The Mexico circuit for independent travellers usually includes a list of places like Mexico City, Oaxaca, Chiapas, Quintana Roo, and often lastly, the tropical, southeastern state of Yucatan, where Merida is the capital city.
Some travellers, though, start in South America and work their way upward, Merida being one of their first major Mexican stops. As a result, whether you’re heading north or south when you reach Merida, you’ll likely find other travellers here who’ve already been where you’re going and will be ready to swap stories with you.
In general, accommodations are relatively expensive in Merida. If you’re coming to Merida from Chiapas or Guatemala, you need to prepare yourself for a slight shock of price increases. Of course, it’s still very inexpensive compared to areas like Cancun, Cozumel, or Isla Mujeres.
Guide books like Lonely Planet and Rough Guide give some idea of the range of accommodations. As usual, there are also great finds that are not in any of the guidebooks for one reason or another, and it’s always best to stay at a place that has been recommended to you first hand by other travellers.
Stop for something cold to drink at the Café Express, just north of the zocalo on Calle 60, and you’ll likely meet other travellers (if you haven’t already) who can give you first hand tips on accommodations.
Also, the free tourist information service provided by the State Office of Tourism, one block north of Café Express on Calle 60, is a good place to investigate because they stock economical flyers from guest houses and hostels too small to do big advertising.
One thing to keep in mind about accommodations is that Merida is a busy city. Fodors suggests that light sleepers check out accommodations north of the zocalo along Paseo Montejo, a beautiful tree-lined avenue that looks like something right out of Paris.
This is good advice for anyone who wants to stay where locals actually enjoy living. Very few Yucatecan people live near the zocalo, and because of their “zocalo complex” many tourists never get to see actual Yucatecan neighborhoods.
For quick money transfers, your best bet is Western Union. The franchise in Merida is owned by a furniture store called Electra, next to Café Express on Calle 60, just north of the zocalo.
Medical Care In Merida
If you happen to be in Merida when you need medical attention, you’re lucky. The city is a center for physician training, and many local physicians have established relationships / admitting privileges with U.S. hospitals in Miami.
Patients requiring specialized care frequently come to Merida from surrounding states and countries. Centro Medico de las Américas is a first rate hospital, where you can find a specialist in any field. Clinica Merida is also very highly recommended.
Richard Wright is a Canadian who lives in Merida, where he runs an economical B&B called “Tranquilo“.