The weather reports were promising us rainy overcast days with occasional thunderstorms the entire week we would be in Cancun. We arrived to beautiful blue skies spotted with fluffy cumulus clouds. There would be only one muggy day with occasional rain—my birthday. A thunderstorm rolled in the night before and I was fearful that our Coba tour would be canceled. This was the tour I was most looking forward to. It promised the most fun (jungle hiking, kayaking, rappeling, zip-lines, and more) and it would be how my 30th birthday would primarily be spent. In the end, it all worked out for the best. This would be the only day it rained on our trip and it interfered with nothing. Had it rained a different day, our plans would have likely been altered. Thus, the fates chose well.
We rode through the back-roads of the Yucatan at top speeds heading for the jungle. There we paddled through a small lagoon and rendezvoused at a dock entering the jungle. We trekked to a subterranean cenote and swam after participating in a Mayan purification ritual. I had great hopes of seeing spider monkeys in the jungle, but luck was not with me. I didn’t give up hope, although. A quick drive to a nearby village brought us to our action portion of the trip. There we all rappeled into a canyon, then rode a zip-line across the jungle. Afterwards the villagers fed us a variety of local dishes. The last stop would be Coba.
Coba is another site featuring various Mayan ruins. The main attraction is a 60-foot high structure a few kilometers into the jungle. Climbing 120 or so steps brings you to the top with a spectacular view of the surrounding jungle—trees for miles in all directions. The day had been muggy, but there had been no rain after the storm of the previous night. That would change once Erika and I reached the halfway point approaching Coba’s apex. Droplets began to fall, within seconds a drenching rain was upon us. The options were turn back and be soaked or climb to the top and be soaked. We chose the latter. Minutes later she and I stood at the top staring into a misty jungle, water pouring down upon us. A few other climbers cowered in a tiny cubby at the top of the ruin awaiting a break in the rain. This is the best way to see Coba.
As we walked back through the jungle to the van, we were happy and saturated. Living in L.A. means constant dryness with tiny glimmers of rare sprinkles. Erika was ecstatic. She was soaking wet, walking through the jungle, dodging puddles, and surprisingly warm. Then I saw him. Scurrying across the path a few feet ahead was a dark spider monkey, his tail raised behind him. He bolted into the brush avoiding what remained of the falling rain and any potential danger from trail-walkers. By the time Erika turned to see him, he was gone. We were nearing the end of the jungle, the end of the tour. My chances to see a monkey were almost gone, but I hadn’t given up hope. No one else was around. I alone saw him. He was there for me—my birthday monkey.