Every corner of Mérida has its charm, its history, and its points of interest; the eastern part of the city, which was practically the cradle of its expansion, is no exception. It all began in Chuminópolis, the first neighborhood of Mérida, which owes its name to being a residential development owned by a landowner named José Domingo Sosa, as in México, people with the name ‘Domingo’ are nicknamed ‘Chumín’. Here are some points of interest in this area, which, for the purposes of this text, is delimited by Av. Yucatán to the north and the Kukulcán Sports Complex to the south.
Parque de la Alemán
This park gets its name from the neighborhood it is located in, dedicated to the former Mexican president Miguel Alemán. Within the same area, there is a residential development called San Miguel, which has led some people to refer to the neighborhood as ‘San Miguel Alemán’, even though no former Mexican president has been recognized by the Vatican to date.
Although it is one of the largest parks in the city, Parque de la Alemán is far from being the largest in this area. Nevertheless, it is heavily frequented due to the wide range of activities and spaces it offers. In the mornings, a significant part of its activity is related to the market located a few meters away, where you can find fruits and vegetables, meat, flowers, local snacks, and various shops. In the afternoon, it is equally easy to come across skaters performing tricks, people taking salsa lessons, as well as ubiquitous ice cream carts, corn vendors, and Marquesita stalls. There are also dog clubs, amusement rides, electric vehicles for children, walkers, runners, and much more.
Parque Recreativo del Oriente
Now, Parque Recreativo del Oriente is definitely the largest in the area. Spanning almost 11 acres, it is a wonderful place to spend a weekend afternoon or early morning. On Saturdays and Sundays, it’s a dog-lover’s paradise, as it’s the site of at least two canine obedience and agility clubs. You’ll see dogs of all ages, sizes, and breeds, all lined up to weave through poles, jump through tires, scale up ramps, and other tricky-looking obstacles; because the park covers such a large expanse, you’ll see dozens of groups working at the same time, each with a small number of dogs and owners learning different skills according to their level.
In addition to the many, many dogs, you’ll see families, boy and girl scouts, joggers, cyclists, martial artists, and even a picnic party or two. El Parque, as it’s known in the neighborhood, is also home to the Chen Ho archaeological site, making it one of 15 archaeological parks in Mérida; the pyramid bases are open to the public and climbing is allowed. On Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday evenings, the park’s parking area also houses a Tianguis, a market where you can find anything between a traditional Marquesita and a several-bushel laundry basket.
Kukulcán Sports Complex
The Kukulcán Sports Complex is the largest in southeastern México, spanning 27.9 acres. In addition to multiple tennis courts, frontón (a ball game), volleyball and basketball courts, baseball and soccer fields, the complex features a swimming pool with a diving well and multipurpose halls. It also includes the Carlos Iturralde Stadium (for soccer), Kukulcán Álamo Stadium (home of the champions of the Mexican Baseball League, the Yucatán Lions), and the Zamná Polyforum, a covered arena with a capacity of over 6,000 spectators.
The municipality of Kanasín is one of the largest and most populous in the state, and we cannot talk about the eastern region without mentioning it. This municipality is famous for its gastronomy, and you have probably heard about “panuchos de Kanasín,” which you can find every day at various stalls in the downtown area or inside its famous market.
In the mornings, there is a lot of activity in the downtown area. Vendors of all kinds offer their products, and it is well known that in their market, you can find fruits, vegetables, and high-quality food at very affordable prices.
Recently, they have renovated their main square and other nearby parks, so any night of the week you can find food stalls, Marquesitas, chips, churros, and more. Their festivals and celebrations become grand spectacles and usually last for several days.
Finally, you can visit the Acuaparque, a park that’s located in Vergel. As its name suggests, you can find a small lake or pond within the park, home to dozens of species. The terrain is full of green areas, with slopes, descents, and large enough spaces for exercise.
Thanks to its vegetation and wildlife, the park is used as a venue for sighting various species, especially birds. It is an excellent place if you want to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city and connect with nature.
It is one of the most important parks in the area, and access is completely free. It is pet-friendly and has a children’s area at the bottom, restrooms, and also a space with tables, ideal for family picnics. Additionally, it is under surveillance most of the time.
Fun fact: in the past, boating was allowed on the lake, but it has been under maintenance. Hopefully, this activity can be resumed soon.
Photography by Alicia Navarrete, Arianne Osalde, and Yucatán Today for use in Yucatán Today.
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