Saturday, March 21, 2015


Oxkutzcab: A gentle, friendly and ever evolving city.
In Yucatan’s Magic – Merida Side Trips: Treasures of Mayab, we wrote about Oxkutzcab in chapters 2, 3, 12, and 14.
Recently we returned to Oxkutzcab to enjoy the town and note changes. 

Hotel Ix Chel is new.
 Hotel Ix Chel is located two blocks east of the central plaza.  It is spacious and clean.  Address: Calle 53, No. 91A between Calle 44 and 46.
The larger than life wall art at Hotel Ix Chel dazzlingly depicts Yucatan’s history.
 Graphic art gives Ix Chel Hotel a touch of class.

Another hotel in Oxkutzcab is Hotel Clásico. 

Fernando E. Buenfil Góngora made enough money working in the US to build his own dream hotel, Hotel Clásico. His innovative building techniques have brought marvelous advances to Oxkutzcab.
Photo:  Fernando is reading our book Yucatán’s Magic and laughing as he relates hilarious stories about several people pictured in it.   

Innovative Hotel Clásico located on the corner of 58 and 53 in Oxkutzcab has a selection of accommodations that are very competitively priced. Oxkutzcab is a fun place to visit and also very affordable.

Miguel Pacheco has returned to the U.S.
Miguel Pacheco spent more than twenty years of his life as a chef in the U.S.A. He has brought back to Oxkutzcab Italian style culinary delights that have world class quality but Mexican prices.  A few years ago, he opened Café la Cocina on the north side of the market in Oxkutzcab. 
Miguel’s Italian specialties and his Mexican breakfast burrito creation combined the very best of two worlds. They were not only savory but nutritious and sustaining.
Miguel’s business was good but the cash flow wasn’t.  His old boss from the restaurant where he worked on Lombardi Street in San Francisco begged him to come back to San Francisco.  He closed Café la Cocina in Oxkutzcab and returned to his old job in the U.S.  His family is still in Oxkutzcab and Miguel intends to return in a year to stay and home for good.  We look forward to his return.

This photo is from a previous visit to Oxkutzcab when Miguel made me happy. You can’t beat a creative chef who loves to satisfy his clients.  We miss him.
Downtown Oxkutzcab bustles. 

 This is the heart of Yucatan’s fruit and vegetable marketing where most transactions are for crate and truck load size sales. The spring crops of oranges, mangos, and watermelons are flooding the marketplace this March morning and driving sale prices down…a buyer’s advantage.
Quiet side streets.
Quiet side streets where silent bicycles and tricycle taxis set the ambiance for a kinder gentler pace of life…we love this place.  
Oxkutzcab is nestled against the Puuc hills.
 From this downtown street you can see La ermita de la Virgen del Pilar perched above the city.   It was constructed in 1697. 
Seven kilometers south and up in the rambling Puuc hills are the Lol-Tún caves.
This new modest little motel is directly across the street from the Lol-Tún cave entrance. All water is trucked in here and stored in tanks. Water wells are extremely expensive because the water table is down one hundred and ten meters, over 450 feet, through solid rock. 
This lady fills a five gallon bucket with water at Lol-Tún cave, hoists it on her head, and then makes a long trek to her humble home. While we were there she made three trips. The lady’s strenuous efforts give us a profound appreciation of the water that many take for granted when turning on a tap. 

Drinking water is a scarce commodity at Lol-Tún. With his tricycle Jorge Diaz pedals off to retrieve water for his small Mayan style restaurant.  
From November until May northern Yucatan is parched by its annual dry season. Looking at this photo of the Puuc hills and the tinder dryness it is hard to imagine that a place like this could sustain life, but it does. This area was recently torched and set ablaze in anticipation of the welcome June rain which signals that it is the season for planting and raising corn.

Read more of Oxkutzcab and other fascinating stories about the places of Yucatan that tourists miss most in the books: Yucatán’s Magic - Mérida Side Trips and Yucatan for Travelers – Side Trips: Valladolid to Tulum.
They are available in paperback and digital editions worldwide.

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