Urban Escapes: Mérida

In Magical Towns by Suzanne Koch

There’s magic in every corner of Mexico. Here, we dive into Mérida with an in-the-know local to discover the city’s hidden gems and must-visit destinations.

Capital of Yucatán, Mérida is full of colonial history and Mayan ruins. Just 35 minutes away from the city, the wellness destination Chablé Resort & Spa is nestled into the Mayan jungle channeling the best of the magical region. Here, Rocco Bova, General Manager of Chablé gives us the inside scoop to Mérida’s best finds.

What makes Merida unique from other cities on the Yucatan Peninsula?

It has an authentic colonial feel and is not overcrowded by tourists. Mérida’s main Plaza Grande looks and feels like you stepped back in time and seeing many Yucatecan families walking and enjoying their time together is a joy to watch.

What’s your idea of a perfect day in Merida?

Breakfast at Yucatán Country Club, the best golf club in Yucatán, followed by a stroll at Mercado San Benito to experience the smells, sounds and shopping of the locals. Then, ice cream at The Colon, the oldest ice cream shop in Mérida, for a little break. Lunch at La Pigua, possibly the best seafood restaurant in town serving the freshest and most typical ‘’platillos’’ from the Yucatán peninsula. Visit the Dzibilchaltún Mayan ruins for sunset and if you are in the mood, swim in its cenote. Dinner at Néctar, in my opinion, is the best dining experience…outside of Chablé of course.

Where is the best place to get a true “taste” of Merida?

My favorite place is a little street restaurant in Chichen Itza (yes, near the famous Maya pyramids) called Loncheria Fabiola. It is a little outside of Merida, but not too far.

What are some of the best archaeological sites to visit?

My favorite is Dzibilchaltún. It’s a low-key site with a small pyramid. The ruins are not in the greatest shape, but it’s the only one with a cenote that you can swim in. It also has a museum full of great finds. Most importantly, there are no vendors and very few tourists. During the equinox you can see the sun shining right through the door on the top of the temple.

After a long day exploring in town, what spa treatment at Chablé Spa do you recommend for unwinding?

The Mayan Herbal Compress Massage will totally relax and soothe you after a long day of discovering one of the most authentic Mexican cities.

Drink Up: Chablé Resort hosts the world’s largest tequila collection.


Photo: Kenny Viese Photography

This story originally appeared in the 2019 Spring/Summer issue of InMexico Magazine.

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