Where In The World Are We Going?
Updated: Mar 3
Because we decided to take off smack-dab in the middle of a pandemic, our travel choices were extremely limited. Normally, we would have just headed straight to Italy where we own a holiday home (more on that on another day), but because they currently had a "zero Americans" policy in place in mid-2020 when we were making our plans, we had to look elsewhere.
After some research about what was "open," which was not a lot, it appeared that Mexico could work out for us...good climate, good food, and good culture...plus a close proximity to the States if we needed to get back quickly for any reason. Since we are originally from Texas, we have had the opportunity to visit many places south of the border over the years: Mexico City, Cancun/Tulum, Puerto Vallarta, Hualtulco, Cabo, and even Acapulco way back in the day.
But, our overall favorite was Merida, the capital of the Yucatan. In addition to all the things to do in and around the city, we really loved the fact that it wasn't as touristy as the other places. And, in addition to having direct flights back to Texas, it also offered connections to many new places in Mexico we wanted to check out, like San Miguel de Allende, Ixtapa, Oaxaca City, Queretaro, Puebla, and San Cristobal just to name a few. So that was it! We decided to make Merida our temporary home base.
We wanted to be in the Centro area. Because we needed a fully furnished house, we first researched places using the old stand-by, VRBO, AirBNB, and FlipKey. However, because most of these were for short-term vacations, they were pretty pricey for a multi-month stay. So as an alternative, we began conducting Google searches to find "Property Management Companies in Merida." It was through these that we found both our first place in the Santa Lucia neighborhood as well as the second one in Santa Ana.
Remember how I said there was a direct flight between Texas and Merida? Well, uh, yes there was one during the summer when we purchased our tickets. But, by the time it came time to fly out in October, all the flights had been cancelled due to COVID-19. Luckily, we had a couple of weeks notice so we were able to scramble and get a flight to Cancun and then arrange for a car to pick us up and drive us the three-plus hours to Merida. Not the best way to begin our journey, but hey, at least we were going.
The good news is that when we drove up, our landlord was waiting for us. She had the house ready to go and had even baked us a homemade lasagna and some cookies so we would have something to eat that first night. Plus, she even stocked the fridge and pantry with basics like eggs, milk, and bread. She also spent some time going through the house with us and telling us where the closet market was. How nice!
Even though Merida has some tight restrictions due to COVID-19 (e.g., temperature taken any time you walk in a building, limited hours of operation for many businesses, etc.), we are really enjoying our time here. We have no issue with keeping safe! We even get a smile when we see the policemen on Montejo blowing their whistles at people who aren't properly masked-up.
Since we've been here we've joined a couple of Facebook groups like First Merida Amigos and Expats in the Yucatan. These have been great resources to help us keep up with all the latest happenings. What places are open/closed? Are liquor sales allowed? Is there a curfew? Where can you get a COVID test? Thankfully, we haven't needed this last one.
Right now, we have no idea where we will go after our lease is up in March. We will probably go back to the States to check-in with our family and friends. Then, who knows? I guess it just depends on where we are able to travel. In the meantime, we are just going to enjoy Merida and the rest of beautiful Mexico. Who knows, maybe we will bounce back here later this year. You never know.