a natural cenote. The cenote rested in an open large half dome like cave that had some large boulders within, creating a few ledges for jumping off!
After the cenote we cruised through the jungle again until we came to a gate off the main dirt road we were on, which led into more of what was a narrow trail. At this point I knew we must be getting close to the remote jungle village which was mentioned in the tour description and showcased in their video. This part of the tour was what I had been waiting for and was one of the main reasons I selected it, since the Chichen Itza tour I had originally booked had to be canceled due to Hurricane Delta that had hit the region earlier in the week.
Pulling into the village was like something out of a movie. There is one dirt road that runs through the village, and as we started down the road passing the first homes made of makeshift materials, I see a child that lights up with excitement as we approach, and all of a sudden there were another few children running out and up with nothing but smiles. JP slows down and the children start to run toward his 4 seater buggy with a fairly large bed in the back, and he waves them in.
As we continue through the village more and more children are running out and down the street with us, yelling excitedly, laughing, and loading into JP’s buggy. By the end of the village his buggy is packed with laughing and excited children. There had to be at least 10 of them, and you could tell they absolutely loved JP and when he came to visit! He took the kids for a quick spin outside the village and I as drove behind him taking in the scene of these children loaded into a buggy, having the time of their lives, it really started to set in how important this buggy tour was for this village and especially it’s children.
We looped back to the village and parked the buggies. JP told us that he would walk us over to the village store and that we would have the option to purchase a care package of needed groceries for $100 pesos (roughly $5 usd) to hand out to the women of the village. We got to the store which was just a tiny shack, and you ordered the package through a window. Once everybody in the tour purchased their care packages which came in a standard plastic grocery bags, JP led us down the street, near the village school, where the women of the village had lined up waiting for us to hand out these needed items.
This was definitely one the most emotional parts of the tour for me. As I stood there before these women, I began to realize how ungrateful I can be. That my problems back home are nothing compared to the poverty these people live in and face everyday, but yet keep a smile on their face. That the life I get to experience is so blessed and that I have to find a way to continuously feel and remember the gratitude I did in that moment. We opened up our bags and walked down the line as the women only grabbed for items their family truly needed. As we did this, it amazed me how far just a little care package for 100 pesos could go. This first hand experience opened up my eyes to how even really small donations to genuine non-profits that aid people living in poverty can really benefit and have positive major impacts. This moment was the the highlight of my entire trip and I think it was for some of the others in the tour as well.
We said goodbye to the women and their children, and JP took us up to the school. It was painted with such amazing colors and was by far the most beautiful place in the village. JP described to us how the school is one of the villages top priorities and that its warming aesthetic was very important so the children would always feel excited and happy to be there. We then walked back to our buggies and on the way we got to see the resident crocodile sunbathing on what looked to be an old paddle board in a little pond.
We took the buggies back down to the beginning of the village and stopped to havelunch. We entered a little fenced area where a shack was built with a tiny kitchen and a table to seat guests in an open air setting. On the menu were amazing homemade empanadas! This part of the tour was really important as well because it allowed us time to sit with each other and talk about what we had just experienced. The common thread was that we really felt a sense of gratitude and humbleness for the lives we had back home. Some of the people didn’t even realize there would be a philanthropic side to the tour, but we were all really happy there was and we all agreed it made the tour extremely special and the experience something we would never forget!
Tour Name: Buggy Tour Playa Del Carmen
Tour Guide: JP (He’s the man!)
I booked this tour through https://www.playadelcarmen.com. They were awesome with transitioning me over to the Buggy Tour when the Chichen Itza Tour got canceled and instantly took care of refunding the price difference between the tours. Definitely will use them again on my next trip down there!