Mexico is a country full of treasures; from spectacular beaches to impressive mountains, all the way with a beautiful culture, nature and friendly people. If you are thinking about living in Mexico for exchange, for sure or maybe just travel around through the great Mexican cities, you might ask yourself which are the good options. The truth is, there are many cities that aren´t at their best due to issues like insecurity, and if the capital is way too big for you, then I am going to tell you about your best alternative.
Mérida is a developing city found in the Yucatan Peninsula, which has over a million people and was home to the Mayan culture. This beautiful place, known as the White City, has much to offer and the world has its eyes on it. Many Mexican families are moving here as it is a place with many job opportunities, history, culture, talent and a very big list of places to enjoy both in town and the surroundings.
The people from Yucatan are very special and different in some ways from the rest of Mexicans. Actually, it is so that once upon a time, they wanted to be independent…as you already guessed, that didn´t happen. And we are very glad about that because this state is not only an essential part of our country (what would we do without their amazing food!) but it also represents at its fullest the colors of the Mexican culture.
People here are very friendly but also very conservative in some ways and they take great proud in their city and culture. This culture is very present unlike in other big cities. When you walk around the streets, it is quite normal to see women wearing the traditional clothes called “huipil” and in their everyday life, they still use ancient Mayan words mixed with Spanish. And of course, not to forget all the pyramids and ancient temples which you can find all over Yucatan. From small rocks by the highway to impressive pyramids inside the jungle that tell you a thousand stories by just walking through what used to be a whole city. Places that you see in pictures but never imagined what a beautiful experience it would be to see for yourself. That feeling you can get a lot in this great place that offers you a great life.
The modern side of the White City
Even if it is a traditional city and its history is present in its streets, Mérida has become a really modern city. With many minimalistic houses, residential clubs, and great shopping malls, this city is growing fast. Many people are coming here, searching for better quality of life, and a more secure place to live. Its infrastructure, security, cultural offer, tourism, among others, are the reason why this city has been named one of the 2 best cities in Mexico to live.
Ideas of where to go
The place that you can enjoy the most is the historic center. Here you can move around really easy by foot, and by walking through the streets you´ll feel that heartwarming Mexican spirit. There is live music everywhere, people selling handmade masterpieces, from drawings to bracelets, and there are endless possibilities of things to do. If you are looking for something cultural and artistic, make sure to stop by the Peon Contreras Theater where they have splendid concerts almost every single day.
A great place to eat is “La Chaya Maya” where you can eat traditional food. Mexican food was declared Intangible Heritage of Humanity, so go ahead cause you won´t regret it! I promise it doesn´t taste like the burritos you´ve had abroad in Taco Bell.
If you want just a snack, try a “marquesita”. It has a special cheese from the region and you can choose to eat it with Nutella, marmalade, or cajeta, a special Mexican caramel.
Near the center, there is a long avenue called Paseo Montejo. Full with old mansions from the time we were a Spanish Colony, art galleries, great ice cream stores like “Helados Colon” (they are the residents favorite) and an emblematic monument; the Monument to the Homeland.
There are many things and places to visit, but this is not only for tourists but for residents too. Going for some drinks with live music on a Friday night, or joining the family for an ice cream on a Sunday afternoon while riding a bike through Paseo Montejo is part of life in this town.
The big “but”
There is one thing that might hit you really hard in this city and that has actually repelled many people; the weather. The Yucatan Peninsula has a really hot weather, rising up to over 40 degrees in April and May. If you find yourself on the beach you might enjoy the sunny days, but in the city where there is no ocean breeze to cool you off, it can go really hard on you. The sun shines as brightly as it could and the real deal is the humidity. It is amazingly humid so the high temperatures feel even higher and you might sweat a lot. On the good side, architects have found a brilliant way to decrease this problem; most houses and buildings are white so they don´t get as hot as they could, and they are built in specific directions so the wind will go from a window to the other and will ventilate the house.
They say you get used to it, but yes…that might take a while. But don´t worry, pools are in every house and the closest beach is 30 minutes away by car. You can take advantage of it and feel like in an endless summer vibe life!
One of the top travel destinations to visit in 2017 by Forbes
Forbes Magazine published a top 10 list of places you definitely should visit this year and Merida is one of them. Everyone is delighted with this city and the talent, culture, and history it has to offer. To live, to travel around, or even to do an exchange year (there are plenty of exchange students), this is the place to be. A place that truly shows the colors of this beautiful nation.