One of the most delicious things to do in Mérida is the Tasting and Yucatecan Gastronomy Tour. On this tour you will have the opportunity to visit 17th Century haciendas located in and near Mérida and partake of the liqueurs and foods of the Yucatán. The Tasting Tour takes place at the 17th century hacienda artisan distillery Aristi and the Gastronomy part takes place at the renowned Hacienda Teya.

For the past decade, the upscale thing in tourism has been the restored haciendas that have been turned into hotels and restaurants. Magnificently restored, the many hacienda hotels in the Yucatán have made it possible for visitors to live like a comfortable Yucatecan hacienda owner from centuries past.

Hacienda Vista Alegre, located right in the city of Mérida, is where the prestigious and important production of Aristi Caribe rum and tropical, exotic fruit liqueurs and fruit preserves takes place. The hacienda, where the owner actually lives, is a gem in its architecture and gardens.

When you visit the distillery and tour the installations, you will see all the people actually working – filling bottles, putting labels on them, painting the handcrafted bottles, and packaging. You will be seeing a normal everyday workday – not a crafted show.

The Caribe rum that Aristi produces won 3rd place in an international rum show in San Francisco, California in 2003. Their Xtabentun liqueur also won 3rd place in a cordials contest.

The claims to fame at Aristi are their Xtabentun and fruit liqueurs or cordials. Xtabentun (pronounced ish-tab-en-toon) is a delicious liqueur made from Yucatecan honey and anis. The fruit liqueurs include peach, banana, guanábana, and nance after-dinner cordials.

One of the highlights of the trip is visiting the salon where they produce the individually handcrafted artisan bottles. The nance liqueur is especially impressive with clay Maya gods crafted on the outside of the bottle. The bottle of coconut liqueur is adorned with seashells and henequen fiber sisal. The Xtabentun bottle is painted a mottled blue. All these bottled liqueurs make great gifts. You can even have the bottles personalized – leave your order and when the tour is finished, your personalized bottles will be waiting for you. These are great gifts and are particularly popular for conventions and groups.

From the distillery you will be guided into the gardens where you will see trees and plants that are used in traditional medicines, furniture, and other uses. The path from the gardens will guide you to the fun part of the tour – the tasting experience and wholesale shopping. If you have chosen just the Tasting Tour, from here you will return to your hotel after the tasting.

If you chose the Tasting and Gastronomy Tour, you will now board the bus and go to lunch at Hacienda Teya. The award winning Hacienda Teya is where exquisite Yucatecan food is served. Visitors to Teya include Queen Sofía of Spain, Bill and Hillary Clinton, the dukes of Luxembourg, along with many Mexican personalities.

Yucatecan cuisine is known as the finest, most diverse culinary tradition in all of Mexico. On this tour, you will have the chance to try the best of the best in a 4-course meal.

Chocolate Tour

The fruit “cacao” (a Maya word) is Latin America’s gift, principally from Mexico, to sweet lovers around the world. In Tabasco and Chiapas, two Mexican states located in the region known as the Mundo Maya (Maya World), you can find the main cacao plantations of the country whose beans are considered the best in the world.  Here, cacao is produced both for the local and international markets.

In Mérida, we have an artisan chocolate factory: KI-XOCOLATL (k-shocolat). The company produces an exceptional chocolate using carefully selected, organic ingredients. With this tour you can begin to appreciate the process used to produce quality chocolate. Enjoy the unique and subtle aroma of this art and savour a delicious chocolate drink. This tour can be combined with the Tasting and Gastronomy Tour.

Both of the tours operate Monday to Friday. The Tasting Tour is 2.5 hours long and begins at 9 AM and 12 noon with hotel pickup before. The Tasting and Gastronomy Tour is 4.5 hours long and begins at noon with hotel pick up before. Call Orbitur for reservations at 920-3085 or 920-3086 or the travel agency of your choice.

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