Tips for Merida, Mexico
November 9, 2010 9:03 AM   Subscribe

Any tips for an amateur traveler headed to Merida, Mexico?

I'm headed there for business this month and will have an extra day or so available. Any tips/suggestions for things to see, do, or beware of in the area will be greatly appreciated. Also, can anyone confirm that I will not need a voltage adapter for my computer?
posted by ajr to Travel & Transportation around Merida, Mexico (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
posted by keep it tight at 9:29 AM on November 9, 2010

Best answer: The obvious major tourist attraction in the area is Chichen Itza, about 1 1/2 - 2 hour drive away. I've been there twice, and enjoyed it. Sadly, I hear they don't let you climb the pyramid anymore.
posted by fings at 9:31 AM on November 9, 2010

Best answer: Your computer should say on the brick 110~240 or something, so the voltage is good. According to the fantastic Electricity guide to the world, Mexico uses the US two-flat-parallel-blades, some grounded and some not. If that's your computer shape, you should be good! IF the computer is grounded (3-prong) you might consider bringing a 3-to-2 converter just in case. They cost about a dollar at a hardware store.
posted by whatzit at 9:46 AM on November 9, 2010

Best answer: I loved Merida! We were lucky enough to hit town for a fiesta. I'd advise wandering the area around the Zolcalo (eat cheap, yummy tacos from the Zocalo vendor with the long lines!) and visiting the main market and the anthropology museum (and maybe the folklore museum). The tourist office does pretty good guided tours of the Centro Historico. Get out of town to visit some of the Mayan ruins, especially Chichen Itza and Uxmal, and the cenotes (underground sinkhole/lakes). I found Merida and the surrounding area to be very safe last year.
posted by mkuhnell at 9:52 AM on November 9, 2010

The dude who tries to sell you guayaberas on Plaza Grande who charges like 1200 pesos? They sell the same exact shirt on the side of the road on the way to the ruins for like 200 pesos. Takeaway: don't pay tourist prices in the square.
Otherwise, have a blast. I loved Merida.
posted by 8dot3 at 10:22 AM on November 9, 2010

If you are going out into the sticks, get yourself a good hammock in Merida first. The ones out in the boonies are made for 4 foot tall Mayans and once you are out there and realize your hotel has bed bugs it will be too late.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 10:57 AM on November 9, 2010

I loved Merida too. We stayed for nearly a week (about 10 years ago) because we were enjoying ourselves so much. There was a nice 50's style hotel on one of the streets north of the main square where at lunch, one of the tables would be filled with well dressed retirees who passed around a quatro and crooned old nightclub tunes. Across from that was a fantastic breakfast place where an old guy sold lots of cheap hand made magic tricks. There were some great antique stores behind the main boulevard. Sorry I can't remember any specifics. At the time, I had never been to any place in Mexico that wasn't a dedicated tourist spot, so it was nice to explore a place that was a real city, with colonial buildings, art schools, bakeries and people going about their daily lives. Places adjacent to the main square were a bit spooky after nightfall, though.
posted by bonobothegreat at 6:04 PM on November 9, 2010

Best answer: Merida's pretty cool.

One day? Got to be the Mayan ruins. Chichen Itza is the best by a safe margin; Uxmal is 2nd best, but there are a couple of small ruins in the Uxmal area that are nice bonus stops. (I'm thinking especially of the Codz Poop - heh, poop - in Kabah.) Chichen Itza and Uxmal both have wicked-cheesy light shows that at least get you another chance to see the ruins.

Campeche is a real gem and the other place I know worth visiting from Merida, but it's another colonial city, so if you only have a little time off, do a ruin.

And re keep it tight, that warning covers around 80% of the bits of Mexico that aren't anywhere near Merida, and around 0.00% of the areas that are. I'd be much more worried about dropping the thousand extra pesos on the guayabera.
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 2:52 AM on November 10, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks for the suggestions guys. We rented a car and headed to Chichen Itza. Definitely couldn't climb the pyramid, but you could explore it pretty well. The place was completely filled with vendors who were pretty aggressively hawking their trinkets. The city itself was neat. We drove back in from Chichen Itza on 65th Street on Friday night, which was a complete blast. The street was packed with people having a good time and running errands. Definitely a great way to see Mexico outside of the tourist-focused areas.
posted by ajr at 10:37 AM on November 16, 2010

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