Merida: A Guide to Exploring My Hometown

Located in the Yucatan Peninsula, capital of the state of Yucatan. Home to one of the seven wonders of the world called "Chichen Itza". Abundant in natural and cultural richness. Merida, my beautiful white city. Full of colonial houses and history in its streets, hot almost all year round but with cenotes and beautiful beaches nearby where you can escape and take a refreshing dip. Merida to me means peace, family, friends and memories of most of my childhood through to my teenage years. Delicious food, with distinctive flavours that remind me that I am home. My beautiful Merida. I am very excited to tell you about my great city and give you some tips for when you visit.

First of all, Merida has a hot/humid climate so I strongly recommend you to wear very cool clothes. Materials like 100% cotton and linen will be your best friend. Don't forget to wear a hat and sunscreen at all times. Sometimes it can get up to 45ºC.

It's not all bad news, just 30 minutes away by car there is a beach called Progreso which is the most visited beach. A few kilometres away you can find quieter beaches like Chelem, Telchac and one of my favourites is Chicxulub. The place where the asteroid that caused the extinction of the dinosaurs fell. You can also find multiple cenotes around the state. One of the closest to the city, which is not only a cenote but also an archaeological area, is Dzibilchaltún, which in Mayan language means "Place where there is writing on the stones" .

TIP: On March 21st and September 21st an archaeo-astronomical phenomenon called the vernal or autumnal equinox occurs. The sun aligns itself so that it passes through the middle of one of the temples called "The Seven Dolls" or "The Temple of the Sun" and it is simply breathtaking.

When someone asks me about Mérida, I always recommend staying in or near the historic centre. For me, being in Merida is all about visiting the big houses and even better being able to stay in one of them, plus everything is close by. Bars, cafes, restaurants, museums and nice walking areas are what you will find in the centre of Merida.

BREAKFAST

In the mornings you need to have energy to be able to walk around the city. I recommend walking around so you don't miss the museums and mansions that are everywhere. So you need to start the day with a good breakfast.

I MISS YOU, I MISS YOU

My list of favourite places is extensive, but I love this place for breakfast. It is located near Paseo de Montejo, one of the most important main avenues in Merida. " Te extraño, extraño is the name, located LAGALÁ 56:426 inside a remodeled old house, where you can also find art galleries. The food is delicious, the service 10/10 and the space is a beautiful colourful terrace decorated with lots of love.

LUNCH

While lunch is my favourite part of the day, Yucatecan food is well known for its great variety of flavours and the incredible mix of Mayan and Spanish ingredients. Some of these ingredients can only be found in the Yucatan Peninsula region. So I HIGHLY recommend trying as many of these dishes as you can.

MUSEUM OF YUCATECAN GASTRONOMY

Now, where to have a typical Yucatecan lunch? The perfect place for this is called Museum of Yucatecan Gastronomy or better known as MUGY. A few blocks from the Plaza Grande, it is located on Calle 62, this colonial style house with a large patio in the middle that is not only beautiful, but also has delicious food typical of Yucatecan gastronomy. My favourites are Relleno negro, Queso relleno, Cochinita among other appetizing options you can find on the menu.

DINNER

The sunsets in Merida are breathtaking, the sky starts to fill with colours once the sun starts to go down. So the best way to end the day is with an amazing view on a terrace dining on delicious food and enjoying the great atmosphere.

PICHETA RESTAURANT

Dinner with a spectacular view. For me a place you can't miss when you are in Merida is the restaurant Picheta. Contemporary, typical, gourmet food, delicious cocktails and an unbeatable view of the San Ildefonso Cathedral (the first one built in Latin America) is the best way to end your day. You can choose from the cosy and beautifully designed inside, but my favourite part of this restaurant is the rooftop view. On weekends there is live music.

Merida-Picheta-restaurant
My sister and I enjoying the view in Picheta

BARS

Most of the bars in Mérida are located in old houses, with high ceilings or without roofs, which makes these houses very cool. They are located around the historic centre, making them spacious. Ideal for a hot day after exploring the streets of Mérida, these are some of my favourite bars.

LA NEGRITA CANTINA

Merida has a great Cuban influence in terms of music, so my favourite bars are where there is a great atmosphere and dancing. La Negrita Cantina is a renovated bar in the historic centre, located in an old house on Calle 62 x 49. Ideal to go with friends to order a snack and have fun with live music every day. The perfect time to go is before 7:00 pm, otherwise you won't find a place.

CASA CHICA BAR

Casa Chica sister bar of La Negrita, located on Paseo de Montejo. The concept of this place is more chic. The design of the house is very beautiful, you have the choice between sitting inside or outside. Here you can find a quieter atmosphere, more gourmet food compared to La Negrita. I love to go with my mother for some summer reds after a walk through the mansions on Paseo de Montejo on a normal hot day.

Cheese and cold meats platter, pizzeta, pulled pork sandwich in Casa Chica

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