Small Outlying Towns of Merida
Small outlying towns of Mérida – most famously known as La Ciudad Blanca – is a cultural force on its own, but step beyond its boundaries and a whole new world opens up to you. The surrounding cities and towns will serve as baby steps in your quest to explore the rest of the Yucatán.
Its name might mean “place of poisonous snakes” in the Mayan language, but Tixkokob is far from lethal. This picturesque town is just a short drive away from Mérida. It’s a small town that allows visitors an intimate peek at everyday life in the Yucatán, from their traditional Mayan customs to more modern ways. Travelers flock to Hacienda San Jose, a popular accommodation when in town.
An hour’s drive east from Yucatán will take you to the yellow city of Izamal, where you will find a clash of the region’s roots and its colonial heritage. From ancient Mayan pyramids to one of the largest Spanish monasteries in Mexico, Izamal is definitely a place to visit. It’s a bright city, and we mean that quite literally, for Izamal is bathed in ochre-yellow paint. It’s definitely one unforgettable and unique place.
When the heat is unbearable, you go to the coast to feel the sea breeze caress your face. Yucatán’s main port, Progreso, has been around since the late 19th century. Less than an hour’s drive away from Mérida, you’ll be greeted with clean, sparkling green waters and perhaps a flamboyance of flamingos in the bay. Progreso’s a little touristy as cruise ships regularly dock on the port.
It’s quite far from Mérida, we admit, but a trip to Celestun is worth it. The sleepy fishing village is where time stops, allowing you to kick back, relax, and enjoy coastal beauty at its finest. It’s got some nice beaches, and the town center is worth a visit, but Celestun’s crowning glory is its wildlife sanctuary, the Biosfera Ria Celestun, one of the two flamingo breeding colonies in North America. Aside from flamingos, you’ll get to see pelicans, egrets, spoonbills, sandpipers, and various other waterfowl.