Friday, 21 February 2014

Mexico is Cancun and something else: Boca Iglesias

If you come to Cancun for your vacations, certainly the name of Isla Mujeres will come up. This incredible island comprises a vast territory that features some islets of amazing beauty (such as Isla Contoy as pointed out in our previous article) and today we would like to talk about a place totally unknown by many and explored by few: Boca Iglesias.

View of the jungle on Boca Iglesias
Boca Iglesias is an almost deserted place, counting 43 inhabitants. In pre-Hispanic times, it was called Ekab and was the capital of the area, a rich economic center. There also exist a pyramid, but the jungle has almost covered it completely. Boca Iglesias became important in the early days of colonial times, but its luck quickly wore off. At some point, up to 1,000 people lived here, and a graveyard and a few other attractions are now the remaining witnesses of its modern society. The island features the ruins of one of the first ever built churches in Latin America (1542), and today you can only admire its past glory. Currently, the island is not on many tourist tours, as it does not have practically any infrastructure. But this is exactly its charm, especially if you want to get away from the hustle and bustle of holidays in Cancun and Playa del Carmen.
The ruins of the church on Boca Iglesias

Your boat will have to go through some spectacular mangroves (home to an amazing variety of animals) in order to get the bay in front of the church. The island has not been explored to its full extent yet, which means it is not currently habilitated for tourism purposes. Nevertheless, a few people do go to Boca Iglesias by boat and take a look around. It is not dangerous, but you should be aware that it does feature wild flora and fauna. There have been efforts to implement restoration policies to recuperate the island and offer it as a tourist attraction, but with limited success. Up until now, all you can do is walk around, see a few ruins and go back. As you approach the island, you sense that special feeling of a glorious past (especially because the bell tower comes out of the jungle) as well as loneliness. It is definitely a great day trip from Cancun, Isla Mujeres or the Riviera Maya during your vacations, if you like pure wilderness. 

Entering Boca Iglesias
Boca Iglesias is an exciting unexplored place. It is almost impossible to understand how CancunPlaya del Carmen and the Riviera Maya can be so close to this secluded and wild place. 

A quick video on Boca Iglesias