Jungle Camp Update

Updated: Jul 10, 2021


This week in Palenque was an eventful one. Half of our campers left to go home to Germany. On Wednesday, April 29th, we had afternoon cake and coffee with everyone in the campground. Tania and H.P., the couple in the big green camper, and Gaby and Nikolai in the old RV, were traveling to Veracruz together. Tania and H.P. were staying in Veracruz until they arranged to have their camper shipped back to Germany. Gaby and Nikolai were continuing to Oaxaca to store their RV and fly home from there. We have enjoyed them for the past month. Both couples had to cut their travel plans and head home. They were disappointed but in good spirits about their decision to go home. They headed out at 8 am on Thursday, April 30th. We said our goodbyes and waved as they drove away. “ Safe travels, new friends!”

We are down to 4 campers now. Larry and I plus Inga and Torben. They are from Germany as well but plan on traveling south when the borders open up. I am happy they are here with us as they are a super fun couple. Both Torben and Nikolai share the same birthday day, April 23rd. We were able to celebrate them last week with cake and conversation. We are very fortunate they all can speak English. It is required in their 5th-grade education. I asked Torben if his mom called to wish him a happy birthday. He said, “Yes, she did. So did his father.” Then he told me a fabulous story. It touched my heart. His father is a captain on a merchant ship out of Hamburg. Torben was a captain too for 10 years until he wanted to travel by land. The story Torben told was that his father calls him every year, mostly because he’s out to sea. His dad tells him the same story about the day he was born. When his dad heard the news that his son was born, since he wasn’t home but close to the island of Norderney. His dad and some of his crew went ashore to celebrate. They did a lot of drinking and by the end of the evening, were very drunk. Some of them climbed up the light poles and blew out the candles!! Crazy Germans! After Torben told his story, Inga, his wife, said, “And then Torben tells me the story again each year.” I just loved it!

In our jungle paradise, we have lots of birds, lizards, bugs, and occasional howler monkeys. The monkeys seem to always travel right outside our resort, high in the trees. When we hear them, we always go to where we can watch them. The day after our fellow campers departed, we had a surprise visit by 7 of the monkeys. They came right to the trees in our campground. We started watching them at 9:30 am and they didn’t leave until about 4 pm. They took a siesta from 12 pm-2 in the big tree in the corner of the campground. When they woke up, the monkey show began- Bigger and Better than the morning show! They didn’t stay in the big tree. All of them eventually make their way to the smaller ficus tree right across from our trailer. As we watched them come over, one by one, we noticed something very interesting. One monkey started to Pee and directly after that Pooped. Sending glorious Monkey Bombs to the ground below. Each monkey took its turn. I was taking pictures (let me know if you want to see the ones with the monkey pooping), when I felt a splash behind me hitting my calves. There was a sneaky monkey right over my head. I had to scramble to avoid the oncoming glorious Monkey Bombs! Oh my!! Some monkeys pooped and peed twice. One monkey peed on our chair before we could move it. Then I realized they were aiming for us! Or at least our stuff. They put on a great monkey show.

We go to the pool every day sometime in the afternoon. After we hang our swimming suits on the clothesline to dry overnight. One morning I had quite a surprise when I put my navy blue bikini bottoms on. As I was putting one leg in, a frog jumped out the leg and into the trailer! I check all my clothes now after that incident.

In the past week, we’ve seen tons of activity with the Keel-billed Toucans and the Collared Aracaris. We’ve had them in our campsite, at the pool, and in fruiting vines down low where we can see them up close and personal. I have taken so many pictures that now I just watch them, study them and get to know them better. The Maya Bell Hotel/camping/resort has such a diversity of bird species that we literally see “new” birds every day. Some I’ve photographed but still haven’t identified. I feel like a junior biologist. And I love it!

This week I’ve turned up my search for the boa constrictor that lives on the property. I heard from Sybren (who lives in an open-air palapa here) that the maintenance workers have seen it. They know where it lives by the lagoon close to the pool. I walk this area at least 3 times a day. I haven’t seen him yet…..But I will. I caught a few small lizards this week. That’s always fun.


We watched a hummingbird build a nest in some plants close to our garbage can at the beginning of April. She laid 2 eggs soon after. After 2 weeks, one egg hatched and the other one hatched the next day. She doesn’t seem bothered by us watching her on the nest and everyone is interested. Tania had a tripod set up the whole time, taking pictures of this miracle in action. After a few days, the mama didn’t stay in the nest anymore but came to feed them several times a day. It truly was wonderful to watch. We had a rainstorm this past week with thunder, lightning and heavy winds. When we checked the next we were sad to discover one chick had fallen out and died. The other one is still doing great! He should be ready to fly the nest in about another week. The thing about the jungle is that it is a fast-moving and dangerous place for animals and insects. Trees, plants, and flowers grow at an incredible pace here. It’s amazing and I am very fortunate to be able to enjoy this beautiful place for an extended period of time. I’m learning so much!


Since we have an abundance of free time here, 30 days ago I started a 30-day challenge with Larry. I felt pretty confident we would still be here at least a month. We are doing 30 days to get to 250 squats. 30 days to get to a 5-minute plank. And I alone, am training for a half marathon, 13.1 miles. We are on day 29!! We will plank for 4 minutes and 30 seconds and squat for 240. Tomorrow is our 5-minute plank and we finish with our 250 squats! I was able to “jog” 9 miles last Monday. Yeah me! I will do 10 miles this week and I will keep adding miles until we leave…… Who knows when that will be. We are safe and happy here with the company of some very nice new friends. We will set up new challenges to keep things interesting.


We brought our softball equipment. We have to start our spring conditioning as we never know when we might come across another game! My challenge for my readers, Go out and do something you Love this week! Then do more of that and do it more often. You deserve it!


Love and Blessings from Maya Bell Jungle Camp


Rhonda and Larry

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