Merida, the capital of Mexico’s Yucatan, is famed for being a cultured, vibrant colonial city. Founded in 1542 by the Spanish and built on the foundations of a previous Maya city, many consider it the oldest continually inhabited city in the Americas.
Not only is there a wealth of history and architecture in Merida but it’s also a stone’s throw from the port and beaches of Progreso and Celestun, the lovely yellow city of Izamal and the Mayan ruins of Dzibilchaltún and Uxmal.
I took these photos on an afternoon walk around Merida Centro’s Santiago neighborhood. On the outside, many of these houses look rundown, but a look inside often reveals renovated interiors and sparkling appliances. In other casas, little has changed in the past 200 hundred years, as walls crumble and paint peels.
Behind every door and window is a story.
Who lives behind these walls?
A grandmother standing in her kitchen, with her extended family crowding the house and children running everywhere? A new expat, carefully choosing paint colors and tiles to match her newest renovation? Maybe one of Merida’s talented artists, whose studio bulges with paints and canvas? A chef who opens his doors a few nights a week to help pay the bills?
This book shines in its focus on off the beaten path side trips throughout the Yucatan. Packed with great ideas, this book is a great guide to the real Yucatan that exists outside of packaged vacations and tourist resorts.
How do I get there? Merida is a major center, with an international airport. Buses come to Merida from Cancun and Playa del Carmen almost every hour on the hour.
Where should I stay? We loved our stay in a colonial home in Merida’s historic center, booked through home rental site Airbnb.