Spend A Long Weekend In Merida
How to spend a long weekend in Merida
Few places on the Yucatan Peninsula are more worthy of a long weekend than Merida, the region’s largest city and capital of Yucatan State. Also known as the White City, Merida is an expat favorite slowly finding fame with visitors from outside the region and for good reason. Low prices, fantastic cuisine, and year-round hot and humid weather make Merida the ideal weekend escape.
Here’s how to get the most out of Merida even with just 72 hours to visit.
After arriving at Merida’s international airport take a taxi straight to downtown. While there are a bunch of boutique accommodation options in the historic center, nothing is better than staying at a bed and breakfast like Vida Magica.
After a long day of travel, start by getting your bearings in Merida. Start at Plaza Grande, which is flanked by some of the best colonial buildings in Merida. It is the ideal place to get a feel for the laidback city and mingle with locals and visitors alike. Take a long lunch at a nearby eatery (there are tons of great ones) then walk off your lunch by heading a few blocks northeast until you hit Calle 47 where it joins Paseo de Montejo, the most famous boulevard in Merida. Round out day one in Merida with dinner and a nightcap at a rooftop bar.
Enjoy breakfast at your bed and breakfast before leaving the city for a convenient day trip on day two. Merida is surrounded by archaeological ruins, colonial towns, and cenotes galore, so you can tailor your day tow to your personal tastes. Given that you are short on time, it’s worth skipping famous Chichen Itza with its tons of tourists and visit instead the ancient Maya city of Uxmal. Not only is it closer to Merida, Uxmal has a pyramid to rival Chichen Itza as well as the benefit of being much, much quieter.
Return to Plaza Grande in the evening. Not only is the atmosphere totally different from the daytime, you may be lucky enough to catch a quick game of Pok Ta Pok. Also known as the Mayan ballgame, this game sees two teams face off to score the most points by thwacking a rubber ball through a hoop, like an ancient version of soccer meets basketball. Afterward have another great dinner at any one of the fantastic eateries in town.
If you travel over a weekend and day three is a Sunday, it is the perfect day to get a feel for Merida’s famously laidback way of life, browse for crafts, and visit some of the city’s coolest coffee shops. Make your way to Plaza Grande where there is a vast Sunday handicraft market. Work up an appetite as you stroll around and then head to the main Merida marketplace. Here there are vendors selling everything from seafood to tacos, stuffed chilies and quesadillas.
After lunch, pick up some ice cream and check out the crafts at Casa de las Artesanias, a store that has a little bit of everything. On your way back to your bed and breakfast, stop at the Iglesia de Santiago, a striking colonial church and the site of Merida’s first mass. Then head out for a final Yucatecan feast before calling it a night.