Mérida is a great city to call home, but even those of us who love it the most sometimes get bogged down by things like traffic and the city’s constant hustle and bustle.
Fortunately, Mérida has several wonderful getaways to escape the craziness of urban life and relax. One such place is the Aquapaque in Vergel, a neighborhood in the city’s east.
Though the body of water at this lovely park appears at first glance to be natural, it is actually the result of limestone quarrying from roughly 30 years ago.
After the large quarry was abandoned it began to flood and attract several species of birds not commonly seen in the city, especially water birds. At the time, residents feared that without maintenance, the stagnant water of the flooded quarry would become a hotspot for mosquito reproduction.
Residents of the area petitioned the state government to address the issue, and ultimately in 1997, it was decided that the quarry would become a city park. City Hall got to work and planted hundreds of large trees for shade. They also constructed a series of paths that would become popular with joggers.
The park has also become a popular spot for dog walking. Just remember to pick up after your pups and keep them on a leash at all times.
Today the park is popular with residents of Mérida’s southeast, as well as birders, but remains unknown to many residents.
The best time to visit Mérida’s Aquaparque is early in the morning when the heat is at its lowest and the birds begin to come out for breakfast.
The city has also built a series of small pools on the property for children, but these have been closed to the public since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Entrance to Mérida’s Aquaparque is free and open 24 hours every day of the week. The park has groundskeepers but it’s perhaps wise to not visit too late at night.
So put on some comfortable shoes, dust off your binoculars and camera, and start exploring.