If you want to visit a place with charm, history and culture; Merida should be on your list! Founded in 1542 by Francisco de Montejo and Leon, Merida has a rich heritage that combines elements of the Mayan and Spanish traditions.
Everywhere around the Yucatan, you will find that the Maya culture is present. You will see it in the traditions, history and even how the Yucatecans speak Spanish; while the Spanish influence can be traced to language and religion. The mix of these two, make for today’s Yucatecan culture.
The Yucatan people have a distinctive culture, in many ways different to the rest of Mexico and this is due greatly to the isolation in which they lived for centuries; as communication routes with the rest of the country were almost inexistent.
If you want to know more about this beautiful city, here is a list of 10 things to do in Merida.
- Enjoy a cold Agua de Chaya or other cold drink in one of the cafes across the street from the Zocalo or main Plaza. What better way to learn more about the Yucatan people, than observing the busy life in the downtown area?
- While in downtown, do not miss the opportunity to visit the Montejo Palace, a museum located in one of the corners of the main plaza. This XVI century building was property of the Montejo family and is the only building in the Peninsula built in a Renaissance style.
- The production of Sisal in the XIX and XX century made a few local families extremely wealthy, it was said that Merida had the most millionaires in all of the Americas. Most of that wealth is gone now, as Sisal was replaced with cheaper synthetic materials; but a stroll along the magnificent Paseo de Montejo will take you back to the golden era of the Yucatan.
- While on Paseo Montejo, you need to visit to Palacio Canton, built in the early 20th Century for the Governor’s family; with elements imported from different parts of Europe. This museum has a vast collection of Mayan Artifacts, and it is itself a historical piece that will let you experience the beauty of the Belle Epoque.
- If you feel like a tour but don’t fancy the walk, you can hire a Calandria to take you through the main streets of Merida. The slow paced horse carriage will let you appreciate the beauty of the city, and the magnificent colonial buildings and churches.
- Have a nice Yucatecan lunch; there are plenty of new dishes to try. A mix of Mayan, Spanish, Lebanese and Dutch influences; Yucatecan food is a completely different to Mexican food! The isolation of the Yucatan Peninsula influenced their cuisine, as they had to cook from a limited list of ingredients.
- Eating a Marquesita is another culinary experience that you can only have in the Yucatan. This delicacy is a mix of a Crepe and a Wafer, can be filled with savory ingredients like Dutch Edam cheese, cream cheese and ham or sweet fillings like dulce de leche, perserves, banana, condensed milk or nutella.
- Buy a Guayabera, despite the controversy on the origin of this garment, the Yucatan has a claim on this popular shirt and many specialized shops where you can find the best Guayaberas in Mexico.
- Visit the Gran Museo del Mundo Maya and learn everything you have to know about this mystical culture. There are videos, interactive material and many Mayan artifacts that follow the history of this ethnic group starting from the beginning of time until today.
- Visit a Hacienda and enjoy the tranquility and beauty of its surroundings. Most of these old buildings are used as hotels or restaurants, but their splendor can take your breath away.
These are only a few of the things you can do while visiting or living in Merida, there is so many things to do that it is impossible to write them all in an article. If you think we are missing something, please let us know!
Top Mexico Real Estate is a local company specialized in helping foreigners acquire property in Mexico. If you are looking to live or retire to the Yucatan Peninsula, please browse through our Merida real estate properties or contact one of our agents; we are here to help!
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