Located just 35km from the Golf Coast of Mexico lies Merida, the capital of the Yucatan Region. With a population of almost 1 million, Merida stands out as being a big city, in region that doesn’t contain many.
At first glance, Merida appears to be a little rougher than other cities in the Yucatan and I think this gives the city a bit more charm and originality compared to some other places in the region. But don’t get me wrong, the downtown is still extremely nice and it’s easy to see the amount of money present in Merida.
- Built in 1598, the Cathedral of Merida looms over the main plaza. Here, you can find something going on just about any night of the week. One night (either Friday or Sunday) you can even witness a reenactment of the famous Maya ball game. I explained the game a little bit in a recent post here: Chichen Itza, Mexico.
Just off the main square, you can find plenty of nice streets and little food stands… along with the standard McDonalds and Burger King of course..
- This sandwich containing ham, chicken and turkey cost $50 pesos ($3.50 cdn) and as long as you avoid expensive restaurants, Merida is a very cheap place to eat…. as is all of Mexico.
The nicest and most popular area of Merida lies along one massive street named Paseo Montejo – considered similar in style to Champs-Elysees in Paris and with similar architecture to Havana, Cuba. Lined with wide sidewalks, mansions and a number of impressive trees; this walkway is a must visit if you’re in the city!
- Here you can find numerous museums, shops, nightclubs, restaurants and cafes while getting a nice sunburn in the hot Meridian sun!
- Oh, and expect to see some fully armed military members cruising the streets.. These ones were nice enough to give me a wave after snapping a picture of them : )
- Here is the famous ‘Flag Monument’, containing various images illustrating important parts of Mexican, specifically Yucatan, history.
The entirety of Paseo Montejo will take about 3 hours to walk up and down, so prepare yourselves for some exercise! If it gets too hot, try to find some shade under a nice garbage tree : )
There aren’t any sites that completely blow you away in Merida, but it is a really nice city with a few different areas to explore. The best hostels can be found for about $13 cdn and virtually all of them contain a pool.
Located about an hours drive away from the famous Chichen Itza ruins, Merida is a good jumping off point. The city is cheap and contains a plethora of options for food, nightlife and shopping. Also, Merida is not overrun with tourists, something I was pleasantly surprised to find out. Plan on spending two to three days in the capital of the Yucatan!