After 30 years in the planning, a 50-acre former railyard in Merida is taking on a new life as the city’s very own ‘central park’ for both locals and visitors to enjoy.
A Destination Central Park
Modeled after large central parks in New York and Mexico City, the new La Plancha Park in Merida is a tourist attraction on its own.
$1.3 billion Mexican pesos (or $75 million dollars) later, the park is open and ready for everyone to enjoy. The park hosts two museums, a 5,000-seat amphitheater, a modern-design food court, fountains, trendy reused train car attractions, an elevated walkway and even a skate park.
It had everything that makes for a great tourist attraction in the Mexican Caribbean minus one feature. It was planned to connect the central park conveniently to the new Tren Maya service in Merida. However, that will not happen. Due to the routing of the train, Teya, the closest station, will end up being approximately seven miles away from the new destination park.
Nonetheless, the new central park, which was actually slated to open in October 2024 is now ready to delight tourists to this emerging travel hotspot.
@mauvila_ Después de muchos años, cumplimos el sueño de muchos de nosotros los yucatecos; Prometimos y cumplimos, hoy tenemos el mejor parque de todo #México. #merida #yucatan #parque #yucatecos #fyp #parati #paratiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii #foryoupage #yucatanmexico ♬ sonido original – Mauricio Vila
The Story of Mejorada
Initially, the area was the Maya neighborhood called Mejorada. It hosted a number of traditional Mayan houses in the area. However, when the train arrived in the area in the 1920s, that was all gone, and the area was converted to a large railyard.
The railyard fell into decay, and the last use of the largest parcel of land near the centro of Merida was actually a Shakira concert back in 2011. However, the railway station remains today as a reminder of the past history of Mejorada.
For more than 30 years, the residents surrounding the plot of land wanted to turn the eyesore into something both locals and travelers to the area could enjoy. That led to the development of the central park area with features to attract Merida visitors.
Plans were created, and local officials started cleaning up the railyard site until it all ended back in 2018. Nothing really progressed during the pandemic until September 2022 when they announced an October 2024 grand opening date for the new central park.
Only 14 months later, in November 2023, the new attraction debuted for locals and visitors to enjoy themselves.
What Travelers Need to Know
The new La Plancha park and tourist attractions takes up several city blocks near the centro of Merida. The location is north of the historic former train station on Calle 55 between Calle 46 and Calle 48.
It conveniently links to another tourist attraction in the area, the Calle 47 Gastronomic Corridor which crosses Calle 48.
Travelers wanting to visit the park from the Tren Maya station should exit at the Teya station and take transportation seven miles to the La Plancha park. Visitors can then also enjoy the nearby Gastronomic Corridor by walking a short distance from the park.
The La Plancha park is the latest in the evolution of Merida from a northern Yucatan local town into a tourist hotspot for travelers from all over the world.
Added features such as the new park and the Gastronomic corridor are reshaping the community to be a modern tourist destination that also embraces its traditional Mexican cultural heritage.
Mexican airlines have also “discovered” Merida, recently launching nonstop flights from airports in the United States. Aeromexico Connect will restart nonstop service from Atlanta in March and VivaAerobus launches new service from Orlando and Miami in July.
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