Mérida is the capital, and largest city, on the Yucatán Peninsula. Mérida is also the region's vibrant cultural heart, rich in colonial history with its graceful plazas and far reaching cuisine choices, but also beating with traditional colour in the narrow streets and bustling markets. And you're close to the peninsula's ancient treasures and the beaches and resorts of Quintana Roo. It is the kind of city with something to offer every budget. The best places to stay in Mérida range from friendly hostels, elegant colonial grand dames and luxurious jungle escapes with all the trimmings.
Mérida's Plaza Grande, the historic centre, is where you'll find a lot of the little shops and cafes, but it also hosts regular markets, concerts and performances. This is also where you'll find the severe, square cathedral, the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Governor's Palace and stonework reclaimed from the ancient Mayan city Mérida was built on top of. The downtown area is also where you'll find the hostels and inexpensive restaurants, while the more boutique offerings and elegant restaurants are in the city's north.
Mérida retains a wonderful colonial feel, partly due to the jungle setting and architecture, and partly from the climate - it's tropical, so people get most of their work done in the morning, take long siestas in the afternoon and come back in the evening when the cooler breezes roll in off the Gulf of Mexico.
Nowhere is Mérida's grace and elegance more obvious than on El Paseo Montejo, a romantic street upon which to stroll of an evening. One of the other great places to be is the Plaza Grande on Sunday evenings when the whole area around is closed to traffic and there are bands and free concerts and street vendors keeping everyone sated and refreshed.
Our pick of the best places to stay in Mérida vary from boutique city centre pads to a luxury jungle retreat with all the trimmings.
Mérida (No 439 x 51 y 53 Centro)
Unlike its traditional facade, this hacienda, located in the heart of Merida is contemporary in style. There is a bar and two chlorine-free pools. Whilst only breakfast is served, you are stumbling distance from the bars and cafes of Plaza Mayor. Book early for the balcony rooms!
This lovingly restored 18th-century hacienda in the jungle is the perfect romantic hideaway. Stunning rooms and villas feature cool tile floors, tropical hardwood furnishings and private plunge pools. Lush tropical gardens, hammocks and spa complete the picture. A garden of Eden.
Colonia Centro Mérida
Uniquely themed hotel made of two converted mansions. 'Chocolate and Roses' run throughout the property, from the simple but attractive decor to the chocolate spa treatments. Also offers a luxury range of amenities such as spa, gym, restaurant, breakfast in bed and swimming pool. A quirky delight.