Mérida bursts with art and culture, in a way unrivaled by any other city on the Yucatán Peninsula  (and few in the whole country). The city’s rich artistic and architectural heritage can be enjoyed in its museums, monuments, churches, colonial mansions, and beautiful government buildings, while tree-lined parks and plazas offer a peek into ordinary Mexican life.
But it’s the city’s commitment to music and dance that really sets it apart, with city-sponsored performances and concerts held every day and weekly street parties that feature live bands and performers—all this, all year long, and all for free. Pull out your dancing shoes and grab hold of your camera, you’re sure to need both even if you just stay a night.
By Air: Mérida’s Crescencio Rejón International Airport (MID, Avenida de Itzaes/Highway 180, 999/946-1530) is located seven kilometers (4.2 miles) southwest of the town center. The airport has several car rental agencies, and a 24-hour ATM.
Taxis charge a fixed US$10 from the airport to town, while the return costs approximately US$8—agree on a price beforehand. There is no airport bus, per se, but vans marked “UMAN” leave every 10 minutes from Parque San Juan (Calle 69 between Calles 62 and 64) and pass the airport entrance road (US$0.50, 25 minutes). Be sure to ask the driver to let you off at el aeropuerto; it’s a 500-meter (0.3-mile) walk from the stop to the terminal. Note the UMAN vans don’t have much room for luggage—if you are loaded down, consider springing for a cab.
By Bus: Mérida has four bus stations. The first-class station is known by the acronym CAME (KAH-may, Calle 70 between Calles 69 and 71, tel. 999/924-8391, toll-free Mex. tel. 800/702-8000) and has ADO, ADO-GL, OCC, and UNO service. Most of your bus travel, especially long-distance, will be from here.
Around the corner, the second-class bus terminal (Calle 69 between Calles 68 and 70, tel. 999/923-2287, Clase Europea tel. 999/924-4275) serves many of the same destinations as are offered at CAME, but the added comfort and safety of a first-class bus are definitely worth the few extra pesos.
Terminal Noreste (Calle 67 between Calles 50 and 52, Noreste tel. 999/924-6355, Oriente tel. 999/928-6230, Lineas Unidas tel. 999/924-7865) is the base for regional bus lines.
By Car: Good highways approach Mérida from all directions. Be prepared for one-way streets and avoid arriving on Sunday—a large area in the center of town is closed to vehicles. If you don’t know the city, it can be a real headache to drive to your hotel, since many are downtown. The periférico is a wide, freshly paved traffic loop that circumscribes the city, making it possible to bypass the congested downtown streets if you’re headed from Chichén Itzá  to Celestún , for example.