Mirida is a colonial city founded in the 16th century and it's the the capital of the Andes. it's located at about 1600 metres above sea level and has a population of about 350,000 people. The city itself is pretty but not spectaculr, but its surrounding area (and mountains) are top class. It's also a well-known university town.
Fondest memory: Being a university town (the second largest university town in Venezuela) makes Merida a very youthful and lively place to be. So much life has a positive consequence: unlike many other places in Venezuela, people are out and about at night - so that you can go out quite safely for once
Favorite thing: Taxi's are very cheap in Merida, considerably cheaper than in Caracas, so it is often better as a tourist to take taxi's between locations rather than trying to get on the right bus. Make sure you still ask the price in advance "Cuanto cubra hasta (location)." Most journeys around the city will only cost between Bs4,000 and Bs7,000 (BsF 4 and BsF 7).
If you are planning to take lots of trips in Merida with tour companies to places like Los Llanos and Catatumbo or to participate in things like Canyoning, Paragliding, Mountain Biking, Rafting, etc, you should bring U.S. dollars to pay for these as they will be much cheaper. Most of the tourist companies in Merida seem to use the unofficial exchange rate or a rate around US$1 to BS4,000 (BsF4) for the price in dollars.
For example, for canyoning, the price in November 2007 was US$45 but BS.180,000. A huge difference in the cost if you are taking money out of the ATM to pay for things as you would be paying US$90 for the trip (official exchange rate is US$1 to BS.2,150/BsF.2.15.
Therefore, I advice you call ahead to find out prices of things you would like to do and take the dollars with you to pay. A lot of tour companies only accept cash or a bank transfer to pay for the trips.
Favorite thing: You can go shopping, you will find suvenier typical art and sweets of merida at the top you have food court very tradicional only venezuelan food (you would not find any foreging brand)