Two Mexican cities ended up ranking high on Condé Nast Traveler‘s 2020 list of “The Friendliest Cities in the World:” Mérida, Yucatán, which ranked No. 3, and San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, which ranked No. 4.
The rankings were based on reader input to the publication’s annual Reader’s Choice Awards survey, which the magazine said received “an impressive” number of responses, despite 2020 being an unusual year for travel.
Readers gave subjective assessments of a city’s friendliness, focusing on where they felt welcomed as they traveled.
“Did an outgoing local go out of their way to give you directions? Was the city easy to navigate? Did you simply get good vibes from the people around you?” were questions the magazine used to obtain the rankings.
Condé Nast cited Mérida’s Mayan heritage and colonial past as part of its charm and said the inland city draws tourists seeking “a bit of a slower-paced vacation than what you’d find at the bustling all-inclusive beach resorts of Cancún and the Riviera Maya.”
“In Mérida,” it added, “travelers delight in culinary, cultural, and creative experiences — and chatting it up with the friendly locals, who have earned their city the third spot on our list.”
San Miguel de Allende, the magazine noted, had also been voted the best small city in the world in 2020 by Condé Nast‘s readers. It called the locale a “hub for expat artists.”
Citing the city’s more than 350 restaurants — ranging from five-star quality to mom-and-pop style — the publication praised the Bajío-region municipality with having “a diverse and gregarious class of locals,” yet also called it “authentically Mexican.”
Notably, Mérida and San Miguel de Allende were the only two cities in the Americas to make it in the top 10. All the others were located in Southeast Asia, Europe or Australia, as well as New Zealand, which had two cities on the list.
The top 10 cities were:
- Chiang Mai, Thailand
- Luang Prabang, Laos
- Mérida, Yucatán
- San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato
- Queenstown, New Zealand
- Auckland, New Zealand
- Galway, Ireland
- Dublin, Ireland
- Hoi An, Vietnam
- Melbourne, Australia
Source: CNN Traveler (en)