Merida itself, while beautiful in a nostalgic kind of way, is not the kind of place you would seek out as a destination. Instead it makes for a wonderful central base for traveling to different destinations in the Yucatan. The Yucatan is chock full of beautiful things. Ancient Mayan temples, cenotes, beach towns, and haciendas that remind you of the riches and wealth that once lived in Mexico. Here are some of my favorite things and places I suggest you seek out.
-Casa Lecanda is the kind of hotel that manages to transport you to a different more magical place. It's breathtakingly beautiful with the pool that am still dreaming about. The service is impeccable and the rooms are gorgeous. Why can't all hotels be this great?
-I didn't eat much (or as much as I planned on eating) in Merida since I got absurdly sick on day 2 so I rather shockingly can't discuss much of the food. But! We did eat at Olivia which is an Italian restaurant (since Merida has a strong European influence) and it was amazing (so good we ate their twice). In New York they could charge 3 times the price! The pastas were all homemade, the bread was all freshly baked, and there was a roasted red pepper sauce on the goat chesse ravioli that I am still dreaming about and plan on recreating once peppers are in season. (There was also a brocolli pesto that has me rethinking everything I ever thought about pesto.)
-The Hacienda Yaxcopoil is a breathtaking place that shows you how the wealthy once lived.
-Chichen Itza is the main draw when people visit the Yucatan. We decided to forgo it since most things we read described as a tourist trap chock full of people selling you things. The Mayapan Ruins are a much better destination, are far less crowded, and just as fascinating.
-Sotuta De Peon is a an amazing hacienda turned hotel turned tour site where you can learn about the former rope business that turned Merida into one of the wealthiest cities. It's also home to a cenote which as I've said before is like swimming in a magical underwater dream. A must visit