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Merida is the cultural capital of western Yucatan. Expect a high concentration of boutique hotels, art galleries, shops, cafes and restaurants along the streets that line the center of town.

The city is more than a blend of Spanish and indigenous cultural roots — there’s a serious French influence on the town’s layout and style. We recommend hopping on a walking tour. For a glimpse of Merida’s ancient past, check out the Mayan World Museum of Merida.

Sample local Yucatecan food like papadzules (tortillas, eggs and pipian sauce), pavo relleno negro (shredded turkey in a rich charred chili sauce) and cochinita pibil (a wildly spiced shredded pork).

If you need a beach break, head to Progreso, an hour north of Merida. You’ll also find that Merida is well set up for day trips to archaeological sites like Chichen Itza and Coba, or colonial towns like Valladolid.


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