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Mérida has more than 50 tour operators, and it could be said that they generally take you to the same places. Since there are so many reputable and reasonably priced operators, there's no reason to opt for the less-predictable piratas ("pirates") who sometimes stand outside tour offices offering to sell you a cheaper trip and don't necessarily have much experience or your best interests at heart. If you enjoy walking, the Mérida English Library conducts home and garden tours (2½ hours costs $20) every Wednesday morning. Meet at the library at about 9:45 am. More information is available on the Mérida English Library website at www.meridaenglishlibrary.com.
Amigo Travel is a reliable operator offering group and private tours to the major archaeological sites and also to Celestún, the town known for the massive flamingo colonies living in its river. Amigo has transfer-accommodation packages and well-crafted tours, like their Campeche and Yucatán combo, and have adopted a pace that allows you to actually enjoy the sites you visit.
If you don't have your own wheels, but like the freedom afforded by traveling on your own, a great option for seeing the ruins of the Ruta Puuc is the unguided ATS tour that leaves Mérida at 8 am from the second-class bus station (Terminal 69, ATS line) on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday only. The tour stops for a half hour each at the ruins of Labná, Xlapak, Sayil, and Kabah, giving you just enough time to scan the plaques, poke your nose into a crevice or two, and pose before a pyramid for your holiday card picture. You get almost two hours at Uxmal before heading back to Mérida at 2:30 pm. The trip costs $10 per person (entrance to the ruins isn't included) and is worth every penny.
EcoTurismo Yucatán has a good mix of day and overnight tours. Their Calakmul tour includes several nights camping in the biosphere reserve for nature spotting, as well as visits to Calakmul, Chicanná, and other area ruins. The one-day biking adventure packs in biking as well as brief visits to two archaeological sites, a cave, and two cenotes.
Amigo Travel (Av. Colón 508C, Col. García Ginerés, Mérida, Yucatán, 97070. 999/920–0104 or 999/920–0103. www.amigoyucatan.com.)
ATS (Calle 69 No. 544, between Calles 68 and 70, Centro, Mérida, Yucatán, 97000. 999/923–2287.)
EcoTurismo Yucatán (Calle 3 No. 235, between Calles 32A and 34, Col. Pensiones, Mérida, Yucatán, 97219. 999/920–2772. www.ecoyuc.com.)
Merida English Library (Calle 53 No. 524, between Calles 66 and 68, Merida, Yucatan. 999/924-8401. www.meridaenglishlibrary.com.)
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