The Yucatan peninsula is covered in jungle and dotted with ancient ruins. Use the delightful colonial city of Mérida as a base or stay in a beautifully converted rural hacienda. The colonial centre of Merida has colourful markets selling handmade hammocks and embroidered huipils (tunics). Savour the atmosphere at a pavement cafe and listen to traditional Mexican music in a shaded park. Take a carriage ride past the mansions on the broad Paseo de Montejo, then sample delicious local cuisine, such as Cochinita Pibil, roasted pork marinated in spices and orange juice.
Discover the awe-inspiring pyramids and temples of Mayan sites such as Uxmal, Chichen Itza and Kabah or make a side-trip to the historic walled town of Campeche. Swim in a cenote, a unique freshwater sinkhole created by underground rivers or visit the mangroves of Celestun, a coastal reserve with abundant birdlife.
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Founded in 1540, Campeche is the oldest town on the Yucatan Peninsula and was a major Spanish port. Its churches, colourful houses and cobbled streets have survived relatively intact from the colonial period and the old town has been named as a Unesco world heritage site. Compared to the busier towns and cities in the region, Campeche is a quiet and less-visited colonial city
Chichen Itza is the most famous and best restored of the Yucatan’s Mayan sites. The fusion of architectural styles make the site unique, while its ball court is believed to be the finest surviving example in Mexico
Merida is the capital of the Yucatan state and it was founded in 1542 on the site of the Mayan city of Ichkansiho. In the centre of the town is the Plaza Mayor, which is surrounded by the twin towered 16th century Cathedral, the City Hall, the State Government Palace and the Casa Montejo, originally built in 1549 by the conquistador of the region and then rebuilt around 1850. Merida has many colourful markets where traditional crafts, panama hats, handmade hammock and, pleated and embroidered shirts are on sale. In the Park of the Americas there is an open-air theatre giving plays and concerts in the evenings and traditional Mexican bands play in the various plazas of the city
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