Built more than 450 years ago on the site of T'ho, an ancient Mayan city, Merida is the social and economic centre, as well as the capital, of the state of Yucatan and a delightful base from which to explore the most famous of Mexico's Mayan sites. Merida's downtown area features a large, tree-shaded central square. The city's main boulevard, Paseo Montejo, is home to impressive European-style mansions whose pastel shades and elaborate trim are reminiscent of lavishly iced wedding cakes.
Though a bustling city of about 700,000, Merida retains its colonial charm and has a laid-back tempo that delights visitors. It makes a good base from which to explore the Mayan archaeological sites of Chichen-Itza and Uxmal. Pink flamingo sanctuaries and swimmable crystal-clear cenotes (sinkholes) are some of the natural attractions of the Yucatan Peninsula that are also easily accessible from Merida.
For a stylish and memorable stay from which to explore the region, we would recommend one of the beautifully converted haciendas, complete with elegant rooms, sumptuous dining facilities, swimming pools and magnificent grounds. Dating back to the 18th and 19th centuries, these elegant and historic properties offer an authentic experience as so much care has gone into their restoration.
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