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Beaches near Merida

Seattle
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Beaches near Merida

My husband and I (late 60s-70 years old) plan to spend one-two weeks in Merida in January 2017. We are looking for a place with access to archaeological sites, swimming and snorkeling. We speak some Spanish and like to stay in less touristy areas. On a previous trip to the Yucatan, we have stayed in Puerto Morelos and Valladolid, visiting Chichen Itza, Tulum, and Coba. We want to visit Merida but would really like to have a good beach with snorkeling nearby. We were thinking of Progreso, but we have seen disparaging remarks about the beach and also mention of Telchak Puerto, Chuburna, and Chicxulub. Which of these would best meet our interests? Would any of them?? We also intend to check out Isla Mujeres for a week or so after Merida. Does this sound like a fruitful plan? (To give you an idea of our preferences, we love the little village of Chacala, north of Puerto Vallarta, which has a lovely calm beach, but no snorkeling and no archaeological sites. And we loved the city of Oaxaca and all the variety in the surrounding villages, but we want a beach too!) Now that we are retired, we would love to find a spot we want to come back to year after year (and we have spent time in Mazatlan, PV, Guadalajara, Melaque, Zihuatenejo, San Miguel de Allende, in addition to Chacala, Oaxaca, and Puerto Morelos), so let us know if you have other suggestions. Many thanks!

22 replies to this topic
Cozumel, Mexico
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for Cozumel, Merida
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1. Re: Beaches near Merida

I will let more people comment on your specifics regarding beaches and snorkeling in the Merida area. Because even having lived on Cozumel I am not much of a beach person. I can tell you that I would not waste time with Progreso as far as Beach or snorkeling. You mentioned having been to many of the touristy spots and if you do not seek another very touristy spot I would skip Isla Mujeres. It is now way too too touristy for me.

Merida, Mexico
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2. Re: Beaches near Merida

I could be wrong but I don't think there are many places for snorkeling on the north coast of the Yucatan. Be aware that the beaches are very different from the Caribbean. The water is greyer, the winds stronger, the beaches dirtier. That being said, many ex-pats enjoy living there. There are many forums and sites dedicated to beach living in the Yucatan; they may be better places to inquire than on here. For example, you can check out yolisto.com. Progreso is the busiest of the beach communities - with a market and main square - but the entire coast is a string of connected communities with rows of houses fronting the beach.

Merida
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3. Re: Beaches near Merida

The clarity and color of the water of the Gulf of Mexico on those beaches is highly dependent on the time of year. We have been there when the ocean looks dirty and choppy, and other days when it looks clean, aqua-blue and clear as a bell. That said, there is no snorkeling at those beaches... there is nothing to see. No coral reefs... it's just a sandy bottom for miles. There is snorkeling at islands off the shore, but they are a day away by boat and few people go there. The thing to do around Merida is to swim in cenotes... a unique experience if you have never done it. Otherwise, if you want snorkeling, stick to the Caribbean.

Beaufort, South...
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4. Re: Beaches near Merida

Many people do snorkel in the cenotes. There are fish, especially in some of the open ones.

Merida, Mexico
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5. Re: Beaches near Merida

You might consider a stay in the town of Sisal, which is between Celestun and Progreso. It might be calm and small enough for you to enjoy, although the water, since it is the Gulf of Mexico, is not great for snorkeling and there is nothing to see under the water except sand.

Seattle
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6. Re: Beaches near Merida

Thanks to all for your tips and suggestions. Does anyone have particular cenotes to recommend for snorkeling?

Edmonton, Alta.
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7. Re: Beaches near Merida

I own condo near Chixculub. There is no reef in this area, so no coral for the type of fish you would want to see when snorkeling. This area is known for kiting as there is often a good breeze in the afternoons during the winter. The further east you go along the coastal highway, the nicer the beaches are. The area from San Bruno to Telchac- sand is very white.

There is one cenote in the ruins between Merida to Progreso- called Dzibicheltun. Many people snorkel/swim in the cenote there- plus you can get a guided tour through the ruins and learn many interesting facts about the Mayans. Depending on when you will be there- there will be flamingos along the coast- between Nov.- March. There is a free look out point about 4 km east of Chixculub - called Uymitun- where you can go & observe the flamingos.

Boston...
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8. Re: Beaches near Merida

Your question, Seattle Sue, and the answers are very helpful to me, too! My husband and our college-age kids are planning a week in the Yucatan the second week in January. We fly in and out of Cancun, but we're not looking for a glitzy resort and would like to be in a less touristed area. We're primarily looking for beach time, but would be happy to devote a couple of days to colonial-city culture and/or Mayan ruins. So we've been considering two alternative scenarios: (1) staying in or near Telchec and visiting Merida, or (2) staying in Akumal or Puerto Morelos and visiting Valladolid. Any thoughts? Visitingnow, your comments about the beaches make Telchec sound less appealing. For sunbathing and swimming, would Akumal/Puerto Morelos be a better bet in January, and which of those two would you recommend (or do you have other suggestions)? Thank you!!

Edited: 20 November 2016, 21:19
Boston...
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9. Re: Beaches near Merida

.

Merida, Mexico
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10. Re: Beaches near Merida

Staying in Telchac is great if you

a) bring a book

b) bring a lover

c) bring a revolver

ie. there is not much to do out there except enjoy the peace and quiet. Visiting Merida will be a pain as it is a good hours drive to the outskirts and then you have the traffic of Merida itself to contend with. It is not a good base, in my opinion if you are wanting to be out, driving around and exploring.

For sunbathing on a nice beach and then heading inland for a more cultural look at the Yucatan, the Pto Morelos Valladolid option sounds better to me.

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