We started off the day pan de muerto for breakfast. I still cannot stop eating this bread!
We walked around the streets of Centro. Merida is not to be missed if you are visiting the Riviera Maya. Two days in the city is mandatory. If you have longer, there are plenty of day trips to take. For example: Chichen Itza, Progresso for seafood, or see the flamingos.
For lunch, we went to La Pigua. It’s a seafood restaurant that’s worth every peso. We ordered a ceviche salad that was probably the best ceviche I’ve ever had. I also had hogfish as my main plate. I had never heard of this fish, but it tasted so good (not too fishy). A slice of lemon pie was the perfect desert.
After dinner, we took the TuriBus around the city. I’m a big advocate of these excursion buses. I usually ride these early on during my trips to get a feel for a city. The Turibus was only an hour long, but I saw parts of the city I would not have seen otherwise. The highlight was driving down Paseo de Monteja. It’s a wealthy street with beautiful mansions, shops and restaurants.
We came to Merida for a wedding and decided to stay 3 extra days to see the city. While the rest of Sr. Elizondo’s family stayed in newer hotels, we opted to stay in the centro. It was the right decision. The Gran Merida Hotel is a hacienda dating back to 1901 with traditionally styled rooms. I felt transported.
It is located in a lively area. Musicians, restaurants, people surround the hotel. Noise could be an issue for some people. For me, it just added to the experience.
After settling into our hotel, we made our way to La Chaya Maya. Super bien.
Next up, we visited a couple of churches.
Including the Cathedral of Merida. It’s one of the oldest cathedrals in North America dating back to the mid 1500’s.
Plaza Grande is the main hub of the centro. It’s a gathering place for locals and tourists, food carts, and vendors. It’s also surrounded by historic buildings, most of which are free to walk through.
In the evening, we ate trompo at La Parilla. Sr. Elizondo thought it was good. I thought it was just okay.
One of my favorite things about living in Mexico is the different options of buying food in my neighborhood. We have the normal chain grocery stores and restaurants nearby too, but I’m talking about those times when you don’t feel like getting out of your sweats or even the house, or maybe when you need that one item to make a recipe. For those times, you can’t beat neighborhood shopping. Most of mine is done at the bottom of the hill where I live just a short drive away. I guess I could walk, but returning UP the hill would require some athletic training on my part.
First off, is the “Little Store” at the bottom of the hill where I live. This is where I can buy fruits/veggies, queso, tostadas, leche, etc. The basics can be found here.
But before I head to the “Little Store” for my fruits/veggies, I check out the “Little, Little Store” first. This is actually a store set up in a home driveway. They sell strictly fresh fruits/veggies/herbs that are delivered daily so they are usually fresher than the other. On the weekends, they also sell fresh juices.
Also at the bottom of the hill are a couple of food tents. These are restaurants that are permanent, but don’t have buildings. They set up a large tent with plastic chairs and tables.
Barbacoa tacos are really popular for Sunday mornings here in Monterrey. If you’re not familiar, barbacoa is cow tongue. It’s cooked until it’s the texture of a slightly greasy shredded beef. It’s delicious. We are lucky enough to have a barbacoa cart that sets up every Sunday in our neighborhood.
Then there are the individuals who park their cars/trucks or simply park themselves on the side of the road and sell their goods. Ive bought coconut water from a truck, watching them machete and drain the water to give to me. I’ve bought tamales cooked in banana leaves out of a stranger’s car trunk. I’ve bought baskets and brooms from Indians, as well as empanadas and seeds from young people.
In my neighborhood I see all different kinds of people selling food and goods to make money. I’m happy to buy from them whenever I can. It’s part of the daily life in Mexico. The convenience doesn’t hurt either.