Anytime you’re traveling around a new country you need to be aware of some common sense tips in order to keep you safe (and sane?) Merida, Yucatan is known as one of the safest cities in the world but there are things to understand about the city.
Merida (and the Yucatan) are in a tropical climate. Generally the weather is hot, but sometimes its hotter! Because of this you need to dress light and casual, carry bottled water with you when you’re walking around, don’t get in a hurry! When you get tired, sit and relax.
Don’t carry money or valuables on you especially where it can be seen by those around you! Leave your important documents in your room (in an out-of-the-way place). This goes for money as well! You’re not going to need thousands of pesos, or especially dollars, to get around the city! The fact is that it just isn’t that expensive here! Keep a couple of thousand pesos on your person and if you feel like you just HAVE to carry more, keep the rest hidden. Don’t flash your money around where it can be seen because this attracts problems!
When you’re walking around (especially after dark) walk like you have a purpose. Look around while you’re walking and don’t keep your nose stuck in your smart-phone! If nothing else, that will get you lost very quickly! Generally, it’s very safe to walk in about 90% of the city at just about any time of the day or night. However, no matter where you’re walking, you can always run into trouble if you move around as though you’re scared, or lost, or don’t know what you’re doing, etc. Personally, I have (on many occasions) walked several blocks from my apartment after 1am with no problems (other than the heat!) The police here are super awesome and won’t bother you if you don’t appear to be a druggie, a robber, etc. Just make sure that you carry your passport and visa with you in the event that you’re stopped for any reason.
Smile and look people in the eye as you walk past. Let them know that you’re happy to be here and that you’re observant and smart. You’ll do fine.
You’ll notice that the police and emergency vehicles drive around the city with their red and blue lights going all the time. This doesn’t mean there is an emergency nearby, it’s more to let you know that they’re around. And if you DO have a problem, you can always flag down a police and yes, there are LOTS of them about!
For the most part, just don’t walk around stressed out and nervous about being in a strange place. Enjoy yourself and have fun!
And here are a couple of websites that will give you a LOT of information on Merida’s cultural events, places to go, things to do, and just a lot of stuff that we’re sure you’ll find interesting! The sites may open in Spanish but there are translator links at the top of the pages. Check them out and enjoy!