I have only spent 3 weeks in Mexico, but out of the 11 different places I visited, Mérida was my absolute favourite! I felt completely safe the entire time that I was there, there was a lot to see and do, but it is still small enough to not be stressed about not getting to see everything. Most places are walkable, people are friendly, and the food is amazing! But then again, the food is amazing anywhere in Mexico.
If you are planning a trip to Mexico, I would highly recommend, that you pay a visit to the beautiful city of Mérida! Here are some of the best 9 things to do in Mérida!
1. Join a free walking tour
I’ve been on many free walking tours, but the one I went on in Mérida was one of the best ones that I have ever been on. If not THE best! Even though we did this walking tour on our last day in Mérida, rather than right at the beginning, we still learned so many new things and saw many new places during the walking tour! Highly recommend!
Our guide was called Cuauhtémoc, and this is the tour we went on!
2. Palacio de Gobierno del Estado Yucatán
We have seen this building before, but since there was a lot of security in front of the entrance, we didn’t think it was open to visitors. During the walking tour, however, we learned that was not the case!
You can enter the palace and I highly recommend you to do so, as on the top floor you will find murals covering the history of the Yucatán peninsula. Descriptions are available, and the entrance is free!
Additionally, you can get a nice view of the main square of Mérida!
Planning a trip to the Mérida?
Find the cheapest flights to Mérida with Skyscanner. Looking for accommodation? Here you can find the best hotels in Mérida!
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3. Gran Museum del Mundo Maya
Head to the Mayan museum if you would like to know more about the history and life of the Mayans. If you are also planning a trip to Chichen Itza during your travels, make sure to visit the Mayan museum first for some more context! It’s located about a 20-minute ride outside the city centre, so best to travel here by taxi, Uber or rental car.
4. Costco Cenote
If you are planning a visit to the Mayan museum, then you might as well also include a quick stop at the nearest Costco. It is located nearby! Because funny enough, in the middle of the car park, you will find a cenote. Probably something you can only find in Mexico!
5. Cenotes around Mérida
Speaking of cenotes, there are a lot of amazing cenotes around Mérida. However, most of these are probably only accessible if you have a rental car. The ones I visited were called: Cenote X’batun and Cenote Dzonbacal!
They are located right next to each other, so with the entry ticket you can visit both of them. One cenote was more of an open cenote, whereas the other one was more of a cave. They are about a 1-hour car ride away.
6. Visit the local market (Mercado San Benito)
It’s always interesting to see where the locals shop and eat, that gives you a much better feeling of a city than just wandering around the city centre and eating at touristy places. I therefore always like to visit a local market. While Mérida has several markets, the one I visited was Mercado San Benito. Here you can find anything from fruits to spices to batteries and household goods.
The pictures below are not the market itself, but a street and a fruit stand on the way to the market from the city centre.
Planning to visit other places in Mexico as well? Read all about releasing a sea turtle in Puerto Escondido!
7. Plaza Grande
Plaza Grande is the heart of Mérida, located right in the city centre, and a place to enjoy at any time of the day. You will find impressive historical buildings, museums, a park, and both locals and tourists alike enjoying their time at this beautiful square.
8. Go out for some drinks
What I loved about Mérida was, that it felt very safe, walking around after dark was much less of an issue than in other cities I have visited. That made it much more fun going to different bars, without having to wait for an Uber in between, and also everything is walkable.
I went to two places that were recommended in the Lonely Planet, that I liked:
- Piripau bar: cocktail bar, good music, had more of a club atmosphere, great drinks.
- Mercado 60: there were people dancing Salsa and there was a live band playing, it was a nice atmosphere with both locals and tourists. There are different stands where you can get food or drinks.
9. Trip to Chichen Itza
Since Chichen Itza is one of the seven new world wonders, it is probably part of your itinerary later on anyway. If that is the case, you might want to stay in a location much closer to the world-famous ruins. However, if Mérida is the only city you are visiting in Yucatán, then you should also include a visit to Chichen Itza. Chichen Itza is a large archaeological site built by the Mayans.
By car, it is about a 1 hour and 40-minute drive away, but you can also visit Chichen Itza as part of an organised tour.
Where to stay in Mérida? I had stayed at the Hotel Caribe Merida Yucatan. The location was perfect, the room was fine, and I really like the hotel facilities, the only downside was the Wi-Fi. I would recommend this hotel, but definitely not if you are relying on Wi-Fi!
And that concludes some of the best things to do in Mérida! Would you like to travel to Mérida?
Talk to you later!
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