Welcome to Merida
When most people think about the Yucatán Peninsula, they picture white sandy beaches bordering the Caribbean Sea, known for its wild “spring break” party scene, but there’s a hidden gem that not too many people speak called Merida.
Merida is not only the capital, but the heart and soul of the Mexican state of Yucatán. Merida is all about its excellent cuisine, culture, and Mayan history. The Mayans are best-known for the classical civilizations of Mesoamerica, and the history that started in the Yucatán is still celebrated in present-day southern Mexico.
Some of the world’s most beautiful and famous sites such as Uxmal and Chichen Itza are just outside of Merida, which attracts many tourists each year. The drive from Tulum to Merida takes a little over 3 hours to get to by car, but is totally worth the drive. The Yucatán is safe for tourists and has been rated one of the safest places in Mexico for the last 12 years. Filled with traditional street festivals, and folkloric dancers this is a place that you don’t want to skip.
Where to Stay?
After the long drive, we were ready to rest and relax. We chose to stay at the Hyatt Regency Mérida, located in the Paseo Montejo district, named after Francisco de Montejo, the Spanish conquistador who founded the city in 1542. This is the main avenue of the city and is gives you quick access to downtown Merida and is about 13 minutes walking distance from the hotel. Below I’ve provided a better insight of all of the pros and cons of the hotel.
- We felt safe at the property and it was a perfect location in the city center.
- The breakfast buffet was the bomb, and was one of the more impressive buffet that I’ve seen. (Note: Even if you are a World of Hyatt member the free breakfast does not apply to this international hotel.)
- The service and friendliness of the staff inside wasn’t the best.
- The wifi connection in the room was included, but was very weak and kept going in and out.
The hotel was a little more dated than expected, but they just built a brand new NH Collection Mérida Paseo Montejo next door that’s really nice, so I would recommend checking that out.
Where to Eat?
While Mérida might not be the largest city, it was definitely a nice surprise to find several Gastropubs and top-notch restaurants throughout the city. We were originally looking for a restaurant that was hot and trendy and ended up finding GIN 47 Mixology & Kitchen Rooftop bar.
When we arrived at the restaurant, located on top of Sky City (a luxury apartment and condo building) it was closed. Fortunately, we saw that Hanaichi Merida Restaurante was right next to it, and since we were already there, we decided to give it a try.
Hanaichi Merida is an Authentic Japanese cuisine and sake bar that offers delicious food, beautiful presentation, and fresh seafood. When I posted this restaurant on my Instagram story a while back using the Merida Geotag, several people who lived in Merida asked me where this restaurant was located and was shocked to learn that this place even existed.
This restaurant is brand new, and can easily be confused with the now-closed Hamachi Restaurante Japones & Sushi House, so trying to find it online can be a little challenging. The food here was seriously so good and is now one of my favorite sushi places in Mexico hands down. Listed below are my top picks from the menu, that you should try when visiting Hanaichi.
Bartenders choice cocktail
Tempura fried Ice cream
What to see?
Like I mentioned before Merida may be on the smaller side, but it has lots of activates and events to do around the city. Below are a few places to check out during your stay!
1. Plaza Grande is Merida’s nicest plaza, located in the heart of the historic center. It’s surrounded by trees and is a peacefulness space where you can relax and even enjoy the free wifi.
2. The Paseo de Montejo has beautiful 19th century mansions that have been restored to display their magnificent architecture and vibrant colors.
3. Cenote Xlacah & Cuzuma are the closest cenotes to Merida. Xlacah is in the middle of the Dzibilchaltún ruins, and Cuzuma contains three different cenotes that you can explore.
Overall Merida is a great place to visit, especially if it’s your first time in Mexico! I hope these travel tips were helpful! See you on my next adventure!