Experience Mayan Culture in the Village of Becal Near Merida

Becal is settled about 90km north of Campeche, a state known for its rich history of Mayan culture, just before you enter the state of Yucatan.

The village is a center of the Panama hat trade, and some inhabitants make their living, by solely weaving the “jipijapa”, the soft, pliable hats, as they are locally known. The “jipijapa” is a type of palm tree from Guatemala. In the Yucatan peninsula, the weather is much drier and hotter than in the Guatemalan highlands, leaving the jipi fibers too brittle to weave into hats. To work around this, the artisans of Becal work their magic in both natural and man-made caves, and most often found in their backyards. The finest hats are destined for export to connoisseurs in foreign cities, but the tranquil town clearly identifies with its stock-in-trade, as is made obvious by the centerpiece of its plaza.

The Malecon is well lit, with a walkway for pedestrians and another for bikes. Many people love to spend their time outdoors by running, walking, biking, rollerblading or just sitting along the walls of the town, to enjoy the picturesque evenings. It is very safe, and every night there is at least one fitness or yoga class on the go.

In April the Fiesta de Flor del Jipi is celebrated with dancing and bullfights. This is when the town sees many tourists visiting, usually the result of the many Merida tours, that stop at the ruins close by, when passing through the town.

A wonderfully sleepy village, full of character, lovely people and the perfect place to browse at your own leisure. Becal is a town that has roughly 6,500 inhabitants, and as a result, is a welcome change from the major cities that tourists may be accustomed to.

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