¡Que viva Yucatan! – Part 2 Apkmusk

Chubby snacks at the Fat Lady’s

Mérida is the only city on the Yucatan Peninsula with a population over one million, but it’s still similar to many cities founded by the Spanish in Latin America, so the starting point for exploration is the Main Square, which isn’t called Plaza Mayor, but Plaza Grande. The most important buildings, however, can be found around the square – the Yucatan State Government Palace, the Cathedral of Mérida and the town hall. There’s also the museum of contemporary art located in the square, but the most interesting museum in the city, the Museum of Mayan Culture and History or the Gran Museo del Mundo Maya, is located in the northwest of the city. Unfortunately, it wasn’t possible to visit the museum in the spring of 2021, and due to the epidemic, the museum almost completely moved online. However, we couldn’t experience the hustle and bustle of the city online, which was, despite the obligatory masks, genuine. Souvenir shops, markets, shops and many restaurants lined the streets around the main square and it was difficult to decide where to look for a refreshment. 

But the name and pleasant smells led to Gorditas Doña Gorda, which in translation means Chubby snacks at the Fat Lady’s. The restaurant offers small bread pockets filled with a variety of fillings, from chicken to cracklings. Due to the size of the chubby snacks, you can try at least two, but if you’re hungry, you can make a try at even more different ones.


Among the flamingos and in the abandoned salt pans

After a couple of chubby snacks, we arrived in Celestún in about an hour. It’s a small seaside and especially fishing town on the west coast of the Yucatan Peninsula. Here the glamor of the east coast is replaced by Mexican authenticity. In the main square, we observed performances and organized recreation, treated ourselves to fresh crispy waffles and local ice cream, and grabbed a refreshment at the city canteen. Despite all the culinary temptations, it was the beach that we chose as the next destination, and for a reason. The long sandy beach offered a pleasant refreshment, followed by dinner under a thatched roof in the restaurant. But even there the interesting pandemic-related measures were in place, as restaurants at the beach weren’t allowed to offer alcohol and so it was necessary to get a beer from the store around the corner, which was pleasantly chilled to –4 degrees Celsius.

The second day was entirely dedicated to Celestún and the biggest attraction – the colonies of wild flamingos. You can reach the place by boat from the main pier in Celestún, as well as from the pier at the bridge that crosses Ría Celestún, which is home to flamingos and many other birds as well as other animal and plant species. The trip also includes a short stop at a cenote where you can also go for a swim.


But while Celestún is an ideal place for a carefree holiday, this wasn’t the purpose of our trip, and the next morning was followed by a slightly longer all-day road trip to a village with less than a thousand inhabitants and no phone signal, supermarkets, industry or even a gas station. But more about the village later, as this section was one of the most interesting on the entire trip through the Yucatan Peninsula.

Through ghost towns and past the pyramids to the capital of Campeche

About 20 kilometers from Celestún, there’s a side road that in Maxcanu joins the road marked 180, which otherwise connects Cancun with the city of La Coma in the far north of Mexico, about 50 km before the border with the USA. The reason for choosing the route, however, wasn’t that it being a few kilometers shorter than the main road, but a visit to the abandoned haciendas of Chunchucmil, Kochol and Santo Domingo, located in the places of the same name. If you’re a fan of exploring ghost towns, then you’ll be exploring the impressive, though abandoned rooms with great interest, otherwise you might just take some photos.



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