Updated: Feb 21
A miscommunication with the owner of our guest house saw us hurtling along Mexico's highway 186, towards Calakmul, in a desperate attempt to see several hundred thousand bats emerge from their cave on Christmas Eve 2019.
Unfortunately for us, my lousy Spanish meant that we arrived at the precise time the spectacle ended rather than began.
Not to worry we agreed, we'd simply return on Christmas Day as we now knew it to be on our way back from visiting Calakmul itself. Nothing could dampen our festive spirit, apart from the realisation that we'd forgot to fill up with fuel and and it appeared highly likely we wouldn't have enough to make it back. Neither of us could recall seeing a fuel station, other than the one near our guesthouse.
With the radio and air conditioning turned off, our lights dimmed and taking the opportunity to coast out of gear down any and every downhill stretch, we gingerly began our journey back. I won't lie, it was a tense and hot journey. A journey that appeared to never end.
Not long after setting off our little car kindly informed us it was completely depleted of fuel, we were in the middle of nowhere, there were no other vehicles on the road and we had no phone signaI. I realised that I couldn't think of an easy way out of this should the worst happen.
Thankfully, somewhat unbelievably, our little car kept chugging along and we started to dare believe, or at least believe our walk back to civilization might be possible. And then a Christmas miracle happened as the fuel station appeared in the far distance and, like the north star guiding the three wise men, we followed it's enticing glow towards safety. We were safe.
I hope never to have such a stressful Christmas Eve ever again but, and I can't emphasise this enough, both Calakmul and the bats were incredible. A must do for any adventurous soles visiting the Yucatan.