Merida

General Information

Mérida, the capital of Yucatán, was founded on the 6th of January, 1542. It has a population of approximately 900,000 inhabitants and growing. Including its suburbs Mérida’s population rises to 1,000,000 people. It is a city that provides the rare combination of modernity with a rich, well-preserved cultural and historic past. It was the first city ever to win the award of “American Capital of Culture.” Mérida’s cultural richness, without a doubt, is indebted to its Mayan heritage.

The official languages are Spanish and Maya. Approximately 40% of the population speak Maya and most of them are bilingual. Mérida is also known as “The White City” because, among other reasons, in the past most houses were painted in white.

Even though Mérida is a large city with all the social advantages that its size offers, it is still considered a quiet, relaxing and traditional place that is characterized by the kindness of its people.

Location

Mérida is the capital of the State of Yucatán. It has boundaries with two other states: Campeche to the west and Quintana Roo to the east. These three States are what are commonly called the Yucatán peninsula. Yucatán’s largest port is Progreso, a commercial and maritime center located 32 km north of Mérida. It is the most important port on the peninsula.

Weather

The weather in the Yucatán Peninsula is considered tropical. Temperatures vary a little but in general during the summer they can go up to 35-40º C (85-100º F) During the winter, temperatures go down and we can have days of 20º C (65º F) or lower. Being a tropical region, humidity is important to consider. The humidity percentage might vary but in general it goes from 70-90%. Winter is attractive to many foreigners since temperatures are low for locals but perfect for foreigners, the weather is still sunny and nice.

Cultural Life

Mérida celebrates an intense cultural life almost all year round and visitors are able to participate and experience daily activities. Every night, the historical downtown area hosts cultural events; for instance every Monday at 9pm the city government presents the Yucatecan typical dance “Jarana” right outside of the Municipal building. Every Sunday, Mérida’s historical downtown area closes its streets and opens them to pedestrians inviting them to musical activities, as well as its famous regional cuisine. To know more about these cultural activities, you can visit the Ministry of Culture of Yucatan (www.culturayucatan.com) or the City’s Culture Affairs Office (www.merida.gob.mx/capitalcultural/).

Mayan Culture

We are proud to be one of the states with the largest indigenous population in México. The Mayan presence in Yucatan and the Peninsula is evident everyday in our language and traditions. Our indigenous past mixed with Spanish influence have given as a result a unique culture.