Getting there & away
Mérida is the bus transportation hub of the Yucatán Peninsula. Take care with your gear on night buses and those serving popular tourist destinations (especially 2nd-class buses); we have received many reports of theft on the night runs to Chiapas and of a few daylight thefts on the Chichén Itzá and other routes.
There are a number of bus terminals, and some lines operate out of (and stop at) more than one terminal. Tickets for departure from one terminal can often be bought at another, and destinations overlap greatly among lines. Some lines offer round-trip tickets to nearby towns that bring the fare down quite a bit. Following are some of the terminals, the bus lines operating out of them and areas served.
Hotel Fiesta Americana (924-08-55; Av Colón) A small 1st-class terminal on the west side of the hotel complex, near Calle 56A, servicing guests of the luxury hotels on Av Colón, north of the center. ADO GL and Super Expresso services run between here and Cancún, Campeche, Chetumal and Playa del Carmen.
Parque de San Juan (Calle 69) From all around the square and church, vans and combis (vans or minibuses) depart for Dzibilchaltún Ruinas, Muna, Oxkutzcab, Tekax, Ticul and other points.
Progreso (Calle 62 No 524 btwn Calles 65 & 67) Progreso has a separate bus terminal for its buses.
CAME Terminal (reservations 924-83-91; Calle 70 btwn Calles 69 and 71) Sometimes referred to as the ‘Terminal de Primera Clase, ’ Mérida’s main terminal has (mostly 1st-class) buses to points around the Yucatán Peninsula and such places as Mexico City, Palenque, San Cristóbal de Las Casas and Villahermosa. CAME has card phones and an ATM and runs counters for tourist, bus and hotel information. The baggage check is open 6am to midnight daily and charges M$5 for storage from 6am to noon, M$10 for all day.
Terminal de Segunda Clase (Calle 69) Also known as Terminal 69 (Sesenta y Nueve) or simply Terminal de Autobuses, this terminal is located just around the corner from CAME. ADO, Mayab, Oriente, Sur and TRT run mostly 2nd-class buses to points in the state and around the peninsula. ATS buses run Uxmal and Ruta Puuc from here. The terminal has a luggage checkroom.
Terminal Noreste (Calle 67 btwn Calles 50 and 52) LUS, Occidente and Oriente use this terminal. Destinations served from here include many small towns in the northeast of the peninsula, including Tizimín and Río Lagartos; frequent services to Cancún and points along the way; as well as small towns south and west of Mérida, including Celestún (served by Occidente), Ticul and Oxkutzcab. Some Oriente buses depart from Terminal 69 and stop here; others leave directly from here (eg those to Izamal and Tizimín).
The most flexible way to tour the many archaeological sites around Mérida is by rental car, especially if you have two or more people to share costs. Assume you will pay a total of M$550 to M$650 per day (tax, insurance and gas included) for short-term rental of a cheap car. Getting around Mérida’s sprawling tangle of one-way streets and careening buses is better done on foot or on a careening bus.
Several agencies have branches at the airport as well as on Calle 60 between Calles 55 and 57, including Budget (925-19-00; www.budgetcancun.com), Avis (946-15-24; www.avis.com.mx) and Hertz (946-25-54; www.hertz.com.mx). All rent for about M$350 toM$500 a day. You’ll get the best deal by booking ahead of time over the internet.
Mérida’s tiny but modern airport is a 10km, 20-minute ride southwest of the Plaza Grande off Hwy 180 (Av de los Itzáes). It has car-rental desks, an ATM and currency-exchange booth and a tourist office (9am-5pm) that helps mainly with hotel reservations.
Most international flights to Mérida are connections through Mexico City or Cancún. Nonstop international services are provided by Aeroméxico (daily from Los Angeles, thrice weekly from Miami), Continental and Northwestern (both from Houston, total eight times weekly). Most domestic flights are operated by small regional airlines, with a few flights by Aeroméxico and Mexicana.
Mexicana (924-66-33, 800-112-54-25; Paseo de Montejo 493) Nonstop flights to Mexico City.