a vibrant coloured sky at sunset at Sisal Beach in Sisal, Yucatan, Mexico / things to do in Sisal Yucatan

7 Best Things to Do in Sisal, Yucatan, Mexico

Are you planning a trip to Sisal, Yucatan, in Mexico, and looking for the best things to do in Sisal? I’ve got you covered with this guide!

This guide covers everything you must do in Sisal, restaurant/hotel recommendations, hotels, and more!

Sisal is a small seaport town in Yucatan, Mexico, on the Gulf of Mexico. While it may not be as popular as other places in the Yucatan, like Holbox or Merida, it’s frequented by locals and is a hidden gem!

The closest city to Sisal is Merida, the capital city of the Yucatan region. Merida is about 59 km from Sisal and is an hour’s drive exactly.

Locals in Merida often visit Sisal for beach days. This charming beach town is the perfect gateway to escape the hustle and bustle of Merida.

Sisal has a stunning white sand beach with emerald-colored blue water. The beach town is a paradise for nature lovers. You can spot a series of animals here, most famously the flamingos!

a picteresque trail featuring many palm trees on a clear sunny day heading to Sisal Beach

The small beach town is relatively small, making for a perfect destination to relax by the water. You will only spot a few tourists here and more locals, a nice change from popular Mexico beach cities like Cancun and Playa Del Carmen.

Sisal was one of my favorite beach towns in Mexico, offering an escape from the tourist-full beach towns. Part of the small town’s charm was the more local atmosphere.

We only spent two nights here, but we loved it! We spent a night in Valladolid visiting Chichen Itza. Then we went to Merida, and our local friends recommended visiting Sisal, Yucatan, for a weekend, and I was glad we went!

How to Get to Sisal Yucatan

To get to Sisal, you can take the bus, drive yourself, or take a taxi/Uber. Buses to Sisal leave from Merida often throughout the day.

From Merida to Sisal is about an hour’s drive, and traffic isn’t usually bad, but weekends are busier due to locals in Merida visiting the beach for the day!

How to get from Merida to Sisal

Car Rental: This is one of the easiest and fastest ways to get to Sisal from Merida. A car rental will cost you around $35 US a day. The route from Sissal to Merida is straightforward, with only one clear route to the beach town!

Local Bus: A local bus company operates between Sisal and Merida. Refer to their Facebook Page for all details. A ticket should cost around $7 – $10 US, which is the typical bus price in Mexico.

For those wondering, unfortunately, the popular ADO Bus, which operates around many places in Mexico, doesn’t have a route from Merida to Sisal.

Taxi/Uber: A taxi or Uber will cost you 500 – 650 Mexican Pesos. For a taxi, it depends on your negotiating skills!

When returning to Merida from Sisal, don’t plan to catch another Uber because the availability isn’t there. So you must take the bus or local taxi back to the city!

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Playa Beach Day & Main Pier

aerial view of Playa Sisal, the main beach in the city
Playa Sisal in Sisal Yucatan

Playa Sisal is stunning, as you can see, the shoreline is entirely of perfectly soft white sand and crystal-clear turquoise waters throughout. You’re visiting Sisal to go to the beach, right?

As you stroll the beach, you’ll spot many locals and tourists sunbathing, dining at one of the many seafood restaurants beachside, or sunbathing under a palapa with beachside service.

While the beach is stunning in Sisal, my favorite part is the affordable prices at the restaurants and beach bars along the beach. Prices you won’t find in Tulum or Playa del Carmen!

Located halfway on the beach, you’ll find the main fishing pier; you may see locals fishing for fresh fish. Take a stroll along the pier and take the beautiful views of the enticing beach shoreline.

Enjoy the afternoon sunbathing, take a stroll, converse with some locals, and take in this charming small beach town for all it has to offer.

This same pier and beach was once the largest seaport in the Yucatan state and was inhabited by the Mayan civilization long ago.

Enjoy local Yucatan Cuisine

two plates of Mexican ceviche being served at a restaurant in Mexico
Sisal Yucatan/Sopa de Lima – Credit: SeriousEats

One of the best things about visiting small towns away from the big cities is experiencing the many small, locally-owned, family-owned restaurants. It doesn’t get more local than this. In the beach town, many restaurants serve several popular Yucatan dishes.

Seafood is the most popular here, you’re near the sea, but you will also find other Yucatan dishes famous in the region, such as Papadzules, Sopa de Lima, and more. Don’t worry, there are tacos and other Mexican dishes too!

Sisal is known for its fish tacos, too, so if you’re a fan of fish tacos, make sure you try a few at different restaurants.

There are many excellent locally-owned restaurants in Sisal, which only adds to the charming small beach town atmosphere.

Make sure to try Yucatan cuisine, Which isn’t represented as much in Tulum, Cancun, and the Riviera Maya area. So foodies, take advantage of the opportunity!

By the way, I hope you like seafood because most of the restaurants here are seafood-based. What do you expect? You’re in a small seaport town in Mexico, after all!

Restaurant Recommendations:

  • La Palapa de Don Mauro
  • Restaurante El Amigo Chivero
  • Restaurante Muelle deSisal

See the Historical Sites

Sisal has a fair bit of history to it, and it wasn’t always this charming white sandy beach town. Here are a few different historical sites famous in the beach town worth checking out!

  • Faro de Sisal / Built in colonial times, the lighthouse part of the Fort in Sisal. Known today as the Sisal Lighthouse.
  • Fuerte de Santigo / Built by the Spanish when they colonized Sisal, this fort was built by them.
  • Parque de Sisal / This small greenery area is where you’ll find old cannons and many beautiful pastel-colored historical buildings.
  • Casa de la Emperatriz / Pastel Red house, holds historical significance to the town.

It’s fascinating to know how long these very same artifacts were around. Mexico has a fascinating history, and it’s worth exploring whether you’re visiting Sisal or anywhere else!

Visit Cenotes

a deep blue crystal water sinkhole with bright green branches surrounding it, known as cenote lk kil in mexico
Cenote Ik-Kil – Credit: Dorian D1

One of the most popular things to do when visiting Mexico is exploring and swimming in a cenote. There’s no better way to cool off on a hot day in Mexico than dipping into fresh spring water in a cenote!

Cenotes are scattered all over Mexico, though some are more suitable for swimming than others. The closest and best cenotes to Sisal are the following:

  • Cenote El Pocito
  • Cenote Ka Kutsal (Merida)
  • Los 7 Cenotes San Geronimo (Merida)

If you aren’t familiar with cenotes, I cover that in great detail here. Visiting at least one cenote in Mexico is a MUST-DO.

Go Kayaking at Ojo de Agua

Several local agencies offer kayaking tours to the Ojo de Agua Carbonera. It’s a large lagoon in Sisal and full of small pockets of land all around. \

At the lagoon, you’ll find vibrant emerald-green water, plenty of wildlife, and an opportunity to experience the town’s nature.

You can also swim here, but before doing so, you must listen to what your tour guide tells you because crocodiles are in some lagoon areas!

See the Flamingos

The coastline of the Yucatan region in Mexico is a prime spot to spot flamingos. There are a few tour agencies around town that you can book a tour with as they guide you to where you can spot the flamingos!

The best time to see the flamingos in Sisal is from April to October.

There are chances of seeing outside this time, but the chances are less likely. Seeing the flamingos is one of the best things to do in Sisal with kids!

Another great place to spot flamingos in this region, only a few hours from Sisal, is Isla Holbox, a stunning island in the Gulf of Mexico!

Day Trip to Progreso

famous art statue on the boardwalk in Progreso, Yucatan
Progreso Boardwalk – Credit: Mike Juarez

Progreso is the neighboring beach town to Sisal. Like Sisal, it’s also a small port town with a lot going on. Progreso is a one hour and 20 minutes drive away from Sisal.

So you can either make a day trip there as we did or get a hotel there for the night, a nice pace of change from Sisal, it’s slightly busier.

The main center of the beach town is full of restaurants, hotels, and beach clubs. When visiting, we spent the day at Playa Bonita Restaurante & Beach Club, and I highly recommend visiting.

Consider visiting Area Natural Protegida when in Progreso. Its lagoon-like park is full of many animals native to the area that are worth visiting.

Where To Stay in Sisal, Mexico

Hotels in Sisal include boutique-style hotels, guest houses, and apartments for rent. You won’t find any overly large resorts like you would in Cancun or Playa del Carmen.

However, there are plenty of excellent accommodation options in Sisal to consider!

What is the best part about the hotels in Sisal? Visiting Sisal is cheaper than other popular beach towns you’ll find in the Riviera Maya, and the price difference is noticeable.

Club de Patos

This luxurious boho-chic boutique hotel is an oasis, from the decor to the rooms and the beach area.

Club de Patos has a completely bohemian living vibe to it and is known as the best hotel in town. If you’re not on a budget, this is the place to stay!

Hotel La Casona de Sisal

Another popular accommodation option here is Hotel La Casona. Not only is it beautiful, but it’s affordable as well.

This modern boutique hotel is located in the center of town, steps away from the main beach and many restaurants.

Hotel Chuburna

Located in the city center and down the street from the city’s main beach pier Muella Chuburna is Hotel Chuburna.

This charming lodge-like hotel is well-located and comes with everything you need, and its vibrant colors make it stand out! It’s also the most affordable hotel on this list.

a pathway full of palm trees leading to the beach in SIsal, Yucatan, Mexico
Sisal Yucatan/Credit: Club de Patos

Is Sisal, Yucatan Worth Visiting?

Yes, Sisal is definitely worth visiting. The laidback beach town is the perfect place to really enjoy yourself by the beach in a slow-paced environment. As mentioned, it’s cheaper than many other known destinations in this region of Mexico!

Also, Sisal is safe, the beach town is quiet, and not much happens here. Most locals know one another, and visitors tend to be families from Merida or locals to the beach town.

Plan to spend a weekend for a few days if you enjoy it. It’s the perfect beach town to relax, quiet without much going on, and that’s the best part about it!

Keep in mind, if you’re reading this and you’re looking for a place in Mexico to visit with many bigger establishments and accommodations, then I wouldn’t recommend you visit SIsal. You would be much better off visiting Cancun, Isla Mujeres, or Playa Del Carmen.

Other beach towns in Mexico I’d recommend exploring similar to Sisal are:

white sandy beach with many palapas and palm trees at Progreso beach in Mexico
Sisal Merida/Progreso Beach – Credit: Laurentiu Morariu

Best Things to Do in Sisal – Final Thoughts

There are a few things to do in Sisal, and one should appreciate it for what it is: a charming, laidback, calming beach town. If that’s what you expect, that’s precisely what you’ll get visiting here!

Fewer tourists, plenty of space on the beach, reasonable prices, and a simple beach town atmosphere are all things you can look forward to in Sisal in the Yucatan.

Sisal is very much off the beaten path, and I had no plans on visiting the beach town initially. Sisal isn’t a known beach destination by most tourists.

Visiting Valladolid, Merida, and Progreso was the plan, but friends mentioned Sisal, and it’s safe to say I’ll be back!

beautiful street art showing a girl beside flamingos on the streets of Sisal, Mexico
Sisal Yucatan Mexico – Credit: Jan Dommerholt

How far is Sisal from Merida Airport?

From Merida Airport to Sisal, it’s a 1 Hour drive with a total distance of 57 KM.

How far is Sisal from Cancun?

From Cancun to SIsal, it’s a 4.5 Hour drive with a total distance of 373 KM.

What is Sisal Mexico known for?

The small port city of Sisal is famous for its beautiful main beach shoreline and abundant fresh seafood to try. Sisal represents Yucatan Cuisine well!

It’s a small beach town, making it an ideal place to relax; there isn’t much happening in Sisal besides the beach!

What is the history of Sisal Yucatan?

Historically, Sisal played a significant role as a main port city from the sixteenth century to the early twentieth century. Years later, Progreso replaced Sisal as the main port area for the region.

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