Imagine going to the top of the highest hill in Yucatán, from which you can observe the beautiful Maya jungle, with the magnificent pyramid of Uxmal in the background! You can also visit an 18th C temple, colonial churches, and enjoy a journey to the past in an antique hacienda. All of this is possible when you visit Muna, the star of the south, less than an hour from Mérida.

Muna, “place of soft or tender water,” is a small town with just over 11,000 inhabitants, mainly of Maya origin. Located in the southern part of Yucatán, very close to the archaeological site of Uxmal (UN Cultural Heritage Site), it’s a place where you can have the adventure of discovering places that will delight your senses.

Coming from Mérida, drive towards the Umán highway, through Yaxcopoil and Abalá until you get to Muna, only a 67 km drive. It is a small town where you can appreciate and enjoy its peacefulness. You can start your visit at the local market and have breakfast at one of the food stands located along the side; here you will find typical Yucatecan food, fruit drinks, and much more.

Walk through the main park in order to enter the ex convent and church dedicated to the “Virgen de la Asunción.” Built in the 18th C, you will recognize it because of its reddish façade. Don’t miss taking a photo there, the church architecture is worth admiring. The fiestas in honor to this Lady, patron saint of the town, take place from August 12 to 15, and as happens in every town in Yucatán, the Lady’s image is taken to the main streets dressed in a tailor-made “terno” (Yucatecan formal dress), surrounded by flowers, processions and songs.

Also in Muna, there are six colonial chapels dedicated to San Bernardo, San Mateo, San Sebastián, La Soledad, Santa María and San Andrés. The chapel dedicated to San Bernardo, dating from 1819, stands out from the others because it was built out of only one piece of masonry, with a vault form, supported by three arches. Another stop that you can make is San Mateo’s chapel, in the “barrio” with the same name. Meanwhile, La Soledad chapel from the 19th C century is also built out of only one piece, with an arch in the center and a porch at the front with two arches. A must-see.

An obligatory stop is the “Mirador de Muna,” located on the old highway to Uxmal and on the highest point of the area’s hills. At this lookout point, you will have a breathtaking view that will make you feel peaceful and relaxed, seeing the low jungle nature with the “Adivino” pyramid at Uxmal in the background. An amazing panorama! You can also do a tour to the caves located there and go inside the jungle with the support of the viewpoint guide. Here you will also find a handcraft store with clay and wood items carved by the magical hands of the Muna artisans.

Finally, the hacienda San José Tip-Ceh is located on the side of the Muna-Ticul highway. There you can visit the main house, the machine house, and the chapel. It’s important to mention that the highway from Muna to Ticul, as well as the one from Muna to Uxmal, are popular training routes for mountain biking and running, so be careful when driving on these roads. There is also a famous run “Atlética del Mayab” that takes place every year, with Uxmal as the starting point.

Muna also offers food and lodging services, so you can stay longer or just go for a few hours. It is a place where you can enjoy nature and history in its maximum splendor.

By Violeta H. Cantarell