I’ve now made my way over to the southern part of Mexico and the very popular Yucatan Peninsula. My first stop here is Mérida.
Mérida is yet another colonial city. I’ll be honest, I am almost done with seeing colonial cities! They all do have their unique charm and I like some more than others, but I think I have seen enough to appreciate the style.
The city itself is again, like most other colonial cities, very pretty. Cobble stone streets, pastel coloured buildings, a nice cathedral, a busy and tidy central square.
Mérida has lots of little parks sprinkled around and a nice long boulevard stretching over a mile. I felt very safe here, especially at night. After dark there are still plenty of people getting around.
Some free cultural events are also provided around the central area most nights. Interestingly, most common public areas have free wifi. I haven’t seen that over here before.
I have to say I was a bit disappointed with the eating options. I didn’t see that many cafes and restaurants around, especially considering the clothing and souvenir stores are everywhere. Comparing it to San Cristobal in Chiapas, the food scene (especially the vegetarian and vegan scene) could use some improvement.
Mérida is a great central place to take some day trips to some of the wonderful Mayan sites, beaches, cenotes and historic villages. Because I am planning to see Some of these sites from other places (Valladolid and Tulum), I skipped out on these activities here. Instead I checked out Progreso beach and the town of Izamal.
Progreso is a short 40 minute bus ride from Mérida. It has a lovely white sand beach with fun waves. Because it is a stop for cruise ships, it is overrun with a certain type of tourist. Along the beach, women spruik cheap massages, bars and restaurants offer free food with expensive drinks and everyone else in between is trying to sell something overpriced.
I walked around for a little while, went for a swim, had some lunch and had seen enough. It really wasn’t my scene and I wanted a chill spot, which this couldn’t provide.
Izamal is known as the ‘Yellow City’ because all the buildings are yellow. It was an important place to the Mayans as well as the early Christians. This makes for an interesting setting, with both beautiful colonial buildings and some Mayan ruins sprinkled around.
One of the biggest buildings in town is the Convent of Saint Anthony of Padua. It is close to the main square and has a lovely walkway around the entrance.
A few sneaky Mayan ruins are scattered throughout the city. They’re not in great condition, but still interesting to check out. Some of them were a part of the ancient main square. While I was walking around Itzmatul (pictured below with the yellow gate), I had company in the form of dozens of iguanas. Some of them were really big! They were scurrying around the rocks and hiding in holes when I got too close.
So that’s what I got up to while in Mérida. I have to say it was a bit of an underwhelming few days. Maybe I’ve just had colonial city overload!
Now I’m going east and more inland to Valladolid. This will be my last colonial city, thankfully!
Until next time,