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Merida, Mexico

I have a few days to myself to travel during the first week of April. One of the places I've narrowed it down to is Merida. Has anyone been? I saw the town first on several episodes of House Hunters International as well as several articles in travel magazines and I'm intrigued!
Specifically I am looking for hotel recommendations to put me in the center of the town...not to splurgy but with character!
Has anyone visited any of the ruins or cenotes in the area and, if so, which ones did you like best?
How about restaurants?
I want to hire a private driver/knowledgeable guide so if anyone has a good one I'd love to hear about it.
I'll also be posting to the Trip Advisor forum but thought there might be some good advice here too.
Thanks in advance!

Posted by
6857 posts

I just went there last month with a friend (it's my second trip). I'd highly recommend staying at the Luz en Yucatan (http://luzenyucatan.com) (you can check out reviews on Trip Advisor, it's a fantastic place run by nice expats and full of character). The hotel is in a great location right by Santa Ana church/square and is right around the corner from everything. This time around, I booked an early tour through Viator to see Uxmal and Kabah, two ruins within two hours of Merida. It was a great trip and I enjoyed it just as much as the more famous Chichen Itza. Merida is very easy to do on your own, there is a lot of info available and people are very friendly. It helps to know some Spanish, but you can navigate without it as well. There is a magazine published every month that will have everything you need: http://yucatantoday.com/?lang=en (look at the print addition online)

The only downside of Merida is that it's fairly expensive to get to and flight connections leave something to be desired, so most people get there from Cancun which has much better flights (from the East Coast at least). Very nice, modern and inexpensive buses run from Cancun to Merida (it's about a 4 hour trip). In general, buses are excellent in Mexico and link every place you want to go to (the exception is some Mayan temples and cenotes/sinkholes in the middle of nowhere). Coming from CA though, Merida may have much better connections via Houston or Dallas.

Feel free to PM me with any other questions (there are many good and excellent restaurants in Merida, it just depends what you're looking for). I've covered the entire historical center and went to several museums/sites/attractions within the center and out in the suburbs. It's very safe and walkable, but also very, very hot and humid. The cultural programming in Merida is quite good, there is something free going on almost every evening (at least in the winter time, when I was there). I haven't been to any of the cenotes, unfortunately, but they are very popular and there are many to choose from. The beach at Cancun is a wonderful place to go swimming as well. Merida is much, much nicer to visit due to it's lovely colonial character and cultural offerings - I would pick it over Cancun hands down (except for the beach, which is unparalleled).

Posted by
3586 posts

I love Merida also but note that April is in the hottest time of year, 40 Celsius (105 F) is a typical daytime high.

Posted by
6857 posts

Tom's right...if you're at all sensitive to heat, extreme sun, and humidity, then Merida in April could be unbearable. I only go in the winter and it's almost too much even then. Unfortunately, unlike Cancun, Merida is not on the coast so it's even warmer than Cancun without the possibility of immediate escape (unless you go to Progreso beach which isn't too far away).