Mérida is the capital of the Mexican state of Yucatán and an increasing tourist destination, besides the larger and more well-known seaside resort Cancún. Although this place was exclusively built for tourists, Mérida has a long history. The city was founded in the sixteenth century by Spanish colonists where once used to be a Mayan settlement. Stones from that old settlement were used for the colonial construction.
The city has approximately 750,000 inhabitants.
Mérida is located in the northwest of Yucatán, a state in the far southeast of Mexico. The city lies a few kilometers inland from the Gulf of Mexico in the area of the so-called Chicxulub Crater, the remainder of a meteorite impact which took place about 65 million years ago.
Textile industry plays an important role in local economy, although the Mexicans are facing more and more competition from Asian countries which can produce cheaper. On the other hand, being America's neighbor, Mexico can transport cheaper to the United States. Furniture is also made in Mérida and there's a factory producing plane parts. More and more (mainly American) retirees discover Méridan as an attractive place of residence, and tourism is also booming.
Mérida Airport is called Manuel Crescencio Rejón International Airport in full. The airport is situated in the city's southwestern suburbs, at 8 kilometers from the city center. It's easily reachable by rental car via the Carretera Federal 261. The larger Cancún Airport is a 3-hour drive from Mérida.
Four bus companies operate in Mérida. They provide both city transport and connections with other places in Yucatán and the rest of southern Mexico: Unión de Camioneros de Yucatán (UCY), Alianza de de Camioneros de Yucatán (ACY), Rápidos de Mérida and Minis 2000.
Streets in Mérida are numbered. Odd-numbered streets run from east to west and the more south, the higher the number. Even-numbered streets run from north to south with increasing numbers to the east. This makes it easy to orientate yourself. The main square (Zocalo) lies on the junction of streets (calle) 60 and 61. Mérida has sufficient parking facilities; do park at a guarded lot or garage (Estacionamiento Público).
Mérida has a large choice of accommodations. In the city center, around the Zocalo, you'll mainly find midrange and budget hotels. More expensive accommodations are concentrated in the northern part of the city.
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