If you’re not convinced that your kids will relish a day full of archaeological site exploration but you really want to check out the Puuc region – well worth it, by the way – then how about mixing it up a little? We recently went on a day trip to southern Yucatán. We took in Kabáh, the Choco-Story eco-museum, and the Museo de las Momias in Santa Elena. A highly recommended combination with a little something for everyone. Here’s how it went. 


Museo de las Momias

We began with snacks. Obviously the epic journey from Mérida to Santa Elena (just over an hour) took it out of the kids and we had to feed them, lest they faint from hunger in the tiny two-room museum. The museum displays a group of “mummies” found in the 1980s, when the Maní church was remodelled. They aren’t ‘real’ mummies, rather bodies that didn’t decompose. 


Once snacked up they had the requisite energy to march around the museum, inform us that they needed the bathroom, beg for money to spend in the gift shop (denied), and march out again. Their dad and I took a little longer, read the informative panels (Maya, Spanish, and English), and examined the mummies. After, we sat and watched local kids flying their kites outside the church.



This museum is very small but the information is good and the museum is well cared for. It perhaps isn’t worthy of a visit in its own right but it pairs well with archaeological sites and chocolate. 


Kabah - Sur de Yucatán - Southern Yucatán


The closest to Uxmal, the archaeological site of Kabáh was occupied from 700 BCE until 1,000 CE. It is a city site that includes temples, palaces, and residential homes. The restoration is impressive and there’s plenty of space for kids to run; some climbing is permitted too. Puuc architecture is guaranteed to make everyone exclaim in wonder; the distinctive arches, in particular, take my breath away every time I see them. Every Puuc site is absolutely worth your time, by the way.



Choco-Story is part museum, part animal refuge, and part cultural exhibition centre. My kids always love a visit to this outdoor site, for two reasons primarily: they get to feed the monkeys and then they get fed hot chocolate. This trip they, of course, fed the monkeys, we watched the Maya ceremony to Chaac (the rain god), raced through the museum sections (they’ve been here many times before), marveled at the variety of trees growing, picked out a chocolate bar each in the shop and then played for hours on the enormous and wonderful tree at the front of the museum. They also decided they liked my chocolate bar better than theirs and kept asking to just “try” mine. Rude.



Conclusions. The kids had a wonderful day exploring. They learned about the history and geography of the region and tied it to what they’re learning at school. We examined carvings, spotted iguanas, marveled over trees and flowers, and were all dirty and exhausted by the end of our day. What more could we ask for?



Editorial by Cassie Pearse
Freelance writer and blogger, born in the UK. Cassie has a BA from Oxford University and an MA from SOAS, University of London. She lives in Mérida and loves exploring Yucatán with her family.




Photography by Cassie Pearse and Mario Arnal for its use in Yucatán Today.


Museo de las Momias, Santa Elena
Mon. – Sun. 8 am – 5 pm
Admission: $20 pesos residents, $50 pesos non-residents. Children free


Mon. – Sun. 8 am – 5 pm
Admission: $70 pesos adults, children free. Residents free on Sundays


Choco Story
Mon. – Sun. 9 am – 7.30 pm
Admission: $165 pesos adults, $80 pesos children (6 -12), $120 pesos students and people over 60


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