In less than six months, Mexico will play host to not one but two spectacular solar eclipses. On October 14th of this year, we’re gearing up for a remarkable annular solar eclipse that will cast its shadow as a partial eclipse across the country. The iconic “ring of fire”, characteristic of annular eclipses, will grace parts of the Yucatan Peninsula. Specifically within the path of annularity that passes through Campeche, Calakmul, Chetumal, and then ventures further into Central America. But that’s not all – mark your calendars for April 8th, 2024, when a total solar eclipse will steal the spotlight, particularly in the country’s northern regions, including Mazatlán, Durango, Torreón, and Monclova.
It’s time for another weekend getaway, this time to Sisal, in the state of Yucatan. This quaint seaside town features a beautiful coastline, a charming main street full of bright colors and incredible nature sanctuaries. Continue reading
The Pink Lagoon at Las Coloradas in the Yucatan Peninsula might feel like a fairy tale; but in fact, this is just a beautiful natural phenomenon. This magical place is located about three hours from Playa del Carmen by car, which is perfect for a weekend getaway to Merida or Valladolid. The place is an ideal birdwatching destination, being home to 350 different species of birds. It was designated as a biosphere reserve by UNESCO in 2004. The sights here are unreal.
Visiting Las Coloradas
Due to Las Coloradas being such a small fishing town, there are no hotels or restaurants in sight, so make sure you drive up from Merida or Valladolid to see the place. Likewise, bring enough to drink and eat during the day as you will probably spend about 3 hours there. The best time to see the bright pink color pop is at noon, so make sure you plan accordingly. As the sun beings to set, the colors are lost. The reason the lagoon is pink (and why the flamingos turn pink from feeding from it) is due to the many microorganisms that live there. This includes red shrimp and plankton.
On your way to Las Coloradas, you might want to make a quick stop at the salt production plant. It will also feel like a page out of a fairy tale with its mountains of salt laying around. Once you reach the pink lagoon you will be able to see that the water has a high concentration of salt. That is what makes it so easy to float in. However, locals and guards will not let you actually swim in the lagoon, so make sure you don’t try to go in to avoid getting into trouble.
spotting the flamingos
It is rather easy to find the flamingos, which is the bird most people want to see. They will flock away when too many people are around, so creep up carefully. Funnily enough, these tall birds tend to stray away from the pink waters when not feeding. So you will have better luck finding them in the other ponds. However, there are thousands of them and you will surely spot them in one place or another. Many locals will try offering you tours to see them. If you want to spare some pesos you can go with them and help out the local community. Otherwise, you’ll find the flamingos on your own.
The lagoons are an amazing day trip to take whether you’re living in Mexico or just visiting. Don’t expect too much to do there other than visiting the lagoon. Enjoy your weekend getaway to this amazing natural wonder.
There is plenty of visual evidence regarding Spaon’s influence in the Yucatan Peninsula. Spain conquered and colonized the Yucatan cities in the early 1500s, continuing their reign for the next three centuries. In this final episode of our Yucatan series, we will provide short briefs detailing historical markers from then until now.
Miguel Hidalgo: The First Step to Independence
Miguel Hidalgo was a Roman Catholic Priest who had had enough. In 1810, he became disgusted with the treatment of the poor that lived in the area. The Spanish government surpressed the Mexican people trying to make a living in their own country. Miguel Hidalgo called upon his fellow countrymen in what was to become Mexico’s most famous speech, The Cry of the Dolores. He organized and lead the revolt against the Spaniards with nearly 90,000 farmers and civilians armed with unconventional weaponry. The well-armed Spanish military eventually stopped them at the Battle of Calederon Bridge. The opposition finally captured Hidalgo and executed him on July 30, 1811.
During the French Revolutionary Wars, Napoleon’s mighty forces finally penetrated Spain and its rule over Mexico. In the meantime, the Yucatecans began to yearn for freedom. The Mexican drive for independence was in full swing after the death of Miguel Hidalgo. Opposing leaders were eventually imprisoned or executed. However, the stride towards freedom was survived by guerilla war tactics, led by Vicente Guerrero. Consequently, it all started to take a toll on Spain’s remaining military presence. The elite and monarchy who relocated to what was known at the time as New Spain began to show support for the rebels and the independence for Mexico.
Mexico claimed its independence on September 27, 1821. The country celebrates their independence on September 16, the day of the Cry of Dolores in 1810. The people of Mexico formed the Mexican Empire upon independence. At the time, this included the territory of Belize. However, in 1824 the Monarchy-styled government gave way to the First Mexican Republic. Mexicans had to defend their freedom over financial matters on May 5th, 1862, which is known as Cinco de Mayo. At the Battle of Puebla, against all odds, the Mexican army amazingly defeated a well-trained and equipped French (Empire) army.
Beacuse of this, Mexicans were living in a struggling country, desperatly trying to recover. Spain had torned Mexico from its native roots and thrown into a turmoil by centuries of foreign occupation. After gaining its independence, establishing a government, and rekindling centuries of interrupted traditions takes time. Mexico had to reestablish before entering into a two-year war with the United States in 1846. Mexico finally settled on 31 federated states and is the fifth largest country in the Americas. It is also the 13th largest independent state in the world.
Valuable History in the Yucatan Peninsula
The Yucatan Peninsula holds so much valuable history, along with its ever-important topographic environments. From its dense jungles to arid plains and beautiful coastline that hugs the Caribbean Sea, the Yucatan Peninsula has earned the reputation as a must-visit destination. In the 60s and 70s Mexico started to be an exotic retreat for many of the United States’ rich and famous, which continues today. Unsurprisingly, Mexico’s economy positions part of its financial stability around many elements, tourism being an important one.
When visiting the area, knowing a little bit about the history of the Peninsula and its Mayan ancestry will help you understand its deep rich culture. The Yucatan Peninsula offers plenty of family entertainment that includes exciting adventures, ancient ruins, and world class beaches. Don’t forget to enjoy other such amenities like fabulous cuisines, a festive atmosphere, and warm welcoming from the Mexican people as well.
At Top Mexico Real Estate we have the most fascinating properties throughout the Yucatan Peninsula for you to enjoy the rich history the region offers. Be it new popular areas like Playa del Carmen or old charming places like Merida, we can find your dream home for you.
And remember, at Top Mexico Real Estate…we make it happen!
Spain’s conquering of the Yucatan cities
In 1531 Spain discovered the ancient town of Chichen Itza. This pre-Columbian city – Terminal Classic period – circa AD 800-900, was one of the largest Mayan cities of its time. With Spain slowly conquering the surrounding cities, an alliance of eastern providences formed a resistance and launched an attack on the Spanish held town of Campeche. Spain ended up returning to Campeche in 1541 – 42 and set up a town council. Again, the eastern alliances put together an offensive attack in 1546. Their efforts this time around were to no avail and defeated rather easily in one battle. This marked a complete conquest of the region – northern Yucatan.
With total Spanish dominance, religion became the focus of the Roman Catholic Church. In the 17th century, the Franciscan Missions were in full stride converting the ‘pagan’ worships of the remaining indigenous Mayans to Catholicism. Meanwhile, in 1697 Spain finally defeated the city of Nojpeten – the Capital of Guatemala. This historic event marked the last native kingdom in the Americas to succumb to Spanish rule.
Spain now controlled most, if not all of the Yucatan state
The colonizing of the Yucatan was in full swing. The migration of the curious, opportunist and adventurous Europeans started to flood the area. The Yucatan’s terrain can be somewhat between its beautiful shoreline and the semi-arid inland areas. The western and northern coastlines offer white-sand beaches and Caribbean fed waters that flow into the Gulf of Mexico.
Several parts of the Yucatan’s topography aren’t so forgiving. To the south is the state of Campeche and to its east is Quintana Roo. Between these two border states lies a variety of terrain. This was an ecosystem that isn’t all that familiar to the settlers who arrived at the new-found land. The inner-arid landscape can be difficult to navigate. Especially when you come from lush rolling hills, wooded areas, and a mild to a cooler climate. With the peninsula being surrounded by water from the west, its protruding tip and eastern points, the summer months are uncomfortably hot and very humid.
Mayans opposing Spain’s conquering presence
Newcomers to the settlement had to always be cautious whenever traveling outside their residing city limits. Even though the indigenous natives knew they had been defeated, there were still several pockets of rebelling Mayans who opposed Spain’s conquering presence. The Spaniards preceded to dismantle many of the Mesoamerican civilization’s sacred temples. They used the carved stones to build many of Merida’s structures that still remain today. They also relentlessly imposed Catholicism on the Mayan people. This created unsettling tension between the exiled Mayan religious leaders and the Catholic priest.
Finally, without going into more detailed events, by the 17th century, Spain now had the right to declare the Yucatan Peninsula as part of its vast empire that spread across America.
This is a good place to end our second article in the three-part ‘Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula’ series. The final episode will give you a look at how and when Spain released its hold on Mexico. Their independence was well deserved after spending several centuries of repeated efforts to free themselves from the Spanish and French rule.
Read here our previous article “Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula – Capital of The Yucatan Cities“
Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula has many historical events, early cultural influence, and the indigenous humanity that is native to the area. Visiting this part of Mexico – northern Yucatan Peninsula brings out the curious side of many historians. There is so much to see and explore in a land that has experienced so much history throughout its existence. The Mayan culture has endured many changes throughout the millennium but still has such an influential status in the region.
Yucatan Peninsula – The Mayan Indians
The Mayan Indians arrived in the Yucatan Peninsula, which today is the state of the Yucatan, around 500 BC – 250 AD. Evidence of these dates lie in the archeological sites of Coba, Dzibanche, and Kohunlich. This ancient but very highly-advanced civilization showed signs of a suffocated society that developed an infrastructure that operated very similar to today’s modern cities. The Mayans were also very innovative farmers who knew how to enrich soils and use the landscape to their advantage.
The Mayan culture mingled amongst other indigenous tribes that were inherent to the area during the 10th through the 13th centuries. Spain invaded the Yucatan Peninsula during the 16th century, which interrupted the Mayan civilization. When Spain finally conquered the Yucatan region in 1537, they were on their way to ruling the region for almost three centuries. The Spaniards brought their off-shore influences to a culture that knew nothing about the opposing foreigners.
Spanish influence on the Mayan culture
Spain wanted to change the Mayan culture to their way of thinking. They imposed their social rule, economic posture, and the ever-expanding Christian faith – Catholicism. Many of the Mayan’s centuries-old books and documents were lost and/or destroyed during the Spanish conflict. When visiting the city of Merida today, much of its structures were built with centuries-old Mayan temples and pyramids carved out stones.
Spain created new colonies in a region that offered several advantages that included an alternate shipping port that created new tariffs and tax revenue that supported its vast empire. Not all the Mayan tribes gave into Spain’s efforts to overthrow their homeland. There were still pockets of resistance towards the Spaniards. The Mayan Indians utilized the element of surprise to their favor when warring. The Indians used handmade spears, bows and arrows and stones against the well-equipped conquistadors. However, the Spaniards brought diseases to the region that took many Mayan lives.
How Spain took control over the Yucatan state
Spain’s Francisco de Montejo y Alvarez, a captain who commanded four Spanish inquisition ships, return to the Yucatan in 1528. He tried to capture the eastern coast of the peninsula – Tulum & Chetumal, with little to no success. He was met with overpowering resistance and was forced to retreat back to Merida. Francisco was reassigned to search out further possibilities south. Spain set up township counsels in Campeche and Merida in 1541 – 42. The Conquistadors eventually moved their forces south through what is now Central American. At this particular point in time, Spain was gaining control over the Yucatan state. Spain’s King V, – Holy Roman Emperor, announced Francisco de Montejo y Alvarez as the Captain General of the Yucatan.
At this point in the article, we are going to end this segment. We hope you have enjoyed this first portion of a three-part series article. Stay tuned for part 2 coming soon.
If you have any question regarding real estate in the Riviera Maya, please let us know! We’ll be happy to help you. Remember, at Top Mexico Real Estate… We make it happen!
It’s not a secret; Mexico has some of the most beautiful beaches in the Caribbean. Each year, thousands of tourists choose the Yucatan Peninsula as their destination for incredible vacations. This place has become a favorite destination for both, tourists and Mexicans.
Once you land in Mexico, any beach you visit will look extraordinary. It’s guaranteed that you will never find an ugly beach in Mexico, but when it comes to the Caribbean, you are standing in paradise. The white sand that almost feels like powder and the beautiful crystal-clear waters will hypnotize you. Walking along the beach, while you take a sunbath and freshen up with the sea breeze, is an unforgettable experience.
Since most tourists come to the Caribbean beaches to look for comfort, some beaches tend to be too crowded. This could actually be ideal for people who want to have fun and party. However, for those who want to relax and enjoy, a tranquil beach would be perfect. Luckily for those people, the Yucatan Peninsula has many virgin beaches; most of these beaches are kept secret and are much less crowded.
Here are the 5 most beautiful beaches in the Yucatan Peninsula:
Caleta Tankah, Tulum:
This beautiful beach is located on the Highway 307, on the way to Tulum. It is a 43-minute drive from Playa del Carmen and 1 hour 30 minutes from the Cancun airport. The entrance to this beach is not easy to see, so it’s really important to be alert and observe the way.
Once you’re in, you’re going to drive a small path towards the beach; it should be less than a minute. The entrance fee is $150 pesos, and it includes access to the beach club. Right here you can choose a spot, leave your things and relax. This location has a restaurant, so you can order delicious food and beverages for a reasonable price. It’s important to mention that Caleta Tankah has limited space, so it is highly recommended to arrive early.
A wonderful thing about this place is the beautiful inlet “caleta”, where fresh and salt water collide. However, the whole beach itself is stunning, from the beautiful white sand to the amazing crystal-clear waters. Also, Tankah is home to a cenote. You can dive into this freshwater sinkhole and freshen up a little.
El Cielo, Cozumel:
You may have heard of this fantastic paradise located just a short drive from downtown Cozumel. This place is perfect to do some snorkeling in its crystalline waters that allow you to appreciate the bottom of the sea. El Cielo has become one of the favorite destinations for people who visit this island.
To arrive to this paradise, you have to take the ferry from Playa del Carmen to Cozumel. Once you get to Cozumel, you can buy a tour that includes activities such as snorkeling. It is also possible to book a tour through a website. If you decide to acquire a snorkeling activity, don’t miss the opportunity to watch the starfishes; a highly interesting activity El Cielo has to offer. The white sandy beach and the turquoise water will make you never want to leave the Caribbean.
The turtle sanctuary, located 40 minutes away from Playa del Carmen, is also home to a cenote. This hidden jewel is another paradise the Yucatan Peninsula has at your disposal. Its name is Xcacel and it is considered one of the most beautiful beaches in Quintana Roo. The entrance fee to this beach is $20 pesos.
Why is Xcacel so special? Let’s begin with the fact that it is a turtle sanctuary. Each year, between April and October, thousands of turtles arrive to nest along this beach. If you’re visiting Quintana Roo during these months, you can volunteer for one day and witness the birth of hundreds of turtles.
Another beauty in this place is the amazing freshwater sinkhole, known as cenotes. “Cenote Xcacelito” is perfect if you want to cool off in fresh water. It is located a few steps away from the beach, in the middle of the jungle. Run to the cenote and escape for a while from the Caribbean heat. Xcacel is definitely a beach you must visit at least once.
Boca Paila, Southern Tulum
Boca Paila is an incredible fishing village located in the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve. This is a dream for anyone who is a nature lover. In the same way, any adventurous lover would enjoy a night camping here.
Besides being a gorgeous beach, Boca Paila has a giant lagoon, which is actually ideal for fishers. Thanks to the fact that Boca Paila is located in a protected area, this beach is still virgin. As a result, it is not crowded and noisy. Thus this beach is ideal for a tranquil and relaxing getaway.
Also, if you decide to stay the night and camp here, this would happen under the starry sky. From here, you will be able to appreciate nature as you’ve never done it before. This heavenly site doesn’t have any kind of service, so we recommend bringing water, food and a tent. Please remember to keep the beach clean!
Punta Maroma, Northeast Playa del Carmen
Punta Maroma is definitely among the most beautiful beaches in the Yucatan Peninsula. This site has become a favorite destination for newlyweds. For those who enjoy a beach that is not very crowded, this is the perfect place.
Punta Maroma offers a tranquil and peaceful ambience. People who commonly visit this beach, consider it a giant crystal-clear pool. Here you can admire the beautiful landscapes with gorgeous colors next to the calm Caribbean Sea. Since this beach is not crowded, you will be able to enjoy this paradise for yourself. Punta Maroma has a large range of lodgings; here you will find camping spots, eco-friendly hotels and fancy villas.
If you’re intending to visit this place, Punta Maroma is located 35 kilometers from the Cancun International Airport. As a reference, it’s between Puerto Morelos and Playa del Carmen.
So take your things and visit these beautiful and amazing beaches in the Yucatan Peninsula. Don’t forget to take your camera with you and photograph the stunning landscapes.
Have an incredible getaway far from the city and close to nature. Enjoy the Caribbean to the fullest.
Mahahual is one of the many hidden jewels of the Yucatan Peninsula. A small fishing village where magic happens since you arrive. This small town is a very safe destination; and the perfect spot to escape and have a peaceful time off.
Mahahual is located south of Tulum following the 307 highway on the way to Chetumal.
Once you pass the town of Carrillo Puerto, you will see the signs pointing to take the road to Mahahual. Your destination is only 3 kilometers away from the Costa Maya cruise port. If you’re coming from Cancun’s International Airport, it is an easy and worthwhile drive to Mahahual; with plenty of cenotes and quaint towns. If you’re looking for a getaway to relax and to get some rest from the crowds of Playa del Carmen or Cancun, Mahahual is the perfect place to achieve this.
Here you won’t find big hotels, nor giant developments. Mahahual features beautiful small hotels in the heart of the town. You will find some grocery stores and, of course, delicious restaurants where food will give you another amazing experience. Mahahual offers a range of lodgings, from camping spots, boutique hotels and luxury villas.
In Mahahual there are several activities to do. It goes from eco tours, to snorkeling, diving and fishing. The weather conditions in the summer are excellent for fishing, so in this period of the year this town hosts amazing fishing contests. Also, you will find some beach clubs with excellent service to enjoy an amazing day at the beach.
Wake up every morning in this small paradise. You can have breakfast in one of the many coffee shops, so you can later get ready for an incredible day. The calm waters of Mahahual will allow you to dive in and swim all along the Caribbean Sea. Then, you can sunbath while you drink a fresh beverage. When you decide to leave the beach, you can go for walk on the main street, where you will find some local sellers with beautiful Mexican handicrafts; the perfect place to find a souvenir to take back home! Moreover, take the opportunity to rent out a bike and go across Mahahual, a short but lovely road.
Once the night arrives to Mahahual, you can go out on a romantic dinner under the moonlight and feel the ocean breeze. Enjoy every corner that this paradise has to offer. Mahahual has managed to maintain the beautiful Caribbean vibe that every tourist looks for.
Mahahual is another hidden jewel of the Yucatan Peninsula, and you must visit it before you leave Mexico. Once you’re here, you will not regret this amazing getaway!