Arriving by Plane
Mérida's airport is 13km (8 miles) from the city center on the southwestern outskirts of town, near the entrance to Hwy. 180. The airport has desks for rental cars, hotel reservations, and tourist information. Taxi tickets to town (150 pesos) are sold outside the airport doors, under the covered walkway.
The city tourism offices and state tourism offices have different resources; if you can't get the information you're looking for at one, go to the other. The city's visitor information office (tel. 999/942-0000, ext. 80119) is on the ground floor of the Ayuntamiento building, facing the main square on Calle 62. Look for a glass door under the arcade. Hours are Monday to Saturday from 8am to 8pm, and Sunday from 8am to 2pm. The staff offers a free walking tour of the area around the main square at 9:30am, Monday through Saturday. The state operates two downtown tourism offices: one in the Teatro Peón Contreras, facing Parque de la Madre (tel. 999/924-9290), and the other on the main plaza in the Palacio de Gobierno (tel. 999/930-3101, ext. 10001), immediately to the left as you enter. These offices are open daily from 8am to 9pm. It also has information booths at the airport and the CAME bus station.
Keep your eye out for the free monthly magazine Yucatán Today; it's packed with information about Mérida and the rest of the region.
Downtown Mérida's grid layout is typical of the Yucatán: Even-numbered streets run north and south; odd-numbered streets run east and west. The numbering begins on the north and the east sides of town, so if you're walking on an odd-numbered street and the even numbers of the cross-streets are increasing, you are heading west; likewise, if you are on an even-numbered street and the odd-numbered cross-streets are increasing, you are going south. Most downtown streets are one-way.
Mérida's main square is the busy Plaza Grande, bordered by calles 60, 61, 62, and 63. Calle 60, the centro's (downtown's) central artery, runs in front of the cathedral and connects the main square with several smaller plazas, some theaters and churches, and the University of Yucatán, just to the north. Handicraft shops, restaurants, and hotels are concentrated here. Around the plaza are the cathedral, the Palacio de Gobierno (state government building), the Ayuntamiento (town hall), and the Palacio Montejo. The plaza always has a crowd, and it overflows on Sundays, when surrounding streets are closed for an enormous street fair. The teeming market district is to the southeast.
Mérida's most fashionable district is the wide, tree-lined boulevard Paseo de Montejo and its surrounding neighborhood. The Paseo de Montejo parallels Calle 60 and begins 7 blocks north and a little east of the main square. Though it has trendy restaurants, modern hotels, bank and airline offices, and a few clubs, the boulevard is known mostly for its stately mansions built during the henequén boom times. Near Montejo's intersection with Avenida Colón, you'll find the Hyatt and the Fiesta Americana hotels.
Address numbers bear little relation to a building's physical location, so addresses almost always include cross-streets. In "Calle 60 no. 549 X 71 y 73," for example, the "X" is shorthand for the word por (meaning "by"), and y means "and." So this address is on Calle 60 between calles 71 and 73. This tidy system disappears outside of downtown, where street numbering gets erratic (to say the least). It's important to know the name of the colonia (neighborhood) where you're going. This is the first thing taxi drivers will ask you.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.