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Amid rising demand for international travel, Mexico continues to rise in popularity, easily claiming the place of the most visited country among americans.
Despite their love for Mexico, with its laid-back atmosphere and incredible culture, one of the things that lingers in the back of American vacationers’ minds is security. After all, Mexico is repeatedly portrayed in the media as a place where crime occurs regularly and gang activity is rampant.
Most of these claims are unfoundedas anyone who has been south of the border will know, but there are are regions of Mexico where more caution is urged, as in any other country, and where we could argue that tourism should be discouraged.
luckily there is other parts where security risks are minimal, and tourists are welcome to a stress-free vacation. That is the case of the lesser known Yucatán, the safest state in Mexico and also one of the most beautiful:
The safest state in Mexico
It should not be confused with the Yucatan Peninsula, of which it is a part, the yucatan state It has been named the safest tourist destination in Mexico by the US authorities.
According to the State Department, it is one of only two Mexican states that has received a Level 1 state.
If you’re used to following updates from the State Department, you’ll know that this is the best state for a destination to fight for, as it essentially means that security levels are high and normal precautions apply.
Understanding US Travel Advisories
For example, some of the safest and most stable countries in the world have been added to the Tier 1 list, including Iceland and Finland, where crime and violence rates are remarkably low.
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Level 2 applies to countries or territories where criminal activities may take place or disturbances, whether protests or terrorism, and more caution is needed, although travel is recommended. not discouraged since the risks are not significant.
At level 3, however, travel needs to be ‘reconsidered’, either for security reasons -read about Colombia- or due to major civil disturbances, a recent case in Peru. Level 4 is reserved for prohibited countries where the threat to life is significant, such as countries at war (Russia and Ukraine) or hostile states such as North Korea.
Mexico is such a popular destination for American vacationers that US authorities issue individual warnings for each Mexican state or territory, so while the country is, on average, within Tier 2 , Yucatan is one of the two safest states.
The only other state to be added to Tier 1 is Campeche, also on the Yucatan Peninsula.
One of the most beautiful but least known parts of Mexico
Yucatan is located at the northern end of the Yucatan peninsula and has a rich history before the arrival of the Spanish colonizers.
Like much of the wider Maya world, the region was of great importance within the Maya civilization as the location of several important city-states and smaller settlements.
The legendary Chichén Itzá, once one of the most powerful Mayan cities and now a world-renowned archaeological site, can be found within the state’s borders.
After the European conquest, Yucatán underwent severe changes, especially with regard to its cultural and social development. The Spanish brought their Colonial architecturethey razed the Maya towns and decimated or forced the native population to assimilate.
As a result of colonization, the culture of the Yucatan is now an amalgamation of Mayan and Spanish influences. It’s a territory where you’re likely to find European-style towns that wouldn’t look out of place in Spain and much older Mayan temples shrouded in myth.
An exciting state capital
The capital is Merida, a typical colonial jewel built on the ashes of the ruined Ti’ho Maya in the early 16th century.
A big and vibrant city, Merida has been described in a United Nations report report as the best place to live in Mexico based on social indicators such as the human development index and urban safety and as a regional center of culture, having been named North American Capital of Culture twice.
Its historic center is said to be the third largest in the American continentand the emblematic Cathedral of Mérida, built with dismantled stones from Ti’ho, is one of the oldest in the Americas, completed in 1598.
Mérida has enough attractions to fill an entire article or a week-long itinerary, but you’ll want to get out of the city to experience the true magic of the Yucatán.
Virgin Beaches And Nature
Straddling the Gulf of Mexico, the state is teeming with beautiful beach areaslike Progreso, an up-and-coming resort town with a more laid-back vibe compared to Tulum in Quintana Roo.
The beaches here are pristine and the sea is crystal clear, and if you’re lucky enough, you’ll be able to see an extravaganza of flamingos as they feed in the shallows.
El Cuyo is another popular swimming spot a short drive from Mérida and a small fishing village yet to be marred by overdevelopment, home to a select number of luxury boutique hotels and guest stays.
Further inland, there numerous cenotes and other Mayan-era subterranean complexes waiting to be discovered, as well as historic ruins that will keep your inner history buff at bay.
Mayan Ruins And Colonial Treasures
Aside from, of course, Chichén Itzá, there are amazing and not-so-popular ruins to visit in ek balamin the northern Maya lowlands, and uxmalfamous for its unique rounded Pyramid of the Magician.
The state is also the proud home of four Magical Towns, as defined by the Mexican Tourism authorities. These are the ‘Yellow City’ of Izamal, Valladolid, Sisal and Peanut.
The title is awarded to destinations known to have greatly contributed to Mexican nationality through their culture or historical relevance, reaffirming Yucatan’s prestige as a cultural center.
Given these incredible attributes, it’s not hard to see why it’s considered one of the most beautiful areas in Mexico.
How to get to Yucatan
Merida has an international airport that hosts flights from the following airlines departing from these US hubs:
Dallas/Fort Worth, Miami
Very soon, visitors to the Yucatán Peninsula will enjoy non-stop train links to Mérida and other tourist destinations in the Yucatán state from Cancún and the Cancún airport, following the launch of the highly anticipated Mayan Train this December.
The new tourist train, the one in Mexico biggest infrastructure project in yearsIts objective is to improve connectivity in the Yucatan peninsula and its three states and bring tourists closer to smaller destinations where international flights are not as frequent.
traveler alert: Don’t forget travel insurance for your next trip!
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com