Mexico: two magical towns to visit in Yucatan

These are Maní and Sisal, two towns that stand out for their charm, culture and natural landscapes

This month of December marks two years since Maní and Sisal in Yucatán were declared "Magical Towns" by the Federal Tourism Secretariat (Sectur), joining Valladolid and Izamal, towns that have stood out for their biodiversity, cultural , natural landscapes, Mayan vestiges; as well as for their stories and outstanding events that have occurred in the place. In addition to this, in these sites, its inhabitants have proven to be an example of how, through inclusive and sustainable strategies, it is possible to benefit their communities.

As for Maní, it is worth mentioning that it is also part of the Best Tourism Village of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), thanks to its good practices in terms of preservation and tourism sustainability. This Mayan paradise is an amazing land where every corner takes us back to the past; there, according to its name in the Mayan language: Manik, means "Place where everything happened", and although there are no exact data of the moment in which the Mayas settled in that area, it is known, thanks to archaeological evidence, that they could have settled there between the years 1000 and 400 BC 

As it is one of the oldest towns on the Peninsula, walking through its streets is like meeting a community that lives through their mother tongue, while they proudly wear the textiles full of color and design that give them their identity; live the most deeply rooted traditions of the Mayan world, where women, men and children live together under the shade of a Mayan solar and around the hearth of their open kitchens.
Being in Maní you should visit the Convent of San Miguel Arcángel, one of the oldest on the peninsula, built in 1549, or its 30 meliponarios where the melipona bee is preserved, an activity that has been carried out for hundreds of years that forms part of the local culture and traditions; Do not forget to visit the Cenote Xcabachen, a space full of Mayan mysticism, considered the door to Xibalbá (underworld). In the same way, you cannot miss its embroidery craft workshops, where cross stitch is practiced, as well as the X'manikté technique considered the oldest in the region, which today is one of the great artistic contributions of the Mayan world.

Finally, you can enjoy its exquisite local gastronomy, delighting your palate with a delicious poc chuc, whose main ingredient is pork marinated in sour orange juice, with the smoky flavor provided by the charcoal during cooking, accompanied by tomato sauce, roasted red onion, habanero chili sauce, sliced ​​radish, cilantro and handmade corn tortillas; This dish will make your experience unforgettable.

For its part, in Sisal it is possible to enjoy its atmosphere full of peace, while taking a boat ride through its mangroves, bird watching while learning interesting stories and legends from its inhabitants. This was a commercial port in colonial times, which during its peak season, functioned as the main entrance for the disembarkation of ships coming from Havana; However, with the opening of Puerto Progreso, Sisal would become just a point for fishing, where its tranquility has become one of the great attractions for tourists.

One of its great anecdotes is found in the arrival of Empress Carlota aboard the "steamer Tabasco", which disembarked on November 22, 1865, a historic event, since it would be the first time she would set foot on Mexican soil. "We walked on a mat of white shells to the house planned to rest..."; This is how it would be documented in Carlota's memories on her way to the Hunucmá hacienda, which can still be admired, highlighting its 19th century construction, and which is one of the many living examples of the henequen boom in Yucatán.

Without a doubt, those who visit Sisal will live an encounter with nature every day. In the El Palmar State Reserve, its wetlands are the habitat of a sizeable colony of the pink flamingo and to get to know the silent underwater life it is necessary to dive into the depths of the waters that the mangroves protect. Getting to this place involves a kayak trip through channels that lead to the diversity of fauna that make it up.

Yucatán has managed to position itself as the fashionable destination this 2022, not only because it is one of the safest entities in the country, but also, thanks to its vast tourist offer, which includes Magical Towns, nature reserves, extraordinary beaches, archaeological zones and a city cosmopolitan, cultural and gastronomic capital of the Southeast of Mexico; recently recognized as one of the 5 Best Large Cities in the World to Travel by Condé Nast Traveler magazine.

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