Every city has its points of reference, geographically speaking, and often they are understandable only to locals. Mérida has many such spots, and if you are new to the area or just out and about, some of these explanations might help.
Let’s say you have been told that there is a great steak restaurant right across from Boxito Kalia (pronounced Bosheeto Kahl-ya). You’ll easily find it on Google Maps, but you have to wonder: what exactly is Boxito Kalia? Is it some sort of Maya thing? Well, in a way. Boxito is a local plumbing/electrical megabrand. Box means black and a Boxito, without getting all “politically incorrect,” is a term of endearment for a Yucatecan male. What about Kalia? Well, back in the 80’s there was, at that precise location, a groundbreaking discotheque called…you guessed it: Kalia.
You’ll also hear the Periférico mentioned. People who come to Mérida are surprised that there is more to the city than just the colonial center, and that there is in fact a ring road around the periphery of Mérida. Periphery – Periférico. You get the idea. At 42 kilometers or 26 miles, it is the perfect length for a marathon. Use its 3-4 lanes to go around the city and not through it, thereby avoiding speed bumps (aka Topes), potholes (aka Baches), and the increasing amount of Mexico-City-style traffic.
Back in the colonial center, you may be considering a stroll down the elegant Paseo de Montejo to enjoy the tree-lined sidewalks, peering up at luxe mansions all the while keeping an eye out for uneven paving blocks. The start of this walk is at 47 street, in an area known as El Remate, which literally means The End. But it is not. It is actually the beginning of the French-inspired avenue bearing the city founder’s name.
If you walk far enough, past a discrete Walmart tucked under the trees on this historic avenue, you will reach El Monumento a la Patria – literally, the monument to the homeland. Also known to many as the Monumento a la Bandera (or monument to the flag), it is actually a landmark monument dedicated to the history of México before and after the colonization by the Spanish. Sculpted over a 14-year span by a Colombian named Rómulo Rozo, it is the meeting place for political protests or fútbol-related celebrations.
Walk even farther and get lost enough; you may find yourself in one of the city’s many Colonias or neighborhoods. If you find yourself in the colonias Aleman and Petcanché on another ring road known as Circuito Colonias (Neighborhood Circuit), you will marvel at the sight of what might seem to be a replica of a WWII V2 rocket in the median at the intersection. What!?! This strange ornament, known as El Cohete (the rocket) began its journey in the 1980s at El Remate. Its owners moved it to its present location by the Hacienda Petcanché, near Brisas and Nueva Alemán, where it became such a popular reference that when it was temporarily removed, people would refer to the intersection as “El Ex Cohete.” It is a popular reference point for Meridanos to this day.
Like these, there are many more interesting and very Yucatecan points of reference that you might want to hear about. If you’re curious about any others, or want to find out more, drop us a line at [email protected] and let us know!
Editorial by Ralf Hollmann
A Yucatecan born in Germany and raised in Canada, with a degree in Hospitality and Tourism from the British Columbia Institute of Technology. Ralf has experience in leisure tourism, journalism, research, editing, writing, and creative writing. He’s also a musician.
Photography by Yucatán Today for use in Yucatán Today.
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