7 am. A cup of coffee is my companion on this road trip of the Yucatecan coastline which takes just over an hour. I leave Mérida and head towards Progreso, and from there I veer off for San Crisanto, land of palm trees, mangroves, and plenty of coconuts.
I choose to take the coastal road and enjoy the ample highway and beautiful view of green vegetation and a sky so blue it almos seems a handpainted canvas. On the drive between Progreso and San Crisanto, I see sections of swamp and mangroves on either side of the road. I pass El Corchito reserve, the summer homes of Chicxulub Puerto and Uaymitún (with its peculiar names and signs) until I reach the detour for Xcambó, my first stop.
During the summer, Yucatecan families who have a beach house stay on the coast to enjoy their holidays. There are also homes for rent by the day or by the week. The entrances or “streets” that
lead you into each home tend to be signalled with last names, nicknames, or acronyms, and are usually identified by the kilometer they’re located on, along with the ocean motif plaques, a life-sized shark here and there, and many other figures that you’ll have fun discovering during your drive.
Xcambó, “the place of trades”
This small archaeological site owes its name “place where trades are made” to its commercial importance during the time of the Maya due to the salt trade.
Because it opens at 8 am, I recommend starting your morning here, so that you can really get the most out of your day. You’ll see archaeological remains just waiting to be discovered among the trees and a main building you can climb to get a unique view of the grounds. A small chapel dedicated to the Virgen of Guadalupe, of more recent construction, syncretizes ancient Maya religion and Catholicism.
This place is perfect to start tapping into your inner explorer, connect with nature, enjoy the scenery and of course, to load up on positive energy for a day full of surprises. If you’re lucky, you might see a badger crossing the entrance as you come in. The site’s faciltiies include restrooms and parking.
The Pink Salt Pools of X’tampú
Have you ever seen photos of the pink lagoons in Yucatán and wondered where they are? Well, here you can take a picture of your own to share. This place is just meters from X’cambó and harvests salt through pools which turns the water a very distinct shade of pink, just like in Las Coloradas.
X’tampú is run by a cooperative whose members come from the town of Dzemul. They kindly offer visitors guided tours of the pools and share their knowledge regarding the salt cultivation, drying, and harvesting processes. When you finish, you can buy fresh salt, and of course, take all the photos your heart desires with the perfectly pink backdrop. You are not allowed to go into the pools or swim in them.
I continue my drive down the highway towards Telchac Puerto, and half an hour later, I arrive in San Crisanto.
Coconuts in San Crisanto
The first thing you need to do when you arrive in San Crisanto is purchase tickets which are $60 pesos per person so that you can take the tour into the mangrove. The boat ride finishes at a water spring you won’t regret visiting. In small boats of four people at most, the guide will take you through white and red mangroves. The tour is about 30 minutes long before you reach the freshwater spring with crystal clear water, perfect for swimming. On your way back, you should be ready to see coconuts, eat coconuts, and wear coconuts.
San Crisanto is a sustainable project which brings the population together in tourism, handcraft, and conservation efforts. Their values include conserving the environment, supporting the community, and developing the local economy in a way which is solidary and maintains social responsibility. On the shared land, they offer tours of the mangroves, swimming facilities, cabins, and tours. In 2002, they began hosting a Coconut Festival to help promote the main product of the area along with their tourism attractions.
The Coconut Festival will celebrate its 15th edition from July 25 to August 4 of 2019 with artistic and cultural events, and of course plenty of handcrafts and products made from coconut. Entrance to the event is free and the events include a Vaquería night, Jarana, Trova and theater presentations, and more. Coconut, the star of the show, will be featured in handcrafts, jewelry, candies, food, drinks, and pretty much everything you can imagine on the pier esplanade. Come and enjoy with your friends or family to support local artisans and producers!
After a little shopping, you’ll surely be hungry, and in San Crisanto fish and seafood is fresh and prepared to order.
Want to hit the beach? Bask in the sun on the white sand and take a swim in the clear water at the beach club which is one kilometer before the service center; you can spend the rest of the afternoon there. It’s a family oriented place with palapas so that you can finish your day swinging in a hammock, a true privilege! (Km. 48)
If you wish to spend the night, there are cabins located just a kilometer from the beach club which are available with prior reservation. They have all the amenities you will need for a good night’s sleep under the starry sky. Get ready for one of those nights that make you fall in love with Yucatán. (Km. 49)
Editorial by Violeta H. Cantarell
Photography by Violeta H. Cantarell, Coox Mayab and Andrea Mier y Terán for use in Yucatán Today
Cost $35 pesos, open daily, 8 am – 5 pm
Open daily, 8 am – 5 pm
Cel. 9911 05 37 10
Tel. (999) 926 0236
Includes bed, fan, electricity, maximum four people
Check in 2 pm, checkout 12 pm. $900 pesos per cabin
Cost: $60 pesos per person
All boats are motorless, the tour is approximately 90 minutes long, four people per boat maximum,
Daily from 9:30 am – 3:30 pm
Day pass: $50 pesos per person. Overnight camping: $100 pesos per person.
Facilities include bathrooms and showers, security, palapas, and parking
Open 10 am – 5 pm
Groups of 6 to 12 people for 4 hours. Includes guide and meal.
Night tour of the mangrove
Starting at 7 pm, $120 pesos per person, daily, reservation required.
Cel. 9911 00 26 59
FB: La Palapa San Crisanto
FB: Restaurante Los Delfines San Crisanto
How to get there
From Mérida: By Noreste bus service, Calle 67 x 50. By vehicle along the coast, take the road to Progreso and follow signs for San Crisanto.
From Progreso: By bus, departures at 8 am and 2 pm.
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