Merida is known as the White City due to many historical white buildings throughout the city. We did see these pretty buildings, but we also saw many beautiful colors and the people were really what brought the city to life. The culture was so prevalent. It was engaging to just walk around and imagine people’s lives. To hear the sounds of conversation and laughter, see friends dancing and playing sports, watch families enjoy an afternoon at the park. It is such a fantastic place to visit. We definitely recommend visiting this city.
Christmas Eve – Noche Buena
La Noche Buena is Christmas Eve and it is more celebrated in Mexico than La Navidad (Christmas Day). Because of this, it was very difficult for us to find anything open. We enjoyed seeing the city a bit once we got into town, but we after a 2 hour flight, a long ordeal with the car rental, and a 4 hour drive, we just wanted to eat dinner and relax. We ended up at a Pizza Hut, which was just about to close but they allowed us to place an order. This was actually the best Pizza Hut pizza either of us have had, so it was a strange place for our first meal in Mexico but it was not too bad.
We loved seeing all of the nativity scenes set up around different towns in Mexico. This is a tradition that is greatly celebrated and it is customary for baby Jesus to be placed in the manger on Christmas Eve. It was so fun to see families enjoying the nativity scenes and taking pictures because it’s just not something that is done where we live. We thought it was a great tradition. There were also some Christmas trees set up and different holiday decorations.
Christmas Day – La Navidad
We spent Christmas Day relaxing at our AirBnB and exploring Merida. We ate lunch at a restaurant that serves typical food from the Yucatan. We quickly realized that the restaurant mostly catered to tourists. It wasn’t very authentic and the service was not the best, but it was decent. It gave us a glimpse of fellow tourists, who are also fun to watch. We did get to try some staples like cochinita pibil and panuchos, which were tasty. The mojito and horchata were both decent as well. This isn’t necessarily a place we’d recommend, but it was open on Christmas and tasted pretty decent. We checked out the local Walmart, which we frequented for Mexican pastries. We visited a super cool art piece that was made to honor history of the area and is in the middle of a roundabout at the end of the main street to town. We also stopped into some souvenir shops. We highly recommend checking out the Frida Kahlo shop which is huge and has unique pieces that even include certificates of authenticity and artist signatures.
We looked all around for a place open for dinner, yet again. Many places had offers for Christmas meals that required reservations and such, but we just wanted a quick meal. We ended up eating at a wing place. This seemed to be another location that catered to tourists and the food was not good, but the pineapple sweet tea was delicious. We knew we would be in for some tastier food in the upcoming days when everything was open again, and we’ll share all about that soon. We also checked out Mercado 60, which is a cool little restaurant area.