During my trip to Merida, Mexico, I was amazed at how many different places/things you could go to for such low costs. Merida is located close to the coast on the Yucatan Peninsula, which gives easy access to the beach, and is also close to many historic Mayan sites and even has a lot of history in the city itself. While I was down there, the dollar to peso conversion rate was about 1 dollar = 17.5 pesos. Many things in the Centro area of Merida are even free, the only cost is the bus ride there which is 14 pesos round trip, crazy right? The list below of things to do around Merida is in the order (for the most part) that I experienced them in as well.
1. Centro, Merida – Centro is home to many shops, tours, and historical buildings. The main area of Centro is commonly referred to as Park Plaza, which is a block that has a park that is enclosed by the Merida Cathedral, the Palace of Government, Plaza de la Independencia, and the House of Montejo. There are also different shows on the roads along the park every night of the week, and there is an outdoor handcraft market every Sunday morning at the park. The Sunday I was in Merida, a girl I was rooming with named Ellie and I took the bus down to Centro and walked around the market to check it out before we were to meet up with 2 other girls from the volunteer house to go to the beach.
2. Progresso is about a 20 minute drive from Merida, or a 40 minute bus ride from Centro. Ellie and I met up with 2 other girls from the volunteer house and walked over to the bus terminal for Progresso. Round trip tickets to Progresso were only 35 pesos – so 2 dollars. There’s no way I could even get a bus ride that cheap in Massachusetts or get to a beach for that cheap either. Between the round trip bus ride and the 14 pesos it would cost to get to and from Centro from the volunteer house, we were each able to get to the beach for less than $3.
3. Jet Skiing at Progresso – Ellie, Rebecca, Lizzie and I saw that we could jet ski along the beach and all wanted to know how much it would cost. Lizzie eventually flagged someone down that was renting the jet ski’s out and asked how much it was. He said for 1 hour it would be 900 pesos or 500 for a half hour. The four of us decided to buy an hour and have 2 of us go for 30 minutes and then the other 2 go for 30 minutes. After splitting it, each of us paid 225 pesos – s0 $13 dollars.
4. Chichen Itza – This is one of the seven new wonders of the world, and can definitely be done cheaper than the way I went about going, but I didn’t really have a choice of how I was going to get there. Through the volunteer program, they are partnered with a local tour group agency that volunteers can sign up through to go and see a lot of the nearby attractions to Merida. The cost of my tour was 525 pesos, which included fare to get to the building the tour company was out of, a tour guide, and lunch. It did not included the cost to get into Chichen Itza, which was 224 pesos. So in total I paid about $43 to go to Chichen Itza – which honestly still isn’t that bad. If I had just taken a bus there on my own, I could have easily docked 300 pesos from what I did pay.
5. Ik Kil Cenote – The Yucatan doesn’t have any rivers, instead it has fresh water sinkholes called cenotes. One of the most popular and famous cenotes is located right down the road from Chichen Itza named Ik Kil. Ik Kil cost 70 pesos to enter, so $4, and was definitely worth it. It is a bit over-rated, and is very commercialized compared to other cenotes you can go to either for cheaper or free with less crowds, but it was still very pretty regardless.