|Merida, Yucatan, Mexico
Playa del Carmen
|Merida, which is also known as the White City by many locals, is a great destination if you are interested in a city rich in history and culture. The city was officially formed in 1542 by Fransico de Montejo, which before the Spaniards arrive was a very large Mayan city which was destroyed. The main Cathedral, San Ildelfonso(seen in the photo above) is the oldest in the Americas and it's grandure is simple breathtaking. Directly across the Plaza is the Palacio Municipal (1735), Merida's Town Hall. On the south side is the Casa de Montejo, the former home of the conqueror of Yucatan. The Palacio de Gobierno (1892), on the north side, houses 27 murals by Fernanco Castro Pacheco illustrating the somewhat violent history of Yucatan.
Though Merida is bustling city of about 1,000,000 it retains its colonial charm and has a laid-back tempo as well as friendly residents that delights many visitors. It makes a good base from which to explore the Mayan archaeological sites of Chichen-Itza and Uxmal as well as many other Mayan ruins which are centrally located in the Yucatan. Swimmable crystal-clear cenotes (sinkholes) are some natural attractions that are easily accessible from Merida. Some of the cenotes are found in caves with centuries-old stalactite formations.
One of the best days to visit Merida is Sunday. Many people come to Zocalo(the park located in the center of town) to enjoy food, dancing, music and many other activities.
Because of its tranquility and cleanliness, Merida has become a popular place for families from other Mexican states. Many people have moved here from Mexico City, where crime, pollution and overcrowding are ever growing problems. Crime is not tolerated in Merida, and it has the distinction of the city with the lowest crime rate per capita in Mexico.