Day 2: Mexico City to Merida
Today we left the busy and crowded Mexico City for the more laid back and smaller city of Merida. Some how we managed to fit everyone from our tour group onto the plane without any mishaps – there was not even one lost piece of luggage! If that isn’t a miracle, I don’t know what is! It was only a short flight away, but upon exiting the plane I could already tell that Merida was a very different place to Mexico City. In fact, it was rather a nice change to settle down in a more quiet and relaxed town.
As we drove through the streets of Merida towards our hotel, the large colonial buildings and colourful houses reflected to me what I had always pictured Mexico to be like. We made our way through the flat, white stoned city and into the Central Downtown area, the oldest part of the city, where we would be staying the night. Our group loaded out of the bus and into Hotel Caribe, an old colonial hotel from the 1700s. Unfortunately for Kristal and I, we were in one of the rooms that wasn’t quite ready yet, so we had a bit of a wait. But we didn’t let that time go to waste, and we set off across the square to a restaurant recommended by our tour manager, Los Trompos. We each demolished a plate of Alambre al Pastor – pastor meat with red sweet pepper, onion and bacon served with soft taco shells. Along with the speciality Horchata, a sweet and creamy water blend of rice and cinnamon.
We spent the rest of the afternoon looking through the handicraft markets in the main plaza, wandering through the cathedral and the surrounding streets before getting caught in the rain and rushing back to our hotel. We were lucky that our room was ready when we arrived back because we were completely drenched and needed to freshen up before we headed out with the Contiki group for the evening.
After a quick change of clothes and the sudden disappearance of the pelting rain, the group headed out for a walking tour lead by our tour manager about the history of Merida and Mexico around the colonial buildings and artwork. It was surprisingly hot, considering that only half an hour ago it was bucketing down with rain. Next up, we enjoyed a horse and carriage ride through the streets of Merida.
Our horse and carriage ride finished up at a little Mexican restaurant La Casa de Frida. Here we enjoyed one of our favourite meals of the tour – a delicious buffet meal consisting of lime, chicken and tortilla soup, chocolate chilli pork, buttered vegetables and chicken, topped off with some coconut ice cream. We returned back to the hotel and sat by the pool for a quiet night in.
Read my Yucatan Highlights Contiki Journal from Day 1.