Yucatecan summers are the best. People here really know how to take time to enjoy their surroundings. The beautiful gulf beaches are a mere 20 minute drive from Merida, and there are countless cenotes, caves, hidden lagoons, mangroves, wildlife; it truly is one of Mother Nature’s treasures. We are also lucky to live in the land of basically perpetual summer. Right smack-dab in the middle of the tropics, we complain about the heat; however, almost every day is gloriously golden in the light of the sweltry sun.
When I go to the beach, I usually head to the beaches east of Progreso such as San Benito, San Bruno or San Crisanto. The water is blue green and pure; I find it quiet and calming. I head to a beach front palapa restaurant, order fish and octopus ceviche and a beer and utterly chill. For me there are two speeds at the playa: slow and stop. My lazy beach days aside, I recently met an energetic beach goer who has opened my eyes to a world of exciting beach activities—both extreme sports and not so extreme—which I have come to find out are quite popular here in Yucatan.
The ultimate go-to guy for all things outdoorsy is Alex Camara. He’s a local who spends as much of his free time as he can outside discovering Yucatan, his home. Right off the coast of Progreso, he spends a lot of time in the water doing sports ranging from kiteboarding to competitive sailing. I asked him to give me some tips of cool and popular activities that are relatively accessible for the amateur, such as myself, and he suggested kiteboarding, paddleboarding, windSUP and kayaking as fun alternatives to just taking a morning swim.
Paddleboarding and Kayaking
Paddleboarding and kayaking along any of the beaches or through the mangroves is a great way to get your body moving, and explore the wonders of the gulf waters. These two also seem like the easiest of the four hobbies mentioned, although that is not to say they don’t have their challenges. They take less training and you can basically rent equipment and go. It is recommended that the best time for paddle boarding is from morning until around 12-2pm because at that time weather conditions are usually optimal: low to no wind. He says kayaking can be done all day as long as there are low winds and some nice place to explore the mangroves are Chuburna Puerto, Chabihau (east of San Crisanto) and the Telchac area.
WindSUP, boards combine windsurfing and paddleboarding in one. An awesome paddle board which performs very well in the waves and at the same time doubles as an entry-level windsurfer. Most WindSUPpers have their own equipment; however, Alex can help anyone if they are interested in renting. This sport can be done at any time of the day at any beach. If you are a beginner you would be better off going out with low winds.
The sport which seems the most ambitious and the coolest to watch is kiteboarding. Kiteboarding is an action sport combining aspects of wakeboarding, snowboarding, windsurfing, surfing, paragliding, skateboarding and sailing into one extreme sport. It definitely takes practice and it is best to take lessons with a professional trainer before daring to hit the sea. A kiteboarder uses wind power with a large controllable kite to be propelled across the water getting some serious air at times. The best time for kiteboarding is from 12-2pm till sunset depending on the season. Great places to practice are the beaches from Sisal to El Cuyo (located in the National Park Ria Lagartos) Prime weather conditions start at 18 kts of wind coming from NE, NW or N.
For all you water enthusiasts out there, the beaches close to Merida are full of opportunity. And if you haven´t dabbled too much in such things, it might be great to try something new get out of the routine of the daily grind and cool off for a bit.
For contact and rental information you can go here:
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