12 Reasons We LOVED Mérida!

The sisters of Life Full and Frugal have compiled a list of 12 reasons we loved Mérida, a city also known as La Ciudad Blanca, (the white city)!

We had a magical time in a beautiful, exotic land, but we didn’t have to go far! Our destination was located in the heart of the Yucatan in our neighboring country of Mexico!

12 Reasons We LOVED Mérida!

#1 Our House! Casa Cocodrilo

Casa Cocodrilo is definitely one of the biggest reasons we loved Mérida. One of the funnest parts of travel is actually in the planning. The idea for this trip really started with a search on AirBnb’s website, and we were blown away by the gorgeous homes in Mérida, Mexico. What was even more shocking was how affordable they were. The house we chose is called Casa Cocodrilo (Crocodile House) and it checked all the boxes on our wish list! First of all, there was a gourmet kitchen fully equipped with everything we needed and even had a variety of Le Creuset pans! Most importantly, there was a pretty fantastic pool in the courtyard tucked between the main house and casita (little house). The surrounding gardens filled with tropical plants and giant guardian palm trees made it feel like our very own private oasis. The house was decorated with authentic Mexican colonial style, scattered with artisan Mayan textiles. We all had our own rooms with incredible, original artwork along with our own bathrooms. All three of us really felt at home in Casa Cocodrilo…it was really difficult to leave at the end of our stay!

#2 The People of Mérida are Incredibly Kind!

Another really big reason we loved Mérida was absolutely the people. Everyone we encountered in Mérida was very laid-back and kind, so we immediately felt a sense of comfort. We never felt like anything was too scary or difficult to try. They are very non-intimidating people, very welcoming, helpful and gracious. A lot of people were concerned for us when we decided to do this trip, but we can not emphasize enough that we felt so safe the entire time. We even walked home from dinner after dark and passed by families with children and elderly walking around enjoying the evening!

#3 Spanish is a Lovely Language!

Shanna earned her college degree in Spanish in 2004 and this trip was the fulfillment of a long time dream for her. It was wonderful to use those language skills again! Sierra took Spanish in highschool and she did a great job utilizing her language skills! (She is also fluent in German) It was lovely to discover Starla has an ear for catching familiar words as well. We were all forced out of our comfort zones and though we fumbled over the right words sometimes, we managed to get our point across. This is another area where the people of Mérida showed us so much patience and grace as we stumbled over their lovely language!

#4 Mexico is Perfectly Imperfect!

Generally, the people of Mexico care more about the inside than the outside. Many places have wonderful metal work and colorful facades, but there were plenty of places that looked a bit well-worn-in. The thing is, even though some places may be shabby, plain or unassuming on the outside, so many are like beautiful ornate fortresses on the other side of the front gate. And though initially the streets may look a little grimy, the houses are wonderful surprises of stunning tiled beauty inside. There is something about Mexico that is intrinsically salvaje…wild. They are the antithesis of a homogenized culture and that freedom and unfettered spirit can be rough around the edges and breath-takingly beautiful in the same moment. It became yet another one of the reasons we loved Mérida. It’s Perfectly Imperfect.

#5 The Ease of Traveling to Mexico!

With just a short three hour trip from Atlanta, we found ourselves in a very exotic place with a medley of cultures ranging from Spanish/Andalusian, Mexican, Mayan, Aztecan, Caribbean and more…all in one delightful place! Starla lived in Miami for a while and so much of Mérida reminded her of the feeling of that city.  We even felt similarities to our visit to New Orleans. You can experience such a wide variety of culture and history in Mexico without having to leave the western hemisphere! The time change was only an hour for the Ohio sisters and Shanna didn’t change time zones at all. NO JET LAG!!!! We didn’t have to purchase any special adapters and just brought our cell phone chargers from home. Our AirBnB house even provided us with a hair dryer. It was very convenient to get around and Mérida is one of the most affordable cities in Mexico. Affordability was a huge contributor to our list of reasons we loved Mérida.

#6 The Food!

Let’s face it, food is always a big part of experiencing a culture and it was definitely one of the many reasons we loved Mérida. The bread, croissants, and pastries were delicious! Rich, scrumptious, and not too sweet. We loved all the different fruits, especially the mango. It was an amazing treat. We also tried a lot of local favorites including cochinita pibil and poc chuc. Everything we ate in Mexico was fabulous!

#7 We Got to Play Dress Up Every Day!

It was easy to feel beautiful and feminine in Mérida. Mexicans possess very traditional, distinctive gender roles. Women look very feminine and men look very masculine. They appreciate the difference. It felt fun and natural to dress up! We all brought essential oils for perfume, permeating the sultry air of our house with a rose and patchouli scented aura of romance and femininity.

#8 The Unique Experience of the Yucatan!

The Yucatan is such a distinct place, even from the surrounding country of Mexico. So much of their culture is influenced by the history and culture of the Mayan people. Thirty percent of the population still speak Mayan and the food is distinctly Mayan as well. Certainly their contributions to this part of Mexico were among the many reasons we loved Merida.

#9 A Princess Evening at Hacienda Xcanatún

This was simply an enchanted evening! We arrived a little later and pretty much had the place to ourselves. We were treated like princesses and the ambience was sultry and romantic. First, we enjoyed an incredible meal and then we were able to look out over the grounds from the veranda. Certainly, playing the part of Cinderella at La Hacienda Xcanatcún is an experience we will never forget!

#10 La Casa de Artesanias

La Casa de Artesanias was such an incredible place. There are lots of vendors throughout the city who cater to tourists, but we really wanted to purchase authentic items that would support the local Mayan artisans and craftsmen. We had a wonderful experience and were able to bring home some authentic treasures for reasonable prices. There is a wide variety of objects to choose from, so there is something for every preference and budget!

#11 Uber!

This was such a blessing! We were able to go everywhere we wanted without having to figure out which way to go or how to drive on Mexican roads with Mexican traffic! They have traffic laws, but they feel more like suggestions…another example of that whole “salvaje” thing. We didn’t use the city buses on this trip, but we understand that they are excellent and super cheap!

#12 Art & Architectural Dream!

There are so many things to see and do in Mérida and in the surrounding areas of the Yucatan. Everywhere you look, there is stunning architecture, and Mexico itself seems to be saturated with a love for art and colorful expression. However, we went to Mérida with the theme of rest and restoration…NOT “kill ourselves in order to see and do all of the things.” We went in July and it was HOT…not unbearable…but the climate is definitely something to consider. The Gulf breeze was our saving grace and overall, the weather in Mérida was actually nicer than it was in Louisiana that week.

We did and saw and experienced all that we could comfortably do so on our first trip to Mexico. There was so much more for us to explore, including cenotes, haciendas, and of course, Chichen Itza and Uxmal. We did not go on any excursions, though we did make it to the beach in Progresso. However, at the end of our time, we left with no regrets, only the hope and anticipation of our next journey. Most importantly, we will absolutely be returning to Mérida to drink in the mystery and beauty of the Yucatan and of Mexico! Until then, we will treasure the precious memories of our trip!

God bless from the sisters at lifefullandfrugal.com!!!! ~Starla ~Shanna ~Sierra <3

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  1. Racheal Fernandez

    Oh! Ladies!! I loved everything about this post! What a great vacation for you Gals! I was almost envious lol:) I have seen some of your pictures of the tile work on Instagram & like the way you displayed it here on the blog as the border. Thank you for sharing this. Honestly, I have never been anywhere let alone think about a trip to Mexico! Lol. But I enjoyed reading about your experience here. It was like being on the trip with you all. Loved your dresses. They were so pretty and feminine as mentioned. You guys are beautiful & I can tell you are really close to one another and of course, the food pics were great too! you really shared the beauty of this city and I enjoyed reading! Have a blessed day and thanks again for sharing.

    • Shanna

      Thanks so much, Racheal! We are so glad you enjoyed the article! This trip was quite the adventure for us and I am so proud that we pulled it off! I’m glad you could “come along” with us vicariously through our pictures and descriptions. We were definitely enchanted by the tiles…and so much more! We loved playing dress up together and of course, the MOST special thing about the entire trip was spending time with my sisters. Thanks so much for reading and commenting! We really appreciate your support and encouragement! God bless you, Racheal!

  2. Stacey Molle

    Starla! I’m so happy to see this. The kids and I are moving to Merida in September! Most everyone here in Ohio thinks I’m bananas but this helps back up some of my crazy 🙂

    • Starla

      Stacey, it is beautiful! I wish you and your family the best!


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