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Merida, a colonial city with the charm of old Mexico

© 2004 by Bonnie McKenna
All Rights Reserved
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The areas around the ruins are rich with bird life. A birders life list will grow with the numerous migrating and residential birds to be found here year around. Be sure to bring your binoculars. Not to be missed are the haciendas. In the early 20th century, the Yucatan peninsula’s major export was the henequen fiber. Exported from the port of Sisal to make rope, mats and various other products, it became known as sisal. Once synthetic materials became cheaper and easier to manufacture the sisal industry died.

The haciendas are a reminder of the glory days of sisal production. Sisal made numerous millionaires who built impressive haciendas throughout the area around Merida. Many of the haciendas have been completely restored and now serve as exclusive hotels. Some, like the Hacienda Temozon is a part of the Starwood Luxury Collection and others like the Hacienda Xcanatun (www.xcanatun.com) is privately owned. The Hacienda Xcanatun is not far from Merida making it a perfect place to go after a day of touring for a romantic dinner. When she is in residence, the owner Christina Baker will give you a personal tour of the property.

If you enjoy being out with nature, a trip to Celestun is a must. The estuary is famous for its large flocks of flamingos that come there to feed. If you are lucky, one of the several crocodiles that call the estuary home will be out of the water enjoying the sun. The mangroves are home to many birds unique to the Yucatan peninsula. The boat excursion on the estuary and mangrove will also take visitors to a fresh water spring suitable for swimming. A great way to cool-off after a day in the sun. A trip to the Yucatan would not be complete with out a visit to one of the numerous cenotes or sinkholes that dot the peninsula. The cenotes are the only source of fresh water in the jungle. The Mayans considered them the doorways to the spiritual underworld. Today they provide a place to play and adventure.

For a romantic get away, family fun and historical adventure all can be found by visiting Merida. Merida is only one and a half hours flying time from Bush Intercontinental Airport. Call Continental Airlines (www.continental.com) for current flight information.