This beautiful place is at the south edge of the village of Tepakan, a few miles north of Izamal. There are several routes to drive there; we prefer taking the coast road to Telchac Puerto and heading south to Motul, then east through Suma and Teya. (More topes, about 10 minutes longer, but completely avoids Merida!) Here’s the Google Maps location: https://goo.gl/maps/PcDCYLRaguqoSbEC7
Driving south from central Tepakan toward Izamal, watch for Calle 41 on your left. There’s no sign, but the walled property on that southeast corner is Palapas Tepakan, and the large steel entry is just a bit south of that intersection. (If you pass the town water tower on the right, you’ve gone too far.) Let owner Jim Smiley (with whom you have arranged your visit in advance–message him on Facebook) know you’re almost there; he’ll be waiting for you.
You visit Palapas Tepakan for the incredible garden! Jim took us on a walk all through his property, explaining the wide variety of flowers, shrubs and trees. He also has a small apiary, with the stingless Maya bees making their special melipona honey. If you are interested in orchids, you’ll see many ways of growing them! (Warning: if you grow them now, you could get very jealous.)
Jim has two new, spotless palapa-roofed casitas for staying overnight. He offers a day package including breakfast, lunch, the garden tour, use of the big swimming pool, and a trip around the village where you can meet local folks who raise and sell plants. What a fun way to help the economy of a small village!
We returned by the same route, but you could certainly make a loop and include a stop in the beautiful Yellow City of Izamal, just ten minutes to the south. You could even combine this with a visit to Chenché de las Torres (see our Story 15).
Here are a few photos from the visit: