Stay in shape :)
So if anyone is interested in doing sports while studying abroad and would like to know what Merida offers, I can ensure you there are a lot of options. All of the IFSA students live very close to each other and around the area there are various fitness studios (with your student ID you will pay between 15 and 35 Dollars per month). Actually, there are a couple of very fit host moms that will get you better deals because of their memberships. Diana, the IFSA program director, is very good at Yoga and always offers to take you with her to her Yoga classes. Recently she gave me a ride and we passed by a fitness studio that exclusively offers insanity classes. It looks pretty intense and they offer classes 6 days a week (I think about 5 times per day).
The fitness studio that I go to is called Gimnasio Damas. It’s a fitness studio for women only, which is great because Mexican man are very machistas and if you are a foreigner their eyes will follow you anywhere (nomatter what outfit you wear ).
Almost around every corner you will find Yoga studios as well as Zumba classes. If you would like to save money, then you might want to check out the free Salsa classes they offer in a park near the IFSA office (Diana will have information on that). I went there once and it was great. A lot of people of all ages and gender will join in the park and follow the dance moves of a very passionate guy who brings along his stereo system and dances for hours, non-stop. It doesn’t matter if you know how to dance because nobody is watching you. You can just go to have a good time, learn some Salsa and at the same time burn some calories.
Dancing is a part of the Mexican cultures. The Mexican children grow up moving to their parents’ cumba, salsa, merengue… beats and it seems so natural when they dance. I feel like the talent for dancing is in the Mexican genes. So while you are in Merida, you should definitely try to take some Salsa or Zumba classes! Try something new And besides if you are a girl you definitely will be asked to dance at some party and the later the night, the more likely you are to hear some nice Cumbia or Salsa tunes. And if you are a guy, well… Mexican girls seem to love American boys, but an American boy who knows how to move his hips of course has even greater chances with the ladies :p
Apart from this, the city also frequently offers marathons and provides public gymnasiums where you can go for free and use the soccer or tennis fields. Of course the UADY also offers afternoon soccer classes (probably also other sports, but I only inquired about the soccer classes).
Oh, and there are many pools around. But most host families will actually have a pool in their backyard and you will be so thankful once the hot summer months approach and you are sweating in you hammock.
So if you are very athletic – don’t worry, there are a lot of safe and clean options for you to workout in Merida.