By the time I left San Cristobal I only had a week left to make it to Cancun in time for my flight to Fort Lauderdale. I had two options: turn right to Guatemala City and work back to it that way or take the 14 hour night bus up to Merida and do it from there. In the end I chose Merida. I didn’t feel a week would do justice to Guatemala and decided to put that off for another time.
This is how I ended up tired and disorientated in Merida city at 7.30 in the morning. This is the main reason I hate night buses. I know you save a night’s accommodation, but you end up getting to your destination tired (I rarely sleep on buses) and usually far too early to go to your next accommodation (if you’re lucky they’ll let you dump your bag with them), wandering around like a zombie for the rest of the day.
As for Merida, I wasn’t so keen. Its appeal lay more in the places surrounding it that could be travelled to. However public transport was often slow and inconvenient. Tours were expensive (comparatively speaking) and often didn’t run anyway because it was ‘low season’. Most people seemed to hire cars for their time in Merida, but I’m not most people and I really don’t like driving. Plus car hire is expensive when you’re just one person.
The city itself has some beautiful old colonial buildings and squares, but humidity is high for walking around. Plus as soon as you stopped walking, whether to look at your map or just enjoy some shade for a minute, you could guarantee someone was going to come up speaking English, making some pretence at friendship (‘it’s great for me to practice my English’) and then try to get you to visit their shop.
In the end I stayed in Merida just four days. I still had two days left in Mexico, but I decided to move on and spend them in Tulum instead.