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Espita Yucatan gives you an authentic look at a colonial village in Mexico

Espita Yucatan A taxi moto passes through the streets of Espita Yucatan.

Welcome to Espita Yucatan

Espita Yucatan is a small village of about 15,000 people. It is off the tourist track but rewarding to stop and see this charming place.

In the ancient past this was an area of Mayan inhabitants. All of the Mayan temples were used to construct the colonial structures starting from the 1520’s. Yet the countryside to this day is dotted with Mayan ruins. On an interesting note, buildings that have the square stones exposed on the corner give homage that they were originally carved by Mayans in the past. You will see this on a few buildings in town.

The very name, Espita, is a Mayan word that mean “little water”. This refers to the fact that there are not many cenotes or natural access to water. It was not until wells were made that people had good access to ground water. Today you can see many wells around town, many on street corners.

A town for real people, not tourist

One thing you will notice is that there is not one tourist store here. Unlike small colonial cities like Valladolid and Izamal, Espita is not on a main tourist route. Even though it is close to Ek Balam and Chichen Itza, it is not on the route from the major tourist destinations in the Riviera Maya or Merida.

This however should not prevent you from visiting. This town offer a real working town where people go about business each day and a place where traditions live. The outside world is not as imposing here. The deep Mayan roots and country life live on in the dress of people and the festivals. One of the more popular times is from December 19-25th when all of the town comes out for festivals.

What to see in town

The Cathedral of San Jose is in the center of town and the most identifiable building in Espita. This is open during the day to visit. Note: Many things in Espita close from 1:30pm-4:30pm including the Cathedral.

The small market is charming to see especially in the morning as people go about shopping for fresh fruit and vegetables. You will also see fresh meat hanging and you might just be transported back in time when markets were fresh.

The old train station on the north end of town stands as a monument to the hacienda days and the time when trains were used to take farm produce to the outside market. It is abandoned now but cool for photos.

What Espita lacks in museums and tourist attractions it makes up in real life living and charming moments that you encounter while walking around. Many of the homes have gardens with fruit trees as well as turkeys and chickens. Visit some of the side streets around the center square and you never know what you might see.

Espita Yucatan

The Cathedral San Jose where most of the action in town centers.

Colonial architecture to admire

Around the main square and surrounding blocks you will see a lot of examples of colonial architecture. Some of these homes are several hundred years old. Various states of repair can be found and if you are a photographer of architecture you might just find yourself clicking away.

Espita Yucatan

A view from the market at some of the colonial buildings in Espita.

 

Espita Yucatan

Looking down the arches at the City Hall building.

The unique taxi moto culture

One of the first things you will notice when you arrive in Espita are the unique vehicles on the road. These are called taxi motos. They are a hybrid between a motorcycle and a tricycle. The front tire of the motorcycle is take off and the moto is welded to the cart of the tricycle bikes. These are then used as a convenient way to get around.

Not only are they gas saving, they are an affordable taxi service. The price is 7 pesos per person and they will take you anywhere in town. It is a fun experience with the air blowing at you while you cruise around town. It is easy to ask one to take you around. Of course if you ask for a little tour you can ask for a price. It is a great local way to see Espita and a small way to support the local community.

Where to stay and eat in Espita Yucatan

Not too many people spend the night here or take a meal but by doing so you get to the see more of the charm. There are both limited places to eat and stay in Espita but here are some options.

Hotels in Espita

  • Posada Paola is a small guest house just south of the church.
  • Posada Georgina is a another small and basic hotel with good value. This is near the entrance of Espita from Calotmul on the east side.
  • Posada San Jorge is another small guest house. This is just on the south side of the church as well.

Restaurants in Espita

On the map we have 4 main places to eat. There is not one restaurant that you can catch all three meals a day. Perhaps the best restaurant in Espita is in the market corner. Two very nice women run this small restaurant. It is open everyday for breakfast and lunch. During the week it is open until later in the evening.

The pizza restaurant on Calle 27 is open at 7pm at night. The pizza is pretty good and there are a lot of options (most with ham).

Next to the Super Willys Supermarket in the mornings you will find carts with Yucatecan salbutes and panuchos. In the evening in front of Super Willys you will find tamales being sold. All of these options are very affordable and local. You can eat in the street with the locals or take it to the park to eat.

The other restaurant on Calle 22 and Calle 23 is good for lunch. It serves regional dishes. Don’t expect anything fancy but it does taste good and offers value.

Espita Yucatan

A typical meal in the corner restaurant at the market. This was pork with beans, rice, tortillas and bean soup.

Our map of Espita

All of the places mentioned in this article are on this map for you. We hope you enjoy visiting.

How to get to Espita

Most people out exploring the Yucatan this deep will be driving. If you are driving here most people come from the 295 road that goes from Valladolid to Tizimin. The road from Calotmul is a narrow country road with some speed bumps, so take it slow and watch out for them.

Public transportation to Espita

Here is how to get to Espita if you are not driving.

  • From Valladolid you can take any Tizimin bound bus and get off in the town of Calotmul. From there you can take a taxi from the taxi stand there or wait for the colectivo van that comes from Tizimin enroute to Espita. A taxi is about 80 pesos and colectivo about 22 pesos from Calotmul to Espita.
  • From Tizimin you can take the colectivos that are parked by the Electra store behind the main Cathedral.
  • From Merida and Izamal there is a Noreste bus that passes in the morning on a daily basis.
  • If you are going to Valladolid you can catch the Noreste bus from the bus stop direct once daily. This is approximately at 10am. You can ask in the bus office for a ticket and current time.
  • Leaving Espita you can also catch a colectivo to the 295 road. These colectivos are parked next to Super Willys supermarket. These leave to Tizimin or you can take them to Calotmul and then wait for a bus going to Valladolid.

What is in the area to visit?

If you are in the area of Espita you can enjoy some of these places to visit.

  • Valladolid is the largest nearby town to visit. It is also colonial and has more things to see.
  • Tizimin is a similar size city to Valladolid but lacks a tourist infrastructure. There is however one interesting things to see there beside the main cathedral. It is the catacombs of Tizimin.
  • The nearby small town of Tahcabo has a very old church and Mayan ruins to see.
  • Ek Balam Mayan ruins are the largest ruins nearby.
  • Cenote Hubiku is in the town of Temozon. This is a large cenote you can swim at and visit the buffet restaurant.
  • The colonial city of Izamal is to the west of Espita. Taking the backroads there will take you through quiet countryside.

Have you been to Espita Yucatan before? What did you think? Let us know in the comments below, we would love to hear from you. Also if you have any questions feel free to ask in the comments below. 

Espita Yucatan

One of the many older homes that show patina and age in town.

11 Comments on Espita Yucatan gives you an authentic look at a colonial village in Mexico

  1. Steven Kredoe // February 6, 2018 at 11:41 AM // Reply

    I have heard of Espita but only knew there was a church there. I will have to visit with your tips in mind and explore a little. Thanks for the article.

  2. Addy Rosado-Mueller // March 14, 2018 at 2:52 PM // Reply

    My family is from here and I can definitely say that the festival in December is a sight to see and behold! I’m so glad that this amazing little town finally was given a little recognition!

    • Mr.Yucatan // March 14, 2018 at 7:30 PM // Reply

      Espita is a charming town with really warm and wonderful people. We hope to write more about this town so people can visit. If you know of any local craft people or interesting stories there, let us know.

  3. I’m from Espita, and I can say that Im glad that my little town finally was given the recognition that deserves. It its beautiful and I always want to go there! There is so much to see! Come on, Hacienda Kankabá its a great place to visit.

  4. Travelingshoes // March 14, 2018 at 10:34 PM // Reply

    My family is from Espita, I hold this magical place dear to my heart. I was baptized and had my Misa de quince at the Catedral de San Jose. My grandparents lived a couple of blocks from the train station and though it is no longer operable, I enjoy spending time there. I like petting the baby goats that are often found grazing nearby. This place takes me back to my childhood. I close my eyes and I can vividly remember a time when the station was alive with vendors. I remember my mother sticking her hand out the window before the train parted and buying me sweet arepitas and crunchy cozitos. Espitaneos would gather at the station waiting for a relative or friend coming in from out of town and others just gathered to people watch like my two great aunts Elia and Aithe often did but sometimes you would find them selling their chinas. My fondest memories were arriving in Espita by train and finding my grandfather happily waiting for us usually with codzitos or panuchos wrapped in brown paper for us to feast on. The last time I visited Espita was about two years ago when my grandfather passed. I have not returned to the place where my story began. I need to book me a flight and continue to dream about trains. Thank you for such a great article.

    • Mr.Yucatan // March 15, 2018 at 8:33 AM // Reply

      This is a wonderful story! If you don’t mind we would like to send you an email to the one you left here. Espita has so much authenticity. You will be happy to know that more and more people are finding this wonderful town and restoring some of the house. We are working with some private guides to bring quality tourism to the town to experience local made things and crafts people. Hopefully you can come back soon and visit

  5. Sure would love to get an email from you.

    • Mr.Yucatan // March 29, 2018 at 9:12 PM // Reply

      Hello Wilma

      We sent an email on March 15th. We will send it again to you. Be sure to check your spam filter.

  6. We are staying in Playa Del Carmen during Dia de Los Muertos this year (2018). We want to celebrate this beautiful tradition in its most authentic form. Where should we go to see the celebration and participate with the locals? Many thanks for your time and suggestions!

  7. Espita is a charming little town that is cleaner then many small places in the area. The last time I was there many houses were being painted. It is a little hidden town that I think will grow more popular with tourism over time.

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