Mexico seems to be on every American traveler’s radar lately, and we can’t exactly blame them: have you seen that crystalline hue on the water off the coast of Cancun, ever tasted actual Mexican tacos from a curbside food stall in Mexico City, or admired the breathtaking coastal scenery in Nayarit?

This Latin American gem is everything and then some, but unlike other tropical destinations where beaches are at the front of the tourism offer, it is a cultural spot of the first order, up there with the likes of Argentina, Spain, France, and even Italy:

Mexico is home not only to resort zones but also a host of historical cities distinct for their invaluable heritage, and lucky for Americans, 4 of the most beautiful are a short two-to-four flight away:


Vibrant Street In Merida, Yucatan, Mexico

From ornate empire architecture to fascinating Mayan ruins, there’s no shortage of points of interest in Merida, and History buffs in particular should know it is one of only two European settlements in the New World that still retains its fortified walls (the other being Quebec City in Canada).

The quintessential colonial treasure, Merida is distinct for being one of the first Spanish outposts in Mexico, built over previous Mayan-owned land, and it looks exactly like a European city, with its towering cathedral and cobbled lanes.

Merida, Mexico. Hispanic colonial plaza and church in Parque Hidalgo

Other than admiring the ancient relics housed in Merida Cathedral and visiting Casa de Montejo, a museum housed in a 16th-century seignorial dwelling, Americans can sample the unrivaled local food scene, with elements not only of Iberian cuisine but also native Mayan.

Fortunately for culture enthusiasts, Merida hosts nonstop flights from the States, and according to flight search engine Kayak, the average airfare for a States-originating, Merida-bound flight is an affordable $148.

Listed below is every airline offering flights from the United States to Merida, as well as their departure hubs:

Merida, Mexico

Aeromexico Connect

  • Atlanta (ATL)

American Airlines

  • Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW)
  • Miami (MIA)

United Airlines

  • Houston-Intercontinental

Viva Aerobus

  • Miami (MIA)*

*Starting July 2, 2024


Colonial Center Of Puebla, Mexico, Latin America

Located southeast of Mexico City, Puebla is often outshined by the country’s landmark-packed capital even though it has just as much cultural value, having been founded in 1531 and once standing as one of the wealthiest cities in the Americas.

If Mexico City’s sprawling conurbation seems a tad too overwhelming, Puebla is a great alternative.

The Historic Center is more compact, arguably making it more walkable, and the Spanish architectural feats here are in no way inferior.

A Colonial Street In Downtown Puebla, Central Mexico, Latin America

In fact, the Historic Center has been classified by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site owing to its high concentration of 16th and 17th-century religious structures, including an imposing cathedral and charming Baroque aesthetics.

A short 20-minute taxi ride from Puebla, within the same metropolitan zone, the autonomous, church-dotted Cholula is where the famous Great Pyramid is, one of the largest in the world.

Atop it rests a solitary Spanish sanctuary.

cholula cathedral Puebla with the popocatepetl volcano, exuding smoke in the background

Puebla is not a primary entry point for Americans, as the local airport mostly caters to the Mexican diaspora in the States, but it does offer nonstop links to one U.S. airport, with fares starting from $576:

United Express

  • Houston (IAH)


Colonial Era Church In Queretaro City, Central Mexico

Officially called Santiago de Querétaro, this overlooked central Mexican hub is one of the most culturally charged cities in North America.

Its history, recorded in Spanish, spans over five centuries and is a ‘Monument Zone’ of ravishing beauty.

It’s dominated by a monumental, orange-tinged Church of St. Francis of Assisi, as well as littered by manmade 18th-century wonders, with the Baroque St. Rose of Viterbo, the (former) Monastery of St. Augustine, now an art museum, and a Spanish aqueduct to name a few.

Pueblo Magico, Magical Town Of Tequisquiapan, Queretaro State, Mexico

It’s no wonder Old Town Queretaro is UNESCO-listed, and if you’re a devoted foodie, you will never go hungry here: much like Merida’s, the gastronomy combines pre-Hispanic and colonial traits, and it’s best represented by street favorite enchiladas Queretanas.

Away from the bustling colonial core, there’s a number of city parks and verdant areas to escape the noise, the best-frequented being Alfalfares, in the city’s outskirts, where you can stroll around a scenic lake and have picnics out in the open.

Close Up View Of The Dome Of A Colonial Era Church In Tequisquiapan, State Of Queretaro, Mexico

Queretaro is one of the most affordable colonial cities in Mexico to fly into, with Kayak fares starting as low as $93, and departing from the mainland United States, these are your options:

Aeromexico Connect

  • Detroit (DTW)

American Airlines

  • Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW)

United Airlines

  • Houston (IAH)

Viva Aerobus

  • Houston (IAH)
  • San Antonio (SAT)


  • Chicago (ORD)


Colorful houses in Guanajuato, Mexico with woman drinking coffee in foreground

Already voted the prettiest city in Mexico, Guanajuato is an explosion of colors: its maze of winding alleys are flanked by low, warm-tone, rammed-earth buildings, its striking-yellow Basilica colegiata can be seen from a mile, and its hillside barrios with rainbow houses are a sight to behold.

Historically, it was best known for being a mining capital, having greatly contributed to the enrichment of the Spanish Empire.

Walking around the colonial center, the only indication you have this is still the Americas, and you weren’t magically transported across the pond, which is the odd Mexican flag on display.

Bright Yellow Colored Saint Francis Church, A Baroque Gem Of Guanajuato City, State Of Guanajuato, Mexico, Latin America

Besides the basilica and the colorful back streets, Guanajuato’s greatest historical triumphs are the fortress-like Alhondiga de Granaditas, the University’s main building and its picture-perfect sets of stairs (it was one of the first centers of knowledge of the New World) and the stately Juarez Theater.

With the lowest average airfare for cities listed here, you can fly to UNESCO-protected Guanajuato (Bajio International) from multiple departure points in the States from only $86, still according to Kayak:

Aeromexico Connect

  • Atlanta (ATL)

American Airlines

  • Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW)

United Airlines

  • Houston (IAH)

Viva Aerobus

  • Chicago (ORD)
  • Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW)
  • Fresno (FAT)
  • Los Angeles (LAX)
  • Oakland (OAK)
  • Sacramento (SMF)
  • San Jose (SJC)

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