Mérida among “Journey Mexico’s” top 5 tourist destinations
Mexico is much more than its all-inclusive resort reputation, as many towns and bustling metropolises are home to myriad cultural institutions showcasing the best of Mexican culture, arts, and culinary delights.
Zachary Rabinor, CEO of Journey Mexico, sees an uptick in custom itinerary requests for access to these communities, as travelers seek to get out of resorts and into the heartland of Mexico where its culture shines the brightest.
“Mexico offers world class opportunities for culture, wildlife, active travel, and more,” said Rabinor. “Ranking seventh in the world for UNESCO World Heritage Sites—we have 34—and with the U.S. dollar at an all-time high relative to the Mexican peso, the time to get off the beaten path in Mexico is now.”
Here, Journey Mexico’s tips for exploring five of the country’s most revered cities and towns.
For the Historian: Mérida
The capital of Mexico’s Yucatán state and home to a colonial city founded atop the ancient Mayan city of Thó, Mérida is history in the flesh, replete with elegant buildings and former homes of wealthy hacienda owners of the past.
At the convergence of several ancient civilizations, the narrow streets and shady plazas exude Old World charm as horses and cars alike traverse the cobblestone streets lined with centuries-old mansions. During a visit, stay at the aptly-named Casa Azul, just steps from Paseo de Montejo, or Casa Lecanda, a seven-room boutique hotel with perfectly restored European architecture and Spanish tiles.
To discover Mérida’s history, visit the Museo Regional Antropologia within Palacio Cantón for an anthropological exploration of Mayan culture, Museo de la Canción Yucateca for the city’s musical history, and El Gran Museo del Mundo Maya for archaeological relics from Mexico’s beginnings.
Wander the halls of the pastel-hued Palacio de Gobierno for murals depicting the Spanish takeover of the Mayans, and discover Barrio de Santiago, home to the Iglesia de Santiago Apóstol, a church known for its 17th century construction.
Before departing walk Paseo de Montejo, a historic block lined with colonial mansions and eateries, often described as the Champs-Élysées of Mérida.