Your next top destination: Merida

México, such a vast country that will surely make your heart feel its warmth and awaken your senses.  Whether you’re looking to experience mountains, rivers, desert, forest, tropical weather, outstanding beaches, history, modern places, Mexico has it all.

It would take a whole book for me to cover my favorite places in Mexico – only the ones I’ve been to, and there’s so many on the wish list! Let me share with you one of my favorite towns in the south of Mexico, Merida. Let’s get started!

The Yucatan Peninsula is situated at the southernmost part of Mexico. It’s comprised of 3 states: Quintana Roo, Yucatán and Campeche. I’m sure you must have heard of or may have even been to Cancun, Tulum, Playa del Carmen, Bacalar and the Riviera Maya; all of them are in Quintana Roo. So, if you’re planning a vacation to Cancun or the Riviera Maya, Merida is just a mere 3 hours away.

The south of Mexico is full of history. Before the arrival of the Spanish to the Yucatan Peninsula, the name of this region was Mayab (in Mayan, ma 'ya'ab means: not many or a few). It was a very significant region for the Mayan civilization. In the 3rd century AD, the first migrants from the Petén settled in the Bacalar region, in the eastern part of the peninsula. Towards the 5th century AD, the settlers began to move towards the west of the peninsula, founding, among other cities, Chichén Itzá, Izamal, Motul, Ek Balam and Ichcaanzihóo (also known as T'Hó), now called Mérida, capital of Yucatan.

Merida is rich in cultural heritage, being a byproduct of Mayan, Spanish and African cultures. Also, during the colonial era it was influenced by the French and Lebanese with some contributions from the Dutch, Korean and Italian cultures. Merida, is renowned for its quality of life.  It also is ranked the safest city in Latin America, also one of the safest places in America.

Now, let me share with you my top 3 activities to do in Merida in 2021:
What to eat?

So many gastronomical options, not only authentic Mexican cuisine, but also Lebanese, Japanese and even French! These are my top 3 restaurant picks which I’ve experienced:

I’ve to admit, I love Mexican food in all its presentations and flavors. This restaurant has the perfect mix – a beautiful hipster vibe, a female Mexican chef, an exotic twist from your traditional recipes and lot of delicious drinks to choose from.

Kuro Uma
This place transported me to Japan – not only on top-notch decoration, but the freshness of the dishes, the expertise of the chefs and the variety of sake.

Avec amour
I grew up in Mexico although both of my parents are French – what can I say, I love tequila and red wine equally. So, when I bumped into this restaurant with both a French and a Mexican chef and owner, I had to try it! And I wasn’t disappointed at all – not only the flavor was super delicious, the love and effort put into tying all the ingredients together was exceptional.

Walking around downtown
The main downtown area where you can see the cathedral, has plenty of cute stores within a walkable distance, museums and a market at the main plaza – where you will also see the emblematic letters of the magic towns.

Since COVID some museums are still closed, but if you have the chance, visit the following:
  1. Gran museo del mundo maya
  2. Museo Casa Montejo
  3. Casa Museo Montes Molina
  4. Museo de Antropología e Historia de Merida
  5. Museo Fernando Garcia Ponce Macay
I had the opportunity to visit Fernando Garcia Ponce Macay museum which is free and you can marvel at beautiful paintings wich are updated constantly.

On the outskirts of Merida, there are beautiful and exotic places to visit too, such as old Haciendas, Cenotes, and the Mayan ruins.

Always be prepared for the crazy weather in Merida and its surroundings. I always carry a rain coat, comfortable shoes, a sun hat in my favorite Chuupul Backpack and I can’t stress how convenient it made my whole experience.