The drive from Merida to the Coast is a mere 3 hours on a two-lane highway, one paid and the other free. Much more fun to drive on the “libre” where fresh fruit palapas and the odd 2-room hotel dot the way. Pass through Valledolid and Coba – all possible overnights for the aficionado – and arrive in Tulum. And Tulum is special, reminding me of Bali’s Kuta or Seminyak coast – jungly, faintly hippy, relaxed and stylish in spots.
It has been many years since I have visited Merida, a city I remember fondly for its ochre reds, bouganvilea bowers and delicious food. We stayed in a wonderful old colonial house with tiled floors and high beamed ceilings. I am looking for that again in Rosas y Xocolate, where I am staying on Paseo Montejo, but find instead a highly designed hotel with charming staff and spa but, for me, lacking in the aesthetics I want Merida to have. On the prowl I come across Casa Lecanda, a recently reconstructed colonial house with simple airy loveliness. My picks for a stay in Merida are this or Casa Azul, with at least one delicious dinner and spa treatment at Rosas y Xocolate!