Yucatán with Kids: A Travel Guide

Mexico Cassie has done it again. The author of Moving To Mérida: How To Successfully Move To Mexico As A Family has created an excellent guidebook to exploring the Mexican state of Yucatán with kids, naturally called Yucatán with Kids: A Travel Guide. 

This book includes pronunciation assistance for the Mayan place names you will be visiting. It highlights the best beaches, cenotes, and archaeological sites to take your kids. It does a great job of giving pertinent information, like how difficult the cenote is to access, so that you can plan accordingly. It also includes information on haciendas, natural spaces, caves, and inland cities and towns you can take your children, including Mérida and Valladolid. 

Towards the end of the book, Cassie includes two road-trip suggestions for traveling in Yucatán state and surrounding areas. There are notes on food, national festivals, safety and tips for traveling with children. As a guidebook for families with children exploring the area, it can’t be beat.

There were some editing issues that kept me from giving this book the highest rating, however. These are probably things that won’t bother the average reader, but I’m picky. First, the author says she wasn’t going to include pictures because most people would be reading an e-book version. What’s a guidebook without pictures? Since the majority of locations were places the author herself has visited with her family, I’m positive she has oodles of lovely images. And you can absolutely use pictures in e-books. It takes more time formatting, but it would have taken this book over the top.

Note from the author: Photos to accompany the book are on my website, a formatting decision that may not work for everyone but makes the book more affordable and given that most travel books are now sold as ebooks, works well.

Then there were some terms that were mistranslated, although they were understandable errors. The first was Río Lagartos which she informs her readers means Alligator river. No, it doesn’t. The word lagarto translates as lizard in English. Since the crocodiles that live there do indeed resemble very large lizards, Lizard River was an apt name. 

Note from the author: The story about crocodiles and alligators does not come from me but is something told by guides and locals in Río Lagartos.

Another term that caught my attention was the word sarteneja which the author said translated as cistern. The Spanish online dictionary defined sarteneja as another term for bache (pothole). Further research informed me that sartenejas were crevices of naturally found water deposits. So I expect this is a Mayan term that originally referred to areas where water collected and now is used to talk about the structures that hold water. In my area, these are called aljibes and in areas more central in Mexico, I’ve heard the term pila. 

The third mistranslation was concerning the local sun god, Kinich Ahau. The author goes through the etymology of the word, stating kin means sun, ich means face and ahau means lord or priest. However, ich translates as both face and eye in Mayan. As most representations of the sun god have a sun literally in the eye of the carving, k’inich is thought to be more accurately translated as sun-eyed, rather than sun-faced. 

There were also some proofreading errors that should have been corrected before this book was released. In some places río (river) and ría (estuary) were used interchangeably and lacked accents. Then, when listing culinary delights, she mentioned chicharra and castacán as pork dishes. Well, castacán is indeed a local pork dish. However, chicharra is the word for cicada. While cicadas are, in fact, a delicacy in Mexico, they taste more like shrimp than pork, according to sources who have tried them. I believe the word she meant to use was chicharrón, pork rind. 

Note from the author: It is necessary to point out that chicharra is, indeed, a correct term for chicharron in Yucatán.

Towards the end of the book, it felt like I was reading the author’s travel notes rather than a guidebook. Sentences were incomplete, months and days were abbreviated, capitalization and accents became randomized and well, it felt rushed. There were some items that could have been explained a little better. For instance, she mentions Pueblos Mágicos. Anyone living in Mexico would know that she referred to select towns that received revinalization money in recent years to encourage tourism. However, travelers to Mexico might not have that information. 

All of these petty little negatives should not take away from the fact that as a guidebook for families with children who wish to travel in Yucatán state, Yucatán with Kids: A Travel Guide is top-notch. Available on Gumroad and Amazon.

I received an ARC from the author.

April 2021 Virtual Book Tour — Cassie Pearse

About the Author

Cassie Pearse is a British writer and editor. She moved to Mérida, Mexico in 2016 with her husband, two kids and a whole lot of enthusiasm for adventure. Cassie is a monthly contributor to Yucatán Today, Yucatán’s foremost travel magazine, she has her own popular blog, mexicocassie.com and, at the end of 2020, published her first book, Moving To Mérida: How To Successfully Move To Mexico As A Family. The book details both the decisions and plans that led Cassie’s family to leave London and move to Mexico as well as information that is invaluable to making your own move.

When she isn’t exploring and writing about Mexico, Cassie is the senior editor of Saving Earth Magazine and Saving Earth for Kids Magazine, two stunning environmental magazines. She is also a freelance editor and has a small but thriving consultancy offering support to people thinking about moving to Yucatán or wanting help planning trips to the region.

Cassie loves being outside and five years hasn’t quenched her excitement for exploring the diversity of Mexico. She has a list as long as her arm of places she still *needs* to visit.

So, if you’re considering packing it all in and moving to Mexico, Cassie’s book will tell you everything you need to know in order to start your new, exciting life in Mérida, Mexico’s most desirable city. 
Look out for Cassie’s second book, Yucatán With Kids: Exploring The Mexico Cassie Way. It’ll be out later this year.

Moving To Mérida: How To Successfully Move To Mexico As A Family

Reviews say:

Cassie does a great job of laying out facts and details about moving to Merida in the Yucatan region of Mexico. She answers all the questions you have and even the ones you didn’t know you had. While this book addresses moving abroad with children, the information is still helpful if you are considering a move to the city without children. This should be required reading for anyone that is considering making Merida their home

Cassie is able to deliver information that is not only accurate, but thorough and all with her own stories and humor scattered throughout. She answers questions you didn’t know you had and lays out information in a way that is easy and fun to read. This book would not only be helpful for a move to Merida, but for a move to most any part of Mexico. While the book is geared towards families, the information and insight is perfect for anyone. Whether you live vicariously through the Pearse family or you make the move yourself you’ll be glad you did.

I read this book this afternoon and it made my day! I absolutely loved it. I am so excited to visit this beautiful city, and hopefully move there one day soon. This book provides all the necessary info to make the leap! If you’re at all curious about Merida I highly recommend it!

Moving To Mérida: How To Successfully Move To Mexico As A Family can be purchased on Amazon or Gumroad.

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