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Merida--Compare to Granada, Antigua or Cusco, & how much time for Merida?

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Nov 13th, 2009, 06:30 AM
  #1
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Merida--Compare to Granada, Antigua or Cusco, & how much time for Merida?

After doing a lot of vacillating on where to spend our vacation, we've decided on 2 weeks in the Yucatan with close to half of it in the boonies of Xcalak so my husband can fly fish. I'm trying to get a feel for Merida itself (without possible day trips) and how long we'll want to stay there. I know most people really like it a lot, and I'd like to get a handle on how long I think we need to plan for our stay there. Other Cental or South American cities we've been to are Granada, Antigua, and Cusco. I know about how much time I felt was adequate for us in each of those places for us before we were ready to move on. Can any of you give me any comparisons between Merida and any of those places as far as general ambience, things to do, size etc.? The only other city in the Yucatan we've been to was Valladolid, and that for us was worth an hour or so stroll and a lunch in a nice hotel. Thanks.
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Nov 13th, 2009, 06:46 AM
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I can't compare the city directly with the Central or South American cities, but it is larger and offers more than Valladolid. Merida has a compact colonial center, some interesting markets, a nice zocalo, and a good archaeological museum. What I loved about it though, was the weekend, when the city shuts the downtown streets to traffic, bandstands go up, vendors appear and the entire area becomes a fair. You'll hear music of all sorts, and there's dancing in the streets. After dinner take a sidewalk seat, order a drink, and watch the show. There's music everywhere in Mexico, but I found this especially engaging.

So, I'd budget about two days, and recommend the weekend.

You'll probably want another two days to explore the nearby ruins of Uxmal and the Puuc cities, some of the most elaborate Mayan architecture in Mexico. You might also want to see Ek Balam, if you missed it during your last stop in Valladolid.
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Nov 13th, 2009, 10:49 AM
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kja
 
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I agree with Fra_Diavolo - about 2 days days in Merida (maybe a tad less); definitely try to include in that time a Saturday evening and Sunday day. I also agree that seeing Uxmal and the Ruta Puuc takes about 2 days (and is well worth it). I haven't been to Granada, Antigua, or Cusco, so I can't compare them. I spent about 1/2 day exploring Valladolid, plus time at Ek' Balam and the cenotes of Dzitnup. As Fra_Diavolo said, Merida is larger. Hope that helps!
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Nov 13th, 2009, 04:58 PM
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Please post a trip report!! My husband is an avid flyfisherman and we're heading to the Yucatan in June.
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Nov 14th, 2009, 08:39 AM
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We are not huge ruins fans unless they are truly spectacular and/or are in a beautiful setting, so we may just hit one set on this trip. Last time around we visited Ek' Balam and stayed at an intriguing small eco-hotel in an adjacent Mayan pueblo. We are fortunate that out timing works out so we'll have the weekend in Merida.

kja & fra--is it best to visit the Puuc cities and Uxmal as day trips from Merida? And, I assume if we have a 2:30 flight back to the US we'd be fine spending the previous night in Merida before driving back to the Cancun airport.

Stacy--5 years ago we spent 4 or 5 days in Xcalak, and my husband had a great time fishing (I did a lot of reading). He went out with a guide one day and the rest of the time waded the flats or used a kayak in the lagoon to fish. He says it is time for a fishing vacation for him rather than the typical sightseeing we've been primarily doing, so we are returning to the same place we stayed in Xcalak before. Then it was called Villa Guacamaya; now it has changed owners and is Casa Suenos.
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Nov 14th, 2009, 11:14 AM
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Uxmal is about 1 1/2 hours south of Merida, so I wouldn't make two day trips. There are two Mayaland lodges nearby and I believe another competitor. It is possible to see both Uxmal and the Puuc cities (which are compact) on a long day trip -- in fact I believe there is a bus tour leaving from Merida which does just that. I would also recommend visiting the Loltun cave when you drive the Puuc route.
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Nov 14th, 2009, 04:49 PM
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Hey, thanks - we'll look into that. Was your husband able to find his way around without a guide? Sounds like it, which is what my husband prefers. The hunt is 1/2 the fun for him and having a guide takes away some of the fun. If he has any tips, we'd sure appreciate them!

This is entirely from research but you could consider San Felipe on the north coast for a couple of nights. We're planning to stay there this summer so my husband can get into some tarpon and there's a flamingo reserve nearby. Here's a website to check out: http://www.pescamexicana.com/san-felipe-mexico.htm . It's called Tarpon Caye Lodge on the fishing sites but Hotel San Felipe in the guidebooks and on tripadvisor.com .
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Nov 16th, 2009, 10:24 AM
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kja
 
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As Fra_Diavolo said, the Ruta Puuc is probably better seen as one 2-day trip, rather than 2 day trips from Merida. I really enjoyed staying at the Flycatcher Inn in Santa Elena - lovely place, great breakfast, interesting nature walk on the grounds, helpful hostess and staff:

http://www.flycatcherinn.com/
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