Judy Abbott: For Yucatán Today founder, a lifelong romance with … where else?

More stories

Maggie Rosado
Maggie Rosado
The former editor of Yucatán Today, Maggie Rosado van der Gracht was born in Mérida as part of a Yucatecan/Canadian family. Both parents worked in tourism, so Maggie grew up climbing the pyramids of Chichén Itzá with her Dad and exploring the Historic Center with her Mom.
Along with her husband, Judy Abbott founded Yucatán Today 35 years ago. Photo: Laura Sánchez / Yucatán Magazine

Yucatán is a paradise, but maybe paradise isn’t perfect. Maybe it has potholes, mosquitos, and humidity that makes your hair frizz. Realistic, direct-from-the-locals’-mouth is what comes to mind when we think of the travel tips Yucatán Today has been issuing for the past 35 years. And its co-founder, Judy Abbott Mier y Teran, was inspired by her own discoveries of the Peninsula to start a magazine that has become a local institution.

Born in New York state, Judy first visited Yucatán in 1971 as a student in Iowa’s Central College exchange program. During her visit, she met Juan Manuel, “the most handsome man I’d ever seen.” After falling in love with her future husband and the city, Judy was prepared to return to Mérida and make it her home. The couple married in 1974.

After 10 years working in health services, Judy joined forces with Juan Manuel to publish their first magazine in 1983. 

“We were both very interested in tourism and wanted to promote Yucatán, so we started Mayan Holiday.” Learning much over the next five years, Yucatán Today was born in 1988.

Judy Abbott. Photo: Laura Sánchez / Yucatán Magazine

Since then, the magazine has been a family business. “Our daughter Andrea started working at the magazine when she was still a student, and with the course of time became its director, helping it grow in new directions,” she states. And although she declares she now feels “fully retired,” she is by no means inactive.

Aside from being the “first female Commodore of the Yucatán Yacht Club,” she has been an active member of the Women’s Tourism Confederation since the Mérida chapter began.

But of all Judy’s community service, she considers her work with Telchac Education to be the most personally rewarding. Inspired to start the foundation after learning about a similar initiative in Chelem, she founded the nonprofit 15 years ago. Today, Telchac Education provides over 100 students from Telchac Puerto with essentials — backpacks, notebooks, uniforms — needed to complete their studies.

After Juan Manuel’s passing in 2015, Judy has been asked if she will remain in Yucatán, and she’s ready with her reply.

“It will be my home until I am no more.”

- Advertisement -spot_img

Love Yucatán? There's A Free Newsletter Just For You.

The Yucatán Magazine Roundup sends headlines to your inbox every week. Unsubscribe at any time.