Ask a Yucateca: Which beach is best?

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Yesica Benitez
Yesica Benitez
Born in Yucatán, Yesica Benitez Chan is a marketer, avid gardener, softball player, baker, and a great lover of Yucatecan culture and cuisine.
Photo: Carlos Rosado van der Gracht

I want to know which beach is the best. What do you think about Progreso?

A: Progreso may not be Yucatán’s most pristine beach, but it is by far the liveliest because it has the most restaurants, shops, and services. It is very nice to spend the day there and particularly convenient if you are just looking for a quick dip in the ocean or are traveling with kids. Also, be aware of which days the cruise ships roll in. Progreso is a completely different scene on cruise-ship day. When meeting folks from abroad I am often asked about my opinion regarding which exactly is the best beach in Yucatán. This, of course, is a very broad question and honestly, it comes down to what you’re looking for. 

Q: I know there are flamingos in Celestún, but can you swim there?

A: The beach and mangrove at Celestún are in two different locations, one just outside the town and the other just a couple of blocks from downtown. The beach at Celestún is among the most beautiful in the Gulf of Mexico and is truly worth a visit. Just try to go during the low season as it can get very busy over summer, Easter, and long weekends.

Q: I have seen amazing photos of Las Coloradas but it’s quite far away. Is it worth the trip?

A: In all honesty, Las Coloradas is more of a photo opportunity for Instagram than a real beach destination. Yes, it can be stunning. But it is not possible to swim in the pink waters or even to stay for more than a brief tour. You also might be disappointed. The famous pink color of the beach varies greatly depending on the time of year.

Q: I have heard that Sisal is great and a “Pueblo Mágico,” so do you recommend it?

A: Sisal has always been a magical place, but in recent years it has drawn much more attention with many calling it the Peninsula’s next Cancún. This is a bit of a stretch, but this coastal community is facing many challenges — mainly social and environmental — to accommodate tourism as it is. That being said, it is one of the Peninsula’s best beaches and its proximity to Mérida makes it a no-brainer. 

Q: Other than swimming and soaking in the sun, what other beach activities do you recommend in Yucatán?

A: There is no shortage of things to do. Larger destinations like Progreso have long boardwalks perfect for leisurely strolls, lots of restaurants, and attractions such as seasonal fairs. One of my personal favorite things to do is rent a kayak to explore the region’s mangroves and go birdwatching. Fishing is of course another long-time favorite, though more extreme activities such as kite-boarding are quickly gaining popularity. But no matter where you decide to go, don’t forget to bring sunblock because the sun here is not particularly forgiving.

Kanasín native Yesica Benitez is more than happy to explain the realities of local culture and make recommendations for bewildered expats. No holds barred. Email yesicabenitez@roofcatmedia.com

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