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Maps of Mexico, Merida and Yucatan

30 July 2008 Destinations 16

After many years of living on the planet, it's obvious to us that maps can both clarify and obfuscate. There's nothing more frustrating than an out of date map, but newcomers need them... we noticed when we first traveled here that we spent a lot of time with our maps. Now that we have lived here for a while, we use maps more as a "rule of thumb" when driving through the Yucatan countryside. The magic of traveling in the Yucatan is easier to find when the maps are left folded up in the back seat.

It used to be that there wasn't much in the way of maps here. When we left California to drive to the Yucatan (it took us ten days of driving from 8 am until dark), we took with us very detailed guides that had been given to us by the company that sold us Mexican car insurance. These guides laid out routes (Guanajuato to Mexico City, for instance, or San Miguel Allende to Puebla). And they told you every single turn you needed to make at every single tree or gas station. The guide told you where the signs were or were not. But while these guides were thorough, they were not always accurate because even then, things were changing rapidly.

When we finally arrived in Merida, we were given a large map with all the place names of every little pueblito in Yucatan. We were told this was a very precious document, and if we wanted another, we'd have to go to the INEGI office, something local Yucatecos seemed to know how to do but very few gringos had yet accomplished.

Then maps started showing up more often in the local Dante bookstores. Good maps, then better maps. We "discovered" the Guia Roji for driving anywhere in Mexico. Guia Roji is published yearly as an 8x10 book. It is only sold in Mexico, but it is sold in many places. We've seen them in Dante Bookstores, Sanborn's and WalMart. Guia Roji also has a comprehensive website, with both paper maps and maps on CD for sale. With the most recent Guia Roji, you can drive anywhere in Mexico with assurance. But don't think last year's Guia Roji will give you the same warm fuzzies. Mexican roads are being built at a rapid rate, and it helps to have the newest information. This is *especially* true in the Yucatan, where the local government has prided itself on the kilometers of new road it has laid down every year for the last few years, and has erected billboards to tell us about it.

When maps started showing up as useful tools on the Internet, those of us who lived here were disappointed to find that none of them included the Yucatan (or much of Mexico for that matter). It didn't surprise us and we wrote off the whole idea of Internet maps. When Google Earth was launched, Merida was a big white blur.

But in the last few years, Merida has started to show up very nicely, thank you very much. Google Earth now has high resolution photos with street overlays of Merida. And just like that out of the blue, MapQuest had all of Merida completely mapped! What a find! No longer does anyone have to rely on outdated maps of this area. We now have the same tools available to us as anyone in New York City or Paris.

So when it comes to the Internet, we can say Merida is finally on the map!

Comments

  • Working Gringos 9 months ago

    Paolo, you should be able to get a good map at one of the newstands on the Plaza Grande, on Calle 61 between 60 and 62. You can also get maps at Dante bookstores.

  • Paolo 9 months ago

    I just arrived in Merida yesterday. I'm badly in need of a map of the city; and also of the surrounding area so I can drive out to the ruins and maybe to Progreso. I'm staying near Calle 55, not far from the Plaza. Any idea where I can get a good map? Thank you. Paolo

  • mark stuart 6 years ago

    Quick Question, Anyone aware of where U.S. counsulate to Yucatan is located and is there still a guy with the last name Keiswetter in office, plan on visit to Cancun Thanksgiving week and plan to look up,( he's a cousin )
    THANKS

  • CasiYucateco 6 years ago

    A Dante bookstore or a Sanborns (cross between a drug store and bookstore + music + televisions + cellphones + cameras) will have maps. Any taxi driver should know where those places are. They are common names in Mexico.

  • Margarita Lacabe 6 years ago

    Anyone know of where in Cancun I could buy or find a map of the Yucatan? I'm somewhat afraid that if I order one online it won't arrive in time for my trip.

    Thanks!

  • CasiYucateco 6 years ago

    Hey Jeff, Thank you for the link! Really cool maps!

  • Jeff 6 years ago

    Hola CasiYucateco and other map freaks,

    I was just browsing on the US Library of Congress website and they have a collection of old maps that you can view online. My search did not return any results for Merida, but there were 20 items for 'Yucatan'. Here is the link to the map collection page - http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/browse/ListSome.php?category=Maps .

    Enjoy,
    -Jeff

  • Mark Walker 7 years ago

    We have a several choices of GPS maps for the Yucatan and all of Mexico.

  • Beryl Gorbman 7 years ago

    What I'm waiting for is a downloadable interactive Yucatan map program for our GPS. My husband found a map of the area to download, but alas, the dominatrix of the GPS remains silent. You can't request directions to a destination - it's just a map. If anyone knows different, I'd love to hear about it. We have a Garmin GPS.

  • Working Gringos 7 years ago

    A few people have written to us to say:

    - Guia Roji is now available through Amazon (good to know!)

    and

    -the maps in Yucatan Today are very handy for navigating around Merida and the surrounding Peninsula (thank you Judy!)

    Duly noted.

  • Karen Ferguson 7 years ago

    Love this article. I, too, am a "map freak." It was most helpful as I'd never heard of the "Guia Roji" map. Chris will love it.

    The banner of pictures rocks!! I love being entertained and educated at the same time. You all do it so well!!
    Thanks so much.
    Abrasitos.
    Karen

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