Mérida is laid out in a neat grid pattern of one-way numbered streets. The even-numbered streets run north to south, the odd east to west. The central plaza is the center of town and you can easily walk to most downtown attractions, shops, and marketplaces. Buses provide frequent service in and around the city and outlying areas, and cabs are plentiful.
As you navigate through the numbered streets of Mérida, you’ll soon begin noticing whimsical street signs — carved pictures of animals, household items, and people — adorning street corners. These signs pay homage to Mérida’s past when, because of the high illiteracy rate, the city government hung painted wooden signs of familiar figures so that every inhabitant could find an address.
Typically, these signs directly related to establishments or sights nearby: a pair of nuns to signal a convent, a violin to indicate an instrument maker, a bull to direct people to the Plaza de Toros (bull ring). Look around, and you’ll not only get a flavor of where things were in Mérida’s past, but also where they still might be today.
© Gary Chandler & Liza Prado from Moon Yucatán Peninsula, 9th edition