merida and campeche An ideal mix-and-match of historical heyday with classical haciendas and its status as an up-to-the-minute travel hotspot, makes the Yucatan all the more special for travelers. Merida’s Hacienda Xcanatun is as lofty a representation of the past and present glory of the region as any other, thanks to gorgeous rooms and suites, splendid gardens and a spa led by a Mayan therapist. The elegant hacienda—which was built in the 18th century—also offers local excursions to nearby cenotes, archaeological sites or to beautiful Merida to visit its mansions and take carriage rides along the stately Paseo Montejo or shop for regional delicacies and crafts. Another standout in Xcanatun: the award-winning Casa de Piedra Restaurant. Rates start at $265 per room, per night beginning on Jan. 7. There’s also a Girlfriend’s Getaway good through Dec. 15 that starts at $615 pp dbl for a 3-night stay in a deluxe suite and includes daily breakfast, a 3-course dinner and a massage for each, plus transfers from and to Merida’s airport.
For those who want to conquer “mildly” uncharted territory, the least explored region of the Yucatan is perhaps one that still holds the most secrets for visitors. There’s still time to book the 7-night Discover Campeche from Tia Stephanie Tours, departing on Dec. 11 and exploring sites such as Chicanna, Ixpujil and Becan. There’s also a visit to Calakmul, one of the top Mayan centers in Mexico, and its accompanying bio-reserve, home to toucans, howler monkeys and many other species. Travelers also spend time in the city of Campeche to enjoy its colonial splendor and the Fort of San Miguel.
Travel Impressions offers a lofty stay with reduced rates at Presidente InterContinental Villa Mercedes Merida if you book by April 24, or at Ceiba del Mar Spa Resort in Puerto Morelos.