While there is no shortage of fun to be had in Mérida, there is also no denying that the city is a fabulous base from which to arrange day trips. If you are after a fun-packed out-of-town kind of day that is guaranteed to please the whole family, then consider hopping in your car (or hiring one) and driving to the famous archaeological site of Uxmal. Directly opposite the entrance to this ancient wonder, you’ll find Choco Story, an outdoor museum dedicated to the history of every kid’s favorite treat – chocolate.

I have done this exact day-trip twice now, which has enabled me to make little refinements here and there, and to offer some great little tips such as:

  • Stop off at El Globo on Prolongación de Montejo for breakfast. You could even pick up lunch snacks there too – we took a collection of empanadas with us last time and it was just perfect. There are restaurants around but we never feel like eating a big meal when we’re on an exploring day so we just take lots of snacks.
  • Fill up the car so you don’t run out.
  • Make sure you take plenty of water. Uxmal is a big site and it gets brutally hot at times. We always take bottles of water from the freezer and use them to keep everything else cold.
  • Go as early as possible so you beat the crowds and can potentially fit in a third activity if you’re snappy.
  • You can get a great visual map of the Maya world in one of the shops on the site for just $50 pesos.

Uxmal is a pretty popular site, more so than somewhere like Mayapán, so you’re unlikely to have it to yourselves. This doesn’t mean, however, that you will be with hordes of people; it’s still perfectly easy to find quiet spots and for the kids to enjoy a good climb and run around. Uxmal is noticeably different from other archaeological sites as it is built in the Puuc (hill) style. You’ll see what I mean when you get there. Get the kids to look up and notice the stunning decorative façades.

Once you’re finished, grab a drink from one of the stalls at the entrance and drive over the road to Choco Story. This fabulously designed museum combines the history of chocolate with a stunning botanical garden, rehabilitated monkeys and jaguars, and live demonstrations of Maya cultural uses of chocolate (including a tasting). There’s even a small playground on site. You can grab a chocolate based drink or snack here. I defy you to get away without buying your kids a chocolate covered marshmallow on a stick!

There are two easy options after Choco Story: head into Santa Elena to find the justifiably famous Pickled Onion restaurant for supper before driving back to Mérida; or, if you’re still feeling adventurous, add a cenote visit to your day by heading to Cenote Kankirixché just outside Abalá, on the way back to Mérida.


  • Uxmal: parking $30 pesos, entrance $223 pesos per person
  • Choco Story: $140 pesos per person; $70 pesos for children 6 and over
  • Cenote Kankirixché: $30 pesos per person


Editorial by Cassie Pearse
Photos by Yucatán Today and Cassie Pearse for Yucatán Today’s use

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