Last updated: 12:52 PM ET, Wed April 06 2016

Seven Things to Do In Merida

Hotel & Resort | Fiesta Americana Hotels & Resorts | Kristina Rundquist | April 05, 2016

Seven Things to Do In Merida

PHOTO: The Fiesta Americana Merida is right in the heart of one of Mexico’s most vibrant cities. (Courtesy Fiesta Americana)

The Fiesta Americana Merida is the perfect venue from which to explore the stunning colonial city of Merida.

Steeped in a rich tradition of art, gastronomy and architecture, the city is the perfect jumping off point for visits to the nearby Mayan ruins but is worthy of a visit all its own. Here are seven ways to start your journey:

Lucas de Galvez market. Foodies and shoppers will revel in this vibrant and exhilarating Mexican market, whether they're going just to get a taste of the local color or sample for themselves some of the traditional cuisine on offer. With everything available from fruit and spices to cheese and meat, it's an experience not to be missed.

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Day Trip to Celestun: Bird lovers will want to take a day trip to the Celestun Wildlife Refuge, which has been declared a Biosphere Reserve, and is home to thousands of pink flamingos, known as Caribbean flamingos. A boat ride through a mangrove swamp will bring visitors close to numerous species of flora and fauna, including the white pelican, ocelots, jaguars and spider monkeys. A visit to Tampeten Petrified Forest and an afternoon swim at a local beach rounds out the day.

Cenote X Batun. The area around Merida has numerous cenotes, but perhaps none as pristine as this. Slightly off-the-beaten path, the cenote is known for its striking rock formations, primitive beauty and simple beauty.

The Ancient Ruins of Uxmal. Anyone interested in Mexico's pre-Columbian history will be fascinated by a trip to Uxmal, which while not as well known as Chichen Itza, is every inch as spectacular. Dating back to the 6th century, the ruins are a fine example of Puuc styles, seen in the intricate designs carved into the limestone cladding and various panels. There’s also a light show in the evenings, although be aware that the tales and legends that accompany the show are narrated in Spanish.

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Museo de Arte Popular. Art lovers won't want to miss a visit to this museum, which offers visitors a small--albeit excellent--selection of popular art. Housed in an old colonial house, the collection is divided according to style, with various rooms featuring art related to the Day of the Dead, statues, textiles, pottery and more.

Chichén Itzá. These Mayan ruins are not-to-be missed. Declared a UNESCO World Heritage site, these ruins are a stunning example of pre-Columbian Mayan civilization. Among the top attractions are the Great Ball Court known for its perfect acoustics, La Iglesia and a sacrificial cenote, and the Pyramid of Kukulcán, where each equinox shadows that appear to be a serpent project over the building.

Paseo de Montejo. Shaded on both sides by large trees, the Paseo de Montejo is one of the prettiest avenues in Merida and just a few steps from the Fiesta Americana. Lined with stately colonial home and mansions mixed with quaint restaurants and shops, it makes for a nice afternoon excursion or a leisurely stroll after siesta.


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