Is This the Most Magical City in Mexico?

Explore Mexico’s hippest enclave through the lens of travel photographer Ana Linares.

Is This the Most Magical City in Mexico?

Poolside at Rosas & Xocolate.

Photo by Ana Linares

Mérida is bursting with color (and quite possibly magic, too). Photographer Ana Linares recently returned from a wanderlust-worthy trip to Mérida, Mexico, where she gained inspiration from the rainbow facades and cobblestone-clad streets of the vibrant colonial city. We caught up with Linares to discuss her love for travel, photography, color, and above all else—her passion for this dreamy Yucatán destination.

Tell us about yourself:

“I worked as a designer in New York City for 14 years before transitioning into photography. I spent most of my time working for big fashion labels, which is how I began forming connections with my current clients. I left the corporate world and now work as a full-time photographer and content creator. I do a lot of content photography for brands, which is what brought me to the Yucatán for work. I’m very grateful for my career—it really is the dream.”

What inspires your photography?

“I feel most inspired when I travel. I’m drawn to photography as a form of storytelling—I see it as a way of providing people with a new view of a destination. Photographers can transport you to a different place without you ever leaving your living room, so if I go to a place that people visit often, I try not to photograph the same things that other people do. I always like to add my own perspective to portray beauty in my own way. I want to make sure that people see what I’m experiencing the way my eyes see it. My work tends to include strong components of color and composition—I’ve always been attracted to these elements, having grown up surrounded by colorful architecture in Colombia.”

What made you fall in love with Mérida?

“Mérida is one of those cities that stays in your mind after you leave and makes you want to come back. It’s an explosion of your senses, a place with a type of effortless, undone allure that allows you to see beauty from a different angle. It’s an ideal place for walking around and just getting lost in the streets. You always run into a detailed door, a vibrant facade, or a little cantina wherever you go. Pretty much every corner in Mérida is a cantina where you can taste really great mezcal that’s always super affordable. The gastronomy in Mexico is one of the most amazing things about the country . . . it’s so gourmet. When you think of typical ‘Mexican food’ and picture the enchiladas and quesadillas that we’re used to in America, that’s like comparing pancakes to caviar.”

What is your travel philosophy?

“My all-time favorite phrase is from Diana Vreeland, the former editor-in-chief of Vogue, who said, ‘The eye needs to travel.’ I believe that travel is truly the best way to spend your time. Going to new places is the most rewarding thing for your soul. You become more aware of the world—which is a magical thing to be able to learn. You don’t need to live the life of a full-time traveler to actually have a piece of that life. It’s so rewarding to dedicate just a bit of time in your life to travel, even if it’s only once a year.”

Dana Brindle is a Kauai-based writer.
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