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Mérida, The Yucatán Peninsula and Mexico

Flag of Mérida, Mexico


Mérida, a city of 1.2m (2023), is the vibrant capital of Yucatán (with a population of two million). It has a rich Mayan and colonial heritage, is the largest city in Yucatán and the oldest city in the Americas (founded in 1542). It was the center of the Maya civilisation and the culture is a distinctive blend of traditions inherited from ancient Maya and customs from Spanish conquistadors.


The city has two faces, the old historical center and the new modern center in the north, where also most of the big shopping malls are. The historic City center of Mérida, along with Mexico City and Havana, Cuba, offers one of the largest colonial centers in the Americas. Although Mérida is actually quite colorful, the city is also known as La Ciudad Blanca or the White City. This is mainly due to the use of white limestone.

More than three million tourists visited Mérida in 2023 - a record breaking year. What can you expect from Mérida? Colonial mansions, historic old churches, very friendly people, many festivals and lots of music, dancing, art and culture, lots of sun, excellent food, many small lively parks and markets, colorful house facades, animal parks, ancient ruins, an interesting nightlife and much more.


Make exciting day trips to ancient Mayan excavation sites, underground lagoons, old haciendas, untouched nature reserves or beautiful beaches not far away. You will find many great recommendations at "The Best Places in Mérida".

Logo of Casa Loltún, Mérida, Mexico

One of the Best Cities in the World

Mérida is the only city in the world to have twice been selected as the "American Capital of Culture" (in 2000 and in 2017). In 2021, Mérida was voted 3rd on the list of the best small cities in the world by the readers of CEOWorld Magazine. The International Citizens Group (located in the US) declares Mérida in 2022 as Second Best Place to Live in Mexico for Expats and Digital Nomads (behind Mexico City).

The mayor travel magazine "Travel and Leisure" (based in New York City, 4.8 million readers) named Mérida in 2022 "12th Best City in the World". Mérida beats out competition like Rome in Italy. In 2023, Mérida was ranked 16th in the 25 Favorite Cities in the World. "Mérida is an undiscovered gem in Mexico", one T+L reader said.

Lonely Planet is the world's largest publisher of independent travel guides (they printed over 150 million books). Every year a Top 10 list of the best countries, regions and cities is published. In 2022, Mérida is ranked 8th in Lonely Planet's "Top 10 City Destinations".


Condé Nast Traveler, the leading international traveler magazine, named Mérida "4th Best City in the World" in the 2022 Readers’ Choice Awards for the Best Big Cities (behind Singapore, Bangkok and Tokyo). The Readers' Choice Awards are the most important awards in the travel industry.

In 2022, Mérida was named the city with the highest quality of life in Mexico in the United Nations Habitat's City Prosperity Index. Forbes magazine has rated Mérida for at least three times as one of the three best cities in Mexico to live and invest, and published an article with 10 Reasons To Visit Mérida.

Logo of Casa Loltún, Mérida, Mexico

2nd Safest City in the Americas

One of the big plus points of Mérida is its comparatively high security. In fact, Mérida is considered one of the safest cities. In 2015, Mérida was certified as "International Safe Community" by the Swedish Karolinska Institute for its high level of public safety. An article in CEOWorld Magazine in 2019 came out declaring Mérida the "Safest City in Mexico", the second safest city in all of the Americas (bested only by Quebec City in Canada) and lists Mérida 21st in "The World's Safest Cities Ranking".

The well-known Financial Times stated Mérida "Safest City in Mexico" and wrote an interesting article in 2022 about the rapid development of the city. Also a similiar article in Forbes news magazine considered Mérida as safe as Europe.

Flag of Yucatán, Mexico


Yucatán (Mayan: "Land of the Maya"), is a peninsula in North America that separates the Gulf of Mexico in the north from the Caribbean Sea in the south. The northern part of Yucatán belongs to Mexico, divided into 3 states (Yucatán, Campeche, and Quintana Roo). The south of the Yucatán Peninsula belongs to Guatemala and Belize. The climate is tropical and hot. Except for a few hills in the south, the area is very flat.


There are 35 World Heritage Sites in Mexico (placing the country 7th in the world), 5 of which are located on the Yucatan Peninsula. These are Chichén Itzá (1988), Sian Ka'an (1987), Uxmal (1996), Campeche (1999) and Calakmul (2014). The award Pueblos Mágicos (Magical Towns) has been granted by the Secretariat of Tourism in Mexico since 2001 for unique folklore, a rich history or stunning natural beauty. On the Yucatán Peninsula, there are 14 Pueblo Mágicos (as of 2024):

Yucatán offers ancient Maya ruins, azure Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico waters, tropical rainforests and jungles, an estimated 10,000 cenotes (water-filled sinkholes), old colonial cities and is the home of the ancient Maya people. The cultural and recreational activities are plentiful. Yucatán is also well known thanks to it's tourism mega-destinations like Cancún, Playa del Carmen, Cozumel, Mérida, Chichén Itzá or Tulum.

The Yucatan Peninsula is considered very safe. According to the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP), the state of Yucatán on the Yucatan Peninsula has the highest peace index in México.

A massive project is currently underway: The Tren Maya is a 1,554 km railway project that will connect all major cities and regions on the Yucatán Peninsula. Construction work began in 2020 and is scheduled for completion in 2024 (the first section at the end of 2023). The rail line will then cross 29 stations in the five principal southeastern states of Chiapas, Tabasco, Campeche, Yucatán and Quintana Roo.

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Logo of Casa Loltún, Mérida, Mexico

Destination of the Year 2022

The mayor travel magazine "Travel and Leisure" named Mexico 2022 "Destination of the Year". T+L wrote "This past year, as we began taking our first steps back into the world, many of us sought destinations with a relaxed atmosphere, wide-open spaces, and plenty of sunlight. No place filled the bill quite like Mexico - but there's more to the country than breathtaking beaches and exclusive resorts..."

Mexico is the world's 13th-largest country by area with a population of almost 130 million. According to Index Mundi, Mexico City alone has almost 22 million inhabitants in the metropolitan area, making it the fifth largest city in the world.

The prehistory of Mexico stretches back millennia. Mexico is famous for its vibrant culture, beautiful beaches, rich ancient history, ancient ruins, cenotes, mariachi bands, incredible cuisine, the "day of the dead" festival, tequila, tacos and being the origin of chocolate. Mexico is a popular vacation destination, recorded a total of 51 million tourists in 2020 (before the Corona pandemic), ranking third in the world in absolute numbers.

Mexico is also one of the countries with the most protected natural areas in the world. For example, there are over 40 biosphere reserves designated by UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization).

Quite a few of them are on the Yucatan Peninsula. Cultural heritage does not end at monuments or nature reserves. In 2010, UNESCO declared Mexican cuisine an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. France was the only other country in the world to receive this honor.

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Casa Loltún Vacation Rentals

Rent a wonderful restored 19th-century colonial house or a new apartment in the historic city center of Mérida. This is an amazing opportunity for anyone looking for a unique and beautiful place to stay!

Get ready to be blown away by a unique blend of colonial heritage and modern architecture and dive straight into the vibrant life of the city!

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