THE BEST WAY TO THE YUCATÁN PENINSULA, MEXICO
From LAX, nonstop service to Cancún is offered on Delta, United and Virgin America; connecting service (change of plane) is offered on American, United, Aeromexico, US Airways and Delta. Restricted round-trip fares begin at $755, including all taxes and fees.
Buses are inexpensive and convenient to major destinations. There are three classes of service: executive, deluxe and first class. All are clean, comfortable and offer on-board bathrooms. The ride from the Cancún airport to Mérida takes a little more than four hours and costs $17-$28. The trip from Cancún airport to Playa del Carmen takes about one hour and costs $10.
To call the numbers below from the U.S., dial 011 (the international dialing code), 52 (country code for Mexico), the area code and the local number.
WHERE TO STAY
El Pez Boutique Hotel, Carretera Tulum-Boca Paila, Tulum; 1-984-115-4728 (reservations), http://www.tulumhotelpez.com. Charming rooms steps from the beach. Doubles in low season, $215-$315; high season: $595-$710. Includes breakfast.
Casa Marlene, 193 Calle 39, Valladolid; 985-856-0499, casatiamicha.wix.com/casatiamicha (scroll down for info on Casa Marlene). Boutique hotel just a few doors from sister hotel Casa Tía Micha. Outside dining by lovely courtyard. Friendly staff. Doubles from $112 a night, including breakfast.
Hotel Mérida Santiago, 499 Calle 74A, Mérida; 999-285-4447, http://www.hotelmeridasantiago.com. Cozy boutique hotel near Parque Santiago. Doubles from $95 a night; includes breakfast and a complimentary drink at happy hour.
Villa Verde, 468 Calle 56, Mérida, Mexico; (614) 500-7118 (U.S. number, so do not use international dialing protocol), http://www.villaverdemerida.com. Classic courtyard-style boutique hotel in great central location. Doubles from $110; includes breakfast and a complimentary drink at happy hour.
WHERE TO EAT
Restaurare, Carretera Tulum-Boca Paila, Tulum; 984-168-1282, http://www.facebook.com/restauraretulum. Vegan cuisine made with regional ingredients. Tree-shaded outdoor dining. Dishes $7.50-$12.
Yerba Buena del Sisal, 217 Calle 54A, Valladolid; 985-856-1406. Soups, sandwiches, egg dishes, Oaxacan specialties. Attractive outdoor patio. Entrees $2.60-$5.20.
La Reina de Itzalana, Mercado Santiago, Calle 57, Mérida; 999-928-5796. Known for its sopa de lima, or lime soup, and panuchos, Yucatecan appetizers. One of several cocinas económicas in Parque Santiago across from the Apolo movie theater. Dishes from $2-$4.
Botella Verde, Parque de Santa Lucia, 471 Calle 60, Mérida; 999-923-1104. Tapas, inventive Yucatecan cuisine, vegetarian options. Dishes $3.30-$6.
Nectar, Avenida A, Plaza Jardín, Mérida; (999) 938-0838, http://www.nectarmerida.com.mx. Upscale, updated Yucatecan cuisine focusing on regional ingredients. Well-known to local foodies. Entrees $12-$25.
TO LEARN MORE
Mexican Tourism Board, 1880 Century Park East, Suite 511, Los Angeles; (800) 446-3942, http://www.visitmexico.com.