MEXICO'S SOUTHERN TIP CURVES EAST
Favorite thing: Until I started planning this trip, I hadn't paid close attention to the way Mexico curves so far to the east in the southern tip. Merida is actually straight south of New Orleans, LA, and Cancun is very close to Cuba. The Yucatan is less than 200 miles from the Equator, so bring you're sun screen and get a hotel with a pool because the sun is intense. I had a good natural sunscreen and had no problems.
Enlarging the map will show you exactly where the Merida & Cancun are located.
MERIDA ENGLISH LIBRARY
Favorite thing: The Merida English Library (MEL) is in El Centro and has several rooms of books as well as computers for use of the internet. It also has a lovely patio and garden behind the building for a quiet spot to relax and read in the shade of the trees.
The volunteers who work at the library are very kind and helpful. Also, the library sponsors monthly social gathering for expats and local folks to come together and chat either at the library or a restaurant. They offer other meetings as well.
Spectacular Paseo de Montejo
Favorite thing: Extending northward from the Centro Historico is the beautiful Paseo de Montejo, a wide boulevard lined with ornate turn of the century (20th century) mansions. Paseo de Montejo is in stark contrast to most of the rest of Merida, which has less spectacular buildings and consists mostly of working class neighborhoods.
Many of the buildings are now occupied by businesses. Some are in disrepair. Approaching Ave. Colon, the buildings are in better shape. The intersection of Ave Colon and Paseo de Montejo is the location of several large newer hotels, such as Fiesta Americana, Holiday Inn, Hyatt and Intercontinental. In this area, it is easy to forget that one is in a struggling developing country with a shaky economy. In fact, we felt as if we had been transported suddenly to the United States, with its large hotels and glitzy shopping malls.
If Holiday Inns or Hyatts are your preference, you will likely want to stay in this area. If you want to experience a more authentic part of Merida, I recommend the small hotels and inns southward in the Centro Historico.
- Historical Travel
Favorite thing: One of the major influences on Yucatecan history is the henequen plant, also called sisal (for the Yucatecan city of Sisal from which shipments left the continent). This plant became known as 'green gold' or verde oro for the wealth it lavished upon the haciendados or hacienda owners in this area. In the early 20th Century, as a result of the henequen or sisal trade, Merida was the home for numerous millionaires who built their lavish homes on Paseo Montejo, and their impressive haciendas throughout the jungle surrounding Merida. A walk down Paseo Montejo is a wonderful way to view some of these mansions, many of which are completely restored, and some of whose romantic decay are food for the imagination.
- Historical Travel
Favorite thing: ATMs are prevalent in Merida, so we had no problem exchanging money. In addition, several shops had exchange windows open in the evening. On the other hand, I didn't see the bank open once - great banker's hours in Merida. ATMs will not be so easy to find in the small towns. If you leave Merida on a day trip, in addition to filling up your tank, make sure you have pesos to last you through the day.
It seemed that dollars would be accepted in a pinch, but pesos were used more often. Where US dollars could be used, the exchange rate was still the usual 10 pesos to 1 dollar to make the math easy -- just like last year. That's not a great rate since the US dollar is now worth over 11 pesos. You're better off having a supply of pesos with you at all times, and tip like hell just before you fly back home.
- Historical Travel
A not so white city
Favorite thing: Before we arrived in Merida, I read that Merida is a "white city". I pretty much forgot that once I got to Merida, because white is not necessarily the predominant color of buildings. Really, anything goes, and many of the buildings are painted in vibrant earth tones, pastels, and even this aquamarine color, which reminds me of one the houses I grew up in.
Fondest memory: Aquamarine houses look better here in Merida than they do in Federal Way, Washington.
Mérida as it was for me in February of 2011
Favorite thing: Our path from Mayan Ruinas Uxmal to Ruinas Chichén-Itzá was led through Mérida - the capital of the Mexican State of Yucatán and largest city of the Yucatán Peninsula.
It is located in the northwest part of the state, about 80 km from Uxmal, about 120 km from Chichén-Itzá and about 35 km from the Gulf of Mexico coast.
We spent there half a day, then a night before we continued our ride along Yucatan.
City Hall Information Center
Street level of the City Hall
Calle 62 between 61 and 63;
City Council Contact Service
Phone: (999) 942 00 00, Ext. 8011
Paseo de Montejo Information Module
Paseo Montejo (Calle 56-A) and Calle 33-A
You can watch my 4 min 07 sec Video Mexico Merida part 1 out of my Youtube channel or here on VT.
- Road Trip
- Historical Travel
Outdoor pool in the hotel
Fondest memory: One of the fondest memory I always remember out of my trip to Mexico is my swimming in January and February. It was cold winter that time in Moscow.
As I have already written I took every chance to swim in every hotel pool in this trip along Mexico. That’s why swimming in the outdoor pool in the Hotel Hyatt Regency Merida was especially pleasant for me. And I will remember it not less than all the best Merida’s attractions.
The outdoor pool located on the 3rd floor of the hotel. You can enjoy sunny days in the city, either swimming or sunbathing.
Access is offered exclusively to registered guests.
Hours: Daily 8:00am to 8:00pm
Kids area depth: 2.94 ft
Pool depth: 5.43 ft
Favorite thing: The City of Merida has recently commissioned many artists to create works of art that are displayed in various parts of the city, with a high concentration of artwork on Paseo de Montejo. Walk along the boulevard and admire the many original sculptures on the sidewalks.
Paseo de Montejo is also the location of the city's Carnival procession.
Fondest memory: We especially liked this Sherman Tank built out of industrial cannisters and pipes.
- Arts and Culture
Sisal and Haciendas
Favorite thing: When we drove from Uxmal to Celestun, we passed six or more haciendas. These deserted haciendas are linked to the henequen or sisal plant. Until the discovery of the plastic industry (during World War I approximately), the threads from the sisal plant were used to make rope -- especially rope for ships as it weathered well.
This plant grew well in the Yucatan, and the haciendados (hacienda owners) became very rich exporting sisal. Mérida was the preferred home for many of these millionaires, and they built their fancy homes on Paseo Montejo.
As I indicated earlier, you can walk or drive down Paseo Montejo to see some of these mansions - some of which are restored. Once nylons and the like became the standard for rope-making, sisal became worth much less, and there are not other crops than could be built in the desert with no irrigation, so most of the mansions were deserted.
Favorite thing: The Spaniard Francisco de Montejo founded Merida on January 6, 1542. When the Spaniards arrived, Merida was a large Mayan city known as T'ho, situated on what is now the Main Plaza. It was conquered by the Spaniards, who dismantled all the pyramids and used the huge stones as the foundation for the Cathedral of San Idelfonso (1556-1599), the oldest cathedral on the American continent.
- Historical Travel
Favorite thing: The carriage ride down Paseo Montejo is a MUST !!! - as is Saturday night shows and Sunday in Merida. There really are no words to describe it.
Fondest memory: I miss just hanging out for a long afternoon - or a late supper - at one of the sidewalk cafes.
- Family Travel
Favorite thing: Mérida celebrates an intense cultural life 365 days of the year, and the thousands of visitors become spectators in this ongoing fact of daily life.
The city, captivating and enchanting, is committed to constantly improving that image to the world. As such, every night the historical downtown district hosts an unforgettable cultural evening such as the traditional Yucatecan "jarana" (dance) presented in front of the City Hall every Monday evening; on Sunday when music filling the air with the salsa and cumbia rhythems of two orchestras. There are also theater presentations, folk dances and movies in cultural centers for the scenic arts such as the Mérida Theater located just a few steps away from the Main Square.
Favorite thing: A distinct one-way system and a grid lay out make it very easy to find your way round. The narrow streets also add to the atmosphere of a busy, bustling city, with the open space of the central Plaza Mayor the main 'landmark' of the city.
Fondest memory: Amazingly friendly
Favorite thing: Markets abound in central Merida, where you can buy fresh fruit and other local produce as well as everyday items. Favourite items were Tommy Half-Finger goods - which were everywhere LOL
Central de Abastos (south of the Zocalo) is the biggest: indoor and in the streets around it.
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