The Motel in Ticul

Ticul, Mexico
June 1994

The colonial town of Ticul, Mexico is the largest town close to Uxmal, which is still almost an hour away. Famous for its Mayan cuisine, the fabled Poc Chuc, Ticul is the home of the modern Maya. Most tourists miss Ticul — they stay in Mérida, two hours to the north, and follow the main highway to the ruins. But staying here is necessary for a multiday visit.

For eight dollars a night, you don’t get much.The town itself is basic, but pleasant, with dusty paved streets and the usual parque central. There’s a market on the outskirts and a few hotels. The Ruta Maya guide recommends a cheap motel a few blocks from the central core with a car park protected by a chain gate. I pull in and park the VW bug, as the owner comes out to greet me and sternly works out the price.

For eight dollars a night, you don’t get much. A dark room with white tile floors. A narrow bed with a heavy, dusty bedspread and a flat pillow. A rusty shower head with a plastic bucket to catch the water. The water smells and looks kind of orange. Three days in the hot sun makes it hard to avoid. I settle for quick splashes in the sink, which seems cleaner. I’m glad there is no pool.

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