A Feast For The Senses – Mercado Pedro Sainz de Baranda, Campeche

Just beyond the Puerta de Tierra and outside of the Campeche city wall is the Mercado Pedro Sainz de Baranda, a densely packed maze of fresh produce stalls and busy taquerias. There’s a steamy circular food court in the centre of the mercado packed with people enjoying local favourites such as Dogfish Pozole, Tamales Yucatecos,…

Pirates Of The Gulf (Just Around The Corner From The Caribbean)

After its foundation in 1540, Campeche quickly became a victim of its own success thanks to its strategic position in the Gulf of Mexico. Heaving Spanish galleons plied these lucrative waters, making regular runs between the New World of Mexico and the Old World of Spain and, by the early 1600s, Campeche had become one…

Going Baroque In Campeche

Just over 180ks from Mérida lies the beautiful pocket-sized coastal city of Campeche, founded in 1540 by the Spanish conquistadores on top of the ancient Maya city of Ahk’in Pech (Can Pech) and now a UNESCO World Heritage listed city of ‘Outstanding Universal Value’.  We took the super modern ADOgl bus service from Mérida in a little…

El Tren Maya

You’d think a large prosperous North American country like Mexico would be a train-traveller’s dream, but sadly those days are long gone. Mexico was once criss-crossed with passenger trains from el Golfo to el Pacífico , and from the US border to the jungles of the Yucatán. But with the sustained lack of investment, the…

Santa Semana en El Convento San Antonio de Padua

Santa Semana (Holy Week) in Mexico is a big deal, kicked off by Domingo de Palma, or Palm Sunday. So perhaps what better place to be, unplanned, than at the Convento San Antonio de Padua, the hugely sprawling (entirely yellow of course) 16thCentury Franciscan convent in Izamal, around an hour out of Mérida, towards the…

Fire Macaw With Sun Face

One of the most important structures in all of Mesoamerica, the pyramid of K’inich K’áak ’Mo’ is more than 34m high and one of the largest pyramids by volume in the Yucatan.  K’inich K’áak ’Mo’, which means “fire macaw with sun face” in ancient Mayan, was built around 400 A.D., though the site has been continuously…

La Ciudad Amarilla (And It Was All Yellow-ooo)

Around an hour’s drive west out of Mérida lies the impossibly beautiful town of Izamal, a designated Pueblo Mágico (a place with great national symbolism and historical importance) or, as it’s colloquially known, “La Ciudad Amarilla”, the Yellow City – and yes, the whole town is painted yellow! That’s every single house painted in various…

The Haunting of Villa María

There are many gloriously faded mansions and palacios all over Mérida, particularly in Centro Histórico. Some are clearly occupied and restored to their former grandeur, now either banks, corporate headquarters or boutique hotels, whilst others are seemingly abandoned and left to decompose in the tropical sun. I wonder why? No doubt the restoration costs would…

Doorways of Mérida

As you may have guessed I’m totally captivated by the vivid colours of Mérida and, more and more, the varied doorways of the older colonial homes. The worn exteriors of these sometimes humble casas are painted in the brightest of colours, often wonderfully clashing with their neighbours, peeling away and weathered by the baking sun,…