Solferino and El Corchal
Solferino is a small town near the tip of the Yucatan Peninsula. Near this small town is the amazing cork forest of El Corchal. We had heard of this area and set off to see what it was like. What we discovered was incredible! This is an amazing location to visit and enjoy the natural beauty of this area.
Most people pass by this area not knowing what is here and online most people have never heard of this place. The reason is because there is hardly any information and in English even less. It is part of our commitment to local communities and eco tourism to help respectful people find out about these areas to visit. Not only will you be rewarded with an unforgettable tour, you will be supporting this area and conservation.
Our Video of El Corchal Tour in Solferino Quintana Roo
Even though it was not the sunniest of days when we visited, you will see the magic of this area.
How to go on this tour to El Corchal
A tour to El Corchal cork forest is a must in this area. Not only is this like nowhere around, it is also a magical spot. Since this tour is not on the radar of most tourist, it is not like you can reserve a spot online. You will need to either be in Solferino and ask about it and have some flexibility as to when you can go or call ahead and try to make plans.
Jose Maria Quintal Olivar (also known by Pepe) is the one who heads up this project. He is the perfect person to do so because he has a passion for El Corchal and the preservation of the area. Pepe is extremely knowledgeable about the area and is one of the chief guides. He does speak Spanish with a little bit of English. To set up a tour you can call or use WhatsApp. WhatsApp is best because the cellphone signals are not the best in the area. It is best if you allow a day or two to communicate.
Pepe’s cellphone number and WhatsApp number is 998-165-7105.
Note: In the dryer months like March-June there can be times when the water level is too low to kayak and the tour is not available. Check with Pepe on conditions.
Tips and information for taking the El Corchal tour
Here is some important information for going on this special tour.
- There is a maximum if 10 people at a time for the tour. This is because it is a delicate area and there are limited canoes and kayaks. If you have more people, they can do one tour in the morning and another in the afternoon.
- Bring water with you. Once you leave Solferino there is nothing available. Take everything you bring back with you because there are no trash cans. Please keep this are pristine.
- Be prepared for sun and bugs with biodegradable sun screen and repellant. Not all times of the year are buggy.
- The price of the tour is 600 pesos a person and 100 pesos for lunch if you want it. We recommend adding lunch on because there are not many options in the area. So this is 700 in total for the tour and meal.
- Tours are in Spanish but if you request an English guide, there is someone that can do the tour in English.
- Please be very respectful to nature and the community. This means not picking anything and not being too loud on the tour to disturb the animals.
- The ride to the tour is bumpy. It is about 30 minutes by truck to the cork forest. If you have back problems or are pregnant, this is not recommended for you.
What else is there to see in the area of Solferino
Solferino is a small town with some hidden things. Besides El Corchal, here are some things to see.
San Angel town and Mayan Dzak
On the way north to the town of Solferino is the tiny town of San Angel. Here you can find the women’s collective where they make soap and other products. The women use the garden in the back to collect ingredients. They are usually working during the week in the afternoons. If you want to stop by and buy some things and they are not open, just ask in the town )like the tiny store) and someone can open it for you.
Thousand year old tree and orchid garden
Just off the main square in Solferino is a street with a 1000 year old tree. This is a huge tree with a legend we talk about in the video below. Across from this tree is an orchid garden with more large trees. This is quiet place to visit and there is a public bathroom here. Entrance is a donation. So even if you don’t stop in Solferino for more, this can make a nice stop to break up the trip to Holbox.
Many people will pass through Solferino to go to Isla Holbox. For those that do not know what Isla Holbox is, this is a beautiful remote island that is more laid back and not open for the mass tourism market. There is a small town and long coastline. Most of the streets are sand and everyone drives a golf cart around. You can read more about this and see our video of Holbox here.
Our video introduction to Solferino Mexico
We wanted to show you a little more about Solferino and what there is to do here and what options you have to stay in.
Where to stay in Solferino
Many people might think that there is nothing here for accommodation, even if you have driven through this area on your way to Holbox. There are however good options for all budgets. We will continue to add to this list after we visit some of the other options.
This is the budget option for staying in Solferino. This small hotel is newly built and offers two options. Both room types have air conditioning, hot water, TV, and parking. In the front where the office is, they have a small convenience store. This hotel is just off the main square on the same street at the thousand year old tree.
- Basic rooms with bathroom starting at 400 pesos.
- Mini apartment with kitchenette for 650 pesos.
To book this hotel here are the contact details. Remember that cell service is not the best so you might have to try calling several times.
Email: [email protected]
This hotel option is in Solferino on a nice open property with trees and a garden with many local medicinal plants. In the garden there is a palapa with hammocks for resting.
Here you can rent a cabin that has two double beds and two sofas that can be used to sleep guest It is idea for 2-4 people. The cabin has a fully equipped kitchen. This option can be good for staying one night or longer term. There a washer and dryer for the long term guest. This cabin is also handicap friendly.
The price for the cabin is 1600 pesos for four people. Ask for price for other amounts of people.
To reserve this hotel you can contact 998-244-1655. This is also a WhatsApp number as well.
Casa Tania is a two story house with three rooms available. Breakfast is included in the stay. This is perhaps the nicest property in Solferino to stay at. The house is beautiful with open rooms and tropical garden complete with small pool. The cost is 1500 pesos a night. We have know Tania for years, tell her you found out about her place from us and she will be thrilled.
To reserve here it is best to call direct or WhatsApp.
Restaurants and places to eat in and around Solferino
There are not a lot of places to eat in the area. So it is best to know what is around town. Most of the hotels will include breakfast and have information on where to eat. If you take the El Corchal tour we recommend ordering lunch with your tour.
In Solferino there is a café on the same block as the thousand year old tree. This café has random hours but is cute with good coffee (see map)
On the main square in Solferino there is a blue house (see map) that opens after 7:00pm where you can get basic food like tacos for a cheap price. This is a bit of a greasy spoon.
In the nearby town of Chiquila, which is where the ferry is for Holbox, there are a few more restaurants. We recommend Restaurant La Sardina Enamorada. This is a seafood restaurant that faces the water by the taxi stand.
In the town of Kantunikin there are more restaurant options. The best option is on the main road just north of the zocalo called Restaurant Ki-Hanal. It is very clean, good prices and good options of food.
Here is a map with many of the places we talked about in Solferino Quintana Roo
Do you want to go to more places like this? We have a full article on tours and places to go from Playa Del Carmen here.
Have you been to Solferino before? Did you go on the El Corchal tour? What did you think? Would you like to do this awesome eco tour? Let us know in the comments below.
Keep on working, great job! We love finding out about these out of the way places that are unknown. Mexico is an incredible area.
This place looks amazing! We want to go to some off the beaten path areas of the Yucatan. We have two months to visit the area. You have some great tips and places to go like this one. Thanks for the tips.
Wonderful location! I have been traveling here for years and never heard about it. I really have to go check out Solferino. There are so many hidden places to visit in the Yucatan. This is really a great site.
We have bene wanting to check out this area. We heard about Solferino but there is so little online about it. We are glad we came across your guide.
Wow, this place looks amazing, I have to try to go here when I am in Mexico.
This looks like an amazing place to visit. I guess I will wait until the rainy season so the kayaking is possible in the cork forest.
I just stumbled onto this website when searching for eco tours for Cancun. I would love to do this little tour but my cousin is to afraid to venture outside of the hotel zone. How safe is it to leave the area and maybe catch a taxi to the town? We’re both in our late 30s.
The areas outside of the Hotel Zone are extremely safe. However this is more then a taxi ride away. Right now it is a little too dry to kayak in the area so we need to have the rain come to fill up the area. You might like doing some more easy first time tours like going to the ruins of Ek Balam and then going to Cenote Maya. The largest cenote in the Yucatan. You get to rappel into it! https://everythingplayadelcarmen.com/ek-balam-and-cenote-maya-tour-review/
We saw this article and decided to go to Solferino for a night. We live and run a bed and breakfast in Puerto Morelos so it was an easy 1 1/2 hour drive for us. We stayed at Casa Sac Beh and loved the owner Celina. She is very friendly and generous. The cabin she rents is clean, clean and beautiful. We also did the tour with Pepe and he is also very friendly and knowledgeable. The tour is definitely a must do. Pepe speaks no English but Celina speaks perfect English. Would definitely recommend Solferino for a short stay. Thanks for the article.
That is great to hear you found the tour and got to experience it. It has been raining and filled up the area so it is possible to go. It was very notable for us and a really cool discovery. We have several other places to check out that are just as remarkable. We love sharing locals spots like this with others that appreciate them.
Can we take ado bus to solforino
You can ask at the ADO station if the Holbox bus will drop you off. If so you should have your bags with you on the bus so you can jump off. It is not a normal stop. The busses that go there are local and you can leave via Cancun or Valldolid.
Solferino was one of the highlights of our recent trip to the Yucatán. I hugged the thousand year old tree & made a wish for my 92 year old mother. I also took pictures in the orchid garden & used a lovely one for my updated FB profile picture. Put it on your “Bucket List”!
Glad you found the tree and we hope your wish comes true. Of course if it does, the legend goes you have to go back one year later and thank the tree.
Thank you for sharing your passion and for the quality of your content. Before calling Pepe, I would like to know how long does the Corchal tour usually last? Also do you know if there are specific departure time for the tour or should I directly check with Pepe?
There is no set time for the tours. It is what every you have set up. It is good to call in advance since the cell service is not always the best. The tour takes about 3 hours to do.
Thanks for your letting people know about this area! It looks beautiful and hidden gem.
Thank you for sharing this level of detail on Solferino and the surrounding areas!! I’ve book Casa Tania for one night. What is the best way to book a tour including early morning birding, San Angel, cork forest and lily pads if we only have a morning.
The best is calling Pepe in advance and talking with him. The cell phone signals are not the best in the area and it can take a day or two to line things up. Tania will also have some local contact for the most efficient ways to see birds and more. You might even see some tucans at Casa Tania!
Unfortunately, it looks like there is not enough rain to kayak with Pepe so Tania is connecting me with a tour through Nativa.
Separate topic: Do you have suggestions for shuttle services to Solferino?
That is ashamed. There has been a lot of rain lately in parts of the area, so I guess they have been missing the rain. Nativa is a newer park that is nearby, so that is good you asked Tania about it. All transfers are normally to Holbox which is about 15 minutes more up the road. We have a link to one transportation company here: https://everythingplayadelcarmen.com/the-most-laid-back-island-holbox/ It might also be good to ask Holbox transfers to see if they offer a rate to Solferino. Most people rent a car since bus transportation is slow and not the most comfortable. Renting a car has to be balanced with parking since you will leave it while on Holbox.
Muchas gracias. Has sido de gran ayuda. (Necesito practicar espanol. :))