Merida is the capital of the Mexican state of Yucatan on the north of the Yucatan peninsula, and just 4 hours and 1/2 by bus from Cancun.
When we arrived we were received with a traditional crafts fair in the main plaza with dance and live concerts. Despite the food stalls being very disappointing the festive vibe and atmosphere around the Plaza Grand was amazing. This plaza deserves a visit specially on Sundays when the city centre is closed to traffic until early afternoon.
Around Plaza Grand you can visit the Casa Montejo (a free museum with a permanent exhibition of victorian, neorococo and neorenaissance furnishings), Olimpo cultura center, municipal Palace, the government palace, Cathedral de San Ildefonso (the oldest Cathedral in all of Americas) and the museum of contemporary art. So there’s lots to do and visit around just this central square. The whole square is really cool at night and there is even a video projection onto the cathedral.
There are 2 Tourist Information posts in opposite sides of the Plaza Grand, they organize two free walking tours around the central square. One in the morning (9.30) and another in the evening (6pm). They give a great inside about the monuments around the central square, Yucatan history and Maya traditions.
Merida has lots of great options to eat, even if you have a plant based diet. There are more authentic Mexican places to very fancy restaurants. The Quesadillas, the Sopes and the vegan tacos are a must, Yucatan food is delicious and there’s a very large selection of dishes to choose from and many vegan, vegetarian and veg-friendly restaurants.
And as I always do I went to have a look at the food markets. Merida has a couple selling local fruits and veggies. My favourites were the Mercado Lucas De Galvéz (Merida’s central food market) and the Mercado Santa Ana. If you are in Mérida during a Saturday (9am-1pm) or Wednesday (6pm-9pm) don’t miss the organic Slow Food Market.
Calle 60 is the main touristic street, it leads north from the main square passing by lots of interesting places like the Parque Hidalgo, Parque de Santiago, Teatro Peón Conteras, Universidad Autónoma de Yucatán and Parque de Santa Lucía.
Another famous street is the Paseo Montejo, which was the local attempt to create a modern boulevard. There are some nice houses monuments lining the Paseo.
Merida is beautiful, colourful and also an excellent point from where you can explore part of the state of Yucatan, which offers several archaeological sites, cenotes, caves, flamingos, and nice beaches.
Merida has an excellent location, and is great place to stay and take different day trips to places like Uxmal, Cuzamá or Izamal.
photography – all rights reserved – Ana Rocha