15 Greatest Issues to Do in Merida, Mexico, in 2023

Exploring historical Mayan ruins, swimming in cenotes, taking in cultural performances, and indulging in Yucatecan delicacies are only a few of the numerous superb issues to do in Merida. Learn on for a more in-depth have a look at all this Mexican metropolis has to supply.

Regardless of being a state capital and in style vacation spot for nomads, expats, and retirees, Merida lives within the shadow of close by Cancun, Playa del Carmen, and Tulum. In any case, most vacationers who come to this a part of Mexico head straight to the seashore. 

With the closest seashore being 40 km (25 miles) away from Merida, this implies the largest metropolis within the Yucatan Peninsula has lengthy been an afterthought. However, that’s all altering.

15 Greatest Issues to Do in Merida

Conde Nast Traveler just lately named Merida the very best small metropolis on the earth. Vacationers are lastly taking discover, and Merida is prepared for its time within the highlight.

Though I’ve spent the higher a part of the final three years residing in Mexico, I hadn’t travelled to Merida till just lately. However then I spent a superb period of time there exploring the very best issues Merida has to supply.

I’m completely happy to say that Merida didn’t disappoint, and it’s the most effective locations to go in Mexico. It’s a vibrant metropolis with quite a few points of interest and locations to go to.

This publish was up to date in 2023 to incorporate new Merida points of interest and actions.

I’m excited to share among the greatest issues to do in Merida with you on this publish. Vamos, chicos!

1. Discover Centro Historico & the Zocalo

An overhead view of the Zocalo and Cathedral in central Merida

Kicking off my record of issues to do in Merida is a stroll across the metropolis’s Centro Historico. Apparently, solely Mexico Metropolis and Havana, Cuba, have bigger historic facilities than Merida, so there’s quite a bit to see and do right here.

Be a part of a Strolling Tour

I like to recommend becoming a member of the free strolling tour for an informative and entertaining introduction to the town. It begins at 10 AM day-after-day in Santa Lucia Park and lasts about two hours. 

On this brief tour, you’ll get launched to the historical past, tradition, and traditions of Merida. I’m sure I realized extra throughout this two hours than I might have throughout two days alone.

Whereas the tour is free, it’s customary to tip your information for a job properly finished. A great tip for a strolling tour like that is 100 pesos (about $5). Head to their web site to join the tour. 

There are additionally some nice excursions for exploring Merida’s historic heart. You may leap on a 3-hour strolling tour with a neighborhood professional in cultural and pure tourism. Click on right here to test it out and e-book your spot.

Should you’re questioning what to do in Merida once you first arrive, becoming a member of a strolling tour is an efficient wager. 

Discover the Zocalo Independently

Even for those who join one of many excursions, it’s value it to spend some additional time exploring the Zocalo by yourself. This tree-lined park could be very a lot the center of the town and is the very best place to absorb the native tradition.

The park is dwelling to an enormous Mexican flag and the colourful Merida signal, which is a should in your Instagram feed. It’s additionally surrounded by essentially the most well-known and necessary landmarks of the town.

These embrace the Merida Cathedral, Municipal Palace, Casa Montejo, and the Governor’s Palace. The latter is dwelling to some unimaginable murals depicting the town’s historical past. They’re all free to go to, so take your time and luxuriate in all of them!

There’s additionally a free strolling tour of the Zocalo given by the town’s tourism board. It begins at 9:30 AM on the bottom ground of the Municipal Palace. Click on right here for instructions. 

2. Swim in Cenotes

Swimming in a cenote is one of the best things to do in Merida

One of the refreshing issues to do in Merida – a metropolis that’s usually boiling sizzling – is cooling off within the surrounding cenotes. Should you’re not acquainted with these, they’re mainly pure sinkholes.

These are discovered everywhere in the Yucatan Peninsula and quantity within the hundreds. In the course of the hottest time of the day, there’s nothing higher than hiding from the solar and swimming in a cenote. 

There are quite a few cenotes throughout Merida, so, simply take your choose!

An amazing possibility for having fun with a number of cenotes is this tour that visits three — Cascabel, Chaksikin, and Pool Cocom.

The complete-day journey begins at 8:45 AM and contains swimming in three cenotes, plus lunch, transportation, information, and entrance charges. Click on right here to be taught extra about this prime Merida attraction.

One other highly-rated tour is this tour that visits two totally different cenotes together with a stupendous hacienda and a few historic websites. The cenotes aren’t on the common vacationer monitor and also you’ll most probably have them to your self! Once I went, the one different individuals within the water have been those on the tour with me.

Alongside the way in which, your native guides will train you about Mayan tradition. Meals, transport, information, and entrance charges are included. Click on right here to be taught extra. 

3. Go Museum Hopping

The sun setting behind the zocalo in central Merida

In and across the Zocalo you’ll discover a number of totally different museums, together with Casa Montejo. Constructed within the 1540s, it was the mansion of the conquistador Francisco de Montejo. Lately it’s a museum that’s free to go to, making it one of the vital in style issues to do in Merida.

Earlier than you head in, remember to take a more in-depth have a look at the facade of the constructing. It depicts the Spanish conquistadores standing on the heads of the native Mayans — a reminder of the horrific realities of colonialism in Mexico.

On the precise facet of the cathedral, there’s a lined walkway known as Passage of the Revolution. That is the place you’ll discover one other utterly free museum, this one centered on the artwork of Fernando Garica Ponce and different Mexican artists. 

Finishing the trifecta is the Museum of the Metropolis of Merida, the place you’ll be able to be taught all concerning the metropolis’s historical past from the time of the Maya to the current. It’s situated only a few blocks from the Zocalo. Click on right here for instructions. 

Deal with: Casa Montejo, Calle 63 506, Centro, Merida, Yucatan, 97000

4. Study About Mayan Tradition

Mayan woman in Merida, Mexico

One of many prime locations to see in Merida is the town’s Nice Museum of the Maya World. The constructing itself is kind of a formidable sight, and it holds an unlimited assortment of Mayan artifacts.  

A standard false impression amongst guests to Mexico is that there aren’t any Mayan individuals round anymore. I’ll admit that I used to be responsible of pondering this once I first traveled there a few years in the past. Nonetheless, this couldn’t be farther from the reality.

It’s estimated that round 60% of the inhabitants of Merida is of Mayan heritage, and it is a metropolis of practically 1 million. Mayan tradition could be very a lot alive and properly right here, mixing with Spanish, French, British, and modern-day Mexican influences.

The museum is definitely situated fairly a distance from the town heart. You may hop on the bus sure for Progreso and inform them you wish to get off on the museum or simply get a cab on the market. Uber can be obtainable right here and works very properly in my expertise.

It’s open from Wednesday to Monday from 9 AM-4:30 PM and prices 150 pesos for foreigners. On Sundays, it’s free for residents of the Yucatan, so I’d advocate occurring one other day. 

Deal with: Calle 60 Norte No. 299 E, Unidad Revolución, Mérida, Yucatan, 97110

5. Go to Chichen Itza

The Kulkulkan Pyramid in Chichen iIza on a day trip from Merida

Certainly, essentially the most well-known Mayan metropolis of all is Chichen Itza. One of many New Seven Wonders of the World, that is an unimaginable place to go to. Wanting up on the huge pyramid often known as El Castillo is an awe-inspiring expertise, to say the least.

Visiting Mayan ruins is surely one of many prime issues to do in Mexico. A beauty of touring to Merida is that you may simply attain lots of the most epic ruins on a day journey. 

Being such a well-liked vacation spot, it’s very straightforward to join a tour to Chichen Itza. It’s a bit removed from Merida (about an hour and a half), but it surely’s positively well worth the journey!

You may hop on this highly-rated small group tour that features transport, a information, a go to to a cenote, lunch, and extra. Click on right here to e-book your spot. 

One other strong possibility is a tour with a neighborhood man who’s an authorized tour information in historical past and archaeology. His excursions are extremely rated and I had a good time with him. Click on right here to test it out. 

Observe: you may be pondering that 6 AM departure is early, however the line-ups and crowds could be big at Chichen Itza, and the solar could be intense — it’s greatest to go as early as you’ll be able to. 

6. Journey the Ruta Puuc

Uxmal ruins on a day trip from Merida

From Merida, you’ll be able to journey the Ruta Puuc to see a handful of various Mayan websites. Whereas Chichen Itza is by far essentially the most well-known, there are tons of different choices for visiting Mayan ruins within the space.

Amongst these, the most important and hottest is Uxmal. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Web site and one of the vital necessary locations within the Mayan world. Having been to all the large ones, I can actually say Uxmal is my favourite Mayan website I’ve visited.

You may simply catch a neighborhood bus there and again, though you might find yourself ready some time on the facet of the highway for the return bus as we did. The bus prices 80 pesos per individual every means.

There are additionally a number of different, smaller ruins within the space like Kabah, Labna, and Xcalak.

One option to see all of those is with a rental automotive. Should you’d relatively stick with public transportation, the one possibility is catching the bus at 8 AM on Sunday morning. It makes fast stops on the smaller ruins and offers you a number of hours to discover Uxmal. 

A complete go to could be loved on this tour the place you additionally go to the Kabah ruins, the Yaxcopoi Hacienda and a cenote. It contains the information and transport, however you’ll must cowl your entrance tickets. Uxmal prices 418 ($17) pesos for foreigners and the museum is 180. 

There are a lot of different excursions that go to each Uxmal and Kabah. Click on right here to be taught extra and e-book your spot.

7. Hit the Seaside

Progreso beach is one of the places to see near Merida

As a result of it’s an inland metropolis, you’ll be able to’t simply stroll to the seashore in Merida. It takes a little bit of effort, however a day journey out to Progreso is value it for those who’re in search of a while on la playa

Progreso is a serious cruise ship port, so it’s positively acquired that vacationer vibe. That being mentioned, the seashore is very nice and it’s an incredible escape from the town to get pleasure from a cerveza or two, and munch on some contemporary ceviche

Should you get on the market early sufficient and are motivated, you’ll be able to rent a driver or join a day tour to discover the world. You may go to an ecological park, salt ponds, a pink lake, and a small Mayan website on a half-day tour.

The most affordable option to stand up to Progreso is by catching the native bus. The station is situated a number of blocks south of the Zocalo. Click on right here for instructions. It solely prices 19 pesos every means, or about $1. 

8. Day Journey to Ria Celestun

The mangroves of Rio Celestun

One of many prime issues to do in Merida is taking a day journey out to Ria Celestun, a biosphere reserve situated about 100 km out of the town. It’s properly well worth the journey right here to discover the pristine seashores, mangroves, and low rainforests.

It’s a novel place as its location creates a combination of freshwater from the estuary and saltwater from the ocean. The world is thought primarily for its pink flamingoes, who flock right here within the winter. 

To go to the reserve, you’ll be able to join a full-day tour that features a boat experience by the mangroves and lunch. It departs at 8:45 AM from Merida. Click on right here to be taught extra and to make your reserving.

Ria Celestun is definitely situated within the State of Campeche. Should you’re within the space, a go to right here to see the pink flamingos is among the greatest issues to do in Campeche as properly!

9. Eat Scrumptious Meals

Cochinita pibil tacos, a local specialty  from Merida

Merida actually is a foodie’s paradise. There’s a lot scrumptious meals right here that you possibly can plan your entire keep round what you’re consuming. From road meals and native markets to fine-dining, it’s all right here. 

Mexico is dwelling to among the greatest meals on the earth, with the Yucatecan meals being well-known all throughout Mexico — and for good purpose.

Essentially the most well-known native dish is unquestionably cochinita pibil — a dish of pit-cooked pork that’s marinated in an acidic citrus juice and seasoned with annatto. It’s mainly like pulled pork solely means higher, and also you get to make tacos with it!

Different must-try gadgets right here embrace poc chuc (marinated pork), sopa de lima (lime soup), and papadzules — corn tortillas stuffed with hard-boiled eggs and lined in a pumpkin seed sauce. It sounds bizarre but it surely’s scrumptious!

You should definitely skip breakfast for those who join this wonderful meals tour. It takes you to a number of markets and lots of road meals stalls. The tour begins at 10:30 AM and lasts three hours for $59 per individual.

There’s additionally this in style meals tour the place you go to a market after which pattern a number of dishes in a neighborhood’s dwelling. It runs from 4-7 PM and prices $58 every.

Mexican delicacies is so numerous and scrumptious. Regardless of the way you select to expertise it (on a tour, road stands, eating places, on the seashore…), simply ensure you pattern all of it!

10. Take a Cooking Class (the most effective issues to do in Merida for foodies)

Hand-woven baskets of fresh ingredients for a cooking class in Merida

Have you learnt what’s even higher than attempting native meals? Attempting native meals that you simply cooked your self! One of the rewarding issues you are able to do in Merida is taking a cooking class, and also you’ve acquired a number of choices.

On this half-day tour, you begin by visiting one of many busiest markets in Merida. You’ll find out about among the most typical components, together with the spicy habanero chile.

Subsequent, you head to the kitchen to whip up some basic native dishes that you simply’ll get to get pleasure from for lunch. Better of all, you’ll be able to carry the recipes dwelling and impress your family and friends! This highly-rated tour begins at 10 AM. Click on right here to be taught extra.

There’s additionally this extremely popular cooking class which takes you thru a market to get all of the components for the cooking class. Then, you’ll get pleasure from your 3-course lunch in one of many nicest courtyards within the metropolis. It begins at 9:30 AM, is 5 hours and prices $85 every.

11. Admire the Structure on Paseo de Montejo

A white and yellow Spanish-colonial mansion on the Paseo de Mantejo in Merida, Mexico

Strolling across the tree-lined boulevard Paseo de Montejo, you’ll discover some fairly spectacular buildings. Most of those have been mansions constructed within the late nineteenth century when the town was experiencing a big increase because of the henequen trade.

By no means heard of henequen? Neither had I.

This agave plant that someway thrives right here in a spot with little water or fertilization can be utilized to make rope. The nice occasions didn’t final ceaselessly, although — lately a lot of the buildings are both museums or business areas.

Take a stroll alongside the boulevard and remember to carry your digital camera. You’ll spot attractive buildings just like the Palacio Canton and Quinta Montes Molina, each of that are museums which might be value a go to. 

Preserve strolling north till you discover the spectacular Monument to the Fatherland. This gorgeous monument depicts the historical past of Mexico and makes for some memorable photographs.

12. Expertise Biciruta

The streets of Merida are great for cycling

Top-of-the-line issues to do in Merida is participating within the weekly Biciruta occasion. Each Sunday morning, the Paseo de Montejo is closed to motorized automobiles for a number of hours.

Locals, expats, and vacationers alike all come out to get pleasure from strolling, skating, or biking alongside the scenic boulevard.

It’s attainable to lease a motorbike for a couple of bucks an hour. You’ll simply must ensure you have an ID on you. 

Apparently additionally they do a particular nighttime Biciruta on the primary Saturday of each month now, in order that’s positively value trying out for those who occur to be within the metropolis at the moment.

Don’t miss this vehicle-free time in Merida!

13. See Cultural Performances

Colorful dresses worn by Mexican dancers

Certainly, one of many prime issues to do in Merida is taking in among the many cultural performances. There’s one thing occurring each night time of the week right here, and so they’re often free.

A number of the greatest occasions to participate in embrace the Yucatecan Serenade, which occurs each Thursday night time in Santa Lucia Park at 8 PM.  There’s additionally the very festive Noche Mexicana (Mexican Evening) each Saturday with track and dance performances.

Maybe essentially the most enjoyable of all, although, is Sundays in Merida. This can be a day-long occasion within the Zocalo and an incredible cultural expertise. There are meals stalls arrange all day lengthy and performances start later within the day.

There’s no denying the significance of soccer in Mexican tradition. It’s extra like a faith right here than a sport as individuals are very passionate concerning the recreation! 

That’s why one of many prime issues to do in Merida is cheering on the native soccer membership. Venados FC performs within the Liga de Ascenso, which is the 2nd tier league within the nation. 

They play over at Estadio Carlos Iturralde with video games happening between January and April. Try their schedule to see if there’s a house recreation once you’re on the town.

Deal with: Estadio de Futbol Carlos Iturralde Rivero, Unidad Deportiva Kukulcan, Calle 77 S/N por Circuito Colonias, Colonia Morelos Oriente, Merida, Yucatan, 97174

15. Go Cantina Hopping

The rustic entrance to a cantina in Merida

Final however not least, it’s time for some cantina hopping. For the uninitiated, a cantina is a basic Mexican bar. Suppose swinging doorways, loud music, and loads of tequila.

Historically, a cantina has been considerably of a boys membership. That’s why I often skip out on them after we journey in Mexico, as my spouse doesn’t often really feel snug going into a spot the place she’s not precisely welcome.

That’s all altering, although, and there are many cantinas in Merida which might be open to each women and men. The preferred is unquestionably La Negrita. Providing complimentary botanas (snacks) and reside music in a pleasant courtyard, this place fills up each night time of the week.

FAQs About What to Do in Merida

Beneath are solutions to some steadily requested questions on what to do in Merida.

Is Merida value visiting?

Completely! It may not be on the seashore like its extra well-known neighbor Cancun, however Merida gives cultural and historic websites which might be unmatched elsewhere on the Yucatan Peninsula. Plus, the meals is superb.

What’s Merida well-known for?

Because the capital of the state of Yucatan, Merida is known for its Spanish-colonial structure, conventional Mayan tradition, distinctive delicacies, close by pyramids, and pure areas similar to cenotes, sinkholes filled with contemporary water which might be nice for swimming and scuba diving.

Is Merida too toursity?

Merida is in style with vacationers, but it surely doesn’t really feel like a vacationer lure for a number of causes. Vacationers come from many locations, together with North America, Europe, and elsewhere in Mexico, and the town has an undeniably genuine vibe.

Is Merida protected?

Merida is among the most secure cities in Mexico, each day and night time.

Is Merida costly?

Merida is considerably dearer than different components of Mexico, however vacationers from different components of the world, particularly North America and Europe, will discover it extraordinarily low cost. This contains lodging, transportation, and meals.

Now You Know What to Do in Merida

There’s a purpose Merida was named the very best small metropolis on the earth. It’s an incredible place to go to with a vibrant tradition, loads of attention-grabbing points of interest, and countless alternatives for adventures within the space.

Whereas close by Cancun is extra of a Disney model of Mexico, Merida is the true deal. Should you’re in search of an genuine Mexican metropolis with pleasant locals, scrumptious meals, and raucous nightlife, look no additional.

After years of individuals telling me how cool Merida is, I’m completely happy I lastly acquired to spend a while there. A 2-week digital nomad stint was simply sufficient to scratch the floor of all of the enjoyable issues to do in Merida and I’m positively planning on going again quickly.

Have you ever ever been to Merida? Acquired any suggestions for issues to do, locations to eat, or day journeys? Depart a remark beneath and allow us to hear all about it!

Pictures on this article are courtesy of Shutterstock. Click on right here to be taught extra.

Like This Article? Pin It!

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button