Day trip from Merida - seeking recommendations

Old Aug 21st, 2016, 12:38 PM
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Day trip from Merida - seeking recommendations

My husband and I are taking a quick trip to Merida this coming week for a wedding and have about a day and a half to explore the surrounding area. Would love suggestions for spots we can't miss.

We will be traveling by bus to Merida from Cancun on Wednesday, have all Thursday to explore, and have part of Saturday to galavant before climbing back on the bus and flying home.
Uxmal ruins are on our travel menu, but other than that, we are flexible.

Please chime in if you can share great local, not touristy spots - for sightseeing, adventuring and eating/drinking!
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Old Aug 21st, 2016, 07:18 PM
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IMO, the Ruta Puuc (which includes Uxmal) is well worth seeing. If you have a car, consider spending a night near Uxmal at either the Flycatcher Inn or Pickled Onion, as it really takes more than a day trip to see the highlights of this route. IME, you can sometimes have some of the smaller Mayan sites along the Ruta Puuc to yourself, or share it with just a few others. If you won't have a car, I believe there are long day-trip tours from Merida that at least give you an opportunity to see some of the highlights.

Other options include Izamal and Celestun (but I think the majority of the flamingos are probably in Rio Lagartos at this time of year, and you would likely need to get there very early in the morning to be able to see those who are still there).

FWIW, I thought the Moon Guide to the area particularly good.
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Old Aug 22nd, 2016, 06:38 AM
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If you have time (depending on flight arrival) on the Wednesday, you could consider stopping to see Chichen Itza, Ek Balam, and/or Valladolid, on the way from Cancun to Merida.
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Old Aug 22nd, 2016, 07:48 AM
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There are several very cool old restored haciendas where sisal was grown and cultivated to make henequin rope many years ago outside of Merida. You can tour them and see the equipment and how the sisal was cultivated, plus the haciendas are fantastic, and at several of them you can have lunch on the verandas. Very indigenous to this area, very important part of the historical economy in Yucatan, and you wont see these in other parts of Mexico. (Many of the lovely huge colonial mansions that line the Paseo de Montejo in Merida were built by the sisal hacienda owners.)
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Old Aug 22nd, 2016, 11:40 AM
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We toured Sotuta de Peon, which is an old hacienda with a working henequen processing machine. You also get to take a ride through the henequen fields and talk with a man who used to work the fields when he was younger. And visit a cave cenote. Overall, it is a very good tour. It was one of the highlights of our 2 week visit to the Yucatan a few years ago: http://www.haciendaviva.com/tour/

The Ruta Puuc, as mentioned, is also really worth a visit. We spent a couple days in this area, so we had more time - stayed 3 nights at the Pickled Onion in Santa Elena. Uxmal is amazing - definitely wins for drama and size. The smaller sites were really great though - sometimes we were the only people around, which was quite an experience.

Of course Merida itself shouldn't be discounted. It is a beautiful city. There are quite a lot of things to see and do there if you are interested. The main square has a lot of interesting things - the cathedral is great, the governors mansion has some amazing murals, there are several museums, the Galvez market is amazing for its size and variety of merchandise sold, there are lots of restaurants with excellent food...
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Old Aug 22nd, 2016, 12:56 PM
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Very difficult to add anything here as the response is simply the best. I would suggest you say YES to all the above and Yes, Merida is in itself is a delightful stay over.
I might just add that if you need some beach time to go over to Progreso for the day, a 40 or so minute ride by bus.
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Old Aug 22nd, 2016, 02:02 PM
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I bet after reading all of this, that bnshiver is wishing they allocated more time for Merida
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Old Aug 22nd, 2016, 05:55 PM
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Some good advice here that I'll add to a bit. The Yucatan is very hot and humid at this time of year because of this I'd advise you to get out very early to check Uxmal and any other site you've decided on.
I'd then try to find a cenote, a hacienda with a pool or cenote or head back to Merida for a swim and a siesta. Night time activity is very big here in Merida. There are many museums, activities and great restaurants to check out.
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Old Aug 24th, 2016, 06:44 AM
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I've only been once - last summer - but I loved Merida. The city itself is very nice to explore (although it is very hot and humid and we had to duck into air conditioned museums and buildings frequently to escape the heat). We also went to Progreso, which is a nice little beachfront area. Also we visited Izamal, also very nice. And also Chichen Itza. Just depends what you are interested in. I'd suggest you google those places to see if they might interest you. We were visiting a friend so he showed us around. Not sure how easy it would be without a car (wasn't clear if you would be renting a car in Merida). Both Progreso and Izamal are easily done as day or half day trips.

(btw - the Merida-Cancun bus is very comfortable. Unfortunately, the scenery between the two places is pretty non-existent.)
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