If you are planning a trip to Sisal, Yucatan newly appointed Pueblo Magico, this guide is for you. If you didn’t know about Sisal, well, you should, as this pretty tiny town is home to one of the most beautiful beaches in Yucatan, but it’s not the only reason why it’s worth a visit. In this post, I will tell you why.
Sisal is a lovely little town on the Yucatan north coast facing the Gulf of Mexico and at only an hour’s drive from Merida.
It’s been on the map for only a few years although it served in colonial times as an important port for trading local products including the heneken fibers and other products, also called Sisal, hence the name.
Sisal is now still a quiet fishing port that is starting to attract locals and international visitors for the amazing natural wonders that it offers.
In fact, this blessed town sits between a spectacular white sand beach washed by a striking emerald blue water on one side and an intricated net of mangroves, petenes, and lagoons, on the other side, home to an incredible variety of birds including the gracious flamingos.
It is indeed a paradise for nature lovers and photographers with so many things to do and see.
I spent a couple of days in Sisal and I loved it. That’s why I would love to share what I enjoyed the most among all the things to do in Sisal Yucatan and give you some practical tips to make the most of your trip.
However, before diving into all the amazing things to do in Sisal, I believe you should know that locals are against the title of Pueblo Magico attributed to the town without their consent and almost without notifying them.
When I spoke to a few guides about this, they were expressing their concern that the title was given just for political and marketing purposes to oversell beach lands, taking them away from the locals.
Their main point was that the small town doesn’t have the infrastructure to welcome a bigger population because sometimes they are even left with no water or no electricity.
They are happy with what they have, with their small businesses and simple life. You can read more about it in this article.
In any case, regardless of title, I am glad I visited this pretty place, and I do believe it has one of the most beautiful beaches in Yucatan, after El Cuyo, which still remains one of my favorite places in the Yucatan Peninsula.
Also, the fact that it’s at only 1 hour from Merida (more if you take public transportation) also makes it a great day trip from the Yucatan capital city.
But let’s talk about what you can do in Sisal Yucatan so that you can organize your trip in advance.
Things to do in Sisal Yucatan
Walk on the beach
After visiting all the beaches near Merida, the beach in Sisal is one of the most beautiful, in my opinion.
It’s one the widest and longest and it has a lot of free access where locals and tourists can enjoy a nice walk or a swim in the ocean.
You can rent chairs in the local beach restaurants or have them for free if you eat there.
You can also walk for miles on both sides on a large stretch of soft white sand.
The ocean boasts shades of emerald green to turquoise, and although it doesn’t have the Caribbean hues of the Riviera Maya it’s just as spectacular, especially when the wind is calm and the sea is flat.
Watch the sunset
You can watch spectacular sunsets either from the beach or the pier. If you are staying at the Casona de Sisal, they have a great rooftop terrace from where you can admire incredible sunsets over Sisal as well.
Go Paddleboarding or Kayaking in the sea
Among the top activities in Sisal are kayaking and paddleboarding, especially in the morning when the sea is calmer. Among the places where you can rent the equipment is Hostel Balam. The kind owners can either rent the equipment or even take you all the way to dowd towards the beach of the reserve El Palmar for a more secluded area.
Go on a kayak or paddleboard tours in the Lagoon
Hostel Balam but also other local travel agencies organize incredible tours in the networks of lagoons, “petenes”, mangroves, and “ojos de agua” forming a comfortable home for flamingos colonies and many other bird species, besides mosquitos (make sure you bring ecological repellent and, if you suffer from mosquito bites you cover-up, there are a lot in certain areas and at any time of the day)
There are several tours in the mangroves offered in the area, some of them are a little more remote but they will take you closer to flamingo colonies, such as a site called Carbonera.
Others that are closer will take you to an Ojo de agua, a small lake within the Peten with springwater
Sisal Kayak tour – pictures
Check out the Lighthouse and its museum (close at the moment)
During colonial times, Sisal was the main port town in the country before it was taken over by Puerto Progreso.
The fort of Santiago in Sisal was built to protect the port from pirate attacks while the lighthouse was added in 1845.
The building is now a small museum of the history of Sisal although it is close to the public as we speak, they will hopefully soon be opened again for visit.
Sisal Yucatan Hotels
Although you can easily take a day trip from Merida, you will enjoy Sisal much better if you spend a couple of days, minimum 2 nights. There are quite a few hotels for every budget. Here I am sharing the one I have seen.
Casona de Sisal – I stayed in this beautiful new hotel. Located in the town center, one block from the beach and one from the pier, this hotel was perfect to enjoy Sisal and relax. The rooms are comfortable and spacious with modern decor. It looked more like a business hotel but it was great.
I loved the rooftop terrace for its great views of the sunset over the roofs of Sisal and the beach. The hotel restaurant, which is open to the public, is the only upscale (but affordable) restaurant in town, you could enjoy a great breakfast and lunch Open from 9 am to 5 pm – Check rates and info
Casa Kinch Sisal – a nice property with four-bedroom units equipped with a kitchenette, WIFI, and shared pool. Located a few blocks away from the center and the beach, in a peaceful area. Check rates and info
Casa de Pato – Casa de Pato is an exclusive luxury hotel with its own restaurant where you must reserve in advance to get in. They don’t accept external guests at the restaurant and don’t offer day passes. If you want to know their prices and make a reservation you need to contact them through their website. If you are looking for exclusive and upscale accommodation this is it.
Sisal Yucatan Restaurants
There are not many restaurants in Sisal. Besides La Juanita, on the main street to get to the pier, which is a very popular seafood restaurant among locals and quite good. La Brisa del Mar is another one on the same street but I wasn’t particularly impressed.
Zama‘ Restaurant, part of the Casona de Sisal hotel is a little more upscale with international cuisine and gourmet dishes.
If you feel like ice cream, on the way to the pier there is a little convenience store that sells a delicious natural Coconut ice cream. Make sure you try it!
How to get to Sisal Yucatan
Getting to Sisal from Merida by Car
Getting to Sisal by car is the easiest way and the fastest. It takes around 1 hr and 5 to 30 minutes (depending on where you are in Merida and how much traffic to get out of the city, but then when you are on the road it’s like a breeze.
The road to Sisal is very safe and with very little traffic. You can stop by Hunucman to explore the beautiful plaza and church.
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Getting to Sisal from Merida by bus
If you don’t feel like driving, getting to Sisal from Merida by bus leaves you with two options.
By Oriente busses, you can find a direct bus per day which is convenient only if you spend a few nights in Sisal because from Merida to Sisal is at 5 pm every day and from Sisal to Merida is at 6 am.
On Sundays, you can use this bus as it leaves from Merida at 8.30 am and goes back at 6 pm.
If you wish to visit Sisal in one day from Merida you will need to get the “colectivo” to Hunucmà and get on another one from Hunicma to Sisal. In this case, you will find many options to go, but keep in mind that the last van back to Hunucma’ is at 6 pm.
If you are going to stay in Merida check out the most gorgeous VRBO and Airbnb in Merida.
Getting to Sisal from Celestun by Car
From Celestùn you will need to drive all the way towards Merida and turn left in Kinchil towards Hunucmà and then back towards the coast to Sisal. It’s a beautiful road although you may find some potholes every now and then.