Merida Journals

Yucatan, land of Faisán y Venado

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A May 2010 trip to Merida by JesusW

Loltun Cave Photo, Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico More Photos
Quote: The culture and specially the food of Yucatán are some of the big attraction for the new and old visitors

San Antonio de Padua

Attraction | "Temple of the Lady of Izamal"

San Antonio de Padua Photo, Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico
Quote:
This church was build by Fray Diego de Landa using the stones from the nearby pyramid on the north. This was a strategy used by the Spanish conquerors to destroy the ancient cult sites of the locals while switching their beliefs to Catholic ideas. Take a look at what De Landa left behind in what remains of the huge basement and you will have an idea of the importance of the city before the Spanish arrived.This days the church is the main attraction of the town, lot of people come from very far to pray to the Lady of el Carmen, and the authorities had created a lights and sound show in the evenings (60 pesos, Feb2012), I didn't want to stay for the show as I'm not interested in religion, b...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on August 23, 2006

San Antonio de Padua
Main Square
Izamal, Yucatan Peninsula

Plantacion Tikul-Ecomuseo Del Cacao

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Attraction | "Money DOES grow on trees"

Plantacion Tikul-Ecomuseo Del Cacao Photo, Ticul, Yucatan Peninsula
Quote:
Cacao beans (where chocolate comes from) were used for many centuries as trading coin by the Mayas, Aztecs and many other cultures of Mesoamerica, for example a turkey was traded for 20 cacao beans and a slave for 200, so Money grows on trees.In my visit to the Ruta Puuc I found interesting signs in the road, a turkey (ok), a deer (too bad I didn't see any) a feline (wow, wish I was that lucky) all sponsored by Ecomuseo del Cacao, so I took a break in my hot walking day and visited the museum, my plan was to do a quick visit and then continue to Labna to see the arch, well, quick transformed into almost 2 hours of a very interesting up close visit to not just the cacao, but to the Maya wor...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on February 25, 2012

Plantacion Tikul-Ecomuseo Del Cacao
Km 20, Route Puuc, Between Xlapak And Labna
Ticul, Yucatan, Mexico
045 999 192 53 85

Archaelogical ruins

Attraction

Loltun Cave Photo, Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico
Quote:
All this area is surrounded by archaeological sites--mostly pyramids in different states of recovery/reconstruction. This area is not so heavily visited by the mobs like in Chichen Itza or Tulum, so it would be a nicer experience but there are not so many tour operators doing trips to this area, so if you can't get a tour, just rent a car, or if you are more adventurous, go to the bus station in Merida and get a trip for the Ruta Puuc. You have a more limited experience by trying to catch the bus on each stop, but it's a really cheap way to visit all the ruins in the zone. They range from Uxmal and Labna, from the Chichen Izta wannabe Mayapan (most of the pyramids are small versions of those in the bi...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on June 30, 2005

Loltun Cave

Attraction | "Lol Tun Caves"

Loltun Cave Photo, Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico
Quote:
This caves are amazing, there are some indications of very early human ocupation and some pottery from early Maya manufacture. The caves have artificial lighting, sometimes neutral color to emphasize the color of the different rocks, and in some places, they put filters to enhance the experience. The tour are on foot only because the cave has been left almost intact, with no pedestrian walkways and no wheelchair access. Some of the passageways are extremely narrow. It's a long walk, so be ready to carry your small children on your back when they get tired midway. Once you start the tour, there is no going back, as the lights had timers on them and only the guide knows the location...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on June 30, 2005

Loltun Cave
5 km south of Oxkutzcab
Yucatan Peninsula

Cenote Ik Kil

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Attraction | "Plunging into a hole in the ground"

Cenote Ik Kil Photo, Chichen Itza, Mexico
Quote:
... yes, but a huge hole, filled with refreshing water, yeaaaahhhhhIn the Yucatán peninsula there are no rivers, just underground rivers, and those are only visible when you find a "Cenote" (sink hole) which are huge holes (some are 100 feet in diameter) that caved in exposing the underground river in the bottom.A cenote is like an oasis in the desert, a place full of refreshing water and surrounded by lots of vegetation. Ik Kil is a cenote very near Chichen Itza, just 3 km to the East and very well marked in the highway. Entrance fee is 70 pesos for adults (Feb 2012), free parking. Inside the premises they have very clean and modern bathrooms, toilets and changi...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on February 18, 2012

Cenote Ik Kil
3 Km East Of Chichen Itza
Chichen Itza, Mexico

Uxmal Mayan Ruins

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Attraction | "Uxmal, not just old stones"

Uxmal Mayan Ruins Photo, Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico
Quote:
For some people Mayan ruins means just looking at a pile of old stones.... well, in Uxmal you can see the real architecture marvels of the Maya, the constructions and their decorating elements are just amazing. I won't get in detail to describe the city, just a few facts: - The entrance fee in Feb 2012: 177 pesos, it includes the re-entrance at night to watch the lights and sound show. - Such night show is held every day and is a bit long for my taste, but it looks very impressive as they use colored lights while telling a tale of the city and how it fought draught over a narrative and some music. The show is in Spanish over the loudspeakers, but you can get an audio version in Engl...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on February 20, 2012

Uxmal Mayan Ruins
62 km south of Mérida
Uxmal, Mexico

Villas Arqueologicas Uxmal

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Hotel | "The base to explore the Puuc route and Uxmal"

Villas Arqueologicas Uxmal Photo, Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico
Quote:
Villas Arqueologicas Uxmal is a good hotel to base your exploration of the area.It's located within walking distance to the ruins of Uxmal, there are two other hotels nearby but cost almost double, yeah they look more attractive from the outside and have large palapa-restaurants but you won't spend much time there if you are really exploring the area.Normally I don't eat at the hotel restaurant as they tend to have outrageous prices and mediocre food, but here was the exception, the menu although not 4 pages long, was varied and had good offerings both of (real) Mexican food and comfort food for foreigners, and at decent prices. The next best option would be in Santa Elena town, 15-...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on February 20, 2012

Villas Arqueologicas Uxmal
Carretera Mérida Campeche Kilómetro 76
Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico
01 997 974 6020

Museo Regional de Arqueología de Yucatán

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Attraction | "Museo Regional de Arqueología de Yucatán - Palacio Canton"

Museo Regional de Arqueología de Yucatán Photo,
Quote:
This is one of the majestic colonial houses that adorns Paseo Montejo, and was the residence of the conqueror of this area (he slaughtered the Mayans in a brutal way, following his father´s steps but with more cruelty), as a "revenge" the modern government decided to turn his mansion into the Anthropology Museum of Merida. The contrast can't be more exaggerated, you have a French style mansion with all the ornaments and great woodworks in stairs, doors, windows, also some chandeliers hanging from the ceiling but in the displays you get the old ancient fruits of Mayan culture and such an amazing craft it is. From masks to idols, to great slabs of limestone you can just barely imagine what the r...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on April 25, 2006

Museo Regional de Arqueología de Yucatán
Palacio Cantón
Merida, Mexico

InterContinental Presidente Merida

Hotel | "Presidente Intercontinental Villa Mercedes"

InterContinental Presidente Merida Photo,
Quote:
The Intercontinental bought the Villa Mercedes and for a good reason, the hotel is very nice. It looks like a colonial building, although is much more recent and well maintained.There is a very nice pool in the midle of the small garden between both wings of the hotel, the view is really nice.The rooms are very comfortable and ample, beds are soft, and there are five pillows with different sizes and softness for you to choose from in each bed.Service is attentive and professional from the receptionist to the bellboys, specially the maids.Location of this hotel is very convenient, near the Haytt and it´s bus station, a small mall with a Sanborns store (a Mexican cha...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on April 25, 2006

InterContinental Presidente Merida
Avenida Colon N. 500 Centro
Merida, Mexico 97000
+52 (999) 9429000

Dulceria y Sorbeteria Colon

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Restaurant | "A Sweet and Fresh Reward "

Dulceria y Sorbeteria Colon Photo, Merida, Mexico
Quote:
Mérida is a very nice city, the main problem I find is the heat, in summer it can reach 120F, in several visits in Winter, I had to wear long sleeves and a baseball cap because the Sun was way too strong. So, what to do on a hot day or extremely warm evening???There are some oasis in the city, mainly in the form of a traditional ice cream parlor, Dulceria y Sorbetería Colón (translated literally into Columbus, sherbets and candy store).There is one at the main square and the one nearest my hotel is on Paseo Montejo and 41 street, I can even walk there in the evening, during the day it may be too hot to walk, so take a cab.What is so special about this place? why no...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on March 20, 2010

Dulceria y Sorbeteria Colon
Paseo Montejo Entre 41 Y 43
Merida 97000
999)928 14 97

Taqueria Nuevo San Fernando

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Restaurant | "This Is THE Place to Have Cochinita"

Taqueria Nuevo San Fernando Photo, Merida, Mexico
Quote:
In this taquería they only have 2 options: cochinita pibil or lechon (tender pig), but that is the only reason to come and eat here.For me, being from Mexico city, eating pork tacos is something to have at lunch or dinner, but in Merida and the Mayan region in general, is specifically a breakfast fare (in the afternoon is a bit heavy due to the heat). When asking my local friends on a spot to eat, this is the place they all pointed (the only two other options were the Mercado Santa Ana and a taqueria one block from this one).Cochinita pibil is a version of "pulled pork" or pork cooked in a pit or similar, but with a special Yucatecan touch, they marinate de pork in a sauce ma...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on March 20, 2010

Taqueria Nuevo San Fernando
Av Cupules entre 60 y 31
Merida, Mexico 9700
+52 999 925-7298

El Negro Gil

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Restaurant | "Cochinita at Wee Hours"

El Negro Gil Photo, Merida, Mexico
Quote:
As I mentioned, the Cochinita Pibil is mainly a breakfast dish, I learned very well when staying at a friends house. One night the grandma asked what we were craving for dinner, being my first night in Merida, I quickly asked for Cochinita Pibil, I got a stare from most of the family members -like I was from another planet- but was sweetly corrected, the cochinita is only for early morning and in certain places. Well, that was many years ago, and recently I visited Merida again, this time as part of a concert touring staff. After the first day of setup we were hungry and asked the drivers for a place to eat, we asked for something very typical of Merida, not a fast food chain restaurant or some...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on March 21, 2010

El Negro Gil
Plaza Santa Ana, Calle 60 X Calle 47
Merida 97000

Merida Events

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Attraction | "Marquesitas - a Regional Snack"

Merida Events Photo, Merida, Mexico
Quote:
Whenever you attend a public event in the evening (and if you are lucky during the day) in the streets of Mérida, be it a concert, a puppet show, a poetry recital, or even just strolling around the Zocalo (main square) you will find some carts selling snacks, the most common being the "Marquesita" (little marquis), something that is a blend of an ice cream cone with a crepe. They are crunchy as the cone, but are rolled up and filled with gouda or edam cheese, or maybe cajeta (caramel) or nutella. The marquesitas are only available at the Yucatán peninsula as far as I know, they were invented in 1945 by a the owner of an Ice Cream parlour, it was a very cold winter and the sales of the ref...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on March 21, 2010

Merida Events
City center and parks
Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico

Restaurante Bar Eladio's

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Restaurant | "Snacks? More Properly a Full Meal at Eladio's"

Restaurante Bar Eladio's Photo, Mexico City, Mexico
Quote:
I have tried Eladio's in the city of Merida, but on our visit to the beach at Progreso (merey 40 min from the city) we were looking for a nice place to hang with sand between our feet and good food. We saw several beach clubs but returned to the start of the Malecon (the huge dock that extends into the ocean is impressive) as was our first recommendation.Eladio's is a very nice beach restaurant and has an ample seafood menu besides the regular menu offered at the city, here you find the whole fried fish, octopus cocktails, ceviche several main meats, and in general a more tropical ambiance as the building is composed of palapas (thatched roof) and you can get a table on the sand with a p...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on June 7, 2010

Restaurante Bar Eladio's
Av. Malecon X Calle 80, Centro. Progreso
Progreso, Yucatán, México
52 (969) 9355670

Restaurant Bar Eladios

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Restaurant | "A Bar to Taste the Local Food in Merida"

Restaurant Bar Eladios Photo, Merida, Mexico
Quote:
When we asked for a place to sample as much Yucatecan food as possible in Merida, we were directed to Eladio's which has more a name as a bar than a restaurant in the city, but the delicious surprise is that if you order son drinks be it some beers or some cocktails or straight ones, you are offered the traditional "Botana" for free.Botana (snack) is a tradition in cantinas all over Mexico, they serve you not just peanuts and chips but high end dishes, normally the variety is fixed (in other parts like Mexico city the botana varies from day to day to lure the clientele to an specific day or time). The Botana at Eladio's is mostly Yucatecan specialties, in their webpage there is section wit...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on June 7, 2010

Restaurant Bar Eladios
Calle 92 #593
Merida, Mexico
(999) 984-0057

Smoking club No. 1

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Restaurant | "Second Best Place for Cochinita Pibil"

The second places goes to Photo, Merida, Mexico
Quote:
Years ago on my first visit to Merida, I stayed at the house of some friend's Grandmother, a truly Yucatecan family.The first evening the grandma asked us what we wanted for dinner, I immediately asked for tacos de cochinita, I got a very surprised look and got a little speech about Cochinita Pibil only being a breakfast staple, and that if I wanted to have some I should wait until next EARLY morning to go to Smoking Club. For me it was a bit weird, as pork meat is more a lunch or dinner fare, but wherever you go, you have to adapt to local traditions. Next day I woke up late, but my friends had gone to get some tortas de cochinita to my benefit, it was very good.That was like 8 y...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on June 7, 2010