A rare pedestrian street in the Centro Histórico is crowded with holiday shoppers. Photo: Sipse

Mérida, Yucatán — Over the weekend, up to 8,300 people an hour arrived at the Historic Center to do their Christmas shopping, city police calculate.

The institution in charge of monitoring the streets estimates a total pilgrimage of 300,000 people on Saturday and Sunday. They have no reason to believe the crowds will diminish as Christmas Eve approaches.

Municipal Police Capt. Mario Arturo Romero Escalante said that this time of year, the Centro Histórico, particularly the blocks south and east of the Plaza Grande, attract bargain shoppers from miles around, even from neighboring states.

Malls in the north of the city, where prices are higher, get nowhere near the volume of foot traffic enjoyed by merchants in the Centro.

Clothing and electronics are popular gift items in the crowded shopping district, where street vendors compete with stores of all sizes for customers.

The many narrow streets that comprise the Centro’s shopping district are typically crowded. When school lets out for the year, a similarly chaotic scene emerges.

Even on an average shopping day, up to 250,000 cars drive through the historic center, police estimate. Lines for public buses often stretch down city blocks as pedestrians conclude their shopping.

Source: Sipse, archives