This section is dedicated to take away all your "I wish someone had told me that before I went!" experiences. This way, you are better prepared for what to expect, what not to expect and can spend less time settling in, and more time making new friends in your chosen hostel. We share our insider knowledge of tips, tricks and important things to look out for in Mérida. To help you make friends with Mérida before you visit, we've included a few helpful and fun things you should know about the area. Enjoy!
Mérida is the stately colonial capital of Yucatán in Mexico. The city pulses with culture, life, and heat -- buy a hand fan, take advantage of siesta, and prepare yourself for a great time. Mérida's main square is a great place to relax. Fairs and festivals are frequent, filling the area with vendors, musicians, food booths, and dancing. The cathedral, one of the oldest in the country, welcomes visitors, as does city hall with its many historic murals.
One of Mérida's biggest draws is its lively cultural scene -- concerts, plays, lectures, festivals, and dance performances fill up nearly every night of the week. Many of these are free, often held in the smaller plazas around town. For example, the Saturday night, open-air Noche Méxicana is a traditional demonstration of regional folk dances and music. Local handicrafts and street food make it even more enjoyable. If you're in town for a while, you can also try the art or anthropology museums.
Your Mérida hostel will be able to tell you what's going on in town during your visit. The hostels in Mérida surround the historic center, though some are quite a trek from the bus stations. Consider the heat when you decide whether to walk or take a relatively inexpensive taxi.
Mérida is also a great base from which to explore its rich surroundings. From travel agencies downtown or from many hostels in Mérida, you can arrange tours to old plantations, Mayan ruins, or beaches pink with flamingoes. Don’t leave without taking a cenote tour, where you can snorkel in caves with water so clear it feels like you're flying. Some of these activities can be done independently, but others -- like the cenote experience -- are richer with one of the affordable tours.
Though it's not one of Mexico's most famous tourist destinations, Mérida and its surrounds are nevertheless one of the most interesting.
Written by local enthusiast for Mérida hostelsMelinda Brasher