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 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.
Chichen Itza & Uxmal
No trip to Mexico would be complete without visiting the major Mayan sites of Chichen Itza and Uxmal, which offer a fantastic glimpse into this ancient Mesoamerican civilisation. While Europe was still in the Dark Ages, the Mayans had mapped the heavens, evolved the only true writing system native to the Americas and were masters of mathematics, inventing the calendars we use today. Without metal tools, beasts of burden or even the wheel they were able to construct vast cities across a huge jungle landscape.
Chichen Itza and Uxmal can be visited from just about anywhere from the popular Riviera Maya coastal hotels or the Merida area in a few hours. Stay overnight at one of the hotels near to the sites, or we can organise a tour for you with private transfers and archaeological specialist guides from any city or coastal resort in the Yucatan.
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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