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Discover a different side of MexicoWith a rich cultural legacy stretching back to the ancient Mayan civilization, the Yucatán state boasts the magnificent UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Chichen Itza and Uxmal, as well as many lesser-known, but still stunning, Mayan archaeological treasures to explore. Their legacy lives on through the traditions and customs of the people of the Yucatan, many of whom still speak the Mayan language.

Spanish influences are strong here, as well. Represented by the colonial cities of Mérida, Izamal, and Valladolid, these beautiful cities are complete with historic churches and neoclassical palaces — in addition to the vibrant markets, palmy plazas, and private courtyards. Yucatán’s cities bring an old-world charm to modern-day Mexico.

The state is also a treasure trove of natural beauty, with miles of unspoiled white-sand beaches, breathtaking natural and ecological reserves such as the famous flamingo preserve at Celestun, and otherworldly cenotes and caves ornamenting the region’s lush jungle landscape.

Yucatán’s culinary delights are no less impressive, with a distinctive cuisine that blends Mayan, Spanish, Caribbean, and Middle Eastern fares. Discover unique dishes not found anywhere else in Mexico, packed with spices, such as Cochinita Pibil, a slow-roasted pork favorite, and Queso Relleno, a stuffed cheese indulgence.

Be sure not miss an overnight stay in a historic hacienda. Once the center of the state’s thriving textile industry, these former henequen plantations have been transformed into luxurious hotels offering amenities such as calming spa services, authentic restaurants, and lush tropical gardens — making the Yucatán’s romantic haciendas historic destinations in their own right.

With all of this and more, it is no wonder that visitors are increasingly choosing to bypass Cancun to make Mérida and the state of Yucatán their gateway to the magical peninsula.

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