Chetumal: A Historic City with a Charm of the Caribbean

Chetumal, the attractive capital city of the State of Quintana Roo, is an ideal destination to delight yourself with the splendor of the cultural heritage it possesses in each of its emblematic monuments, museums, and murals.

Chetumal: A Historic City with a Charm of the Caribbean
The attractive Chetumal City is an ideal destination to delight you in Quintana Roo. Chetumal has a boardwalk, known as boulevard bahía. Photo: Turismo Chetumal

Chetumal is the capital of the state of Quintana Roo and was founded in 1898 under the name of Payo Obispo. It has a Caribbean flavor with old English-style houses and still retains the charm of the province reflected in the friendliness of its people. Chetumal has a varied offer of cozy hotels, an airport, and wide highways that communicate it with the rest of the country.

Among its distinctive features is the Boulevard which crosses the entire Bay of Chetumal and is the longest in the entire Yucatan Peninsula. You can walk along with it and appreciate some of the monuments such as the Fisherman's Monument, the Manatee Monument, and the one dedicated to the resilience of the inhabitants after Hurricane Janet. As well as enjoy its restaurants and festive atmosphere. This is the perfect place to enjoy beautiful sunrises.

It is a pleasure to walk around the city and contemplate its typical and colorful wooden houses so characteristic of this part of the Caribbean. A classic and delicious treat of Chetumal is the "machacado", a kind of sweet ice shaving. It is prepared with natural fruit, which can be banana, pineapple, papaya, watermelon, mamey, zapote, nanche, or peach, and it is topped with condensed milk. Be sure to try it!

What to see in Chetumal?

Boulevard Bahía

It crosses the entire city and has an incredible view of the bay. You can walk or bike along with it.

Fisherman's Monument

It is an emblematic place of Chetumal located on the Boulevard Bahia and one of the favorite places to take a picture. It has the legend "Chetumal. Here Mexico begins" and is surrounded by a fountain and a wooden corridor that goes into the bay.

Architecture of Chetumal

After Hurricane Janet, the city was rebuilt combining the modern style and the so-called "Old Chetumal", with houses in the romantic colonial English style. This style is characterized by its brightly colored wood and corrugated iron roofs, reminiscent of the architecture of Jamaica or the Bahamas.

El Renacimiento" Park

Beautiful park with an esplanade where a large sculpture called "Renaissance" is located, which recalls the devastation of Hurricane Janet in 1955. Annexed are a shopping center and the Palace of Justice building.

House of the Chronicle

It preserves the historical-photographic memory of the city. This cultural annex is located inside Caimanes Park.

Flag Esplanade

It is the first monument built in Chetumal and is located in front of the Government Palace. Two golden eagles stand on a pedestal where an obelisk with a clock commemorates the defense of the country when Mexico declared war on Germany.

Model of Payo Obispo

The architecture that characterized the old Chetumal (Payo Obispo) in its early years is presented in a scale model with beautiful wooden constructions. Hours: Tuesday to Sunday from 9 am to 7 pm.

Chetumal International Business and Convention Center

It is a modern building with spaces for exhibitions, fairs, and all kinds of events, equipped with high technology.

Payo Obispo Zoological Garden

This zoo has 11 hectares and has an interesting collection of reptiles, birds, butterflies, and mammals from the region. The animal enclosures resemble natural habitats and you can walk through them admiring huge mahogany and ceiba trees that can reach heights of up to 15 m (50 ft). The park offers horseback riding, and guided tours and you can feed fish and birds. Hours: Wednesday to Sunday from 10 am to 4 pm.

Museum of the City of Chetumal

It shows the history of the city in an English colonial environment, through 6 rooms with photographs, utensils, and documents. The museum is housed in a building that combines Art Deco style with some Mayan glyphs and is part of a Cultural Center. It has rooms and spaces where workshops and courses are held, as well as a magnificent open-air auditorium known as the Minerva Theater. Hours: Tuesday to Saturday from 9 am to 7 pm. Sundays from 9 am to 2 pm.

Yook' Ol Kaab Planetarium

It has an observatory equipped with the most powerful telescope in the Mexican southeast, with a lens of 40 cm in diameter; a solar clock; an auditorium with a capacity for 190 people; and two rooms, one with a permanent exhibition that shows the Mayan cosmovision and the other for temporary exhibitions related to the subject. Hours of operation: Tuesday to Friday 6 pm, Saturdays and Sundays 12:30 pm, 3:30 pm, and 6 pm.

Pictorial Mural of the Congress

It is a great mural that can be appreciated from any optical angle called "Form, Color, and History" elaborated by the painter Elio Carmichael. In the mural, you can learn more about the history of the place from the emergence of the Mayan world according to the legend of the Popol Vuh (sacred book of the Mayas) to the "Caste War" that took place in the mid-nineteenth century.

Museum of Mayan Culture

The exhibition shows the cosmovision of the Mayas. Uniquely, the museum exhibits in its three levels the earthly life, the underworld, and the celestial vault, always revolving around the Yaxché or ceiba, the sacred tree of the ancient Mayas. There are interesting pieces, scale models of archaeological sites, and reproductions of murals.

A large jungle diagonally crosses the room on three levels with a unique atmosphere with real sounds of animals of the region such as birds and howler monkeys. It has a craft store, a bookstore, and a temporary exhibition hall. Hours: Tuesday to Saturday from 9 am to 7 pm. Sundays from 9 am to 2 pm.

On a patio adjacent to the Museum of Mayan Culture there is a full-scale reproduction of a Mayan house with its various traditional elements.