I adore Merida. While the Mayan Riviera is beautiful it is also very “touristy”. Playa Del Carmen is so much fun BUT if I was blindfolded and dropped there I could easily confuse it for the United States. It has the usual plethora of stores you’d find in your local shopping mall one right after the other. When I am in Merida I feel like I am in Mexico. It is the capital of the Yucatan and a thriving city. There is art, culture, and amazing food. Make sure you take time to stroll down the picturesc Paseo de Montejo. Paseo de Montejo is lined with colonial and turn of the century (last century) mansions. While a few remain occupied by families, it is primarily a commercial district now. While this is slightly hypocritical considering I criticized Playa Del Carmen for having too many American retailers, my very favorite Starbucks is in one of these restored mansions and I love walking down this beautiful tree lined street in the morning with my latte.
There are many museums in Merida worth visiting as well including The Gran Museo del Maya Mundo I reviewed in an earlier post. One of my favorite restaurants is a little outside of Merida in Xcanatun. It is called the Hacienda Xcanatun. Besides being a boutique inn, it houses a fabulous restaurant with a very talented pianist playing a baby grand. That very talented pianist happened to be playing Rachmaninoff’s rhapsody on a theme of Paganini eighteenth variation when I was there. I was in heaven! The Hacienda Xcanatun is somewhat upscale and not where I would send someone with a high energy preschooler.
For the high energy preschooler, I would recommend Los Trompos. Los Trompos is a chain and they are all over Merida but they are really good. Make sure to get both flour and corn tortillas so you can compare and see which you prefer. Another added bonus to Los Trompos is some locations have indoor supervised playgrounds with activities. When we ate at Los Trompos we had eight kids with us, five through fifteen years old and all the rest in between. They all had fun in the kid area. For dinner or lunch I am really fond of Habaneros. They make custom salsa for your table and my children enjoyed watching them make the tortillas from scratch. The food is authentic Yucatecan and very delicious. It is casual and nice for the entire family. One of my favorite breakfast spots in Merida is Bistro Cultural. Their breakfast sandwiches are seriously yummy. Bistro Cultural is very rustic. It has fun art and is a great place to linger.
The address for Bistro Cultural:
Esquina con calle 43, Calle 66 377 c, Centro, 97000 Mérida, Yucatán, Mexico
My Favorite Starbucks