SOUTHERN YUCATAN STATE TRAVEL GUIDE
These sites are listed in order they are mentioned in the destination article Southern Yucatan State.
Tecoh: Iglesia de la Virgen de la Asunción (Virgin of the Assumption Church) closes only between 1 and 3pm. There are supposed to be 13 cenotes in the immediate area; that is definitely worth checking out.
Telchaquillo. It’s church is usually open 4 to 6pm only. There was no one there to sell me a ticket to the limestone sinkhole in the middle of the town square, but the cost, if any, is sure to be minimal.
Mama: Its church closes between noon and 6PM. Like Tecoh, its patron saint is the Virgin of the Assumption; her feast day is celebrated August 4-15.
Ticul: For overnighting in the center of town, there’s the reliable, moderately priced Hotel Plaza ($$, Calle 23 #202 between Calles 26 and 26A, across from the main plaza, tel. 997/972-0484, www.hotelplazayucatan.com). Slightly cheaper is Hotel San Antonio ($$, Calle 25-A #202 between Calles 26 and 26A, tel. 997/972-1893), where my friend had an excellent lunch at Restaurant Mirador. As usual, I had pizza at the pizza parlor around the corner from Hotel Plaza. Not too bad. Another option is El Bazar de Comida, behind the church, but I found nothing open in the early evening. For museum-quality Maya reproductions and some nice, less expensive souvenirs, visit Arte Maya (Calle 23 #301, Carretera Ticul-Merida, tel. 997/972-1669) .
Santa Elena: For great eats (breakfast, lunch and dinner) as well as reasonably priced lodgings in round, adobe Maya-style huts, visit The Pickled Onion ($, at the outskirts of town en route to Uxmal, tel. 997/111-7922, www.thepickledonionyucatan.com). Room price includes a delish breakfast for two, and the owner will help you arrange area tours. Another option is the nearby Flycatcher Inn ($$, tel. 997/978-5350, www.flycatcherinn.com), which was full when I visited but seems to be a nice, tranquil place offering meals as well as tours and fishing expeditions.
Santa Elena is a less expensive option than sleeping at the more luxurious and pricey hotels of must-see Uxmal, one of Mexico’s most beautiful archaeological sites. The two expensive but classy hotels in the immediate vicinity of Uxmal are Hacienda Uxmal ($$$$$, US toll-free 800/235-4079, www.mayaland.com) or The Lodge at Uxmal (same prices and contact info as Hacienda Uxmal).
Off the beaten path but a fun destination and well-laid out museum is EcoMuseo del Cacao (Km 20 de la Ruta Puuc, between Xlapak and Labná, www.ecomuseuodelcacao.com).
Labná, Sayil and other other Maya archaeological sites of the Ruta Puuc are open daily. Each costs at present 42 pesos to enter. They are free Sundays for nationals and Mexican residents.
Restaurant-Bar Hacienda Ochil (Km. 34.5 Carretera Merida-Uxmal, tel. 999/924-7465, www.haciendaochil.com) is open daily 10 to 6. There’s a pool for restaurant patrons and several small shops. Well worth a visit for lunch in the area.
House and plantation machine shops can be visited at Hacienda Yaxcopoil (Carretera Merida-Uxmal, tel. 999/900-1193, www.yaxcopoil.com). Currently the hours are 8 to 6 except Sundays, when it’s open 9 to 1. It’s about 11km north of Hacienda Ochil, so you can have lunch there before or after visiting Yaxcopoil.
In Maxcanú, try Restaurant Turístico Oxkintox (Calle 22A #107 between Calles 21 and 23, cell 997/114-2801), open daily 9 to 6.
In Chochola, the mysterious underground limestone sinkhole called Cenote San Ignacio is open daily. At this time it costs 70 pesos to enter, and there’s a bar-restaurant on site, as well as a sad little pen with animals.