It’s 7 am. A cup of coffee is my companion on this drive to the Yucatecan coastline which takes just over an hour. I enjoy the ample highway and beautiful view of lush vegetation and a sky that is so blue it almost seems a hand painted canvas. On the drive between Progreso and San Crisanto, I see sections of swamp and mangroves on either side of the road. I pass El Corchito reserve, the summer homes of Chicxulub Puerto and Uaymitún (with their peculiar names and signs) until I reach the detour for X’Cambó, my first stop.
During the summer, Yucatecan families who have a beach house stay on the coast to enjoy their holidays. There are also homes available for rent by the day or week. The entrances or “streets” that lead you into each home tend to be signaled with last names, nicknames, or acronyms. The homes are usually identified by the kilometer they’re located on, along with ocean motif plaques, a life-sized shark statue here and there, and many other figures that you’ll have fun discovering during your drive.
X’Cambó, “The Place of Trades”
This archaeological site is one of the oldest in the state and it owes its name – which means “place where trades are made” – to its commercial importance in the salt trade during the time of the Maya…
Because it opens at 8 am, I recommend starting your morning here, so that you can really get the most out of your day. You’ll see archaeological remains just waiting to be discovered among the trees and the Temple of the Cross. A small chapel dedicated to the Virgin, of more recent construction, brings together ancient Maya religion and Catholicism.
This place is perfect to start tapping into your inner explorer, connect with nature, enjoy the scenery, and of course, load up on positive energy for a day full of surprises. If you’re lucky, you might see a badger crossing the entrance as you come in and catch a glimpse of the local waterfowl. The site’s facilities include restrooms and parking.
The Pink Salt Pools of X’tampú
Have you ever seen photos of the pink lagoons in Yucatán and wondered where they are? This place is just meters from X’cambó and harvests salt through pools which turns the water a very distinct shade of pink, just like in Las Coloradas.
X’tampú is run by a cooperative whose members come from the town of Dzemul. They kindly offer visitors guided tours of the pools and share their knowledge regarding salt cultivation, drying, and harvesting processes. When you finish, you can buy fresh salt and take all the photos your heart desires with the perfectly pink backdrop. You are not allowed to go into the pools or swim in them.
Sweet Traditions in Sinanché
To learn about honey, all you need to do is drive half an hour southeast, passing Dzemul and Telchac Pueblo, until you reach Sinanché. In this place, you’ll find a family cooperative that has been dedicated to honey and apitourism for over three generations.
Not only will you have the opportunity to try different varieties of honey during a tasting, you’ll be informed about local flower species and when they bloom; the color, properties, and crystallization of honey; plus you’ll make your own candle out of natural wax, and see the bees in action.
The high quality of Yucatecan honey has made it famous worldwide. The most prized is that which comes from the local Dzidzilché tree, resulting in a thick and superbly aromatic honey. They also produce honey that is multifloral, from the Jabín tree, and from other trees. Each of these has its own unique color, flavor, and consistency.
I get back in my car to continue my drive, and 20 minutes later, I arrive in San Crisanto.
San Crisanto, A Gentle Beach for You to Enjoy
The first thing you need to do when you arrive in San Crisanto is purchase tickets which are $90 pesos per person so that you can take a tour into the mangroves. The boats are manually propelled and carry five people at most. The tour is about 30 minutes long and takes you through white and red mangroves before you reach a freshwater spring with crystal clear water that is perfect for swimming.
San Crisanto is a sustainable project that brings the population together in tourism, handcraft, and conservation efforts. Their values include conserving the environment, supporting the community, and developing the local economy in a way which is solidary and maintains social responsibility. On the shared land, they offer tours of the mangroves, swimming facilities, cabins, and tours.
Want to hit the beach? Bask in the sun on the white sand and take a swim in the clear water at the beach club which is one kilometer from the service center; you can spend the rest of the afternoon there. It’s a family oriented place with Palapas so that you can finish your day swinging in a hammock, a true privilege! It’s located on Km 48 off the highway.
If you wish to spend the night, there are cabins located just a kilometer from the beach club which are available by reservation. They have all the amenities you will need for a good night’s sleep under the starry sky. Get ready for one of those nights that make you fall in love with Yucatán. Located on Km 49 off the highway.
Editorial by Violeta H. Cantarell
Born in Mérida, Violeta is a communicologist dedicated to writing and creating content on tourism, fashion, and entrepreneurship. She has recently started working as an English-Spanish translator.
Photography by Violeta H. Cantarell, Coox Mayab, and Yucatán Today for use in Yucatán Today
Cost $35 pesos, open daily, 8 am – 5 pm
Open daily, 8 am – 5 pm
Cel. 9911 05 37 10
Tel. (999) 926 0236
Includes bed, fan, electricity, maximum four people
Check in 2 pm, checkout 12 pm. $1200 pesos per cabin
Cost: $90 pesos per person
All boats are motorless, the tour is approximately 90 minutes long, four people per boat maximum
Daily from 9:30 am – 3:30 pm
Day pass: $90 pesos per person. Overnight camping: $150 pesos per person
Facilities include bathrooms and showers, security, palapas, and parking
Open 10 am – 5 pm
Groups of 6 to 12 people for 4 hours. Includes guide and meal
Night tour of the mangrove
Starting at 7 pm, $120 pesos per person, daily, reservation required
Cel. 9911 00 26 59
FB: La Palapa San Crisanto
FB: Restaurante Los Delfines San Crisanto
How to get there
From Mérida: By Noreste bus service, Calle 67 x 50. By vehicle along the coast, take the road to Progreso and follow signs for San Crisanto.
From Progreso: By bus, departures at 8 am and 2 pm.
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