I honestly don’t even know where to start because Axel was such an amazing host to us! There were so many things that he did, both big and small, to make our time with him truly unforgettable! First, for a small additional fee, he offered to pick us up and drop us off at Puerto Juarez which made it so much easier for us to focus on enjoying the trip rather than having to locate/navigate another form of transportation. He made sure we were comfortable with A/C and even provided some local snacks for us before entering the museum!
At the museum, the intelligence that Axel possesses about the area and the Mayan people were on full display. For anyone interested in history, art, culture, etc. this is an eye-opening oral history of the Mayans and their journey through time. Axel’s knowledge combined with the artifacts at the museum made for a truly immersive and informative experience. If that’s not enough, you get to end the museum portion of the tour by witnessing some ancient Mayan ruins that have been surprisingly well preserved!
After the museum, we headed toward the cenoté which was about a 40 minute drive. This lovely man provided us with fruits, drinks, AND hydration face masks!! It was really hot so this was a life saver. 40 minutes may seem like a drive for some people, but it was filled with laughter and countless facts about the region both past and present. When we arrived at the cenoté, we changed and he gave us a mini tour of the cave and information about how they’re created. Be advised you’re joined by a bunch of batty friends (fruit bats) who are completely harmless. Finally, we jumped in and it was an extremely soothing experience. The cenoté is filled with mineral water which is great for your skin! It’s truly an unbelievable experience and words cannot describe how it feels to plunge into the cenoté.
We were supposed to go to a market after, but he quickly and easily adjusted the itinerary because we mentioned we were hungry. He took us to a restaurant where we tried some delicious local tacos and a refreshing drink that featured traditional Mayan ingredients. Axel is such a great host because he is constantly checking in to make sure everything is okay as well as giving you as much information as possible about what you’re seeing, tasting, etc.
We then made our way to the market, which were many shops staffed by locals for things like clothing and produce. He also makes it a point to visit a shop from a particular local woman whom Axel met some time ago. If you’re wondering what type of person Axel is, his relationship with this woman tells it all. She is a local who has authentic handmade clothing, art, and other souvenirs that are made by people from her village. She was considering closing down her shop because of a lack of visitors, but after Axel came across her shop and recognized it for it’s beauty and authenticity, he vowed to bring customers to her. That’s what Axel did, and that’s what Axel does: he brings you beautiful and authentic cultural experiences that are relevant to the area you are in. We couldn’t have asked for a better host or experience. It’s safe to say that we truly consider Axel a friend after this experience.
We also did a private ceviche and Mezcal tasting with him while we were there, which we highly recommend. He was super flexible about what time we could meet up with them, and even shared some Oaxacan delicacies with us. We were celebrating our 5 year anniversary, and Axel and his partner Vanessa made it a truly special evening for us.
We plan on doing more tours with Axel if we’re ever in the area and you should too.