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Merida Named The 12th Best City In The World in 2022

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The Beautiful Yucatán City Was Acknowledged By Major Magazine Travel And Leisure

Merida, the capital of Yucatan province in Mexico, has been named the 12th best city in the world according to the mayor travel magazine, Travel and Leisure. The city beat out competition from cities like Rome and Cusco.

sunset view of merida cathedral

Travel and Leisure publish their reader-voted awards annually, along with a host of other more specific lists like the best resorts in a certain region. Merida’s listing, however, is no small accolade and places it level with the tourist giant of Tokyo, which is tied with the Mexican city.

The city didn’t make the list last year but has appeared a whopping five times in the past. Although this appears to be its highest ranking. It’s also the fourth best city in Mexico if the list is used as a base for that statement. Oaxaca pulled first place this year, with San Miguel de Allende coming in second. Mexico City came in sixth.

central plaza in merida

It’s not the only accolade it received this year. Another major travel outlet, Lonely Planet, also ranked it as the eighth best place to travel this year. This one is particularly notable as it wasn’t just reader-voted. A panel of travel experts, combined with multiple conferences across the industry, decided on the list, basing the results on a combination of culture, food, history, and excitement. 

The city itself was noted by readers for its gastronomy, music, and dance. It’s a ludicrously beautiful city and has long been the cultural hub for the entire Yucatan Peninsula. It offers a different experience to towns like Cancun and Tulum, which are geared more at the beachgoers as opposed to those looking for a true feel of Mexico.

cathedral in merida

In Merida, Spanish colonial buildings dominate the architecture, and the cuisine of the region sings free from the packed international food of the hotel zones. From local snack food botanas, to panuchas packed with slow-roasted pork, and lomitos de Valladolid. You could eat a new meal every day and still not get through everything. There are usually a few restaurants with other state dishes too. For example, tacos al pastor, a Lebanese-Mexican fusion popular in Mexico City, can be found with ease here too.

local food in merida

It’s also the perfect city for tourists to base themselves when embracing their inner Indian Jones and searching for Mayan ruins. Some of the best sites in the country are a short distance from Merida, including the famous Chichen Itza, one of the wonders of the new world. Several other sites, just as impressive, lay close by, as well as some of the most stunning cenotes in the region.

central plaza in merida

Of all those sites, Uxmal shouldn’t be missed, Often overshadowed by Chichen Itza, this stunning ruined city ends up being a favorite of those who visit the more popular site and this one. Larger in scope, with a similar central pyramid, and it’s still possible to climb some of the ruins. It’s usually a lot quieter than Chichen Itza too, so if you don’t feel like fighting the crowds, maybe try Uxmal.

uxmal ruins

Merida is also home to the best museums in the region. Packed with historical findings from the Mayan civilization all the way through to the Spanish colonial period, there’s so much to learn. It’ll also put the region in perspective and give you some insight into why people are trying so hard to make sure the Maya Train doesn’t destroy any Mayan archeological sites.

traditional clothing in merida

It’s also an extremely lively city. A wander through the grand plaza is a treat for the ears as much as the eyes. Mexican jazz, salsa, and a wide array of other music types fill the air on the weekends. It’s as likely for you to get a side of salsa music as a real side of salsa.

Merida is being recognized for a reason. If you’re in Cancun, why not organize a trip to this wonderful city and get a taste of the real Mexico.  

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