Tekax Yucatan: Your Complete Travel Guide for 2024

Tekax Yucatan is a city and pueblo magico in the southern part of the Yucatan state. It largely flies under the radar and most people who travel to southeastern Mexico have never even heard of it – including those who live in the area! 

Still, if you are interested in heading off the beaten path and escaping the crowds during your time in the Yucatan, you will likely love Tekax and all the things that this area has to offer. 

You are in good hands here because I live in the Yucatan (in the capital of Merida) and have spent a decent amount of time in Tekax. In this post, we will look at everything you need to know about traveling to the area. 

The gorgeous entrance to el Callejón de Los Murales, Tekax
The gorgeous entrance to el Callejón de Los Murales, Tekax

Visiting Tekax Yucatan in 2024 

In 2023, Tekax, meaning “place of the forests” in Yucatec Mayan became one of the latest cities in the Yucatan peninsula to be awarded “pueblo magico” status. (Along with the cities of Motul and Espita.)

The Mexico pueblo magico initiative is a program by the country’s government and tourism board to promote towns and cities that have an extraordinary history, gastronomy, culture, or natural beauty. 

Generally speaking, if somewhere is designated as such, it is usually a good indicator that it’s worthwhile to visit. I recently drove down to Tekax for a day expecting to just spend a day there, but I enjoyed it so much that I would definitely say that you could easily allow 3-4 days to explore this part of the Yucatan. 

Mural depicting traditional dancing in el Callejón de Los Murales, Tekax

Check out the Tekax mural alley 

The main attraction that put Tekax on the map is the existence of its “el Callejón de Los Murales” (“mural alley”) that awaits on calles 53 and 50 behind the Tekax City Hall. There are tons of gorgeous floor-to-ceiling murals here that were created as part of an initiative by the Yucatan Tourism Board, Colectivo Tomate, and Comex por un México Bien Hecho.

Over 100 people came together to craft these gorgeous murals that depict scenes of life in the Yucatan and aspects of Mayan culture. You will see bold, vibrant paintings of women making tortillas, locals in huipils and guayaberas doing traditional jarana dancing, and Ancient Mayan deities like Kukulkan and the rain god Chaac. 

Exploring the Chacmultun Archeological Site

Visit the Chacmultun archeological site  

Just 12km southwest of Tekax you will find the Ancient Mayan city of Chacmultun and the two sites make a nice travel pairing. Mayan cities in the Yucatan can start to look a bit samey after a while if you don’t have a major interest in history and archeology but Chacmultun is pretty unique and off-the-beaten-path. 

The city dates back to around 300 BC and was eventually abandoned following the Spanish colonization of Mexico. The unique thing about Chacmultun is that its various structures and temples are pretty spread out. 

To get to some of the old hilltop shrines and pyramids, you need to follow a 30-minute trail through the jungles and cornfields. When you arrive, you can enjoy sweeping vistas of the Yucatecan jungle canopy. 

Most of the Yucatan state is flat as a pancake and it isn’t that common to find hilly terrain here so the hills around Chacmultun are an exception. In the days of the Ancient Maya, Chacmultun was an important agricultural site and this continues to be the case today, with many working farms operating on the grounds of the site. 

Sample regional and traditional Mexican cuisine 

I was surprised to find that there are so many great restaurants and casual dining spots in Tekax. Seriously. I have eaten some of the best food I have ever had in Mexico here and that is saying something considering I have lived here for 2.5 years and eat out constantly!

Casa Violeta Restaurante (C. 46 200B, Centro) is my personal favorite and the place I would recommend first of all. They serve amazing Mexican and American-inspired cuisine like burritos, fajitas, tacos, etc. 

The burrito I had here was probably the best I have ever eaten and the restaurant setting is charming too; It is set in a little garden with trees, flowers, and a swimming pool and it seems to be something of a local hotspot as there were a lot of Tekaxeños hanging out here drinking cervezas. 

El Bistro Tekax is another great casual eatery set in an old colonial building with high ceilings and ornate tile floors that serves different hamburguesas, loaded fries, and baguettes. Meanwhile, Amorentia is a cute hippy-style shack that serves hamburgers, fries, and shakes. 

Explore the caves in the area 

There are tons of caves (grutas) and hiking trails surrounding Tekax that make the city a nature-lovers paradise. Chocantes Cave/Zastuntunic is perhaps the most famous and makes a good starting point for adventure travel in the area. 

Chocantes is home to an underground cenote, as well as some of the most unique karst rock formations in Mexico, mineral waterfalls, and glittering white rocks that seemingly resemble snow. 

Meanwhile, Ixma’It Cave is great for lovers of extreme sports as you can try your hand at all sorts of adventurous activities here – from rappelling to zip lining. As you crawl through the various tunnels and passageways, you will also see signs of Ancient Mayan life – through handprints and petroglyphs. 

Both cave networks are pretty large, and you should dedicate at least 3-4 hours to exploring them with a local guide. Since this involves an amount of crawling and squeezing through tight spaces with the use of a hard hat and a headlight, this is arguably not for the faint of heart. 

The impressive 1609 San Juan Bautista church, Tekax
The impressive 1609 San Juan Bautista church, Tekax

Hang out in the zocalo 

The vast majority of Mexican towns and cities have a main plaza in their center known as a “Zocalo”. Parque Benito Juarez sits in the center of Tekax and makes a popular rendezvous point for locals who come here to chat on the benches with their friends or to sample the local street food. 

A bust of the late Mexican president Benito Juarez sits in the center of the park which is surrounded by porticoed colonial buildings and flanked by the stunning burgundy 1609 Parroquia de San Juan Bautista church. The structure was one of the first Franciscan convents to be built in the Yucatan peninsula. 

Admire the churches of Tekax 

There are about a dozen more churches in Tekax but the other one that stands out above the crowd is La Ermita, a little chapel that dates back to 1645. Set on a hilltop high above the city, this little hermitage is visible from all corners of Tekax and after the sun sets, it is illuminated by twinkling fairy lights. 

It is worth making the journey up here to enjoy the excellent panoramas over Tekax with the lush Yucatecan jungle visible just beyond.

Krepi Krepa cafe in the center of Tekax

Enjoy a dessert and an artisanal coffee at Krepi Krepa 

For a caffeine fix or something sweet, head to Krepi Krepa Coffee & Crepes in the town square. Climb the narrow stone staircase to the top floor and grab one of the tables by the window so that you can enjoy people-watching over the city. 

Mexican coffee is great, and this little cafe serves a variety of hot and cold drinks, as well as Elohim artisanal cold brew, crepes, and other sweet treats.

A contemporary sculpture in a little plaza in Tekax

Where to Stay in Tekax 

I was surprised to see so many cute and affordable hotels and pensions in Tekax. Since the area doesn’t really see a ton of tourism yet, there isn’t much in terms of luxury or boutique stays but if you are just looking for a place to lay your head for the night, you will find plenty of clean and comfortable options for less than $40 USD per night. 

Hotel Posada Maria Elena is a great family-owned spot right in the center of the town that places you literally right beside the mural alley. If you have access to a vehicle, you can also consider the Hotel Cielo y Selva on the outskirts of Tekax which is a little more modern and catered to Western tastes, with recently renovated rooms, plush furnishings, and a pool. 

Adorable colorful artwork in Tekax

How to Get to Tekax 

If you are planning to go somewhat off-the-beaten-path during your time in the Yucatan then I would strongly recommend renting a car in Merida. Opting to do so will give you a lot more freedom and flexibility in your schedule and mean that you are not dependent on bus timetables. 

It can be very tricky to get around here unless you have access to a vehicle. There are many cool things that you can see in and around Tekax (the caves, Oxkintok ruins, the Puuc route, Chacmultun, Mani, Muna, etc), but trying to navigate all that by bus would be a nightmare. 

Various reputable rental companies operate in Merida and you can easily find an economy-sized car rental for around $30 a day. Roads throughout the Yucatan are safe and well-maintained and driving here is not that different from driving anywhere else in the world. 

A bust of Benito Juarez in the center of the Tekax zocalo

Taking the bus from Merida to Tekax

If you cannot drive or you are not comfortable doing so, Autobuses Mayab operates an hourly bus between Merida TAME station (#55 calle 69 between calles 68 and 70) and Tekax. The journey takes around 2 hours and 15 minutes and tickets cost between 75 and 170 pesos each way, depending on the specific service you travel on. 

You can purchase your ticket on the day of travel from the ticket office at the station.

Once you arrive in Tekax, you can head to the tourist information center or hire the services of a moto taxi if you want someone to take you to Chacmultun or Chocantes cave. 

A cute spot for taking photos in Tekax, Yucatan

Final thoughts on visiting Tekax Yucatan

I was truly charmed by Tekax and I say that as someone who has spent the last few years living in the Yucatan and has traveled through the area extensively. Because of the location of the city, you could easily tie it in with a wider Yucatan travel itinerary that also takes you along the Ruta Puuc to the Mayan cities of Uxmal, Kabah, Labna, and Sayil. 

Alternatively, you could also head to the pueblo magico of Mani, a 30-minute drive away from Tekax, where you can visit the various meliponarios and learn about Yucatecan honey and beekeeping. 

I have visited Tekax a couple of times already but will no doubt head back again before too long. When I discover more highlights, I will update this post and add them here. 

Safe travels and enjoy your time in the Yucatan! Buen Viaje! Melissa xo 

Melissa Douglas

Melissa Douglas is a British Travel Writer based in Merida, Mexico and the Editor-in-Chief of Mexico Travel Secrets. She has over seven years worth of experience in working in travel media and has travelled to 57 countries, mostly solo. Throughout her career, Melissa has produced written content for several high-profile publications across the globe - including Forbes Travel Guide, the Huffington Post, Rough Guides, and Matador Network.

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