The largest of four cities in the world who actually share the same name (the other three are in Spain, Venezuela, and the Philippines), Merida is the largest city and capital of the state of Yucatan in the Yucatan Peninsula. This is the beating heart at the center of the Yucatan, one of Mexico’s most beautiful places. With a colonial ambiance and tropical weather, Merida is a melting pot of diversity when it comes to cultures and heritage, and you have your pick of jaw-dropping sites and experiences while staying here. Whether it’s archaeological sites, eco-tourism, colonial or Mayan ruins and villages, sun-bathing on the beach or enjoying the waves, or simply crawling through the region on foot, cycling, or in a car, this is one of the best places in the world to accomplish a dozen things at once, year-round.
Merida is a large city that many historians consider to be the oldest continually-inhabited city in the Americas, ever since it was first founded officially in 1542 by Spanish conquistadors on top of the ruins of the ancient Mayan city of Ichcaanziho. These days, it is a major cultural hob, with museums, art galleries, and colonial buildings and Mayan ruins interspersed between. There are dozens of festivals throughout the year, although Mayan traditions can be seen on a daily basis by simply wandering the streets of this amazing city. In fact, it is the one thing that many people disregard when they come here, thinking they are in for a Mexican vacation with Mexican food and celebrations, but this city is entirely Mayan, with its own cuisine and its own style. And while the city itself can provide a traveler with several week’s worth of things to see and do, Merida is also a great jumping-off point for other Mexican National Parks like Uxmal, Chichen Itza, or Dzibilchaltun.
Although Merida is no Cancun in comparison to clubs or the night scene, there is a great feel to the city in terms of the people. People there are much more relaxed and friendly. There are many cheap places to stay and it is a good base to start your journey through Mexico.