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Chetumal is an enchanting city where you can bike ride down the boulevard or take a walk and enjoy the view, the breeze and the chirping of birds. Come and be marveled by the festivities and the traditions, the abundant flora and fauna, lagoons, cenotes, beaches and Maya archeological sites!
Doorway to Central America from Mexico, Chetumal is a large cultural center that still conserves its provincial flavor in the midst of that modern city. "Old Chetumal" is located in the heart of the town where there are buildings of the Colonial Romantic English style of the architecture which typically uses high quality wood and channeled roofing made of painted red metal.
To visit Chetumal isn't just a visit to the beginning or the end of a country; it's discovering and enjoying a magical zone bathed in colors of the jungle and the sea. Those who consider Chetumal their city have taken care of it to help it grow into a prosperous city, one that they can pass down to their children.
This is also where many important things in history happened such as the Spanish Conquest and the rupture of the Mayan Empire. The legend goes that the initial mixing of the races happened when the Spanish soldier Gonzalo Guerrero married the Mayan Princess, Zani Ha. This led to the interaction between peoples and the eventual classification that Chetumal is the place where the first mix between these two cultures took place thus becoming the birthplace of the mixing of the cultures.
The history of Chetumal is tied to the uprising of the Maya People against the Spaniards and the Mestizos resulting in the "Caste War". It served as an arms trafficking center from Belize. To curb this, the government set up a military command post in this inhospitable zone. It was only until 1898 that the Mexican Army sent Lt. Othon Pompeyo Blanco to head the mission. In the process, he founded the town of Payo Obispo which rapidly became a town of peasants and immigrants from the center of the country as well as from Belize and Lebanon.
In 1936, the city officially becomes Chetumal and in 1947, the name of Payo Obispo officially changed its name to Othon P. Blanco. Then in 1955, after the devastation suffered from Hurracane Janet, Chetumal was reconstructed and then declared capital of the burgeoning state of Quintana Roo.
The sister cities of Chetumal and Belize
Chetumal and Belize are the intermediate points between Mexico and Central America, creating a strong link between the two cities, which include cuisine, architecture, music and local traditions. Reggae, Zanebay (festive Samba music) and Punta Rock (music with lyrics in both English and African dialects) are just some of the types of music adopted by Chetumalans.
There is also pasacalle and calabaceado, which are some of the more popular types of dance music in the zone.