BOLT’s Top 5 Things To Do When Visiting Merida

We’ve been blessed with lots of visitors lately and were so proud to show them our beautiful city. So, it’s time for a top 5 list of what we suggest you see when visiting Merida.

El Zócalo

1. El Zócalo

Also known as la Plaza Grande or Grand Plaza el zócalo is a must visit site. It’s a great spot for picture taking, it’s surrounded by historic colonial buildings and an ancient cathedral. There are lots of art galleries and street vendors in the area. At night el zócalo comes alive with music, light shows and a variety of activities.

Musica en el Zócalo!
El Museo del Mundo Maya

2. El Museo del Mundo Maya

The Maya World Museum is a striking, modern Mayan cultural museum with many exhibits of art, handicrafts & history. It’s a great place to spend a cool air conditioned afternoon on a hot Merida day.

Maya Museum Exhibit

3. Biciruta on Sunday Morning!

Rent a bike and enjoy a ride down historic Paseo Montejo. The street is closed to car traffic on Sunday mornings and full of bikers, skaters, folks walking their dogs, babies in strollers and more. It’s a lovely way to take in Merida’s main street with beautiful old mansions and monuments.

Monumento de la Patria
Look for the pink umbrella!

4. Free Walking Tour

Every day at 10 am there is a great walking tour which starts at Parque Santa Lucia. You will tour central Merida, see lots of historic buildings and thoroughly enjoy a brief history lesson.

Cathedral de Merida

5. Take a Day Trip

With so much to see and do you may not want to leave Merida. However, at least one trip out of town shouldn’t be missed. You can visit the closest beach town or Progresso, spend a day at one of the many cenotes or visit the pyramids at the World Heritage Sites of Chichen Itza or Uxmal.

Yucatan Cenote
Uxmal

If you are planning a visit to Merida, please let us know. We’ll be proud and honored to show you our beautiful home city.

A visit to the Fez (Fes) Medina

The medina (walled city) in Fez is the oldest and largest one in Morocco. We spent over 6 hours there today, exploring the narrow streets, admiring the beautiful goods for sale and enjoying a day amidst the hustle and bustle of a Saturday in Fez. Everyone was very friendly although some of the sellers were a little pushy. Our guide, Mohammed, was very informative about this UNESCO world heritage site, built in the 9th century.

We visited the ancient Jewish quarter of the Medina. There is a rich history of Judaism in Morroco, although sadly not very many Jews remain.

We entered the medina through the famous Blue Gate. You can see that the exiting side is green.

Another highlight, although quite smelly, was a visit to the tannery. There, over 600 families ply their centuries old craft of turning goat, cow and camel hide into leather goods. Although smelly, the view from the top was awesome!

We also saw the river that used to divide the medina into 2 sections (Spanish and Tunisian) but is now connected by a bridge.

A visit to the medina of Fez is a must if you are here. Be sure to have good walking shoes and water. Have questions about our visit to Fez? Please email us at boltraveling@gmail.com

15 Best Things To Do in Merida Mexico 2022: Guide & Tips

This is a pretty good article about visiting Merida. Living here means we can take our time and visit ALL the things.

https://www.roamingaroundtheworld.com/top-5-things-to-do-in-merida-mexico/

So far we have taken the walking tour which was great. We really enjoyed Pok Ta Pok and I wrote a short blog about it.

We have visited and biked Paseo Montejo as well as several of the plazas.

We’ve enjoyed several day trips, most memorably Chichén Itza and the Santa Barbara Cenotes.

Everything else on the list we are still looking forward to. We will proceed with caution as COVID is still s very real and present danger!

This is an example of what under $500 USD can get in Merida, Mexico! We are very happy in our new place.

BOLT Top 5: Reasons Why We Like Cruising

Cruising is very special for Kathy and I. We met on a cruise. When we were working cruising was a great way to vacation. We started our lives of retirement and travel with a 30 day cruise. We know that cruising is not for everyone. It’s not the best way to immerse yourself in a locale. You usually spend less than a day in port. It’s not the cheapest way to travel. But for us, it’s one of our favorite ways to go. Here’s our top 5 reasons why.

1. Ease of Travel

Rather then changing hotels several times,check in, check out, lug suitcases around, etc, when you cruise you check in once and are set for the length of the vacation. On our last cruise we visited 3 countries and a total of 9 ports. Cruising made that so much easier.

2. Meals

Cruise ships have amazing food! There is a huge variety of selections and dining options. Unless you choose to dine at the “specialty restaurants” all your meals are included in the price of the cruise.

3. The Ports

Cruising is a great way to see places you might not normally visit. You will visit many exotic places on most cruises. You can choose one of the many shore excursions offered by the cruise lines or just get off the ship and explore on your own.

4. Group Gatherings

Cruises are such an awesome way to get a group together. With a minimum of planning you can have a wonderful family vacation, class reunion or simply a gathering of friends.

5. Value

Cruising is not the least expensive way to travel but when you add up all of the above we think you get very good value for your travel dollar, especially if you put in some effort to research bargains.

How about you? We’d love to hear your thoughts on cruising. Contact us at boltraveling@gmail.com

A BOLT MUST: A HOME WITH A POOL

Our old home in Da Nang, Vietnam

Water is my happy place and because of me, we choose to live in smaller apartments that have pools. I came to accept this about myself after our first 6 months here in Merida. We had a lovely 2 bedroom home but no pool. I became a “pool beggar”, visiting friends with pools frequently. Now we are in a much smaller place and I love my daily time in the pool.

Our Shared Pool here in Merida

There are so many benefits to swimming and exercising in the water. Including:

  • Water supports the body, putting less stress on your joints and muscles.
  • Working out in water helps build strength.
  • Water pressure helps put less strain on the heart by moving blood around the body.
  • The impact of gravity is less in the water allowing a greater range of motion.
  • It keeps your heart rate up but takes some of the impact stress off your body.
  • It builds endurance, muscle strength and cardiovascular fitness
  • It helps maintain a healthy weight, healthy heart and lungs.
  • It tones muscles and builds strength.
  • It provides an all-over body workout, as nearly all of your muscles are used during swimming.
  • Swimming or water exercise are relaxing and peaceful, alleviating stress
    improving coordination, balance and posture,
    improving flexibility, and
    providing good low-impact therapy for some injuries and conditions.
  • Especially here in very hot Merida having time in the water provids a pleasant way to cool down on a hot day.
Pools are great for spending time with friends.

For more information about the value of water exercise visit https://pin.it/5bVVSOE

I’d love to hear about your “must haves” in finding the home that is right for you. Please feel free to share in the comments section. If you have any questions please contact us at boltraveling@gmail.com

BOLT Reviews: Cenote Santa Barbara

Words and pictures can not fully express the magic I experienced on our recent trip to the little town of Homun and the Cenote Santa Barbara.

A cenote is a natural pit, or sinkhole, resulting from the collapse of limestone bedrock that exposes groundwater. The regional term is specifically associated with the Yucatán Peninsula of Mexico, where we are currently living.

The Maya believed cenotes to be a gateway to Xibalba, the underworld, and the god of rain, Chaac, was believed to live at the bottom of these sacred wells. The Maya performed rituals and ceremonies at sacred cenotes to ask for rain and good crops.

Cenote Santa Barbara has three really beautiful and accessable cenotes. We were able to explore and swim in all three. The stairs down to the cenotes were well designed and very stable they all had hand rails. This was not true for the cenote we visited in Valladolid and I chose not to risk going down.

To get to the first cenote you could ride a bike or the horse drawn cart. It’s a fun less than 10 minute ride, whichever you choose.

Our friends and we swam in all 3 cenotes. The water was cool but not cold. For me it was a relaxing and healing experience.

We ended our day at the restaurant on the premises. We were able to choose from many delicious options of Yuccatecan style food. Admission to the cenote, including lunch was 290 pesos, less than $15 USD!

For more information about these amazing gifts of nature visit https://theculturetrip.com/north-america/mexico/articles/mexico-s-cenotes-hidden-gems-of-the-yucatan/

BOLT Reviews: Playa Bonita Beach Club

Just a short 3o minutes away from Mérida, Mexico is the city of Chelem. This sleepy little pueblo is home to the perfect spot for a getaway.

Playa Bonita Beach Club is the perfect spot for a day trip. For only 100 pesos (about $5 usd) you can spend all day on a comfortable beach lounge.

There is a lovely little pool, changing rooms and very clean restrooms.

I was especially delighted by how good, I mean really good the food and drinks were. There is a full, moderately priced menu. The waiters were attentive and friendly. You can have your food brought to your oceanside lounge or table.

I enjoyed a lovely walk along the beach and several people were actually enjoying time in the waves. All in all I spent a perfect day at Playa Bonita Beach Club. I can’t wait to go back!

If you have a special getaway spot in the Yucatan or wherever you are, we’d love to hear about it. Comment here or write us at BOLTraveling@gmail.com

?!Merida!?

My friend, Olivia, gave me the inspiration for this week’s blog post. She asked some great questions which I will answer here.

The value of questions!

How was your time in Vietnam? It was wonderful! Vietnam handled the Covid crisis very well. It was very safe. Da Nang is beautiful and affordable. However, we came for a month and ended up staying for 10. We were concerned about having to review our visas every month and the strong possibility that we would eventually be denied.

Beautiful Da Nang!

Will you ever return to Asia? We hope so. We love Asia, especially Thailand and Malaysia. Plus there are several countries we still want to visit (India, Sri Lanka and Cambodia for sure). But if 2020 has taught me anything it’s that nothing is for certain.

Yep!

What was your impetus to move to Mexico, in the middle of a pandemic? How did you choose Merida? Merida is one of the safest cities, not just in Mexico but the world. While the pandemic is of course a concern, we chose Merida because of it’s relatively low Covid numbers, thriving black ex pat community, affordable housing and proximity to family and friends in the U.S.

In or out of a pandemic Merida is very safe!

How are you feeling today? We traveled for 2 days, 4 planes plus all the packing and preparation. We are exhausted and jet lagged but grateful to have arrived safely. We tested for coronavirus before leaving Vietnam and were both negative. We plan to isolate for the recccomended 10 days and will wear masks and practice social distancing until further notice.

Covid Testing, Family Hospital, Da Nang

One question Olivia didn’t ask but I wanted to share on briefly is: What was traveling like during a pandemic? It was really surreal and a bit anxiety producing. Most of the airports were REALLY empty until we got to Houston. We treated ourselves to better seats, lounges and a hotel stay during our Houston layover. We wore masks at all times and my hands are so dry from all the washing and hand sanitizer. Overall our travel was a positive experience, for which we are very grateful!

Ho Chi Minh City International Airport
All Nippon Airways Ticketing Desk
Vietjet Travel Lounge (only 3 people there, including us)

Thank you Olivia for helping me to clarify what I wanted to share today, our 5th day in beautiful Merida.

Casa Dulce Casa

BOLT: Reflecting Gratitude

As I walked along the beach this morning in Da Nang, Vietnam I was reflecting on how grateful I am for our time here. We planned on a month but it’s almost a year, thanks to Covid.

I’m grateful for sheltering in a place that took the virus seriously, where everyone wears masks and respects social distancing rules when in effect.

I’m grateful that I am here with my beloved, Kathy, and that we both remained physically healthy and mentally well.

I’m grateful for time with family. While we may not be related by blood I have truly found family here.

I’m grateful for the opportunity to do something I always wanted to do: support another woman in birthing a baby. I’m a doula y’all! Look for a blog soon about this experience.

I’m grateful for some amazing sunrises, wonderful adventures and beautiful sights to see. As our time here is winding down (we leave in early December, details soon) I wanted to express my gratitude to Da Nang for helping me to #findbeautyeveryday

Thank you for allowing me to share my gratefulness. I’d love to hear what you are grateful for.