Wednesday, July 6, 2011

MEXICO-Yucatan

(includes Akumal, Cancun, Cobá, Cozumel, Isla Holbox, Isla Mujeres, Mahahual, Maya Riviera (includes Playa del Carmen, Playacar, Puerto Morelos, Punta Brava, Temozón, Tinum, Tulum & Valladolid), Mérida & Xcalak)

GENERAL
Tucan-Kin.Com – Acuario Norte (Tulum); 011-52-984-871-35-38; tucankin.com or tucankinshuttle.blogspot.com; reliable transport from Cancun area (including airport) to anywhere along Mayan Riviera.



AKUMAL
Restaurants
La Lunita – Seccion H, Departimiento 243, Lote D; 011-52-984-875-9070; haciendatortuga.com/restaurant.html; intimate restaurant nestled amid swaying palms of Half Moon Bay; candlelight & lulling sound of waves; menu combines Mexican tradition with contemporary flair.
Lol Ha – Carretera Puerto Juarez Tulum Akumal km 104; 011-52-984-875-9012; hotelakumalcaribe.com/en-us/dining/lol-ha-restaurants.htm; 1st restaurant ever in Akumal; remains largest with most diverse range of cuisine; try coconut shrimp & margarita while watching bay; deck extends over sandy beach, overlooking ocean; live flamenco show; be sure to try dessert & Mayan hot coffee.

Sights & Sites
Akumal – Federal Highway 307 (just past Akumal, on west side of highway); small ruin site.



CANCUN
Dives
Bahia de Mujeres Lighthouse.
Manchones Reef.
Museo Subacuatico de Arte – between Cancun & Punta Nizuc; asociadosnauticoscancun.com/museo; 403 lifesize figures, sunk within snorkeling depth.

Hotels
Le Blanc Spa Resort – km 10 Boulevard Kukulkan (Zona Hotelera); 011-52-1-998-881-47-40, 800-635-1836 or 877-325-7653; leblancsparesort.com; too beautiful for words.
Hotel Krystal Urban Cancun – 1 Avenida Sayil Manzana Lote 4-07 (Supermanzana 4A, Malecon); 011-52-1-998-848-80-00; krystalurban-hotels.com; contemporary chic quarters, downtown views, lagoon & rooftop pool.
ME Cancun – km 12 Boulevard Kukulkan (Zona Hotelera); 011-52-1-998-881-25-00 or 877-954-8363; melia.com/en/hotels/mexico/cancun/me-cancun-complete-me-all-inclusive/index.html; 448 rooms; 2 floors of suites with private whirlpools; spacious & sparsely furnished lobby; 2 restaurants; infinity pool with sea view; rooms outfitted in minimalist dark wood furnishings & sand-colored tiles, flat-screen TVs; spacious showers; spa; 3 pools (1 with waterfall features & 1 infinity pool); outdoor Water Grill; Cancun meets South Beach.
Sandos Cancun Luxury Experience Resort – km 14 Calle Retorno del Rey Lote 37-1 (Zona Hotelera); 011-52-1-998-881-22-00; sandoscancunresort.com; high on hill off main boulevard; refined yet relaxed hotel; clean, comfortable rooms blend art deco & Mayan styles & are tastefully decorated in shades of cream & mauve; all-inclusive perks include fully stocked minibars & 24-hour room service; only deluxe rooms have balconies, but every room has lagoon or ocean view; 3 infinity swimming pools are stunning; stellar on-site spa has 14 treatment rooms.

Restaurants
Chef Cristian Morales – 8 Avenida Xpuhil (Saint Germain); 011-52-1-998-251-91-45; chefcristianmorales.com; Argentinian chef prepares Mexican food; in home; 7-course tasting menu highly recommended; hidden away in residential neighborhood downtown; hotel concierge may not typically recommend this restaurant to guests, but this is among best dining establishments in all Cancun; chef Cristian Morales personally attends to guests & also acts as sommelier; visit here will be highlight of your vacation.
La Habichuela – 25 Calle Margaritas (Centro); 011-52-1-998-884-31-58; lahabichuela.com; musically accented garden setting with flowering white-lit hibiscus trees; downtown’s most elegant table; order crème of habichuela (string bean) soup, giant shrimp (in any number of sauces, including Jamaican tamarind, tequila, or ginger & mushroom) & exotic Maya coffee prepared tableside with Xtabentun (strong, sweet, anise-based liqueur), grilled seafood & steaks, ceviches, Caribbean lobsters (try cocobichuela, lobster & shrimp in sweet curry served in coconut shell with rice & topped with fruit); for dessert, there are butterscotch crepes.
La Habichuela Sunset – km 12.6 Boulevard Kukulkan (Zona Hotelera); 011-52-1-998-840-62-80; lahabichuela.com; outpost of downtown favorite; whether indoors in sweeping, high-ceilinged, Mayan-themed dining room or outside on stone patio leading right up to lapping waters, perfect view of sunset.
El Rincón de los Antojos – Avenida Nichupte (Supermanzana 51, Benito Juárez); 011-52-1-998-848-05-15; facebook.com/ElRinconDeLosAntojos/info/?tab=overview; tasty, snack-like savories, such as gorditas, pambazos & quesadillas.

Services
EcoColors Tours – 32 Calle Camaron (Supermanzana 27); 011-52-1-998-884-36-67; ecotravelmexico.com; between mid-May through September, offshore plankton attracts whale sharks; can arrange half-day snorkeling tours.
Isla Mujeres Ferry – Puerto Juarez (Gran Puerto Cancun ferry terminal); 011-52-1-998-881-58-90granpuerto.com.mx/en/rutas-y-horarios-2/puerto-juarez-a-isla-mujeres; day trips to Isla Mujeres.
Cancun Whale Sharks – km 3.6 Lopez Portillo; 011-51-1-998-153-86-44; cancunwhalesharks.com; from May to September, whale shark watching.

Shopping
Mercado 23 – 15 Ciricote (Supermanzana 23); sanfranciscodeasis.com.mx; local market for clothes, hardware items, inexpensive food stalls, etc.; place without corny T-shirts.
Mercado 28 – 28 Avenida Xel-ha (Centro, at Avenida Sunyaxchén); 011-52-1-998-892-43-03; discoverymexico.com/cancun/guides/market-28; open-air, shaded flea market; wide aisles allow you good looks at traditional Mexican gifts & souvenir handicrafts.
Pewter Mexicano – 25 Calla Chaca (Supermanzana 24); facebook.com/pewtermexicano.cancun; affordable, beautiful hand-made pewter serving pieces.

Sights & Sites
Malecon Americas – Avenida Bonampak; ¾ mile palm-lined, paved promenade that hugs Nichupte Lagoon shore & separates this part of town from hotel zone.
Parque de las Palapas – between Avenidas Coba, Tulum, Uxmal & Yaxchilán (Centro); every Friday at 7:30, live music.
Plaza Bonita – Avenida Xel-ha Lote 1, Sm 28 (Centro); 011-52-1-998-884-68-12; plazabonita.com.mx; small outdoor plaza attached to Mercado Veintiocho (Market 28) with many wonderful specialty shops carrying Mexican crafts.



COZUMEL
Dives
Chinchorro Banks.
Devil’s Throat – tunnel leading from 90-130'; finale is rare vantage point overlooking precipitous drop-off.
Palancar Deep.
Paradise Reef.
Punta Piedra.
Santa Rosa Wall.

Hotels
Palace – km. 1.5 Avenida General Rafael E. Melgar (Zona Hotelera Sur); 011-52-1-987-872-94-30 or 877-325-7653; palacecozumel.com.
El Presidente – 6.5 Carretera A Chankanaab (Zona Hotelera Sur); 011-52-1-987-872-95-00 or 877-859-5095; presidentecozumel.com; my longtime favorite.

Restaurants
Casa Denis – 132 Calle 1 (Centro); 011-52-1-987-872-00-67; casadenis.com; authentic Mexican food.
El Museo – Avenida General Rafael E. Melgar (at corner of Calle 6 Norte, Centro, at Museo de la Isla); 011-52-1-987-120-22-55; cozumelinsider.com/MUSEUMREST; best breakfast on island; eat on terrace, overlooking sea.
Pizzeria Rolandi – 799 Avenida General Rafael E. Melgar (at 11 Sur Frente al Mar); 011-52-1-987-872-1097; rolandi.com; Italian; perfect atmosphere.
Restaurant Plaza Leza – 58 Calle 1 Sur (Centro, southside Plaza); 011-52-1-987-869-18-01; islacozumel.net/food/plaza-leza; outdoor tables from which watch crowds in square while savoring Mexican dishes like poc chuc (tender pork loin in sour-orange sauce), enchiladas & lime soup; breakfast also available; somewhat secluded inner patio.
Las Tortugas – Avenida 30 (at Calle 19); 011-52-1-987-872-12-42; ; popular, low-key, tex-mex and seafood grill; excellent margaritas & conch ceviche.

Services
Scuba Club Cozumel – km 1.5 Avenida General Rafael E. Melgar; 011-52-1-987-872-06-63 or 800-847-5708; scubaclubcozumel.com.



ISLA HOLBOX
Hotels
Xaloc Resort – Calle Chichi (corner of Playa Norte); 011-52-1-984-875-21-54; holbox-xalocresort.com; Spanish architect Juan Felix Sanchez designed; local materials brought from mainland by boat; serene enclave where 18 comfortable beach-front, palapa-thatched bungalows face seaward on virgin beach, woven into jungle surroundings; beach-side pool; upstairs entertainment room; outdoor lounge; full-service restaurant specializes in seafood; activities include swimming, snorkeling, fishing, boat excursions, bird-watching or exploring Holbox.

Sights & Sites
Willy’s Tours – Tiburon Ballena (corner of Aguilar & Diaz, at Mini Super Besa store); 011-52-1-999-743-08-27; holboxwhalesharktours.net; ask for Willy; whale shark tours in season.



ISLA MUJERES (includes Playa Mujeres)
Bakeries, Coffee, Ice Cream, Juice & Tea
Barlito – 491 Avenida Rueda Medina (Bahía, at Marina Paraiso); 011-52-1-998-105-2883; hollyeats.com/Barlito.htm; baked goods & panini by upper state New York transplant.

Bars & Nightclubs
Fenix Lounge – 1 Calle Zazil-ha Lote 3 (Supermanzana 4); 011-52-1-998-274-00-73; facebook.com/FenixLounge; grab chaise & umbrella; great place to lay out with cocktails.

Beaches
Playa Norte – prettiest beach on island.

Hotels
Beloved Playa Mujeres – Condominio Playa Mujeres (Playa Mujeres; 011-52-1-998-842-86-00 or 866-540-2585; laamadahotelcancun.com; 109 suites, spread out among several low-rise buildings, that either face sea or 3 pools; Suite “Tierna 3” is 2-levels with balcony, private plunge pool & sun bed on 2nd level; tremendous, 35K square foot spa.
Secreto – Seccion Rocas Lote 11 (Centro); 011-52-1-998-877-10-39 or 877-278-8018; hotelsecreto.com; 3-story cube of pure glass panels & white stucco walls; dark wood furniture & limestone floors; all rooms have balconies & are spread around infinity pool; has boat for hire; no restaurant.

Restaurants
Qubano – Calle Hidalgo (Centro); 011-52-1-998-214-21-18; facebook.com/QubanoIsla; owned by vivacious chef Vivian Reynaldo, who knows everyone in town; her rich Hungarian potatoes leave customers speechless, while grilled to stones sandwiches, which use fried plantains instead of bread, are topped with finger-licking onion-&-orange sauce; juicy hamburgers stuffed with goat cheese & served with yucca fries; several vegetarian dishes & lunch salads topped with fresh ingredients like avocado, garbanzo beans & jicama; by night, Qubano morphs into tapas bar, operated by talented neighboring chef, Angelo.

Shopping
Galeria L’Mento Arte – Avenida Hidalgo (at Plaza los Almendros); 011-52-1-998-158-42-77; facebook.com/galeriaLmentoarte; authentic, made-in-Isla gifts like ceramics, hand-carved sculptures & wooden boxes; jewelry is another top draw: pick your clasp, setting & stone, then watch masters make custom piece before your eyes.

Sights & Sites
El Garrafon Natural Reef Park – Camino Sac Bajo Lote 26 (Paraíso Laguna Mar); 011-52-998-193-33-70; garrafon.com; much coral at this national marine park is dead: result of boat anchors, careless tourists & hurricanes; colorful fish will come near if bribed with food; although not much for snorkelers, park does have bathrooms, gift shop, kayaks, restaurants, ziplines & bathrooms; home to Santuario Maya a la Diosa Ixchel, Mayan temple ruins; lovely walkway around area remains, but natural arch beneath ruin has been blasted open & badly repaired with concrete disguised as rocks; views are spectacular, though; can look to open ocean, where waves crash against dramatic cliffs on 1 side & Bahía de Mujeres on other; ruins are near old lighthouse.



MAHAHUAL
Restaurants
Tropicante Ameri-Mex Grill – 8 Avenida Mahahual (Oceanfront Malecon); 011-52-1-984-134-73-57; caribya.com/costa.maya/tropicante; grilled seafood & traditional Mexican food.



MAYA RIVIERA (includes Mayakoba, Playa del Carmen, Playacar, Puerta Aventura, Puerto Morelos, Punta Maroma, Tankah, Tulum & Valladolid)
Bars & Nightclubs
Bara Bara – Avenida Javier Rojo Gómez (Puerto Morelos); 011-52-1-998-137-22-14; facebook.com/BARA-BARA-249826105061652/?rf=151759984897056; party usually spills out onto street at this popular bar just south of plaza; spins best tunes in town, prepares martinis that would have made Sinatra proud & has foosball table.
Casa Jaguar – km 7.5 Carretera Tulum-Boca-Paila (Tulum); 011-52-1-998-222-27-49; casajaguar-tulum.com; backyard hangout; real draw is house cocktails, many made with mescal; try Jaguar Juice.
Papaya Playa Project – km. 4.5 Carretera Tulum Boca Paila (Tulum); 011-52-1-984-116-37-74 or 800-337-4685; papayaplayaproject.com; party people gather at this beachfront nightclub where DJs spin electronic & house music on Saturday nights; renowned for its monthly full moon parties; kick off your flip-flops & dance among trees.
Unico Beach Club – Avenida Javier Rojo Gómez (Puerto Morelos); 011-52-1-984-873-11-54; facebook.com/UnicoBeach; right on beach with plenty of shaded tables & swings at bar; margaritas are quite good; mixed ceviche excellent; no food after 6 pm.

Beaches
X’Cacel Beach – Highway 307 (Tulum, between Chemuyil & Xel-Ha); turtles.org/xcacelaa.htm; poorly marked & easy to miss; immaculate sand to which sea turtles come to mate in spring; beyond beach (short walk) is cenote.

Dives
Angelita Cenote Cavern – Highway 307 (17 kms south of Tulum); cenoteangelita.com; magical dive site; walk short distance through jungle to rather large, hidden-away cenote; goes straight down 200'; fresh water with unlimited visibility makes up 1st 100' 7 salt water is other half, separated by mystical hydrogen sulfate layer that appears as dense cloud.
“Car Wash” Aktun Ha – Carretera 109 (13 kms north of Tulum); todotulum.com/cenotes/cenote-carwash-aktun-ha; easy entry & exit; crocodiles, fishes & turtles.
Cenote Dos Ojos & Pit – km 244.5 Carretera 307 (Tulum); 011-52-1-984-206-19-76; cenotedosojos.com; both dives on same property (latter is deepest Quintana Roo cenote, entry tricky but light rays are spectacular).
Gran Cenote – 4 km from intersection of Highway 307 & Coba Beach Road (Tulum); 011-52-1-984-807-91-10; grancenote.com/#_=_; seems more like full-on cave; also, beautiful water plants.

Hotels
Azul Sensatori – km 27.5 Carretera Federal Cancún-Puerto Morelos (14 kms from Puerto Moreles); 011-52-1-998-872-84-50 or 888-774-0040; azulsensatoriresort.com; 438 suites with marble bathrooms, rain-forest showers & Jacuzzis.
Banyan Tree Mayakoba – km 298 Carretera Federal Chetumal-Puerto Juárez (Riviera Maya); 011-52-1-984-877-3688 or 800-397-3342; banyantree.com/en/em-mexico-mayakoba; 132 villa resort.
Casa Malca – Carretera Fed. Tulum-Boca Paila, km 10.5 (Tulum); 011-52-1-984-167-7154; casamalca.com; set on beach, chic, all-suite hotel in airy, whitewashed property with Mayan accents; features artwork, handmade furnishings & floor-to-ceiling windows, lavish suites with garden &/or sea views offer free Wi-Fi; most have terraces or balconies; woodsy-chic restaurant serving local fare, as well as hip bar, 2 outdoor pools & landscaped tropical gardens; other amenities include indoor pool & rooftop terrace with sun-loungers; private beach has thatched-roof cabanas.
Hotel Be Tulum – km 10 Carretera Tulum-Boca Paila (Tulum, Zona Hotelera); 011-52-1-984-803-22-43 or 877-265 4139; betulum.com; 20 jungle-cloaked suites; book oceanfront suite only if on 2nd floor (with balcony, in-room tub & much more light); otherwise, less expensive jungle suites, farther from beach are fine.
El Dorado Royale – km 45 Carretera Cancún-Tulum (Punta Brava); 011-52-1-998-872-80-30 or 888-774-0040; eldoradosparesorts.com; amid 500 acres lush jungle; crystal chandelier & marble infinity fountain in extravagant lobby; junior suites have small sitting rooms, king-size beds, hot tubs & ocean-facing terraces; in more upscale Casitas Royale section, swim-up casitas have dome roofs & oceanfront terraces; 8 restaurants; despite size, strives to be eco-friendly by using solar water-heating systems, energy-saving air-conditioners & recycled water; 70K'square hydroponic greenhouse grows most vegetables served.
Encantada Boutique Hotel & Spa – km 8.7 Carretera Tulum-Bocapaila (Tulum, Zona Hotelera); 011-52-1-984-114-75-25 or 650-212-6782; encantadatulum.com; 8 rooms with designs drawn from local architecture & artisans; king-size beds in small-ish rooms; ask for 2nd floor, beachfront suite.
Esencia Estate – km 265 Carretera Cancun-Tulum (Puerta Aventura); 011-52-1-984-873-4830; hotelesencia.com; 29 rooms on 50-acre private estate, with awe-inspiring beachfront, 2 swimming pools, day spa & gourmet restaurant.
Fairmont Mayakoba – km 298 Carretera Federal Cancún-Playa del Carmen (Mayakoba, on Highway 307); 011-52-1-984-206-30-00 or 800-540-6088; fairmont.com/Mayakoba; as Riviera Maya’s 1st environmentally conscious golf-&-spa complex, is eco-friendly alternative to monolithic resorts clustered along Yucatán Peninsula coast; set among 45 acres lush, tropical mangroves & canals; 1,180' white-sand beach; 5 swimming pools, 4 restaurants; aesthetic pairs thatched roofs & bright colors with slatted wood doors & marble floors; walkways designed to preserve indigenous mangrove forests & protect local birds & animals.
Hacienda Tres Rios – km 54 Carretera Federal Cancún-Tulum (Maya Riviera); 011-52-1-984-877-24-00 or 800-494-9173; haciendatresrios.com; 273 suites in natural mangrove forest reserve, with beaches & cenotes; 30 minutes south of Cancun Airport
Kore Tulum Hotel & Spa – km 3.8 Carretera Tulum-Boca Paila Lote 48 (Tulum, Zona Hotelera); 011-52-1-800-272-0168 or 888-816-6910; koretulum.com; shoreline rocky, not sandy; Superior Ocean View suites best.
Mahekal Beach Resort – Calle 38 (Playa del Carmen, between Avenida 5a & Zona Federal Maritima); 011-52-1-984-873-0611 or 888-973-4260; mahekalbeachresort.com.
Maroma – km 51 Carretera Cancún-Tulum (Punta Maroma); 011-52-1-998-872-82-00 or 866-454-9351; belmond.com/maroma-resort-and-spa-riviera-maya; Mayan masons built these thatch-roofed, stucco buildings on old coconut plantation; spa.
Meson del Marques – 203 Calle 39 (Valladolid); 011-52-1-985-856-20-73; mesondelmarques.com; rooms with magnificent views over central square; affordable.
Papaya Playa Project – km. 4.5 Carretera Tulum Boca Paila (Tulum); 011-52-1-984-116-37-74 or 800-337-4685; papayaplayaproject.com; beach club & hotel.
Paradisus Playa del Carmen (La Esmeralda & La Perla) – Calle Quinta Avenida (Playa del Carmen); 011-52-1-984-877-39-00 or 888-741-5600; melia.com/en/hotels/mexico/playa-del-carmen/paradisus-playa-del-carmen-la-esmeralda/index.html & melia.com/en/hotels/mexico/playa-del-carmen/paradisus-playa-del-carmen-la-perla/index.html; narrow paths & corridors edged by water pools; 5K' private beach; recalls Mayan village; 6 restaurants.
Rancho San Eric – km 10 Carretera Tulum-Punta Allen (Tulum); 011-52-1-984-879-50-20 or info@ranchosaneric.com; ranchosaneric.com/contact-us; 8 villa rentals in eco-conscious community serviced by excellent restaurant.
Las Ranitas – km 9 Carretera Tulum-Boca Paila (Zona Costera); 011-52-1-984-871-10-90; lasranitas.com; only 24 polished rooms, with hand-woven fabrics, vibrant Oaxacan tiles & hammocks; located on one of best beaches in Tulum; sip margarita in dimly-lit, open-air restaurant, which looks out on water; under renovation until December 2016.
Le Reve Hotel & Spa – Playa Xcalacoco Fraccion 2A (Playa del Carmen); 011-52-1-984-109-5660 or 800-987-1509; hotellereve.com; at end of short, bumpy, dirt road, this secluded little resort seems tailor-made for romantic getaway; stunning architectural elements (sweeping staircase like Maya temple) carry over into stylish guest rooms with white polished-concrete floors & sinks & walls tiled with retro-Copacabana (but locally made) ceramics; book in advance to score top-floor master suite, with huge balcony & magnificent sea view; garden villas have private gardens with hammocks & plunge pools.
Royal Hideaway Playacar – 6 Desarrollo Playacar (Playacar); 011-52-1-984-873-45-00 or 800-332-2675; occidentalhotels.com/resort/royal-hideaway-playacar; Spanish colonial dream; all-inclusive; good food.
Soho Playa – 10 Avenida Norte (Centro); 011-52-1-984-267-32-07 or 866-765-95-65; sohoplayahotel.com; few blocks from beach; boutique; affordable & lovely (part of Canadian mini-chain); 23 rooms, most with hammock-furnished balconies; emphasis on wellness.
Viceroy Riviera Maya – Playa Xcalacoco Fraccion 7 (Riviera Maya); 011-52-1-984-877-30-00 or 800-578-0281; viceroyhotelsandresorts.com/en/rivieramaya/overview; on Xcalacoco Beach (10 minutes from Playa del Carmen); luxury resort & spa situated in tropical rainforest; features restaurant & beachfront cabanas; villas furnished with private pool & flat-screen TVs with DVD players; free Wi-Fi & room service; pet-friendly resort with spa & wellness center; yoga classes on beach; gym & outdoor pool.
Villas Clarita – Avenida Niños Heroes (Puerto Morelos); 011-52-1-998-871-00-42; villasclarita.com; intimate, colonial, resort complex with 8 suites located; overflowing with leafy gardens of palms; wrought-iron staircase winds up to rooftop, where can watch sun set over Yucatan.
La Vita é Bella – km 1.5 Carretera Tulum a Boca Paila (Tulum); 011-52-1-984-177-44-04; lavitaebellatulum.com; maybe 2nd choice in area; few 100 meters south of El Paraíso; lovely bungalows (some with air conditioning) with tiled floors, big comfy beds, well-screened sliding doors, good bathrooms with colorful basins & wide verandas with hammocks; all overlook narrow but nice beach with beach umbrellas & chairs; Italian-run.
Zamas – km 5 Carretera Tulum-Boca Paila (Tulum); 011-52-1-415-387-98-06; zamas.com; maybe 1st choice in area; perfect beach & great retaurant.


Restaurants
Blue Parrot – Calle 12 (Playa del Carmen, Centro, between Avenida 1 & beach); 011-52-1-984-206-33-50; blueparrot.com or facebook.com/BlueParrotPlaya/info; vegetarian meals available; lovely restaurant on beach; very casual.
Blue Sky – Tankah; 011-52-1-984-202-2185; blueskytulum.com.mx/?lang=en; excellent service; wood fired pizza & ice cream; good ceviche & excellent margaritas; beautiful pool for kids to take dip, too.
Las Campanas – 199 Calle 42 (Valladolid, Parque Principal); 011-52-1-985-856-23-65; lascampanas-valladolid.com; breakfast, lunch & dinner; side orders worth sharing include roasted jalapeño peppers stuffed with cheese; appetizers include tuna stuffed avocado; steaks.
Casa Italia – 202-J Calle 35 (Valladolid, couple of blocks north of main square); 011-52-1-985-856-55-39; casaitaliamexico.com; if there were “Best Pizza in Mexico” contest, this restored colonial gem would win; reds & yellows brighten interior & outdoor patio overlooking Parque de la Candelaria is prime real estate on beautiful evenings; with 30 years in restaurant business, most back in Italy, owners here know pizza; 11 varieties, as well as sweet & salted focaccia & calzones; Italian wines; come early to snag patio table.
Casa Jaguar – km 7.5 Carretera Tulum-Boca-Paila (Tulum); 011-52-1-998-222-27-49; casajaguar-tulum.com; backyard hangout; real draw is house cocktails, many made with mescal; try Jaguar Juice.
Casa Violeta – km 8.2 Carretera Tulum-Boca Paila (Franja Ejidal); 011-52-1-984-879-02-94; casavioletatulum.com; thatch-roofed, 1-roomed, palm-boughed restaurant; try zucchini carpaccio & aqua pazzo (white fish).
Restaurant Cetli – Polar Poniente & Orion Norte (Tulum, located block off main strip); 011-52-1-984-108-06-81; facebook.com/Restaurant-CETLI-21311871372/; somewhat hidden gem; chef Claudia is professionally trained chef from Mexico City; name is Nahuatl for corn; no liquor license; traditional Mexican food such as mole (chili sauce) dishes or chile en nogada (stuffed chilis in walnut sauce).
Cheester – Avenida 40 (Playa del Carmen, between Calles 4 & 4 bis); 011-52-1-984-147-10-19; facebook.com/CheesterPasta; do not be put off by tacky name; good pasta and pizzas.
Al Chimichurri – Avenida Javier Rojo Gómez (Puerto Morelos); 011-52-1-998-252-46-66; facebook.com/AlChimichurri#_=_; carnivore’s nirvana; family-run place cooks tender, richly flavored meat over hot charcoal fire; served with simple salad & homemade bread; try adding order of grilled vegetables; don’t miss empanadas, light, crispy Uruguayan version filled with meat, cheese, tomatoes, mushrooms, spinach or corn; avoid going at dusk - restaurant as popular with mosquitos as people.
Le Chique – km 27.5 Carretera Cancun-Puerto Morelos (Riviera Maya, Supermanzana 12,in Azul Sensatori); 011-52-1-998-872-84-50; lechiquerestaurant.com; surcharge for outside patrons but money well-spent; uniquely theatrical.
Hartwood – km 7.6 Carretera Tulum Boca Paila (Tulum); hartwoodtulum.com; great, rustic, simple restaurant.
Hechizo – km 10 Carretera Tulum-Punta Allen (Tulum, at Rancho San Eric); 011-52-1-984-879-50-20; hechizotulum.com; does not begin serving till sunset; no menu; instead, chef comes to each of 9 handmade tables, kneels on floor & tells customers what is cooking that night.
John Gray’s Kitchen – 6 Avenida Niños Heroes (Puerto Morelos, just north of plaza); 011-52-1-52-998-871-06-65; facebook.com/johngrayskitchen/info/?tab=overview; modern, austere décor in tiny cottage nestled against jungle; duck breast with chipotle, tequila & honey or porkloin with Roquefort crust; split level bar-restaurant; chef is former head chef for Ritz Carlton.
Maiz del Mar – Quinta Avenida (Playa del Carmen, Centro); 011-52-1-984-803-18-08; maizdemar.com; Pujol (Mexico City) chef’s Yucatan restaurant.
La Marea – Quinta Avenida (Playa del Carmen); 011-52-1-984-688-80-26; mareamexico.com.
Meson del Marques – 203 Calle 39 (Valladolid); 011-52-1-985-856-2073; mesondelmarques.com; dine in garden.
El Nicho – Avenida Tulum (Valladolid, corner of Avenida Javier Rojo Gómez); 011-52-1-998-201-09-92; elnicho.com.mx; no trip to Puerto Morelos complete without breakfast here: banana waffles & omelettes; only open until 2 pm.
Passion by Martin Berasategui – Quinta Avenida (Playa del Carmen, at Paradisus Playa del Carmen La Perla); 011-52-1-984-877-39-00; melia.com/en/hotels/mexico/playa-del-carmen/paradisus-playa-del-carmen-la-perla/Restaurants-and-bars.html#; managed by Spanish super-chef Martin Berasategui (molecular gastronomy).
Pelicanos – Avenida Rafael E. Melgar (Puerto Morelos); 011-52-1-998-871-00-14; pelicanos.com.mx; restaurant on private marina; enjoy fresh seafood on shaded patio of this family-owned restaurant; try fish prepared al ajo, breaded, grilled, or tikin–xic style (marinated with adobo de Achiote & sour oranges); fried shrimp, served in coconut shell, melds salty & sweet, while massive margaritas pack powerful punch.
Posada Margherita – km 4.5 Carretera Tulum-Boca Paila (Tulum, 3km south of T-junction); 011-52-1-984-801-84-93; posadamargherita.com; hotel’s restaurant is candlelit at night, making it beautiful, romantic place to dine; fantastic food, including pasta, made fresh daily & consists mostly of organic ingredients; wines & house mezcal are excellent.
El Sabor de México – Avenida Javier Rojo Gómez (Puerto Morelos); 011-52-1-998-254-85-50; facebook.com/ElSabordeMexicoPM; delicious Mexican food, ice cold margaritas, good service, outdoor seating so you can catch breeze, cheap by American standards; will make things not on menu.
Taberna de los Frailes – 235 Calle 49 (Valladolid, Centro); 011-52-1-985-856-06-89; tabernadelosfrailes.com; Mayan food; try pook chuuk (grilled pork fillets marinated in Mayan white spices & sour orange) and/or tikin xic (snapper grilled in annatto sauce); should go here for lunch.
Unico Beach Club – Avenida Javier Rojo Gómez (Puerto Morelos); 011-52-1-984-873-11-54; facebook.com/UnicoBeach; right on beach with plenty of shaded tables & swings at bar; margaritas are quite good; mixed ceviche excellent; no food after 6 pm.
La Vita é Bella – km 1.5 Carretera Tulum a Boca Paila (Tulum); 011-52-1-984-151-47-23; lavitaebellatulum.com; maybe 2nd choice in area; few 100 meters south of El Paraíso; Italian-run; excellent food.
Yaxche – Quinta Avenida (Playa del Carmen, on corner Calle 22 Norte); 011-52-1-984-873-30-11; mayacuisine.com; authentic Mayan food; lovely setting in somewhat busy city center.
Zamas – km 5 Carretera Tulum-Boca Paila (Tulum); 011-52-1-415-387-98-06; zamas.com; in hotel of same name; locally famous; fruit & vegetables that are safe to eat; fresh Caribbean & Mayan cuisine.

Services
Bull Sharks Diving Center – Calle 2; 011-52-1-984-803-27-41; bullsharksdivingcenter.com/#_=_; set aside time between November & March (migration months); morning dives tend to be best for encountering bull sharks.
Captain Rick’s Sport Fishing Center – km 269.5 Carretera Chetumal (Puerta Aventura); Phone Number: 011-52-1-984-873-51-95 or 888-449-3562; captricksfishing.com; best for billfish.
Ginger Catering – Calle Polar Lote 9-1 (Centro, Manzana 5, between between Calles Satelite & Centauro); 011-52-1-984-160-30-88; gingerhoteltulum.com.
Pelicanos Marina – Avenida Rafael E. Melgar (Puerto Morelos); 011-52-1-998-871-00-14; pelicanos.com.mx; arranges 4-hour fishing trips & will prepare edible fish for dinner onsite at restaurant.
Playa del Carmen Tours – Playa del Carmen; 011-52-1-322-222-49-35 or 866-728-1438; playadelcarmentours.com.
Shoe Box Bakery – 011-52-1-984-114-99-80; facebook.com/ShoeboxBakery or shoebox.mx; for cakes & pastries for special events; truly fantastic; also, great homemade ice cream.

Shopping
Cacao – 210 Calle 41A (Valladolid, at Calle 4); 011-52-1-985-856-08-33; diamantedechocolate.com or facebook.com/CacaoValladolid; organic chocolate collective that sells handmade chocolates.
Cava de Ricardo – Avenida 1 Norte (Playa del Carmen, Centro, between Calles 26 & 28, at Off the Vine); 011-52-1-984-873-12-06; lacavadericardo.com; wine store.
Daniel Espinosa – Centro Commercial Paseo del Carmen, loc. 57 (Playa del Carmen); 011-52-1-984-803-00-07; shopdanielespinosa.com; high quality jewelry; very modern designs.
Dutzi Design – 209 Calle 41A (Valladolid, at Calzada de Los Frailes); 011-52-1-985-856-19-50; dutzishop.com; locally handmade bags.
La Europea – Avenida Quinta (Playa del Carmen, at Quinta Alegria Shopping Plaza, at Constituyentes Avenue); 011-52-1-984-873-31-63; laeuropea.com.mx; large selection of wine as well as other alcohols.
Sapori di Casa – 178 Avenida Constituyentes (Centro); 011-52-1-984-803-33-71; saporidicasamx.com; Italian gourmet products.
Tequileria Pancho Villa – 216 Calle 41 (Valladolid); 011-52-1-985-110-22-38; countless tequila varieties; museum-like experience.

Sights & Sites
Cacao Museum – 210 Calle 41A (Valladolid, at Calle 4); 011-52-1-985 856 0833; diamantedechocolate.com or facebook.com/CacaoValladolid; organic chocolate collective that sells handmade chocolates & maintains museum.
Calzada de los Frailes – Calle 41A (Valladolid); valladolid.com.mx/colonias/sisal/calzada.html; long, narrow street lined with colorfully painted, single story haciendas.
Catedral San Servacio o Gervasio – 1 Parque Principal (Valladolid); 011-52-1-985-856-3116; catedraleseiglesias.com/2010/05/1579-catedral-de-valladolid-san.html.
Cenote Dos Ojos – Highway 307 (12 miles north of Tulum); cenotedosojos.com; scuba in cenote.
Cenote Dzitnup (Cenotes X’quequén y Samula) – Camino a Dzitnup (10 miles south of Valladolid); cenotesmexico.org/cenote-dzitnup; otherworldly, vaulted cavern filled with deep, clear water.
Cenote Zaci – Calle 36 (Valladolid, at Calles 39 & 37, 3 blocks east Parque Principal); 011-52-999-930-37-60; valladolid.com.mx/colonias/santa-ana/cenote.html; can swim in it & eat at taco café next door.
Cobá Ruins – Carretera Federal 307 Cancún-Chetumal (Valladolid, 27 miles northwest of Tulum); 011-52-1-983-837-24-11; mayasites.com/coba.html; ancient Maya city; nexus of largest network of stone causeways of ancient Mayan world; contains many engraved & sculpted stelae.
Convento de San Bernardino de Siena (Convento de Sisal) – 238 Calle 41 (Valladolid); 011-52-1-985-856-21-60; valladolid.com.mx/colonias/sisal/convento.html; 15th Century structure.
Gran Cenote – Tulum; take road to Coba just under 4 km, right side road; grancenote.com; safe and small cenote with stalactites, stalagmites, public bathrooms, snorkeling.
Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de la Candelaria – Parque de la Candelaria (Valladolid, at Calles 35 & 44); valladolid.com.mx/colonias/candelaria; Moorish architecture.
Mercado de Artesanias – Calles 39 & 44 (Valladolid, at intersection, block off Parque Principal); mxtravel.com/valladolid/shopping-in-valladolid.html; primary handicraft here is embroidered dresses.
Muyil Ruins – Federal Highway 307 (22 kms south of Tulum, Chanyaxche); mayasites.com/muyil.html.
Museo de San Roque – 193 Calle 41 (Valladolid, between Calles 38 & 40); valladolid.com.mx/colonias/centro/museo-san-roque.html; local, Mayan artifacts; in restored 16th Century church.
Sistema Nohoch Nah Chich – on Highway 307 (16.5 kms south of Akumal, about 8 kms inland from coast); travelyucatan.com/div-2.htm; world’s largest underwater cave system, Nohoch Nah Chich, Ox Bel Ha & Sac Actun caves.
Punta Laguna Nature Reserve (Otoch Ma’ax Yetel Kooh) – Valladolid (18 miles north of Cobá); 011-52-1-045-985-114-22-12; puntalaguna.com.mx; howler monkeys & cenote.
Sian Ka’an Bioreserve – Federal Road (307) Cancun-Tulum (Tulum); 011-52-1-984-131-40-58; visitsiankaan.com; UNESCO world heritage site.
Tulum Archeological Site – km 10 Carretera Boca Paila (Tulum); mayasites.com/tulum.html; ruins with dramatic view over sea.
Valladolid – 60 miles northwest of Tulum; small, colonial town; very pretty.
Xcaret – km 9.5 Boulevard Kukulcan or km 282 Carretera Chetúmal-Puerto Juárez (Playa del Carmen); 011-52-1-800-292-27-38; xcaret.com; ecopark; quartermile, cave swimming tunnel; dolphins; archaeological ruins.
Xel-Ha – km 240 Chetumal-Cancun, Carretera Federal 307; 011-52-1-800-009-35-42; xelha.com; snorkeling; natural wonder; large lagoon open to public; mangrove lagoons; freshwater springs; dolphins.



MÉRIDA (includes Celestún, Cholul, Gonzalo Guerrero, Progreso & Tixkokob)
Bakeries, Coffee, Ice Cream, Juice & Tea
Café la Habana – 511 Calle 62; 011-52-1-999-928-65-02; garuyo.com/restaurantes/cafe-la-habana/lugar; for coffee.
Dulceria y Sorbeteria Colon – 474 Calle 56A (Centro, at Calles 41 & 39); 011-52-1-999-927-64-43; facebook.com/SorbeteriaColon/; for fresh sorbets.

Bars & Nightclubs
Hennessy’s Irish Pub – 486 Avenida Paseo Montejo (Zona Paseo Montejo); 011-52-1-999-923-89-93; facebook.com/hirishpub; nice outdoor terrace.
Hotel Casa Angel – 1 Calle 56 (Centro); 011-52-1-999-928-08-00; hotelcasasanangel.com; terrace bar; on Saturday nights, can watch folk music show.
Piedra de Agua – 498 Calle 60; 011-52-1-999-924-23-00; en-yucatan.com.mx/merida-yucatan/hoteles/piedra-de-agua; bar with spectacular cathedral view; live music on Fridays; try mojito or lemon daiquiri.
Rosas & Xocolate – 480 Calle Paseo de Montejo (Centro); 011-52-1-999-924-29-92; rosasandxocolate.com; 17-rooms; extensive bar.

Hotels
Los Arcos – 448 Calle 66; 011-52-1-999-928-02-14; losarcosmerida.com; Certainly not for minimalists – there’s art on every wall and in every corner – lovely, gay-friendly B&B with 2 guestrooms at end of drop-dead-gorgeous garden & pool area; rooms have eclectic assortment antiques & art; excellent bathrooms & beds.
Casa Mexilio – 495 Calle 68 (Centro, between Calles 57 & 59); 011-52-1-999-928-25-05 or 888-819-0024; casamexilio.com; well-preserved, historic house with maze of quiet, beautifully appointed rooms (all with A/C) & small pool with jacuzzi; full breakfast in period dining room included; tapas bar on roof is always good; children under 14 not allowed.
Casa del Panadero – 511B Calle 49; casadelpanadero.com; charming 2-bedroom colonial townhouse with central courtyard, fountain, back garden & swimming pool with fountain & outdoor shower; beautifully renovated hideaway located in Mérida’s prime residential district.
Casa Lecanda – 471 Calle 47 (Colonia Centro, between Calles 54 & 56); 011-52-1-999-928-01-12; casalecanda.com; small luxury boutique; beautiful tiled courtyards, pool & luxurious rooms; lounge areas, restaurant & terrace; each spacious room has high ceilings & tiled floors; all rooms have large bathroom with rain-effect shower & skylight; free Wi-Fi, flat-screen TV & iPod docking station; each room offers views of hotel grounds & patios; tequila & wine bar.
Hotel San José – km 30 Carretera Tixkokob-Tekanto (Tixkokob); 011-52-1-999-924-13-33; haciendasanjosecholul.com; 1 of 5 haciendas in Starwood Luxury Collection; former cattle ranch has fully restored guest rooms throughout its 25 lush acres; feels as if stepped back in time with architectural flourishes like 18' ceilings, exposed beams, wooden double doors, canopy beds & tile floors; draped across sitting areas are woven hammocks held by bulbous pegs; master suite has private pool & sprawling garden; Room #9 most requested due to massive ceiba tree growing through ceiling; for true Mayan experience, request 1 of palapas transformed into deluxe accommodations; separating this hacienda from others is periwinkle-blue facade & jungle setting.
Hacienda Petac – 403 Calle 503 (30 minutes south of Mérida, at Calle 29 & Avenida Perez Ponce); 011-52-1-999-911-26-01, 011-52-1-999-910-43-34, 203-602-1300 or 800-783-6904; haciendapetac.com; true hacienda; self-contained; luxury resort in miniature (250 acres), complete with library, gym, game room & spa; Mayan ruins on site; main house sits on top of cenote; among oldest haciendas in Mérida area, Hacienda Petac was built in 17th Century; American couple, Charles & Dorothea Stern, bought & recovered it; 5 suites (7 more to be added next year) are individually themed, ranging from beige-colored Toh (named for native bird) to airy La Ceiba(named for native tree), which has circular bathroom; only available as whole; in restaurant, head chef Rosaura serves Mexican & Yucatecan dishes & offers cooking demonstrations; she will also provide picnics for day trips to Mayan ruins or other sites; also, bicycles, bowling green, croquet lawn & swimming pool; set on edge of Cuxtal Ecological Reserve, ideal for nature lovers; complimentary guided birdwatching walk offered; Mayan ruins around & beneath property remain unexcavated, but archaeology expert will accompany interested guests around sites & if required, will lead guided walks around nearby convents, ruins, villages & haciendas; to south are Oxkintok ruins & east are Acanceh ruins - both off tourist map & worth morning’s exploration; 4-night stays may be accommodated.
Hacienda Santa Rosa – km 129 Carretera Mérida-Campeche; 011-52-1-999-923-19-23; haciendasantarosa.com; 4 stars; built in late 1700s; set in lush gardens, this elegant, boutique hotel is 10 km from nearest town (Maxcanú) & 20 km from nature reserve Parque Natural Petenes-ría Celestún; upscale rooms have period features & vintage-style furniture; free Wi-Fi, iPod docks & TVs, as well as minibars & hammocks; upgraded rooms add patios with plunge pools; suites have living rooms, while villas feature hanging beds & plunge pools; room service is available; amenities include relaxed restaurant, bar & outdoor pool, along with massage treatments & bike rentals.
Hacienda Temozon – km 182 Carretera Mérida-Uxmal; 011-52-1-999-923-80-89; haciendatemozon.com; 1659 hacienda, renovated & beautiful but in jungle, approximately 30 minutes from beach; mahogany furnishings, carved wooden doors, intricate mosaic floors & air of genteel sophistication; converted henequen estate; rooms have ceilings that are 20'+, marble tubs, twin hammocks, plunge pools & comfortable beds with piles of pillows; modern lighting, Blu-ray players & remote-controlled air-conditioning; Room #1 decorated with antiques from original hacienda & has telescope; library; grounds have tennis courts, small chapel for weddings & spa; can also catch ride to 2 nearby cenotes in donkey-pulled trolley.
Hacienda Xcanatun – Calle 20 (15 minutes from Centro); 011-52-1-999-930-21-40; xcanatun.com; flashily renovated former sisal processing facility; 18 luxurious suites; excellent restaurant, Casa de Piedra.
Rosas & Xocolate – 480 Calle Paseo de Montejo (Centro); 011-52-1-999-924-29-92 or 800-337-4685; rosasandxocolate.com; 17-rooms; set in 2 colorful Spanish Colonial–style mansions on vibrant Paseo de Montejo; elegant rooms & suites come with free Wi-Fi, flat-screen TVs & Bose speaker systems, as well as safes, minibars & outdoor tubs; some quarters offer street-view terraces & room service; contemporary restaurant & hip, open-air tequila bar; spa, indoor pool & 24-hour fitness room.

Restaurants
Alberto’s Continental Patio – 482 Calle 64; 011-52-1-999-928-63-36; tierrayucatan.com/details/en/002979; dine here at night; softly lit room inside, wonderful old patio framed in Moorish arches outside; elegant mudejar-patterned tile floors, simple furniture, & gurgling fountain; try Lebanese sampler plate or traditional Yucatecan specialties, such as pollo pibil or fish Celestún (bass stuffed with shrimp) & finish with Turkish coffee.
El Cangrejito – 519 Calle 57 (between Calles 64 & 66); 011-52-1-999-928-27-81; facebook.com/restaurantecagrejito/?rf=132674843501412; fish tacos.
Casa de Piedra – Calle 20 (at Hacienda Xcanatun, 15 minutes from Centro); 011-52-1-999-930-2140; xcanatun.com; flashily renovated former sisal processing facility; modern international menu with Yucatecan flair.
Restaurante La Chaya Maya – 481 Calle 62 (at Calle 57); 011-52-1-999-928-47-80; lachayamaya.com; woman in traditional Mayan dress makes corn tortillas in window; house specialty is Los Tres Mosqueteros, relleno negro sauce over pork, with papadzul (egg dish) & pipian (pumpkin seed sauce).
Hacienda Teya Mérida – km 12.5 Mérida-Cancun Highway; 011-52-1-999-988-0800; haciendateya.com; 17th Century plantation; 15 minutes from downtown; colonial dining room filled with photographs of old Mérida; expansive grounds; Mayan-Yucutan cuisine.
Restaurante Los Henequenes – 19 Calle (Progreso); 011-52-1-969-935-29-79; on touristy beach strip.
Néctar Food + Wine – 32 Avenida Andrés García Lavín; 011-52-1-999-938-08-38; nectarmerida.com.mx; for formal meal; very highly regarded.
La Palapa – 105 Calle 12 (Celestun); 011-52-1-988-916-20-63; for buckets of stone crab claws.
Rosas & Xocolate – 480 Calle Paseo de Montejo (Centro); 011-52-1-999-924-29-92; rosasandxocolate.com; chocolate made on-site; fusion restaurant.
Los Taquitos de PM – 382-C Calle 34; 011-52-1-999-953-71-22; lostaquitosdepm.com; some of best street food in town.
Wayan’e Street Stand – 92E Calle 16 (Colonia Itzimna); 011-52-1-999-927-41-60; street food breakfasts are best in town; sit at stainless counter & enjoy chicken fajita & scrambled egg breakfast tortas.

Services
Los Dos – 517 Calle 68 (Centro, between Calles 65 & 67); los-dos.com; high-end, Yucatan cooking school that also runs bed-&-breakfast.
Lawson’s Yucatan Driving & Tours – Calle 61 (Progreso); 011-52-1-999-947-7599; lawsonsyucatanexcursions.com; English-speaking drivers.
Rosas & Xocolate – 480 Calle Paseo de Montejo (Centro); 011-52-1-999-924-29-92; rosasandxocolate.com; spa offering cacao-based body treatments.
Urbano Rentals – bestofyucatan.com or urbanorentals.com; try to communicate with John Prentice Powell, who is Mr.-Connected in Mérida; will help arrange rentals of beautifully renovated private houses; some designed by Reyes Rios; try to get El Portico de la Candelaria, 18th Century colonial mansion, renovated to have 3 bedrooms & courtyard pool surrounded by 2 massive ceiba trees.

Shopping
Hamacas El Aguacate – 604 Calle 58; 011-52-1-999-285-05-74; hamacaselaguacate.com.mx; for hammocks.
L’Amandine – 313 Calle 5D (Pensiones, between Calles 38 & 38-A); 011-52-1-999-920-58-69; ki-xocolatl.com; chocolatier.
Museo Casa Montejo – 506 Calle 63; 011-52-1-999-923-06-33; casasdeculturabanamex.com/museocasamontejo; gift shop.
Guayaberas Jack – 507A Calle 59; 011-52-1-999-928-59-99; guayaberasjack.com.mx; shirts.
Mérida Market – generally at Calles 56 & 65 intersection; variety of food products.
Rosas & Xocolate – 480 Calle Paseo de Montejo (Centro); 011-52-1-999-924-29-92; rosasandxocolate.com; chocolate made on-site.
Tienda Ki-Xocolatl – 513 Parque Santa Lucia, Calle 55 (Centro, between Calles 60 & 62); 011-52-1-999-948-47-38; ki-xocolatl.com/eng; chocolatier; other locations.

Sights & Sites
Acanceh Ruins – approximately 20 kms south of Merida; Mayan ruins in town square; make sure to see Chunkanan & Cuzama cenotes nearby.
Cuxtal Ecological Reserve – south of Merida.
Dzibilchaltun – 10 miles north of Merida; mayan-ruins.org/dzibilchaltun; archaeological ruins.
Gran Museo del Mundo Maya – 299 Este Calle 60 (Unidad Revolución); 011-52-1-999-341-0435; granmuseodelmundomaya.com.mx.
Hacienda Yaxcopoil – km 186 Federal Highway 261; 011-52-1-999-900-11-93; yaxcopoil.com; noble near ruin preserved as exact henequen plantation manor; may want to hire English-speaking cab driver to take you & translate all Spanish tour.
Museo Casa Montejo – 508 Calle 63; 011-52-1-999-923-0633; museocasamontejo.com; in city’s oldest building; museum; excellent gift shop.
Museo Palacio Cantón – 485 Paseo de Montejo (2 blocks from Santa Ana Park); 011-52-1-999-923-0557; palaciocanton.inah.gob.mx; Merida’s Anthropological Museum; building named after wealthy Cantón family; they built it at 20th Century’s end; Merida’s most stunning example (that is open to public) of Baroque-Mannerist architecture from that period; exquisitely restored & maintained; well-designed museum about human history on Yucatan Peninsula, with exhibits ranging from bones & skulls to pottery, jewelry, stone carvings & much more; upstairs is temporary exhibit space; downstairs is book & gift shop.
National Institute of Anthropology & History – km 6.5 Mérida Progreso Highway (Gonzalo Guerrero); 011-52-1-999-944-00-43; inah.gob.mx.
Museum of Anthropology and History – 481 Calle 43 (Zona Paseo Montejo, Centro); 011-52-1-999-923-0557.
Oxkintok Zona Arqueológica – Oxkintok (reached via west-leading fork off road to Grutas de Calcehtok (75 kms southwest of Mérida), off Highway 184, few kms south of Calcehtok, 4.5 km dirt road to ruins being in poor shape); mayan-ruins.org/oxkintok; inscriptions found at site contain some of oldest known dates in Yucatán, indicating city inhabited from 300 BCE-AD 1500, reaching greatest importance between CE 475-860; 3 main groups of approximately 8-sq-km site have been restored thus far, all near site entrance.
Parque Natural Petenes-Ría Celestún – Celestún.
Paseo de Montejo – Merida; lined with Beaux Arts-style mansions.
Plaza Grande – central square; includes 16th Century cathedral of San Ildefonso & Governor’s Palace (includes giant paintings by 20th Century artist Fernando Castro Pacheco).
Regional Anthropology Museum – 485 Paseo de Montejo (at Palacio Canton); 011-52-1-999-923-0469; discoverymexico.com/guides/yucatan-regional-museum-of-anthropology.aspx.



TEMOZÓN
Sights & Sights
Ek Balam – Santa Rita (16 miles north of Valladolid & 35 miles northeast of Chichen Itza); 011-52-999-944-00-33; from Preclassic until Postclassic period, Mayan kingdom seat; noted for preservation of plaster on tomb of Alfonzo Lacadina, king buried in side of largest pyramid.



TINÚM
Sights & Sights
Chichen Itza – Tinúm.



XCALAK
Dives
Ba’Lux.
Punta Piedra.

1 comment:

  1. Woah that's a good directory! Looks like more people is getting more interested in vacation rentals because it has way more things you can do than staying at hotels!
    Keep it up!

    ReplyDelete