Mérida is the perfect destination to absorb over a long weekend, and an ideal jumping-off point to access the gems of the region: restored haciendas, underground cenotes, Mayan ruins, and more. With daily nonstop flights from Mexico City and beyond, it’s easy to soak up the city’s vibrant street culture, beautiful vintage architecture, and the decidedly super-chill vibes.
Here is my guide to planning a weekend there:
WHERE TO STAY
Rosas & Xocolate. Our personal favorite hotel in Merida. A boutique hotel on Paseo de Montejo known for its wellness programming. Their spa treatments are incredible (massages and body scrubs with locally ground cacao) and each of their high-ceiling rooms has a private outdoor tub. Inquire Nomoon for special rates.
WHERE TO EAT
Taquería La Lupita. Grab some authentic and local eats in the Mercado de Santiago, one of the city’s best purveyors of cochinita pibil (come here early because food might sell out by 1:00 PM.) Order the lechon tortas, topped with crunchy chicharrones, and an agua de chaya, a green juice made with a wild, spinach-like green (so refreshing and delicious).
Márago Coffee. Make sure to grab an espresso here before you start your day.
Dulcería y Sorbetería Colón. No trip to Mérida is complete without a visit here. This old-school ice cream parlor, founded in 1907, offers sorbets and ice creams regional tropical flavors: soursop, mamey, coconut, mango. Try their champola, a tall sundae glass filled with the sorbet of your choice and topped with cold milk.
Hacienda Teya. The main hacienda, located just outside the city, was founded in 1683; originally known for its production of an agave used for fiber, it is now known for its traditional food and excellent cocktails. Recommend for dinner.
Time to head into the rainforest to visit Uxmal, considered by many to be the secret best Mayan archaeological site on the peninsula. Uxmal is less crowded, and personally, more impressive than the Chitzén Itzá. You can rent a car or go by taxi, bus, or tour group, but it’s just an hour drive.
After checking out the ruins, an unforgettable dip is in order. This region is scattered with the best cenotes, the natural sinkholes connected by underground rivers (there are literally hundreds). Each cenote is different: some are open-air, surrounded by sheer rock faces, while others are more like caves, requiring an underground descent and populated with bats and stalactites.
Haciendas, similarly to cenotes, are the other awesome treasures of the Yucatán. Many of them are preserved and are beautiful reminders of the region’s agricultural past. Hacienda San Pedro Ochil is a highlight — call ahead to reserve lunch and a tour the elegant grounds.
Finally, make the hour drive to Hacienda Santa Rosa, one of five haciendas around the peninsula that have been remodeled into boutique properties by the Luxury Collection.
To see my Yelp reviews on Merida, please click here.
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