My Chetumal Bucket List

Day 1 in Chetumal, Mexico (2/16/22):

-Chetumal is the capital of Quintana Roo region and borders Belize.
-Chetumal has an amazing mall with a food court and movie theatre.
-The animal rescue I am working at is right across from this mall as well as a huge McDonald’s.
-My first day we got a call to rescue two puppies who were severely emaciated and roaming the streets. I’m not the nicest guy, I’m not the smartest guy, and I’m not the toughest guy in the world, but I’m damn good at rescuing animals.
-I speak about 90% Spanish here. My Spanish isn’t fluent but I’ve had zero problems communicating here.

Day 2 & 3 in Chetumal, Mexico (2/17/22-2/18/22):

-Chetumal gives Florida a run for its money for most hot, humid weather. I am sweating all of the time!
-True, authentic Mexican food is everywhere here and for pence!
-My shifts at the animals rescue has me taking care of 7 dogs and 6 cats for my shifts. The Wifi isn’t excellent, we don’t have hot water, and I sleep in a bunk bed – I love it. No one needs a flatscreen TV, dishwasher, or 5G.
-Chetumal has these little trash stands everywhere. I haven’t seen any trash on the street here so far so that’s a huge plus for me.

Days 4-6 in Chetumal, Mexico (2/19/22-2/21/22):

-I live across from a drive-thru for alcohol. It’s mind-blowing, but I love it. They even have a stand for micheladas during the day for passerby on foot.
-I’ll say till the day I die, take a stroll through your neighborhood, find the little stalls with plastic chairs, no A/C or Wifi, and where no one speaks English. You’ll get the best food, the friendliest vibes, and will spend pence almost always.
-I fell in love with Negrita, one of the dogs we just rescued, she’s in quarantine while she undergoes treatment for an STD but I spend half of my day with her. So far, her puppy dog eyes have talked me into giving her 2 tacos, 2 bones, and 2 servings of dog food. I regret absolutely nothing.
-This weekend was a lot of work. We helped to vaccinate something around 50 animals in two days, did maintenance around the rescue, then shared some celebratory drinks and pizza with the veterinarian staff.

Day 7-13 in Chetumal, Mexico (2/22/22-2/28/22):
-I’ve done next to nothing but take care of these animals.
-Negrita has stolen my heart but she’s a sick, wittle dog. However, I will do everything in my power to make sure she has a happy ever after.

Day 14-15 in Chetumal, Mexico (3/4/22-3/5/22):
-Negrita wasn’t happy that I have been gone, but she couldn’t hide her excitement from me. My current plan is to foster her outside of the rescue and try to find her a long-term foster/forever home. I am going to sponsor her full treatment as well. I refuse for her to not have a happy ever after.
-I will most likely be finding an Airbnb in Calderitas, Mexico next week with Negrita.
-I decided to buy myself my first pair of Ray-Bans because they were 20% off and I had lost my cheap pair. (Or more likely a cat or dog stole them while I was sleeping.)

Day 17 in Chetumal, Mexico (3/6/22):
-Barely slept last night, but myself and the other volunteers have been working 6:30am-9:30pm and going helping run the spay and neuter clinic.

Day 18-20 in Chetumal, Mexico (3/6/22-3/8/22):
-I took Negrita out of the vet and moved her into an Airbnb I got just for us. She gets her own bed and a huge backyard.
-Chichito, Blanco, Coki, Rusty, Faye, Lee, Chester, Hanson, Jax, Cinnamon, and Shelly. I remember every one. They all can vouch for me that I’m far from the best dad in the world, but I never gave up on any of them. Negrita is next to start living her best life.
-Are you sure you want to get into animal rescue? Negrita is on seven different medications and a special food JUST for recovering from her surgery for a stomach obstruction. We have a long road to recovery and finding her a forever home, but I’m not giving up on her. She will have her happy ever after if it’s the last thing I do.
-Negrita has tested NEGATIVE for distemper! Myself and two of our vets believe she merely has the antibodies from having survived distemper before. She has shown zero signs of distemper in the weeks that we’ve had her. This is a great sign that her future is bright.

Day 21 in Chetumal, Mexico (3/9/22):
-I Love taquerias here. There is nothing better than proper Mexican tacos and tortillas washed down with a Sol or horchata. I always ask for salsa picante and half of the time I regret it.
-There is a gym and indoor court behind my current Airbnb. I went and took an Olympic lifting/CrossFit class this afternoon. Afterwards, the kids in the indoor gym wanted me to play soccer with them but I said forget that when I saw half of them were taller than me.
-Negrita is quickly becoming a brat but she’s so stinking cute.
-I’ve learned the hard way at this animal rescue to go where you’re celebrated not where you’re tolerated.

Day 22 in Chetumal, Mexico (3/10/22):
-Negrita is getting better and better every day. The last photo is her before photo. Give me a month and we will look back on her photo and see how far she’s come.
-I ran into this old tailor who fixed my backpack for free. He made fun of me the whole time though. I’m pretty sure I’m the only gringo in town who actually lives here and I stand out like a sore thumb.
-My gym bros have decided I look like Vin Diesel like every other gym I’ve been to in my life.
-Everyone likes Negrita. The old lady at the tienda, the abuela at the lavandería, the kids at the dog park, the cooks at the taquerias, the people in line at the cajero – she’s a people person.
-I get a full mani and pedi with gel for the equivalent of $25USD. You think it’s weird? If you’re not paying my bills then your opinion doesn’t matter to me.

Days 23-24 in Chetumal, Mexico (3/19/22-3/20/22):
-I got a pet carrier for Negrita today so I can crate train her more and when someone decides to adopt her, we’ll be ready. Keep up with her progress by following my rescue page @pawsitivity_without_borders
-We have a driver here and he told me to try some mondongo (spicy tripe soup) so we went to the local market together and I bought us lunch.
-I’m at a crossroads in life where I’m still just trying to go back to Asia to teach, find Negrita a good forever home, and I need BTC to moon. I second-guess myself everyday, but I believe in who I am and where I’m going.

Day 25 in Chetumal, Mexico (3/21/22):
-Boulevard Bahia lights up and is full of vendors making and selling marquesitas, tacos, machacados, salchipapas, queques, and more.
-There is also a double decker party bus that drives around town blasting music and it’s pence to join.

Day 26-34 in Chetumal, Mexico (3/26/22-4/3/22):
-My current time has been completely dedicated to fostering Negrita. She is being flight volunteered to Vancouver on the 10th to live with her new family. Check out my rescue page for our regular updates @pawsitivity_without_borders.

Day 35 in Chetumal, Mexico (4/4/22)
Summary of Quintana Roo, Mexico🇲🇽:
-it’s really cheap and easy to fly into Cancun in the north or Chetumal in the south and work your way the opposite direction by bus. Buses like Ado are nice, reliable, popular, and cheap.
-The majority of the cities (Tulum, PDC, Bacalar, etc.) in this region are super touristy and more expensive as a result. However, that means you can also enjoy a lot of first world luxuries like vegan restaurants, A/C, ice, and quality gyms.
-Animal rescues are all over the place here. Many take in way more than they can handle or afford and, as a result, often the animals don’t thrive, they just survive. If you try to save every animal you will not save any.
-Mexican food is up there with the best in the world. I seldom go to sit down restaurants. I go to taquerias, cevicherias, and every stand I come across essentially. Get the salsa picante always, I don’t even like hot sauce but I like them here.
-it’s my opinion that Mexican people are the friendliest in the world. Never felt uncomfortable here once. If anything, I think I intimidated people more by being a 200lb. gorilla.
-Taking money out of ATMs is loathsome because almost all charge 5-10% conversion fees. Meaning you lose $5-10 bucks for every $100 you withdraw. Absurd.
-Mexico is hot! Humid hot like Florida and the mosquitoes and flies are relentless.
-I hate the gyms here. Most have old weights and equipment, don’t have A/C, and keep their windows and doors open during business hours as a result. It’s like you’re in a sauna basically.
-If you’re going to do one thing here it should be getting in the water. Doesn’t matter how many places you’ve been or how much you’ve seen there is nothing more beautiful than being in a coral reef or emerald lagoon.
-The majority of this region is for tourists to party and be at the beach or pool. Nothing against them, but I can literally do that any day of the week in my hometown.

Day 36-41 in Chetumal, Mexico (4/5/22-4/10/22):
-I said goodbye to Negrita as she heads off to Vancouver to meet her new family. It was a bittersweet moment for me.
-Unfortunately, my rescue experience in Chetumal was overwhelmingly negative. I’ve never encountered a rescue owner who seriously considered releasing a dog back into the streets because she realized too late that she didn’t have room for him or who was okay locking a cat up for months in a cage because she couldn’t afford to get all of her vaccines done in a timely manner. Absolutely appalling.
-I made my way by taxi through the Mexican-Belize land border this morning without issue. Showed them my passport, my vaccination card, and filled out two immigration forms. I am currently in Corozal waiting for my water taxi to the islands.

Would I recommend Chetumal? For me, absolutely yes. It’s a very livable city and authentic Mexico being the capital of Quintana Roo. There are gyms, a malecon, a mall with a cinema and foreign restaurants and shops. Calderitas, Bacalar, and Belize are all a short drive away. If you want to embrace Mexican culture and not be in a super tourstiy area like Cancun or Tulum – Chetumal is it.

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