3 top things about living in Merida, Yucatan
Merida surprises locals due to its rapid growth in the last decade, Mexicans for its safety and beauty, and foreigners for its culture (history, music, food…). And it surprises us all with its Mayan root, still present in their speech, slang, way of thinking, and in many cases how they live and eat. My biggest surprise is grouping these 4 in 3 comparisons with 3 other cities I like: Veracruz, Mexico City and New York.
Commonly, people compare places they visit under 2 criteria. First, contrasting them against their expectation. Second, comparing them to another place they visited or lived in before. My point of view is that part of the adventure and joy of traveling relies on destroying your expectation and let you marvel by the new place. The second is subjective but I find it curious and I picked this one to describe the top reasons why we are in and enjoy Merida.
- Yucatecans and Meridians charm visitors with their welcoming, friendly and cheerful behavior. You will find yourself daily in situations where you wouldn’t believe you are actually in a city, but more in a calm and lovely town. Amaze yourself with this feeling at the markets, living local traditions, or attending local events. Usually city people are focused on themselves and don’t grasp any life moment before them. Perhaps this is the common feeling in province; I only know that both Merida and Veracruz can perfectly combine being a large town within a city.
And of course, can’t leave aside the fact that Yucatec’s panuchos base is a “gorda negra jarocha”, from my Veracruz.
Although Mexico City (formerly DF- Distrito Federal) is one of the world cities with more museums (apparently 2nd, right behind London), the number of museums, galleries and cultural centers per capita is higher in Merida. You could visit a new artistic-cultural place every day, or admire a new exhibition or temporary show of international nature, really extraordinary.
One point where clearly these 2 are opposites, is in security and traffic…
One of the things I loved most about living in New York was its multicultural diversity and ease of finding all kinds of food, getting people together to enjoy outdoor events or festivals regardless of the day of the week or the hour. Merida has more and more foreigners who, on the one hand bring their culture and events, and on the other, they bring the desire to enjoy city events (reinforcing also point 2).
Another great thing about New York, or at least Manhattan, is that it is very walkable and easy to transport by subway. Although Merida doesn’t need a metro system, it is also wonderful to walk surrounded by its old-big houses, parks with “confidentes” chairs or the tranquility with which you can grab your bike to go to any point in approximately 10 minutes, or certainly less than 30 for farther distances.
Merida, as you may probably know, is a really warm city, warmer than I had imagined (okay, one of the negative surprises). And even though the first time I visited Merida as a child, I would not have even thought that I would end up living in the White City and I would be so captivated by its culture and way of living; undoubtedly, Merida, and in general Yucatan, have exceeded the expectations that we had when arriving. I’m being surprised on a daily basis!
Finally, let me share an additional surprise, and not necessarily a comparison. Although in this beautiful capital of Yucatan there are no earthquakes, there have being hurricanes. And what about it? Well, the classic signs of: don’t scream, don’t run, don’t push... very useful in earthquake drills and with which I grew up, simply don’t exist here! Security posters do not include it!
How to get here
Merida has an international airport, highways in excellent conditions which connect all Yucatan, as well as Campeche and Quintana Roo, providing easy commutes from Cancun, Playa del Carmen and Tulum.
Merida is a perfect base point to visit most of Yucatan, and even Campeche.
It is advisable to bring biodegradable insect repellent and sunscreen, and water. Remember heat can be extreme, especially from April to September.