Visiting Yucatan, a state on the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico, is a great way to have fun and find adventure. Here are some of the things you have to do in Yucatan.
One of the most important things to do in Yucatan is to visit its capital Merida. Being the largest city in the Yucatan region, it is also the cultural and financial capital of the state. Experiencing Merida is experiencing the Mayan heritage. You might also notice the strong Spanish influence due to its history and location. From the language spoken by the locals, which is Spanish, to their cuisine which is different from the traditional Mexican cuisine, you will recognize the distinction of Merida’s culture from the rest of Mexico. Merida is a major center of commerce. Museums, galleries, shops and a variety of boutiques, they are all found in Paseo de Montejo. It is inevitable to spend some time shopping in this part of Yucatan. Don’t forget to buy one of those guayaberas, a shirt that Merida is most famous for.
It is also impossible to not take the walk down memory lane when you happen to pass the Plaza Grande. Historical buildings and structures are located in this part of the city. The Cathedral de San Ildefonso is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Merida, being the oldest cathedral ever built on the continent. You can also visit the Museo de la Ciudad de Merida or the Museo de las Ferrocarilles en Yucatan. There are also archeological sites that you might want to visit when you take the Puuc Route or the La Ruta Puuc. This is an interesting trip that will lead you to important Mayan sites such as Uxmal, Kabah, Sayil, X- Lapak and Labna that all played major parts in Mayan culture. Another archeological site you should never miss is the famous Mayan pyramids, the Chichen Itza. This is one of the most well-known Mayan structures of Mexico and is considered a UNESCO World Heritage Site. And don’t forget to visit one of the many haciendas that are common in Yucatan.
One sure way to have fun while staying in the city is participating in their festivals and carnivals. Parades, floats and lots of dancing the mambo, salsa and cumbia. Don’t forget to attend a traditional Vaqueria Feast and enjoy their traditional food, music, dancing and even fireworks. Vaquerias are held every Monday nights.
For some nature tripping, take a tour in Celestun and be fascinated by the pool of pink. Watch thousands of beautiful flamingos flocking the beaches. Take a look at the Biosphere Reserve where you can observe different bird species like woodpeckers, hummingbirds and pelicans. Another pink paradise you might want to have a glimpse at is Ria Lagartos. This is another favorite spot for flamingos to inhabit and a perfect place to give birth to their next generation.
For summer fun, the port city of Progreso is the best getaway. Soak in the sun and take a dip in the waters of the Gulf of Mexico. The city provides a beautiful malecon for local residents, vendors and beachgoers to further enjoy the experience. It is also famous for its pier that became a favorite destination for cruise ships.
A unique phenomenon you can only find here in Yucatan is the formation of cenotes. Go to Valladolid and don’t leave without splashing into one of these crystal clear natural pools. These underground sinkholes are said to have been sacred to the ancient Mayans because this is where they performed religious rituals and sacrifices. Have a glimpse of Mayans culture while admiring the nature at its best.
Another shade you might want to experience on this trip is yellow. Go east from Merida and find yourself immersed in the sea of yellow at Izamal. This small town is one of Mexico’s Magic Towns, or towns that are historically and culturally significant. It was believed that Izamal was an important religious center for Mayans. The Convent of San Antonio Padua, which is located in the heart of the town, is one of the oldest Catholic monasteries in the Americas. The convent is painted in a shade of golden yellow just like all the houses, shops and churches all throughout Izamal, which earned it the nickname La Ciudad Armarillo or the Yellow City. You can take a tour riding a calesa and visit various workshops of local handicrafts such as hipiles (dresses and tunics), well-crafted hammocks and jewelries.