Skip Tulum and head over to Merida, Yucatan for culture, history, cuisine, shopping, climate, beaches…

Unless you are into overcrowded beaches, busy touristy areas, high over inflated prices then maybe stay in Tulum. Don’t get me wrong, I am not bashing Tulum. I do enjoy the rare, let me emphasize on rare, visit to Tulum, but when most rooms are now upwards of $400 plus USD per night…no thanks! I myself prefer real or more realistic Mexico, culture, history, architecture. That is why I am talking about Merida!

Merida the capital city of the Yucatan, Mexico. Where do I start!? For those of you who have not visited this beautiful & historic city you are missing out! To me, Merida is almost two cities in one, the downtown (centro) with it’s cobblestone streets, cathedrals, history and architecture. Then you have the north Merida, modern, rich, filled with all amenities you would need and more. Somewhat comparable to Toronto or any big city in the U.S. It is truly a different world between both parts, and that is what makes Merida so interesting & unique. There is so much to do and see downtown that most everyone that visits falls in love and never wants to leave. Some of the best things I have done is taking a horse & carriage ride through the downtown, bus tours, sit in Santa Lucia park and listen to the live music, enter the magnificent St. Ildephonsus Cathedral, eat a marquesita a traditional Yucatecan dessert (thanks to my lovely girlfriend) these are delicious! and take in all the excellent cuisine and Yucatan food! On weekends some of the downtown streets close early and open up to music and dancing! It is very romantic.


Horse & carriage ride

Santa Lucia is becoming SO hip, a renovated house in the area was recently featured in the New York Times in their Great Homes and Destinations section. Don’t forget to also visit the north end! Here you will find a new & modern city. Home to Costco, Sams Club, City Club, Starbucks, fine shopping malls, fine dining, cinemas, museums, brand new hotels, even a skating rink! Don’t forget to stop at IHop or Fuddruckers for a juicy burger! The north is the area which has seen the greatest commercial growth, and it is here where you will find the newer homes, shopping malls, hospitals, department stores, private schools, franchises from all over the world and car dealerships. Driving north on ProlongaciĆ³n de Montejo from the centro can induce culture shock to the uninitiated.


skating rink in the Plaza Galerias (north Merida)

skating rink in the Plaza Galerias (north Merida)


Access to Merida is quit easy & simple. Merida is home to a international airport with many direct flight options from popular hubs. Currently out of Canada WestJet is offering direct service to Merida out of Toronto once per week in high season. We anticipate WestJet will open a Calgary direct route within a year or so. Another option is a 2.45 hour drive from Cancun on a beautiful double lane highway. For new visitors to Merida I suggest staying a few nights in downtown centro and then head to the beach and find a rental. This way you can explore both worlds and have the best experience. There are many rentals on AirBnb and such. 

white sand beach in San Crisanto!

Merida is a warm city especially in the summer months, and this makes the downtown area HOT! That being said the Yucatan coast filled with beaches is only a 20 minutes drive north to cool off on those hot days. Sure it is not the Caribbean sea, but the beaches are still beautiful in the Yucatan Riviera and not crowded! We have found that the further east you drive from Progreso you will see more & more white sand beaches. Particularly in San Crisanto….interesting isn’t it as that is the home of our new ocean front condo project Caban Condos – San Crisanto. However I am not here to talk about that. I just wanted to let people know that this isn’t the Riviera Maya and we don’t have the high price tags as they do in the Riviera. The Yucatan Riviera is an up and coming real estate investment & development area. With many many ex-pats relocating here. Merida and the Yucatan coast continues to rank among the top for retirement & quality of life. There are many new big dollar projects going on now up the Yucatan coastline. There is no better time than now to invest your dollars here in Mexico. The beauty of the Yucatan Riviera is that it has not yet “peaked” from an investment side of things compared to the Riviera Maya. Where prices have peaked years ago and good returns were made. That is now possible here in the Yucatan Riviera and beach properties are still affordable. 

Anyways that is my take on Merida and the Yucatan coast. I hope you enjoyed reading and if you have any questions or comments I can be reached here:

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Parrish Kondra

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