Tuesday, 11 September 2007

Frigate birds and fruit bats

I have been to Mexico this past week, birdwatching and visiting the Mayan ruins at Chichen Itza. It’s the first time I’ve returned to Central America since I went to Costa Rica and had the inspiration for The Divide, and it was just as beautiful as I remembered. The pelicans and the frigate birds were the most memorable sightings, soaring over the hotel with an elegance and an expertise that left me awestruck.

The most exciting part of the trip was snorkelling in an underground river system, accessed through a cenote, which is a sinkhole filled with crystal clear water. As you go further in the caves are decorated with the most exquisite stalactites and stalagmites, and cave swallows and fruit bats make their homes in the rocky roof.

I was very impressed by the organisers (http://www.alltournative.com/) who are committed to eco-tourism and supporting sustainable development for the Mayan people who live there today. You are not allowed to swim if you’re wearing insect repellent, suntan lotion or perfume, as it pollutes the water. My guide, Markus, was a turtle expert. We kayaked out to a reef and swam in the Caribbean with loggerhead turtles, parrotfish and a stingray! And as a final treat, in the airport gardens, I saw a pair of Morpho butterflies. Those of you who’ve read The Divide may remember the line on page 10… A Morpho butterfly the size of a tea-plate, its wings the most astonishing metallic blue…

3 comments:

Jorge Vargas J. said...

Greetings from Costa Rica Elizabeth!

Elizabeth Kay said...

Good to hear from you, Jorge. Perhaps you know Monteverde, which is where the action starts in The Divide...

potterholic said...

I'm going to be going to South America in January and I hope I can see some of the same exciting things you hve seen in Mexico. They all sound so fun and interesting!