Mérida, the capital of the Yucatan state, is an old Spanish colonial city with a busy center and market area combined with quiet neighborhoods a short walk from the Plaza Grande. While short on top sights it’s a worthwhile stop to experience a working Mexican city with a pleasant atmosphere.
The city’s most important buildings wrap around Plaza Grande, a popular plaza with wide walkways shaded by large trees. On the west side of the plaza is the Catedral de Mérida, with Museo Fernando García Ponce, a contemporary art museum, next door; on the south side Museo Casa Montejo, a cultural museum housed in a 16th century home; and on the north side the Palacio de Gobierno (Govenor’s Palace).
Museo Fernando García Ponce (Contemporary Art)
Museo Fernando García Ponce, free admission, has changing exhibits of local artists.
Palacio de Gobierno
Inside the Palacio de Gobierno are a series of frescoes painted in the 1970s depicting important historical events.
Mercado Lucas de Gálvez
The area southeast of the Plaza Grande is jammed with shops and shoppers, all surrounding the Lucas de Gálvez market. Inside the large market hall are aisles of fruit and vegetable stands, small eateries and myriad dry goods –religious idols and shoes are popular. We saw one section of fish but no other meats.
Heading in the opposite direction, north of Plaza Grande the streets become much quieter. Some sections are lovely, painted in vivid to faded hues, other sections are more grungy.
Paseo de Montejo
Further north, on Paseo de Montejo, a wide boulevard, you’ll find a few large colonial houses, one of which currently houses the Regional Anthropology Museum, a small museum of Mayan culture and artefacts. Many of the displays focus on the Mayan writing system with detailed examples.
Skip C.A.C.A.O., the chocolate factory across the street from the museum. They claim to give you a tour of the factory and free samples. While they do have small samples their supposed factory was closed for renovations. Their chocolate is quite expensive at 180 pesos ($10USD) a bar.
December 12, 2019
For links to all the posts in this series see the Yucatan Peninsula page.