A jewel in the crown of Yucatan's queen, colonial Merida
The Ocean at Sisal
Another Joyous Adventure with Roberto? Porque no?
THE OCEAN AT THE OLD PORT OF SISAL WITH STOPS AT THE PASTA TILE VILLAGE OF UCU AND THE MAYAN TOWN OF HUNUCMA
Sisal, the centuries-old original port of Merida, is almost never described in travel guides except to say its name is the source of an English word for rope or twine.It is about 30 miles from us as the bird flies, but is considerably more complicated to reach ever since a hurricane years ago destroyed the coastal road to it and substituted an enormous lagoon.This turns out to have been a good thing in our opinion.Sisal is the peaceful, beautiful beach that many people seek but do not find in Progresso, the present and very touristy port of Merida afflicted by cruise ships and the ills that accompany the sudden discharge of thousands of passengers.
The beach at Sisal is clean, white sand and substantially empty.There are no T-shirt purchase opportunities and almost never tourists.The town is Mayan and has a population of about 2500.There is a very nice pier.Along the beach there are many seashells. Right past the high tide mark about a half mile from the pier there are long, uninterrupted expanses of sand dunes with undisturbed coastal vegetation. When you see ducks fly south for the winter, this is where many of them have made reservations and are headed.The sea is calm and easy to swim or wade in.The place is full of birds.The cormorants are fun to watch as they drop like cannonballs into the water to catch fish.The entire region south of Sisal is a nature preserve for more than 50 miles and this accounts for the abundance and variety of birdlife.
Roberto will pick you up at Casa Santiago at nine in the morning.On the way to Sisal, you can make two great stops.In the Mayan village of Ucu there are two wonders:a pasta tile outdoor workshop, about the only one left after a history stretching back to imperial Rome, and a cookhouse for cochinita pibil (buried roasted pig a la Yucatan).If you want, Roberto can stop at either or both.You can get a bite to eat across the street from the cookhouse at the little open air restaurant.The road then takes you through the quiet Mayan town of Hunucma.Electricity rates in the Yucatan are cheaper if you live in a Mayan thatched house and Mayans being wise, Hunucma is full of these thatched houses.The market at the town square is typically Mayan and there is a great place on the square that makes fresh popsicles out of regional fruits.Twelve miles more and you are in Sisal.
There are changing facilities and showers at the beach. You will have your lunch at the greatest fish place, in our opinion, in the world.It is open-air, shaded from the sun, has lots of fans and is a half block from the beach.The very friendly family that runs the place also owns a fishing boat and that accounts for the freshness and quality of the fish.Other seafood is also available.Lunch is at your expense but the prices are very inexpensive.The grouper (“mero” in Spanish) is excellent.The restaurant shares a corner with the old customs house of Sisal which has seen centuries of history pass by. Think as you sit there of the arrival at this very corner of the beautiful Empress Carlotta, soon to be the deranged widow of ill-fated Maximillian, the Austrian installed by the French as Emperor of Mexico in the mid-nineteenth century.She enjoyed the same view.
After lunch, Roberto will take you back home to Casa Santiago in the midafternoon.
casa santiago 562 Calle 63 x 70 y 72, Centro (Santiago), Merida, Yucatan 97000
or 517 Calle 70 x 63 y 65, Centro (Santiago), Merida, Yucatan 97000
(The property is L shaped and hence has two addresses)
Skype (US number that rings in Merida) 1 314 266 1888 Sergio the manager's cell if you call while in Mexico: 999 997 4058 Sergio's cell if you call outside Mexico: 011 521 999 997 4058