Only 30 minutes from Mérida, heading out Avenida Yucatán, an excellent highway will take you to Motul, a city with history and various inviting attractions including food, sightseeing, and swimming, in a completely family environment.
The best way to begin this tour is to arrive before 9 am so you can have breakfast in the mercado “20 de noviembre” where you will find authentic, delicious “Huevos Motuleños” (a famous local egg dish) accompanied by fried bananas, at “Doña Evelia’s” stall, a favorite of locals and visitors. You’ll love it!
There are also a variety of food stalls offering grilled meat tacos and tortas, Yucatecan snacks, “piedras” (crunchy fried stuffed corn meal) and meat pies: something for all tastes. Wander the aisles of this picturesque mercado where you can find just about everything. Start by buying a “sabucán” (market bag), and fill it with some freshly made longaniza sausage, a flan or pink “crema morisca” dessert, flowers, fruits and vegetables, and much more. Some of the stalls’ owners have spent their entire lives here, taking care of their customers. The people are very welcoming, feel free to ask for directions or a local story.
Across from the market is the main park dedicated to Felipe Carrillo Puerto, well-known socialist governor of Yucatán who comes from this city. He opposed the hacienda owners and defended the liberty of the Maya people until the moment of his execution by firing squad. Beside the mercado is the house where he was born, now a museum that exhibits documents, photographs, letters, and personal objects.
Passing the main plaza is the church dedicated to San Juan Bautista, patron saint of Motul. Its sober colonial design has a façade with grand columns, a carved stone arch, and wooden doors. You can still see the remains of paintings on the walls of the interior patio passageways and on the second floor of this church. It holds some resemblance to the San Ildefonso cathedral in Mérida.
If you decide to refresh yourself a bit, you can grab a mototaxi at the main plaza and ask the driver to take you to Sambulá cenote, an attraction for locals and visitors alike, about 10 blocks from the Centro. Open every day from 8 am to 5 pm, the entry costs $5 pesos. It has bathrooms outside and parking.
The cenote is located inside a cave. You descend via a staircase to an illuminated room where you can leave your things. The crystalline water has a depth that varies between 1 and 8 m. It’s a great place to swim and speleo-dive if you have experience. You can rent life jackets. Wear comfortable shoes and bring drinking water.
If you still have energy, you can extend your trip 27 km more and head up to the coastal town of Telchac Puerto, one of the most important port towns of Yucatán, known for its calm waters, its hospitality, and seafood dishes, among other attractions.
Motul, historical, picturesque, and with easy access. Worth a visit!
Editorial by Violeta H. Cantarell
How to get there?
From Mérida: Head to Calle 61 x 56 and 8, Centro, there you will find the taxi station to Motul. Open from 6 am to 9pm, trips every 5 to 10 min. Take the combi 23 to get to Motul.
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