Merida Bound

This Christmas is going to be more unChristmas like than ever before. Compared to the UK, which is dark, cold and now and again even a little snowy at this time of year , Mexico City is warm and bright. But this year I’m heading off to Merida for the festive season, where it will be positively boiling and sunny. Not that I’m complaining. I like Merida, alot – I stayed there for a few days in 2003. But sadly have little in the way of photographs to show for it. It was the early days of digital photography, a time when the 256mb card I had was of a generous size and outrageous price. And I had to make it last for three months, as I backpacked across the entire country and a stretch of the US.

I’m not, though, much looking forward to the journey there. By bus. It’s a near 20 hour drive, and I don’t much like long drives. In the UK you could drive from one end of the country and back, and back again in 20 hours.  So it’s not a trip that we Brits are accustomed to! Still, it has to be done. Departure is the afternoon of the 23rd and I’ll arrive back in the city on the 31st December. Blogging may be intermittent. But I hope to have plenty of photos to process when I get back. A couple of cenotes and the ruins of Uxmal are top on the list of my priorities. Chichen Itza too, maybe. But I’ve been there, and they account for 90% of the photos of the region that I do have.

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  • You’ll be so close! Enjoy your trip and do check out Chichen Itza. I didn’t find it “Disney” at all except for the fact that a lot of tourists visit. I think with the right guide you can feel the power of the site, at least it resonated for me. It’s one of the most important ruins site around, can’t miss it. And if you’re there, don’t miss the Il Kil cenote, just gorgeous!

    Have a great trip, I wish you a happy holiday season!

    • So near and yet so far! This holiday is on a shoestring. Half a shoestring in fact! I want to visit Akumel, but I don’t think it’s on.

      I did visit Chichen Itza last time, and it is a nice site. But I really want to see some new ruins! But thanks for the tip on the cenote – that is something I definitely want to spend time visiting!

      Hope you have a great Xmas too!

  • Heading north for the holidays, eh?

    Mérida is a wonderful destination. I’ve been there a couple times and enjoyed it tremendously each time. The city itself is a colonial gem, with a lovely Zócalo, Main Church, and open-air markets.

    I was there in February, and the weather was delightful, warm and a touch humid.

    Are you familiar with http://www.yucatanliving.com? They are based in Mérida and their blog may be of some use.

    Eat some Cochinita Pibil while you’re there.

    Have a fantastic holiday.

    Saludos,

    Kim G
    Boston, MA
    Where we’re longing for tropical weather right about now.

    • You won’t catch me out with that ‘heading north’ comment! I can’t remember whose blog it was, but I did read a post a while back giving the lay of the land. I did at the time have to go look at a map to check, because it doesn’t sound right when you read it, but true enough, Merida is north of Mexico City. Well, more north west west west west…..

      This will be my second trip there, but the last one was a long time ago now. I do remember it as a place I loved though. I’m looking forward to it.

      Gary D
      Mexico City
      Where we have a number of excellent restaurants serving up delicious cochinita, one of my favourite Mexican dishes of all!

  • Can’t say I’ve been to Merida, though I’ve heard great thing’s about it. I definitely don’t enjoy taking a bus to reach my destination (I get car/bus sick and the drive from Benito Juarez Airport –Puebla–then a days drive to my family’s small town…is a right nightmare, so I can appreciate your sentiments). I don’t know of your bus travel experience outside of Mexico, but if you’ve ever taken an American Greyhound bus, then you may appreciate the mexican bus system a little better. After several hours squashed in the Greyhound, having to inhale someone’s reefer-party in the bathroom next to me…I learned to appreciate the usual attentive and clean service I got from Estrella Roja.

    Get me a postcard from Merida if you can! 😉

    • I’ve only made a brief journey on Greyhound, years back, but it’s very much the same as National Express coaches in the UK. Cramped, uncomfortable and smelly.

      I’m sure I’ll have a postcard or two from Merida to give away – you’ll just have to keep checking back here!

  • Come on over!

    The weather is unseasonably cool, comparatively-speaking, this year and is quite pleasant. We have been here for 5 weeks this year and intend to stay 5 more, but we have come previously for 3 weeks in December in 2008 and 2007. This year we arrived before the Christmas decorations started going up and it has been nice to watch the city being dressed up for Christmas.

    The people are hospitable, the food is to-die-for, it is not too crowded, the prices are fair, and there is always a very international mix of people in Mérida. Additionally, the city and state governments make an enormous number of cultural and social activities available to the public at no cost whatsoever, apart from the affordable cost of accessing the natural wonders of the Yucatan Peninsula.

    The one thing that I would admonish you to invest in and use liberally is serious mosquito repellent with DEET or some other 1st world magic potion in it because the repellent available in stores around town is pantywaist and the mosquitoes will be waiting for you at the border. It is seriously the only thing I miss from the 1st world. By the way, I brought 3 different poisons with me and they are all used up. Wa! Wa!

    Well, just wanted to wish you well. I made a bus trip from Mazatlan to Isla Mujeres in 1975 and wish you a great ride!

    Amitiés et bon voyage,

    • Mazatlan to Isla Mujeres in one go? One bus ride?? You’re a sadist if that is so!!! In 2003 I bussed across the country from Merida (funnily enough) to Ciudad Juarez, but I did break it up in lots of smaller journeys over two and a bit months!

      I’ve been warned about the darned mozzies!

  • I look forward to the pics when you get back. I have never been to Merida, but have heard of its beauty but also of the scorching heat which I completely dread, so it will be nice to be able to “experience” it through your photos without actually having to burn myself. Have an exciting and safe trip!!

  • I returned a week ago from Merida, genuinely enjoying the place as the most “foreign” place I could go without leaving Mexico.

    Uxmal was awesome, Chichen Itza not so much. I guess going to Yucatan and not hitting Chichen Itza is like going to Paris and not looking at the Eiffel Tower, but I was not impressed. It was just too Disney.

    Be sure to include the ruinas of Ake, in the municipality of Tixkokob and not far from Izamal, on your trip. I had never read about Ake, never even heard of it, and turned onto the road leading to it just on a whim. No one else was there, and the ruins were the best I’d seen, different from the others and very accessible. +

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