Tekax tries harder to attract tourists to southern Yucatan

Natural and cultural attractions are there; will eco-tourist income follow?

Tourism could put Tekax on the map in Yucatan. Photo: Getty
  • Colorful letters spelling out Tekax signal the expectation that tourists will come, taking selfies. Photo: Megamedia

A small town in Yucatan’s south has the beauty and culture to become a more prominent eco-adventure and cultural destination.

Tourist promoters are preparing to guide visitors to Tekax, about 95 minutes south of Merida, where rolling hills replace flat landscapes. Promoters see it as a diamond in the rough.

Tekax’s cenotes, archaeological sites and vestiges of its colonial years will be marketed toward travelers north of the border, from Europe and from other parts of Mexico.

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In the southern cone of Yucatan state, the town and surrounding region boast cenotes, ancient ruins, former sugar plantations and Maya populations that in the name of sustainable tourism have opened their doors to visitors, reports Sipse.

The state’s secretary of tourism promotion, Michelle Fridman Hirsch, and Tekax Mayor Diego Ávila Romero said nature guides are receiving formal training. Thirty-three trainees have begun 200 hours of instruction, six days a week from 9 to 3 p.m. Graduates receive a diploma on April 20.

“Today we find in Tekax and throughout the southern region of the state a product of rural, cultural and adventure tourism that has enormous potential,” said Fridman.

Among the attractions:

  • The town’s historic center, dating to the 16th century and known as the Sultana de la Sierra, already has tourist guides in place. A facade-rescue plan, reminiscent of Merida’s, has been initiated.
  • The Hermitage of San Diego de Alcalá, constructed in 1645, has views of the region.
  • The archaeological zone Chacmultún, which is characterized by intensely pink stone buildings and elaborate friezes.
  • The former sugar plantation Santa María, where the chapel and main house, machine house and extensive grounds are open to the public.
  • More than 200 cenotes include Gruta Chocantes, an extreme-sports site. Visitors there descend 50 meters and cross three narrow tunnels. Above, a zip line and camp site offer spectacular vistas.
  • Kalmankal, Las Sartenejas, Platanal and Trincheras cenotes are also in the vicinity of the municipality of Tekax.

Government officials are seeking investment. Mayor Ávila Romero said a top-level hotel chain already has plans to open an establishment. Only four hotels operate currently in Tekax.

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“Yucatan has a lot of potential,” he said. “The Secretariat of Tourist Development works to put Yucatan in the eyes of the world.”

“We have natural and archaeological resources,” the mayor added. “We are polishing them to make a product that promotes tourism in a sustainable, ecological and community way.”

Tekax, which means “Place of the Forests” in Yucatec Maya, was briefly declared the capital of Yucatan in 1845.

Source: Sipse

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