Yucatán Sketching Workshop with Santi Sallés

Jan 22-27, 2020

Escape winter, learn new sketching skills and explore a new culture in sunny Mérida, Mexico! This Vacation Workshop is located in Mérida, a colonial city less than 50 km from the Gulf of Mexico in the state of Yucatán. Mérida was founded by Francisco de Montejo y León in 1542 on top of an ancient Maya city called T’ho, whose white stonework was repurposed by the Spaniards as foundations to erect lofty Catholic churches and colonial mansions. Today locals call Merica the "White City" because of the white stonework and because it is so clean. Average temperatures in Mérida at this time of year are a high of 84F (29C) in the day and low of 66F (19C) at night.

This package includes five workshops taught by urban sketcher, Santi Sallés, plus several demonstrations, many sketching opportunities and day trips to the Uxmal Pyramid and the "Yellow City" of Izamal, plus some meals and other attractions.

Santi Sallés is a freelance illustrator, graphic and creative designer living in Barcelona. He has more than 20 years experience working for different advertising agencies and companies and has published in newspapers and magazines such as La Vanguardia, El País, GQ and Vanity Fair. Santi has 8 published books where drawing and illustration are the main medium. He is a member of Urban Sketchers Barcelona and Catalonia. Santi speaks English and Spanish fluently. This workshop will be held in English but Santi will speak Spanish for any non-English speakers in the group. 

If you have any questions about the workshops, please contact Santi at info@santisalles.com.

Follow Santi at https://www.instagram.com/santisalles/. 

Day 1 Arrive in Mérida

Wednesday January 22


Welcome to Mérida. Our hotel is located in the historic centre of town. Free wifi is available everywhere in Mérida.

Day 2 Museum of Anthropology + the Palacio Municipal 

Thursday January 23  

After a delicious breakfast in the hotel, we will take a walking tour of the downtown area to orient ourselves to the city.

In the morning we will visit Palacio Canton, the Museum of Anthropology. The rotating exhibits in this lavish museum examine Yucatán's cultural heritage. Here Santi will teach Workshop #1 Composition + Letters. We will draw in the museum different elements controlling the composition and where we put the texts.

After lunch we will draw near the pink Palacio Municipal de Mérida (City Hall) originally built in 1542.

In the evening we will take in the live traditional Yucatán Serenade in the Santa Lucia Parque.

Day 3 Visit Izamal, the Yellow City

Friday January 24

After breakfast, students will take a private coach 72 km (about 40 miles) to Izamal, known as the "Yellow City", an important archaeological site of the Pre-Columbian Maya civilization. The monastery and colonial buildings in the town are all painted a yellow that reflects the dazzling sun, which is fitting as the Mayans considered this site to be the abode of Kinichkakmo, a manifestation of the sun god. Izamal remains a place of pilgrimage now for the veneration of Catholic saints and several saints statues are said to perform miracles. 

Here we will tour the Yellow City, its monastery, art museum and pyramids and Santi will teach Workshop #2 From the stain to the line on site. We will start with color then later add line. This is a more expressive and informal drawing technique. After lunch (included), free sketching of your favourite vista.

Day 4  The Farmer's Market + the Governor's Palace

Saturday January 25

In the morning we will explore the Slow Food Farmer's Market a few blocks from our hotel where we will learn about color and expression.

After lunch we will visit the Plaza Grande on the grounds of the Governor's Palace. The Palace, in an eclectic classicist style, features 2 floors adorned with portals. Inside is a large open air central courtyard in the typical Mexican style. After a quick tour, Santi will teach Workshop #3 Perspective and line on site. We will learn about line and perspective drawing including lights and shadows.  

Day 5 Full-day Excursion to Uxmal + the Chocolate Museum

 Sunday January 26 

After breakfast, students will travel by private coach 52 miles south of Mérida  to the spectacular ancient Mayan city of Uxmal. Considered one of the most important archaeological sites of Maya culture, it covers almost 8 miles and had at one time approximately 20 thousand inhabitants. Its first construction was in the seventh century, as well as a second occupation during the tenth century. 

Santi will teach Workshop #4 The Green Workshop on site. Here we will draw the pyramids and practice with the green colors and learn to draw nature. We will learn how to draw trees, controlling the lights and shadows.


We will enjoy a buffet lunch at a hacienda (included) before heading over to the nearby Chocolate Museum. This museum tells the story of the Mayan's discovery of cocao and how chocolate is made. Be prepared to taste test and to enjoy walking along the short trail on the property where you will see wildlife such as monkeys and deer and many local specimens of plants and trees. 

Day 6 The Mansions of Merida

Monday January 27

After breakfast we will tour the Quinte Montes Molina, a European-style restored mansion built in 1902 where Santi will teach Workshop #5 Drawing architecture in its scenic gardens. 

We will use all the techniques we have learned in previous workshops. We will use the greens to draw the gardens, the perspective and the line, the control of the lights and the shadows and the expressiveness. 

After lunch free sketching some of the other beautiful mansions on Paseo de Montejo. This street is named after Francisco de Montejo, the Spanish conquistador who founded the city in 1542, and is the location of some of the city's most iconic buildings and monuments.

Returning in the late afternoon, we will gather for our farewell dinner (included) at a local restaurant.

Day 7 Departure

Tuesday January 28

Enjoy breakfast before returning to the airport. It's time to say goodbye but you will never forget the friends you made or the skills you learned during this great week! Some participants may wish to extend their stay for a long relaxing holiday :)

Recommended Workshop Supply List

Click HERE to see the recommended workshop supply list.


Click HERE for answers to frequently asked questions.

For more information about the workshops contact Santi at info@santisalles.com.

For more information about this vacation package contact Brenda Murray Studio56Boutique@gmail.com.

Tour Includes

  • All art classes
  • Admission to the Uxmal pyramids
  • Lunch near Uxmal
  • Admission to the Chocolate Museum
  • Admission to the Izamal art museum
  • Lunch in Izamal
  • Excursion to Uxmal and Izamal via private coach
  • Admission to the Palacio Canton, the Museum of Anthropology.
  • Farewell dinner

Tour Excludes

  • Flights to/from Merida
  • hotel accommodations
  • Merida airport pick-up and drop-off
  • Meals (except as listed above)
  • Painting supplies
  • Tips and gratuities
  • Porterage/luggage handling
  • Travel insurance
  • Expenses of a personal nature
  • Items not explicitly specified in the inclusion list

    Cost in USD

    USD$1499. Workshop Participant

    USD$1099. NonWorkshop Participant (such as partner or travelling buddy)

    Workshop Participant tickets are on sale on a first-come first-served basis until they are sold out. The minimum number of Workshop Participant tickets needed to greenlight this vacation workshop is 10. Ticket sales will close when the maximum number of available Workshop Participant tickets (15) have been sold. 

    NonWorkshop Participant tickets include the same attractions and meals as the Workshop Participants with the exception of the art classes.

    Please read our Refund Policy.


    Accommodations are not included in the ticket price for this Vacation Workshop. Participants will need to book their own accommodations. The artist and the tour manager will be staying at the Hyatt Regency Merida. To explore this hotel click HERE. This large 4-star hotel features air conditioned rooms, a rooftop pool, workout room, and restaurant on site. A block of rooms have been reserved at the Hyatt for this group.

    Room Type Standard High Floor
    Single Room  $ 134.50  $ 170.00
    Double Room  $ 154.00  $ 201.00
    Triple Room  $ 185.00  $ 220.50

    The above rates include taxes, breakfast buffet and tips.

    To reserve a room at the Hyatt Regency Merida click HEREIf you need additional assistance, please contact the Hyatt Merida directly at 877-803-7534. Hotel cancellation policy: if the date of cancellation is up to 30 days prior to arrival no penalty will be applied.

    Participants are welcome to find an alternate nearby hotel or Airbnb if you wish.

    Please do not make alternative nonrefundable hotel or flight arrangements until this Vacation Workshop has been greenlighted. This Vacation Workshop will be greenlighted as soon as we have reached our minimum registration of 10 participants. 


    Travel + Medical Insurance

    Trip cancellation insurance protects the investment you’ve made in your trip and is highly recommended. Travel medical insurance is mandatory. Travel medical insurance pays for emergency medical services which may be significantly more expensive than expected. Participants will be asked to provide proof of medical insurance after registration.

    Your Tour Manager

    Participants will be accompanied by Studio 56 owner, Brenda Murray. Brenda is an artist and arts advocate, the founder of Urban Sketchers Waterloo Region and a former Urban Sketchers Board member. A seasoned traveler, Brenda will be on hand to assist the instructor and to ensure that everything runs smoothly. Learn more about Brenda HERE.

    For More Information 

    Email Studio56Boutique@gmail.com or call Brenda Murray at 519-572-1757.