Visit Merida in Yucatan
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Merida is the colorful and picturesque capital of Mexico’s Yucatan State. Filled with palatial buildings, wide boulevards, and lovely parks, Merida has a distinctly different feel than other cities in Mexico. Due to the cultural influences of the Maya people, Merida is also home to unique gastronomy, art work and educational experiences throughout the city.
How to Get There
The Manuel Crescencio Rejón Airport (MID) is located 8km outside of Merida’s city center and receives both domestic and international flights. After arriving at the airport, grab a shared taxi or bus to Merida’s downtown core for approximately MEX $200.
Merida is also home to two bus stations; the main station named CAME is located on Calle 70. CAME has an arrival and departures terminal for bus routes going to other major cities in Mexico. There is also a regional bus station on Calle 69 which provides routes throughout the Yucatan state.
Where to Stay
For those travellers looking to explore Merida on foot, I recommend staying in the city centre close to Plaza Grande. Some of the most beautiful and enjoyable areas of Merida are located North of the main square, near Parque de Santa Lucia and Parque de La Mejorada. Luckily, there are many affordable accommodation options in the city, including hotels, hostels, and homestays. AirBnB’s in Merida offer a tremendous amount of value for guests. These beautifully renovated houses are cool, quiet, and centrally located.
What to Do
On Sundays Merida closes it’s main streets, giving a chance to cyclists to enjoy downtown on two wheels without any cars or trucks. The most picturesque street, Paseo Montejo, is where most of the cycling activity takes place. Ride with other cyclists along the wide avenue and look at the colonial mansion that line the street. For a break, grab a seat at a cafe facing Paseo Montejo and watch as Merida’s citizens pass you by.
Casa Montejo Museum & Plaza Grande
Facing Merida’s main square, Plaza Grande, the Casa Montejo Museum is a restored 16th century house built for members of the Spanish government. The home’s unique Plateresque architecture, furniture, and internal courtyards are the main draw for tourists. Outside of the Museum, Plaza Grande offers tourists great people watching, markets, food stalls, and historical architecture.
Colourful Houses Walking Tour
What makes Merida one of the most photographed cities in Mexico is it’s colourful colonial era houses. Throughout the downtown quarters residents have painted their houses with rich and vibrant hues, complemented with huge wooden doors and maintained greenery.
There are also numerous walking tours available on AirBnB experiences that focus on urban photography.
Gran Museo de la Maya
This cultural centre offers visitors a look at traditional Mayan folk art and handicrafts. Educational displays teach guests about Mayan customs, daily life, and history through art. Visitors should head to the museum in the evening to watch the spectacular visual effects exhibition.
There are many day trip activities available from Merida through local tour companies. Travellers have the opportunity to visit the nearby Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza, Dzibilchaltún, Uxmal, or Coba. For a leisurely trip, head to the Yucantan’s famous cenotes; fresh water pools that are perfect for swimming, snorkeling, and relaxing during the midday heat.
Where to Eat
The food in Merida is much different than other areas of Mexico, featuring unique ingredients, cooking methods, and flavour palates. To learn more about the gastronomy in Merida, I would recommend visiting the restaurant La Chaya Maya, which features demonstrations by Mayan chefs. Some of the city’s most popular restaurants include Oliva Enoteca, Ku’uk, Ostro Cucina Bar, Taqueria de la Union, La Cubanita, and Wayan’e.
Best Time to Visit
Merida is generally hot and humid year round with plenty of sunshine. I would recommend visiting from November through March, as this is the cooler time of year with less rain.
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