73 F
Mérida
Friday, December 3, 2021
###

A cheap flight and a whirlwind tour of Merida: How 1 couple did it

Travel writer packs in 2 days of activities with a smart, fun itinerary

Latest headlines

‘Mayan ball game’ World Cup kicks off in Mérida

Mérida has kicked off an international Pok ta Pok tournament, also known as the "Mayan ball game" World Cup. 

We got a robot artist to paint Yucatán, here are the results

One could be forgiven for brushing off AI art as a fad, but sometimes these technologies deliver some very interesting results.

Festivities celebrating the Virgin of Guadalupe to be scaled back once again

For the second year in a row, Yucatan's Catholic archdiocese is urging its faithful to not assist to large events commemorating the day of the Virgin of Guadalupe on Dec. 12. 

New York artist finds an unlikely muse in rural Yucatán

Lohin's artistic subject matter ranges from portraits to landscapes and renderings of her favorite model — a donkey named Camila.
Yucatán Magazine
Sign up to get our top headlines delivered to your inbox twice a week.
Cenotes Mucuyché. Photo: Courtesy

A new flight out of Tijuana is allowing travelers from southern California and Northern Mexico to explore Yucatan starting with a redeye that one woman found for US$35 each way.

Marlise Kast-Myers of San Diego Metro magazine said the easy, inexpensive trip “is squashing all three excuses for anyone who has shelved Mexico’s cultural center as nothing more than a pipedream.”

(Prices fluctuate; the lowest one-way Volaris fare we found on deadline was $93 — still a bargain. Check here.)

Volaris launched the super-saver flight to Merida in March, departing on Saturdays and returning on Tuesdays.

From southern California, traveler can ignore LAX and San Diego International Airport, and instead head straight to CBX, or Cross Border Express. This pedestrian bridge, which opened in 2015, connects San Diego to the Tijuana International Airport, with such perks as secured parking, no border waits, and a Starbucks, Kast-Myers notes.

The Tijuana airport goes to 34 other destinations in Mexico and flies direct to China. But Kast-Myers and her husband chose Merida for their latest journey. Here’s how it went.

They arrived in Merida at 6:10 a.m., in time — maybe even a little early — for breakfast.

For such a quick trip with a full itinerary, it made sense to bypass the luxury boutique hotels they normally favor in favor of the budget-friendly El Castellano by Gamma — a fairly nondescript high-rise on Calle 57 and 64 — for US$50 a night.

“In the heart of the city, this spacious property caters to jet-lagged travelers with uber-early check-in and hearty Yucatecan breakfasts,” said the writer.

After a nap and shower, the couple shuttled to the Uxmal archaelogical zone 50 miles away. From there, they headed straight to Cenotes Hacienda Mucuyché, which opened in 2017.

“In our half dozen visits to this Mexican state, we’ve had plenty of exposure to these majestic pools, but none quite like Cenotes Mucuyché,” said Kast-Myers. “Here we floated through caves, drifted in canals, passed beneath waterfalls, and then — for the finale — entered a dark chamber lit only by stalactite prisms. The grotto was silent, other than the sound of water dripping from icicle-like formations tapered inches above our heads.”

The cenote is where Mexico’s Empress Carlota, wife of Emperor Maximilian I, once bathed. She was guests of the Peon family in the 19th century, and guests of the cenote have access to their former hacienda.

After lunch at Cenotes Mucuyché, they returned to Merida for a city tour of the Historical Center, Mexico’s second largest after Mexico City. Every evening at 9:30 p.m., free walking tours are hosted by guides who narrate Merida’s rich heritage, starting with the 1563 Cathedral, one of the oldest in the Americas.

Dinner was at the new, privately owned Museum of Yucatecan Gastronomy, a restaurant devoted to preserving traditional Yucatecan and Mayan cuisine. The dining experience starts with a gastronomy tour through a replica of a Mayan village where visitors sample handmade tortillas, spices, nuts and herbs.

On the second and final day, they awoke and headed straight for Celestun, the hub of Mexico’s ecotourism, 55 miles away.

“Like a scene straight out of National Geographic, our boat cruised thick mangroves, cutting through narrow channels where 234 species of mammals roamed,” she wrote. “Crocodiles and birds were among those we spotted, including one of the world’s largest flamingo colonies.”

Then they headed to Hotel Xixim for an afternoon of swimming, snorkeling, and lounging.

Xixim has 32 bungalows, from US$200, with yoga, massages, healthy cuisine and local tours.

“Along the bumpy road are salt flats where we collected natural salt crystals to season our fries back home,” she wrote.

A “swanky dinner” at Hotel NH Collection Merida at the new Paseo 60, this contemporary hotel is worth a visit for those who want to be in the heart of coolness. Shrimp cocktail, an ahi tower, and other seafood smalls paired oh-too-well with rich blends from Valle de Guadalupe.

The hitch: the return flight is also painfully early, at 6 a.m. But “the trip didn’t break the bank, nor did it cost more than a ‘sick day,’ ” said Kast-Myers.

Read the entire article, and see photos, here.

- Advertisement -

Subscriptions make great gifts

More articles

International TlaquepArte handicrafts show returns to Mérida

Expo TlaquepArte returns to Mérida on Friday. Photo: Courtesy With the 200 exhibitors from 16 countries, the 113th...

A big win for Yucatán, the newest member of the World Tourism Organization

A campaign to further boost the state’s economy has paid off. Yucatán has been granted membership in the elite World Tourism Organization.

New petition seeks intangible cultural heritage status for Mayan language

“The importance of the language can be observed from the perspective of its psycho-emotional value or potential", says Cocom Bolio. “Language also creates a sense of identity and belonging; and, at the same time, a tradition or way of life.”

Yucatán’s congress declares high-speed Internet access a human right

Yucatán’s congress has passed a bill making Internet access a human right. 

Wonders of the land: Organic food production in Yucatán

Organic food production is a somewhat newer trend in agricultural ventures, as it promotes a friendlier environmental process, and is overall said to be healthier for consumers. 

US ambassador joins governors of Mexico’s southeast for bilateral summit in Mérida

The US ambassador to Mexico, Ken Salazar, joined the governors of Mexico's southeastern states for an official bilateral summit in Mérida.

Villa Navidad to benefit a trio of charities for the holidays

Villa Navidad is a weekend-long holiday event Dec. 4-5 to collect donations for three local charities.

2 Cuban migrants die in shipwreck off Yucatán coast

Unofficial reports claim that Mexican authorities helped 19 people to disembark the badly damaged ship.

Angels: What makes Adele Aguirre’s new art exhibit at SoHo Galleries so moving

Adele Aguirre's "Angels" exhibit at SoHo Galleries responds to a personal crisis, but will be cathartic to everyone suffering loss. ...

Frustrated animal rights activists blockade Mérida shelter

The protestors set up camp outside of the facility and took to laying on mats and pieces of cardboard to demonstrate their commitment to settling the issue without violence.