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 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 was high and walking around soon became very uncomfortable. 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.
You sound tired. I loved the photo of the dancing in the square. I might do that this weekend on the roundabout at Elephant and Castle…… what do you think. The ghost made me giggle as well. You certainly are getting about and I cannot believe that you will be in the States soon. Where has this time gone. It only seems a few weeks ago we were giggling around Peckham. Safe travels my friend xx
Yeah it’s amazing how quickly it’s going by. Just one more full day here and then I head up to your favourite place: Florida:)
I was very tired in Merida. The humidity was getting to me; I arrived tired and hot and never really got over it.
Even the salsa dancers made me feel a little sad. I mean how great must it be to wake up next to somebody who when you say ‘let’s go spend lunchtime dancing salsa in the local square’ doesn’t run a mile. No alcohol involved, these old guys were up there shaking it about and loving it.
Thanks for this great post! I will be in Merida for five days next month to explore some of the surrounding ruins and small towns.
The area around Merida is spectacular. If you don’t mind driving you should get a car. I wish I’d hired a car now.
I am actually planning on renting a car to see some of the lesser known ruins around Merida and the Mayan villages! As a solo traveler, I am hoping that the area is safe enough to travel alone or that I will meet someone who wants to come with me 🙂
I was planning on taking my brother to Mexico and taking a bus across to Merida. I like the look of it from your photos, and I still hope to visit some day. Was the “local square” with salsa dancers the main square? That was on my list to see. 🙂
No the main square is a little touristy, this was a little square I came across – I think it’s called San Lucia – just a bit away from Zocalo. The city is full of little squares like this though.
You should definitely go; it’s a nice place. I was just a bit over-ambitious trying to walk around all day when the humidity was so high. But the city is full of nice little squares and old colonial buildings.
Okay, good to know. Thanks for the tips!