Oxkutzcab - the State Orchard
One of our magazine covers shows a Mayan woman showing her embroidery work from the door of her home in the village of Xo-uayan in the very southern part of the state.
The publisher and editor of Yucatan Today went on an excursion to Oxkutzcab, the village that is nicknamed the "orchard of the state." Oxkutzcab has many unique features that make it an interesting place to visit. Its first interesting point is its location right where the Convent Route and the Puuc Route meet. This fantastic location makes it the obvious place to spend the night so you can do one route the first day and the other route the next without returning to Mérida.
Another interesting aspect of Oxkutzcab is the fact that it is a very Mayan village. Although it is considered a city because it has a population of 27,000 inhabitants, it is really a big town where you will find the majority of the people still using the typical huipil dress and everyone using trici-taxis for transportation.
On the façade of the market there is a huge, unique mural painted by the Mayan artist Baas. He is also the artist who painted the mural of the Act of Faith, the destruction of the Mayan codices that is in the Main Plaza of Oxkutzcab. Since this market is the gathering point of all the citrus and vegetable production for the entire region, you will find a different feeling about it in comparison to other Mexican markets. Stroll the market and take in all the colorful, fresh fruits and vegetables that the women have in their stands. And for something totally unexpected, in the back section of the market, look for Miguel Pacheco's food stall--with Italian cuisine! We went to Oxkutzcab and used it as a base. We then went adventuring, first to the Lol Tun caves (7 km), then on to Hacienda Tabi, just another 7 km. From there we got off the beaten path and headed further south toward Xul and Xo-auyan. It is in these villages, which are truly just dots on the map, that we saw the Mayan women and young girls sitting in front of their thatched roof homes embroidering. We also saw groups of huipil clad women at the Commissary building learning to read and write in Spanish. We were told that after 6 pm you won't see any women in the Plaza, on the streets, or in front of their homes. It was almost like Cinderella at midnight at the ball.
Oxkutzcab is located in the southern part of the state, some 100 km (60 miles) from Mérida,in the "citrus belt". (Yucatan Peninsula Map) Oxkutzcab is an interesting place to stay and use as a base if you are interested in exploring the southern part of Yucatán state.
To optimize your time, consider doing the Convent Route one entire day, sleeping in Oxkutzcab, then continuing on the next day with the Puuc Route, ending up in Mérida after doing the Light and Sound Show in Uxmal. Or you can stay in Uxmal after the Light and Sound Show. In Oxkutzcab, you will find services such as hotels and restaurants and gas stations. Oxkutzcab was founded in 1841 and it has a population of 27,000.
Things to see: San Francisco Convent (1790 - 1851), San Esteban Chapel (1872), The Virgin Pilar Hermitage (1697), the train station (1947), the wonderful, citrus aroma market, and the huge tricycle taxi groups.
Puuc Route: Lol-Tun caves, Labna, Xlapak, Sayil, Kabah, Sta. Elena (mummies), Uxmal.
Convent Route: Acanceh (Mayan pyramids, churches), Tecoh, Telchaquillo, Mayapan (Mayan pyramids), Tekit, Mama, Chumayel, Teabo, Tipikal, Mani and Oxkutzcab.
- Hotel Puuc
- Yucatan Peninsula Map