Riding into Playa Del Carmen I had heard strange rumours of a secret hostel run by a group of Lobos de Mar (Wolves of the Sea)………….
According to legend these old, salty sea-dogs stumbled upon an ancient mayan sacrificial altar buried in the jungle and gave their souls to the gods of the Cenotes, by way of a gruesome ritual involving dipping one’s ball-bag into a barrel of the strongest Mezcal known to man, then jumping up and down on the spot for twelve hours whilst punching yourself in the face. If you were able to survive this dastardly feat you were then required to drink ten litres of blood, extracted from the anus of the now-extinct ‘Jaguar Ass-Moth’**
**the Jaguar Ass-Moth was so aptly named because of its huge rear end that was shaped like the head of a jaguar, supposedly to scare off the never-ending legions of bloodsucking Mayans. Alas, this survival system didn’t work, as the Ass-Moths’ rear end was so large it only allowed the poor insect to fly one foot above the ground*
This magic of the ancients bestowed endless youth upon these men and when visiting the Lobo de Mar hostel I was faced with young, fresh-faced youths, claiming that the photos upon the walls were not them, but “Their grandfathers”
The hostel resembles a pirate ship that has been torn apart and then re-assembled in a more groovy fashion. Heading to the rooftop bar, these wise wolves of the sea told me amazing stories of lands lost to time beneath the waters of the jungle. Hidden freshwater cenotes that reach to the center of the earth, and if one dares they can dive into the depths and explore the magic of the ancient people.
Marti, Bernardo and Jorge (definitely pirate names) offer tours to these places but first you must offer them your bankcard and then a pint of your blood, to keep their spell from unraveling.
After paying the fee and donating our blood, we drank peyote and the Lobos blindfolded all of us and we headed to the hidden location. We arrived at a jungle with a huge fresh water stream hidden amongst the forest, and we all donned our free-dive gear and jumped in.
Because of the Lobos magical prowess, they were able to swim under the water like mer-men and hold their breath for up to 3 weeks at a time. We traversed hidden caves and saw wonderous plants and animals that peered out from beneath the crystal clear waters.
At one point Jorge appeared to be communicating with a fish that was living in a small cave, but the conversation turned nasty and the fish bit the Sea Wolf on the testicles. (Apparently Jorge owed the fish 100 pesos but didn’t deliver the goods)
To get to the bottom of the earth, at least one thousand metres below, you need to have a current advanced open water certificate and to visit ‘Cenote Experience’ the dive shop next door to the Lobo de Mar hostel. This is the only dive shop that has in their possession the Magic Crystal that opens up the secret stone doors beneath the earth that allows entrance into these hidden cenotes such as, ‘The Pit’, ‘Dos Ojos’, and ‘The Grand Cenote’.
The next day we arrived at Cenote Experience and after donating even more blood and then circling the ‘Magic Crystal’ 69 times, we headed to ‘Cenote El Pit’ (The Pit), a terrifying subterranean cave beneath the jungle that’s filled with fresh water and reaches almost to the center of the earth.
After praying to the Mayan gods and paying the 50 peso entrance fee, we donned our scuba gear and sank relentlessly into the abyss. Sunlight filtered down into the huge underwater cavern and our guide Mati led the way through incredible scenery- different layers of water that cloud the vision, hidden caves with fantastical formations and finally to an underwater forest hidden beneath a gloomy cloud of hydrogen sulphide gas.
Ghosts of the Mayan civilizations from thousands of years past, drifted through these underwater trees and if you were lucky, could be glimpsed out of the corner of one’s eye. We headed to a massive air bubble at the bottom, went inside, had lunch and then resumed our dive, slowly spiralling our way back to the surface. This place is truly magnificent. Real magic happens down here.
On the third day, we commandeered the Lobo de Mar pirate ship and headed out into the ocean, battling gigantic manta rays and nearly capsizing in a terrifying hurricane. Dressed in full battle regalia we defended the ship with all our might and returned safely to land and feasted on the days pirate takings, which consisted of MacDonald’s and hot spicy Doritos.
It’s one hell of a life being a pirate.
- kilometres travelled- 20 700km
- flat tyres- 11 and a 1/2
- incarcerations- 0 bribes paid-1
- Q) Are mermaids real? A) Yes
Explore the hidden secrets of Playa Del Carmen