Capital of the state of Yucatan, Merida is the intellectual and cultural center of the peninsula.
Merida is located 320 km (200 MI) west of Cancun and 1,440 km (900 MI) east of Mexico City.
Merida was founded in 1542 by Spanish explorers. When they landed here, they built their houses and structures from the stones the ancient Maya people used in constructing. Much of the ancient cities were further destroyed because of this.
From March to October the climate is hot and humid. The rest of the months the weather is warm with nice breezes. The rainy season is from July to October usually in the form of afternoon showers.
Many hotel rooms come either with hammocks or the hooks with which to hang them with. The Gran Hotel is the oldest in the city, built in 1901. Both Fidel Castro and Porfiro Diaz stay in this hotel. With Meridas new convention center hotels sometimes get filled up, so make reservations in advance. The Fiesta Americana Merida has two restaurants, a bar, several tennis courts, and a gym and spa. Most hotels offer free parking but this is during the night. There is a fee for daytime parking. Rates range from US$20 to US$184.
Most Meridianos have certain dishes that they eat on certain days. For example a type of stew, called pucheros? is served every Sunday. They believe that any type of seafood is unhealthy to eat in the evenings, therefore you will find that most seafood restaurants close at 6 pm. You will also find a large number of restaurants serve Middle Eastern foods. This is due to a large number of immigrants that arrived in the 1900s.
Entertainment abounds with bands, ballets, theme nights, and orchestra performances in various locations of the city. Panchos with its eclectic d?or and dressed up servers is a favorite with tourists. A live band plays salsa, jazz and rock music. Several restaurants have live music and dancing.
Merida is famous for its Panama hats, hammocks, and lightweight mens shirts called guayaberas produced here. Various markets sell everything from leather goods to crafts to fish and produce. You can find items like silver and gold jewelery, designer cotton clothing, paintings, and photographs at various shops and stores around town.
Most restaurants serve Mexican, Yucatecan or Middle Eastern cuisine. The Restaurant Amaro has several delicious vegetarian dishes.
Banks: Banks are generally open from 9 am to 5 pm. Exchange rates are quite high so you may want to change it in another location.
Internet: Access is offered by Mayanet. Hours are Monday to Saturday 9 am to midnight.
Transportation: Since everything is within walking distance, rental cars arent?really necessary. Car rental agencies are competitive, so shop around to get the best deal. Almost all agencies offer free mileage. Taxis are plentiful and inexpensive. Local public buses are cheap but can be confusing,
Izamal: This city is located 72-km (44 MI) southeast of Merida. A 16th century church was built from the remnants of a pyramid dedicated to the god of the heavens, Itamna.
Chichen Itza: Located 116 km (72 MI) from Merida, Chichen Itza is one of the four best known Maya ruin sites.
Dzibilchaltun: Located 16 km (10 MI) north of Merida Dzibilchaltun is one of the most visited archaeological sites in the region.
Progreso: Many residents of Merida travel to Progreso to visit the beaches in the summer. Even though Progreso is a growing tourist area it has still retained its small-town charm.
Calcehtok: There are some pretty amazing caves in this area, located 70 km (43 MI) from Merida. Unless you want a long wait and hike, its best if you have your own car to get to the caves.