Story 3: Back to the Bio Parque and Dzoyaxché

This is a private nature reserve purchased by a small group of Meridanos about 30-years ago. One of the owners, Carlos, and his wife, were there to greet us and tell us a bit of the history of the project.

We called ahead to Bioparque Pak’al K’aax to make sure there would be someone there on Saturday morning.

At this writing in late September, Google Maps shows the entrance in the wrong place! Follow these instructions instead:

To reach the Bioparque, exit the Periferico at the Timucuy exit (if you’ve been to the IMSS hospital, it’s the same interchange). Go south about 5 km to where there is a split with the road to the left going to Sotuta de Peon; take the RIGHT fork here.

Less than 1km later you’ll see a large blue/white PAK’AL KA’AX sign; turn left (watch for immediate potholes!) and drive about 1km to the entrance.

The Bioparque is a private nature reserve purchased by a small group of Meridanos about 30 years ago. One of the owners, Carlos, and his wife, were there to greet us and tell us a bit of the history of the project.

The Bioparque offers camping, about 2 km of trails, a palapa for small events, and a picnic area. There are two bathrooms and a small inside cooking area. It is pet friendly and dogs are permitted. If you’re thinking about camping, note that there is no electricity and–for us at least–no cell service, so no Internet. There is running water coming from two tinacos that are refilled from a generator.

The Bioparque is a peaceful and quiet place under shady trees. If you are interested in the biodiversity of the Yucatan, there are hundreds of different species flora and fauna. They are not signed, but when you schedule your visit you will be talking with a volunteer biologist who may be able to organize a guided visit for you. Regardless, you should bring your favorite Yucatan native plant/animal/bird books! For us, not knowing much about native plants, the short and shady trail system was very enjoyable to walk.

If you were here early in the morning, the birding would be great! But the main attraction would be “back to the woods” camping – and being able to see the stars away from all of the light pollution of the city. It would be a great place to take kids who like to play in the woods!

If this appeals to you, the Bioparque Pak’al K’aax would love to have you come visit! They are open by appointment only. You can call or WhatsApp Gabriel, one of their volunteer biologists who speaks perfect English – 999-194-4023 to get more information and schedule a visit. He will arrange for someone to be on-site to orient you to the facility. Bring everything you need with you as there are no services nearby. But you are able to arrange breakfast or dinner brought to you from the nearby village, which sounded pretty cool!

Next, Hacienda Dzoyaxché:

Twenty minutes south via the town of Molas, we reached Hacienda San Nicholas Dzoyaxché. The Hacienda is partly restored and is used for various community functions including access to their swimming pool.

We approached the hacienda and saw the entrance roped off, but the SALIDA was open, and there were people inside. Sure enough, at least during COVID, you just walk in through the exit. We’d been told the entry fee was 3 pesos (!), but the attendant said any amount was fine, so we gave 20 pesos for four of us.

You cannot tour the inside of the hacienda buildings and there are no explanatory signs. (An exception: the church, located across the street, is kept in good condition and is in regular use.) We walked thru the gardens and out a break in the back wall, and then down the road toward the cemetery. If you are walking the Caminos del Mayab route, this is the first leg of your journey!

We walked back the way we came, but wandered into the western part of the hacienda grounds. HERE was a complete surprise–the start of a trail network through dense forest. You completely forget you’re still within the town because the forest (jungle, really) is so thick. We probably followed these trails for about 20 minutes, just enjoying the feeling of wilderness.

But 2 minutes around the trail and you’re back in open area, a playground with equipment and a public pool (closed that weekend for pump replacement).

A FINE DAY COULD BE a visit to the Bioparque and then to Dzoyaxché. Arrange for a tuk-tuk (we think the Camino del Mayab folks might do this to take you to the western trailhead at Yaxnic, then walk the 3km trail and road back to your car at Dzoyaxché. (It’s much farther by road than by trail.)