- YUCATAN STATE -
© Etudiante Vagabonde. Photo : Ruines Maya de Chichen Itza
Good to know
The official name of Mexico is the "United States of Mexico" due to its 32 federated states. The capital is called Mexico City, which can be confusing sometimes while travelling.
This Spanish-speaking country covering almost 2,000,000 square kilometers is the 13th largest country in the world. Its population is estimated of over 120 million people.
In Mexico the currency is the peso mexicano ($MX). One dollar is equal to about $19 MX and one euro equal to $22 MX.
I travelled everywhere by bus and taxis without any problem.
Church San Servacio
Valladolid is a charming colonial city in Yucatan, which is really worth to be visited if you're in the region.
There, I could admire the beautiful church San Servacio, located in the Francisco Canton Park, right in the heart of this Pueblo Mágico. Indeed, Valladolid is part of the 111 "magic villages" of Mexico. Those typical cities received this name due to their symbolic attributes, legends, history or due to their day-to-day life full of magic.
This edifice dates from the 16th century and was originally erected to honor Our Lady of Assumption, however, with the arrival of the Spaniards, St. Servatius was imposed as patron of the Church.
Because of “The Crime of Mayors” at the beginning of the 18th century, it was demolished. However, it has been rebuilt only few years later with its facade redirected towards the north as punishment for this crime.
I really liked this city for its hot colors. I was walking around the central park and the few streets around, admiring the facades of a cute pastel color that I was passing by. Valladolid is the kind of place you fall in love with for its authenticity well preserved. There I was in the middle of the local population, with very few tourists.
A good thing about Valladolid is the proximity with a wide range of cenotes, and among them the most beautiful ones in the region.
Cenote Ik Kil
After the dozen of cenotes I've been to on the peninsula, this one is the best so far !
With its long vines falling into the water from each side, this natural pool offers an incredible scenery worthy of a jungle. Long stairs going down in circle lead to magical place.
With two people of my hostel that I had met the night before, we went there really early in morning to enjoy the cenote just us. It was a nice surprise to see it worked pretty well this time because only another couple were already inside.
The Mayan ruins of Chichén Itzá is part of the new seven wonders of the world. This ancient Maya city was one of the largest during the 10th century. Now, it is the most important and the most visited archeological site of the region. Situated between Valladolid and Mérida, Chichén Itzá was the main religious center of Yucatán back in time.
Since 2007, it is no longer allowed to walk up the stairs of the temples.
In Valladolid, many taxi collectivo leave from the city center or from the bus station to go there. It costs around 40 pesos the simple way.
My advice to make the most of this visit, is to come early. The site opens at 8.00 am, I arrived ten minutes before and we were among the first ones inside. Around 9.00 am, there was already a huge crowd of tourists in front of the main temple, and you had to wait in line to enter.
The access to the site costs 237 pesos for foreign adults and is free for children under 13 years old.
July 24th, 2018
I woke up early this morning but for a good reason : to visit the famous Maya ruins of Uxmal, located 62 km south of Mérida, as soon as it opens to avoid the hot sun and the massive tourist groups. I went there by car with two other people met in Tulum and Valladolid.
This ancient maya city is considered one of the most important archaeological sites of Maya culture. Its construction is dated from around 850-925 AD. It has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in recognition of its significance.
Honestly, I preferred this site than the more famous one, Chichén Itza. The space was bigger and we could go up some temples, which is something I enjoyed to see the great view around, with all the ruins going out of the trees in the distance.
Uxmal Mayan ruins
July 21th, 2018
Today we're driving in direction of this former Hacienda called Sotuta de Peon and its cenote. Built at the end of the 19th century, this is one of the rare hacienda still alive, where you can actually live the full experience of the sisal production (called Henequén in Spanish) like in the past. It gives you a real idea of what was once a fully operational Hacienda Henequenera.
At the end of the 19th century, the exportation of this plant was one of the main productive activities in the region of Yucatan. Now, all these haciendas have been transformed as hotels or museums.
During the tour, we discovered the whole process of the rope production with the white sisal. The last step of the visit, just before the cenote, is at the Maya house of Don Antonio, who explains us the old habits and traditions of the Mayan population and their way of living.
To end the excursion, we were transported on wooden platforms called "Truks" pulled by mules on rails to get to the cenote Dzul-há, where we could refresh our bodies after this journey to the past. This cenote is in a cave, with amazing stalactites and cristalline water.
The hacienda is located 45 minutes away from Mérida and it offers two tours per day, one at 10.00 am and a second at 1.00 pm, from Monday to Sunday. The tour costs $550 MX for adults and $275 MX for children.
Hacienda Sotuta de Peon
Around Mérida, many haciendas can be visited, and almost each one offers a cenote really close. I did a second Hacienda visit during the same day, at the Hacienda Mucuyché, not far from the Sotuta de Peon.
July 21th, 2018
Visit of the former hacienda Mucuyché. This building from the 18th century has not been restored, there are only ruins and some rests of old paints on the walls. This hacienda was one of the numerous belonging to the family Peon, very renowned in the region. It was difficult to imagine this building back to the time of the Mexican empire.
A few meters away was situated the two Cenotes of the Hacienda Mucuyché. In 1865, the Empress Carlotta was the first one to swim in these cenotes. Staircases coming down up to the first cenote were built just for her. We went down the stairs and took a bath in the first cenote.
Then, a heavenly canal leads to the second one, hidden under a cave, with deeper water than the first one. The water is magic with its color blue crystalline. The small hole in the roof allows the sun to reflects the water on the rocks, which is wonderful. We could observe old ganders dating from the last century at the bottom of the water while we were swimming few meters above. The ceiling of this cave was filled with more or less big stalactites, very well maintained. Impressive columns also came up from the bottom of the water.
The price to visit the Hacienda and enter the cenote is around $400 MX which was a big budget for one activity while I was travelling, but it's sure worth it ! This cenote has been my favorite so far.
Découvre comment j'ai fini par vivre dans la ville de Monterrey, dans l'Etat du Nuevo Leon. Je vous fait voyager sur les plus hauts sommets de la ville.
BASSE-CALIFORNIE, LA PLUS GRANDE PENINSULE DU MEXIQUE
Redécouvrez la Californie à la sauce mexicaine ; sur cette péninsule qui prolonge la Californie états-unienne, traversez les champs de cactus pour atterrir sur les plages aux eaux turquoises.
FESTIVAL BOCA DE IGUANAS
48h de musique sur une plage de l'Etat de Jalisco, sur la côte Pacifique du Mexique. Boca de Iguanas est l'événement parfait pour commencer le semestre en rencontrant des étudiants venus du monde entier.