We didn’t expect to go to Merida. I guess at this point of the trip we began relaxing our daily, obsessive planning and started going where ever the day would take us. This meant that, when we couldn’t find a dog-friendly campsite on the northwestern Yucatan coast, and the sun was going down, we did what was always the path of least resistance for me and Karin: find an Airbnb in the closest city. Merida was that city. Merida is the capital of the state of, Yucatán. Its safe, has a clear euro-spanish influence, great nightlife and good roads. Some areas of town feel Colonial, others just like any other small, metropolitan city but with Mexican flair. Like so many other towns and cities in Mexico, Merida looks a little sketchy at night only to, during the light of day, turn charming and Metropolitan.
It had been a long day of driving, we were exhausted and Karin found a fantastic Airbnb for $14 per night that we were pretty sure was gay-owned (we were right).
So, we busted out our custom-made steel mesh window screens for the first time, parked outside the front door and held our breath. It was totally fine. The neighborhood was quiet.
Since we hadn’t planned on being there and did no prior research, we just tooled around the city, taking it in and making our usual assessment, “sure, we could live here.”
We learned that Merida offers a daily free walking tour of the city. To find it you have to go to Merida Centro at the Plaza Grande. Get there around 9:15 bc the tour starts at 9:30.
Recently, at Hierve El Agua in the mountains of Oaxaca, I slipped and fell, brand new Sony a6000 camera in hand. While in Merida we looked for a camera repair shop and went to Sam’s Club to check out their cameras.
The best time to visit Merida is October thru Apri; before the rainy season kicks in. We found that Merida’s roads didn’t have great drainage creating HUGE puddles in the road. Karin barreled thru one, not seeing the poor girl walking on the sidewalk and NAILED her!!
Merida has tons of festivals year-round. We were lucky enough to witness Gay Pride in Merida. Its held in and around the Plaza Grande and a truly great time. Merida has a large and boisterous gay population which surprised us bc on the surface, it seems conservative. As an added bonus, the entire Plaza Grande has free wi-fi, making it a great place for people watching and getting some work accomplished. There are plenty of happy hour specials to be found throughout the city – it’s a professionals’ town, filled with hospitals, medical offices, architects and graphic designers.
Merida is known for its foodie scene and this is definitely a town to keep your choices authentic. if you (stupidly) don’t feel like eating out go to the Centro Mercado for your fruits and veggies. The produce throughout Mexico is gorgeous and Merida is no exception.
Merida is a fantastic base for exploration with beaches, Mayan Ruins and Cenotes nearby. We stopped to swim in several as we zigzagged around the Yucatán.
The thing about Mexico is that any stop you make, unexpected or planned, will turn out to be an experience of a lifetime.