If you wake up one morning with a craving to explore Yucatán, or you have a free day and want to do a complete route that includes an archaeological site, a refreshing swim in a cenote, and a delicious Yucatecan lunch, keep on reading.
It’s best to do this trip by car because there are various stops along the way. Take the highway toward Acancéh and continue until km 45 to get to Mayapán. This road has been widened and the drive from Mérida is quite fast; just keep on the lookout for the sign telling you to turn right to enter the archaeological zone.
Mayapán is a city that was built similarly to Chichén Itzá; you will find a castle, observatories, columns, and platforms. There is also a 15 m pyramid dedicated to the god Kukulcán. Its buildings present elements from the architecture of Central México combined with traces inherited from the ancient Maya cities.
The multiple low platforms were the foundations of peoples’s huts, and the walls protected this Maya capital that had an era of splendor. Notice the serpentine columns combined with altars and sanctuaries.
Mayapán is a small site of approximately 4 km and easy to walk on foot. Don’t miss the wall murals that are still preserved, but above all enjoy the peace and quiet that you will feel at this uncrowded site. The entry fee is $40 pesos, open every day of the year from 8 am to 5 pm.
Continuing on the same route towards the town of Tekit, approximately 20 km from Mayapán, just before the main entrance to the town you will see a sign for the Comisión Nacional del Agua. Take this secondary road for about 10 minutes at the most, to get to Xpakay cenote. You can leave your car at the main esplanade, and the entry to the cenote is free.
Located on a piece of land where you will also find the remains of a water wheel, this cenote has access in the form of a cave and a wooden platform to descend; do so carefully. You can swim, dive, scuba dive, and snorkel. Bring your own equipment, and if you feel insecure in the water bring a life jacket, as there is no guide, personnel, nor equipment rental available. The water depth is 40 m, with a refreshing temperature like most other cenotes.
As well as Xpakay, there are other cenotes close to Tekit. If you want to explore the area, don’t hesitate to ask a local. In the town center you can buy high quality guayaberas and embroidered blouses.
You’re probably hungry by now, and there is nothing better than a delicious Yucatecan lunch! Continuing on the same highway another 28 km you will find the town of Maní where you can enjoy traditional food at reasonable prices, with generous portions, at the famous Príncipe Tutul Xiú restaurant. If you still have energy after lunch, visit the convent in Maní and take some photos. Have a good trip home!
Editorial by Violeta H. Cantarell
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