This month’s adventure is a little different from my usual kind of fun: Yucatán Today asked me to take my kids shoe shopping in Ticul.
Dramatic pause and sharp intake of breath.
Yeah, you read that right: they asked me, the outdoor, tree-climbing-cenote-flinging-archaeological-site-exploring-one to go shoe shopping with my kids.
For fun. [Editor’s Note: to be fair, we said we wanted to run an article about shoe shopping with kids and she volunteered; plus, she did a wonderful job, so everyone’s a winner here.]
So I did. Because I do not shy away from adventure. Oh no.
Ticul is an hour and twenty minutes south of Mérida. It’s a surprisingly big town, which we hadn’t expected. The double plaza is gorgeous and perfect for kids who love to run. Mine headed straight to the gazebo in the middle and immediately began some complicated game that involved a lot of running up and down. I sat down gratefully and waited. The famous Yucatecan ‘Tu y yo’ chairs that are generally white are painted with flowers here and the buildings around the plazas are really very special so I was fine with chilling out in peace.
After all their running the kids were hungry so we decided to eat before shopping. We headed for El Príncipe Tutul Xiu Ticul, a sweaty 900m walk away. As a family obsessed with Sopa de lima, this was an excellent choice. The restaurant is airy, well priced, and serves us good food.
Replete, it was time to bite the bullet and shop. We picked up a Mototaxi from the plaza (either you’ll find them or they’ll find you) and off we went, zooming around Ticul. Our driver told us he’d take us for an hour or two, until we were done shopping and then at the end of our time we could decide what to pay him. If you speak Spanish you can tell your driver what you’re looking for and he can figure out where best to take you – I asked to go to places the kids would find shoes they’d like.
We visited seven shoe shops; each kid got one pair of shoes but wanted more. The girl-child chose a pair of Chanclas so Mexican I am pretty sure she’ll be whacking me with them soon, and the boy-child got some fake Nikes that make him happier than I ever expected.
I have to say, Ticul wasn’t what any of us expected. We all imagined we’d be looking at super traditional shoes. Apparently, my son even thought he was going to be forced to try on shoes made of Henequen (hmmm, maybe that’s why he was so excited by fake Nikes). We didn’t get taken to any factories and we didn’t see any artisans making shoes but we did chat with some very nice store owners and we did come away with newly shod, happy kids. I asked about school shoes and was told that come July there will be more in the way of traditional school shoes for kids available. For adults, we found a great selection of sandals, sneakers, and worker boots. Prices are extremely reasonable – we paid $250 pesos for a pair of sneakers and $130 pesos for a pair of sandals.
If you have energy after shoe shopping, Ticul is also known for its pottery so that’s worth checking out. Ticul is helpfully located near the Ruta Puuc, Maní, Oxkutzcab, Tekax, and Muna so it could work very well as part of a trip to explore southern Yucatán.
Editorial by Cassie Pearse
Freelance writer and blogger, born in the UK. Cassie has a BA from Oxford University and an MA from SOAS, University of London. She lives in Mérida and loves exploring Yucatán with her family.
Photography by Cassie Pearse and Natalia Bejarano for its use in Yucatán Today.
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