Having lived in Merida for over 6 months I’ve compiled this list of things to do in Merida, Mexico for digital nomads, slow travelers and people on scouting trips trying to find places they may want to live. If you fall in any of these categories, your visit to Merida will be rich and complete if you visit even a handful of the suggested activities here.
Merida, the capital city of the Mexican state of Yucatan, is a vibrant and culturally rich destination that offers a unique blend of Mayan and Spanish colonial history. Known as the “White City” for its brightly painted buildings and elegant colonial architecture, Merida is a popular tourist destination that has managed to preserve its rich cultural heritage while also embracing modernity.
From its stunning Mayan ruins and museums to its vibrant local markets and outdoor activities, Merida has something to offer every type of traveler. One of my favorite things about this city is that there’s always something to do. Just when you think you’ve seen it all, here comes the circus, or a festival, carnival, seasonal market or cultural activity to keep you entertained.
Whether you’re interested in exploring historical sites, experiencing local culture, or simply relaxing and enjoying the beauty of the Yucatan Peninsula, Merida is a destination that should be on your travel bucket list. In this article, we will explore some of the top things to do and see in Merida, Mexico.
Read: The Cost of Living in Merida
Historical Sites to Visit in Merida
Merida is a city steeped in history, and one of the best ways to explore its rich past is by visiting its many historical sites. From ancient Mayan ruins to colonial-era buildings, Merida’s historical attractions offer a fascinating glimpse into the city’s past and its cultural heritage.
In this section, we will explore some of the top historical sites to visit in Merida, including some of the most iconic Mayan ruins in the region and some of the city’s most impressive colonial-era structures. Whether you’re a history buff or simply looking to immerse yourself in Merida’s vibrant culture, these sites are sure to be a highlight of your visit.
The Mayan Ruins
Merida is home to some of the most impressive Mayan ruins in the world, which serve as a testament to the ancient civilization that once thrived in the region. Three of the most significant Mayan ruins that you can visit while in Merida are Chichen Itza, Uxmal, and Dzibilchaltun.
Chichen Itza is undoubtedly one of the most popular and well-known Mayan ruins in the world, and for good reason. It’s even considered on of the new 7 wonders of the world. Located just over an hour from Merida, this ancient city is a must-see for anyone interested in Mayan culture and history.
The site is home to a wide range of impressive structures, including the famous El Castillo pyramid, which is one of the most recognizable landmarks in Mexico.
The pyramid, also known as the Temple of Kukulcan, was built in the 10th century AD and features a series of steep steps that lead to a platform at the top. This platform is surrounded by 52 rectangular panels, each representing a year in the Mayan calendar.
During the spring and autumn equinoxes, the sun creates a unique shadow effect that makes it appear as if a serpent is slithering down the side of the pyramid. This phenomenon has made El Castillo one of the most popular tourist attractions in Mexico, with thousands of visitors flocking to Chichen Itza each year to witness the spectacle.
In addition to the pyramid, Chichen Itza is home to several other impressive structures, including the Temple of the Warriors, the Great Ball Court, and the Observatory.
The Temple of the Warriors is a massive structure that features a series of carved columns, while the Great Ball Court is one of the largest ball courts in the world and was used for a variety of sporting events and rituals. The Observatory is another impressive structure that served as an astronomical observatory for the ancient Mayans.
Overall, a visit to Chichen Itza is a fascinating and awe-inspiring experience that offers a unique glimpse into the ancient Mayan culture. While the site can get crowded during peak tourist season, it’s well worth the trip for anyone interested in history, architecture, or culture. Whether you’re exploring the towering pyramids, admiring the intricate carvings, or simply soaking up the atmosphere of this ancient city, Chichen Itza is a must-see attraction in Merida.
Uxmal, located about an hour and a half from Merida, is another must-see Mayan archaeological site in the Yucatan region. The site features a variety of well-preserved structures that offer a fascinating glimpse into the culture and society of the ancient Maya.
One of the most impressive structures at Uxmal is the Pyramid of the Magician. This imposing structure rises more than 100 feet above the surrounding jungle and features a series of rounded corners and intricate carvings. The pyramid was built in several stages, with each layer representing a different era in Mayan history. The structure’s unique rounded corners are believed to be inspired by the shape of the Maya rain god’s hat.
Another impressive structure at Uxmal is the Governor’s Palace, which is believed to have been the residence of a high-ranking Mayan official. The palace features a series of intricately carved facades and a large central courtyard, which was used for a variety of ceremonies and events.
Uxmal is also home to several ball courts, which were used for a variety of sporting events and rituals. One of the most impressive of these is the Great Ball Court, which is one of the largest in the region. The court measures more than 500 feet long and features towering walls that are adorned with intricate carvings.
Overall, Uxmal is a fascinating site that offers a unique glimpse into the Mayan culture and history. While it may not be as well-known as Chichen Itza, it is every bit as impressive and worth a visit for anyone interested in ancient history, architecture, or culture. Be sure to take the time to explore the site thoroughly and appreciate the intricate carvings and structures that make Uxmal such a special place.
Dzibilchaltun is an ancient Mayan city located just a short drive from Merida, and is often overlooked by visitors to the region. However, this site is a hidden gem that is well worth a visit for anyone interested in Mayan history and culture.
One of the most impressive features of Dzibilchaltun is the Temple of the Seven Dolls. This structure is believed to have been built around 700 AD, and is named after seven small clay figurines that were found within the temple during an archaeological excavation. The temple features a unique design, with a series of seven chambers that are connected by narrow passageways.
Another impressive structure at Dzibilchaltun is the Xlacah cenote, which is a natural sinkhole that was used for a variety of religious ceremonies and rituals. Visitors can swim in the cenote, which is surrounded by lush jungle vegetation and provides a refreshing respite from the hot Yucatan sun.
Dzibilchaltun is also home to a museum that features a variety of artifacts and exhibits related to Mayan history and culture. Visitors can learn about the city’s history, as well as the daily life and customs of the ancient Maya.
One of the unique features of Dzibilchaltun is its proximity to the modern-day city of Merida. Visitors can easily combine a trip to the ruins with a visit to the city, allowing them to experience the best of both worlds. The site is also much less crowded than some of the more popular Mayan ruins in the region, making it an ideal choice for those who prefer a more low-key and intimate experience.
Overall, Dzibilchaltun is a fascinating site that offers a unique glimpse into the ancient Mayan culture and history. From the impressive Temple of the Seven Dolls to the refreshing waters of the Xlacah cenote, there is something for everyone at this hidden gem. Whether you’re a history buff or simply looking to explore a lesser-known Mayan ruin, Dzibilchaltun is definitely worth a visit.
Dzibilchaltun Winter Solstice Experience
The Dzibilchaltun Solstice Experience is an annual event that takes place at the Dzibilchaltun archaeological site, usually around the winter solstice in December. During this time, visitors can witness an amazing astronomical event that is truly unique to this particular site.
The event is centered around the Temple of the Seven Dolls, which is aligned in such a way that the sun rises directly through its main doorway during the winter solstice. This alignment is no accident – it is believed that the ancient Maya designed the temple in this way to mark the changing of the seasons and the passage of time.
On the day of the solstice, visitors gather early in the morning to watch the sunrise and witness the alignment of the temple with the rising sun. As the sun rises, its rays shine through the doorway and illuminate the interior of the temple. It is a breathtaking sight that is both beautiful and awe-inspiring.
In addition to the solstice event, visitors can also explore the ruins and learn about the history and culture of the ancient Maya. The museum at Dzibilchaltun features a variety of exhibits and artifacts that provide insight into the daily life and customs of the ancient Maya.
The Dzibilchaltun Solstice Experience is a truly unique and unforgettable event that offers a rare opportunity to witness an ancient astronomical event in person. Whether you’re a history buff, an astronomy enthusiast, or simply looking for a once-in-a-lifetime experience, this event is definitely worth adding to your travel itinerary.
Museums in Merida
With all this history around, you definitely do not want to skip out on visiting the fascinating museums in Merida.
The many museums here offer visitors a fascinating glimpse into the region’s rich past. From ancient Mayan artifacts to colonial-era art and artifacts, the museums of Merida showcase the many different facets of the city’s history and heritage.
Whether you’re a history buff or simply looking to learn more about the culture and traditions of the Yucatan region, a visit to one or more of these museums is sure to be a highlight of your trip to Merida.
Gran Museo del Mundo Maya
The Gran Museo del Mundo Maya, or Great Museum of the Maya World, is one of the most impressive and comprehensive museums in Merida. Located in a modern, purpose-built facility on the outskirts of the city, the museum features a vast collection of artifacts, exhibits, and multimedia displays that offer visitors a deep understanding of the ancient Maya civilization.
The museum’s collection includes over 7500 pieces, ranging from pottery and stone carvings to jewelry and other intricate artifacts. Visitors can explore exhibits on the history, culture, and daily life of the ancient Maya, with a particular focus on the Yucatan region. The museum also features exhibits on the contemporary Maya, highlighting their ongoing contributions to the cultural landscape of the region.
One of the most impressive features of the Gran Museo del Mundo Maya is its immersive, multimedia displays. Visitors can explore interactive exhibits that bring the ancient Maya world to life, including 3D models of ancient cities, holographic displays, and virtual reality experiences. The museum also features a variety of audio and video displays, offering visitors a multi-sensory experience that is both informative and engaging.
In addition to its permanent exhibits, the museum also hosts temporary exhibitions and events throughout the year. These events often focus on specific themes or topics related to Maya culture and history, providing visitors with even more opportunities to explore and learn.
Overall, the Gran Museo del Mundo Maya is a must-visit for anyone interested in the ancient Maya civilization and its ongoing legacy. With its impressive collection, innovative displays, and engaging programming, the museum offers a comprehensive and immersive experience that is sure to leave a lasting impression.
Casa de Montejo
Casa de Montejo is a stunning colonial-era mansion located in the heart of Merida’s historic center. Built in the 16th century, the mansion was the residence of the Montejo family, who were prominent Spanish conquistadors and colonial administrators. Today, the mansion has been beautifully restored and converted into a museum that offers visitors a glimpse into the city’s colonial past.
The mansion features a number of beautifully appointed rooms, including a grand ballroom, a chapel, and a dining room with an impressive collection of china and silverware. Visitors can explore the mansion’s interior, which is filled with original furnishings and decorative details that provide insight into the lifestyle and tastes of the wealthy colonial elite.
One of the most impressive features of Casa de Montejo is its stunning facade, which features intricate carvings and decorative details that are typical of Spanish colonial architecture. The facade is a masterpiece of the Plateresque style, with ornate designs that incorporate both European and indigenous motifs.
In addition to its historical and architectural significance, Casa de Montejo also offers visitors a glimpse into the cultural heritage of the Yucatan region. The museum features a number of exhibits and artifacts that showcase the region’s rich artistic traditions, including textiles, ceramics, and other crafts.
Overall, Casa de Montejo is a must-visit for anyone interested in the history, architecture, and culture of Merida and the Yucatan region. Its beautiful facade and interior, combined with its fascinating historical and cultural exhibits, make it one of the most compelling museums in the city.
Museum of Anthropology and History
The Museum of Anthropology and History is one of the oldest and most respected museums in Merida. Located in the Palacio Canton, a magnificent neoclassical building in the heart of the city, the museum offers visitors a comprehensive overview of the region’s history, culture, and natural environment.
The museum’s collection includes over 25,000 objects and artifacts, ranging from ancient Mayan artifacts to colonial-era art and artifacts. Visitors can explore exhibits that showcase the region’s rich cultural heritage, including textiles, pottery, sculpture, and other artifacts that provide insight into the daily life and artistic traditions of the ancient Maya and other indigenous cultures.
In addition to its extensive collection of artifacts, the Museum of Anthropology and History also features exhibits on the natural environment of the Yucatan region. Visitors can learn about the diverse flora and fauna of the region, as well as the geological and ecological features that have shaped its landscape and climate over millions of years.
One of the most impressive features of the museum is its stunning architecture. The Palacio Canton, which houses the museum, was built in the early 20th century and features a beautiful neoclassical facade and interior. Visitors can explore the building’s grand halls, intricate carvings, and ornate details, which provide a fitting backdrop for the museum’s extensive collection of artifacts and exhibits.
Overall, the Museum of Anthropology and History is a must-visit for anyone interested in the history, culture, and natural environment of the Yucatan region. With its extensive collection of artifacts, informative exhibits, and stunning architecture, the museum offers visitors a rich and rewarding experience that is sure to leave a lasting impression.
Cultural Activities in Merida
Merida, the vibrant capital city of the Yucatan region in Mexico, is a hub of cultural activities that offer visitors a unique and immersive experience of the region’s rich heritage and traditions. From traditional music and dance performances to local art exhibits and festivals, there is no shortage of cultural activities to explore and enjoy in Merida.
Whether you’re interested in learning more about the region’s indigenous cultures, experiencing local cuisine and music, or simply soaking up the lively and festive atmosphere of this beautiful city, Merida’s cultural activities are sure to captivate and inspire you.
Attend a Folkloric Show
One of the most exciting and vibrant cultural activities to experience in Merida is a folkloric show. These shows showcase the rich and colorful traditions of the Yucatan region, including traditional music, dance, costumes, and customs that have been passed down through generations.
The shows typically take place in venues throughout the city, ranging from small, intimate theaters to larger, more grandiose performance spaces. They often feature live music, including the use of traditional instruments such as the marimba and the jarana, as well as choreographed dance routines that incorporate both indigenous and Spanish influences.
One popular folkloric show in Merida is the “Noches de Jaranas y Huapangos” at the Hacienda Sotuta de Peón. This show features live music and dance performances by local artists, as well as traditional Yucatecan cuisine and handicrafts for sale. Another popular option is the “Fiesta Mexicana” show at the Gran Museo del Mundo Maya, which showcases traditional dances and music from across Mexico, as well as a reenactment of a Mayan ball game.
Attending a folkloric show is a great way to immerse yourself in the vibrant and diverse culture of the Yucatan region, and to gain a deeper understanding and appreciation of its rich history and traditions. With their lively and colorful performances, these shows are sure to leave a lasting impression and create lasting memories of your time in Merida.
Visit a Local Market
One of the best ways to experience the vibrant culture and delicious cuisine of Merida is by visiting a local market. It’s the first thing we did when we arrived. These bustling, colorful markets offer a glimpse into daily life in the city, with vendors selling everything from fresh produce and seafood to handicrafts, textiles, and other souvenirs.
Lucas de Galvez Market
The Lucas de Galvez Market is the largest and oldest market in the city, with over 200 vendors selling everything from fresh fruits and vegetables to handmade textiles, leather goods, and traditional Yucatecan foods such as cochinita pibil and salbutes.
Mercado de Santiago
The Santiago Market, located in the historic Santiago neighborhood, is another must-visit destination for foodies and souvenir hunters alike. Here you’ll find an array of fresh seafood, meats, and produce, as well as handicrafts, jewelry, and other souvenirs made by local artisans.
Both markets offer a lively and colorful atmosphere, with vendors calling out their wares and haggling with customers over prices. Whether you’re in the mood for a quick snack or a full meal, you’ll find plenty of delicious options to choose from, including regional specialties like panuchos, papadzules, and marquesitas.
Mercado San Benito
Mercado San Benito is another popular market located in Merida, Yucatan. This market is located in the heart of the city, just a few blocks away from the main square, and is a popular destination for locals and tourists alike.
The market is housed in a large, open-air building and has a wide variety of vendors selling everything from fresh produce and meats to handmade crafts and souvenirs. You’ll find an array of traditional Yucatecan foods here, including tamales, empanadas, and cochinita pibil. There are also numerous stalls selling fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as spices, herbs, and other culinary ingredients.
In addition to food, Mercado San Benito also offers a variety of other goods for sale, including textiles, clothing, shoes, and handicrafts. There are even vendors selling traditional Yucatecan hammocks, which are known for their high quality and durability.
One of the highlights of Mercado San Benito is its vibrant and bustling atmosphere. The market is always crowded with locals going about their daily shopping, and vendors calling out their wares in a lively and boisterous manner. It’s a great place to soak up the local culture and get a taste of what life is like in Merida.
Whether you’re looking to sample some delicious Yucatecan cuisine, stock up on fresh produce, or pick up some unique souvenirs, Mercado San Benito is a must-visit destination in Merida. So grab your shopping bag and get ready to experience the sights, sounds, and flavors of this lively and colorful market!
Mercado Lucas de Galvez vs Mercado San Benito
While both Mercado Lucas de Galvez and Mercado San Benito are popular markets quite close to each other in Merida, Yucatan, they have some key differences.
Mercado Lucas de Galvez is the larger and older of the two markets, located in the heart of the city. It has over 200 vendors selling everything from fresh produce and seafood to handmade textiles, leather goods, and traditional Yucatecan foods such as cochinita pibil and salbutes. The market has a lively and bustling atmosphere, with vendors calling out their wares and haggling with customers over prices.
On the other hand, Mercado San Benito is smaller than Lucas de Galvez and located closer to the center of Merida. It is an open-air market where you can find a variety of goods such as handicrafts, textiles, souvenirs, and fresh produce, as well as a range of Yucatecan street food such as tacos, empanadas, and tamales.
In terms of atmosphere, Mercado Lucas de Galvez has a more traditional market feel, with a larger number of vendors and a bustling energy. Mercado San Benito has a more relaxed atmosphere, with fewer vendors and a focus on selling handicrafts and souvenirs, rather than food.
Overall, both markets are worth a visit and offer a unique shopping experience. The choice between them will depend on personal preferences, what you’re looking for, and the type of atmosphere you’re seeking.
Visiting a local market is a great way to experience the authentic culture and cuisine of Merida, and to connect with the friendly and welcoming people who call this beautiful city home.
Attend a Concert or Festival
Merida is a city that is always buzzing with cultural events and celebrations, making it an ideal destination for music and festival lovers. The city has a vibrant music scene, with concerts and live performances taking place throughout the year. Visitors to Merida can enjoy a wide range of music styles, from traditional Yucatecan music to contemporary pop, rock, and jazz.
In addition to concerts, the city is also home to numerous festivals and cultural events that showcase the rich history and traditions of the region. Whether you’re a music lover, a cultural enthusiast, or just looking for a good time, attending a concert or festival in Merida is a great way to experience the city’s unique energy and atmosphere.
Merida Fest is an annual celebration held in January that showcases the city’s rich cultural heritage through a series of concerts, performances, art exhibits, and cultural events. The festival typically lasts for two weeks and features both local and international artists, making it a must-see for anyone visiting Merida during this time. The festival takes place throughout the city, with events happening in public squares, theaters, museums, and other cultural venues.
Festival de las Animas
The Festival de las Animas, also known as the Festival of the Souls, is a vibrant and colorful celebration that takes place in Merida, Yucatan, that happens each October. The festival is a joyful tribute to the Day of the Dead, which is an important Mexican holiday that honors deceased loved ones.
During the Festival de las Animas, the streets of Merida come alive with music, dance, and colorful parades. The festivities begin with a procession led by a group of people dressed as skeletons, who dance and play music as they make their way through the city streets. Along the way, they are joined by other revelers dressed in colorful costumes and face paint, adding to the festive atmosphere.
One of the highlights of the festival are all the beautiful altars around the city. Local residents and businesses create elaborate and beautiful altars in honor of their deceased loved ones. The altars are decorated with flowers, candles, and other offerings, and visitors are welcome to view and photograph them.
The Festival de las Animas is a beautiful and lively celebration that showcases the unique cultural traditions of Merida and is a must-see for anyone visiting the city. It is a time for remembering and honoring the dead, but also for celebrating life and the connections that we share with our loved ones, both past and present.
Outdoor Activities in Merida
If you’re looking to explore the natural beauty of Merida and its surroundings, or just want to get some fresh air and exercise, there are plenty of outdoor activities to choose from. You can visit one of the many nature reserves and parks in the area, go for a swim in a refreshing cenote, or explore the city by bike. These activities offer a great way to experience the beauty and diversity of the Yucatan Peninsula and are a must-do for anyone visiting the area.
The Celestun Biosphere Reserve
The Celestun Biosphere Reserve is a stunning natural area located about 95 kilometers west of Merida on the Yucatan Peninsula. It is a protected wetland that covers over 146,000 acres and is home to a variety of unique plant and animal species.
One of the main attractions of the Celestun Biosphere Reserve is its large population of flamingos, which can be seen wading in the shallow waters of the reserve. The pink-hued birds are a stunning sight against the backdrop of the blue sky and green mangroves. Visitors can take a boat tour through the reserve to get a closer look at the flamingos and other wildlife, such as herons, egrets, and pelicans.
In addition to its birdlife, the Celestun Biosphere Reserve is also home to a variety of other animals, including crocodiles, turtles, and various species of fish. The reserve is also rich in plant life, with over 200 different types of trees and shrubs.
The Celestun Biosphere Reserve offers a unique and breathtaking natural experience that is not to be missed. It is a great way to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city and connect with the beauty of nature. Whether you’re a bird enthusiast, a nature lover, or simply looking for a peaceful retreat, the Celestun Biosphere Reserve is an ideal destination.
El Corchito Ecological Reserve
El Corchito Ecological Reserve is a beautiful natural area located just 10 kilometers north of the city of Progreso, on the Yucatan Peninsula. This reserve covers an area of approximately 60 hectares and is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in the unique ecology of the region.
The reserve features a series of natural springs that feed into several lagoons, which are home to a variety of aquatic species, including fish and crustaceans. Visitors can enjoy a refreshing swim in the clear, cool waters of the lagoons, which are said to have therapeutic properties due to their high mineral content.
El Corchito Ecological Reserve is also home to a diverse array of plant life, including mangroves, palmettos, and chit palms. These plants provide a habitat for a variety of animals, such as birds, iguanas, and even crocodiles. Visitors can observe these creatures from a distance while walking along the reserve’s nature trails.
One of the most unique features of El Corchito Ecological Reserve is its cenote, which is a natural sinkhole that forms when the roof of an underground cavern collapses. This cenote is surrounded by lush vegetation and is a peaceful and serene spot where visitors can relax and take in the beauty of the natural surroundings.
Overall, El Corchito Ecological Reserve is a beautiful and peaceful destination that offers a unique glimpse into the natural wonders of the Yucatan Peninsula. It is a great place to escape the city and enjoy some time in nature.
Swim in a Cenote
Cenotes are natural sinkholes filled with crystal-clear water that are found throughout the Yucatan Peninsula. They are a unique and beautiful feature of the region and are a popular destination for visitors seeking a refreshing swim in a natural setting.
Cenote Ik Kil
One of the most popular cenotes in the region is Cenote Ik Kil, which is located just a short drive from the ancient Mayan city of Chichen Itza. This cenote is over 100 feet deep and features a large circular opening that allows sunlight to stream down into the water, creating a stunning display of light and shadow. Visitors can swim in the cool, clear waters of the cenote or simply relax on one of the surrounding platforms and take in the beauty of the natural surroundings.
Another great cenote to visit is Cenote Xlacah, which is located in the heart of the city of Merida. This cenote is unique in that it is partially open to the sky and partially covered, creating a beautiful contrast between light and shadow. Visitors can swim in the clear, cool waters of the cenote or explore the surrounding jungle, which is home to a variety of plant and animal life.
Both Cenote Ik Kil and Cenote Xlacah are must-visit destinations for anyone traveling to the Yucatan Peninsula. They offer a unique and unforgettable experience that showcases the natural beauty and wonder of the region.
Explore the City by Bike
One of the best ways to explore the city of Merida is by bike. The city is known for its bike-friendly streets and numerous bike rental shops that cater to both locals and tourists alike. Exploring the city by bike allows visitors to take in the sights and sounds of Merida at their own pace while enjoying the beautiful weather and unique atmosphere of the region.
One great way to experience the city by bike is by joining the weekly Biciruta, which takes place every Sunday from 8am to 12pm. During this time, the streets of the historic city center are closed to vehicle traffic, allowing cyclists to enjoy a car-free ride through the heart of the city. The route covers a distance of about 6.5 miles and takes riders past some of the city’s most iconic landmarks and attractions, including the Cathedral of Merida, the Paseo de Montejo, and the Santa Ana and Santa Lucia neighborhoods.
In addition to the Biciruta, visitors can also rent bikes from one of the many bike rental shops located throughout the city. Some popular rental shops include Biciruta Merida, Biker’s Point, and Yucabikes, all of which offer a range of rental options and guided bike tours.
Exploring the city by bike is a fun, healthy, and environmentally-friendly way to experience all that Merida has to offer. It allows visitors to get off the beaten path and discover hidden gems while enjoying the fresh air and beautiful scenery of the region.
Located just 45 minutes from Merida, the charming town of Izamal is a must-visit destination for anyone exploring the Yucatan Peninsula. Known as the “Yellow City” for its many buildings painted in shades of bright yellow, Izamal is a beautiful and historic town that has managed to retain its colonial-era charm.
One of the town’s main attractions is the Franciscan convent of San Antonio de Padua, which was built in the 16th century on the site of a former Mayan temple. The convent is an impressive structure that dominates the town’s central square, and visitors can explore its beautiful architecture and learn about its fascinating history.
Another highlight of Izamal is the Kinich Kakmo pyramid, which is located just outside of the town center. This impressive Mayan ruin dates back to the Late Classic period and was once an important religious site for the Mayan people. Visitors can climb to the top of the pyramid and take in sweeping views of the surrounding countryside.
In addition to these historic sites, Izamal is also home to a number of charming shops, restaurants, and cafes, all of which contribute to the town’s laid-back and welcoming atmosphere. Visitors can stroll through the colorful streets, sample delicious Yucatecan cuisine, and soak up the local culture and traditions.
Overall, a visit to Izamal is a great way to experience the rich history, culture, and beauty of the Yucatan Peninsula. Whether you’re a history buff, a foodie, or just looking for a peaceful and picturesque escape from the hustle and bustle of Merida, Izamal is definitely worth a visit.
Visit Motul and Ticul
If you’re looking to explore some of the smaller towns and villages outside of Merida, a visit to Ticul and Motul is highly recommended.
Ticul is a charming town located about 45 minutes south of Merida. Known for its thriving pottery industry, Ticul is a great place to shop for unique and handcrafted ceramics. Visitors can also explore the town’s colorful streets, visit the local market, and learn about the history and traditions of the region.
Motul, on the other hand, is a small town located about 30 minutes north of Merida. Known for its delicious cuisine, Motul is a great place to sample some of the Yucatan’s most iconic dishes, including cochinita pibil (slow-roasted pork) and salbutes (crispy tortillas topped with meat, cheese, and salsa). Visitors can also explore the town’s beautiful churches and parks, and learn about the history and culture of the region.
Both Ticul and Motul offer a glimpse into the day-to-day life of the Yucatan’s smaller towns and villages. With their friendly locals, beautiful architecture, and rich cultural traditions, these towns are well worth a visit for anyone looking to experience the authentic charm of the Yucatan Peninsula.
While Ticul is definitely known for its thriving pottery industry, the town is also famous for its handmade shoes. In fact, Ticul has been producing high-quality leather shoes for more than a century, and the town’s cobblers are renowned for their attention to detail and craftsmanship.
Visitors to Ticul can explore the town’s shoe shops, which offer a wide variety of styles and sizes. From sandals and loafers to boots and dress shoes, there’s something for everyone here. Many shops also offer custom-made shoes, allowing visitors to choose the style, color, and size that best suits their needs.
If you’re interested in learning more about the shoemaking process, some shops in Ticul offer tours of their workshops, where you can see the cobblers in action as they cut, stitch, and shape the leather into beautiful shoes.
Whether you’re in the market for a new pair of shoes or simply interested in learning about the region’s traditional crafts, Ticul’s shoemaking industry is definitely worth a visit.
Huevos Motuleños in Motul
Motul is famous for being the birthplace of one of Yucatan’s most beloved dishes: Huevos Motuleños.
This hearty breakfast dish typically consists of fried eggs served on a bed of tortillas and black beans, topped with a rich tomato sauce and garnished with cheese, ham, and peas. It’s a delicious and satisfying meal that’s perfect for starting your day off right.
While you can find Huevos Motuleños on menus throughout the Yucatan region, many visitors make a point of traveling to Motul to try the dish in its place of origin. In fact, there are several restaurants in town that specialize in serving up this beloved dish, and they each have their own unique take on the recipe.
If you’re a foodie looking to explore the culinary traditions of the Yucatan region, a trip to Motul to sample Huevos Motuleños is definitely in order. With its rich flavors and hearty ingredients, it’s a dish that’s sure to leave you feeling satisfied and content.
Visiting Homun is one of the best day trips from Merida outside of Chichen Itza or heading to Progreso Beach.
Homun is a small town located about 50 kilometers east of Merida and is an excellent destination for those looking to explore the Yucatan’s natural beauty. The town is known for its numerous cenotes, underground freshwater pools that are unique to the region.
One of the most popular cenotes to visit in Homun is Cenote Santa Barbara, which is known for its crystal-clear waters and stunning rock formations. Visitors can swim in the cenote, relax on the surrounding rocks, or even dive into the water from a rope swing. It’s an incredible experience that’s not to be missed.
In addition to Cenote Santa Barbara, Homun is also home to several other cenotes, including Cenote San Antonio and Cenote Tza Ujun Kat. Each cenote has its own unique features and charm, making them all worth exploring.
Aside from cenote hopping, visitors to Homun can also enjoy other outdoor activities such as biking, horseback riding, and hiking through the surrounding countryside. The town is also known for its traditional Yucatecan cuisine, so be sure to stop at a local restaurant to try dishes like cochinita pibil, a slow-cooked pork dish that’s a staple of the region.
Overall, Homun is a fantastic destination for those looking to get off the beaten path and explore the natural beauty of the Yucatan. With its numerous cenotes and outdoor activities, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.
Visit Merida Beaches
Progreso Beach is a popular destination for tourists visiting Merida. It is located about 30 kilometers north of the city and is known for its long, sandy beaches and calm waters. The beach is lined with restaurants, bars, and shops, making it a great place to spend a day relaxing and enjoying the sunshine.
In addition to Progreso Beach, there are several other beach towns in the area worth visiting. Sisal, for example, is a sleepy fishing village located about an hour west of Merida. The town is known for its quiet beaches, excellent seafood, and historic lighthouse. It’s a great place to escape the crowds and enjoy a more peaceful beach experience.
Telchac is another popular beach town located about an hour east of Merida. The town is known for its colorful fishing boats, wide beaches, and laid-back vibe. It’s a great place to go swimming, sunbathing, or to simply relax and enjoy the ocean views.
Finally, Chuburna is a small fishing village located about an hour northwest of Merida. The town is known for its pristine beaches, calm waters, and excellent seafood. It’s a great place to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and enjoy a more relaxed beach experience.
Overall, the Yucatan Peninsula is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in Mexico, and Progreso, Sisal, Telchac, and Chuburna are just a few of the many destinations worth exploring. Whether you’re looking for a lively beach scene or a peaceful escape, there’s a beach town in the area that’s sure to suit your needs.
Wrap Up Your Trip with Some Shopping
Merida is not only rich in history and culture, but it also offers modern shopping experiences in the northern part of the city. The north side of Merida is home to several modern malls, including Galerías Mérida, La Isla Mérida, and Plaza Altabrisa.
Galerías Mérida is one of the largest shopping malls in the city, with popular stores such as Zara and H&M, a movie theater, an ice-skating rink, and a food court. It offers a wide range of shopping options, from luxury brands to local shops, making it a popular destination for both locals and tourists.
La Isla Mérida is another large mall with a lake on the outside offering water sports. The mall boasts Bath and Body Works, Mac (both the makeup store and the tech store), a cinema, a game arcade and upscale dining options. It has a unique design that resembles a small town, making it a great place to walk around and explore.
Plaza Altabrisa is a popular mall with a modern and sleek design. It’s where my kiddo goes to meet up with other teens for bowling and gaming often. It is known for its high-end stores, such as Guess, Pandora, Samsung, and Prada, as well as local stores selling handicrafts and souvenirs.
For hardcore shopping, you can drive from the Yucatan to Belize and get great deals in the duty-free marketplace just at the border. Make a trip exploring two countries in one as there are lots of amazing things to do in Belize.
Aside from shopping, these malls also offer entertainment options such as bowling alleys, arcade games, and children’s play areas. They are easily accessible by public transportation or taxi, and parking is available on site. Whether you’re looking to shop for the latest fashion trends or just want to spend a day out with the family, the malls of Merida Norte have something for everyone.
So Many Things to Do in Merida
Mérida, Mexico is a vibrant and richly cultured city that offers a diverse range of activities and experiences for visitors. Whether you’re interested in exploring ancient Mayan ruins, enjoying outdoor adventures in nature reserves, or experiencing local cuisine and traditions, there is something for everyone in Mérida.
From the bustling markets and museums to the lively festivals and beaches, this city offers a unique blend of history and modernity. With its friendly locals, warm climate, and colorful architecture, it’s easy to see why Mérida is considered one of the most beautiful cities in Mexico. So, pack your bags, book your flight, and get ready to experience all the wonderful things to do in Merida, Mexico!