Mérida, the state capital of Yucatán is a terrific hub for both ecological and archaeological adventure. Curiously, despite its tropical atmosphere, Mérida is actually located north of Mexico City (20° 58′ 12″ N compared to 19° 26′ 0″ N). And visitors find there are many things to do.
Built on the ruins of the Maya city of T’ho, which was constructed with white limestone, Mérida has been known as ‘the White City.’ T’ho was conquered and dismantled by the Spaniards under the command of Francisco de Montejo, who ‘founded’ Mérida in 1542.
Recalling a similar vista near Mérida, Spain, De Montejo christened the new city with the name of the old. On the south side of the plaza is the Casa de Montejo, the former residence of the conqueror. It is now, like many other aristocratic homes, a bank and museum.
Mérida has numerous cultural attractions that spotlight regional history and culture. The Regional Museum of Anthropology is housed in a giant white mansion on the corner of Paseo de Montejo and Calle 43. Another must-visit is the Casa de la Cultura del Mayab located on Calle 63 between 64 and 66.
Smaller museums include the Museum of the Yucatecan Song (Calle 57 between 48 and 50) and Dzibilchaltun’s Museum of Maya Culture (Mérida-Progreso Highway, Kilometer #16)
Every evening the city sponsors cultural activities in the public plazas and parks. Thursdays, for example, you can listen to traditional Yucatecan serenades in Santa Lucia Park. On Mondays regional dances are performed at the City Hall.
The English Library, #524 Calle 53, sponsors walking tours of homes and gardens.
The state-run Casa de las Artesanías, Calle 63 #503 (between 64 and 66, offers a great introduction to local handicrafts, including palm hats and hammocks.
LOCATION — 20°58?12?N, 89°37?12?W.
Mérida is located 315 kilometers (195 miles) from Cancún, 92 kilometers from Celestún, 165 kilometers from Campeche City.
TRANSPORTATION — The international Manuel Crescencio Rejon Airport is in the southwestern corner of the city and reached via Highway 180.
The first-class CAME bus station is located at Calle 70 between 69 and 71.
The second-class bus station is located on Calle 69 between 68 and 70.
Autobuses de Occidente provides service to Celestún and is located at Calle 50 x 67).