Explore Colonial Merida to Experience the Yucatan Peninsula

There are many cities spread throughout the vast Mexican territory of today and all of them are unique and interesting in their own right. This variety of opportunity has given rise to many guided city tour options, a perfect way in which to expose travelers to local markets, experience delicious regional cuisine, unearth ancient ruins and uncover many of the urban secrets that they would normally overlook in many of these places.

Merida for example, known as the “White City” of the Yucatan, holds a very important place in Mexican history and Mayan culture and is the perfect setting for a city tour that boasts a wide range of interesting attractions.

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In particular lovers of history will find many artfully sculpted Mayan stones, that were widely used to build the Spanish colonial buildings, scattered all around downtown Merida. The Dominican Cathedral in the city center, built in the 16th century, boasts some of the most beautiful of this stonework. In fact much of Merida’s architecture that originated during the colonial period of the 16th to 19th centuries is still very well preserved, and the main avenue running through the city, Paseo de Montejo, is lined with colonial buildings such as the Palacio Canton and numerous other striking monuments.

Traditional Mexican haciendas, are also a frequently visited attraction in the city of Merida. The term “hacienda” referred to colonial estates of significant size, while smaller holdings were termed “estancias” (small farm) or “ranchos” (farm), and were owned almost exclusively by Spaniards. During the last two decades most of these haciendas have been reconstructed and converted into beautiful boutique hotels complete with restaurants and additional activities.

While you may encounter some examples of Mayan ruins on your city tour, the more spectacular options require traveling to the surrounding region. Famous ancient cities such as Chichen Itza, Kabah, Uxmal, Mayapan and even lesser known towns such as Xlapak, Dzibilchaltun and Sayil are all easily accessible as guided day trips.

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