Mérida, Yucatán — According to the Historic Center’s caleseros, demand for their services increased by 50 percent over Easter weekend.
Shortly before 8 a.m., the men who offer horse-drawn-carriage rides arrive at the Historical Center and they settle to one side of the Cathedral, ready for business.
Each ride, which lasts approximately 45 minutes, costs 350 pesos. They are especially popular with tourists from other parts of the country.
Although many people feel the horses shouldn’t be employed to pull carriages, they are given a lot of healthy attention, according to Diario de Yucatán.
The 60 or so caleseros who operate the flower-draped buggies hold UADY-issued certificates to certify their horses are cared for. The university verifies every six months that the horses are in good health and living in optimal conditions.
Also, the horses work on a rotating schedule so they don’t work all day long, said a driver who spoke anonymously to Diario.
Of all the sights along the carriage route, the mansions are most popular, he said. Horses make their way north to the Paseo de Montejo, passing Quinta Montes Molina and the twin houses, as well as parks and churches, all ready to be photographed by tourists.
“It is a tradition that tourists who visit the city take a ride in a carriage,” he said.
The calesas’ route usually begins in the Plaza Grande and advances past Hidalgo, Santa Lucía and Santa Ana parks. They head back south at the Monumento a la Patria, one of the most iconic symbols of Mérida.
The trip concludes where it began, at the Plaza Grande.
A calesero commented that for this Easter holiday all his colleagues were working.
Demand was normal during the weekday, but on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, business increased considerably, he said.