Merida, located in the southeast region of Mexico, is the capital of the state of Yucatan. Far less known than Cancun and Playa del Carmen, which are only a 3 hour drive from Merida, but in the last decade Merida has grown significantly and with a strong purpose of middle to high end residencial projects at a much more affordable price compared to Cancun and Playa Del Carmen.
I am an expat and have been living here for 12 years now. One of the many great things I enjoy about living in Merida is to be able to enjoy a variety of activities within short distances from the city. We have a beautiful coast here, the Mexican Gulf. Merida is only 20 minutes from the beach, and there are a variety of beaches for all types of beach days. You can go to Progreso, where there are bars and restaurants right on the water, or to Telchac and enjoy a private and relaxing beach day. You can visit Celestun to see the sea birds and the famous flamingos and enjoy a great meal on the water.
Other activities that I enjoy is visiting the Mayan Archeological sites. The more famous ones include Chichen Itzá, about an hour drive from Merida, or Uxmal, about 45 minutes outside of Merida. There are smaller sites like Dzibilchaltun, only 10 mminutes from Merida. I recommend going early to the Mayan Archeological sites to avoid the strong sun of the afternoons.
Visit the Cenotes, which are amazing fresh water sink holes to swim in. There are thousands in the Yucatan, and it is an amazing way to spend a hot sunny day to cool off. Some of my favorites include the cenotes in Cuzama, the cenote and Hacienda in Mucuyche, and Cenote Kankirixche in the town of Abala. All of these are less than 45 minutes from Merida.
Another great activity is to visit the small towns outside of Merida. Visit Sisal, for example, which is a small coastal town recently nominated as a Pueblo Magico (or Magic Town). Sisal is an amazing coastal town that offers relaxation, good food and ecotourism and is only 40 minutes outside of Merida. Another small town and Pueblo Magico is Izamal, known as the Yellow City because the whole town is painted Yellow. There, you can take a horse and carriage ride through the town, visit the Convento de San Antonio de Padua built in 1561, or enjoy the local delicious cuisine.
As an expat who has lived in Merida for 12 years and have been working in real estate for the past 10 years, I can tell you now is the time to move here. There is amazing economical and real estate growth and prices, although up a lot for the past 10 years, are still affordable and furthermore: the city has been nominated the safest in all of Latin America. Plan a trip and see for yourself why Merida and why now!
By Gregory Hockinson
Co-Founder of Balam Group