We have an optional visit to Celestun which is a small beach town in Mexico’s Yucatan province. Here we can relax on the beach, explore the Ria Celestun mangroves, and potentially see thousands of flamingos in the wild! All of this can be seen the same day (an amazing experience that makes our list of the best things to do in Mexico).
An afternoon city tour of Mérida, the capital of Yucatan, is a beautiful colonial city, known as the white city follows. The Spaniard Francisco de Montejo “El Mozo” founded Mérida on January 6, 1542. When the Spaniards arrived, Mérida was a large Maya city known as T’ho, situated on what is now the Main Plaza. It was conquered by the Spaniards, who dismantled all the pyramids and used the huge stones as the foundation for the Cathedral of San Ildefonso (1556-1599), the oldest cathedral on the American continent.
The Cathedral, situated on the east side of the Plaza, is only one of Mérida’s many interesting sites. Directly across the Plaza is the Palacio Municipal (1735), Mérida’s Town Hall. On the south side is the Casa de Montejo (1542), the former home of the conqueror of Yucatán. The Palacio de Gobierno (1892), on the north side, houses murals by Fernanco Castro Pacheco illustrating the somewhat violent history of Yucatán.
One of the major influences on Yucatán history is the henequén plant. This plant became known as ‘green gold’ for the wealth it lavished upon the hacienda owners in this area. In the early 20th Century, this made Mérida home to numerous millionaires who built their lavish homes on Paseo de Montejo.
Overnight Hotel Mision de Fray Diego Breakfast and Dinner