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This Charming Destination Near Cancun Is One Of The Best Destinations To Visit In 2024 According To Travel + Leisure 

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It’s no secret that the Mexican Caribbean and the larger area of the Yucatan Peninsula have no shortage of amazing vacation destinations.   

Stunning beach towns along the coast, intriguing rural destinations, and charming towns fill the entire region, making it difficult to choose where to spend your vacation time.   

One of those places is a town called Merida, and this charming destination, near Cancun, is one of the best destinations to visit in 2024, according to Travel & Leisure.   

Let’s take a look at why Merida is so special and why it’s the Yucatan destination to visit this year… 

Beautiful View of Merida, Mexico

A Place To Explore Mayan Culture 

The Yucatan Peninsula is known for its extensive collection of Mayan ruins, which are spread throughout the region. Merida is close to one of the best, Chichen Itza.   

It’s also a fantastic place to explore Mayan culture today because Mayan heritage is still present in the city.   

You’ll find touches of Mayan culture in the food, the traditions, and even the architecture.  

Chichen Itza Mayan Archeological Zone

Endless Nature Activities 

While Merida is a thriving community with city-like surroundings, you’ll also find abundant nature in and around Merida too.   

Mangroves, nature preserves, jungles, cenotes, and more are only steps away from this charming city.   

It’s the perfect place from which to explore the diverse wildlife and natural surroundings that the region is so well known for.   

Valladolid Cenote

A New Central Park 

While nature is all around Merida, you don’t have to leave town to enjoy the great outdoors when you visit.   

The town’s new “Central Park,” or Park de la Plancha, is full of green spaces, trees, bike paths, and playgrounds.   

It even has a pool, a skate park, an outdoor gym, and a lake.  Plus, the location makes it easy to explore the historic area of Merida at the same time as well. 

Park in Merida with a Mexican flag in the background and people sitting and relaxing and birds everywhere.

Charming Hotels In A Charming Destination  

If you’re looking for a change from the sprawling resorts that Cancun and other Mexican Caribbean destinations are known for, Merida is the place to be.   

Here, you’ll find charming small, boutique-style hotels, each unique in their character and identity, starting at as little as $40 a night.   

Additionally, there are several beautiful haciendas that you can stay in when visiting.  

Aerial View of Merida with a plaza and buildings in the background.

LGBTQ Friendly  

Merida is also a more progressive city to visit in a country that is generally thought of as more conservative.   

For this reason, it is very LGBTQ-friendly.   

There are several LGBTQ-friendly bars and clubs within the city, and even drag shows that take place periodically.   

Cancun Crowned Leading Beach Destination For LGBTQ+ Travelers

Close To Other Places Worth Visiting 

When you visit Merida, even though there is plenty to see and do, it’s not the only destination that you have to explore, because there are several places nearby worth visiting.   

The Magical Towns of Izamal and Valladolid is just an hour and two hours away, respectively, and have much to offer.   

Even Cancun is only 3.5 hours away, so you can visit Merida and have a beach vacation in Cancun during the same trip.   

Valladolid as the sun sets beneath the clouds

Easy Access On The Maya Train 

One of the reasons Travel & Leisure says that 2024 is the time to visit Merida is the recent inauguration of the much-anticipated Maya Train, which gives travelers easier access to the city.   

The route from Cancun to Merida is one of the most popular Maya Train routes to be inaugurated so far.   

The ticket, which can be purchased at the Maya Train website, will cost around $60 and the trip takes between 3.5 and 4 hours to get to Merida. 

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