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Welcome to paradise

There’s a place where rhythms are marked by the sun. Where you wake up at the first lights of the day and watch the fishermen coming back to shore after another night spent at sea. You walk on the one dusty street and watch children playing before going to school and elders raking up the leaves in their yards. A few dogs stretch out seeking a place in the sun and some chase each other rising a thick cloud of dust.

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Then the small community of Cabo Pulmo — a bunch of houses, 5 dive centers, 2 family-run restaurants — flocks on the street, slowly, with no rush.

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As the town comes alive a few tourists arrive. Not many though, you can count them on the fingers of your hands. Some go diving, some snorkeling, or fishing or kayaking. Cabo Pulmo lives off its rich and pristine sea waters.

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I help Mario and David getting their customers ready — a group of 4 divers —, we hop on the panga and leave the shore behind. People are excited. I look out at sea and smile. I’m excited too, this is supposed to be one of the best dive sites in Mexico.

When I got here I had no place to stay: no phone and no internet, so… no Couchsurfing. I spent the first two nights in an abandoned bar on the beach, with no roof nor doors. I could see the stars before sleeping and the sun rising at dawn, I loved that.

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But on my third day I met Mario, the Mexican owner of Cabo Pulmo Divers. Some chatting, a beer, sharing diving stories and we were friends. He offered me a place to stay and free dives in exchange for some work. It was immediately a deal! Travelling on a budget doesn’t allow me for pricey activities, but being a dive instructor helps, in this case.

We jump out of the water and we’re all besides ourselves with joy: seeing a whale — underwater — would already make my day, but if you top it up with sea turtles, giant schools of jacks and sea lions, it turns into a memorable dive.

Photos courtesy of David Castro.

The rest of the day goes by slowly, chilling on the beach with two dogs that follow me everywhere. As the sun sets in a blast of orange the street empties out. Cars leave Cabo Pulmo, a few tourists go back to their bungalows and villagers head back to their homes. The night falls wrapping all with a placid quietness. There’s no public electricity here, most houses have solar panels and the only lights you can see around are the flashlights carried by the people.

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It’s a place where people leave their keys in the door lock and say Good morning and God bless you, where shops open when it’s time to arrive and close when it’s time to leave. It’s a familiar place and you easily feel at home here, just after a couple of days. And when it’s time to leave you say goodbye to the one street, the beach, the abandoned bar, the dogs and the kids and you take all the good memories with you, knowing that you’re gonna be back, someday.