Imagine a city that once basked in riches, a city of underground pools, a city that's transformed itself into the cultural hotspot of the Yucatan Peninsula and redefined what it means to be authentic. You must be imagining Merida, Mexico.

Merida boasts a culture born out of its fantastical history, but the city wasn't always a Mexico must-see. Built on the Mayan city of T'ho, Merida was once home to conquistadors set on ridding the area of its cultural roots. The city walled itself in (literally) to protect residents from Mayan revolts and was able to mostly halt the demolition of its culture.

What's left today? A metropolis ready to embrace the buzz of the 21st century, thoroughly framed with historical architecture. Also known as the White City — buildings were constructed of limestone — Merida housed numerous millionaires at the launch of the 20th century when residents of the area began selling the henequen plant.

Walking down Merida's lavish memory lane is ideally accessible by simply strolling through Paseo de Montejo or Plaza Grande. A tree- and mansion-lined strip, Paseo de Montejo is a stretch of historical awe, inspiring a stop-and-smell-the-roses mindset. The city's main square, Plaza Grande, is bustling and bright with museums, markets and one of the Americas' oldest cathedrals, Merida Cathedral, just across the road.

Dotted with underground pools and Mayan ruins, Merida offers adventure that's off the beaten path. Notable tourist magnets include Chichen Itza and Uxmal; both are UNESCO World Heritage sites and are driving distance from Merida. These day-trip-worthy Mayan sites host gigantic structures that are said to be the most accurate representations of the ancient culture that are around today.

A refreshing change of scenery can be found by diving or going toe by toe into a cenote. These natural, underground pools are scattered around Yucatan, where turquoise waters are enclosed by cave walls. A popular dip near Merida lies in the X'Batun cenote, complete with snorkelling and a wide array of plant life, both above and below the water.

Merida has good taste — the city has embraced age-old Yucatecan cooking, rarely straying from tradition, with dishes such as cochinita pibil and panuchos to satisfy tourists and locals alike. Merida's spread of markets, dining rooms and cafés in the city's centre will definitely inspire restaurant hopping, but choosing where to go may just be the most difficult part of your trip.

Made for the guest who wants to feel like a local from the second they get off their WestJet flight, while still having the option to embrace their wild side, Merida welcomes all that live a little outside the lines. Embrace your authenticity in Merida — it's what the city is built on.

Airport served by: MID

Destination basics

Merida's hot and humid climate leaves plenty of room for sun and only a small space for anything but. The city's warmest months lie between March and September, sporting an average high of 33 C with temperatures often rising above 38 C. The average low usually hits 21 C.

Although rain season is prominent between June and October, guests of Merida need not fret — the rain will be warm due to the city's low elevation, so vacationers should grab a pina colada and go get caught in it. Please note that tropical storms are more likely to occur during the summer months.

Average monthly temperature and average monthly rainfall diagrams for Merida

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^Total price one-way per guest. See terms and conditions. *Prices are per guest, based on double occupancy and are limited; may not reflect real-time pricing or availability. See terms and conditions.

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