New Year's Eve in Merida
Last December 31, the Working Gringos celebrated New Year's Eve in an almost empty lot, shooting fireworks into the sky. We bought firecrackers at a few stoplights in the days leading up to New Years Eve, and Working Gringo and Joseph, who now works for Eclectec & Yucatan Living, had also gone a few days before to a secret location and purchased larger, more impressive explosive devices. We weren't alone... it seemed that every other Meridano was doing something similar and the sky was lit up and loud for about an hour as 2006 turned into 2007. (For a complete rundown on New Year's Eve traditions in Merida, read last year's article here)
The general experience of New Years Eve this year isn't going to be much different, we're pretty sure. About an hour before the clock strikes midnight, the noise will start to build and it won't stop until an hour or two after midnight, when every firecracker that can be lit has been lit.
But for some of you (and maybe even for us this year), there are more desirable ways to spend this big night. To help you decide what you want to do, we've compiled a listing of the events going on around the city. This is not a complete list (what list is?) but it's as good as we could make it. If you know of another event going on that we should add to the list, don't hesitate to add it in a comment below.
Hyatt Regency Merida - Noche de Gala (Gala Night)
The Hyatt is providing an "imperial" buffet and champagne toasts for $750 pesos ($550 for children) including service and IVA. There will be live music from a group called Proyecto Digital (Digital Project). The fun starts at 10 PM and goes until 4 AM.
Location: Avenida Colon at Calle 60
Tel: 999-942-1207 or 1281 to buy tickets
Fiesta Americana - Majestic Night at the Grand Salon
$799 pesos (or $499 for children) will buy you access to an international buffet at the Fiesta Americana. The musical group Montana will entertain you and national-brand drinks are included. (National brand usually means beer and tequila). The festivities begin at 11 PM until morning.
Location: Avenida Colon at Calle 60
Holiday Inn - Flashback 54
Holiday Inn also has an international buffet. The price of a ticket there ($520 for adults, $320 for children up to 12 years old) also buys a champagne toast, grapes for the 12-grape tradition, souvenirs and cochinita at 3:00 AM (the best hour to eat it, we've been told...). Alcohol is not included but is for sale at the event. The music will be provided by the Aceves group and if the name is any indication, it's going to be quite a disco party. The party starts at 9 PM and ends after the cochinita.
Location: Avenida Colon between Calle 60 and Paseo de Montejo
Tel: 999-942-8804 (ask for Victor Lugo to make reservations)
Intercontinental Villa Mercedes - Medieval New Year
The Villa Mercedes is going to celebrate New Years Eve Medieval style. The ticket price of $890 pesos (including IVA and tips) includes an "exquisite Medieval dinner with the theme of Uvas y Manzanas (Grapes and Apples)" with cheeses, breads, and an international buffet prepared by a well-known chef from Spain, Walter Andres, which will include authentic Valencia paella. Grapes and apples are provided for the midnight festivities. There will be a TV with international programs showing New Years celebrations from around the world, music from a group called Blanco y Negro (Black and White) as well as party favors (hats, streamers, etc.) and an open bar. If you want to bring your own special bottle of wine or champagne, for this night there is no corkage fee. And as if that's not enough, they will also be providing cochinita in the early morning hours. The music starts at 10:30 PM.
Location: Avenida Colon between Calle 60 and 62
Hotel Aluxes - Fiebre de lunes por la noche (Monday Night Fever)
This hotel is going a little more traditional, with music provided by trios singing Yucatecan trova music, a live music band called Son Balada Club, as well as dance music from the 70's and 80's. The price of $720 pesos per person ($499 for children up to 11 years old) includes IVA and a 10% service charge. Those tickets will give you full access to their international buffet, an open bar and all the fun you can handle. You'll also get Sidra champagne (low-alcohol cider) for toasting, the 12 grapes, and soft drinks or national drinks included. If you want to just come for the music and dancing, tickets cost $320 pesos per person ($170 for children).
Location: Calle 60 at Calle 49
Hotel Villa Maria
A more sedate and elegant affair can be enjoyed at the Villa Maria, where $630 pesos will buy you a delicious New Years dinner (service not included). The dinner features delicacies like raviolis filled with pumpkin flowers in a white wine sauce or cold watermelon soup. For appetizers, diners can choose between Filete de Res (beef filet) en Salsa Porcini (in porcini mushroom sauce), Pato al Oporto (duck in a port wine sauce) or Salmon Pochado en salsa de Champagne (Poached salmon in champagne sauce). Dessert, grapes and a champagne toast are also included. Dinner reservations can be made for any hour before midnight, and guests can stay as long as they like.
Location: Calle 59 at Calle 68
Tel: 999-923-3357 or 923-7620 or 928-2738
Want to head out of town and avoid the noise? Buena suerte (good luck)! You might have a chance at quiet dining at Hacienda Xcanatun (but don't bet on it... quiet and NYE don't really go together in Mexico). A fixed price menu of $700 pesos + 15% service charge ($580 for children) will buy you a dinner with choices like Tuna Sashimi in Garlic-infused olive oil with fried garlic or Sopa de Mariscos (seafood soup) con Jitomate Rostizado (with roasted tomatoes) y Albahaca (basil), al Oporto (with port wine). There will be a dessert buffet, as well as a semisweet chocolate fountain, finished off with a champagne toast and the traditional 12 grapes. Reservations are available up until midnight only, but festivities will continue until 2 AM. Music will be provided by a group called Uno más Uno (One plus One).
Location: Off of the road to Progreso in the town of Xcanatun
Merida's hippest restaurant is doing something special for New Year's Eve as well. For $600 pesos ($350 for children, service not included), you can enjoy a delicious dinner that includes artichoke mousse, Lobster Thermidor crepes, or a New York steak. They will also provide a New Year's celebration kit (sounds like fun!) and the obligatory 12 grapes.
Location: Circuito Colonias, between Paseo de Montejo and Mega grocery store
Tel: 999-927-2320 for reservations (50% deposit required)
One of our favorite downtown restaurants will be hosting a special New Years Eve dinner too. $600 pesos plus service will buy delicious specials such as Cowboy Steak a la parilla (grilled) or Tuna steak with Yucatecan lime sauce. Toss in an extra $150 pesos and you can have a flame-broiled lobster tail with veloute (a light sauce) of shrimp and tequila. Price includes a New Year's celebration kit too!
Location: Calle 59 between Calle 60 and 62, Centro
Tel: 999-923-0942 (call after 6 PM)
Not the be outdone, the third of the three sister restaurants is also having a special menu for New Year's Eve. Their offerings include antipasto or salmon carpaccio appetizers, Prime Rib, Filete de Res and other choices for your entrée, and your choice of desserts too... all for only $475 pesos per person. And you get the New Year's celebration kit and the 12 grapes thrown in.
As you can see, there is something for every budget and taste. And we're sure we haven't covered them all.
And where will the Working Gringos be this New Year's Eve? That empty lot is almost a house now, but not enough of a house for a party. So we'll be out and about the city... maybe we'll see you there!
Feliz Año Nuevo 2008!