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Merida is the capital city of the Yucatan state in Mexico and has a population over 700,000. As many buildings in the old capital are built from white limestone it is affectionately known as the 'White City.' The city blends its Spanish colonial past with the new vibrant Mexico of today and is awash with culture, history and entertainment.
The first place to stop to get a feel for this grand city is the Anthropology and History Museum. If you are interested in Mayan culture then this is a definite stop for you as they house a large amount of finds and exhibits, some of the finest in the world. The museum is a short walk from downtown and on the major bus routes for anyone who does not want to walk and once inside for a full experience spend 200 pesos and hire a guide. Many are in house experts and study anthropology themselves. You will also learn quickly what to look out for if you visit any of the Mayan sites yourself.
Uxmal is one of the best preserved Mayan cities throughout Mexico and their third most popular tourist site so it would be a crime not to visit this beautiful ruin. The site opens early in the morning and it is best to get there then to miss the midday heat. Unlike the larger site at Chichen Itza you are allowed to climb the central pyramid structure at Uxmal and it is recommended you do so. The site from the top is simply stunning.
Eating out is great in Merida. Rescoldos Mediterranean Bistro serves up a delicious selection of the finest food the Mediterranean has to offer. It has its own wood fire oven so the fresh bread and pizza is delicious and the desserts are highly recommended. The service is always excellent and with reasonable prices you cannot complain.
For a taste of real Yucatan food La Chaya is the place you are looking for. Serving a selection of Mexico's finest dishes with a smile on their faces La Chaya is a warm and friendly restaurant to relax away the evening.
An interesting after dinner stop is to the Mercer Cigars Smoke Shop, complete with a walk in humidor stocking a large selection of the finest Cubanos around. The smoking room has a wide screen TV and stocks a large variety of imported beers.
Merida is serviced by the long winded Manuel Crescencio Rejon International Airport. If you are flying internationally you may have to change in Cancun. Buses are a plenty in Merida with four main companies offering cheap prices so getting anywhere is relatively inexpensive. The downtown area can get grid locked, however, so think about walking about the centre if you would rather not sit on the bus for a long while. Taxis are cheap too with both on street cabs and bookable ones. There are also 'collectivos', larger taxis accommodating 10 people that run predefined routes, these cost a small fee.
If you are looking for a great city break Merida is the place for you. Cheaper than Cancun and with more history and culture than Playa del Carmen Merida is a mix of old and new that combines delightfully into a great holiday destination.