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HomeTravel15 Finest Issues to Do in Merida, Mexico, in 2023

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


Exploring historic Mayan ruins, swimming in cenotes, taking in cultural performances, and indulging in Yucatecan delicacies are just some of the numerous superb issues to do in Merida. Learn on for a more in-depth take 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 spite of everything, 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.

streets of merida

15 Finest Issues to Do in Merida

Conde Nast Traveler lately named Merida the most effective small metropolis on the planet. Vacationers are lastly taking discover, and Merida is prepared for its time within the highlight.

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

I’m comfortable to say that Merida didn’t disappoint, and it’s one of many greatest locations to go in Mexico. It’s a vibrant metropolis with quite a few sights and locations to go to.

This put up was up to date in 2023 to incorporate new Merida sights and actions.

I’m excited to share a few of the greatest issues to do in Merida with you on this put up. 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 so much 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 by day in Santa Lucia Park and lasts about two hours. 

On this quick 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 by myself.

Whereas the tour is free, it’s customary to tip your information for a job nicely executed. An excellent tip for a strolling tour like that is 100 pesos (about $5). Head to their web site to enroll in the tour. 

There are additionally some nice excursions for exploring Merida’s historic middle. You’ll be able to bounce on a 3-hour strolling tour with a neighborhood skilled in cultural and pure tourism. Click on right here to test it out and e-book your spot.

In case 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 if you happen to join one of many excursions, it’s value it to spend some additional time exploring the Zocalo by yourself. This tree-lined park may be very a lot the center of the town and is the most effective place to take in the native tradition.

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

These embody 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 flooring 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 typically boiling scorching – is cooling off within the surrounding cenotes. In case you’re not accustomed to these, they’re principally pure sinkholes.

These are discovered all around the Yucatan Peninsula and quantity within the 1000’s. Through 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 decide!

An excellent possibility for having fun with just a few cenotes is this tour that visits three — Cascabel, Chaksikin, and Pool Cocom.

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

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

Alongside the best way, your native guides will educate you about Mayan tradition. Meals, transport, information, and entrance charges are included. Click on right here to study 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 completely different museums, together with Casa Montejo. Constructed within the 1540s, it was the mansion of the conquistador Francisco de Montejo. As of late it’s a museum that’s free to go to, making it some of the in style issues to do in Merida.

Earlier than you head in, you’ll want to take a more in-depth take 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 best facet of the cathedral, there’s a coated walkway known as Passage of the Revolution. That is the place you’ll discover one other utterly free museum, this one targeted 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 study all concerning the metropolis’s historical past from the time of the Maya to the current. It’s positioned just some 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 enormous assortment of Mayan artifacts.  

A typical 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 considering this once I first traveled there a few years in the past. Nevertheless, 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 may be very a lot alive and nicely right here, mixing with Spanish, French, British, and modern-day Mexican influences.

The museum is definitely positioned fairly a distance from the town middle. You’ll be able to hop on the bus certain for Progreso and inform them you need to get off on the museum or simply get a cab on the market. Uber can be accessible right here and works very nicely 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 suggest 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

Undoubtedly, 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 called El Castillo is an awe-inspiring expertise, to say the least.

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

Being such a preferred vacation spot, it’s very straightforward to enroll in a tour to Chichen Itza. It’s a bit removed from Merida (about an hour and a half), nevertheless it’s undoubtedly well worth the journey!

You’ll be able to 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 a licensed 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. 

Be aware: you is likely to be considering that 6 AM departure is early, however the line-ups and crowds may be large at Chichen Itza, and the solar may 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 biggest and hottest is Uxmal. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Website and some of the vital locations within the Mayan world. Having been to all the large ones, I can truthfully say Uxmal is my favourite Mayan website I’ve visited.

You’ll be able to simply catch a neighborhood bus there and again, though you could 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 just a few different, smaller ruins within the space like Kabah, Labna, and Xcalak.

One approach to see all of those is with a rental automobile. In case 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 just a few hours to discover Uxmal. 

A complete go to may be loved on this tour the place you additionally go to the Kabah ruins, the Yaxcopoi Hacienda and a cenote. It consists of 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 study 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 if you happen to’re searching for a while on la playa

Progreso is a significant cruise ship port, so it’s undoubtedly acquired that vacationer vibe. That being stated, the seashore is very nice and it’s an amazing escape from the town to take pleasure in a cerveza or two, and munch on some recent ceviche

In case 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’ll be able to go to an ecological park, salt ponds, a pink lake, and a small Mayan website on a half-day tour.

The most cost effective approach to rise up to Progreso is by catching the native bus. The station is positioned just a few 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 positioned about 100 km out of the town. It’s nicely 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 mix 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 trip by way of the mangroves and lunch. It departs at 8:45 AM from Merida. Click on right here to study extra and to make your reserving.

Ria Celestun is definitely positioned within the State of Campeche. In case you’re within the space, a go to right here to see the pink flamingos is without doubt one of the greatest issues to do in Campeche as nicely!

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 can plan your entire keep round what you’re consuming. From avenue meals and native markets to fine-dining, it’s all right here. 

Mexico is dwelling to a few of the greatest meals on the planet, with the Yucatecan meals being well-known all throughout Mexico — and for good purpose.

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

Different must-try gadgets right here embody poc chuc (marinated pork), sopa de lima (lime soup), and papadzules — corn tortillas full of hard-boiled eggs and coated in a pumpkin seed sauce. It sounds bizarre nevertheless it’s scrumptious!

You should definitely skip breakfast if you happen to join this glorious meals tour. It takes you to a number of markets and plenty of avenue 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 various and scrumptious. Regardless of the way you select to expertise it (on a tour, avenue stands, eating places, on the seashore…), simply be sure you pattern all of it!

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

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

Are you aware what’s even higher than attempting native meals? Making an attempt 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 a few of the commonest elements, together with the spicy habanero chile.

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

There’s additionally this very fashionable cooking class which takes you thru a market to get all of the elements for the cooking class. Then, you’ll take pleasure in 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 due to the henequen trade.

By no means heard of henequen? Neither had I.

This agave plant that by some means thrives right here in a spot with little water or fertilization can be utilized to make rope. The great occasions didn’t final without end, although — as of late many of the buildings are both museums or industrial areas.

Take a stroll alongside the boulevard and you’ll want to deliver your digicam. You’ll spot beautiful buildings just like the Palacio Canton and Quinta Montes Molina, each of that are museums which can be value a go to. 

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

12. Expertise Biciruta

The streets of Merida are great for cycling

Among the finest 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 take pleasure in 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 be sure you have an ID on you. 

Apparently in addition they do a particular nighttime Biciruta on the primary Saturday of each month now, in order that’s undoubtedly value testing if you happen to 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

Undoubtedly, one of many prime issues to do in Merida is taking in a few of the many cultural performances. There’s one thing occurring each night time of the week right here, they usually’re normally free.

A number of the greatest occasions to participate in embody 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. It is a day-long occasion within the Zocalo and an amazing 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 persons 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 going down 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 traditional 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 normally skip out on them once we journey in Mexico, as my spouse doesn’t normally 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 can be open to each women and men. The preferred is certainly La Negrita. Providing complimentary botanas (snacks) and stay 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 incessantly requested questions on what to do in Merida.

Is Merida value visiting?

Completely! It won’t be on the seashore like its extra well-known neighbor Cancun, however Merida affords cultural and historic websites which can 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 legendary for its Spanish-colonial structure, conventional Mayan tradition, distinctive delicacies, close by pyramids, and pure areas akin to cenotes, sinkholes stuffed with recent water which can be nice for swimming and scuba diving.

Is Merida too toursity?

Merida is in style with vacationers, nevertheless it 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 secure?

Merida is without doubt one of the most secure cities in Mexico, each day and night time.

Is Merida costly?

Merida is considerably costlier 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 consists of lodging, transportation, and meals.

Now You Know What to Do in Merida

There’s a purpose Merida was named the most effective small metropolis on the planet. It’s an amazing place to go to with a vibrant tradition, loads of fascinating sights, and countless alternatives for adventures within the space.

Whereas close by Cancun is extra of a Disney model of Mexico, Merida is the actual deal. In case you’re searching for 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 comfortable 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 undoubtedly planning on going again quickly.

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

Photographs on this article are courtesy of Shutterstock. Click on right here to study extra.

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