If you go
THE BEST WAY TO MEXICO'S YUCATÁN
From LAX, nonstop and connecting service (change of plane) to Merida is offered on Aeromexico. Restricted round-trip fares begin at $388, including all taxes and fees.
To call the numbers below from the U.S., dial 011 (the international dialing code) and 52 (the country code for Mexico).
WHERE TO STAY
Hotel Casa Lucia, 474A Calle 60, Mérida; 999-928-0740, http://www.casalucia.com.mx. Opened in 2003 with 15 rooms, a pool and cafe. Doubles from about $120, including Wi-Fi and continental breakfast.
Hotel Hacienda Mérida, 439 Calle 62, Mérida; 999-924-4363, http://www.hotelhaciendamerida.com. Eight rooms and a pool, highly stylish. But parking is a block away in an unmarked lot. Doubles from $129.
The Lodge at Uxmal, Uxmal Archaeological Zone; (800) 235-4079, (no international or Mexico code necessary), http://www.mayaland.com. Several lodgings neighbor the Uxmal ruins, but this is the closest. Opened in 1997 with 40 rooms and two big pools. Doubles $175-$250 most of the year. This December, rates rise briefly to $1,000 a night or more.
The Pickled Onion, Highway 261, Santa Elena; 1-997-111-7922, http://www.thepickledonionyucatan.com. Dinner main courses up to about $7, box lunches for Uxmal visits about $6. Five cheerful rammed-earth rooms and a pool. Rates $40-$70 a night, including breakfast.
Hotel El Mesón del Marqués, 203 Calle 39, Valladolid; 985-856-2073, http://www.mesondelmarques.com. Faces the main square. 90 units. A 17th century mansion, converted in 1967. Ground-floor restaurant by courtyard. Groovy '60s pool in back. Rooms for two about $56-$70, more for suites. Free parking and Wi-Fi.
WHERE TO EAT
La Chaya Maya, 481 Calle 62, Mérida; 999-928-4780, no website. Dinners about $5-$9. Busy with tourists and locals, so arrive early to avoid a wait. I had good pork. Tortilla makers in dining room.
Pancho's restaurant, 509 Calle 59, Mérida; 999-927-0434 day, 999-923-0942 night, http://www.panchosmerida.com. Mexican comfort food for tourists, with flaming desserts. The big patio, a.k.a. the Frida Bar, is a pleasant place for a drink. Main dishes $10-$38.
Taberna de los Frailes, 236 Calle 41A, Barrio de Sisal, Valladolid; 985-856-0689, http://www.tabernadelosfrailes.com. An upscale restaurant that embodies Yucatan's dual identities: The bar is Spanish Colonial, but just beyond the palapa-topped area may be the most sophisticated version of a Mayan hut you'll ever see. Dinner main dishes $7-$37.
MexiGo Tours, 204C Calle 43, Valladolid; 985-856-0777, http://www.mexigotours.com. Escorted day trips $35-$85 a person. Also bike rentals.
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