In the heart of the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico, the charming city of Merida is giving us a taste of the old world. It is filled with regal Spanish colonial structures dating back between the 1600's and 1700's, so well-preserved you can actually feel like you stepped out of a time machine. Aside from admiring these buildings, Merida is bursting with fabulous things to do, whether they are accounting to the past or to the present.
If you are traveling to the past, you will certainly enjoy touring one or more of these historic spots.
- Ake – a pre-Columbian Maya "palace" with rows of stone column topping a step-up pyramid platform.
- Acanceh – buildings dating back from 200 to 300 AD; means "dying deer" in Mayan.
- Cathedral de San Ildefonso – built in 1958; oldest east side Catholic cathedral in America.
- Casa Montejo – a 1549 mansion
- Chichen Itza – a World Heritage pre-Columbian site; one of the most visited
- Cenote – fresh-water filled limestone sinkhole formed in during the Pleistocene Epoch.
- Dzibilchaltun – a Maya ruin that has been consistently occupied for thousands of years.
- Palacio Canton (Canton Palace) – was the home of General Francisco Canton Rosado; built in the time of Porfirio Diaz.
- Uxmal – a large ruined city of the Maya civilization; literally means "built three times" in Mayan.
However, if you want to spotlight all regional history in one setting, you can always go to a museum. The dense white mansion of the Regional Museum of Anthropology is open to public viewing and is highly recommended.
If you are bringing the whole family, visit the Centenario Zoo. It was built in the Porfiriato Era and has a gigantic sand playground.
But if you ever get tired of visiting the past, an assortment of new things to do is widely available. A bit of sounds and music is always good to either perk you up or soothe you down. We suggest taking a tour at the city's parks and plazas. They hold cultural shows every night including serenades and regional dances.
Try out the Merida cuisine and you will never regret it. It bursts with the combination of Mexican, Mayan, and European flavors. There are several highly commendable restaurants to check out and many dishes you just got to have a taste with. Some of these dishes include: poc chuc (grilled pork with chopped onion and tomato sauce), lime soup, releleno negro (turkey in hot and spicy black sauce), and the very popular cochinita pibil (pork marinated in achiote / annato).
But if you want to mix good food and shopping, go straight to the city markets.