Mérida is located in the northwestern part of Yucatán and is the capital of the state. With close to 1,000,000 inhabitants in the metropolitan area, it is also the most populated city in the Yucatán peninsula and one of the fastest growing cities in México. You might be surprised by this, because once you’ve visited our city, you’ll see that it also maintains the traditions, customs, and old-city charm that few cities can boast.
It was founded in 1542 by Francisco de Montejo “El Mozo,” on the remains of the Maya city T’ho, and was named Mérida after his own hometown in Spain. These Maya and Colonial roots are still very visible in the buildings of the Centro Histórico today. Sometimes, you can even see both represented in the same building, such as at the Catedral de San Ildefonso which is a Colonial construction; but if you look very closely, you will see Maya glyphs etched on the stones of the building.
The main areas of interest for visitors are usually the Centro Histórico and Paseo de Montejo. Here, we find the traditional city “barrios” and markets, grandiose homes, several museums, and historical monuments, which make them ideal for exploring in the morning and afternoon. But don’t be fooled, these areas are equally lively in the evenings because in recent years they have seen the birth of many modern restaurants, entertainment venues, and bars which keep the “Centro” and “Montejo” buzzing throughout the day.
Our tropical climate, architecture, warm people, and the proximity to the beach and impressive geological formations such as cenotes and caves have enamored more than one visitor who “tomaron agua de pozo” – or “drank from the well,” a local saying of visitors who wind up staying forever. This has caused the city to have an increasingly international face which includes a growing and diverse food scene.
We hope you enjoy our museums, city tours, free cultural activities which are available every night of the week, shopping centers both big and small, handcraft shops, and especially, the delicious flavors of our regional and national cuisine. When you’ve had your fill, we expect you’ll continue to enjoy your time adventuring through the rest of our state. Welcome to Mérida!
Esta entrada también está disponible en: ES