The city of Mérida has a great number of attractions where people can spend “quality tme” with family and friends on the weekends. Beyond the shopping centers, the cinemas or the restaurants that usually get crowded particularly on Sundays, there are also parks or ecological reserves that allow citizens to get in touch with nature without incuring in great economic expenses.
The Cuxtal Ecological Reserve is located at the former Dzoyaxché hacienda (“Palo delgado verde “), a space managed by the municipality of Mérida for the leisure of families.
The former Hacienda Dzoyaxché concentrates, many of the attractions that are typical of the region: an underground cenote, a trip by truck, shredding machines for the processing of henequen and a chapel, all surrounded by lush vegetation, where the visitors can observe birds and all kinds, and other species of local fauna such as badgers, deer, iguanas and possums, among others.
“Cuxtal” comes from the Maya and means “life”, an ideal name as it is not only a green space prepared for the protection of the flora and fauna of the region, but also a large area that provides 40% of the drinking water to the city.
There is a number of haciendas are private or abandoned, but the Dzoyaxché hacienda functions as an ecotourism park. There is no entrance fee and although there are fees for the services available, these are merely symbolic, and any family can cover.
Visitors can enjoy the following attractions: underground cenote, a truck ride, bicycle rental, two swimming pools (for adults and children), palapas, picnic area with tables, grills, ecological walkers and bathrooms. You can also camp in the green areas with total security and although it is quite far from downtown, you can return to the city in about 30 or 40 minutes.
San Nicolás Dzoyaxché is one of the nearby communities part of the haciendas route that make up the Cuxtal Ecological Reserve. There, a construction can be appreciated that still conserves part of the machinery used for the processing of the henequen, the so-called “green gold”; the old chimney, an inevitable sight on the Yucatecan horizon, and one of the curious and scarce trucks, wooden wagons with steel wheels pulled by a mule on a narrow road of rails.
Here you can spend a memorable weekend in the company of family and friends, enjoy the natural breeze under the abundant trees that are now scarce in the city of Merida, and, with much patience, observe migratory birds that are no longer seen within city limits.