Condé Nast Traveler‘s July issue arrived yesterday, and one of its coverlines made my heart jump:
The pleasures of Mérida
(The art, the shops, the meals)
It’s always great to see the virtues of this city extolled in print. Departures wrote a nice foodie article for their American Express Platinum customers last year, and gay-travel magazine Passport wrote in great detail in a recent story, but The New York Times seems to have the largest impact when they decide to write about the place that only travel writers call “the white city.”
But they aim at tourists, barely mentioning some pretty significant population trends going on… people like me buying properties and planning to move there.
The Traveler article initially seemed to cover all the usual bases of a travel article: photos of Rosas y Xocolate, an interior shot of Los Dos, a colorful horse-and-carriage. Closer inspection revealed that writer Amy Wilentz took a different approach, however. Rather than with romance, the story begins with a bit of drama. Her plane approaches the local airport in a storm. The pilot circles the airport several times, and it’s unclear if they can land at all, but after some tense moments they do. Then, the taxi transports her downtown in the middle of a deluge, the stately road transformed into a river. (This is a likely scenario for us when we arrive at the end of this week.)
Keep reading, and you see that the writer broaches a topic usually ignored by travel writers. By the fifth paragraph, the topic has shifted to the influx of expats: “The city has become a magnet for Mexican and expatriate artists and culture-keepers…” Hear that ma, I’m a culture-keeper!
Later, Wilentz discusses a “real-estate boom of sorts going on here” with architects, remodelers, etc., “following the money trail.” Addressing readers interested in more immediate satisfaction, she adds: “Beautiful houses are also on the market, many for less than $100,000.”
The article was enticing, but realistic, not hyping the city as a fairyland of magic. If I hadn’t heard of Mérida before, I’d certainly want to visit after reading Wilentz’s article.
Condé Nast Traveler is a national magazine, circulation 811,754. Its readership not segmented by region, sexual orientation or credit card status. The article gave the expat angle healthy play, and appears in a general interest magazine. So of all the exposure Mérida has gotten in the last 12 months, this article could be the most significant yet.