M erida, Yucatan is a hidden treasure for the art-minded traveler. Every corner turns onto a new architectural delight, every courtyard offers an oasis in which you can take refuge from the brazen sun. Merely two hours from the most popular beach destination of the last two decades, Merida boasts a rich culture deeply-rooted in Mayan history. It is recognized as the safest city in Mexico and is a tranquil respite from the clamor of day to day life and responsibilities.
From the moment you arrive in the city, the architecture captivates you. French columns, marble floors and pasta tiles abound. Vibrant colors bring historical facades to life and that still doesn’t prepare you for the magical scenery that awaits behind each doorway. Each home is unique but they all have high ceilings, intricate tile designs, and historical charm in common. The indooroutdoor lifestyle is like nothing you’ve experienced before, facilitated by large open courtyards often sprinkled with decorative columns to catch the wandering eye. The lush vegetation serves as the perfect contrast and helps to keep cool in the heat of the city.
Perhaps what makes Merida so special is the concentration of art and design. In addition to the indulgent architecture, the city serves as a sanctuary for artists, many of whom have settled in Merida after pursuing careers at premier institutions. You can find their prized art in galleries throughout the historic center. From Juan Carlos Breceda’s paintings to Melva Medina’s bronze sculptures, housed in a family-run gallery that doubles as a home to the artist’s family, their pieces surprise travelers with a glance into an aesthetic world of times past.
You can also see Merida’s unique Mayan history reflected in its cuisine. There are countless restaurants that serve traditional Yucatecan food, including the famed Museo de la Gastronomía Yucateca (Museum of Yucatecan Gastronomy) where you can observe the traditional process of uncovering an underground cooking pit referred to as a pib. However, with an ever evolving landscape the city boasts of more than just traditional cuisine. Ramiro Cocina is among the rising stars in Merida, serving modern fare rooted in diverse culinary traditions throughout Mexico. LIkewise, you can visit Ixi’im (meaning corn in a Mayan language) for a refined and delightful culinary experience situated in one of Mexico’s top rated resorts.
With so much at your disposal within the city, it will be difficult to pull yourself away, but know it will be well worth it. There are countless day trips to be made. Archeological marvels teeming with history can be found within just a couple of hours’ drive from the city. There are also thousands of nature sites such as the famed cenotes (natural underwater caves) in Yucatan. Or perhaps consider a different sort of adventure. There are day trips to interest every traveler. You can easily visit nearby towns like the yellow city of Izamal or small beach towns like Sisal, which has recently been named a new “pueblo magico” - towns recognized by the government of Mexico for their magical qualities. In Sisal, for example, you can spend the day swimming in crystal clear waters and if you’re lucky, catch a glimpse of flamingos flying over the horizon. Rest assured that like Merida, each town offers a unique and unforgettable experience.
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