Cheap Flights To Merida
The hub of the Yucatan peninsula, Merida is a beautiful colonial city which serves as the region's cultural centre and is a great base to explore the beaches and Mayan ruins in one of Mexico's most intoxicating destinations. If you love historical sights, you could spend a week investigating what centuries of Mayan, Spanish and Mexican rule have left behind, from the priceless archaeological treasures of the Museum of the Mayan World to colonial-era masterpieces like Casa de Montejo and the Catedral de San Ildefonso which was built using a pre-existing Mayan temple. But this is also a pulsating city, with food to die for (check out the region's marinated pork cooked in banana leaves), one of the liveliest music festivals in southern Mexico and souvenirs to take home like embroidered guayabera shirts or miniature figurines. And, who can resist heading out to amazing sights like the Mayan cities of Chichen Itza, Uxmal or Mayapan or world-class beaches like Progreso? A destination with architecture, food, music, ancient history and sun-soaked beaches -- Merida pretty much has the lot.
Things To Do
There's no lack of activities, sights and experiences to enjoy in Merida, which caters for sunbathers, art hounds and history fans alike. Here are just a few highlights to whet your appetite:
From around 700 A.D. until 1200 A.D., the area around Merida was the heartland of the Mayans, who were at that time one of the world's most sophisticated cultures. Famous for their stepped temples, astronomers and dismal prophecies, the Mayans left behind some incredible sights, and cities like Chichen Itza are less than an hour from the centre of town.
The city of Merida is a masterpiece of colonial and modern architecture, and taking an architectural tour is a must. Visit grand colonial mansions like the Casa de Montejo -- which now boasts a fine art collection -- take a horse drawn carriage to the Hermitage of the Good Trip with its gorgeous gardens and see 17th-century Jesuit churches built from the sculpted blocks of Mayan temples.
- Souvenirs to satisfy any shoppers
If you love to shop for distinctive gifts and mementoes, you're heading to the right place. Pick up a few guayabera shirts, with their characteristic vertical pleats, or go for quirkier gifts like Mexican wrestling masks. From Day of the Dead miniatures to sublime ceramics, you won't go home empty handed.
Calendar Of Events
The city of Merida is the cultural centre for the whole Yucatan region and a focal point for modern Mayan life, so there's no shortage of events to attend:
The Merida Music Festival: Staged in May every year, the MMF brings the best of Mayan folk, Cuban jazz, acoustic blues and even a little rock and roll to town with craft ale and Mexican food on site.
Semana Santa: Holy Week is always the centrepiece of Mexican calendars, and the Yucatan is no exception. Attend a mass at the cathedral, buy palm fronds at the zócalo (main square) and watch colourful parades throughout town.
Toh Bird Festival: Held in November, this conservation event draws birdwatchers from across the world to count the region's exotic (and often endangered) species. If you love nature, join in and mix environmentalism with sight-seeing.