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Tuesday, December 6, 2022

In Tetiz, a sunflower garden, and the love story behind it, is the main attraction 

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Visitors can trace their own path through the sunflowers in Tetiz. Photo: Abraham Bojórquez

In the small Yucatecan town of Tetiz, a sunflower garden stands as a living testimony of the beauty that stems from promises fulfilled.

Suut K’iin Lool, modern Mayan for “sunflower,” is the name of this eye-catching attraction, a project started by a young couple with a strong sense of entrepreneurship. 

At Suut K’iin Lool, a swing appears Instagram-ready.. Photo: Abraham Bojórquez / Yucatán Magazine

The garden, however, wasn’t always open to the public. In fact, it all started as the promise of a loving husband to his wife. Aware of his beloved Yazmín’s fascination with sunflowers, Ernesto Tinal vowed to grow a garden made entirely of them, just like the one she had always dreamed of.

In September 2019, the promise was fulfilled. That first iteration of the garden had about 50 flowers. By January, the Tinals had doubled that number. They then hired a photographer to do a photo shoot. The result of that session sparked a bigger idea. 

By April 2020, they grew over 600 sunflowers. The plan was to open the garden to the public so that they too could take pictures among the sea of yellow and brown. And then, the pandemic happened. 

Suut K’iin Lool’s trampoline will keep the kids busy while you take a break to sip on a drink. Photo: Abraham Bojórquez / Yucatán Magazine

They had to wait almost a year to share their garden, but in February 2021, they finally opened it for visitors. It became and still is the only public sunflower garden on the Yucatán Peninsula. 

Currently, the place has over 15,000 specimens from 15 different sunflower varieties — you can learn more about these at a detailed gallery, right at the garden’s entrance. 

The view, of course, is something special. 

Sunflowers of varied shapes, heights, and colors spring across the 150,000 square feet of land, gorgeously swaying in near-unison when the wind blows. 

At Suut K’iin Lool, social media-friendly photo spots can be found.. Photo: Abraham Bojórquez / Yucatán Magazine

Even though it is quite small in comparison to sites like the Santuario de Los Girasoles in Tabasco, the quaint little garden is still a peaceful oasis with an undeniable soothing quality to it. 

There is much more to the site than the mesmerizing experience of strolling through the sunflower paths. The marketing-savvy owners have installed swings, benches, signs, bridges, and frames, for that perfect Instagram shot. 

Suut K’iin Lool is a fun place for kids. It has a pool, a trampoline, and even a modest aviary. It may be rented for birthday parties and special occasions, for which it is also equipped with a small stage. 

Other amenities include a cafeteria with snacks, a quesadilla stand, a gift shop, and a print-your-photo stand, where visitors can send the pictures they took and receive a printed copy  —for a little extra, they can have their picture taken with a pro camera. Grown sunflowers and seeds from many varieties are sold so that visitors too can start their little gardens at home. 

At Suut K’iin Lool, a swing appears Instagram-ready. Photo: Abraham Bojórquez / Yucatán Magazine

If you go

The garden is a seasonal attraction. Suut K’iin Lool is open February-March, May-June, and August-September. In late October and early November, there is a bonus season in which it transforms into a cempasúchil (Aztec marigold) garden. A special Hanal Pixán (Day of the Dead) celebration is held, with music, dance, and a Catrina costume contest. 

Take the Mérida-Tetiz highway, right below Ciudad Caucel for 35 miles. From the main street, signs directing to the right, toward the garden, can be seen. Entry is 60 pesos for adults and 50 pesos for children and seniors. 

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