We all know Cancun, and maybe even the Riviera Maya, Tulum, or Playa del Carmen…but did you know there is so much more to the Yucatan Peninsula? This week we chat with Rossana Wyatt from Life is Full of Adventures to learn more about the Yucatan state of Mexico, Mérida, Mayan ruins, and other things to see on the Yucatan peninsula.
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About Rossana Wyatt
Rossana is a gluten-free lifestyle & travel writer specializing in family & solo travel, she loves discovering new foods & adventures on her journeys as she explores. Rossana tells the stories of the destinations she has visited, sharing her love of travel, her wanderlust and enticing her readers to explore these places on their own.
When she is not traveling, Rossana works as a social media strategist in the tourism industry. She brings people and brands together, creating campaigns that build awareness and community, while building influencer relationships.
Where to Go in the Yucatan, Mexico
- Cancun is part of the Mexican state of Quintana Roo, on the Caribbean-facing side of the Yucatan Peninsula
- At the moment, you don’t need to quarantine or test to enter Mexico but that is subject to change. Keep in mind to that return to the U.S. or Canada you will need a test to return to your home country and many hotels do on-site testing.
- Keep in mind that Mexican citizens are only about 27% vaccinated so you need to be aware of keeping the local community safe as well through masking and testing.
- When you get beyond Cancun and into the state of Yucatan, there is so much history and culture to explore.
- Instead of flying into Cancun, to explore the Yucatan, it actually makes more sense to connect through Mexico City and fly into Merida, since getting from the Cancun airport to Merida is a bit more challenging if you aren’t driving.
- Chichen Itza is about 2.5 hours from Merida and the beach is 30 minutes from the city center.
- Las Coloradas has pink sand salt pond beaches is about 1.5 hours from Merida.
- Unless you speak Spanish well or know the area, it is best to join tour groups or private tours from Merida.
- There are many beautiful haciendas just outside of the city that have their own pool or rooftop patios if you want more privacy, but there are also beautiful boutique hotels in the renovated haciendas within the city.
- You could also split your time between Merida for the city vibe and Progresso on the beach.
- Cenotes are fun to do with kids as you can swim through these ancient sinkholes. Be sure to shower first and don’t wear sunscreen or creams. Just keep in mind that the water is from underground and is chilly.
- Izamal is known as the Yellow City and was named one of Mexico’s “Pueblos Mágicos” in 2002 that are recognized for their magical qualities. It is a beautiful city to explore and is built on an ancient Mayan city and the ruins are scattered throughout the city. The Convent of San Antonio de Padua is one of the most well-known buildings in the area and has the second largest atrium next to St. Peter’s in the Vatican. You can still hear Mayan spoken in Izamal.
- Izamal would be a great place to stay overnight to have more time to enjoy and soak in the magic of the city and enjoy the wonderful restaurants.
- Valladolid is another great town to visit, and it has a cenote in the middle of the town.
- Plan to visit the Mayan temples and buildings in Chichen Itza and Uxmal. At Uxmal you can climb on the buildings.
- Chichen Itza has an amazing evening light show that also covers a lot of history.
- There is also a driving route that explores Ruta Puuc and ruins near Merida including: Kabah, Labna, and Sayil.
- There are also plantation-style hacienda or farms to visit.
- It is important to look up safety warnings for each specific city/state that you are visiting before you go.
- It is recommended to drink bottled water or using water purification processes.
- Carrying cash is best for small towns but don’t carry large amounts, carry it in different spots, and be aware of pick pockets.
- You may need to adjust your meal times to local customs.
- Always wear sunscreen and dress according to the weather.
- Hurricane season is usually late summer to early fall. Spring is an ideal time to go because it is very hot in the summer.
Full Episode Transcript
[00:00:00.000] – Kim Tate
Dive into Mayan culture this week as we talk about the Yucatan Peninsula.
[00:00:16.070] – Announcer
Welcome to Vacation Mavens, a family travel podcast with ideas for your next vacation and tips to get you out the door. Here are your hosts, Kim from Stuffed Suitcase and Tamara from We3Travel.
[00:00:31.710] – Kim Tate
This week’s episode is again brought to us by Room Steals. Our listeners may remember that Room Steals talked to us in Episode 185, and it’s all about using a Chrome browser called Room Steals that works alongside booking sites to make sure that you’re getting a wholesale price for that room. And what you do is you install the extension and then you shop for a hotel like you normally would on your favorite booking site, whether that’s something like Hotels.com, Booking.com, Expedia, or even Google.
[00:00:57.390] – Kim Tate
And then once you’ve done your search and pick your hotel, Room Steals will show you a pop up to see if that room is available for a cheaper wholesale rate. When you click on that pop up, then you can book the room directly through Room Steals. Downloading and using Room Steals is totally free. You can just install the browser and be able to see if they can get you a better deal. If you want to book the discounted rate, you’re going to have to pay an annual membership fee, and our listeners are going to be given 20% off their fee with the code Vacation Mavens Again, Vacation Mavens.
[00:01:28.260] – Kim Tate
So if you travel more multiple times a year or even if you’re shopping around, the nice thing is that you get to test it out before you pay. And it’s possible that you’ll make up the annual membership fee in savings with just one trip. So go ahead and check out Room Steals again. It’s an extension. And then if you use the code Vacation Mavens, you’ll save 20% off your membership, and we thank them for their support.
[00:01:50.680] – Tamara Gruber
And if any of you guys have already signed up for Rooms Steams and had some savings, please let us know. We’d love to share what you’ve saved and what your experience has been. So, Kim, it sounds like you had some good news recently with the Canadian border opening and maybe you get a chance to go see Paul’s family.
[00:02:09.490] – Kim Tate
Yeah, we’re really excited. I’m still crossing my fingers that it all works out, but we are planning to finally get to go see Paul’s family. It’ll be the first time we’ve seen them in two years since we haven’t been able to travel either way. And so we’re really looking forward to it. And Canada did come out and say that they would welcome vaccinated Americans and our family of four all qualifies as that. So we’re excited to hopefully head up there and visit his family.
[00:02:38.670] – Kim Tate
[00:02:39.260] – Tamara Gruber
Yeah. It’s still a little complicated. From what I understand, but I know that you’ve dug into it a lot deeper, obviously, because you are going to have some Canadian family come stay with you. And now you’re going to go stay with them. And so can you kind of walk our listeners through what are the things that people need to be aware of if they want to go visit Canada right now from the US?
[00:02:58.640] – Kim Tate
Yeah, definitely. So I think that’s the first thing to mention is that this is Canada has said that they will allow vaccinated US citizens to come up into Canada. There are testing protocols, which I’ll talk about later, but the US recently said they are still keeping the borders closed to Canadians. So that was a big for non essential travel. So that was a big hindrance. So our family can’t come see us, however we are able to go up to them. But like I said, there are a few things that have to be done in order to make that happen.
[00:03:30.860] – Kim Tate
And I just want to specify right now the information is still very unknown a little bit. It’s a little up in the air. And there’s also how it’s being handled if you’re flying into Canada versus if you’re driving across the border, it’s a little unknown about how exactly things will be handled with that. But right now, the policies that I know of and that is currently being released is that in order to cross the border into Canada, you have to be vaccinated. And they have one of those apps.
[00:04:01.370] – Kim Tate
It’s called I think it’s called ArriveCan. And you use that app to help upload and share your vaccination information on that app, as well as you have to have a PCR test done within 72 hours. Now, this is a tricky one where Canada has actually said they have not mentioned that they will allow those Binax that the US is allowing. They actually want it to be done at a laboratory type facility. So whether that will adjust and they’ll start allowing those tests, I’m not sure.
[00:04:30.840] – Kim Tate
So right now you would have to go get a test done at a lab. And so we’ll be scheduling that. And again, it has to be 72 hours before your travel day and those results that are uploaded in your app as well, then you’re allowed to cross the border. And when you cross the border, there are, this is where I say you have to keep checking because it’s a little unsure of whether they will require you to test. Again. I think this might be a thing where they’ll do spot checking if you’re flying into an airport and maybe as well, if you’re crossing at a land border, they might spot check and say, okay, you need to pull over and get tested.
[00:05:04.080] – Kim Tate
Again. I’m not sure how that’s going to actually work out once it opens on August 9. So that’s how you’re covered there, and you can get into Canada, and that basically you’re exempt then from the quarantine, which being vaccinated to exempt you from that. So right now, Canada had been saying that you could come into Canada with all these tests, but then you would also have to quarantine for 14 days, and their quarantine was pretty strict. You had to have separate facility like you couldn’t just go stay with your family.
[00:05:33.680] – Kim Tate
You had to have completely separate facilities, which which was not doable for most Americans or US citizens wanting to visit into Canada.
[00:05:43.170] – Tamara Gruber
Right. I don’t really want to sit in a hotel room for not much to pay for a hotel.
[00:05:48.340] – Kim Tate
Yeah. Exactly. So that’s where that all comes down to. And then the other part of that, then is the US is still requiring Americans who are traveling back internationally to be tested 72 hours before they cross the border. And so what we’re actually going to do is have those rapid test and take them up to Canada with us. And hopefully that will take care of it, because the tricky thing is, and this was part of the thing when we originally thought Canada was just going to require tests.
[00:06:17.210] – Kim Tate
Our Canadian family was trying to figure out how they would get tested in the States without having to pay $150 per person. And there wasn’t a good option at that time. Whereas, you know, for most US citizens, we can go and testing and vaccines are covered by the US government right now for easy to go. Yeah. But for a Canadian who doesn’t have US insurance to be able to prove they would have to pay out of pocket. So that’s one of the other. I think over time, as things work out, it’ll maybe become a little more easier to navigate.
[00:06:52.940] – Kim Tate
But then when the United States came out and said no, they’re going to continue to extend the closures, it became an on issue because it was two whammies. They couldn’t get around either.
[00:07:03.520] – Kim Tate
So that’s kind of the situation
[00:07:05.290] – Tamara Gruber
and a couple of things that come to mind when I’m listening to you talk about that. Like, number one is I’ve noticed because every time I get basically anything, I go get tested if I feel like a little bit rundown. So I’ve noticed that a lot of the testing sites around me are closing end of July, something like that. So I think we’ve gotten used to as Americans having a lot of access to testing, thankfully. And I think that it’s not that it’s going to be more limited, but there’s going to be fewer testing centers.
[00:07:36.440] – Tamara Gruber
So you might have to plan a little bit more in advance. And to understand, you might have to drive a little further. Or you might have to book your appointment a little bit earlier to make sure you get the time slots that you want things like that to keep aware of. And then on the way back, I know we mentioned when we were talking in the episode we talked about in Greece, but the next text that you can buy, like a CVS aren’t the ones that are valid for travel back to the US.
[00:08:00.980] – Tamara Gruber
So just make sure for people that are considering it, to get the ones that are qualified for that.
[00:08:06.400] – Kim Tate
And you have to buy those. I did some reading and research. I had an article which we can link to in the show notes, but I think it’s through. I think it’s Emed. It’s kind of a random website where you can buy them and you buy them as a six pack for $150. And the other tip that they recommend is that they recommend, actually, if you’re really relying on traveling, that you buy each person should have two, just in case there’s an inconclusive or if there’s any issues in administration, I don’t think we’re going to travel with eight.
[00:08:38.960] – Kim Tate
I think we’ll have the the six pack and hope that the two extras will cover our family of four if we have an inconclusive or if we need to redo one. But just a mind just for everyone to be mindful of. It’s something to keep in mind.
[00:08:51.980] – Tamara Gruber
We were debating that because we’re planning on going to Aruba in November and who knows what the situation will be and if the world will change, whatever. But just thinking ahead, we’re like, oh, if testing isn’t available down there, maybe we would buy one six pack for the three of us. I’m like, I don’t know. Maybe we should at least get two. Yeah. So it’s definitely something to think about. I wonder you don’t want to be stuck without anything?
[00:09:16.580] – Kim Tate
Well, the Caribbean and Mexico have been so great about at least the tourist resorts. All inclusive resorts are really going out of their way to make sure that US citizens have access to testing. So that is kind of one benefit. And I’m sure I guarantee you, in Canada, it’s probably not too hard to figure out a way. And once we were up there, I could be able to figure out a way to go get tested. And it would probably literally cost us $23 out of pocket or something knowing how they handle their medical right there.
[00:09:48.940] – Kim Tate
But just we didn’t want to risk that.
[00:09:51.850] – Tamara Gruber
I’m actually heading to Buffalo, New York, and I will be up there right after the border opens. And part of me was like, oh, maybe it’s really close to Niagara Falls. Maybe I should just swing by. I’ve been to Niagara Falls before, but just for kicks, when you’re so close, you feel like you should just go. And I’m like, oh, and I can just walk across the border then. I’m like, yeah, but how am I going to get the get tested to think about usually something like that.
[00:10:19.530] – Tamara Gruber
You could literally just walk across the border on the bridge, walk back an hour later, but more things to think about.
[00:10:26.130] – Kim Tate
[00:10:27.320] – Tamara Gruber
I’m glad I’m happy for you that this is finally happening. I was very excited. Glad you’ll get to see family. And hopefully this will be a positive sign for things moving forward. I know there’s been movement in terms of visiting the UK as well, and we’ll just see, obviously everything is constantly changing, so definitely everyone needs to stay vigilant and keep up with the news. But I guess it’s a positive sign for now. Right.
[00:10:58.620] – Kim Tate
Yeah. We’re going to take it as that. And we also talked about just trying to be more mindful of watching our own exposure during the time we’re up there. And then also leading up to the week two weeks before we leave because we don’t want to make all these plans and then have everything fall through because one of us test positive. And so that’s the other thing is you really don’t want to test positive. If you’re doing all these tests, what will happen if someone test positive?
[00:11:27.260] – Kim Tate
So make sure that you guys are all thinking ahead of what is the worst case scenario. What do we do if that happens? Yeah.
[00:11:36.640] – Tamara Gruber
We are about to talk to a Canadian and we’re going to talk to her about our neighbor to the south. Yeah.
[00:11:43.790] – Kim Tate
We’re covering all of North America.
[00:11:45.380] – Tamara Gruber
To stay tuned, we’re going to talk about the Yucatan.
So this week we’re here with Rosanna Wyatt. And she is a gluten free lifestyle and travel writer specializing in family and solo travel. She loves discovering new foods and adventures on her journeys. As she explores, Rosanna tells the stories of the destination she has visited, sharing her love of travel, her wander last and enticing her readers to explore these places on their own. When she’s not traveling, Rosanna works as a social media strategist in the tourism industry.
[00:12:23.550] – Tamara Gruber
She brings people and brands together, creating campaigns that build awareness and community while building influence to relationships. So welcome to the Vacation Mavens.
[00:12:34.940] – Rossana Wyatt
Thank you. So nice to be here.
[00:12:37.480] – Tamara Gruber
And I guess we should specify that you’re in Canada.
[00:12:44.720] – Rossana Wyatt
I’m located just west of Toronto. We are in across the border.
[00:12:50.840] – Tamara Gruber
Across the border that by the time this comes out be open once again.
[00:12:55.960] – Rossana Wyatt
Yeah, it will.
[00:12:58.890] – Kim Tate
At least one way I was going to say which way it’ll be open.
[00:13:01.410] – Tamara Gruber
[00:13:02.030] – Rossana Wyatt
A and then all that depends on what’s happening with the variants as well.
[00:13:07.230] – Tamara Gruber
Yeah, of course. Right. But we’re hopeful. So before we dive into our topic, today is going to be about places in the Yucatan. And before we talk about that, I just figured as we’re talking about changing guidelines and rules and all that kind of stuff, I know people are already thinking about winter break and spring break even. Do you have any insight that you can share for right now? Obviously, we know the situation is always changing, but for people that do want to visit Mexico from the North America, either the US or Canada.
[00:13:40.760] – Rossana Wyatt
Well, I at the moment, there really aren’t any rules about quarantine. They do like you to have tests, but then again, they’re not strict about it. They do have protocols in some areas are more strict than others. So depending on where you’re going to be heading, of course, all hotels will have access to the testing information for when you’re coming back, because there are going to be different expectations where you’re coming back across the border and restrictions. But there are going to be specific protocols according to where you are going to be going.
[00:14:16.260] – Rossana Wyatt
But all hotels, most public places will have specific, I guess, disinfection and cleaning protocols in place, and many places will still have masking going on. But Mexico is just starting to ramp up on their vaccination schedule. So there are people that I know that won’t be getting their vaccines until sometime in October. And that’s the first one, whether it’s Canadians, Americans when we’re going over. And even though we’re vaxxed, we still have to remember that we may have protection for ourselves, but we can be carrying that symptomatically, and we have to be careful where we’re going and making sure that we’re being safe for everyone else as well.
[00:14:59.330] – Rossana Wyatt
[00:14:59.570] – Kim Tate
That’s a great, great insight. And I think people don’t always see that that it’s not just like you’re safe. It’s also about doing your part as a world citizen and making sure that you’re keeping the communities that you’re visiting, keeping those people safe as well. Exactly.
[00:15:14.270] – Rossana Wyatt
And when you’re heading into different areas that don’t have the vaccination rates that we have here, we have to be extra careful because we can be annoyingly spreading it further. So although we keep ourselves safe, like you said, we need to make sure everyone is safe.
[00:15:33.290] – Kim Tate
Yeah. And I think it’s also just important that we all know how this has been such a fluid and quick changing time. And so the best thing to do is when you’re researching whether you want to travel, is researching exactly where you’re going and what the rules and regulations are for that there’ll be rules. Like you said, the United States or Canada will have their own set of rules on getting back into the country. And then, of course, Mexico, depending on which state you go into, will have their own protocols depending on when you’re visiting.
[00:16:02.570] – Kim Tate
The best thing to do is to research that probably at that time.
[00:16:06.480] – Rossana Wyatt
Yeah. And then, as I said, they do have most of the towns and cities within the States themselves will have different areas where you can have access to testing so that you can get it before you come back to your own home state or home province.
[00:16:21.740] – Kim Tate
So I know a lot of all inclusives were doing that to try and get their tourists back because they will make it as easy as possible.
[00:16:27.740] – Rossana Wyatt
Which makes it very nice because then you don’t have to go finding right. Right there. Yeah.
[00:16:33.400] – Kim Tate
Well, we will jump right in then. And obviously, Cancun is what most people think about when people start thinking about the Yucatan Peninsula, and it’s considered popular, affordable destination, popular with families. But it’s nice to know what else there is to do beyond that hotel strip and all inclusive and everything that so many people are used to. And so can you help maybe talk about some other areas of the Yucatan Peninsula that you’re going to be talking about today and focusing on?
[00:17:02.620] – Rossana Wyatt
Absolutely. Yes. And as you said, most people know about Cancun and the different areas around there. But there is so much more to the Yucatan peninsula itself it encompasses both UK and Quintana Roo. As you said, most people know Cancun is the beach destination, and it is a big hub that people fly into. But the Yucatan itself has so much history and so many areas to explore. The Mayans are there’s so much culture in history in the Mayan civilization, and most of that was centered around the Yucatan itself, which is right next to Quintana Roo, where Cancun is located.
[00:17:45.260] – Rossana Wyatt
The history, the beaches, the ancient ruins there are so many cenotes as well, I’ll bet, are located all over the state. They are also located in Quintana Roo, but you’ll find many more within Yucatan itself. But there are historic cities and haciendas to visit. So there’s always so much more to explore. And the food is actually kind of cool because what they do is they do use a lot of their cultural and bring that back the history into the food. So you see them cooking with fire in pits in the ground as well, which is actually quite neat.
[00:18:17.970] – Rossana Wyatt
And they have their special little spices that they use. So there’s so much in the Yucatan area itself to explore.
[00:18:24.300] – Kim Tate
It sounds like what you’re describing also is just a much more culturally aware visit than just an all inclusive on the beach. It’s nice that if people are actually wanting to understand a little bit about the history and the culture, it sounds like this is the kind of vacation that you might want to plan.
[00:18:40.440] – Rossana Wyatt
Yes. Absolutely. And it’s so great, especially if you have kids. There is so much history there. And it’s really cool to see that be able to actually see the physical most of the pyramids within Yucatan. You can’t climb because they want to make sure that they don’t get ruined because they’ve been around for so many years. But there are a couple that they still allow the kids to climb on and to explore and to sort of climb into. And it’s neat for them to even see they sort of step into history, because that’s what you’re doing.
[00:19:12.870] – Rossana Wyatt
You’re stepping into those historical sites and you’re stepping into that history, which is really amazing. And then when you have some of the Mayan gods go through and they’re telling you the retelling that whole history and what they’re doing and what things were for, what buildings were used for. It’s really quite cool.
[00:19:31.660] – Tamara Gruber
Well, I remember my very first time that I flew. My very first time that I went out of the country was with a Spanish trip from high school. I think I was 16 and we flew to Mexico City and then to Merida. And can you maybe help our listeners understand if you wanted to visit Yucatan, the state of Yucatan, and see some of these ruins and things like that, where would you fly into? Where would you base yourself? And then maybe if you moved around a bit like, where are some of the top places that they should look at staying?
[00:20:06.560] – Rossana Wyatt
Well, actually, you did it perfectly because you go into Mexico City and you can fly into Merida from there and then you can base into Media. Then everything is located fairly close to there, Chichen Itza, which is one of the main ruin sites, is about two and a half hours from Merida. You have the beach, which is like 30 minutes from Merida. Then you have La Coloradas, which are about, I believe, an hour and a half from Merida. But then there are smaller ruins as well.
[00:20:40.250] – Rossana Wyatt
Within an hour drive an hour and a half drive from Merida. So everything is pretty central to Merida, so that’s probably one of the better places to fly into. If you were to go to fly into Cancun, it can be a little bit more difficult to get to that area if you’re not driving.
[00:20:56.520] – Tamara Gruber
So it’s not as easy to get a connecting flight there.
[00:20:59.350] – Rossana Wyatt
No, not from Cancun. But Mexico City has many flights into Media throughout the day so that it is easier to do that. But if you wanted to to drive, you could fly into Cancun and then drive into it’s about 3 hours. If you’re going from Cancun to Merida it is about a three hour drive.
[00:21:20.280] – Kim Tate
So are you recommending then would you say people should rent a car and have their own car? Or do you think it’s better done as kind of like tour group or day trips or hiring a driver? What would you say is the best way to if you are basing yourself out of Merida.
[00:21:38.080] – Rossana Wyatt
if you’re basing yourself in merida, tour groups are probably one of the better ways to go unless you can speak the language and you can hire a driver. So that would probably be the other option is to do some of the the tour. They have many tour groups that will go out to different destinations or you can hire to me honestly, if you don’t know the area and you don’t speak the language quite well, I think it’s probably best that you stay with a tour group itself that will go out that has different time schedules and things that will be going out through the day as I said many of these things can be done on day trips.
[00:22:17.080] – Tamara Gruber
And do you find would it be good to rent a Hacienda if you are a family or better to stay at a hotel? Do you have any places that you would recommend?
[00:22:26.990] – Rossana Wyatt
There are some incredible haciendas within some of the cities. The Hacienda themselves are absolutely beautiful. Sometimes they have their own little pool and some of them have some rooftop patio that you can take a look at and see the rest of the city. And they’re really well taken care of. But they’re also the one hotel that we stayed at a a beautiful and closed courtyard with a pool. So some of the buildings are they’re all a colonial architecture and they’re just absolutely stunning. And they take all that in and work it in with upgrading some of the interior of the buildings.
[00:23:02.150] – Rossana Wyatt
But I would stay in a smaller boutique hotel, which they’ve sort of taken some of the Asian doesn’t turn them into these but hotels. Or if you wanted to go out of town for a little bit and rent Hacienda itself, that would be another option, depending on the size of your but I think one of the smaller boutique hotels within the city is probably a great place to start.
[00:23:30.500] – Kim Tate
So I have a quick question. I say family is going to spend a week down there. How do you recommend maybe like what are some of the beaches or cities or something they should check out? Or do you recommend they split their trip between two destinations? So how would you recommend, like what are the must see kind of in that region? If they had one week? And how would you time that?
[00:23:53.160] – Rossana Wyatt
Well, Progresso. Like I said, Progresso is only a 30 minutes drive from Merida, the beach there. So you could certainly either if you wanted to base in progress or you could even do that and then stay away from some of the business of the city. Not that it is that busy compared to some, but Progresso would help get the feel of the beach area. And you could relax, have a few days relaxing there, and then also go into the city when you wanted to be able to do that.
[00:24:20.800] – Rossana Wyatt
But then again, you probably they do have a great transportation as well, so that you could go back and forth. But the cenotes is probably a fun sort of thing for would be a fun thing for the kids, because they’re the ancient sink holes that the Mayans used to use for a groundwater and depending on some of the rituals and things like that, and also they’re great for swimming for the kids because it’s a different experience and they’re absolutely stunning. The no two sites are like either, and some of them are quite small and some of them are quite open.
[00:24:59.630] – Rossana Wyatt
They would be fun for kids to explore. But the other thing is you have to make sure that when you’re swimming in the cenotes that you shower, most areas will have shower facilities before because they don’t want you going in with any kind of creams or anything on you, because that can hurt whatever plant life is within the site itself.
[00:25:17.890] – Tamara Gruber
Is it like the one in Riviera Maya, where there’s some organized where you to tube through, or is it more like go on your own?
[00:25:27.810] – Rossana Wyatt
Well, they do have some where you can go, but you don’t tube through any of them. Some of them you can go down through stairs. They’re actually just like a hole. You go to specific areas you drive up, and there’s like a little area where you shower and stuff. And then there’s a staircase that’s taken down, and some of them are not that deep, but they are not in the same they’re not the same as you see the ones that they show through Cancun with that you’re going through in these different little boats to different little caves and things like that.
[00:26:02.410] – Rossana Wyatt
But they’re not like that at all.
[00:26:03.640] – Tamara Gruber
The water still very cold.
[00:26:05.610] – Rossana Wyatt
It is it is, but it’s just they have this I had this huge way of sunlight coming in, and it’s just absolutely spectacular. It’s so magical just to see it. And as I said, no two are alike because they’re different sizes. There’s different vegetation growing. They’re different depths. But it’s a cool experience for kids to sort of be able to jump in. And some of them, they have these ropes that you just sort of swing and you jump in and others you can sort of walk in, but not all of them.
[00:26:40.330] – Rossana Wyatt
So they’re all different.
[00:26:42.130] – Tamara Gruber
So you never get going to get the same feeling from are there certain ones that are more famous or ones that you would really recommend? Or is it really just you kind of ask the hotel where to go?
[00:26:51.040] – Rossana Wyatt
Yeah. And then actually, one of the cities has a note in the middle of the city, but you just kind of have to go with the tour group that will take you there because you can just rent a car with a driver and they’ll take you out there and you can go out for the day or even take a side trip out there’s. Also, aside from the Cenotes themselves, just some of the cities as wonderful historic city. Izamal is known as the Yellow City, and it was named Pueblos Magicos in 2002 by the Mexican government.
[00:27:28.140] – Rossana Wyatt
They’re basically towns are recognized for the quote, their magical qualities, whether it’s their incredible beauty, the rich history, or some extraordinary Legends that they’re known for. But this city is when you look at all the yellow, it’s this beautiful, rich goldish yellow. And it truly is magical seeing it everywhere with the colonial architecture and this hue of yellow. But it gives the city kind of an energy. And this city is actually built upon ancient Mayan city and you can see some of the ancient Mayan ruins here and there.
[00:28:08.210] – Rossana Wyatt
And the convent of San Antonio de Padua is one of the most well known buildings in the area. And apparently it is the second largest, quote atrium after St Peter’s, the square in the Vatican. And it’s a big cultural significance as part of the homage for Catholics as well. So that’s another big draw for many people. It’s a very small town. And as I said, you can actually hear the Mayan language spoken because it’s still spoken a lot of the homes there so that they retain a lot of their cultural qualities.
[00:28:42.200] – Rossana Wyatt
And it’s a beautiful city. Like I said, the energy and the light just seen that all the Arc protector just in viewed with this incredible color.
[00:28:52.600] – Tamara Gruber
Is that one that you would maybe stay out overnight or still just visit on a day trip?
[00:28:57.290] – Rossana Wyatt
I would stay overnight only because actually there are a couple of different little areas there, and they have a lot of, I guess, what you would call sandos, but they’re all little homes that you can rent, and they have their own little sort of courtyard, and they’re just absolutely stunning. The city itself just walking around. And the people are so warm. It’s really quite beautiful. And of course, they have many wonderful restaurants as well. And with the food. So it’s always nice to be able to integrate that because that’s part of their culture.
[00:29:31.300] – Kim Tate
So I know you mentioned some of the cenotes and you said Progresso is a great beach to go to. And then, of course, you just talked about a Izamal that sounds like a wonderful little town. What are some of the other highlights that you think if people are spending time in that region, where are some other places they should check out or plan to visit?
[00:29:50.620] – Rossana Wyatt
Well, Valladolid is another city. It’s a very colonial town. It has a lot of historic buildings and plazas. And this one also has the Cenote in the middle of the town, the one that I mentioned. But along with Chichen Itza, there is another one about an hour and a half from Merida Uxmal U-X-M-A-L, and this is the one that I was mentioning that they let people sort of climb all over and actually go through. And it is larger or an area in ground area, then Chichen Itza is, even though Chichen Itza is more well known to people.
[00:30:28.540] – Rossana Wyatt
So there is also a driving route if you wanted to take hire a car. And it explores different Mayan ruins near Merida itself. It’s called Ruta Puuc. And it goes across the hilly forest and train, and it passes up three different Mayan ruins. They are the Tie Pac and Lana, which I know that you probably didn’t get all of it, but I can install them out if you want.
[00:30:59.500] – Tamara Gruber
If you can give them to us, we can put it in the show notes. So anyone can look it up there.
[00:31:04.760] – Rossana Wyatt
And they lead all those if you’re following that route along, they will actually lead to their Mayan ruins at Kabah. So there’s that. And there’s also outside of Merida itself, there are lots of haciendas that are known. The people in Yucatan know as Hacienda are these big plantations very similar to the plantations in the US. So they were big, sprawling manufacturing and farming States at the time, especially around the turn of the century, when they did a lot of the crop is the Hannekin or Sisal. So they were very popular back then.
[00:31:45.290] – Rossana Wyatt
And then once all the synthetic fibers came to be, they sort of started to fall back and unfortunately lost a lot of the work because of the synthetic fibers. So right now, a lot of those haciendas are being restored and they’re being used as big event venues. But there are also some of them also have a lot of the manufactured area sort of still there. And so they do some of the tours through some of those areas. So many are turned into luxury accommodations, but they still retain a lot of those production areas.
[00:32:19.350] – Rossana Wyatt
So you can actually tour them and learn what the unique history and the Hannekin production itself, because it was huge. The production from the Yucatan was sent out all over the world, and these cases became quite wealthy until, as I said, the synthetic fibers came to be small.
[00:32:40.640] – Tamara Gruber
Uxmal, If I’m pronouncing it correctly, that was the first place that I went on my little trip with my Spanish class, and I have a picture of me climbing the pyramids so that you can still do that, although I remember being very steep and very little scary coming back down.
[00:32:55.590] – Rossana Wyatt
Yeah. Ok. Uxmal, unfortunately, because of the erosion and everything else, they really want to try and keep as much as many people off of it as possible. Yeah. The one thing I have to say is the fact that we can to have an evening light show, which is really quite cool because they go through a lot of the history and they explore why they moved to certain areas and how they did certain things and stuff. But then we also did the sunrise tour, where we were the only group out there.
[00:33:30.830] – Rossana Wyatt
And you could just watch the sunrise over the ruins, which are still just incredible. And you could see how they would see it first thing in the morning. And it was really quite spectacular. So I would recommend that if they can.
[00:33:43.210] – Tamara Gruber
There’s so much emphasis on early mythology and things that I always go back to the Rick Riordan books that brought so much interest to Percy Jackson, the Greek and the Romans, and then they be Egyptian. But my daughter has always been very fascinated by Mayan culture. And also it’s just absolutely amazing when you are there and you realize the knowledge and how much was learned. I remember I think it was Chichen Itza where it’s like on the Solstice, it looks like the way that the light hits, it almost looks like a giant snake is coming down the side.
[00:34:14.380] – Tamara Gruber
It’s mind blowing. And so I think for kids that are interested in some of these, like, I don’t want to say just mythology, because these are ancient cultures, but the beliefs of ancient civilizations and things, it really is a great place to absolutely.
[00:34:31.580] – Rossana Wyatt
And the best thing is when you’re talking to one of the guides, the Mayan guys, they had it handed down to them. And there are really only a handful that know the actual cultural aspects of the historical aspects, because even though some of the languages carried on, not everything is passed along. So it’s neat to hear how everything, how it’s been down and so much of the history itself. But yeah, it’s absolutely incredible. And it really boggles your mind how much they knew and how much what word I’m looking for, how progressive they were, I guess, because of everything they knew, they were such they were so lightened for the time that they were in.
[00:35:15.270] – Rossana Wyatt
Does that make sense? Yeah.
[00:35:17.390] – Tamara Gruber
Until you talk about the sacrificial well.
[00:35:21.230] – Rossana Wyatt
I wasn’t talking to it. Yes. Absolutely. Yes.
[00:35:24.920] – Tamara Gruber
I know exactly what you mean. Well, I know one of the concerns that people have when traveling in Mexico, especially in a region that is not dominated by resorts and all inclusive and things is just around safety. It sounds like you’re mostly talking about doing some guided tours, which obviously you don’t have to worry about wandering off on your own there. But do you have any thoughts just about safety in this particular area?
[00:35:50.280] – Rossana Wyatt
Well, actually, I found it very safe because even though I was part of the group itself, I was staying somewhere separate from them. So I would walk back and forth on my own. And then I actually had some time on my own. So I went to explore in and around Merida on my own so that I had no worries about trying to explain that area. Izamal was the same because I ended up walking back and forth from where the others were staying. And like I said, it was just walking in another.
[00:36:22.910] – Rossana Wyatt
I felt just a safer than walking here in my area here because people they were just regular people from the town. And I didn’t have to worry about anything. And even in Merida, which is much larger and they’re much more people, I had no worries about safety. Obviously, you don’t want to be going and doing something silly and standing out like a sore thumb. But my daughter says that I look over that could fit into the different crowds and stuff. So I don’t know it’s with anything else.
[00:37:00.360] – Rossana Wyatt
Don’t do anything that you wouldn’t do at home and don’t stick out like a sore thumb.
[00:37:04.990] – Tamara Gruber
Well, and I think it’s important to you here in the US, at least. I’m sure Canada has something similar. But you can look up safety warnings and things about places that you’re going to visit. And I think it is important to dig down into the particular state or city that you’re visiting and not just look at kind of country level or something.
[00:37:22.010] – Rossana Wyatt
Yeah. And every state is going to be different. There are some States within Mexico that have a little bit more crime, and what you do is you stay away from them. Even areas within Quintana Roo that people don’t know about, they’re more well known are the ones that people know about the crime that are going on because Quintana Roo more popular areas. So crime there is more well known, I guess, in a sense. And people tend to just sort of stick to their resort areas. But within the Yucatan itself, you can certainly go out and go on to different tours and not really worry about them so much.
[00:38:03.920] – Rossana Wyatt
So because it is one of the safer areas in Mexico.
[00:38:07.500] – Kim Tate
It’s good to know and have your insight on that. So do you have any final tips to wrap up about traveling to the Yucatan that you think people should keep in mind those trusty travel tips, somebody who’s been there?
[00:38:22.470] – Rossana Wyatt
Well, the water is purified most within the Merida, the city is getting most of the purification done. But the thing that you had to remember some of the tanks because a lot of those buildings have big tanks that they used to hold. This is cisterns where they used to hold the water. And because they have been all upgraded, even though the water itself may be purified, it isn’t always what comes out. Does that make sense? Yeah. So it is always good to make sure that you’re wary of that.
[00:38:56.930] – Rossana Wyatt
So you’re either drinking bottled water or you have something that may help disinfect your water itself. Like I have one of those water bottles that actually it’s called the crazy cap that actually purifies water itself. And that helps a lot because it just sort of cleans the water. I can put in water from wherever it’ll purify it and clean it. And that way I have water on demand all the time. I but the other thing is maybe carrying cash is best instead of credit, because not every place if you go, especially if you’re going into a small town, everyone has the credit capability.
[00:39:34.010] – Rossana Wyatt
You’ll also be able to barter a little bit more when you’re carrying cash and don’t carry large amounts. And as always, just be weary because I mean, they’re pick pockets everywhere and people the flight bump you never know in carrying in different spots. But the same thing with pretty much anywhere you go, don’t carry a lot of cash. If you do carry can make sure you carry it in different places. And you’ll also find that if you’re looking, especially with families, because you tend to eat at a certain time.
[00:40:02.750] – Rossana Wyatt
You also have to remember that in certain villages you won’t find or towns cities you won’t always find everything open. So you kind of have to accommodate meal times to according to when they’re going to be open. Restaurants and cafes will be open. I think that’s it for one, but always wear sunscreen as always, because it’s very hot. It is very hot there and try and dress cool because it can get quite humid and the heat you don’t always depending on where you’re from in certain areas, but you feel heat a lot more.
[00:40:34.200] – Tamara Gruber
What about when it comes to when to travel? Is there a rainy season? Is it often hit by Hurricanes or the times to avoid or better times to go?
[00:40:42.850] – Rossana Wyatt
Well, Hurricane seasons are always the early fall is usually more of a Hurricane season, but I think I’ve been in October and it was fine. But with anything, things change really quickly, so it’s just a matter of just keeping an eye out when things are going to be happening. It gets very hot in the summer months down there. So spring is probably a good time to go and really fall.
[00:41:17.560] – Kim Tate
Perfect. So we will wrap up with our question that we ask all of our guests and that is what do you wear when you travel? Do you have any favorite go to that you like?
[00:41:26.830] – Rossana Wyatt
I don’t have any favorite. It goes. I prefer wearing dresses because they tend to keep me cooler on scores when I can’t when you’re hiking or whatever. But I guess more than anything is just sandals and shoes that give me extra support, like Keens and Clarks. I tend to go to those more than anything else because then I can have a pair of shoes that doesn’t look so horrible and I can wear them with a dress. And then I can also wear them hiking and they keep my feet cool and support it.
[00:41:57.100] – Tamara Gruber
Well, before we close out, if you can remind our guest where they can find you online and sell your travels once Canadians can start traveling again.
[00:42:07.180] – Rossana Wyatt
Well, I’m Rosanna Wyatt on all social platforms at Ross A-N-A-W-Y-A-T-T, pretty much most of those social platforms. And then you can also check out my rating and life is full of adventures com, but those are mainly the places that you can find me.
[00:42:27.760] – Kim Tate
Great. Thanks so much for for joining us and giving us this insight into the area beyond Cancun. We appreciate your time. I look forward to sharing more about this area.
[00:42:38.180] – Rossana Wyatt
Well, thank you very much for having me and for allowing me to share. As I said, the area around Yucatan is just amazing. We can certainly learn so much more about the Mayan culture and there is more to that Peninsula then just at the Cancun and the Riviera Maya and Playa Del Carmen. .
[00:43:00.940] – Tamara Gruber
[00:43:01.910] – Rossana Wyatt
Thank you. Bye.
[00:43:06.460] – Tamara Gruber
Well, that wraps up another week on Vacation Mavens, and we think Room Steals for their support. Please go check out their Chrome browser extension and see what kind of money you can save on your upcoming travels. And I hope you enjoy the rest of your summer. Next time we’ll talk to you. I guess we’ll be in that whole back to school time.
[00:43:24.470] – Kim Tate
Yeah, thanks for joining you guys. Talk to you later. Bye.