First trip to Merida


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Looking back on our traveling day, it seems so long ago which is helping diminish the memories of the whole day. Of course the day we were leaving Calgary there was a substantial snow storm. Lyn’s mom picked us up at 4:15am sharp and after kissing our sleeping boys we were off to the airport to catch our 7am fight. I am not sure how, but Dawn managed to not only get us to the airport by 4:45am, but also stayed on the roads which were covered in a foot of snow.  If you have ever been a passenger in the back seat of your mother-in-law’s car while driving in a snow storm you probably know how  I was feeling! But we did get there and definitely appreciated the ride.

Of course, typical of us, we beat the US customs rush and were near the front of the line when they opened the screening. Got right through and then off to the scanning machines and metal detectors, where we were directed to a separate area which had us worried at first but then quickly discovered it was just another room they had just opened and we were the only ones there. Put everything in the bins and continued on our way. I was eating a delectable Harvey’s sausage & egg bun by just after 5am… if I had known then how the day was about to proceed I would have done two things differently. First, I would have had a double Great Canadian burger and poutine to get me through to dinner, which we did finally eat at about 9:30pm. Second, I would have gone to the gate and reminded the flight attendant to have the plane started early, because it was cold outside and might need some time to warm up…. Oh if I had only been that smart!

We did load the plane on time, but shortly after getting everyone on board we were told that the water lines had frozen in the bathrooms and they needed to super heat the airplane and to do that they needed us all to get off for 3-5 minutes… So about an hour later we thought we were going to board again but alas that was not to be. We finally boarded the plane again at 9am (two hours after our scheduled departure time) and were off the ground by 9:15am.  Continental Airlines, while missing the fact that most people in Calgary warm up their cars before loading, did an amazing job of correcting all the transfers for all the people on board who were about to miss thier connections in houston. When we landed in Houston, the Continental team had boarding passes ready for everyone (almost, one poor gentleman flying to Belize could not get a flight out til the next day) and we joined up with another couple also heading to Cancun. We got the lucky break of the day when we asked a gentleman driving a cart where gate E was, he started to tell us how far it was and then told us to jump on! We got a ride on the cart for 15 minutes as we proceeded from gate C to gate E, and arrived in time to have a cool pint of Stella in the SkyBox before boarding.

The flight to Cancun from Houston was not full and we could actually stretch out and relax. Some unbelievable clouds as we flew into Cancun that I wish I had the camera out for (note to future travelers for great photo opportunity). Of course we had chosen to fly into Cancun instead of Merida as that flight saved the two of us almost $500 each and then take a $35 four hour bus ride to Merida. What a great adventure that sounded like in theory, but as soon as we landed we tried to get on a flight out of Cancun to Merida to make up the time we had lost. We had just missed the last flight to Merida by 15 minutes so off to the bus station we went. At the airport you have the choice of taking a cab directly to the bus terminal for $64 US or taking a shuttle for $16US each. Trying to save money we opted for the shuttle which was just fine, but the first people off are the hotel guests….and then you drive all the way back past the airport you left 20 minutes earlier to proceed on the trip to the bus station.

Once at the bus station, we managed to purchase our tickets to Merida for 644 pesos ($53 US) for the two of us on the next available bus which gave us an hour to wait in the Cancun bus terminal. Seeing food across the street, Lyn sent me over to a place called Chicken Sandwiches which looked promising… The “Doble Pollo Sandwich” was great, Chili chicken wings were good, but the “Chicken Fillet” left a lot to be desired… Boarded the bus and were off, watching Transporter 3 and then Forbidden Kingdom in spanish – both great family bus ride type movies…not. Longest four hour bus ride of my life…we took the toll road… thank goodness though…the regular highway has 43 villages and 120 speed bumps which I hear can be quite annoying. We may never drive through the villages…

Arrived in Merida, jumped in a cab and proceeded to drive around the block  four times before actually arriving at our B&B shortly after 12:30am. This was an hour and a half past the designated late check-in time but Chucho was patiently waiting for us and directed to what turned out to be the best bed and breakfast we have ever stayed at!

5 Responses to “First trip to Merida”

  1. Arnoldo says:

    Hey Kurt and Lyn,

    I absolutely love your site. We first say Merida a few months ago on House Hunters International and simply fell in love with the place. We are looking to purchase property there and are planning our first trip there for the Christmas holidays with our four kids (17, 12, 6, 1 year). You answered our question about why you flew into Cancun, but would you recommend this choice for use considering we will have the kids? How is the bus ride? Did you get a chance to see beautiful sights or is it just a road with no views. Does the bus stop occasionally? Any info that you could provide would be great.

    Thank you and keep us all posted on things.


    • lfmadmin says:

      Hi Arnoldo,
      The bus ride is very comfortable, but it is 3.5 hours. We took the AVI bus, I cannot remember the name but it was not the platinum but the executive which runs almost every hour between the cities. At $32 each person (not sure if they charge for 1 year olds) it may be more beneficial for you to rent a van for your trip. The bus ride is not very exciting, the Yucatan is very flat and you really have nothing to look at out the windows. Just a road with no views mostly. You will see this view from the airplane window. They do play two movies on the bus, but they are in Spanish. The bus is a direct bus which is what I would recommend, the other alternative other than the toll road is a bus that stops 40+ times and goes through every little village on the way… I think after 2 villages that would be enough and you would be wishing you were on the boring toll road. Also I think that depending on the time you arrive in Cancun should dictate what you do, I would not drive in the dark for the first time but would take the bus. We are planning on arriving early afternoon in Cancun so we can drive in the sunlight.
      Our next trip with our children, we may rent a van but we are not sure at this time.


      • Arnoldo says:


        Thank you very much for your response. We really appreciate it. Again, your site is wonderful and we will surely use it as a guide for our visit.


  2. Jacqui says:

    Thank you so much for that information Kurt (I am Arnoldo’s wife). Since there are 6, possibly 7 of us traveling and this is such a big trip for us, we are trying to get as much information as possible. As you know, I’m sure, traveling with children requires planning for every possible contingency. So thank you again for your time.

    • lfmadmin says:

      No problem! We know how valuable any information you can gather is, and sometimes it is very hard to find the relevant information. That is why we created this blog site, hopefully some of the information we gathered will be able to help other families looking to make the move to the Yucatan. If you have any other questions you think we may be able to help you with, do not hesitate to ask and we will do our best. I cannot wait for our adventure to begin and we will be able to document more information on our site.

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