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San Miguel de Allende San Miguel de Allende at sunset

San Miguel de Allende and Mérida make Condé Nast’s best cities lists

One city was named for the third year in a row, while the other was classified for the first time as a big city

San Miguel de Allende is the world’s best small city, and Mérida is the fourth best big one, according to readers of Condé Nast Traveler. 

The magazine announced the winners of its 35th annual Readers’ Choice Awards on Tuesday. San Miguel Allende, a colonial city in the Bajío region state of Guanajuato, was also crowned the world’s best small city in 2017, 2018, 2020 and 2021.

Mérida, the capital of Yucatán, won the same award in 2019, but appeared in the big cities list for the first time this year.

Announcing the results of its latest reader survey, Condé Nast Traveler described San Miguel de Allende – a UNESCO world heritage site since 2008 – as a “jewel” and a “hub for expat artists.”

The Homeland Monument, in downtown Merida
Mérida’s striking downtown landmark, The Homeland Monument. Mérida has been on Condé Nast Traveler’s list before, but this is the first time the publication considered it a big city. Jorge Ramírez/Unsplash

“This highland city is known for its Spanish colonial architecture and colorful facades. You could spend hours browsing the galleries and pop-up shops at Fábrica La Aurora, a former textile factory that is now home to local artisans,” the magazine said.

It also recommended the Rosewood hotel, calling it a “hidden oasis in the heart of the city,” and the restaurant Áperi, “for one of the best dining experiences in the city, full of fresh flavors from the region.”

Other small cities popular with Condé Nast Traveler readers include Oxford, United Kingdom (voted 10th best); Salzburg, Austria (5th); San Sebastián, Spain (3rd); and Victoria, Canada (2nd).

Singapore was voted the best big city ahead of Bangkok, Thailand; Tokyo, Japan; and Mérida, which has a population of about 1 million.

San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato
As one of Mexico’s earliest cities, San Miguel de Allende holds onto its original colonial charm with cobblestone streets, but it’s also got a vibrant modern arts community. Jezael Melgoza/Unsplash

“The streets of Mérida are bursting with the colorful facades of Spanish colonial architecture, but the capital of Mexico’s Yucatan state is also steeped in Mayan history,” Condé Nast Traveler said.

“Centrally located on the Yucatán Peninsula, the city is an easy day trip to UNESCO World Heritage sites, such as the ancient cities of Uxmal and Chichén Itzá, and the beaches on the Gulf shore in Progreso.”

The magazine said that locals of the ciudad blanca (white city) recommend visiting Fundación de Artistas, a nonprofit featuring art exhibits in a 19th-century home and the Gran Museo del Mundo Maya, a modern cultural museum in the city’s north.

Mérida Mayor Renán Barrera acknowledged the city’s new accolade in a social media post. “You’re great #Mérida!” he wrote on Facebook.

Gran Museo del Mundo Maya, Merida, Yucatan
Condé Nast said a suggested place to visit in Mérida is the Gran Museo del Mundo Maya, the Great Museum of the Mayan World. Shutterstock

“We’ve become the fourth best city in the world in the ‘Best Big Cities’ category … in the 2022 Readers’ Choice Awards of the Condé Nast Traveler magazine. We’re still working to be among the best tourism destinations in our country,” Barrera said.

Another Mexican award winner was Isla Holbox, which Condé Nast Traveler readers deemed to be the “top island” in North America outside the United States. The popular tourism destination is located just off the northern coast of Quintana Roo.

Isla Mujeres, located off the coast of Cancún, and Cozumel, southeast of Playa del Carmen, ranked second and fifth, respectively, in the “rest of North America” category for “top islands.”

Condé Nast Traveler readers ranked Mexico as the 36th best country in the world to travel to, with Portugal, Japan and Thailand taking the top three spots in that category.

Mexico News Daily 

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