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 likelihood 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 lately, it has remained largely off the overwhelmed path.
Nonetheless, in 2022, famend journey publications reminiscent of Lonely Planet and Journey and Leisure have acknowledged little Merida as being among the finest locations to go to this yr. 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 massive swathes of western vacationers, Merida, for now, stays unchanged by tourism.
Town retains its conventional Mexican appeal. Now could be the most effective 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 planet. It thrived throughout 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 big sprawling mansions and haciendas. At present, many of those beautiful buildings have been transformed into luxurious inns, espresso outlets, and eating places. Merida is a photographer’s paradise.
Arriving in Merida
Merida is dwelling to a world airport (MID) which is definitely positioned proper within the coronary heart of 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 possibly can 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 City, or to fly into Cancun.
Cancun is the biggest 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 instances a day.
The journey takes roughly 4 hours and tickets price round US$25 every approach. 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 quite a bit to be desired. Decide to remain within the historic middle so to attain many of the metropolis’s major historic and cultural highlights on foot.
Opting to remain in an Airbnb (get $15+ credit score with Airbnb once you ebook for the primary time utilizing the hyperlink) or homestay within the jap or western elements of town can prevent a good amount of cash. Nonetheless, you’ll probably need to 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 reasonably priced 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 way in which as much as the northern suburbs.
The road was named after Merida’s founder, Francisco de Montejo. You will discover the Monumento a la Patria right here—a large sculpture created by sculptor Rómulo Rozo that shows the historical past of Mexico by way of the ages.
Paseo Montejo is dwelling to a various vary of eating places, cafes, and shops promoting artisanal merchandise, conventional Yucatecan clothes, and road meals. It’s full of life no matter time you cease by, however it isn’t so noisy that you could’t get a superb 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 visitors. 1000’s of Merida locals come to jog/stroll/cycle the size of the road and there are a lot of locations the place you possibly can lease 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 inns within the space, with costs per room for 2 individuals.
You possibly can ebook through Reserving.com; simply click on the hyperlink to the properties above. Be certain to learn the critiques 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. Most of the finest bars and nightclubs are only a 5-minute stroll away from right here.
Listed here 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 among the finest 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 offers you much more info and context on the assorted buildings that you simply see. You’ll cross by notable constructions such because the Merida cathedral, the Palacio de Gobierno, the Teatro Peón Contreras, and numerous Merida parks and plazas.
Though the tour is free, it’s tip-based and for the reason that guides dedicate their time to displaying vacationers round their metropolis in tremendous sizzling climate, it’s well mannered to at all times tip. It’s honest to provide US$5-10 (100-200 pesos) per particular person.
The opposite beauty of exploring town on a strolling tour? You’ve gotten an area knowledgeable available to ask for his or her suggestions for the most effective issues to see and do within the metropolis and the most effective locations to hang around, amongst others.
Eat your approach round city
The delicacies in Merida and the Yucatan could be very completely different from the delicacies that you will see elsewhere in Mexico. It is because Yucatecan meals is pre-Hispanic.
Most 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 embody 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 could strive. Habaneros (Calle 20-A Num 302 X 5b Y 5c, Xcumpich, 97204) is an area favourite and though it sits on the outskirts of city, it’s definitely worth the effort to get to.
Expertise Merida by night time
In the event you thought that Merida was pretty by day, you’ll doubtless discover it much more magical by night time. That is when town actually involves life.
Each night time of the week, you will see dwell music hosted across the metropolis. On Tuesdays, there’s dwell music at Santiago Park and on Thursdays, there’s a dwell band that performs in Santa Lucia.
If you wish to strive 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 dwell salsa music daily of the week.
This is among the hottest nightlife spots on the town, though it does get very crowded and it’s essential to cease by earlier than 8 p.m. to safe a desk. Alternatively, Cantina Dzalbay (Calle 64 x 53, Esquina, No. 443, Centro) provides lessons the place you possibly can dance with locals.
Deal with your self to a day on the seaside
Merida itself just isn’t located on the coast, however there are a number of attractive seaside cities that may be reached in simply an hour’s drive from town middle. Yucatan seashores are sometimes missed in favor of the better-known seashores of the Mexican Caribbean (the areas round Cancun, Tulum, and so forth).
Nonetheless, they’re simply as lovely and deserving of your time. The seashores right here boast miles upon miles of powdery white sand coastlines that stretch so far as the attention can see. The waters are a shocking shade of crystal-clear turquoise.
Progreso is the closest seaside city to Merida, located simply 43km north of 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 lease a sunbed and an umbrella for the day for just some pesos.
Discover lesser-known Mayan ruins
Chichen Itza is with out hesitation, essentially the most well-known Mayan wreck on this a part of Mexico. 1000’s of individuals cross by way of its gates daily.
Whereas a go to to Chichen Itza is among the finest issues you are able to do in Mexico, this isn’t the one Mayan wreck within the space. There are a number of different Mayan cities that may be reached on a day trip from Merida and are solely 1-2 hours away.
As an illustration, few individuals have heard of Mayapan, however this was some of the essential 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 very safe city, even for solo travelers. The Yucatan capital is acknowledged again and again as being the most secure metropolis in Mexico, and one of many most secure cities in your entire North American continent.
Sure, Merida is statistically quite a bit safer than a whole lot of cities within the United States. Mexico, typically, is quite a bit 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 possibly can really feel comparatively snug strolling alone across the metropolis even within the evenings.
Individuals are very well mannered and respectful and also you by no means really feel that you need to be frequently trying over your shoulder. Nonetheless, it pays to take some extra precautions when touring anyplace independently. Just a few safety considerations for your solo trip to Merida are detailed under.
Most Mexicans desire to make use of Uber slightly than taking random road taxis. Whereas individuals in some international locations could query the protection 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’ve gotten the motive force’s particulars and their license plate quantity, and you may share your journey info together with your family and friends members.
Sadly, scams should not unprecedented in Mexico and also you usually tend to be ripped off or taken on a roundabout route by way of city if you happen to get right into a random road taxi. When utilizing Uber right here, there are a number of precautions that you could take.
Test your driver’s profile and solely journey with drivers which have carried out a number of thousand journeys and have a ranking of 4.5 or above. If you’re uncomfortable with the look of your driver or they’re fully new to the app, you possibly can cancel and discover a new driver for no cost.
Watch out when heading out at night time alone
Merida is a protected metropolis, even within the evenings. Nonetheless, that doesn’t imply that you simply shouldn’t use frequent sense or not concentrate on your environment.
Strive to not stroll alone at night time, significantly in case your route takes you down quiet facet streets and alleyways. Mainly, if you happen to wouldn’t do one thing in your hometown, you shouldn’t do it in Merida.
In the event you head out to bars or dwell music venues alone or with new pals, watch your drink and by no means depart 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 need to fear about in Merida is petty crime and issues like bag snatchings. Nonetheless, these items 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 ensure that any valuables are securely tucked away.
Merida is a protected and fantastic colonial metropolis within the coronary heart of the Yucatan. It makes an amazing getaway vacation spot in itself, however it additionally completely enhances a wider Yucatan journey itinerary.
Have you ever been to Merida? What different suggestions are you able to give to solo vacationers?