Merida Mexico Travel Guide

Merida Mexico Travel Guides
A Vagabond Life

Merida Mexico Travel Guide A Vagabond Life

Merida Mexico Travel guide explores the extremely popular capital of the Yucatan. The Spanish arrived and settled Merida on the ancient Mayan site of T’ho in 1542, it was named after the town of Merida in Extremadura, Spain. Carved Mayan stones were used in construction of many of the buildings including the Cathedral.

In the late 19th and early 20th century Merida and the surrounding area grew rich from the production of henequen that was used to make rope which was exported around the world. It is said that at the beginning of the 20th century there were more millionaires in Merida Mexico than any other city in the world.

Indigenous Mayans and immigrants from Korea were used to work the large estates established by the Sapnish landlords, who built grand haciendas. These incredible houses can be seen throughout Merida with the best collection seen along the grand boulevard of Paseo de Montejo.

Merida has a well preserved centro and a lively Zocalo surrounded by loads of restaurnts, cafes and bars. It is also considered to be one of the safest cities in Mexico.

Getting around Merida is very straight forward with a good bus, taxi and uber system. The city flat is also very easy to walk around.

Merida has a hot humid climate with yearly average temperatures of 34 degrees Celsius, it is not uncommon for the temperatures to reach 40 degrees cel. The city experiences high rain fall through the wet season of June – October.


Merida Mexico Table of Contents

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Merida Mexico Travel Guide (Copy)

Things To See & Do In Merida Mexico

Merida Cathedral - Catedral de San Ildefonso

Merida Cathedral
Merida Cathedral – Catedral de San Ildefonso – Merida Mexico Travel Guide

The Merida Cathedral, also known as the Catedral de San Ildefonso, stands as an iconic symbol of the city’s rich history and colonial heritage. Constructed during the 16th century by Spanish conquistadors, it represents one of the oldest cathedrals in the Americas. Built atop the site of an ancient Mayan temple, the cathedral showcases a unique blend of Spanish and indigenous architectural styles, reflecting the cultural fusion that defines Merida.

Highlights of the Merida Cathedral include its grand façade adorned with intricate carvings, majestic bell towers, and a stunning interior featuring ornate altars and religious artworks. The cathedral’s main altar, crafted from gold leaf, is a sight to behold, while its impressive organ provides a melodic backdrop to religious ceremonies.

Visitors can also explore the cathedral’s museum, which houses a collection of religious artifacts and artifacts detailing the history of Christianity in the Yucatan Peninsula. Whether admiring its architectural beauty or delving into its historical significance, the Merida Cathedral stands as a testament to the enduring legacy of faith and culture in Mexico.


Merida Zocalo - Plaza Grande

Merida Zocalo – Plaza Grande – Merida Mexico Travel Guide

The Zocalo, also known as Plaza Grande, lies at the heart of Merida, Mexico, serving as the bustling epicenter of the city’s social and cultural life. This historic square, dating back to the colonial era, exudes a vibrant energy, drawing locals and visitors alike to its lively atmosphere.

Surrounded by iconic landmarks such as the Merida Cathedral and the Palacio de Gobierno, the Zocalo is a hub of activity, offering a picturesque setting for leisurely strolls, people-watching, and cultural events. Throughout the year, the square hosts festivals, concerts, and traditional dances, showcasing the region’s rich heritage and traditions.

Visitors can immerse themselves in the local culture by sampling street food from vendors lining the square, shopping for artisan crafts, or simply relaxing on a bench and soaking in the sights and sounds of this dynamic gathering place. With its charming ambiance and historic charm, the Zocalo is an essential stop for anyone exploring the vibrant city of Merida.


Merida Colonial Houses

Merida Colonial Houses – Merida Mexico Travel Guide

Merida, Mexico’s colonial houses stand as architectural gems, reflecting the city’s rich history and cultural heritage. Constructed during the Spanish colonial era in the 16th century, these majestic residences were built by Spanish conquistadors atop ancient Mayan ruins, blending European and indigenous design elements.

Characterized by their colorful facades, ornate balconies, and intricately carved wooden doors, Merida’s colonial houses are a testament to the city’s colonial past and the wealth amassed from the region’s lucrative henequen industry.

Today, many of these historic homes have been lovingly restored, serving as boutique hotels, art galleries, and private residences, allowing visitors to experience the grandeur and charm of Merida’s colonial architecture firsthand. These homes offer a glimpse into the opulent lifestyle of the elite families who once inhabited them, with their spacious courtyards, high ceilings, and elegant furnishings preserving the allure of a bygone era. Exploring the streets lined with these stately homes is like stepping back in time, immersing oneself in the beauty and history of Merida’s colonial past.

Merida Museums

Merida Museums – Merida Mexico Travel Guide

Merida, Mexico, is a cultural hub with a rich selection of museums, each offering a unique window into the region’s diverse heritage:

  • Gran Museo del Mundo Maya: Celebrates the Mayan civilization with thousands of artifacts. Its modern, interactive exhibits appeal to history enthusiasts, highlighting the achievements and complexity of the Mayans.

  • Museo Regional de Antropología (Palacio Cantón): Situated in a stunning Porfirian mansion, this museum delves into Mayan history with a vast collection of artifacts, providing insights into the ancient civilization’s way of life.

  • Museo Fernando García Ponce-Macay: A haven for art lovers, this museum is dedicated to contemporary Yucatecan and Mexican art. It features both permanent and temporary exhibitions, showcasing the vibrant artistic culture of the region.

  • Casa Montejo Museum: Located on Plaza Grande, this 16th-century mansion offers a peek into the lives of colonial Spanish families, with its original furnishings and decor meticulously preserved, reflecting the opulence of the era.

Each of these museums in Merida tells a different story, from the ancient to the modern, illustrating the city’s historical depth and cultural richness.


Neighbourhood Squares

Neighbourhood Squares – Merida Mexico Travel Guide

Neighbourhood squares are dotted throughout the Merida centro and are a great place to visit. The squares are usually surrounded by restaurants, fruit and vegetable stalls and local vendors. Grab and ice cream and sit under a shady tree and enjoy part of local life.

Uxmal Mexico

Uxmal Mexico
Uxmal Mexico – Merida Mexico Travel Guide

An hours drive from Merida Uxmal is a good alternative to the much busier and further away Chichen Itza.

Uxmal is considered one of the most important archaeological sites of Maya culture, and is considered one of the Maya cities that is most representative of the region’s architectural style. It has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in recognition of its significance.

The majority of the structures were built around 850-925 AD and at its peak it is believed to have housed approximately 15,000 people. It is believed that Uxmal, under the rule of the Xiu family were the dominant power in western Yucatan and in an alliance with Chichen Itza dominated the entire northern Maya region.

If travelling to Uxmal get there early and avoid the large tour groups

More on Uxmal Here

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