Merida, old towns and beautiful birds

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North America » Mexico » Yucatán » Merida
September 12th 2010
Published: September 18th 2010
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Merida is nothing like Cancun or Playa del Carmen and if you want to experience Mexican culture whilst staying on the Yucatan peninsula then this is a great place to go. We travelled across to the largest city in the region on a local bus from Cancun which took about five hours. We then used the tried and tested Tripadviser website to guide us to our hotel. This involved a hike across the historical centre; don’t you hate it when the best hotels seem the furthest away from the bus station 😊 The 30 minutes of exercise was worth it! Hotel Julamis has a boutique hotel feel whilst also feeling like a second home, the two guys who run it, Mel and Erid, do a great job. I got a lovely bottle of red wine for my birthday and their birthday restaurant recommendation, La Choperia, a Brazilian/Mexican fusion, was awesome, a great Sao Paulo steak and some beautiful draught beer, hmmm heaven 😱

One of the great things about Merida is that there is free entertainment almost every evening for all to enjoy. Both locals and tourists gather together to experience and embrace the celebration of their culture, such as regional dancing and music. One of our highlights was the municipal orchestra playing latino and big band music in Parque Santiago. Our long forgotten salsa lessons forcing our feet to shuffle whilst watching the collection of young and old, swaying to the rhythms of the salsa beat, performing carefully choreographed moves with ease, it was a joy to behold.

No trip to the Yucatan area would be complete without a visit to the famous Chichen Itza (chee-chen eet-zah). We hadn’t visited any ruins for a while so we were ready to tackle one of the new Seven Wonders of the World. Chichen Itza was one of the greatest Mayan centres and walking among these stone temples, pyramids and ball courts really gives you a sense of scale and an appreciation of this civilisation. For lots more interesting reading click Chichen Itza info .

As part of my birthday treat we spent a few hours in Celestun, where we hired a boat to go exploring the Biosphere Reserve, a combination of coastal scrub, estuary, and mangrove, which together provides an excellent habitat for wildlife of many sorts. During the right season, this area is home to more than 18,000 flamingos, unfortunately this is the wrong season. With limited bird numbers we had our fingers crossed. Luckily our captain’s local knowledge paid off and we successfully achieved our mission of finding some pink flamingos!

Whilst visiting the museums and galleries dotted around the historical centre of Merida, we discovered a new taqueria called Las Delicias. It gets a special mention because it’s owner Oscar was so welcoming. He talked us through his menu and gave us a tour of his kitchen. His restaurant was clean, cheap and tasty, the perfect combination 😊 After a couple of visits he joined us at our table like a friend and we enjoyed a free local dessert with him. Our stomachs have finally accepted that we are still in Mexico and as well as Oscar's tacos, we have sampled a few interesting traditional Yucatan dishes.

During our time in Merida we found it to be a really hospitable place, people are warm and friendly and we can see why the town has lots of admirers.

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