Area Code -- The telephone area code is 999.

Business Hours -- Generally, businesses are open Monday to Saturday from 10am to 2pm and 4 to 8pm.

Consulates -- The American Consulate is at Calle 60 no. 338-K between calles 29 and 31 (tel. 999/942-5700), 1 block north of the Hyatt hotel (Col. Alcalá Martín). Office hours are Monday to Friday from 9am to 1pm.

Currency Exchange -- I prefer casas de cambio (currency exchange offices) over banks. Mérida has plenty; one called Cambios Portales, Calle 61 no. 500 (tel. 999/923-8709), is on the north side of the main plaza in the middle of the block. It's open daily from 8:30am to 8:30pm. There are also many ATMs; one is on the south side of the same plaza.

Drugstore -- Farmacía Yza, Calle 63 no. 502-A, between calles 60 and 62 (tel. 999/924-9510), on the south side of the plaza, is open 24 hours.

Hospitals -- Mérida has several good hospitals, the best of which is Centro Médico de las Américas, Calle 54 no. 365 between 33-A and Avenida Pérez Ponce. The main phone number is tel. 999/926-2611; for emergencies, call tel. 999/927-3199. You can also call the Cruz Roja (Red Cross) at tel. 999/924-9813.

Internet Access -- You hardly have to walk more than a couple of blocks to find an Internet access provider; rates hover around 15 pesos per hour. Most hotels provide free Wi-Fi, and the city has installed free Wi-Fi in more than 50 city parks, including the Plaza Grande, Parque San Juan, Parque de las Américas, and Parque Zoológico del Centenario.

Police -- Mérida has a special body of English-speaking police to assist tourists. They patrol the downtown area and Paseo de Montejo, wearing white shirts with a POLICIA TURISTICA patch on the sleeve. Their phone number is tel. 999/942-0060.

Post Office -- The correo is near the market at the corner of calles 65 and 56, with its own entrance separate from the new city museum. It's open Monday to Friday from 8am to 7pm, Saturday from 9am to 1pm.

Seasons -- Mérida has two high seasons, but they aren't as pronounced as on the Caribbean coast. One is in July and August, when Mexicans take their vacations, and the other is between November 15 and Easter Sunday, when winter-weary Canadians and Americans flock to the Yucatán.

Weather -- From November to February, the weather can be pleasantly cool and windy. In other months, it's just plain hot, especially during the day. Rain can occur any time of year, especially during the rainy season (July-Oct), and usually comes in the form of afternoon tropical showers.

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.