No running water, no internet, barely electricity, no phone connection, only fish and mariscos (=sea fruits) available and the locals sleep in hammocks instead of in real beds. Right, I’m talking about Boca del Cielo, “mouth of the sky” in English but this is completely irrelevant as the island residents have probably never heard of the word “English”. The word “Israel” on the other hand does sound familiar to them. Only they call it “el país de Jesús” (the land of Jesus). They asked my boyfriend if Israel is as big as the nearby little village, Tonalá… Calling those people stupid is wrong, let’s call them ignorent. Is it their fault? No. The only answer to this question is; the GOVERNMENT. However, you have to admit that living on a tiny little island without newspapers, radios and internet connection makes you kind of ignorant, isn’t it? Anyway, I will stop talking bullsh*t and start writing about the holiday itself!
4 Different collectivos and small uncomfortable busses later (of which the last one was really small, I didn’t have space for my way-too-long legs), we finally arrived in Boca del Cielo – in the state of Chiapas – where an enthusiast local took us to his boat (way of transport number 5) to bring us to Isla San Marcos
It was already dark when we arrived. My boyfriend wanted to read a bit and I wanted to explore the island – something I shouldn’t have done because a huge scary dog mistook me for an intruder and almost killed me! Luckily the owners woke up from my screams and stopped the dog right before he was about to jump on me and rip me to pieces. I knew I had an guardian angel somewhere.
This experience teached me to never go walking on unknown property again (especially if it’s actual property from somebody) in the dark and definitely not on my own. So the following days I just stayed at the property of the place where we rented our cabaña. It wasn’t big but it was beautiful.
On one side of the island was the lagoon (from this side you could see the mainland) and on the other side the Pacific Ocean. The width of the island is only around 250m so we could easily go from the lagoon beach to the Pacific beach. The tropical island existed out of sand, coconuts and palm trees. As we went in late November, the weather was perfect; not extremely hot but still hot enough to swim.
The only weird thing about the island was the lack of tourists; both local and international tourists. The island is tiny and we only saw 3 other tourists, all the other people were locals who actually lived and worked (renting out cabañas and selling food) at the island. Obviously we knew that Isla San Marcos in Boca del Cielo isn’t as popular as the beaches in the Yucatan peninsula, Los Cabos and Puerto Vallarta – I would’ve mentioned Acapulco as well but it’s getting less touristy as the crime rates are going through the roof – little did we know that there would only be 3 (!) (for as far as we know) other tourists there, and they stayed at a cabaña place far away from where we were so we only saw them once in a small restaurant.
Not that this bothered us though, having a tropical island with 2 huge different kind of beaches all to yourself is truly heaven.
Around 9pm, everything got quiet and there were barely any artificial lights there which allowed us to see the most beautiful starry sky – shooting stars and Milky Way included – I’ve ever had the pleasure to see.
Do you really need a luxury hotel when you can get something like this? Okay okay, I admit; a real shower would’ve come in handy instead of throwing buckets full of salt water over myself and from then on I started to appreciate brushing my teeth with fresh water – but those things are only details.
How to get there from San Cristobal de las Casas;
There are 2 ways on how to get there; the easy way or the cheap but harder way. The whole trip will take you around 5-6 hours.
Let’s start with the easy way; take an ADO bus to Tonala and from there you can take a collectivo to Boca del Cielo. This will cost you around $450 (€23).
The harder way; take a collectivo to Tuxtla Gutierrez, from there you take a bus to Tonala and from there a collectivo. This will cost you around $200 (€10). However, I do NOT recommend this route if you or your companion(s) don’t speak Spanish!
Tips for budget travelers:
- Bring your own food. You cannot cook there but at least you can bring some snacks. There are many “restaurants” but the cheapest you can get is a meal for $120 (€6) which is expensive (for this part of Mexico)! So try to save up on the snacks and bring your own as the snacks there are more expensive as well.
- Bargain about the price of the cabaña. I don’t know how it is like if you’re alone but if you’re 2, you should be able to get a cabaña for $100 (€5) per person.
- Leave early in the morning. It’s not nice to arrive when it’s dark.
- Bring cash! There are no ATMs at the island or in Boca del Cielo. Only in the nearby town Tonala.