LIVING / A Visitor's Experience of Merida

A Visitor's Experience of Merida

A Visitor's Experience of Merida

22 January 2007 LIVING 26

We recently returned to the mountains of western North Carolina after spending a short but lovely week in beautiful Merida. THANK YOU people of Merida for providing us with such an enormous amount of pleasure. We so enjoyed the sights and sounds of your beautiful city.

Here is a small sample of our pleasure...

One day we were told to explore the area around the old train station that is being converted to an arts center, and to check out the up and coming neighborhood around it. After walking around for several blocks we heard the sound of mariachis in the distance.

We followed the music and soon came to a home with the front door open. We were lucky enough to be invited in to watch the celebration of a 91-year-old woman's birthday. The event was attended by about 25 people sitting around a small dining room and living room, singing, clapping and enjoying the mariachis, who were in full dress and obviously having a ball entertaining the crowd and guest of honor. She was sitting right in front of the band waving her hands, singing along and grinning from ear to ear.

We were told that she was blind, but everyone there could see just how much she was enjoying the party. We felt honored to be invited in to their home and to witness the celebration. To us we were strangers. To them we were guests. What a beautiful sight it was. This was one of the most memorable events of our lives.

Salsa dancing on the street to the Cuban band, La Changa de Oro, with about 1,000 other people was something we will never forget. To think that this is a normal occurrence is unbelievable. Or... riding our rented bicycles on the Paseo de Montejo on Sunday morning where the streets are closed off, giving families an opportunity to spend some time together getting exercise.

The people of Merida do something that we didn't think existed anywhere. They celebrate LIFE like we've never seen and they do it regularly... not for tourists, for themselves.

Muchas Gracias, Merida, for your wonderful hospitality. Great food. Incredible music. Most of all, thank you for your people who are the real reason we will be returning as often as possible and some day we too will call Merida home.

Emily and Sid Heilbraun
Asheville, NC


  • Mark 14 years ago

    My wife and I are planning to visit Merida because of your Site.
    However I would like to know what your thoughts are on this article on

    Please let me know,

    Mark & Michelle

    12 decapitated bodies found in Mexico

    * Story Highlights
    * The heads have not been found, a local official says
    * Report: Headless corpses stacked on top of one another in a field
    * The tactic has become more frequent in gangland-style killings

    (CNN) -- Nine of the 12 men whose decapitated bodies were found
    Thursday in the state of Yucatan have criminal records, Jose Alonso
    Guzman, attorney for the state, said Friday.

    Yucatan's governor, Ivonne Ortega Pacheco, said the killings appeared
    to be the result of disputes between drug cartels.

    Police were alerted to the bodies -- 11 in Chichi Suarez and one in
    Buctzotz -- late Thursday afternoon by an anonymous caller, Guzman

    The heads have not been found, said Yetel Castillo of the department
    of communication for Yucatan.

    According to The Associated Press, photos of the crime scene showed
    headless corpses stacked on top of one another in a field outside the
    city of Merida. Some of the bodies had tattoos and were jumbled amid
    blankets and tarps.

    It appeared to be the largest single group of beheadings in recent
    years in Mexico, AP said.

    The tactic has become more frequent in gangland-style killings, and
    the largest previous instance of decapitations occurred in 2006, when
    gunmen tossed five human heads into a bar in central Mexico, the
    agency added.

  • Tim Perry 15 years ago

    Dear Emily and Sid being form NC. You expierienced two of the richest things money can never buy...The sweet sounds of lifes celebration to the pure smiles and gentleness of the People of the Yucatan, most haven't been spoiled or tarnished like We have become used to in the US. I was born in 1953 and want to step back in time when People were friendly and talked to one another, did't feel threatened about competeing to get ahead etc.etc. Every time We have gone to the Yucatan alot of My American counterparts wonder why WE don't go to PV,Cabo, other big resorts towns. It's to get away from other gringos who go for the hot weather and don't appreciate the true Myan Spirit. I can only hope Our time comes soon as We have 7-8 years left to retire to Mexico, I always bring back memorable items pictures, paintings maps ,hand paitedtiles etc to furnish 2 of Our rooms are all Mexican I love to sit relax and play all My Music I have also collected, I am 3000 miles away in Maine,but when I get in My zone My Heart and MY Soul are right THERE... We go to Murphy NC> as MY cousin moved there 4-years ago from Fla. as They couldn't take the government, politics,or People of Fla. WE motorcycle down to and all thru Smokey Mts. Blue Ridge Beautiful Country and like You the People have always been kind and friendly Take care and stay in touch with Yucatan Living Great People Viva MExico....Tim PERRY

  • Geoff FitzGibbon 15 years ago

    Reading about Merida and the experiences of those who have been there is a delight: how overwhelmingly positive the reports are, and the enthusiasm that comes through warms this heart in cold Toronto (-18C or -0.4F this morning). I am seriously considering retirement in Merida, possibly keeping busy as well by teaching ESL part-time if I could swing it or working as general contractor/project manager for the (absentee) owners of properties being renovated - to ensure their home projects proceed well; I ran my own renovation/restoration firm in Toronto for some years and would enjoy the practise. Although it would be a couple of years away before the big move, I am starting my research now and will visit Merida in June to assess my options. Needless to say I have learned a great deal from everyone's posts and will continue to monitor the board. Can I ask an additional favour? If anyone has any comments or suggestions for me about carrying out my research, as well as who would be good contacts in town to meet with in June that could help me with any aspect of living and perhaps working in Merida, then I would truly appreciate your input. Thank you very much for any advice, to which I promise to respond. Geoff

  • Working Gringos 15 years ago

    There are a number of wonderful vacation rentals available. On the right side of this page, at the top, click on "Vacation Rentals" and you can see photos and descriptions of many different kinds of homes.

    Or just go here:

  • Grace 15 years ago

    I am so excited to hear all the stories about Merida. We are planning a trip for November. We would love to rent a house in Merida since it will be 4 adults and 2 children (one infant and one 3.5 year old). It will make my life easier and more comfortable for all. Any recommendations will be much appreciated. I would love to stay in a old colonial house to get the full experience of Merida.

  • M and L 15 years ago

    We, too, loved our visit to Merida last May and are planning a return trip in April. This time we plan to rent a house along one of the beaches, but close enough to Merida for day trips. Can anyone recommend a location or house?

  • alex espinosa 16 years ago

    Hello people, I am spanish and I have been told that Merida is a nice place to live, of course if I go with many to invest , I have never been there and I am finding out about it. Can some of you give me some tips about it? like safety, education , food, goverment, huracans?, etc, as much as Ican hear the best to take a decision. what about business? Are there shopping centers?. Please write to me. My name is Alex:

  • Joseph 16 years ago

    Ohhhh Cochinita Pibil *drool*...

    The best you can eat is at the "Mercado Municipal" downtown at 4am (yes, 4 in the morning), and at that time it is PACKED with people going for breakfast (or dinner?) who just came out of one of the local Night Clubs.

    YucaGringo is right, the fish looks back at you like saying "I dare you to eat my fin".

  • YucaGringo 16 years ago

    I am also from NC. I worked in Merida for a little over a year. The people there are very nice and courteous. Merida is as safe as any small town in the US. The three most popular souvenirs from the area are panama hats, hammocks and the guayaberas. If you are looking for one of these, shop first at the mall in Fiesta Americana. The Co-Op's downtown are usually overpriced, even after negotiations. My favorite Yucatecan food is conchinita pibil. Don't visit Merida without trying it. If you venture to Progresso, try the pescado frito. It is fried whole fish. At first glance, I will have to say, it’s a little “intimidating looking” with the head and eyes. It’s a lot better than it looks. If you have the opportunity, visit some of the Mayan ruins. If you’re only going to one site, I recommend Chichen Itza. I plan to visit Merida, as often as possible. It’s like my “home away from home”.

  • Gary and Nancy Draper 16 years ago

    Sid and Emily,

    We too just returned from a short (5 day) visit to Merida and are longing to go back. Your description is just as we experienced, wonderful people who really know how to enjoy family and life, superb food, and perfect weather. Now what more could one ask? Hopefully we too will call the Yucatan our home away from home.

    Thanks for sharing your experience, wonderfully spoken.

  • Belinda Swanson 16 years ago

    Dear Sid & Emily,
    I was so happy to see your article in Yucatan Living!
    Cal and I met you outside of Casa Mexilio the day before your departure. We lived in Raleigh NC, for 7 years and have now been in St. Louis for 3 years working.
    I miss Merida so much and we are really thinking about moving there. Our real estate agent, Jim Mann, found a us wonderful house. Now it is up to us to decide what we really want out of life.

    After we met you, we went to Progreso to stay with our good friend from DC, who just bought a beach house. We will definitely visit again sometime this year.

    Perhaps we will all meet up again. I look forward to it

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