<span id="hs_cos_wrapper_name" class="hs_cos_wrapper hs_cos_wrapper_meta_field hs_cos_wrapper_type_text" style="" data-hs-cos-general-type="meta_field" data-hs-cos-type="text" >A Beer, Plenty of Botana, and Good Vibes</span>

A Beer, Plenty of Botana, and Good Vibes

13 february 2023
4 min. de lectura

A Beer, Plenty of Botana, and Good Vibes. How do the Bars and Snack Centers in Yucatán work?

Yucatán is a land that stands out for many reasons: its beauty, its history, its botana, the warmth of its people, and also its peculiar weather, with average temperatures around 25 and 35 degrees Celsius, or 77 and 95ºF (minimum and maximum), and a tropical, humid climate. The range, of course, varies according to the season, as far as 10°C, or 15°F each way.   


Heat and Chelas

When faced with these circumstances, Yucatecos have already come up with solutions that help them deal with climatic adversity. When the heat is unbearable, for example, the recourse is an ice-cold “Chelita” (beer), which soothes and refreshes the body. “Chela,” by the way, is a sort of nickname that’s given to beer all over México; some claim that it comes from Yucatán, as “Chel” and “Chela” are what blonde people are called in Maya.   


2405 La Negrita Bar y Cantina by Charlie G


In Yucatán, having a beer is a ritual that goes beyond just buying one at a store; there are even specific places you can go to have an even better experience: Botaneros.   


Let’s start with the name, which comes from the Spanish word for an appetizer or snack. Botanas are served with the beer (at no cost, it should be noted) you order. A “Botanero,” then, is a place (a bar, Cantina, or restaurant) where Botanas are served with your drinks, at no additional cost.  


These places are very popular among the population due to their affordable prices, great atmosphere, and generous Botanas, especially over the weekends and holidays.   


How does Botana work?

Botanas - El Lucero del Alba

It’s very simple: all you have to do is order at least one beer per table. Soon, you’ll be served some typical snacks from the region, such as Kibis, Codzitos, or Chicharra, as well as more Mexican offerings, including refried beans with chips, sausages in chipotle sauce, or cucumbers with ground chili. Each Botanero has its own internal “rules,” some explicit and some unspoken. For example, the first round of Botanas might always include pickled potatoes, or no tacos before your third round; some places even have a Botana listing laid out by round, so you can be aware of what the next round of drinks entails.  


Remember: it’s important to order at least one beer with each round so you can continue to enjoy different snacks. You won’t be short on options, then—the best part—at the end all you pay for are drinks.  


Botaneros also have options for those who don’t like beer, or who don’t want to wait for their favorite snacks to reach their table. Most of them (if not all) offer a varied menu with heartier dishes, such as Queso Relleno or Tacos de Cochinita, in addition to several cocktails, mocktails, sodas, etc. Botaneros are, after all, family restaurants. Another thing that makes them special is that many of them offer live music and other entertainment, giving you and your party the chance to dance to very lively music.   


Where to go

Some of the best-known and most traditional Botaneros in Mérida include Eladio’s, El Lucero del Alba, El Estado Seco, Los Henequenes, and Restaurante Colonos. Please do keep in mind that while all Botaneros are Cantinas, not all Cantinas are Botaneros.   


Are you wondering what are some of the botanas you can expect at a Botanero? Fear not: we've prepared a handy list of the most tradicional Yucatecan snacks you'll be served at classic cantinas.

Carlos Guzmán

Author: Carlos Guzmán

I am a man of few words but with many ideas and emotions that I like to express through my writings. I am passionate about traveling and exploring the world, especially my beautiful and beloved México. These days, I am the content coordinator at Yucatán Today, and I enjoy promoting the best that the state has to offer.

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