I’ve at all times needed to journey solo to Mexico and spend a minimal of 6 months there. Sadly, I haven’t had that probability but. Melissa Douglas, who has a Mexico-focused journey weblog, contributed this solo journey tricks to Merida.
The charming colonial metropolis of Merida, Mexico is the capital of the Yucatan state in Southern Mexico. Till just lately, it has remained largely off the crushed path.
Nonetheless, in 2022, famend journey publications reminiscent of Lonely Planet and Journey and Leisure have acknowledged little Merida as being the most effective locations to go to this 12 months. Not like different cities within the Yucatan peninsula reminiscent of Cancun and Tulum, which have began to turn out to be gentrified and are occupied by giant swathes of western vacationers, Merida, for now, stays unchanged by tourism.
The town retains its conventional Mexican appeal. Now could be one of the best time to go to Merida earlier than phrase will get out.
As soon as upon a time, Merida was one of many richest cities on the earth. It thrived in the course of the henequen (uncooked fiber from the henequen plant) increase when native farmers would domesticate the sisal plant and use it to make clothes and textiles.
With their newfound wealth, the individuals of Merida constructed enormous sprawling mansions and haciendas. In the present day, many of those gorgeous buildings have been transformed into luxurious motels, espresso outlets, and eating places. Merida is a photographer’s paradise.
Arriving in Merida
Merida is residence to a world airport (MID) which is definitely situated proper within the coronary heart of the town, simply quarter-hour away from the historic middle. Nonetheless, there are solely a really restricted variety of worldwide flight routes that service this airport.
You may fly into Merida from Miami, Houston, Guatemala Metropolis, and Havana, Cuba. If you’re flying from elsewhere, it is smart to both switch flights in Mexico Metropolis, or to fly into Cancun.
Cancun is the most important worldwide airport near Merida, located within the coastal metropolis of Cancun 303km away. ADO buses present common connections between Cancun and Merida a number of occasions a day.
The journey takes roughly 4 hours and tickets value round US$25 every means. The bus terminates at Merida Centro station, proper within the coronary heart of city.
The place to Keep in Merida
Merida is a big, sprawling metropolis and the general public transport right here leaves so much to be desired. Choose to remain within the historic middle with the intention to attain a lot of the metropolis’s principal historic and cultural highlights on foot.
Opting to remain in an Airbnb (get $15+ credit score with Airbnb while you e book for the primary time utilizing the hyperlink) or homestay within the jap or western elements of the town can prevent a good amount of cash. Nonetheless, you’ll most probably must depend upon Uber and cabs to get round because the buses listed below are neither dependable nor simple to navigate.
Lodging in central Merida is inexpensive and there’s something right here for each style and journey type. So, you don’t have any actual motive to have to remain outdoors of the primary zones.
Paseo Montejo is the primary boulevard in Merida. It runs from the historic middle, all the best way as much as the northern suburbs.
The road was named after Merida’s founder, Francisco de Montejo. You will see the Monumento a la Patria right here—a large sculpture created by sculptor Rómulo Rozo that shows the historical past of Mexico by the ages.
Paseo Montejo is residence to a various vary of eating places, cafes, and shops promoting artisanal merchandise, conventional Yucatecan clothes, and avenue meals. It’s full of life no matter time you cease by, nevertheless it isn’t so noisy that you may’t get night time’s sleep if you happen to base your self right here.
The environment is especially fantastic on Sundays when the road is pedestrianized and closed to site visitors. Hundreds of Merida locals come to jog/stroll/cycle the size of the road and there are a lot of locations the place you’ll be able to hire a bicycle and be part of them.
Paseo Montejo has one thing for each price range. Under are a number of the most respected price range motels within the space, with costs per room for 2 individuals.
You may e book by way of Reserving.com; simply click on the hyperlink to the properties above. Make sure that to learn the evaluations so that you’ll know which one most closely fits your wants.
Parque Santa Lucia
Parque Santa Lucia is an efficient place to base your self if you wish to expertise Merida by night time. Lots of the finest bars and nightclubs are only a 5-minute stroll away from right here.
Listed below are a number of the most respected hostels within the space, with costs per room for 2 individuals.
Finest Issues to Do in Merida
Take a free strolling tour
A strolling tour is a good way to get your bearings in any new metropolis. It is usually the most effective issues to do in Merida. A free strolling tour departs daily at 10 a.m. and 5.30 p.m. from outdoors the Casa Montejo museum in the primary sq., with guides talking each English and Spanish.
The tour takes you round the primary Merida landmarks and historic websites and provides you much more info and context on the varied buildings that you just see. You’ll go by notable constructions such because the Merida cathedral, the Palacio de Gobierno, the Teatro Peón Contreras, and varied Merida parks and plazas.
Though the tour is free, it’s tip-based and because the guides dedicate their time to exhibiting vacationers round their metropolis in tremendous scorching climate, it’s well mannered to at all times tip. It’s honest to present US$5-10 (100-200 pesos) per individual.
The opposite beauty of exploring the town on a strolling tour? You may have a neighborhood knowledgeable readily available to ask for his or her suggestions for one of the best issues to see and do within the metropolis and one of the best locations to hang around, amongst others.
Eat your means round city
The delicacies in Merida and the Yucatan may be very completely different from the delicacies that you will discover elsewhere in Mexico. It is because Yucatecan meals is pre-Hispanic.
Lots of the recipes listed below are the identical ones that have been utilized by the Historical Mayans centuries in the past and conventional cooking strategies are nonetheless used. Well-known regional dishes that you need to add to your radar embrace cochinita pibil (slow-roasted pork cooked underground) and relleno negro (floor meat served with turkey and chopped egg).
There are numerous conventional eating places that you may attempt. Habaneros (Calle 20-A Num 302 X 5b Y 5c, Xcumpich, 97204) is a neighborhood favourite and though it sits on the outskirts of city, it’s well worth the effort to get to.
Expertise Merida by night time
If you happen to thought that Merida was pretty by day, you’ll possible discover it much more magical by night time. That is when the town actually involves life.
Each night time of the week, you will discover reside music hosted across the metropolis. On Tuesdays, there may be reside music at Santiago Park and on Thursdays, there’s a reside band that performs in Santa Lucia.
If you wish to attempt your hand at studying to salsa dance, there are an enormous quantity of native bars and conventional cantinas that host common salsa nights. Cantina Negrita (Calle 62 esquina, C. 49 415, Centro) hosts reside salsa music daily of the week.
This is without doubt one of the hottest nightlife spots on the town, though it does get very crowded and it is advisable cease by earlier than 8 p.m. to safe a desk. Alternatively, Cantina Dzalbay (Calle 64 x 53, Esquina, No. 443, Centro) provides courses the place you’ll be able to dance with locals.
Deal with your self to a day on the seaside
Merida itself will not be located on the coast, however there are a number of beautiful seaside cities that may be reached in simply an hour’s drive from the town middle. Yucatan seashores are sometimes ignored in favor of the better-known seashores of the Mexican Caribbean (the areas round Cancun, Tulum, and so on).
Nonetheless, they’re simply as stunning and deserving of your time. The seashores right here boast miles upon miles of powdery white sand coastlines that reach so far as the attention can see. The waters are a surprising shade of crystal-clear turquoise.
Progreso is the closest seaside city to Merida, located simply 43km north of the town. Take a stroll alongside the Malecon, sip piña coladas in one of many seaside bars overlooking the water, and spend a day lounging on the sand. Most eating places and bars right here allow you to hire a sunbed and an umbrella for the day for just some pesos.
Discover lesser-known Mayan ruins
Chichen Itza is with out hesitation, probably the most well-known Mayan damage on this a part of Mexico. Hundreds of individuals go by its gates daily.
Whereas a go to to Chichen Itza is without doubt one of the finest issues you are able to do in Mexico, this isn’t the one Mayan damage within the space. There are a number of different Mayan cities that may be reached on a day journey from Merida and are solely 1-2 hours away.
For example, few individuals have heard of Mayapan, however this was probably the most vital Mayan settlements. It may be discovered simply an hour south of Merida and the positioning is expansive and infrequently sees many vacationers. Mayapan was the final nice Mayan metropolis and it’s right here the place King Kukulkan II and his individuals moved after the downfall of Chichen Itza.
Security Suggestions for Solo Vacationers in Merida
Merida is a really secure metropolis, even for solo vacationers. The Yucatan capital is acknowledged repeatedly as being the most secure metropolis in Mexico, and one of many most secure cities in the whole North American continent.
Sure, Merida is statistically so much safer than plenty of cities in america. Mexico, basically, is so much safer than stereotypes and media representations would have you ever assume.
Nonetheless, the tradition in Merida and the Yucatan feels markedly completely different. Right here, you’ll be able to really feel comparatively comfy strolling alone across the metropolis even within the evenings.
Persons are very well mannered and respectful and also you by no means really feel that you must be regularly wanting over your shoulder. Nonetheless, it pays to take some further precautions when touring anyplace independently. A number of security issues on your solo journey to Merida are detailed under.
Most Mexicans choose to make use of Uber fairly than taking random avenue taxis. Whereas individuals in some nations might query the security of Uber, that isn’t the Mexican perspective.
After all, getting right into a automotive on Uber often means that there’s extra accountability than getting right into a random automotive on the road. You may have the driving force’s particulars and their license plate quantity, and you may share your journey info along with your family and friends members.
Sadly, scams will not be unparalleled in Mexico and also you usually tend to be ripped off or taken on a roundabout route by city if you happen to get right into a random avenue taxi. When utilizing Uber right here, there are a number of precautions that you may take.
Test your driver’s profile and solely journey with drivers which have achieved a number of thousand journeys and have a score of 4.5 or above. If you’re uncomfortable with the look of your driver or they’re fully new to the app, you’ll be able to cancel and discover a new driver for no cost.
Watch out when heading out at night time alone
Merida is a secure metropolis, even within the evenings. Nonetheless, that doesn’t imply that you just shouldn’t use frequent sense or not pay attention to your environment.
Attempt to not stroll alone at night time, significantly in case your route takes you down quiet facet streets and alleyways. Principally, if you happen to wouldn’t do one thing in your hometown, you shouldn’t do it in Merida.
If you happen to head out to bars or reside music venues alone or with new mates, watch your drink and by no means go away it unattended. Be cautious of over-friendly strangers and at all times belief your intestine intuition.
Watch your belongings in crowded areas
The one actual crime that you must fear about in Merida is petty crime and issues like bag snatchings. Nonetheless, this stuff are unusual and solely actually occur in crowded areas.
Watch your belongings in busy marketplaces such because the Lucas de Galvez market or the Mercado San Benito. A theft-proof backpack is an efficient funding. Ideally, you need to carry your backpack in entrance of you and be sure that any valuables are securely tucked away.
Merida is a secure and fantastic colonial metropolis within the coronary heart of the Yucatan. It makes a fantastic getaway vacation spot in itself, nevertheless it additionally completely enhances a wider Yucatan journey itinerary.
Have you ever been to Merida? What different ideas are you able to give to solo vacationers?