Aeroméxico (tel. 800/237-6639 in the U.S., or 01-800/021-4000 in Mexico; www.aeromexico.com) flies nonstop to and from Miami and Mexico City and has expanded its connecting flights from other U.S. cities since Mexicana suspended operations. Continental (tel. 800/523-3273 in the U.S.; www.continental.com), in the process of merging with United, flies nonstop to and from Houston. American, Delta, and Alaska also serve Mérida through code shares, usually at higher fares. The Mexican discount carrier Volaris (tel. 866/988-3527 in the U.S.; www.volaris.com.mx) flies to Mérida through Mexico City, and offers connecting flights from Chicago, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and San Jose. Another Mexican budget line, VivaAerobus (tel. 01-81/8215-0150 in Mexico; www.vivaaerobus.com ), which flies to Mérida from Guadalajara, Mexico City, and Monterrey and has connecting flights from Houston and Las Vegas.
Hwy. 180 is the old carretera federal (federal highway) between Mérida and Cancún. The trip takes about 6 hours on a good road that passes through many Maya villages. A four-lane divided cuota, or autopista (toll road) parallels Hwy. 180 and begins at the town of Kantunil, 56km (35 miles) east of Mérida. For a toll of 368 pesos each way, you avoid the tiny villages and their not-so-tiny speed bumps. Coming from the direction of Cancún, Hwy. 180 feeds into Mérida's Calle 65, which passes 1 block south of the main square.
Coming from the south (Campeche or Uxmal), you enter the city on Avenida Itzáes. To get to the town center, turn right on Calle 59 (the first street after the zoo).
A periférico (loop road) circles Mérida, making it possible to skirt the city. Directional signs into the city are generally good, but lapping the city on the loop requires vigilance.
Mérida is the Yucatán's transportation hub. Of its five bus stations, two offer first-class buses and the other three provide local service to nearby destinations. The larger first-class station, CAME, is on Calle 70, between calles 69 and 71. The ADO bus line and its affiliates operate the station, which is also used by other long-distance lines. All the windows sell first-class tickets except for the last couple to the right, which sell tickets for ADO's deluxe services. ADO-GL is a small step up from first class, while UNO has superwide seats with lots of leg room. Unless it's a long trip, go for the bus with the most convenient departure time. Tickets can be purchased in advance; ask the agent for ticket options and departure times for the route you need.
To and from Cancún: You can pick up a bus almost every hour at the CAME; some lines also collect passengers at the Fiesta Americana Hotel on Calle 60 at Avenida Colón, across from the Hyatt; you can buy a ticket in the hotel's shopping arcade at the Ticket Bus agency (which also takes reservations at www.ticketbus.com.mx) or at the Elite ticket agency. Cancún is 4 hours away; a few buses stop in Valladolid. If you're downtown, you can purchase tickets from the agency in Pasaje Picheta, a mall next to the Palacio de Gobierno on the main square.
To and from Chichén Itzá: Three buses per day (2 1/2-hr. trip) depart from the CAME. Tour operators in Mérida hotels also offer day trips.
To and from Playa del Carmen, Tulum, and Chetumal: From the CAME, there are at least 10 departures per day for Playa del Carmen (5 hours away), six for Tulum (6 hours), and eight for Chetumal (7 hours).
To and from Campeche: The CAME station has about 40 departures per day. It's a 2 1/2-hour trip.
To and from Palenque and San Cristóbal de las Casas: There are three departures a day from the CAME to San Cristóbal and four to Palenque. Minor thefts have been reported on buses to Palenque, so don't take second-class buses; check your luggage so that it's stowed in the cargo bay; and put your carry-on in the overhead rack, not on the floor.
The main second-class terminal, TAME, is around the corner from the CAME on Calle 69, between calles 68 and 70.
To and from Uxmal: There are four buses per day from the second-class terminal. (You can also pick up a tour through most hotels or any travel agent or tour operator in town.)
To and from Progreso and Dzibilchaltún: Transportes AutoProgreso offers service to and from its downtown station at Calle 62 no. 524, between calles 65 and 67. The trip to Progreso takes an hour by second-class bus.
To and from Celestún: Buses depart every hour from the Noroeste second-class station on Calle 67 at Calle 50.
To and from Izamal: Frequent buses leave from the Autobuses del Centro station (second class) on Calle 46 between calles 65 and 67, as well as from the Noroeste.
To and from Río Lagartos: Second-class buses leave from the Noroeste terminal.
To and from Isla Holbox: An Oriente bus makes the trip from the TAME station at 11:30pm, arriving in Chiquilá (ferry terminal) at 5am; Noroeste departs in the morning and arrives late in the afternoon.
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.