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30 Best Things to Do in Merida, Mexico 2024

From world-class museums to Netflix-featured taco stalls, there are SO many things to do in Merida you’ll need a lifetime to experience them all.

Steep in history and rich in heritage, Merida is the cultural hub of the Yucatán Peninsula, home to the region’s best museums, restaurants, and bustling markets. 60% of its population is Mayan, while the rest come from other parts of Mexico and the world – and it shows from the unique flavors of Yucatecan food.

An appealing mix of small-town feel and international vibes, Merida is a tourist town that actually feels surprisingly genuine. Every day of the week, the city runs free events for the public – from dance performances to live concerts. Merida has long been the go-to place for travelers seeking to explore beyond the resorts of Cancun and Tulum.

I have listed these things to do in Merida according to where they’re found, making it easy for you to locate them. You can basically follow this list as you explore Merida, starting from the historical center to the surrounding Mayan ruins and cenotes.

things to do in merida - best things to do in merida

Table of Contents

Best Things to Do in Merida, Mexico

1. See the Oldest Cathedral in Mexico

Start your Merida trip with a visit to the Catedral de San Ildefonso, the oldest cathedral in Mexico. Completed at the end of the 16th century, the structure stands tall on the site of an ancient Maya temple and is constructed from some of the original building’s reclaimed stone. It overlooks the main square of Merida, which is the palpitating heart of the historic center.

The Cathedral de San Ildefonso offers an English tour at 10:00 am on Saturdays and conducts services in English at 9am on Sundays. If you wish to visit this active church, please dress modestly and cover your shoulders and knees (even thou there’s no formal dress code).

🎟️ Entry: Free. Open daily 6am-12pm and 4.30-8pm.

oldest cathedral in mexico - merida things to do

2. People Watch at Plaza Grande

Like many other colonial cities in Latin America, Merida is centered on a main square or Zocalo. For over three centuries, the Plaza Grande has remained the heart from which develops the political, ecclesiastical and civil authorities of the city.

Today, both Meridians and travelers come here to relax, enjoy live music and try delicious food. Yucatan’s signature dual “tú y yo chairs chairs scattered throughout the plaza make it easy to chat with one another. Gran Plaza is also the perfect spot to take a photo in front of the colorful Merida sign.

plaza grande - things to do in merida
merida sign - things to do in merida mx

3. Visit the Palacio Municipal

On the west side of the Plaza Grande stands the Palacio Municipal, the city hall of Merida, with its prominent rose pink facade and perfect arches. The building was constructed in 1542 and is one of the oldest colonial buildings in Mexico. It’s definitely worth a visit, if only to get a view from the long balcony on the second floor. Meanwhile, a convenient tourism office is on the ground floor.

🎟️ Entry: Free. Open Monday-Friday from 8am -5pm.

palacio municipal - things to do in merida

4. Head inside Palacio de Gobierno

You won’t miss this building as it has a striking mint colored exterior. Dating back to 1892, the Palacio de Gobierno (Government Palace) houses Yucatan state’s executive government offices and it’s open to the public. You’ll find murals and oil paintings by local artist Fernando Castro Pacheco, depicting the Yucatan Peninsula’s history.

This is where the annual Grito de Dolores take place every year on Mexico’s Independence Day, one of the most important Mexican holidays. On September 16, 1810, a Catholic priest Miguel Hidalgo rang his church bell and gave the call that started the Mexican War of Independence. Since then, every Independence Day, the mayor/governor of every city in Mexico re-enacts the call from the balcony of a government building and shouts “Viva Mexico!”.

🎟️ Entry: Free. Open Monday-Friday from 9am -4pm.

palacio de gobierno - things to do in merida mexico

5. Wander around Casa Montejo

Another interesting spot that flanks the Plaza Grande is Museo Casa Montejo. This 16th-century mansion was built for Francisco de Montejo “El Mozo” (The Younger), one of the Spanish conquistadors who arrived in 1542 to conquer and colonize the Yucatan Peninsula. The house, now a museum, is a prime example of Plateresque architecture and it has a lavish interior and beautiful patio with a well-preserved stone fountain.

🎟️ Entry: Free. Tuesday-Sunday, 11am – 6pm (closed on Mondays).

casa montejo - merida things to do

6. Admire Contemporary Art at MACAY

Across the road from the Plaza Grande, you’ll find a wide covered hallway with quirky, huge sculptures. Welcome to the Museo Fernando García Ponce-Macay (MACAY)! The contemporary art museum is housed in a beautiful colonial building that used to be a convent. The museum has a small collection of Pre-Hispanic, Colonial and Contemporary art from Mexico and abroad.

🎟️ Entry: Free. Monday and Saturday only, 10am-2pm.

macay - things to do in merida

7. Join a Free Walking Tour

I always recommend doing a free walking tour when you’re visiting new cities in Mexico, as it gives such a great overview of the city and helps you get oriented. The free walking tour in Merida leaves everyday at 10am and 5pm from Parque de Santa Lucia (next to the big chairs).

The guides are extremely friendly and knowledgable, and always provides interesting anecdotes and little fun facts that you wouldn’t learn from guidebooks. Tips are of course expected; the standard rate is US$5-10 per person.

walking tour - things to do in merida

Practical Resources for Merida Travel

✈️ Book affordable flights to Merida on Skyscanner for $200+

🚗 Rent a car from Merida on Discover Cars

🚌 Reserve bus tickets from Cancun to Merida on Bookaway for the best rates

📷 Book your day tours from Merida on Viator or GetYourGuide

🏥 Insure your Merida trip with Safety Wing, a global travel insurance company.

📱 Get an eSIM on Airalo to get cheap internet data

8. Admire the Merida Theatre

The elegant century-old Teatro Peón Contreras is one of Merida’s many architectural marvels. It was built between 1900 and 1908, during Mérida’s booming period for the production of henequén (an agave plant).

There are usually symphonies playing on Fridays at 9:00 pm and Sundays at noon. Even if you don’t plan to catch a show here, poke inside to admire the interior. It features a main staircase of Carrara marble, a dome with now-faded frescoes by Italian artists, as well numerous paintings and murals throughout the building.

🎟️ Entry: Free. Open daily 9am-9pm.

merida theater

9. See the Museo de la Ciudad

Housed in the old post office, the Museo de la Ciudad (City Museum) offers a respite from the chaos and noise of the market nearby. The exhibits span not just the city’s history back to prehistoric times but also include everything from Henequén brought wealth to the area in the belle-epoque period to its current day.

🎟️ Entry: 80 MXN (US$4) for adults and 40 MXN ($2) for kids under 12. Open Tuesday-Sunday 9am-6pm (closed on Mondays).

10. Stroll along Paseo Montejo

A visit to Merida isn’t complete without seeing the wide boulevard, Paseo de Montejo. One of the best things to do in Merida is simply spend an afternoon strolling down the avenue. This road was built during Merida’s golden age to resemble Paris’ Champs-Élysées Avenue.

While it lacks some of the glitz and glam from its heydays, you’ll still find many gorgeous colonial-era mansions built by wealthy hacienda owners and some of the city’s best cafés dotted along this avenue. Be sure to drop by Cafeteria Impala, an institution of sorts that has been serving sweet treats since 1958.

paseo montejo - things to do in merida mx

11. Tour the Palacio Canton

Along Paseo Montejo stands the elegant and striking Palacio Canton, also known as the Museum of Anthropology and History. The two-storey Neoclassical mansion was constructed between 1909 and 1911. Its owner, General Francisco Cantón Rosado, lived in the estate for six years before passing away.

The Porfiriato – the era from 1876 to 1911 where President Porfirio Díaz tyrannically ruled Mexico – came to an end shortly after the construction of this palace started. Nowadays, it serves as a venue for temporary exhibition.

🎟️ Entry: 65 MXN (US$3.25) per person. Open Tuesday-Saturdays 10am to 5pm. Signs are only in Spanish.

palacio canton - things to do in merida

12. Visit the Casa T´HŌ Concept Store

Also located along the Paseo Montejo is Casa T´HŌ, a stylish and elegant concept store that’s ridiculously photogenic. It’s housed in an eclectic 19th century mansion, considered to be a heritage monument.

The space not only showcases the artwork of Mexican talents, but also incorporates indie boutiques and a cafe under one roof. The cafe in the courtyard is particularly pretty; take a seat here and enjoy some mimosas and macaroon, amidst palm trees and pastel colored walls.

🎟️ Entry: Free. Open daily 10am-9pm.

casa tho - places to visit in merida
casa tho - merida attractions

13. See the Monumento a la Patria

At the end of Paseo Montejo stands one of the city’s most iconic landmarks: the Monumento a la Patria (Monument to the Fatherland) designed by Colombian sculptor, Romulo Rozo. Construction of the monument took more than 11 years to complete with the collaboration of architect Manuel Amábilis Domínguez and his son Max Amábilis.

Carved out of stone by Rozo himself, the Monumento a la Patria depicts scenes from Mexican history including the declaration of independence, the revolution, and the battle for Puebla.  It chronicles about 700 years of Mexican history and features more than 300 hand-carved figures.

monumento -  things to do in merida

14. Cycle the Biciruta on Sundays

On Sundays, some of the roads in Merida are closed off for traffic for La Biciruta (Bike Route), which allows cyclists to take over the city. This weekly Sunday bike ride custom is hugely popular amongst locals and it’s a great opportunity to explore the city without worrying about traffic.

Don’t have a bike? Just rent a bike from one of the stands along Paseo Montejo. There are even bikes with baby seats (for those traveling Merida with kids). Bike rental prices vary from 15-40 MXN (US$0.7 – $2) per hour. Remember to bring an ID. If you’re lucky enough to be here on a Sunday, don’t miss the Bici-Ruta.

15. Explore the Mayan World Museum of Merida

The Gran Museo del Mundo Maya (Mayan World Museum) may be 20 minutes outside the historical center, but it’s well worth the trek to get there. The newly opened museum houses the largest collection of Mayan art and artifacts in the Yucatan Peninsula. This is one of the best things to do in Merida especially if you’re curious about the Mayan culture.

The museum is divided into five galleries, each of which focuses on a different aspect of Mayan culture. You’ll learn about the Maya’s cosmovision, see how they lived and worked, and get a glimpse into their spiritual beliefs. One of the highlights of the museum is the Tomb of the Red Queen, which contains the well-preserved remains of a Maya noblewoman who lived in the city of Palenque in the seventh century.

🎟️ Entry: 150 MXN (US$7.5) for adults, 25 MXN ($1.25) for kids under 14. Open Wednesday-Monday 9am-5pm (closed on Tuesdays). English tour at 11am on Saturdays and Sundays.

mayan museum - things to do in merida

Things to Do in Merida for Foodies

16. Learn about Yucatan Food at MUGY

In recent years, Merida has gained considerably fame around the world for its food. If you’re interested in learning more about traditional Yucatecan gastronomy, make sure to visit Museo de Gastronomia Maya (Mayan Gastronomy Museum). The museum is located inside a beautiful colonial-style building and it teaches visitors about the history, ingredients and preparation of Yucatecan dishes.

It’s a small museum, but you’ll get to learn more about Yucatecan flavors with a knowledgable guide. After the tour, head to its restaurant to taste regional dishes like queso relleno (cheese with stuffings), lechon al horno (roasted pork belly), and mukbil pollo enterrado (underground oven baked chicken). Book a table in advance to ensure availability!

🎟️ Entry: Free. Open Monday-Friday 11am-11pm; Saturday-Sunday 9am-11pm.

lady making tortilla - things to do in merida

17. Get Lost in Mercado Lucas Galvez

For a truly authentic experience, take a deep dive into the Lucas de Galvez Market, the biggest of all the markets in Merida (and there are many!). The market can be a bit overwhelming at first, but it’s definitely worth getting lost in for a while.

This is also the best place in Merida to try Mexican street food unique to Yucatan, such as salbutes and panuchos. The market is a feast for all your senses with brightly colored exotic fruits and fresh vegetables and the heady aroma of local food in the air.

If you’re looking for a souvenir to bring home, this is also the place to find it. You’ll find all sorts of local handicrafts, including textiles, pottery and wooden masks. Bargaining is expected so make sure to brush up on your haggling skills before you go.

🎟️ Entry: Free. Open daily 7am-4pm.

mercado lucas galvez - things to do in merida

Best Yucatecan Foods to Try

Merida boasts some of the best foods in Mexico – Yucatecan cuisine is unique, distinctive, and unlike other Mexican dishes. Much of this is due to its traditional Mayan roots, mixed with influences from Spain, the Caribbean, and other Mexican regions.
  • Huevos Motuleños – A
  • 18. Eat Cochinita at Taqueria la Lupita

    Foodies alert! If you’re looking for something cheap, local, and authentic, you definitely need to check out the tacos at Taqueria la Lupita. This humble taco store in Mercardo Santiago was featured in the “Acid” episode of the show “Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat” hosted by James Beard Award-winning Chef Samin Nosrat.

    La Lupita Taquería is most famous for traditional Mexican antojitos like panuchos (tortillas stuffed with refried beans paste), salbutes (fried puffy tortillas topped with meat), and of course Yucatan’s pride and joy, cochinita pibil (suckling pig cooked in underground oven). This is a great place for cheap eats in Merida, as you can have three tacos and a drink for only about $5-7USD.

    Open daily 6.30am-1.30pm. Get there early if you want a table!

    taqueria la lupita - things to do in merida

    19. Take a Deep Dive into Merida’s Dining Scene

    Merida’s thriving culinary scene is one of the city’s biggest draws. Brimming with both local and international restaurants, you can find anything from gourmet Yucatecan cuisine to hip Mexican gastrobars and French fine dining. It’s no wonder Merida is quickly becoming the gastronomic capital of the South. I’m seriously impressed by the standards of restaurants here and cannot believe how affordable yet outstanding the quality of food is!

    Some of our favorite restaurants in Merida include: (click on the links to read reviews)

    • La Chaya Maya – one of the top restaurants for traditional Yucatan fare, slightly touristy.
    • Manjar Blanco – a Merida institution helmed by Chef Miriam Peraza, appeared in Netflix’s “Taco Chronicles”. Best cochinita pibil I’ve ever tried!
    • Ch’e’en Cocina Yucateca – another local’s favorite for Yucatecan dishes like huevos motuleños and frijol con puerco.
    • El Catrin Merida – my personal favorite restaurant is a funky Mexican gastrobar with colorful interiors, a contemporary menu, and even a light show in its gorgeous backyard.
    • Micaela Mar y Leña – best seafood spot in town, with a hip interior and creative dishes prepared with fresh catch from the beach 30 minutes away.
    • Mercado 60 – a modern gourmet food hall (pictured) with slightly overpriced but delicious international food from pizzas to sushi.
    • Restaurante Ya-axká – best gourmet restaurant for a contemporary Mexican dining experience. Prepare to splurge!
    food at manjar blanco - things to do in merida for foodies

    20. Book a Food Tour or Cooking Class

    And if all that food is still not enough to satisfy your hunger for knowledge on Yucatecan culinary culture, book yourself in for a street food tour. We did this walking tour that brought us to many of the spots I mentioned above, including the Mercado Lucas de Galvez where we learned the process of making tortillas and got to taste local fruits, spices, and antojitos (street snacks).

    My friend took this cooking class and raved all about it (we regret not taking it!). Her host first took her for a wander around one of the busiest markets in Merida, showing her the typical ingredients used in Yucatecan cooking, including the axiote spice and chaya (a type of vegetable). Then she spent the morning learning how to whip up some classic local dishes before sitting down to enjoy her fruit of labor.

    Things to Do in Merida At Night

    21. Catch Pok Ta Pok

    Pok Ta Pok is an ancient Mayan game that was played thousands of years ago. The ball game was part of a sacred, sacrificial ceremony, pitting good against evil. The winner (yes, winner!) of the game was sacrificed, which was then the highest honor bestowed on a Mayan player.

    On Saturday nights at 8-9pm, the ancient sport is reenacted in front of Merida Cathedral – luckily though, without any human sacrifice. It’s fun to watch and it gets pretty crazy towards the end, when the ball is literally on fire! Although this game is played as a display of their culture, the players are very much into the game with a high level of competitive spirit.

    🎟️ This Pok Ta Pok event is free, but you need to book a ticket to see it (it didn’t use to be the case). Reserve a ticket in advance at the Cultural Center Tues-Fri, 10am – 8pm. I strongly recommend arriving 15-20 minutes early to get a good spot. Seats do fill up.

    mayan ball game merida road trip

    22. Join in the Fiesta Every Night of the Week

    What I love most about Merida is that there’s always something happening every night of the week. From traditional dances to cultural performances, the city organizes these weekly events to showcase the rich Yuctecan culture in Merida. The city’s streets and plazas truly come alive at night.

    These events are all free and open to the public, but you’ll need to get your free tickets in advance from the Olimpo Cultural Center Tuesdays-Friday 10:00 am -8:00 pm. Here’s a calendar of the weekly events:

    • Monday: Vaqueria – traditional Yucatecan dance performed by the Folkloric Ballet of Merida in front of the Palacio Municipal at 9pm.
    • Tuesday : Trova  – a performance of Yucatecan romantic music at the Auditorio Olimpo at 8pm. Then Rembranzas Musicales, a free outdoor dance party, takes place in Parque Santiago at 8.30pm.
    • Wednesday: Pok Ta Pok – a reenactment of the Mayan ball game in front of the Cathedral at 8pm.
    • Thursday: Serenatas Yucatecas – outdoor dance performance that takes place on Parque Santa Lucía (since 1965) at 9pm.
    • Friday: Video Mapping – the Cathedral is lit up with lights and animation at 9pm. After that walk along Calle 60 as it turns into a makeshift outdoor market.
    • Saturday: Noche Mexicana – a night of traditional Mexican and Yucatecan music and dance performances on stage at Remate Paseo Montejo from 8 to 10pm.
    • Sunday: Merida en Domingo – an all-day event with taco stands and marquesita stalls at Plaza Grande. Great Sunday tradition to compliment the Bicicruta, Sunday bike route.
    evening shows - things to do in merida

    23. Hang Out at the Cantinas

    If you’re looking to check out Merida’s nightlife, you’ll need to experience the cantinas, traditional drinking holes that serve up tequila and a whole lot of character. Traditionally, cantinas were visited only by men (a couple of them in Merida still don’t allow women). La Negrita is a popular choice as it’s both affordable and pleasant, with live music, complimentary botanas (snacks), and local cerveza artisanal (craft beer).

    For an even more local and cheaper night out, check out the pulquerias in town. Pulquerias were social establishments where locals hung out and mingled over pulques (a traditional alcoholic drink made with the agave plant). La Pulquerida is perhaps the most well known, with live music and cheap drinks.

    For those seeking somewhere more mellow and upscale, Picheta’s rooftop bar is the place to go for the best view in town. The upscale venue not only offers great views of the Merida Cathedral, it also serves up reinvented Yucatecan food and creative cocktails.

    Things to Do Near Merida

    24. Visit a Spanish Hacienda

    In the countryside surrounding Merida, you’ll find many sprawling haciendas (plantation) that date back to the Spanish colonial days. One of the most famous is perhaps Hacienda Teya, established in 1683 as a livestock ranch and later turned into a henequén plantation in the 1800s. During the seventeenth century it was one of the largest and most profitable ranches in Yucatán.

    The massive estate is now a hotel and restaurant serving delicious Yucatecan cuisine and it’s garnered a loyal following amongst Meridian locals. On Saturday and Sunday afternoons, there are live trova performances. Its patio and lush garden are great for kids to run free. Book a table here.

    hacienda teya - things to do near merida

    25. Hit the Beach in Progreso

    You’ll be surprised to know that the nearest beach to Merida is just a 30-minute drive away! This comes in handy on sizzling hot days when you really need a respite from the heat. The main beach town on this stretch of coastline is the port city of Progreso. It’s a common stop for Caribbean cruises.

    The oceanfront promenade, the Malecón, is lined with beaches and thatch-roofed restaurants. The main attraction here is the food – fresh seafood caught daily and served up in family-run restaurants. Make sure to try the ceviche!

    🚌To get there, take the Autoprogreso bus from the terminal in downtown Merida. Alternatively, book this day tour that will also bring you to Progreso and el Corchito Ecological Reserve.

    progresso beach - things to do near merida

    26. Explore the Uxmal Mayan Ruins

    A 1-hour drive from Merida is  Uxmal, a UNESCO-listed Mayan ruin celebrated for its impressive construction and ornate stone carvings. It is considered one of the most important Mayan archaeological sites, alongside Chichen Itza, and Tikal in Guatemala.

    The name Uxmal means ‘thrice-built’ in Mayan. It refers to the construction of its highest structure, the Pyramid of the Magician which was built on top of existing pyramids. This archaeological complex has much less crowds than Chichen Itza. It is massive and there are very few signs, I highly recommend booking a guided tour.

    We didn’t hire a guide, but definitely regretted not having one to learn all about the various carvings and the meaning behind them. Most Uxmal tours include visits to nearby cenotes and haciendas.

    🚗 Uxmal forms part of the Ruta Puuc, a driving itinerary connecting five unique Maya ruins: Labná, Xlapak, Sayil, Kabah and Uxmal. 

    🎟️ Entry: 494 MXN (US$24.5) per person. Open daily, 8am-5pm.

    uxmal - another one of the mexican ruins in yucatan

    27. Visit the ChocoStory Museum

    After visiting the Uxmal ruins, make sure to stop at this museum that’s right by the entrance of Uxmal ruins. The ChocoStory Museum tells the story of cocoa and chocolate from its origins to its spread throughout the world.

    The museum has interactive exhibits that allow you to learn how to make chocolate, try different flavors and even create your own chocolate treat. The highlight of ChocoStory is definitely the reenactment of a Mayan ceremony where you’ll get to see and hear Mayan locals chanting and offering cacao to the gods.

    🎟️ Entry: 165 MXN (US$8) for adults, free for kids under 6. Open daily 9am-7pm.

    chocostory - interesting things to do merida

    28. Experience a Shaman Ritual

    On your drive back to Merida, make a stop at Cenote Sacamucuy, where local shamans still perform traditional rituals. The shaman performs a wellness ceremony to fill one’s soul with powerful positive energy.

    The ritual involves giving a beautiful offering of colorful flowers, medicinal plants, cocoa beans and candles to the gods via fragrant copal (tree resin) incense. You can book a traditional Mayan purification ritual here through Hacienda Temozon.

    sacamucuy - cenote mexico yucatan

    29. Explore the Yellow Town of Izamal

    One of my personal favorite things to do in Merida is a side-trip to Izamal, a small but ridiculously cute town just 1 hour from Merida. It’s known as the yellow town because of the many buildings that have been painted in various shades of yellow and orange.

    The main attraction in Izamal is the Convento de San Antonio, a Franciscan convent built in 1561 . The convent is one of the largest religious structures in Mexico and has a historic museum attached to it, which tells the story of Izamal’s conversion from Mayan to Catholic worship.

    ⚠️  From Izamal, you can easily continue on to Valladolid, an underrated city with many iconic Mayan ruins and cenotes nearby. Check out my list of things to do in Valladolid. The best way to get there is to rent a car in Merida. Alternatively, book a day tour that will bring you to Valladolid as well.

    izamal - things to do in merida

    30. Visit Celestun Biosphere Reserve

    If you’re seeking out some nature near Merida, Celestun Biosphere Reserve is a great option. The reserve is located around 90 minutes drive from Merida and is home to some amazing wildlife , including pink flamingos, pelicans and other aquatic birds.

    The best way to explore the reserve is by boat and the boat trip usually takes 1-2 hours; if you don’t have a car, I recommend booking a day tour from Merida. Tours usually last around 7 hours and include a stop at a local restaurant for lunch. Book your day tour here.

    celestun - things to do in merida

    My Travel Guide to Merida

    How to Get to Merida, Mexico

    Located in the Yucatan Peninsula, Merida is lodged in the eastern corner of Mexico. It has a small airport, Manuel Crescencio Rejón International Airport (MID), just 20 minutes from the city centre. There are direct flights from Miami, Houston, Mexico City and many other parts of Mexico. Check for flights to Merida here.

    You can also fly into nearby Cancun Airport, which serves many more cities around the world). From there, it’s a 4-hour bus journey to Merida. You can easily turn that journey into a Yucatan road trip; check out my 10-day Yucatan itinerary.

    buildings in merida - things to do in merida

    Mexico Travel Requirements

    • Mexico has no travel restrictions, and there’s no need for proof of vaccine or PCR tests on the plane. Anyone is welcomed to travel to Mexico.
    • However, I always recommend travelers to buy travel insurance, whether you’re traveling for a year or a week. These days, it is particularly important to have travel insurance that covers COVID-19. Read my travel insurance guide.
    • Safety Wing is the most popular travel insurance company for COVID19-coverage. I use their Nomad Insurance plan, which covers COVID-19 as any other illness as long as it was not contracted before your coverage start date.

    How to Get Around Merida, Mexico

    Merida’s historical center is relatively compact, so if you’re staying in the old town, you can easily walk everywhere. Otherwise, it’s also easy to catch a colectivo (shared taxi). Just flag it down when you see one. It costs around 10 MXN ($0.5) for a ride.

    Another way to get around Merida is by Uber or taxi. Unfortunately, Uber drivers in Mérida are known to cancel their rides frequently. Read about using Uber in Merida here. All taxis are metered, but you do need to speak some Spanish. The journey from the airport to the city centre costs around 180 – 220 MXN ($11 USD) each way.

    Renting a car is the best way to explore outside Merida; it’s convenient, flexible, and relatively affordable; the average price ranges from 600-800 MXN (US$30-40) per day, including insurance and taxes. I always use for car rentals worldwide, as they’ve consistently given me the cheaper rates and best services. 

    Search for car rentals in Merida here!

    Best Time to Visit Merida

    Merida is notorious for its extremely hot climate; and it does get CRAZY hot in summer (the only flaw Merida has in my opinion!). The best time to visit Merida is during the dry season, which runs from December to April. The weather averages 30-35 degrees Celsius / 86-95 Fahrenheit, but it cools down at night, making for pleasant evenings.

    May to November is the hurricane/rainy season in Merida. The rains usually come in short bursts and don’t tend to last all day. We traveled Merida in the wet season and it was actually pleasantly cool. Just be sure to purchase travel insurance to keep hurricane season from raining on your parade.

    Temperatures in April and May are some of the hottest of the year (around 38 degrees Celsius or 100 degrees Fahrenheit every day), but you’ll find many festivals and celebrations of Mexican holidays here. January is also a good time to visit as you’ll get to experience the Mérida Fest, a huge annual celebration that honors the founding of the city.

    cenote suytun - things to do near merida

    How Many Days in Merida?

    The capital of Yucatan isn’t a huge city, but there are plenty of things to do in Merida. I recommend spending at least three days here, but you could easily spend a week if you’re looking to delve deep and explore further afield (plenty of places you can see on day trips from Merida).

    With one week in Merida, you’ll have plenty of time to explore the city’s historical ruins, cenotes, eco-attractions, villages, and beaches. Plus you’ll get to attend each of Merida’s nightlife activities and do some day trips.

    Where to Stay in Merida

    Budget: Hotel Boutique Casa Garza

    A beautiful budget option for solo travelers, this centrally-located hotel (pictured) has beautiful rooms with a garden, terrace and small pool. We paid just $30/night and had a comfortable stay here with our daughter. Check rates here.

    Midrange: Villa Orquídea Boutique Hotel

    Also housed in a beautifully-restored colonial building, this boutique hotel features an all-white exterior and slick, elegant interiors. The avant-garde pool is to die for! Check rates here.

    Luxury: Casa Azul Monumento Histórico 

    Set in a 19th-century listed building, this heritage hotel is said to be the best in Merida. The extravagant hotel has luxurious suites with high ceilings, antique furniture, artwork and mosaic tiled floor. Check rates here.

    Is Merida Safe to Visit?

    Merida is well known for being one of the safest cities in Mexico. In 2019, CEOWorld Magazine named Merida the #1 safest city in Mexico and the second safest city on the Americas Continent. The city holds the 21st spot on the worldwide list, ranking higher than cities such as The Hague in the Netherlands.

    Whilst Merida is generally safe, it’s always important to take precautions like avoid walking alone at night in a dark alley. Be sure to keep your belongings close to you at all times.

    streets of merida -- best things to do in merida mexico

    Is it Worth Visiting Merida?

    There’s a reason why Merida won the title of cultural and gastronomic capital of Yucatan. Brimming with culture and history, the city is a highlight of any Yucatan itinerary. I hope this list of things to do in Merida has helped you to explore the city underneath its surface.

    For those who are planning to travel more of Mexico, check out other articles I’ve written on Mexico:

    Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links i.e. if you book a stay through one of my links, I get a small commission at NO EXTRA COST to you. Thank you for your support!

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    2 thoughts on “30 Best Things to Do in Merida, Mexico 2024”

    1. What a treasure trove of great information on Mérida! Bookmarking this, since I’m headed back there in a few months, after a wonderful week there this past summer.

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