Chetumal is the capital of the State of Quintana Roo on the border with the Central American country of Belize. It is a destination made up of multiple options of adventure, culture, relaxation and rest. The tourist attractions that surround it possess the magic of transmitting to visitors the beauty of its nature, the warmth of its people, the ancestral history of its communities, the flavors of its cuisine and the uniqueness of its culture.
History tells us that the Spanish shipwrecked man of Andalusian origin, Gonzalo Guerrero, arrived at its beaches. He integrated into the Mayan culture, adopted its customs and married the Mayan princess Zazil Ha. When the conquistadors later arrived at the place and wanted to rescue him, he preferred to stay among the natives. From his union with the princess were born the first Mexicans known.
In 1898 a village called Payo Obispo was founded there, a hamlet that grew with the arrival of peasants, adventurers from all sides, emigrants from Lebanon and Belize, etc., who mixed with the Mayas were shaping the current population of this peaceful Caribbean city, which in 1936 officially received the name of Chetumal.
To visit this Caribbean region means to go back to the XVII century, to the times of the corsairs, when the city of Bacalar, in the shore of the lake of the same name, was attacked by the English pirates who fought for the commercial control of the precious woods and the dye stick; today the fort of San Felipe stands majestic and harmonious as mute witness of those battles. the lagoon of Bacalar, with the seven cenotes that feed it, is a kaleidoscope of blues with calluses of sand. It is long, thin, beautiful. It is the mouth of the Río Hondo, the natural border between Mexico and Belize, where sailing, rowing, and diving are practiced. Communicated with the lagoon by subterranean veins, the Blue Cenote suddenly appears, one of the largest and most beautiful in the state, whose waters reflect the exuberant vegetation of the shores.
Crossing the small villages with their houses upholstered with creepers, appears in the heart of the jungle and integrated into the landscape the great palapa of the ecological hotel Explorean Kohunlich, where visitors can spend a few days in a nice country house in the middle of the jungle, there you will be filled with apapachos and offer a range of light excursions, full of emotion but without risk, guided by young professionals who are in love with their work. In the construction and decoration of the hotel, the materials of the area abound palm, precious woods as the cedar, the mahogany, and the rosewood, cotton, mimbres. There are excursions for the jungle on foot and in bicycle; rowing in kayak, candle, and snorkeling in the lagoons; rappel in the walls of a cenote.
All the tours are done in the middle of the exuberant flora and fauna of the region that the guides identify. At the end of the excursion, the guest will be surprised to be received by the chef with a table with tablecloths, candles and a formal dinner in the middle of the jungle! The visits to the archeological sites of Kohunlich and Dzibanché will make you live the magic of feeling like an invisible and timeless citizen of those cities full of people, colors, sounds of sea snails, drums and children playing. To live this experience is to be reborn to the simplicity of our origins, it is to awaken the senses resting the sight in soft and natural forms, perceiving the different smells of the jungle, tasting the fruits cut by ourselves, feeling how sweat and adrenaline run through the body: it is to fill the spirit of peace and harmony with nature.
TOP THINGS TO DO IN CHETUMAL
Boulevard Bay is where most of the most attractive monuments and sites in the city are distributed. In 1996, the government of the State of Quintana Roo established the so-called "Manatee Sanctuary".
To the east of the Palace of Justice, on the boulevard Bahía, you come to the intersection of Avenida Héroes, where the Government Palace, the seat of the executive power of the State, built between 1936 and 1955, stands. Almost opposite, in the middle of the zone tree-lined, this esplanade opens with a monument to the flag and a huge flagpole.
The monument is a huge obelisk with a clock on each of its four sides. At their feet, a pair of golden eagles flank a pedestal on which stands a sculpture alluding to the defense of the homeland.
The combatant group is a clear expression of the year in which it was erected, 1943, during World War II and even under the stylistic predominance of Art Deco. This obelisk marks the center of the city in some way. Something further south, on the waters of Chetumal Bay, extends the Fiscal Pier.
Model of Payo Obispo
In Chetumal, a few meters from the bay, at the beginning of Hidalgo Avenue, you will find the "Luis Reinhardt McLiberty" model, where the old village of Payo Obispo, its sandy streets, its palms, its houses, are recreated in small format. wood, a creation of nostalgia where there is no shortage of curves, those tanks in which rainwater was stored.
This model, attractive for all tourists who arrive from the south and for the inhabitants of Chetumal, has 185 wooden houses at a scale of 1: 25, 16 carts, 100 pots, 83 banana plants, 35 chit trees, and 150 people and can be contemplated, by four parts, from a peripheral walker.
As in a small fantasy country, you can see some boats anchored in the sea, the plants gleaned in the courtyards, the sandy streets, the porches adorned with balustraded crafts, the curved annexes ... with the same chromatism that this city had and that currently wants to maintain as an unmistakable and authentic seal of the Mexican Caribbean.
House of the Chronicle
On July 23, 1998, the Casa de la Crónica was founded, where the historic - photographic memory of the city is preserved, as well as the work of compilation or research work carried out uninterruptedly by Prof. Ignacio A. Herrera Muñoz. This cultural annex is currently located on Hidalgo Avenue in Cayman Park.
Museum of the City
This museum is located in the former school "Belisario Domínguez", where the facilities of the Ministry of Culture are located, one of the oldest buildings in the city. It has six rooms designed with a magnificent museography.
Here are concentrated historical documents, domestic pieces, photographs, furniture, weapons and other objects that reflect a part of the struggle for the growth of the city and well-being for its multiethnic and pluricultural population.
La Fuente del Pescador is the photographic parador of the city, emblematic place, and social and cultural meeting point of the state capital.
The morning and evening fisherman that we see every day in the Bay of Chetumal, is an image of the city, humble, hard-working, proud, hardworking, worthy in every way like the Quintana Roo, proud of the past and present, always working in search of the future they want to achieve.
Museum of the Mayan Culture
The Museum of the Mayan Culture is the place where one can appreciate one of the greatest feats made by man in the American continent, by imposing his dominion over the environment to create that civilization that lasted more than two thousand years.
The Museum of the Mayan Culture offers us a close approach to a culture that is distant and close at the same time. Even though the sacred cities are now abandoned, even when the time has passed and the history was changed with the presence of another culture that came from the ultra sea, the ancient wisdom of the Mayans survives in their daily lives, in their rites and beliefs, in agricultural practices and in the vigorous language spoken by two million people.
Pictorial murals of the Congress
"Form, color and history" was the name that Elio Carmichael gave to this mural, which can be seen from any optical angle. The painter favorably used the circumstances that, in relation to the viewer that enters the building, the prominence of the wall is increasing towards the center, to raise a chronology that increases from the lateral entrances.
From the upper left to the lower central part you can see the emergence of the Mayan world and the creation of man from corn, according to the legend of the Popol Vuh (sacred book of the Maya). They also show images of the daily life of the original town of Quintana Roo and the historical trajectory that led it to be conquered and dominated by the Spaniards, both in the war, as in their spiritual life, to culminate in the rebellion of the Mayan people in what is now known as "La Guerra de Castas".
In the upper part, the arrival of the first Spaniards, the shipwrecked of 1511, among which came Gonzalo Guerrero, the foundation of Payo Obispo, represented by the Chetumal pontoon, the tragedy caused by Hurricane Janet and the figures of Andrés Quintana Roo, Porfirio Diaz, Venustiano Carranza, Pascual Ortiz Rubio, Lázaro Cárdenas and Luis Echeverría Álvarez, who represent the creation of the territory in 1902, its disappearance in 1913, rehabilitation in 1915, its disintegration in 1931 and its reintegration in 1935, until its current condition of Free and sovereign State from 1974.
In its center stands a large sculpture called "Renaissance", which recalls the terrible fury of Hurricane Janet. On September 27, 1955, this meteor hit with such force that it practically destroyed the city and caused the death of some eight hundred of its eight thousand inhabitants.
Planetarium Yook'ol Kaab
It disseminates astronomy and related sciences to strengthen the interest of students and the general public in science, motivating creative thinking and strengthening the educational system.
In April 2011 the construction of the Planetarium with Cosmovisión Maya began and it has a diameter of 12 meters, it has an observatory of 4 meters, an auditorium for 190 people, 2 adjoining rooms, one for permanent exhibition with Mayan worldview and another for temporary exhibitions or multiple uses.
You can see the museum, botanical garden, administrative area, parking, access plaza, cosmography
TOURIST ATTRACTIONS AROUND CHETUMAL
Calderitas is located approximately 8km from the City of Chetumal, it is an ideal place to spend a good weekend. In this place, you can enjoy the cuisine of the area based on seafood and is also the entry point to the archaeological site of Oxtankah.
Calderitas is almost a neighborhood of Chetumal. The old Caribbean place ideal to eat the best seafood in the area while enjoying the majestic view of the sea. Under large conical palm leaf roofs, Calderitas restaurants offer fish, shrimp, snail, lobster, octopus, and other seafood delights, in different local versions.
Calderitas is also a spa. Some coastal stretches have been set up as an artificial beach by means of large sandbags and few people take advantage of this space to sunbathe or take a swim in the calm waters of the Chetumal Bay. The area also has hotels, trailer Park, boat rides through the bay knowing the bird watchers and the different mogotes and tripe that remain virgin as well as enjoy the kayak rental service in Laguna Guerrero.
From Laguna Guerrero are 3 kilometers to Raudales, a beautiful place on the shore of Laguna Guerrero, next to the Ejido of Ursulo Galván. In this place flows a fresh stream that comes from the Bacalar lagoon, so that the visitor has different types of water to choose from.
In the area, there are places for camping and grocery stores. On weekends and holidays, there are rental kayaks and boats for walks in the lagoon. In the vicinity, there is an excellent two-story observation deck for birdwatchers.
This story begins like so many others in our country (and in our world): a species that was abundant centuries ago was relentlessly decimated due to hunting, pollution and the destruction of their habitat until the extinction reached the edge. The end of the story you still do not know. We refer to the Antillean manatee (Trichechus manatus), the same that the men of Hernán Cortes mistook for mermaids.
Like the other species of the order of the sirenios, this manatee is a large herbivorous marine mammal, whose original habitat extended from Florida to Brazil. It gets to live for 60 years. The adult specimens normally weigh between 500 and 600 kilograms and measure up to 3 meters long. Instead of arms and legs, this quiet animal has two front fins and a tail in the form of a rounded paddle that serves to propel itself. His lips are very mobile since with them he plucks the aquatic grass with which it feeds.
Although it lacks natural predators, it has a serious problem to subsist as a species: its reproduction is very slow. The gestation period of the manatee is from thirteen to fourteen months and in each birth, only one offspring is born. The females re-mate until three years after giving birth. In 1996, the government of the state of Quintana Roo established the so-called "Manatee Sanctuary", a protected area of 281,000 hectares that includes the Hondo River, the Chetumal Bay, and the Guerrero Lake.
Since then, different government agencies, as well as higher education centers, private institutions, and conservation organizations have joined efforts to help sustain this sanctuary. It is estimated that the two hundred manatees that inhabit the state of Quintana Roo, some eighty or ninety reside in the sanctuary (which, by the way, is also home to other threatened species such as the swamp crocodile, the river turtle, and the jaguar). If this sanctuary manages to create a space where the nets of the fishermen and the propellers of the boats do not take the lives of the manatees, where the mangroves and other natural spaces that give their food to these mammals and where there is no more pollution are preserved, then we will see a conservation history with a happy ending.
The Hondo River is a border and corridor in the middle of the jungle. Body of navigable water in a great part of its channel, with an approximate extension of 156 kilometers. 250 years ago it was used as a waterway to remove the precious wood of Campeche, which was looted in the region. One hundred years later, the Mayas of Yucatan used it to smuggle the weapons with which they fought the Mexican government during the caste war.
Later it was also an ideal route to transport the natural gum (from the chicozapote tree), mahogany and other precious woods. Today, in addition to the border, it is still an aquatic avenue flanked still by extensive groves, where the traveler finds beautiful springs, streams, cenotes, and lagoons, all of them very little known. Besides, in Subteniente López, very close to Chetumal, there is the main border crossing with Belize.
With information from www.grandcostamaya.com
Mirador Dos Hermanos
It is located 25 minutes from Calderitas, place of calm waters, ideal for sport fishing, boat tours, and bird watching.
From Oxtankah it is necessary to return to the roundabout with the yellow and black sculpture of the saxophone that is one kilometer south of Calderitas. There you have to turn north towards Laguna Guerrero and Raudales. At 7 kilometers from the roundabout, there is a deviation that on the right leads to Punta Lagarto beach, 8 kilometers away. In this place, the mangrove opens and leaves a small area of sand for those who want to enjoy the waters of the bay. Otherwise, the site is quite rustic and hardly has restaurant services, especially on holidays and weekends.
From the deviation are another 13 kilometers to the town of Laguna Guerrero. There, the traveler will find some services besides jetties for this beautiful body of brackish water that extends in its main part for almost 10 kilometers. In the middle of the farmhouse, next to the lagoon is one of the most interesting sites of this route. It has a very long formal title: Center for Attention and Rehabilitation of Aquatic Mammals of the State Natural Protected Area "Sanctuary of the Manatí-Bahía de Chetumal", but everyone knows it simply as El Corral de Daniel because it has been living there for three years. manatee of this name, under the care of Don Eladio Juárez. The corral is no more than 20 meters long and 10 meters wide. On either side, there is a sort of pier and an elevated viewpoint from where it is possible to admire Daniel.
Daniel's story is rare but hopeful. He was found newborn (with everything and umbilical cord) in September 2003. As he was abandoned, he was given maternal care. They fed it with special milk imported from Florida and after almost two years when it was ready to be weaned, they released it in the wild. However Daniel preferred the company of humans and again and again, he returned until they realized that his life was there in his corral. The visit to the place is formidable. In addition to being able to admire Daniel, Don Eladio gives a very well-informed explanation of the manatees and the efforts that various public and private agencies, both nationally and internationally, are making in the bay of Chetumal to sustain the sanctuary of these peaceful mammals in Danger of extinction. The visit costs nothing and can be done at reasonable hours, says Don Eladio.
Five kilometers to the west of the branch to Subteniente López, on the same exit road from Chetumal, is the town of Huay Pix, which extends from the road to the edge of this lagoon.
There are several restaurants and a spa that also works as a trailer park, where the visitor can rent kayaks or hire boat rides (the same during the day, that at night, this lagoon invites to share a romantic moment. What better than Enjoy the most! At night, according to an ad that offers "romantic walks in the light of the moon"). This lagoon is another of the spectacular bodies of water in the area. It extends for 3 kilometers and at its widest reaches 2 000 thousand meters.
In recent dates, it has been the scene for local and national boating competitions. The stillness of its surface makes it an excellent sports space, while the different shades of blue of its waters make it an outstanding place.
The variety of places and magical places make the Union the favorite place for alternative tourism.
This other border town is 61 kilometers ahead of Álvaro Obregón, on the Hondo River. The crossing to Belize is done there in cayuco. Although it is a fairly remote point, it is well worth reaching up to visit the nearby Cenote del Cocodrilo Dorado, located about four kilometers to the northeast.
It is an extraordinary place. Its large water mirror, approximately 100 meters in diameter, is a brilliant cobalt blue color. Unlike the cenotes of the rest of the Yucatan peninsula, it is located at the foot of a small mountainous area, so that the relief allows to see it better. The stone wall that surrounds it on one side reaches 70 meters in height and is considered the best place in all of Quintana Roo to practice rappelling. At dusk, the clouds of bats that leave these walls to make their nocturnal tours are a spectacle.