Where to go in historical Merida: Yucatan, Mexico
Progresso is a small beach town, only 40 minutes away by bus from Merida, Yucatan. It has a population of only about 40,000 people, however that does not mean it is not big on things to do. The most popular thing to do is to visit the town for its ocean front avenue which has a multitude of restaurants and bars, most of which have beach side seating and dining. There are many different choices for dining, but my favorite is a restaurant and bar which sits directly on the beach called Heladios. It is great because you can sit on the beach and enjoy their amazing food for free as long as you keep buying drinks. When you order drinks, they will continue to bring finger foods which range from tacos, to kibi, to taquitos among other things.
2) Gran Museo Del Mundo Maya (Grand Museum of the Mayan World)
The city of Merida recently invested in a new building to house the history of the Maya people and the history of the state of Yucatan. It is a magnificent structure which architecture buff will truly enjoy. There are spectacular soaring ceilings and the entryway resembles the staircases of ancient Mayan pyramids. The first couple rooms tell the story of the birth of the Earth and dinosaurs which were wiped out by the meteor that hit the town of Chicxulub only 45 minutes away.
After these first rooms, you will see the history of the city and its founder Francisco Montejo, and then the beautifully preserved artifacts from the ancient Mayan civilizations which were spread all over the land of Mexico. This Museum would make a great day trip and you could easily get lost in the history for hours. It is relatively cheap to enter and is definitely worth the cover price. It is a tribute to the magnificent civilizations which existed in Mexico.
3) Centro (downtown)
The Centro area of Merida (down town) has a little bit of everything for everyone. The historic center of Merida is concentrated within a few blocks and the best day to visit is on a Sunday. During the day the streets are blocked off to traffic and pedestrians rule the area. There is the beautiful cathedral which was built from a Mayan ruin which previously stood in the same place. There are street performers, as well as live music and dancing in the parks. There are dozens of street food vendors surrounding the main park which is known as the zocalo, and the park itself is lined with dozens of local vendors who sell everything from locally made candies, to toys and trinkets, to traditional Mexican wares which include clothing and spices.
At night, all the restaurants in the area put their tables out in the streets and you have outdoor dining, which often give you the opportunity to hire one of the local mariachi bands to serenade you while you drink and/or eat. If you visit on any day, you can take a tour through the House of Montejo Museum which would easily serve as a diversion during the hottest parts of the day since it is completely air conditioned and free to enter. It tells the history of the Montejo Family and Francisco Montejo who founded the beautiful city of Merida. There are also may fine dining and economic dining options throughout the historic center. There are many different architectural styles in the city and you will see this while walking or driving down any street. There are old colonial buildings next to very modern buildings, and in all different types of styles.
Written By : Martin and Jennifer H., Mexico
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Edited by: Rajesh Bihani ( Find me on Google+ )