13 experiencies that you can only find in Yucatan

Yucatan is famous for its archeological zones that rise among the lush vegetation of its jungles; for its flooded caverns that the Maya considered as the gate to the underworld; and for its nights of serenade with trova music. But this land has more, like its henequen (sisal) haciendas converted into luxurious hotels and spas, or the fine making of guayaberas and hammocks. Therefore, The Yucatan Times has listed 13 Yucatecan heritages that you should consider during your next trip  to this fantastic Land of the Mayab:

1. A delicacy called marquesita
At the end of the nineteen thirties, the marquesitas were born in an ice cream shop at Mercado de Santiago in Mérida. This dessert is an evening classic that is sold in trolleys on wheels in parks and squares  all over Yucatan. It is prepared as if it were a crepe, but with the difference that it is rolled and filled with dutch cheese, which flavor is similar to edam cheese. You could add cajeta, jam, nutela or chocolate for twist.

Marquesita (Archive)

2. Chaya, the “cure” of all evils
The chaya plant is a basic ingredient in the diet of the Yucatan Peninsula inhabitants, due to its high content of iron, calcium, protein and fiber it is considered a “super food”. On your next visit, try it mixed with egg, with pumpkin seeds or drink it as an “agua fresca” with lemon or pineapple.

Huevo con chaya (Twitter)

3. Let’s go for a snack
Yucatecans usually eat at the botaneros, favorite places to taste typical dishes and drink a beer. In Mérida, La Negrita and Eladio’s are some of the most popular. The papadzules, the black filling (relleno negro) and the turkey salbutes are never absent from the menu. In addition, there is always live music to dance until 10 o’clock at night.

Botanas (snacks)
Photo: Roaming Around the World

4. Pib, in Hanal Pixán
When the rest of Mexico celebrates Day of the Dead, during the last week of October, Yucatecans commemorate Hanal Pixán, which means “food of the souls”, in Maya language. During these days the “mucbipollo” or “pib” is a must for all Yucatecs. It is prepared as big a corn dough tamale filled with chicken and pork meat, seasoned with tomato and chili. It is wrapped in banana leaves and cooked in a wood oven or in a hole dug in the ground.

Pib (Photo: larevista.com.mx)

5. Tekik the capital of guayaberas
For more than 40 years, the inhabitants of this town have positioned themselves as the master craftsmen in the making of guayaberas and hipiles: the first is the typical garment worn by men, although there are already female models; the second is the dress with hand embroidery worn by women, especially on important festivities. The town of Tekik is also part of the Route of the Churches. The ex-convent of San Antonio de Padua, built in the 16th century, is preserved in this town and considered a landmark.Tekik is located 60 kilometers east from Mérida.

6. Beach getaway
Sundays are the perfect day to head to the port of Progreso and enjoy an afternoon lying in the sun and swimming in turquoise waters, flanked by palm trees and palapas.

Sunset in Chelem, Municipality of Progreso (Photo: Jonathan Chim)

7. The doors of the underworld
Going to Yucatan and not visiting a cenote would be a sin. In the state more than six thousand flooded caverns and underground rivers are counted, the majority open to the public, which were considered by the Maya as the gateway to the underworld, the home of the gods and their ancestors. From Mérida, you can visit the cenotes of Homún, Xlacah and Cuzamá. They are located only 40 minutes away from the state capital.

8. Maya architecture
Chichén Itzá, Dzibilchaltún, Uxmal and Ek Balam are some of the archaeological zones that you must visit, at least once in your lifetime. Chichén and Uxmal offer night shows of light and sound to understand the worldview and cosmovision of the ancient Maya.

Uxmal Photo: Robert Adams

9. Baseball evenings
It is the favorite sport in the state. Before sunset, it is a classic to attend a game of the local baseball team, the Leones de Yucatán, who play at the Parque Kukulcán stadium in Mérida. The baseball season starts between March and April.

Leones de Yucatán (Photo: yucatan.com.mx)

10. Celestun, a natural wonder
This Biosphere Natural Reserve is home to more than 300 species of birds, including the pink flamingo. The best observation season is from November to April. Hire a boat ride through the mangroves and enter the flamingo colonies. You can also visit a petrified trees forest, that is absolutely surreal.

Flamingos at Celestun Lagoon, with the Mangrove in the back (Photo: Google)

11. Hammocks
It was in Yucatan where this item, coming from the Antilles, was perfected. The good hammocks are woven by hand, with henequen thread, cotton and linen.

(Photo: hamacaselaguacate.com.mx)

12. Henequen haciendas
The arrival of synthetic fibers and threads (plastic), finished with the splendor of the henequen production era. Most of the former henequen haciendas have been transformed into luxury hotels or spas. Henequen (sisal) is one of the most resistant natural fibers ever produced. Sotuta, Chable, Xcanatun, Santa Rosa, Tekik de Regil and Temozón are just some examples. Many of its services include Maya ceremonies inside a cenote, mule rides through henequen plantations and private symphonic concerts.

Sotuta de Peón “Hacienda Viva” (Photo: haciendaviva.com)

13. Serenades of trova
In Mérida, Thursdays are dedicated to trova music, one of the most popular forms of artistic expression in the state. The Santa Lucia Park is the stage where you can watch a concert of janeras bands, rondallas, trios and symphonic orchestras in an outdoor environment. The tradition of dressing up for a night of serenade has existed in Mérida since 1965.

More than one hundred troubadors sing Happy Birthday to Merida. (PHOTO: sipse.com)

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