Founded in 1542 by Francisco de Montejo, the White City, is a worthy example of how the most rooted traditions and customs can blend with the dynamism of a city in an outstanding growth, without losing that warm and hospitable spirit that characterizes its people. Its eclectic architecture is one of the many proofs of its syncretism that defines its identity: from Mayan constructions on which temples, palaces and colonial residences were built all the way to the regal henequen-producing haciendas and the French Neo-classic style of the stately houses built on Paseo de Montejo during the Porfiriato. Must visit: Downtown (enjoy walking in the area or a ride on a calandria profiting from the tour all the way to Paseo de Montejo) and in this area the Cathedral, the Main Plaza and Casa Montejo; José Peón Contreras Theater (monumental Carrara marble staircase); Mérida Theater (important art-deco style cultural forum) Cantón Palace (Regional Anthropology Museum of Yucatan); Popular Art National Museum. Fine arts and crafts, particularly textile (hand-woven huipiles; linen guayaberas). Its gastronomy is a world reference among sybarite palates by combining flavors, colors, and textures, with a valuable history (in addition to traditional dishes –cochinita pibil, lime soup, motuleños style eggs, pibil chicken, Poc-Chuc, papadzules, beans with pork, salbutes– exotic dishes based on pheasant, deer or wild boar seasoned with achiote are also noteworthy; without overlooking the Xtabentún, typical liquor of sweet anise and honey). The night atmosphere is romantic and bohemian where the classical Yucatan trova is present and the cheerful bombas. Excellent golf courses (El Jaguar, Club de Golf de Yucatán, La Ceiba, Flamingo Lakes). Spas that preserve the Mayan healing techniques and herb knowledge. Mérida is also a strategic point to access the peninsula’s most fascinating attractions (archaeological sites, natural reserves, beaches, ex haciendas). Must visit: Chichén Itzá, Ek Balám, Acanceh, Uxmal, Oxkintok, Dzibilchaltún, (all of them outstanding Mayan remains); Puerto Progreso and Puerto Telchac (beaches, water sports); Izamal
(Magical Pueblo); the sink holes at Xlacah, Kambul, Bolonchoojol, Chelentún, Chak-Zinik-Che, San Ignacio (speleo-diving, must); Actun Spukil, Aktún Usil, Loltún (fantastic caverns with petroglyphs and stalactites); Celestún Biosphere Reserve (pink flamingo watching, a unique sight); Dzilam de Bravo, Yucalpetén (fishing).
TO SLEEP MERIDA
• Casa Azul
Boutique hotel in a French-style house, decorated with antiquities in the middle of Downtown. It only has eight rooms. Ideal for those looking for tranquility and privacy, since only the guests are allowed in.
Calle 60 N° 343, between 35 y 37. Centro.
Tel: (01-999) 925 5016.
• Hacienda Xcanatún
A restored hacienda of the 18th century transformed into a peaceful boutique hotel. Ideal for relaxing. Pool, spa; beautiful gardens. Very good restaurant (Casa de Piedra).
Calle 20 S/N. Comisaría Xcanatún. Km. 12 Carretera Mérida-Progreso.
Tel: (01-999) 930 2140.
• Hotel Presidente InterContinental
Convenient location. Good cost-benefit. Option for business travellers and families. Pool, gym.
Av. Colón 500. Centro.
Tel: (01-999) 942 9000. 01-800 000 6633
• Rosas & Xocolate
Well-located boutique hotel in what used to be two old houses. Fourteen rooms and three suites. Attentive and cozy service. Pool, spa, gym. Good evolution cuisine restaurant.
Paseo de Montejo 480 y Calle 41. Centro. Tel: (01-999) 924 2992.
• The Villa Mérida
Noble Yucatán mansion of the 19th century transformed into a cozy boutique hotel. Seven pleasant rooms. Pool.
Calle 59 N° 615-A, entre 80 y 82. Centro. Tel: (01-999) 928 8466.
TO EAT MERIDA
Artisan Italian cuisine.
Cozy and romantic. Visited by the top of the top in the city. Genuine Bolognese home cooking using a wood fire oven under the lead of Chef and owner Paolo Siciliano. Garden with a palapa for smokers. Private room. Ideal for business lunches and dinners, or for couples.
Tris (trio of home-made pastas); Boscaiola beef steak; Gamberi alla marinara.
Calle 21 N°117-A, between 24 y 28. Col. Itzimná.
Tel: (01-999) 927 4410.
• El Príncipe Tutul-Xiu
Traditional Yucatan cuisine.
Typical place that represents the legendary local gastronomy. Ideal for families, business or special occasions.
Lime soup; Poc Chuc; Relleno negro (black filling).
Calle 123 N° 216, entre 46-A y 46-B. Fracc. Brisas del Sur.
Tel: (01-999) 929 7721.
• Ek Chuah
Inside the hip boutique hotel Rosas & Xocolate. Original proposal worth trying. Ideal for couples or special occasions.
Aguachile; Duck; Ceviche.
Paseo de Montejo 480 and Calle 41. Centro.
Tel: (01-999) 924 2992.
• Hacienda Teya
Typical Yucatan cuisine.
Inside an henequen ex hacienda, surrounded by gardens. One of the most traditional places to try the regional cuisine. Banquet service. Ideal for large groups, business or with friends.
Lime soup; Papadzules; Relleno negro (black filling).
Km. 12.5 Carretera Mérida-Cancún.
Tel: (01-999) 988 0800.
• La Chaya Maya
Small and popular place; always full of guests. Sometimes it tends to be touristic. Ideal for breakfasts, lunches or informal dinners. Tasty hand-made tortillas.
Cochinita pibil; Tikin xic; Yucatan tradition (portions of several typical dishes).
Calle 62 N° 481, between 57 y 59. Centro.
Tel: (01-999) 928 4780.
• La Pigua
Campeche style seafood and fish.
Warm, simple popular place. The good seasoning in its dishes stands out throughout time. Ideal for every occasion.
Tostadas; Crab legs; Seafood or dogfish soup.
Avenida Cupules and Calle 62. Centro. Tel. (01-999) 920 3605.
• La Recova
Trendy, contemporary and spacious top quality place. Quick and friendly service. Generous portions. Terrace for smokers.
Tuna tartar; Meat cuts.
Prol. Paseo de Montejo N° 382, between 33 y 35. Col Montes de Ame.
Tel: (01-999) 944 0215.
• La Reina de Montejo
Typical Yucatán cuisine.
Symbolic place in Mérida right on Paseo de Montejo. Ideal for every occasion.
Trolebús (drink made with ice frappe with different flavors); Snacks.
Paseo de Montejo 469 and Av. 35. Centro.
Tel: (01-999) 945 7831.
• La Tratto
In a fresh and contemporary atmosphere. Outdoor terrace. Ideal for a casual outing with friends or businesses.
Four-cheese pizza; Tuna tartar.
Paseo de Montejo 479-C, between 17 y 19. Col. Buenavista.
Tel: (01-999) 927 0434.
• Local 3
Mexican contemporary cuisine.
Creative proposal under the lead of Chef and owner Raúl Ramírez. Ideal for couples or friends who are looking for a different experience.
Pork loin; Pistachio cream.
Av. Prolongación Paseo de Montejo 454-B. (Plaza Arboleda). Col. Itzimná.
Tel: (01-999) 927 9196.
• Los Almendros
Traditional Yucatán cuisine.
An institution in Mérida, although some consider it inconsistent. Ideal for tourists.
Salbutes; Panuchos; Papadzules.
Calle 50 N° 493, between 57 y 59. Centro. Tel: (01-999) 923 5459.
• Muelle 8
Fresh quality seafood in a relaxed atmosphere. Ideal for business.
Shrimp cocktail; Carpaccios.
Calle 21 N° 142, between 30 y 32. Col. Buenavista.
Tel: (01-999) 944 4353.
Evolution Yucatan cuisine.
Chef Roberto Solís is in charge; he goes out of his way to reach his goal: placing Yucatan cuisine among the best in the world and achieving international recognition. Ideal for a different gourmet experience.
Calle 21 N° 412. Int. 1, between 6 y 8. Col. Díaz Ordaz.
Tel: (01-999) 938 0838.
Assertive and cozy Greek-Italian blend, where the wood fire oven plays an important role. Terrace for smokers. Ideal with friends in a relaxed outing.
Greek dip; Greek salad; Wood fire pizzas.
Calle 62 N° 366, between 41 y 43. Centro. Tel: (01-999) 286 1028.
Steaks and seafood.
º Yucatan style bistro with a contemporary menu and a good atmosphere. One of the best in its kind in Mérida. Assorted wine list. Ideal for friends, special occasions.
Pork leg; Chaya dip; Meat cuts.
Circuito Colonias 134, between Paseo de Montejo y 60 Norte. Col. Buenavista.
Tel: (01-999) 927 2320.