We are currently in the process of moving. This is a little bit more complicated than the usual move. We are traveling between countries and traveling with a dog. For the past month we have been living out of our suitcases and backpacks, and making our way across Mexico. In a few days we will complete the final leg of our journey with flights from Mexico City to Canada. This isn’t a sightseeing trip by any means, but that doesn’t mean we’ve put our cameras too deep into our bags. We did manage to capture a few great shots from the Yucatan before we made our way into the highlands of Central Mexico.
We left the Yucatan a few weeks ago. Our hotel was located right between the Grand Plaza in the historic center and Paseo de Montejo. Since most attractions are closed, we spent most of our time wandering on foot. We are traveling with our dog Maya, and she had no complaints about the restrictions as we did a lot of walking. In Merida, the cathedrals were closed as well as most plaza’s and squares. It’s a good thing we were just passing through, because it would have been disappointing otherwise.
The one day we made an attempt to go for a short drive towards the coast to see the flamingos at Celestun, our car broke down. We were lucky to find a mechanic close to where we broke down and had to give up on this side quest. While we were trying to make the best of our last days on the Yucatan Peninsula, our main objective was still thousands of kilometers away. I can assure you we will come back to try again sometime in the future.
What makes Merida so amazing?
Merida is the capital city of the Yucatan State and largest city on the peninsula. It has a long colonial history, being founded in 1542, making it one of the “old school” cities in Mexico. Today, it is very popular with expats as it is considered one of the safest cities in North America.
It seems like the only real downside to Merida is the heat during the summer months. We visited in the middle of August but got lucky with an unseasonable “cold” few days. During out visit we had a little bit of rain, so the heat seems a little bit overhyped to us, but we’re going to take the world of those who say it is almost too hot in the summer.
There are lots of museums and many nearby Mayan Ruins (including Uxmal and Chichen Itza) which is what would have drawn us here during a normal tourist visit. It’s not on the beach, but a short drive north to Progresso will quickly have you swimming in the warm water of the gulf of Mexico. Unfortunately, most things were closed during our visit, but the historic colonial buildings had a certain charm to them that makes it easy to see why this is a popular place for most visitors.
Where is Merida and how do you get there?
Merida is located in the Yucatan State and has easy access to it’s own international airport (and only about 3 hours from Cancun, which is the 2nd busiest airport in Mexico). It is centrally located for overland travelers who are either heading south towards Campeche or Chiapas or east towards Quintana Roo where the beaches of the Riviera Maya await.
All roads on the Yucatan Peninsula lead to Merida, so it’s certainly not a place that’s difficult to travel to. Before the “invention” of the Riviera Maya 50 years ago, Merida was the number one destination on the Yucatan. While Cancun, Playa del Carmen and Tulum may have surpassed Merida with the hip crowds, Merida has the history that many are looking for and a laid back pace that would make this a great place to spend a few days.
There are at least 4 or 5 top notch Mayan Ruins within its vicinity making it a great place to base yourself for day trips. It is also a very short driving distance to Valladolid, Progresso and Celestun, three very worthwhile trips to make in all directions. Out visit was during a partial lockdown during coronavirus, so tourism wasn’t really their number one priority. Our visit was quite peaceful.
Leaving the Yucatan Peninsula – Merida