Before I go on to more posts about Merida, I’m going to do a little one about Puerto Morelos. Since my plane got in after 8:00 p.m., I decided to make my first stop Puerto Morelos because it’s not that far from the Cancun airport…about a 20 minute drive. As I’ve said before, PoMo is a quiet little place…very peaceful and laid back. The downtown area is only one square block with a few places down some side streets. It’s definitely nothing close to Playa del Carmen or Isla Mujeres. But it has its group of fans. There are many Canadians and Europeans who spend weeks to months here because of its tranquility and solitude. Another good thing about PoMo is that it’s convenient to get to other places along the coastline. It’s about two miles from the main highway and a 20 peso taxi ride. The bus stops right at the highway, so it’s easy to go either direction. The locals live on the other side of the highway and the coast side is mainly owned by foreigners who either live there or rent out their residences.
This is Habaneros…the only bar in town. It gets pretty hopping at night and if you have a room at the Posada el Moro just down the street, be prepared to hear the music late into the night. (A little warning, though…watch out for their Margaritas.)
This crazy place is located right next to the Posada el Moro and they were working on it last year when I was there. Obviously, they’re still working on it. The desk clerk from the hotel told me they’ve been working on it for four years now…and it still doesn’t look anywhere near being finished.
PoMo is definitely worth a visit in my humble opinion. If you’re into adventure and fun, I wouldn’t recommend it, but if you’re looking for a place to kick back and relax with no agenda, PoMo will fit the bill.
I spent four days in Merida during Spring Break. The biggest city I’ve ever been to so far in Mexico is Valladolid which seems pretty small compared to Merida. According to Wikipedia, “Mérida has been nicknamed ‘The White City’, though the exact origin of this moniker is not clear. Some explanations include the common color of its old buildings painted and decorated with ‘cal’ (though anyone visiting modern Mérida can see that buildings are not all white nowadays) or the fact that the residents keep the city particularly clean. Mérida was named after the Spanish town of the same name, originally (in Latin) Augusta Emerita.”
It’s been awhile since I lived in a big city. I’ve lived in St. Louis, Minneapolis, Dallas, New Orleans, and Washington DC. But for the last 12 years, I’ve lived in the burbs or smaller towns. I had forgotten how impressive old architecture can be. Downtown Merida is extremely congested in that all the homes and businesses are connected in one continuous building along each block. The sidewalks and streets are narrow so you can feel very enclosed when you’re walking around. The traffic is VERY heavy in the downtown area and drivers are not pedestrian-friendly, so you have to be careful and attentive when stepping off a curb.
I took so many photos when I was in Merida, that I didn’t know where to start in posting them. The first thing that made an impression was the architecture. I live in a large town in Texas where the architecture is not that impressive, so when I started walking around in Merida, it was difficult not to be blown away by the details and massiveness. This was the first church I came upon…the Iglesia Tercera Orden…
And while I was very impressed with it, it didn’t come close to the Catedral de Merida. When you cross the street and see this, it’s just amazing.
This is the backside of the church from the block behind.
These were a couple of instrumentalists playing near the restaurant where I was eating. One thing I didn’t like about Merida is that instrumentalists would play without asking if you wanted to hear something…then pass around a hat for tips whether you wanted them to play or not.
I liked the many shop windows…Mexicanisimo…haha!
I love to go busing through Mexico. It is such an inexpensive way to travel, I can’t imagine not using this wonderful resource to explore. Most people sleep on the bus, but I look out the window to catch all the little bits of life in Mexico I can catch along the way.
Here’s the bus station in Playa del Carmen. All the bus stations are full of activity…people waiting around to go somewhere. The bus station in PDC is very clean and as organized as you can get in a Mexican bus station. Even though I don’t speak much Spanish, I’ve never had a problem buying a ticket to wherever I want to go…and I’m always amazed at how cheap the tickets are. And the buses are very comfortable…some with little TVs and bathrooms. There really is no excuse not to explore Mexico when you can take advantage of this wonderful resource.
I would say that most of the travelers are native Mexicans, but that probably also depends on the time of year. Many of the families have small children and I have yet to experience any problems with whiny or crying babies. All of the little ones I’ve seen on the buses have been very sweet.
Here’s the bus station in Valladolid. It looks okay from the picture, but I would suggest that you don’t use the restroom if at all possible if you make a stop here. Besides having to pay for your toilet paper, it is definitely not the cleanest situation you’re going to run into. Just a little info.
When I bus through Mexico, I love getting shots of just…well, Mexico. When you’re riding through these small towns, you really realize how these people are just living their everyday lives. We tourists come through and take random shots and consider it “artistic”…but these are real people…just like you and me…trying to make a living. I wonder how I’d feel if I was just sitting on a bench here in Texas and some Mexican tourist came up and took a picture of me to capture that perfect photograph. But then again, I think me sitting on a bench in ‘Somewhere USA’ would be pretty boring.
So I take these shots and can’t help but wonder what’s out there…over that hill…around that corner. I wish I could win the lottery, because I would like to get off the bus and see more.
Here was a cutie who let me take his picture after I bought a souvenir from his dad at Chichen Itza. It amazes me how quiet and sweet most of the children are in Mexico. I love their shy smiles.
There’s also many instances of seeing people just “hangin’ out” at various establishments along the way.