Mérida in Mexico, as one hotelier Michael Berton tells me, is known among locals as “the secret city.” It does look like the city is hiding something at first glance. Its picturesque squares are full of life, but the buildings in the lanes around them are often dilapidated. There is a buzz, however, not so much on obvious display. Behind many doors though lie some of the richest ancient bounty you will find in Mexico. This charming and dreamy capital of the Yucatán is a perfect vacation spot.
On your first couple of days in Merida, walk the streets and explore, without the GPS as much as possible— this is one of the chief joys of visiting the city. Start with breakfast at Manjar Blanco, whose huevos motulenos (eggs on tortillas with black beans and cheese, often served with ham and plantains) and panuchos (refried tortillas stuffed with black beans, with various fillings) are among the most delicious you will find here—great for lunch too, and much more flavorful than the more touristy Chaya Maya.
Walk by the Parque de Santa Lucia and enjoy an upscale meal; the park showcases a handful of popular restaurants including seafood eatery Apoala and Rosa Sur 32, a Mediterraneanmeets-Yucatecan fusion joint full of delicious dishes like their fish carnitas an