Follow my adventures and misadventures with this Travel Guide to Tulum, Merida and the Yucatan Peninsula. Swimming in cenotes, making fresh salsa, exploring ancient ruins and rustic haciendas. And of course, eating delicious foods along the way!
The last few days of our trip to the Yucatan were filled with sights, colors and plenty of amazing new foods.
Merida, Yucatan, Mexico
For our first day in Merida we discovered that the city offers free daily guided tours of the historic buildings on the main square!
Here are some of the beautiful works of art and architecture that we saw.
Our lunch was simple tacos at a cocina economica (small cafes where the food is inexpensive).
We rounded out our city tour with a trip to the market which dates from the 1700. It was the craziest market I’ve been to – endless rows and passageways in a maze of products from shoes and machetes to vegetables and live chickens. I was on the hunt for spices.
I bought a dry blend called pipian – a ground mixture of pumpkin seeds and achiote, the main spice in the region – and recados – a paste of blended spices. David Sterling, a local chef and owner of Los Dos cooking school in Merida, has a great video of his market tour with Martha Stewart.
After a stop at the bakery, we returned to the square to rest our feet and do some people watching. The main plaza was even prettier in the evening.
For our last day we decided to pack it in. We visited three henequen plantations and the ruins at Uxmal.
The first stop was Hacienda Yaxcopoil.
It is one of the few haciendas that remains in its original condition from the late 19th century. It was full of antiques and machinery used in henequen production (sisal rope from agave plants).
Our second hacienda, Temozon, was a completely restored plantation turned into a luxury boutique hotel – visited by both George W. Bush and Bill Clinton.
We had a private tour and sat on their beautiful terrace drinking fresh tamarindo juice.
And finally, we rounded off our tour with lunch at the third hacienda, Hacienda Ochil.
Bellies full we headed to Uxmal, a UNESCO world heritage site founded in 700 A.D. It was an expansive playland of Mayan structures and you could climb them all except the big pyramid below. (There was another large pyramid that you could climb that seemed just as high though.)
We were there for hours until they blew the whistle to herd the tourists out of the complex.
Alas, we headed back to Merida just as dusk was setting in. We finished off our vacation with mezcal margaritas and dreams of our next adventure…
Learn How to Make Mexican Street Food! Here!
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