Travelling with no solid schedule is great when you arrive in a place & find that you want to take some more time there just to enjoy it. That’s exactly what happened to us in the white city of Merida.
We originally planned on staying just a couple of nights but extended it to 5 as we just loved the cultured yet quite laid back vibe of the city.
So why did we love it so much? We’ve put together our highlights for you to have a mooch through…..
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Merida has numerous plazas, each of which has its own unique character & story!
We loved wandering around, sitting in the plazas & just soaking up the atmosphere. They are all quite close together, with some pretty spectacular architecture. The best thing is that once you’re done with wandering there are plenty of places to sit & chill with a coffee, ice cold beer, lunch or even dinner.
Locals in Merida are super friendly & more than willing to sit & chat about their city with you, something that we took full advantage of as it gave us a real taste of the city & it’s people!
We would really recommend at least 1/2 day or a day if you have more time just to wander around & soak it all up. The city itself is very easy to navigate with maps available everywhere & of course trusty old maps.me
Free Walking Tour
Pink Cactus offer 2 free walking tours daily, check out their website or Facebook page for up-to-date details & timings.
We really enjoyed the 1.5 hour as it not only took in a few of the main sights but our fabulous guides Sofia & Emilio also went our of their way to give us that little bit extra on Merida. They pointed out some pretty interesting stuff & told us some quirky facts that we really would have not realised otherwise.
Below I’m sat in a big white chair, which we saw dotted all over Merida & really didn’t have a clue what they were about! Sofia & Emilio explained that these chairs were actually designed many years ago by a rich Merida resident so that his daughter could go “courting” with the boy she admired & admire him from the other side of the chair without touching him! I’m not sure how that would go down nowadays but it certainly seemed to catch on then!
If you’ve not been on a free walking tour before the idea is that you tip your guides at the end. Sofia & Emilio were also talking off doing a Cantina tour in Merida, something that would also be worth checking out if you’re there.
Palacio de Gobierno
This place was actually recommended to us by Sofia & Emilio when we were on the free walking tour. The striking light green, arch fronted building is located on Main Plaza. At a first glance it looks as though entry is probably forbidden & the place is some kind of official building with all of the armed guards hanging around out front. It is however an art gallery with a spectacular display by Merida born artist Fernando Castro Pacheco.
The display by Pacheco which is on the 1st floor details the history of the Yucatan in a very beautiful but realistic way, it’s almost as if the paintings are talking to you, screaming out the years of struggle that this region has endured.
The gallery is free to enter & is something we would highly recommend to do for an hour or two whilst in Merida.
Tucked off of Calle 60, heading from Main Plaza back towards the bus stations there are few streets of food stalls with an array of Mexican delights to try.
We particularly liked the guy that sold the pork “cerdo” only tacos, you won’t miss him if you walk around it’s the only thing he has on offer! Plain & simple with a nice hot spicy sauce his tacos are delicious.
The salbutes at the first stall on the left if you enter the market from Calle 60 were also very yummy. Pictured below, salbutes are an inflated kind of pancake filled with roast turkey, salad, avocado & any spicy sauce you fancy! All washed down with an ice-cold glass of Jamaica, a hibiscus flavoured drink which is very popular in Mexico & also a must try!
We loved this place so much that we went back every day, real Mexican food at real Mexican prices is definitely our thing!
We stayed at the Hostal Catedral on Main Plaza the location was perfect, literally on the main square & the hostel itself was fab! Great free breakfast, nice big clean showers (girls, you will appreciate this more, room to actually get dressed & make yourself look pretty!) & comfy beds, all you need in a hostel really!
The view right our of the hostel roof was also pretty cool!!
At the weekends Merida comes alive with street entertainment of all sorts. On each plaza there is something different going on from salsa & traditional dancing to a re-enactment of games that the Mayan’s practised. It’s all free & great to watch, unless your this guy who managed to snooze through just about everything that went on!
All in all 5 days was not even enough for us in the white city! We got so wrapped up in the culture & vibe of Merida that we really did find it hard to pull ourselves away!