Mérida: That Ideal Mexican Destination—Romantic, Historic, Sumptuous, and Rustic—Really Does Exist
If you’ve kept up with the 2017 Pasha Travel Guide, we’ve given you a glimpse into the bamboo groves of Kyoto, the beaches of Perth, the rainforests of Lombok, the slopes of Vail, and so much more (not to mention, the allergies that come along with those destinations). To close the Pasha Travel Guide out, we thought it would only be fitting to choose a destination with relatively few allergens to worry about. We’re taking you south of the border to Mérida, Mexico, a destination chock full of ancient pyramids, tastebud-pleasing street food, and eye-opening museums. When most people think of a vacation to Mexico, they might picture beautiful (yet crowded) beaches and saturated tourist-trap shopping centers. Mérida is one of Mexico’s best-kept secrets—and there’s no wonder why. It’s full of charm, tradition, and authentic Mexican and Yucatecan culture.
Mérida is the capital of the Mexican state of Yucatán. Pack your sunglasses and your summer clothes, this city claims a tropical climate with temperatures ranging from 63 to 92 degrees fahrenheit year round. The Pasha Travel Guide has featured a few doozies when it comes to allergens, but luckily for you, Mérida was awarded a 1 out of 10 on the Pasha Allergy Scale. With such a great rating, you’ll be able to kick back and enjoy your vacation to the Yucatàn Peninsula without too much worry about sniffling, sneezing distractions.
Smog—Mérida’s Allergen and What to Do About It
Your biggest allergy aggravator in Mérida may be the smog. While not excessive, the city’s air pollution falls at a moderate 50.00 on the pollution index. If this number is higher or lower than what you’re used to, you may notice a difference between your smog allergy symptoms here versus at home. For reference, Mérida’s rating is slightly lower than Houston’s. Bring a face mask for days that the air quality is especially bad, and if you plan to spend time outside, schedule most of your outdoor activities in the morning when the levels are typically lower.
Also, please note that the water pollution levels are high in Mérida (66.67), so be sure to only drink bottled or filtered water while you’re visiting.
While typical seasonal allergens may exist in this corner of the world, their harassing ways shouldn’t stand a chance against your normal allergy routine. Bring along your go-to allergy medications just in case you get the urge to sneeze while you’re exploring Mérida. If you’re really worried about the allergens you might encounter, schedule an appointment with your doctor to talk about ways you can prevent allergy symptoms from cropping up.
Now That Your Allergies Are Under Control, Let’s Have Some Fun
The Museo de Arte Popular de Yucatán boasts impressive art pieces from embroidery to pottery to woodwork. The museum is located in a grand residence from the early 20th century, and features a permanent exhibit upstairs and a rotating exhibit downstairs. Keep your eyes out for the whimsical jaguar statues situated in the bathrooms!
The Catedral de San Ildefonso is an intricate cathedral made in part with the stone from a former Mayan temple. It’s the oldest mainland church built in the Americas. Here, you’ll see the Cristo de la Unidad (which is a symbol of reconciliation between those of Spanish and Mayan heritages) and the Cristo de las Ampollas (Mérida’s most famous religious artifact).
The Parque Santa Lucía is one of the most popular parks in Mérida, and for good reason. It’s a bit of an urban park where you can enjoy the Serenata Yucateca, which is a show featuring live music and the traditional “Jarana” dance. It’s hosted weekly on Thursdays at 9 pm. The best part? The show is free. While you’re there, grab a bite to eat at one of the area’s many restaurants.
Speaking of restaurants, you can’t visit Mérida without trying a bit of authentic Yucatecan food—although, once you try it, you’re going to want much more than just a bit of this delicious cuisine. While you’re out and about, stop at a street stand to try a marquesita, a popular Yucatecan snack. Some tasty traditional Yucatán dishes to keep your eyes out for include cochinita pibil, pavo en relleno negro, pao end sac-col indio, and paco en pipián. When you get hungry for lunch, Wayan’e is a popular street food restaurant among tourists and locals alike. But hurry—the cozy establishment closes when the food runs out (usually around 2 pm).
The Museo Regional de Antropología is housed in a stunning palace that began construction in 1909. The museum is the place to go if you’d like to learn about the Mayan people and culture. See ancient artifacts like the Sculpture of Chac Mool, learn about the Mayan sport called Pok-a-Tok, and get a glimpse into the Mayan mathematical system.
Leave some room in your itinerary for a day trip to Chichén Itzá, which is a famous pre-Columbian site an hour and a half away from Mérida. This is Mexico’s largest and best restored archaeological site, so it’s one attraction you won’t want to miss. Here, you can admire the El Castillo (also referred to as the Pyramid of Kukulkán) and the Temple of Warriors.
What to Know Before You Go—A Guide to Medications in Mérida
We mentioned that you should bring along your normal allergy medication, but remember that Mexico has very strict laws regarding the import of medication into the country, even for personal use. Medication that contains stimulants or codeine are prohibited. Medicines containing pseudoephedrine, commonly found in many over-the-counter allergy solutions (such as Actifed, Sudafed, and Vicks inhalers), is considered a stimulant and is not allowed in the country, even with a prescription. Be diligent about checking the ingredient list on your medication, and speak to a doctor about finding an alternative should your go-to contain a stimulant.
Before you travel, ask your doctor for a note with a list of your prescription medications, their generic names, and if possible, the Mexican trade name for the particular drug. Include the name and address of the prescribing doctor. Keep prescription medications in the original packaging, and be sure to declare them on your customs forms to avoid any complications with security.
Mérida, Mexico is the perfect destination for your vacation this year. With its culturally rich museums, authentic Yucatecan street food, and comfortable weather all year round, it’s truly a destination worth visiting. ¡Buen viaje!
Did you enjoy this year’s top 12 travel destinations featured in the Pasha Travel Guide? We hope you gained a little inspiration for your next trip and that you learned some helpful allergy-management tips along the way. The world is your oyster! No matter where you decide to travel, be proactive and schedule an appointment with your doctor to prevent allergies from putting a damper on your vacation. Stay tuned later this week to learn how to get quality sleep while you’re away from the comfort of your own home. Follow us on Facebook and Pinterest for more updates!