Merida is hot, noisy, crowded and exciting — and a city conducive to tramping. There are great markets, namely the enormous and labyrinthine Mercado Lucas de Galvez. You can get lost in here all day and come out with the ingredients for an enormous family-sized meal and not have spent more than $5 dollars. There are plentiful street food options around the central zocalo and other plazas. If you’re in town on the weekends, it’s smart to follow the music and you’ll likely find some sort of local festival happening, with artisans and food stands to keep you occupied. On Sundays, the main Zocalo is lined with artisan and food vendors. Also during the month of January, Merida Fest transforms the main Zocalo as well, with four stages and nightly music. There is always something going on.
Also here, there are several sleeping options, almost all offering at least a modest breakfast and kitchen facilities. And the owners of the hostels here are the nicest and most welcoming that we’ve encountered in our travels. Making a reservation here is a good idea during high season, but if you show up and rooms aren’t available, it’s easy and common to get a recommendation for another hostel.
The heat and the noise can be a bit oppressive but if you like city vibes, Merida is one of the few places in the Yucatan where you get a real taste of local urban culture – the good and the seedy.