This part of Mexico is known for its Gulf of Mexico beaches and the Mayan ruins. It has some of the prettiest sights in the world. We spent 4 days in different parts of the state starting with the largest city in the state and the state capital, Merida.
Merida is only a short 2-hour flight away from Mexico City. It is a Spanish colonial town with colorful colonial buildings and cobbled streets. All the streets are one-way streets near Zocalo (the main square in the city). Do yourself a favor and park your car in one of the parking lots close to the Zocalo (they are just 10 pesos for all day!) and walk down the cobbled streets. You will find bakeries, restaurants, and shops at every corner of the streets. Merida has many historic buildings some of which even offer free guided tours. The best way to explore the city is by walk or by horse carriage ride. There are colorful, decorated horse carriages offering guided tours of the city (30 min to an hour-long tours cost 200 to 300 pesos). Every Friday night, the streets around the Zocalo are closed down and the area is transformed into an open-air theatre. Usually, they have some folk dance shows or folk plays. Grab some drinks and sit back and enjoy the show with the locals 🙂
Day 2 :
Chichén Itzá, which was once the most powerful city in all of Yucatan; is a popular tourist destination today and one of the most visited Mayan ruins in the Yucatan. It is spread over a 5 square kilometer area and is an architectural marvel. The Castillo, The Warrior’s Temple, and The Great Ball Court, all those stone buildings were constructed around 600 AD. They have survived the worst of the weather and wars! This photo is of “El Castillo”, the temple of Kukulkan, the feathered serpent deity. Apparently, on the Spring and Autumn equinoxes, the shadows cast by the northwest corner of the pyramid evokes the appearance of a serpent wriggling down the staircase.
On our way to the pink lakes in Las Coloradas, we visited Cenote Ik-Kil. It would be a shame to miss a dip in a cenote if you are in this part of the world! Cenote Ik-Kil is a couple of miles from Chichén Itzá archeological site. The cenote has waterfalls and green vegetation hanging all the way down to the clear crystal water,
The 2-hour drive from cenote Ik-Kil to Las Coloradas takes you through the lush green countryside of Yucatan. The scenery changes suddenly when you reach the fishermen villages of Las Coloradas. We were welcomed by giant white salt mountains. After driving around the salt mountains for some time, we finally found someone local who took us to a private salt lake – a pink lake at last:) We could not believe our eyes, the sight was so pretty!
Finding a hotel to stay in this part might be a challenge. We booked a private room via Airbnb near Laguna Rosada for the evening. The view from our room was breathtaking. The turquoise blue water of the white sandy beach was right on the doorstep!
Our host also gave us some tips on where to find the flamingos. SO we set off to find the flamingos for the day! The flamingos can be seen in certain areas (it keeps changing) around Laguna Rosada and Xcambo area all throughout the year.
In the evening, we reached Merida and headed to the Bust station to catch our bus ride to Tulum. Since we travel on a budget, taking an overnight bus (ADO bus) from Merida to Tulum was a good option for us. We waved goodbye to colorful Yucatan and headed towards the hip and happening beach town, Tulum.