Merida, the inland capital of Yucatan state, is a city that combines the splendor and opulence of colonial Mexico with fascinating Mesoamerican history and a flourishing contemporary art scene.
Once the weekly home of many Spanish hacienda owners, the city is rich with 19th-century architecture and palatial mansions. The main passage through the city, El Paseo de Montejo, was fashioned after the Champs-Élysées in Paris and much of the city boasts a colonial European feel.
Despite, or perhaps because of its rich history, Merida has a burgeoning contemporary design scene and is home to a number of art galleries, boutique hotels and modern restaurants. Old colonial buildings are being renovated in fresh and exciting ways putting Merida’s architecture and design well and truly on the map.
Merida is a vibrant city, so an exploration through the streets on foot or by horse-drawn carriage could easily see you stumble upon traditional music performances and dances as well as live outdoor theatre.
The regional dishes are heavily influenced by Mayan cuisine with touches of European flavor. You can sample local food anywhere from casual street-food stands to fine-dining restaurants.
Merida’s central location makes it a great hub from which to explore the surrounding area, replete with archeological sites, Spanish haciendas and natural reserves.
Merida has an entirely different feel to Cancun or Playa del Carmen. It is an authentic Mexican destination where culture, colonial history and the pre-Hispanic past combine with a modern twist.