San Crisanto palmerasIf you are looking to do something different, something the whole world has not done yet, and you have already visited Maya archaeological sites, Mérida’s Centro Historico, and the downtown market, the coast of the Gulf of Mexico should be your next stop. All along the Yucatecan coast of the Gulf of Mexico, you will find beaches, lazy beach towns, delicious restaurants and many different kinds of eco-tourism adventures.

San Crisanto is a small fishing village located 52 km. east of Progreso, and 10 km. past Telchac Puerto. It is characterized by its abundant production of coconut trees, which has led it to become known as the host of the annual coconut festival, where this fruit is offered in various desserts made by local producers.

Its beaches welcome visitors who are looking for peace and quiet. However, the town does offer small restaurants (like La Palapa seafood restaurant on the waterfront) and other services which are important to San Crisanto’s economy. San Crisanto has nearly 850 hectares of mangroves inhabited by around 137 species of animals. Among the fauna there are examples of woodpeckers, white and black herons, and anteaters. In 2010, the United Nations recognized the villagers for their efforts to combat poverty through the conservation of San Crisanto’s biodiversity.

One of the attractions is a tour of the mangroves toward the natural spring. This is accessed after a fascinating tour in a light wooden boat paddled by your guide. The shade of the tall mangroves protects the water path right to the pier. There the visitor can swim in the refreshing waters while enjoying the abundant birds and fish that live together in an ambience of ecological balance.

This excursion is run by a local group of fishermen in San Crisanto who wanted to share their appreciation and love of the natural resources of the area – the mangroves, the gulf waters, the cenotes, the fresh water springs, and all the beautiful birds. With machetes they have carved out miles of trails through the mangrove forests, connecting crystal clear cenotes. Until now, only one of these cenotes has been open to the public. Paddling quietly through these light-dappled groves is like traveling through a tropical Venice. You and your friends and family can relax and enjoy the songs of the birds and the sights of the beautiful surroundings while your gondolero poles quietly through the shallow canals.

After about 25 minutes of pleasant travel through the mangroves, you will get to a cenote where you will stop for a swim, and maybe even a swing on the vines hanging over the water. 

The cost of this trip is $40 pesos and a tip to the boat driver is always appreciated. For information or to make reservations, call (999) 926-0236.

To get to San Crisanto, drive north to Progreso, then head east towards Uaymitún and Telchac Puerto. San Crisanto is the next village after Telchac Puerto. When you get to the crossroads in San Crisanto, turn right and go about a block. The office for the mangrove trip is across the street from the baseball field. After paying, get back in the car and follow the guides, who will be on bicycles, down a dirt road to the dock where the dinghies are located. We suggest you take drinking water, a bathing suit, binoculars, camera and sneakers. And as always in the Yucatán, don’t forget your sense of adventure!

And please take the time to watch this beautiful 20-minute “day in the life” video about the people of San Crisanto:

Background info about the film:

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