Chetumal is new to the tourism world, and visitors are catching a diamond in the rough, with its abundant flora and fauna, the nearby Caribbean Sea, Bacalar lagoon, cenotes, Chinchorro Banks Reef, miles of white sandy beaches and Maya ruins everywhere.
is a city with a mixture of Mayan, Mexican and Caribbean influence. Brightly colored homes are common place. These homes are Mexican style, but you'll find many wooden homes that still have the Caribbean influence.
Downtown Chetumal is unlike most Yucatecan cities. There are no quaint colonial streets or buildings and the streets are wide and more accommodating to traffic than most Mexican cities, making it easier to get around.
A visit to Chetumal isn't complete without a visit to the Museum of Mayan Culture. If you don't know much about Mayan Culture, this museum is an excellent place to start. The Chetumal City Museum, just a few blocks away, on the same street, is a small and interesting museum, with a focuses on Chetumal.
If you would like to experience a traditional Mexican market, Chetumal is an ideal place. Open most days of the week, the open air market is located adjacent to the Cultural Museum. As you explore Chetumal, you'll find clean streets and lots of sculptures. The waterfront is a picturesque spot for strolling, with cafes and even a lighthouse.
Several modern North American style malls and supermarkets have been built, such as the La Plaza de las Americas, which sports ultra-chilled air and a 10-screen cineplex (most movies are in English with Spanish subtitles.) along with various department store chains, hotels and fast-food outlets.
One thing you will enjoy in Chetumal
is a taxi ride around the bay. There are many restaurants and even nightclubs there. It's beautiful at night, when all the restaurants are lit up and there is almost always a refreshing, evening breeze. Many of the restaurants are only open in the evening with outside dining to enjoy the stars and evening sky.
Accommodations in Chetumal run from 5-star hotels to modest inns to eco-villages. Services include car rentals, travel agencies, an airport, a variety of restaurants, medical services, banks, museums and nightclubs.
Unlike Cancun, Chetumal is a city that honors its siesta. It is not unusual to find much of the city closed from 1:00-5:00. The best time to shop is in the early morning or early evening when Chetumal comes back to life.