So after our day spent exploring some of the best things to do in Merida in Mexico, our next day was spent exploring the best things to do outside of Merida.

A big one for us was visiting the ancient Mayan temple of Uxmal, venturing to some local Haciendas (which are like these really old farms) and also cooling off in some incredible cenotes.

Neither of us was interested in driving so for this, we decided to either book onto a private tour or get a private driver.

We decided to go for the latter as that was arranged by our hotel and also was considerably less expensive.

Thing is though, we didn’t really feel like a tour guide was necessary for visiting a cenote, haciendas tend to have their own guides inside and we figured Uxmal was the only one that could benefit from being visited with a tour guide but we could explore Uxmal on our own.

Uxmal, by the way, is a lot less crowded than the likes of Chichen Itza but no less impressive.

In fact, I’m pretty certain the main pyramid here is a lot taller than Chichen Itza.

Even from a distance it looks impressive and as you explore the grounds that impressiveness kinda follows you around.

The ticket system to get in is a bit funny. You kinda have to buy two tickets.

One seems to be for the local government and the other is for the site (I think).

Anyway, it doesn’t really matter what either of the two tickets are for, what really matters is that one of them you can pay for by card (or cash) and the other you can only pay for by cash so be sure to bring some cash with you to cover this.

Parking is also pretty straightforward here but seeing as we hired a driver, we didn’t need to worry about that part.

The area around Uxmal is split off into multiple sections and you get given a map to explore it when you first arrive so it’s all pretty easy to navigate.

The only thing that was perhaps tricky initially was getting a sense of the scale of the place relative to the map.

I found that I thought we’d already seen so much of it, only to realise that we’d barely moved past the first couple of spots on the map.

There are no vendors inside the actual grounds of Uxmal itself, only at the tickets area before you enter so be sure to show up with whatever snacks or drinks you might want.

The latter is actually the most important because it gets really hot here and you get very thirsty very quickly.

I was wondering if it would be of any help to try to describe each section of the different areas to visit here but I realise that even if someone had tried to describe these to me in advance, I’d have found it too boring to listen to and so I won’t inflict that on you.

It’s so much more fun to explore in person and discover all of this information while it’s right in front of you so I’ll let you enjoy that when you show up at Uxmal.

Also, it is possible to visit Uxmal if you’re staying in Tulum or Cancun so if you have been to Chichen Itza already or just want to avoid the crowds there, this is the perfect spot for it.

Leaving Uxmal, the first thing we did was stop at the exit and have like 3 different drinks.

I’m not even kidding, we were so dehydrated by that point that we had to have a large bottle of water, swiftly followed by a soft drink and then, just because it was right there, an ice-cold coconut.

Oh, and we had an iced lolly as well while we were there too. We were that thirsty.

The cenote we went to visit was Cenotes Hacienda Mucuyché and what I hadn’t realised was the fact that a.) you can only visit on a guided tour and b.) there’s a Hacienda visit as part of that tour.

We’d kinda decided we didn’t really want to visit a hacienda before that as it seemed to be a choice of either visiting a hacienda or a cenote (based on our planned timings for the day) so it was a rather pleasant surprise to find that we would be able to visit a hacienda too.

The English language tour had already started by the time we arrived but luckily we were able to join in partway as it had only been going on for like the last 10 – 15 minutes.

Suffice to say, by the time we got to the first cenote we wanted to visit, we were more than ready for that dip.

But that would have to wait for a little bit.

The hacienda tour was actually quite interesting so I think it was nice to have both combined on this tour.

For the cenote though, I was like “Why do we need a tour for this?”.

It all makes sense once you do it. See, Cenotes Hacienda Mucuyché has two cenotes here, there’s one that’s open at the top and one that’s completely hidden underground.

The guide takes you to one first and then you swim through like a little bit of a ‘river’ and get out at the other side to go into the underground cenote.

They are both so incredible.

Like we had already planned on visiting another cenote because I wasn’t quite sure if we’d like this one here because in photos it looked so commercial but it was so amazing to cool off in the water here and also to learn about everything while we were there.

Oh and by the way, life jackets are mandatory for everyone here.

They provide all of that for free and even have secure bags you can rent for a small fee to store your belongings in.

Our plans to visit another cenote next door disappeared as soon as we were done with Cenotes Hacienda Mucuyché as we felt like we’d totally enjoyed the place we’d been swimming for quite some time and didn’t feel the need to shoe-horn in another place just for the sake of it.

With that in mind, we headed back to Merida to grab our things from our previous hotel (Decu Downtown) and head over to our new hotelCasa Olivia.

Now I was so impressed by Decu Downtown that I just didn’t expect much from Casa Olivia before we arrived there.

Like I thought it would be nice but nowhere as nice and Decu Downtown but boy did Casa Olivia deliver.

Casa Olivia is such a gorgeous little place and the design elements here are incredible.

There’s so much attention paid to details and it’s just so beautiful.

It has only 4 rooms and the staff here are so unbelievably attentive.

Also, they have a dog here too.

It’s called Olivia and I can’t remember now if the place is named after the dog or the dog after the place but whatever – they’re both called Olivia.

Again, due to the relatively small number of rooms here, it feels like you have a whole villa here all to yourself with people attending to your every need, it’s amazing.

We settled in very quickly and after grabbing a drink at the bar and sampling their homemade tequila, we ventured into Merida in search of dinner.

Dinner tonight was a last-minute decision and for that we went to Nakuh which is a new restaurant in Merida specialising in Mayan cuisine.

We started things off with some beers and a flight of tequilas to further build our knowledge of tequilas.

We made sure to try different one from the ones we had at La Negrita a few nights before so we could widen our tequila sampling on this trip.

The food at Nakuh is actually really fantastic but the staff here are even more so.

They kept us belly-laughing the entire evening and it was just such a fun place for dinner.

It was also really nice to try some local Mayan dishes that you’d never get in a typical Mexican restaurant anywhere back at home.

Today had actually been a long day so instead of trying to find somewhere else to go for drinks or anything like that, we just decided to call it a night and head back to the hotel for a well-earned rest.

Will catch you up on all the things we got up to the next day in this post here.

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