Merida: Yucatan’s Largest Little Known City

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I visited Merida, Mexico on my recent cross-Yucatan adventure, but admittedly, had never even heard about the city before that trip. While most tourists head to Cancun and congregate along the Riviera Maya, Transat Holidays encourages travellers to leave behind the fruity cocktails and beach towels for a few days for a little local culture and exploration with the Experience Collection Duo: Cancun & Merida. So, that’s what I did–travelled across the span of the Yucatan Peninsula from Cancun to Merida.

I was surprised to learn than Merida is the capital and largest city in the Yucatan state and the cultural and financial capital of the region. Considering Merida has a population of one million residents, I couldn’t believe that I had never heard more about this city.

It was large, but felt more like a small town. I never saw it from a elevated vantage point to get a better grasp on the sprawl, but the meticulous street grid system that the city runs on felt very modest and welcoming. The groups of men lounging in the park at midday and the slow moving horse drawn carriages gave off a real “take-it-easy” approach to life. I spent one afternoon simply wandering around the inner streets, visiting small shops and people-watching from afar.

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There are probably enough historical buildings in Merida to keep you busy for weeks, but there were a few locations that I found just a little more interesting than the rest.

The Gran Museo del Mundo Maya is a celebration and a meeting with the stronger root of Yucatan identity with a large collection of Mayan artefacts. The architecture of the building alone is impressive enough, but I enjoyed a few hour inside learning about local geology, discovering my Mayan astrological sign and meaning and really getting my fill of Mayan knowledge. We also made visits to the Yucatan Country Club, which had some pretty brag-worthy pools, as well as a delicious dinner at Hacienda Misne.

I spent my nights at Hotel Casa Del Balam, and probably could have spent my entire days happily entertained by sitting in the open air lobby, listening to the running water and watching birds. It was the perfect location to easily step out on the street and have only a couple of blocks’ walk to the city centre. So I did just that.

I’m glad that I got to discover this interesting little city that I may never have known about otherwise. I’m even happier that I didn’t just spend my week sitting on the beach, instead I learned more about a culture, ate some incredible food and relaxed in an entirely different way.

Here are some of my favourite images from Merida, Mexico;

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Skeleton lovers at the Gran Museo del Mundo Maya

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Blogger approved: free wifi in the park!

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A young girl selling lemons by the road, with her father.

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View from the Yucatan Country Club

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I wished I was a kid at the Yucatan Country Club

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Velociraptor! at the Gran Museo del Mundo Maya.

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Every single day of the year has a different result in Mayan Astrology. I’m a shark!

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Exterior of the Gran Museo del Mundo Maya

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fbcovermexico

Visit Merida on your own Escapade Cancun : Mayan Treasures
or Experience Collection Duo Cancun Merida

This trip was made possible by 
Transat HolidaysVisit Mexico and Yucatan Tourism.

All views and opinions are my own.

Had you ever heard of Merida?

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5 Responses to “Merida: Yucatan’s Largest Little Known City”

  1. Jen Seligmann
    February 5, 2014 at 2:03 am #

    Your photos are amazing Seattle.
    I haven’t heard of Merida either but it sounds like it should be on everyone’s Yucatan itinerary.
    Jen Seligmann recently posted..Where in the world Wednesday

    • Seattle Dredge
      February 5, 2014 at 11:11 am #

      Thanks! Agreed, it’s definitely a big difference from the usual beach/pyramid route :]

  2. Vikki
    February 6, 2014 at 9:16 am #

    Hey Seattle! So nice to know you enjoyed this wonderful city that I have made “home” for the last 5 years. I am originally from Vancouver, B.c. Great pics! Some of us try to keep Merida a secret! 🙂 We don’t want to see the negative progress that has been witnessed in other locations that have become tourist meccas. I never want to see Merida’s charm dissipate into memory only. It really is a special place to live with amazing history, culture and awesome people! Thanks for portraying her!

    • Seattle Dredge
      February 6, 2014 at 5:34 pm #

      Ah, it’s awesome that you live there! I can definitely see why you do. I’m glad that it hasn’t been overrun by tourists too, and hopefully it will stay that way :]

  3. Clouds Creator
    February 16, 2014 at 11:20 am #

    J’adore tes photos, vraiment belles …

    I really like your pictures! Very interesting, I never heard of the city before …

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