10 Best Things to Do in Merida, Mexico
Wondering why you should visit Merida in Mexico? Merida is a beautiful colonial city and the perfect destination for those who want to see the authentic side of Mexico beyond the luxury beach resorts.
Take a day trip to Merida or spend a few days here and enjoy the best attractions near Merida, Yucatan.
Swim in the cenotes, join cultural activities, try Yucatan food, explore historic buildings or enjoy Merida’s nightlife.
The colonial city of Merida is a mix of traditional and modern Mexican culture that makes for a fantastic experience on a Yucatan Peninsula itinerary.
From this post, you can find out how to get there, where to eat, where to stay, and the best things to do in Merida, Mexico.
- 10 Best Things to Do in Merida, Mexico
- Where is Merida, Mexico
- How to Get to Merida, Mexico
- How to Get Around Merida, Yucatan
- Best Time to Visit Merida, Mexico
- Best things to do in Merida, Mexico
- 1. Walking in the historic center of Merida
- 2. Exploring Merida, Yucatan
- 3. Visit Chichen Itza
- 4. Head to the Beach
- 5. Take a Photo at the Monumento a la Patria
- 6. Short visit to Izamal
- 7. Visit Uxmal Ruins
- 8. Take a day trip to Valladolid
- 9. Swim in the Cenotes
- 10. Enjoy Merida nightlife
- Where to Eat in Merida
- Where to Stay in Merida, Mexico
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Where is Merida, Mexico
Merida is located in the southeast of Mexico, on the Yucatan Peninsula, not far from the Yellow City of Izamal.
Mérida is the capital of the state of Yucatán and the largest city in the Yucatán Peninsula.
Did you know that Merida is one of the safest cities in Mexico?
See also → Best Places to Visit Yucatan Peninsula
How to Get to Merida, Mexico
The easiest way to get to Merida is by car, ADO bus, or private transfer.
The nearest airport to Merida is in Merida, about 15 minutes from downtown.
Merida International Airport (MID) is smaller than Cancun International Airport (CUN) and has fewer international flights, so we recommend flying to Cancun.
Read more → How to Get from Cancun Airport to Valladolid
Use Skyscanner to find cheap flights to Merida, Mexico.
If you are staying in Mexico City or can get a cheaper connection from here, you can fly first to Mexico City International Airport (MEX) and then to Merida.
Most travelers to Mexico arrive at Cancun International Airport, as you can get cheap flights to Cancun.
In our opinion, the best way to reach Merida is by car. With a rental car, you can easily explore the attractions near Merida, see the cenotes, and visit ancient Mayan ruins like Chichen Itza.
Cancun International Airport is about a 4-hour drive from the city center of Merida.
More about Mexico → Ultimate Yucatan Peninsula Itinerary
Are you thinking of renting a car? Be sure to read our guide to renting a car in Mexico and driving around the Yucatan Peninsula.
Read the full Post → How to Renting a Car in Cancun
You can also take a colectivo (shared minibus) from Valladolid to Merida, and the journey takes around 2-2.5 hours, depending on traffic.
If you’re traveling by bus to Merida, make sure you arrive at the ADO Centro Historico, as this station is the closest to the center.
How to Get Around Merida, Yucatan
Getting around in Merida is easy because of a walkable city. You can explore the historic city center of Merida on a walk or take a taxi.
It’s good to know that, unlike Cancun, Uber is available in Merida.
Recommended Post → How to spend 3-days in Valladolid
If you don’t want to rent a car, join a private or group tour to visit the surrounding attractions of Merida.
Book Merida tours through GetYourGuide, where you can get great prices. There is a free cancellation option if you change your plans.
Best Time to Visit Merida, Mexico
Merida has a tropical climate and is warm all year round.
The hottest and most humid months in Merida are April and May. Therefore, if you visit Merida during this period, we recommend you choose accommodation with a pool.
The best time to visit Merida is from late October to March when the weather is pleasant, not too humid, and ideal for discovering the city.
The rainy season runs from June to October, with more humid weather, heavy rainfall, and possible tropical storms.
Recommended Post → 2 Weeks in Mexico Itinerary
Best things to do in Merida, Mexico
1. Walking in the historic center of Merida
The best things to do in Merida or the White City is to explore the historic center. You can easily walk around the historic center in a few hours, take some great photos and enjoy the charming atmosphere of Merida.
In the main square of Plaza Grande, you will find the Merida Cathedral. The Cathedral of San Ildefonso is almost 500 years old, built by the Spanish from the stones of the Mayan Temple.
You can explore the historic center on your own or if you want to learn more about Merida’s history and attractions, take a free local walking tour.
Free Merida walking tours depart from Parque de Santa Lucia daily around 9-10 AM. Support local guides and give a tip at the end of the tour.
2. Exploring Merida, Yucatan
One of the best things to do in Merida is to visit the colonial haciendas surrounding the city, such as Hacienda Xcanatun and Hacienda Santa Cruz. You can stay overnight in some of them or spend a few hours exploring.
Merida’s colorful streets and beautiful colonial buildings make it a very photogenic place in Mexico.
Visit Merida’s best markets like Mercado San Benito, Mercado de Santa Ana and Mercado Lucas de Galvez.
To learn more about Mayan culture and history, so visit Merida’s best museum, the Gran Museo del Mundo Maya de Merida.
The Mayan World Museum of Merida is located about 20 minutes from the center of Merida. You can easily accessible by car, taxi, or Uber, and a must-see for art and history lovers on the Merida itinerary.
Merida has many lovely parks that are perfect for spending a few relaxing hours, like Plaza Grande, Parque de Santa Lucia, and Parque de Santa Ana.
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3. Visit Chichen Itza
Take a day trip from Merida to Chichen Itza and visit Cenote Ik Kil.
From Merida, you can get to Chichen Itza by private and group tour or taxi.
Read the full Post → Ultimate Guide to Visiting Chichen Itza
You can also visit Chichen Itza on your own by car. Rent a car in Cancun or Merida, and explore the ancient Mayan ruins at your own pace.
The journey from Merida to Chichen Itza takes less than 2 hours on the toll road.
You can book a car safely through Discovercars, which compares prices and offers full insurance.
4. Head to the Beach
The beaches near Merida are stunning, which is a popular escape from the heat weather, and with a car, you can easily visit each of them.
There are best beaches close to Merida, such as Progreso, Telchac, Celestun, San Crisanto, and Sisal.
Playa Puerto Progreso is a seaside town, which is the closest beach to Merida, just 35 minutes from the city.
You can easily reach Progreso beach by car, or the cheapest way to get to Progreso is to take the local bus.
Take the Autoprogreso bus from Merida to Progreso for just 1-2 USD.
See also → Most Instagrammable Places in Tulum
5. Take a Photo at the Monumento a la Patria
The Monumento a la Patria is Merida’s most beautiful sculpture by Colombian sculptor Rómulo Rozo.
We saw many photos and videos of this statue on Instagram. Therefore we were looking forward to seeing it, but unfortunately, it was graffitied when we visited.
You can visit this stunning monument for free. See the beautiful details and take some photos, as it is situated on Paseo de Montejo at a roundabout in Merida.
More about Mexico → Discover the lagoon of seven colors in Bacalar
6. Short visit to Izamal
The Yellow City of Izamal is one of Mexico’s popular Magical Towns (Pueblos Mágicos).
Take a short visit from Merida to Izamal, which is just 1-hour drive away.
Stroll through the charming yellow streets of Izamal, visit the Convento De San Antonio de Padua, climb the Kinich Kak Moo pyramid, and shop at the local market.
Recommended Post → Best things to do in Izamal
Izamal is well worth a visit and was one of our favorite places during our 2-week trip to the Yucatan Peninsula.
If you spend more time in Merida, Mexico, take a day trip to the colorful city of Campeche.
7. Visit Uxmal Ruins
There are many beautiful Mayan ruins near Merida. One of the beautiful is the Uxmal Archaeological Site, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, close to Merida and less visited than Chichen Itza.
The best way to explore the Uxmal Mayan ruins is to rent a car or join a tour from Merida.
You can easily combine your visit to Uxmal with the Kabah, Labna, Xlapak, and Sayil ruins.
From Merida, you can reach the Uxmal ruins in about 1-1.5 hours by car.
If you have more time, visit the other best Mayan ruins near Merida.
The Mayapan Archaeological Site of Mayapant, which is similar to Chichen Itza, is only 45 minutes from Merida. The wonderful Dzibilchaltún Maya ruin is 30 minutes away.
Read more → Mexico itinerary
8. Take a day trip to Valladolid
Merida is a fantastic base for visiting the surrounding attractions. Valladolid is one of the most beautiful places in Mexico and should be on every Merida itinerary.
One of the best day trips from Merida is to visit the colonial city of Valladolid.
Valladolid is also one of the Magical Towns (Pueblos Mágicos), which is only 2 hours from Merida, depending on traffic.
There is plenty to see and do in and around Valladolid, so if you can, spend at least 3-days here and enjoy the best things to do in Valladolid.
Recommended Post → Valladolid itinerary for 3-days
9. Swim in the Cenotes
On a hot day, it’s best to escape to a cenote to cool off and swim. The Yucatan Peninsula has many stunning cenotes, which are natural water sinkholes.
Some of the best cenotes near Merida to visit are the Homun cenotes, the Cuzama cenotes, the Cenotes Hacienda Mucuyche, and the Cenote Kankirixche.
You can visit the cenotes around Merida by car on your own, or join a tour with a local guide who will take you to Merida’s best cenotes.
Read more→ Best Cenotes near Valladolid
10. Enjoy Merida nightlife
Are you looking for things to do in Merida at night? One of the best things to do in Merida is to see a local cultural dance performance.
There is often live music and dancing at the Parque de Santa Lucía, which is free, and you can usually enjoy the show every Thursday night.
More about Mexico → Top Things to Do in Valladolid
Merida, Mexico has many bars, pubs, and cantinas, so have a drink in a cantina or go on a bar hopping tour.
The cantinas are Latin American-style bars, which are usually open at lunchtime and close at 10 PM.
Here you can try some traditional drinks and food, chat with the locals and enjoy the fantastic atmosphere.
Best bars and cantinas in Merida
- La Negrita Cantina
- Eladio’s Bar
- El Cardenal Cantina
- La Fundación Mezcalería
- El Lucero del Alba
- Mayan Pub
Where to Eat in Merida
One of the best things to do in Merida is to try the local Yucatan dishes. As Mérida is the capital of the Yucatán, you couldn’t find a better place to enjoy delicious Mexican food.
Merida has many great local restaurants with a lovely atmosphere, but it’s easy to find trendy restaurants to experience the Mayan food.
In Merida, you should try one of the typical Yucatan desserts, the Marquesitas, which is delicious.
It is similar to pancakes, only crispier, and you can choose from different combinations such as cheese with nutella, banana with nutella, and cheese with jam.
Best restaurants in Merida
- La Chaya Maya
- Mercado 60
- Latte Quattro Sette
- Kuuk restaurant
- Dulceria y Sorbeteria Colon
- Pola Gelato Shop
Where to Stay in Merida, Mexico
Are you looking for the best Merida hotels? Merida is one of the most underrated destinations for tourists. But for nomads and budget travelers, it is one of the most popular cities in Mexico.
Merida offers a variety of boutique hotels, historical haciendas, mid-range hotels, and budget hostels, so it’s easy to find where to stay in Merida.
If you’re not traveling by car, make sure your accommodation is not too far from the city center. Otherwise, you’ll have to take a taxi and Uber or do a lot of walking.
Best hotels in Merida, Mexico
- Luxury: Rosas & Xocolate Boutique Hotel + SPA
- Mid-Range: Villa Orquídea Boutique Hotel
- Budget: Hotel Santa María Merida
When arriving by car in Merida, book accommodation with a parking space through Booking.
We hope our list of the best things to do in Merida, Mexico, will inspire you to visit the city.
If you have any questions or thoughts, let us know in the comments below.