Merida, Mexico

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Mérida, the vibrant capital of the Mexican state of Yucatán, has a rich Mayan and colonial heritage. The city’s focal point is Plaza de la Independencia, bordered by the fortresslike Mérida Cathedral and white limestone Iglesia de la Tercera Orden, both colonial-era churches built using relics from ancient Mayan temples. The Casa de Montejo, a 16th-century mansion, is a landmark of colonial plateresque architecture.

Near the plaza, the Museo Fernando García Ponce-Macay showcases contemporary Yucatecán art, while the Museo de la Ciudad chronicles regional history. Beyond the historic center, Mérida’s Paseo de Montejo is a fashionable, leafy boulevard lined with restaurants, nightclubs and hotels in 19th-century mansions. One of these mansions, the beaux arts, pastel-colored Palacio Cantón, contains the Regional Anthropology Museum. Just outside town, the modern Gran Museo del Mundo Maya celebrates the region’s Mayan history. Throughout the city, pre-Columbian spices like achiote are featured prominently in the local cuisine.

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