Yucatan and its capital Merida remain under the radar for many, making it an ideal destination for creating magical memories at every turn.
Not to be confused with the Yucatan Peninsula as a whole, Yucatan State is actually the heart of the peninsula with which it shares a name. It has also stayed somewhat undiscovered compared to its neighbouring states, but offers so much in terms of culture, history and the magic of the Mayans. Grand archeological sites, historic haciendas, sparkling cenotes, picture-perfect beaches and enough to see and do to satisfy every type of traveller can all be found here.
A natural playground
Anyone who enjoys spending time in nature will have more than enough to keep them busy in Yucatan. For starters, there are lush jungles and mangroves to explore, biosphere reserves brimming with local wildlife, as well as some of the best diving and snorkelling in the world. It’s also well worth heading underground to see a cenote. Unique to the region and filled with crystal-clear fresh water, these natural sinkholes are stunning to see, and a sacred part of Maya culture.
Memorable Moment: Don’t miss Celestun Biosphere Reserve. It’s home to more than 300 bird species, including an abundant population of vibrant pink flamingos.
Fun for the whole family in Yucatan
Merida, the captivating capital of the Yucatan, is known worldwide as one of the safest cities in the Americas. This makes it ideal for a family vacation. Kids have the chance to beach-hop, zipline, snorkel, swim in cenotes, see local wildlife and explore archeological sites.
Merida also boasts majestic colonial architecture, great food, and leafy plazas. The plazas come to life in the evening with concerts, food vendors and cultural events the whole family can enjoy.
Memorable Moment: Curious kids will love the chance to take a horse-drawn carriage ride down the main avenue of Paseo Montejo. They’ll get to know Merida in a whole new way, while hearing unique tales about the city.
Colonial charm meets luxury in the many historic haciendas dotting the region. Dating back to the 17th and 18th centuries, many of these haciendas have been transformed into beautiful boutique hotels. Elegant rooms, fine dining facilities, swimming pools and picturesque grounds combine for the ultimate romantic getaway.
Not to mention, couples have the chance to stroll secluded beaches, and indulge in couples’ spa treatments. Or, dine al fresco in Merida’s historic centre.
Memorable Moment: For something truly special, many properties, such as Hacienda Santa Rosa and Hacienda Temozon, can arrange private dinners for two complete with twinkling candles and music. From vivid green jungle surrounding ancient Mayan sites and clear blue cenotes hiding underground, to brightly painted colonial buildings and the cheerful pink flocks of flamingos, Yucatan is a colourful area of Mexico well worth discovering.
History comes alive in Yucatan
The Yucatan is ripe with opportunities to experience the rich history and culture of the region. There are 18 Maya archeological sites to explore. Chichen-Itza (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), Uxmal and Ek Balam are all worthwhile stops. Step back in time at these sprawling sites and feel the history of the Maya unfold with every step.
In addition, the historical centre of Merida is filled with the chance to experience local culture in both the Yucatecan cuisine and cultural events that take place almost daily.
Memorable Moment: Make time to see one of Yucatan’s Pueblos Mágicos (Magical Towns), named for their historical and cultural significance. Whether it be Izamal, Valladolid, Sisal or Mani, each pueblo has its own enchanting character.
Did you know?
You may be familiar with the Yucatan Peninsula as a geographical region. But did you know that it’s actually home to three separate Mexican states? The state of Yucatan lies between its neighbouring states of Campeche and Quintana Roo. These are where Cancun and the Mexican Caribbean are located.
How to get to the Yucatan
November through April, WestJet offers direct service from Toronto every Tuesday with connecting flights across Canada.
This article was sponsored by Yucatán Travel.
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