Dangers Annoyances

Despite often alarming media reports and official warnings for Mexico in general, the Yucatan Peninsula remains a safe place to travel, and with just a few precautions you can minimize the risk of encountering problems. Enjoy yourself in the ocean, but beware of undertows and riptides on any beach. Women traveling alone, and even pairs of women, should be cautious about going to remote beach and jungle spots. Cocaine and marijuana are prevalent in Mexico. They are both illegal. The easiest way...

Getting There Away

Canc n's Aeropuerto Internacional de Canc n (off Map p77 886-0047) is the busiest in southeastern Mexico. The airport has a few ATMs the best place to change money is the Banamex bank along the back wall outside the domestic baggage-claim area (behind the coffee shop) it has an ATM and offers good exchange rates. Opposite the bank are (inconvenient) pay-in-advance baggage lockers costing M 70 for 24 hours (a tip is appreciated, but optional). There's wi-fi access and a free, Spanish-only public...

Ruined Haciendas Route

A fascinating alternative return route if you're driving out of Celestlin is to turn south off Hwy 281 where a sign points to Chunchucmil. The road has frequent potholes along the 25km stretch to Chunchucmil, which is the name of both a ruined henequen hacienda and a nearby Maya archaeological site. You should ask locally before visiting any of these haciendas. A land dispute kicked off protests in Chunchucmil in 2007. Paying local boys a small tip to show you around goes a long way to ease the...

Indigenous peoples of chiapas

Of the 4.2 million people of Chiapas, approximately 1.25 million are indigenous, with language being the key ethnic identifier. Each of the eight principal groups has its own language, beliefs and customs. Travelers to the area around San Cristobal are most likely to encounter the Tzotziles and the Tzeltales. Their traditional religious life is nominally Catholic, but integrates pre-Hispanic elements. Most people live in the hills outside the villages, which are primarily market and ceremonial...

Food Drink

I hope you're hungry because in the Yucat n Peninsula you are up for a feast. Yucatecos, and other residents of the Yucat n Peninsula, are enormously proud of their history and cultural background, and they will love to share it with you in the form of a rich-red plate of cochinita pibil (pork pibil style), a couple o panuchos (small corn tortillas that puff when heated) and a sip of Xtabent n, the so-called liqueur of the gods. The relative geographic isolation from the rest of the country...

The Culture

Culture is an ever-evolving monster, and the regional identity of the Yucat n is arguably changing faster today than it ever has in its history. The erosion of Maya culture, migration to large cities and tourist draws by the landed elite and destitutely poor alike, and the ever-pervasive influence of Mexico's neighbors to the north are morphing and distorting the cultural Zeitgeist, creating a new paradigm for a region with a growing identity crisis. In The Modern Maya Travelers often comment...

Inside The Seedy Sextourism Trade

In recent years an alarming number of tourists are visiting Mexico not for the beaches and booze, but for the brothels. As if this weren't bad enough, now Mexico is being used as a bridge to bring sex slaves, often underage, into the US, Japan and other developed countries, according to reports by Reuters. Depending on what news source you look at, there are as many as 5000 child sex slaves in Mexico - calling them prostitutes just makes it sound too much on the up-and-up. The age of consent...

Xpujil

The truck-stop hamlet of Xpujil shpu-heel lies at the intersection of east-west Hwy 186 and the road north to Hopelch n and eventually M rida . From this junction westward are the ruins ofXpuhil less than 1km , Bec n 8km , Chicann 11.5km and Balamk 60km to the south are the remote sites of Rio Bee and Hormiguero. While hardly an attractive base for visiting these sites, Xpujil does offer an internet caf , a guide service, a handful of hotels, some unexceptional eateries and a taxi stand, all...

Museo de Arte Popular de Yucatn

The Museo de Arte Popular de Yucat n Yucatecan Museum of Popular Art cnr Calle 50A amp Calle 57 in the Casa Molina admission MS30 S 9 30am-4 30pm Tue-Sat, 9am-2pm Sun is six blocks east of the Plaza Grande in a building built in 1906. There's a small rotating exhibit downstairs that features pop art from around Mexico, but honestly, you're better off heading to any artisan market in the countryside - you'll see the same style of work, and it won't cost you a single peso, unless you want to buy...

Exploring the Site

The city of Mayap n was large, with a population estimated to be around 12,000 it covered 4 sq km, all surrounded by a great defensive wall, a testament to the bellicose poque, which was its heyday. More than 3500 buildings, 20 cenotes and traces of the city wall were mapped by archaeologists working in the 1950s and in 1962. The late post-Classic workmanship is inferior to that of the great age of Maya art. Among the structures that have been restored is the Castillo de Kukulc n, a climbable...

Hopelchn

The municipal center for the Chenes region, Hopelch n Maya for 'Place of the Five Wells' makes a pleasant base for visiting the various archaeological sites in the vicinity while also providing a glimpse of everyday life in a small Campeche town. A tourist information office 822-0089 Calle 20 S 8am-3pm in the Casa de Cultura, two blocks north of the main plaza, is staffed by English speakers. To get online, visit Cyber 23 Calle 23 , a block west of the bus station. On a typical morning here,...

Infectious Diseases Malaria

Malaria occurs in every country in Central America, including parts of Mexico. It's transmitted by mosquito bites, usually between dusk and dawn. The main symptom is high spiking fevers, which may be accompanied by chills, sweats, headache, body aches, general weakness, vomiting or diarrhea. Severe cases may involve the central nervous system and lead to seizures, confusion, coma and death. Taking malaria pills is strongly recommended when visiting rural areas. For Mexico, the first-choice...