The Expats Have Spoken! Top 100 Things to do in Mérida

The Expats Have Spoken! Top 100 Things to do in Mérida

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Don’t you just hate it when you are planning a trip and you have to search multiple websites to put your itinerary together? Before coming to Mérida for the first time, I spent hours and hours researching what I wanted to do once I arrived. Once I got here, I began to chat with locals and expats about what they loved to do in and around Mérida. With the goal of saving you time and frustration, I put together this list of the top 100 things to do in Mérida.

Think I’m exaggerating? I’m not.

It should be noted, I actually had to pare down the list significantly. There are an incredible amount of things to do here; possibly more than one person could do in their lifetime.

I’ve even taken it a step further and provided the address, hours, admission, and web links for you (no more frustration from spending hours searching for information).

But why don’t we start out easy and then make an adventure out of it?

PLEASE NOTE: With the current COVID situation, many activities listed here have been postponed.

The historic city center of Mérida is called The Downtown

It’s pretty obvious once you think about it; the center of the city is called The Downtown. The historic city center with Plaza Grande is a beautiful place to experience the heart of Mérida.

Check this out –

People meet in the lovely park, get their shoes shined, buy and sell all kinds of items, read the paper, sing, dance, feed the pigeons, or just sit and relax. There are also newsstands, coffee shops, restaurants, and various retail establishments.

#1 Plaza Grande
The city’s main square is surrounded by the Zocalo with some of the most historically significant and aesthetically pleasing buildings in Mérida.
Location: Calle 60 x 61, Centro

#2 Catedral de San Ildefonso (Mérida  Cathedral)
The cathedral was built on the site of Mayan ruins and was the first cathedral finished on the mainland of the Americas.
Location: Plaza Grande Calle 60 x 61, Centro

#3 History of Mérida City Tour
Free walking tour of the downtown, given in English and Spanish. Remember to tip your tour guide for this valuable service and their expertise.
Location:  Mérida  Tourism Office – Calle 56A #242 X 56B y 60, Centro

#4 Palacio Municipal (Governor’s Palace)
This impressive building features huge murals by Mérida’s local artist, Fernando Castro Pacheco displaying the history of Yucatán.
Location: Calle 62 x 61 Plaza Grande Zocalo, Centro

#5 Museo Casa Montejo
Built-in the 16th century by Don Francisco de Montejo, conqueror of the Yucatan Peninsula, the home exhibits intricate artistry with opulent furnishings of the 19th and 20th centuries.
Location: Calle 63 x Calle 60 y 62, Centro

The Expats Have Spoken! Top 100 Things to do in Mérida

#6 Museo Fernando García Ponce-Macay
Housed in the former archbishop’s palace, the attractive museum’s impressive collection holds permanent exhibitions as well as rotating exhibitions of contemporary art from Mexico and abroad.

See three of Yucatán’s most famous painters of the Realist and Ruptura periods
1) Fernando Castro Pacheco, 2) Fernando García Ponce, and 3) Gabriel Ramírez Aznar.

Location:  Calle 60 502 B Altos, Centro

#7 Pok Ta Pok Mayan Ball Game 
A kind of Mayan football, Pok To Pok, was played with great ceremony for centuries and is steeped in mysticism.
Location:  Catedral de San Ildefonso

#8 Mérida en Domingo (Mérida on Sunday)
This outdoor festival features hand-crafts, food, live music, traditional dance exhibitions, and assorted local vendors.
Location:  Calle 60 from Plaza Grande to Santa Lucia Park, Centro

#9 Vaquería Night Dancing
A colorful dance that originated in the colonial days of the Yucatán when villagers were permitted by the Spanish elite to celebrate.
Location: Palacio Municipal – The Zocalo at Plaza Grande, Centro

#10 Vivid Video Mapping Projections
High-tech, light-and-sound shows depicting the region’s history and culture. Topic:  Encuentro con Francisco de Montejo – Diálogos del Conquistador (Meeting with Francisco de Montejo – Conqueror Dialogues)
Location:  Casa de Montejo – Facing the south side of the Plaza Grande, Centro
Hours:  Every Wednesday 8:30 pm

#11 Vivid Video Mapping Projections
High-tech, light-and-sound shows depicting the region’s history and culture. Topic:  Piedras Sagradas (Sacred Stones)
Location:  San Ildefonso Cathedral – Facing the east side of the Plaza Grande, Centro
Hours:  Every Friday 8:30 pm

The Expats Have Spoken! Top 100 Things to do in Mérida


The Paseo de Montejo is Mérida’s version of the Champs-Élysées

To begin with, the Paseo de Montejo is the main boulevard running north and south. This long boulevard is named after Francisco de Montejo the Spanish conquistador who founded the city in 1542.

Similar to the Paseo de la Reforma in Mexico City or the Champs-Élysées in Paris, the Paseo de Montejo is the avenue for some of the most beautiful and iconic buildings and monuments in Mérida.

#12 Mérida BiciRuta
A portion of the Paseo de Montejo is closed off every Sunday allowing cyclists to enjoy a morning of bicycling in family-oriented ambiance and safety. Bike rentals are available.
Location:  Paseo de Montejo, Centro
Hours: Every Sunday 8:00 am to 12:30 pm

#13 Mérida Nighttime BiciRuta
Night-time version of the weekly event held monthly.
Location:  Paseo de Montejo, Centro

#14 Noches Mexicana
Different states and regions of Mexico are represented through dance, music, and other artistic art forms. Food and handcraft vendors set up for delicious treats and local trinkets during this unique event.
Location:  Calle 56A #485 y Paseo de Montejo, Centro
Hours:  Every Saturday 9:00 pm to 11:30 pm

#15 Artists on the Paseo
On the east side of the Paseo de Montejo, artists set up their offerings including original paintings, sculpture, macrame, jewelry, and more.
Location:  Paseo de Montejo, Centro
Hours:  Every Sunday 9:00 am to 2:00 pm

#16 Monumento a la Patria
The work of sculptor Romulo Rozo exhibits part of the history of Mexico from the founding of Tenochtitlán until the middle of the 20th century.
Location:  Paseo Montejo x Calle 27A, Centro

The Expats Have Spoken! Top 100 Things to do in Mérida

#17 Quinta Montes Molina Museum
Admire European furniture, Carrara marble floors,  Baccarat and Murano chandeliers, chime clocks, Art Deco pieces, and porcelain and alabaster sculptures. Experience  Eclectic architecture and neoclassical influence in this historic house.
Location: Paseo de Montejo #469 x 33 y 35, Centro

#18 Palacio Canton
Once the home of General Francisco Canton Rosada, it is now the Anthropology Museum. One of the rejuvenated palace-style mansions on Paseo de Montejo gives a peek into the lavishness prevalent during the henequen heyday.
Location:  Paseo de Montejo #485 x 41 y 43, Centro

#19 Panificadora Montejo
An impressive selection of pan and pan dulce including mil hojas (flaky pastry dough with custard filling and rich black and white icing), vanilla muffins, and croissants.
Location:  Paseo de Montejo at Prol. Paseo Montejo, Centro

#20 Marquesitas la Nueva Tradición
Marquesitas are a mix between a crispy crepe and a waffle cone; rolled up with Edam cheese and filling of your choice such as cajeta (a caramel sauce), honey, chocolate, jam, peanut butter or Nutella
Location:  Paseo de Montejo between Calle 35 y 37, Centro

#21 Horse & Carriage Ride
This is a magical must-do Mérida tour, particularly in the evening. Feel like you have stepped back into a different era. Be sure to ask your driver for English before you get into the carriage.
Location:  Paseo de Montejo, Centro
Hours:  Daily Mornings, Afternoons and Evenings

#22 Rosas & Xocolate – Restaurant, Boutique Hotel + Spa
Located in 2 colonial mansions in Mérida, this boutique hotel features a restaurant and spa specializing in chocolate treatments.
Location:  Paseo de Montejo #480 x 39 y 41, Centro
Website


Mérida’s Centro is composed of colonias surrounding The Downtown

Simply put colonias are neighborhoods in Mérida. In most of the colonias, you’ll find a church and a park serving as a hub for activities, celebrations, and gatherings.

Surprisingly, you may hear the term “Gringo Gulch” which refers to the area of Centro where a large number of expats live.

Gorgeous colonial-style homes, restaurants, retail, and other establishments contribute to almost non-stop activity.

But first, let’s become familiar with the names of the colonias you will hear most often:

  • Santa Lucia
  • Santa Ana
  • Santiago
  • San Juan
  • San Sebastian
  • Ermita (La Ermita)
  • Mejorada
  • San Cristobal
  • García Ginerés
  • Centenario
  • Itzimna
  • Aleman (Miguel Aleman)
  • Jesus Carranza
  • Chen Bech
  • Chuburná
  • La Plancha

Colonias North of The Downtown are Santa Ana and Santa Lucia

Incredibly popular colonias are Santa Ana and Santa Lucia where you will find locals, expats, national and international visitors, and travelers. Just a few blocks from Plaza Grande, this is where a lot of action happens especially in the parks. If nothing else, these two colonias are a must-do on your itinerary.

#23 Iglesia de Santa Lucía (Santa Lucia Church)
Built-in 1575 by D. Pedro Garcia, the temple was originally intended to house African slaves in Spanish service while the adjacent land was for the Spanish cemetery.
Location:  Calle 60 x 55, Centro

#24 Parque Santa Lucia
Regarded as the third oldest plaza in Mérida, Santa Lucia Park is the location of the only obelisk found in the city.
Location:  Calle 60 x 55, Centro
Hours:  Outdoor Park

The Expats Have Spoken! Top 100 Things to do in Mérida

#25 Yucatecan Serenata
Since 1965, Santa Lucia Park hosts an outdoor show featuring musicians, singers, and dancing mestizos in colorful costumes. Seating is also provided however arrive early.
Location:  Santa Lucia Park, Centro

#26 Parroquia Santa Ana (Santa Ana Church)
The church has a Latin cross pattern in the atrium. Built on the original Mayan religious temple.
Location:  Santa Ana Park Calle 60 x 47, Centro

#27 Parque Santa Ana
Famous for orange trees that grew in the square, this park was also the site of a fierce battle between republicans and imperialists.
Location:  Calle 60 x 45, Centro
Hours:  Outdoor Park

#28 Santa Ana Market
One of the busiest markets for traditional food and other local vendors offering a variety of products in front of the Mercado.
Location:  Calle 60 x 45, Centro

#29 Iglesia de Jesus (The Rectory Jesus – Third Order)
Built from stones of a destroyed Maya temple that occupied the site. Look for the two stones bearing Maya carvings on the west wall facing the park.
Location: Hidalgo Park Calle 60 x 59, Centro

#30 Parque Hidalgo
A small, quaint park with one of the first hotels in the city distinguished by its wholly French-style facade.
Location:  Calle 59 x 60, Centro
Hours:  Outdoor Park

#31 Fiesta Saturdays
Many vendors and artisans sell handmade crafts including hammocks, jewelry, clothing, shoes, and more.
Location:  Hidalgo Park Calle 59 x 60, Centro

#32 Palacio de la Música
This state-of-the-art museum pays homage with 8 virtual pavilions that offer the history of music from all over the country. The history of Mexican music is also brilliantly orchestrated through visually stunning interactive displays.
Location: Calle 58 x 59, Centro

The Expats Have Spoken! Top 100 Things to do in Mérida

#33 Teatro Peón Contreras Museum
Changing art exhibitions from Mexico feature contemporary artists of sculpture, photography, painting, and fabric, among other things.
Location:  Calle  60 x 57 y 59, Centro

#34 Dome inside the Peón Contreras Theater
The magnificent dome painted by Nicolás Allegretti is adorned with delicate paintings of Greek muses, inspired by the French neoclassical style. Inquire at the box office or in the adjacent restaurant for permission to go inside.
Location:  Calle 60 x 57 y 59, Centro

#35 La Negrita Cantina
Live music starts around 5:30 or 6:00 so arrive early for a table. The best seats are the ones in the large open-air courtyard.
Location:  Calle 62 #415 x 49, Centro

#36 Pola Gelato
Both milk-based and sorbet-style, dairy-free gelato is hand-made with local ingredients.  Regional flavors are also the primary focus but also include traditional gelato favorites like stracciatella.
Location:  Calle 55 # 467D x 62 y 64, Centro

#37 La Chaya Maya
Popular with locals and tourists alike, try the main location in a charming colonial home with an open-air courtyard. A great introduction to classic Yucatecan fare.
Location: Calle 55 x 60 y 62, Centro


Colonias West of The Downtown are Santiago and Centenario

Most impressive in Centenario is the zoo. The incredibly ornate arches are worth even if you don’t plan on going inside. The intricate details along with the fountain in front will again remind you of the Champs-Élysées in Paris. Opulence and grandeur are showcased here.

#38 Parroquia Santiago Apóstol (Santiago Church)
One of the most representative religious structures of Mérida due to its belfry with six spans of trefoil arch. Its construction in the 17th century spurred the urbanization of a former Mayan village.
Location:  Calle 70 x 57 y 59, Centro

#39 Parque Santiago
When they first entered the city of T’hó (now Mérida), Spanish conquerors found an indigenous village which they named Santiago after the Patron of Spain.
Location:  Calle 59 x 70, Centro
Hours:  Outdoor Park

#40 Mercado Municipal No 2 Santos Degollado (Santiago Market)
Known for its cocina economicas (small, tasty food kitchen-style restaurants) as well as fresh fruits, vegetables, meats, and eggs, you’ll find beautiful flowers and freshly prepared juices.
Location:  Calle 59 x 70, Centro

#41 Remembranzas Musicales (Musical Remembrances)
Come listen, dance, and remember the melodies and rhythms of the past like danzón, mambo, and chachachá at this enchanting and unique experience while dancing under the stars.
Location:  Santiago Park, Centro

#42 Mérida English Library
Enjoy reading a book or magazine in the relaxing and recently remodeled backyard patio and deck. Ask about current tours and seasonal events.
Location:  Calle 53 #524 x 66 y 68, Centro

The Expats Have Spoken! Top 100 Things to do in Mérida

#43 Mérida English Library House & Garden Tours
Venture inside private colonial homes and gardens with MEL. All located within a 10-15-minute walk of the library, they include houses of various styles, sizes, and ages.
Location:  Mérida English Library

#44 Fundación de Artistas
Dedicated to promoting and encouraging the arts in Yucatan, exhibits feature artistic works by local artists and live music on selected evenings.
Location:  Calle 55 #520 y 62 x 64, Centro

#45 Parque Zoologico del Centenario (Zoological Park of Centenario)
Beautiful arched entrances welcome you into the over 100-year-old park filled with trees and birds, cultural entertainment, and more. A train ride is available around the park.
Location: Av. Itzaes x 59, Centro


Colonias East of The Downtown are Mejorada, Chen Bech and Aleman

These beautiful colonias exhibit more of a local feel than some of the more popular colonias like Santa Ana or Santa Lucia. I love to walk around Mejorada because I never know what I am going to see, smell or hear. Often, the flags that are stretched between buildings are still present. A reminder of this beautiful culture that celebrates events with gusto and reverence.

#46 Parroquia Nuestra Señora del Carmen (Mejorada Church)
Its origin is unknown. Was it built as a hermitage or as a reference to a catholic temple in Madrid of the same name?

The only certain thing is that it eased the overflow of people attending mass at Catedral de San Ildefonso (Mérida Cathedral).

Location:  Calle 50 x 59, Centro
Hours:  Monday – Friday 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm, Thursday Closed, Saturday – Sunday 7:00 am to 12:00 pm

#47 Parque de La Mejorada
In this small park, you’ll find a monument for the Los Niños Héroes (Hero Children) who died in the North American invasion in 1847.
Location:  Calle 50 x 57, Centro
Hours:  Outdoor Park

#48 Chen Bech Market
Chen Bech means bird’s nest. Discover all kinds of typical and yummy Yucatecan food at this cozy market.
Location:  Calle 57 x 42, Centro

#49 Mercado Miguel Alemán  (Alemán Market)
The German influence is prevalent in this neighborhood and market offering a huge variety of breakfast food Mexican style. Try the kibi from one of the many cocina economicas.
Location: Calle 24 x 31a y 31, Centro

#50 Museo de Arte Popular
Filled with many types of folk art indigenous to the region including pottery, textiles, embroidery, paintings, sculpture, and mythological creatures of the area.
Location:  Calle 50A x 57, Centro

#51 Eladio’s
Famous botanas (snacks) bar in Mérida with happy hour specials with botanas, entrees, a wide variety of drinks, and music. A local and tourist favorite.
Location:  Calle 59 #425 x 44, Centro

Colonias South of The Downtown are San Juan, San Cristobal, and Ermita


The most notable thing you will see in this area is the bright egg-yolk yellow arch. There were originally four arches which were the gateways in and out of Mérida. The arch in this area was the exit to Campeche. There are three remaining arches:

  1. The San Juan arch on Calle 64 at 69A
  2. The Del Puente arch on Calle 63 at 50
  3. The Dragones arch on Calle 50 at 61.

#52 Parque San Juan
The elegant fountain in the middle of the park brought from Paris is the focal point of this small park always bustling with tourists and locals. You’ll also find a plethora of food vendors and trinkets from the many carts around the square.
Location:  Calle 67 x 64, Centro
Hours:  Outdoor Park

#53 Iglesia de San Juan Bautista (San Juan Church)
The Church has a corridor with Muslim influence and on the south side of the temple stood a bullring, demolished in 1910.
Location:  Calle 69 x 62, Centro

#54 Iglesia Ermita de Santa Isabel (Ermita Church)
Known as the Hermitage of Our Lady of the Good Journey, travelers stopped here on their way out of the city to ask the Virgin to provide them with a successful journey on their long travels.
Location:  Calle 66 x 77, Centro

#55 Parroquia Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe (San Cristobal Church)
San Cristóbal was founded by Montejo el Mozo where Mexican Indians who helped in the conquest of Yucatan resided. The church has a fairly simple Baroque style and dates from the late 1800s.
Location:  Calle 50 X 69,  Centro

#56 Temple of La Candelaria
A beautiful golden baroque altarpiece forms three bodies with Solomonic columns and also a series of niches of religious sculptures, richly ornamented all with plant motifs.
Location: Calle 67 x 64, Centro

#57 Lucas de Galvez Market
In the maze of stalls, you’ll find just about anything and everything you need as well as things you didn’t even know existed. Don’t get lost!
Location:  Calle 56A x 67 y 69, Centro

#58 San Benito Market
Feel ambiance, music, and wonderful smells in this charming market. Local and tourist favorite.
Location:  Calle 54 x 67 y 69, Centro

#59 Mérida City Museum
A large amount of archeological pieces, from pre-Hispanic to modern times including information about the city of T’ho as well as maps and pictures of early Mérida inside this amazing museum.
Location:  Calle 56 #529A x 65 y 65A, Centro

#60 Cemetario Panteón Florido
A small, charming cemetery featuring colorful, unique, and architecturally diverse tombs and mausoleums.
Location:  Calle 66 Diagonal at Calle 95, Centro

#61 Cemetario General
For a fascinating glimpse into Mérida’s cultural heritage and wealth, visit the largest cemetery in Mérida. Take the evening tour to see multiple architectural styles, including neo-gothic, greek, neo-Maya, and art deco.
Location:  Calle 81A x 90, Centro


Colonias further North of The Downtown are Chuburna, Garcia Gineres, and Itzimna

Most notably in these colonias are the differences in the size of the streets, style of houses, and a newer feel. As most cities typically do when they grow, they grow to the north. As I began exploring different colonias I fell in love with Garcia Gineres. Wider streets, art deco style homes and a sense of artistic influence is prevalent in this colonia. It is definitely one of my favorites along with the older colonia of San Juan. As you can tell, I love the local flavor.

#62 Mercado Miguel Hidalgo Chuburná
Recently remodeled, the flavor of the Yucatan is everywhere. Go on a Sunday to get an honest-to-goodness local feel.
Location:  Calle 20A x 19 y 21A, Col. Chuburná (97205)

#63 Slow Food Market
This weekly market also offers organic products such as produce, eggs, coffee, artisanal cheeses, baked goods, homemade sauces, dips, honey, and more.
Location:  Avenida Colon at Avenida Reforma (Calle 72), Col. García Ginerés (97070)
Hours: Every Saturday 9:00 am to 1:00 pm

#64 Parroquia de Nuestra Señora del Rosario de Fátima (Parish of Our Lady of the Rosary of Fatima)
A beautiful, modern, art-deco style church built under the patronage of Our Lady of the Rosary of Fatima, where for several decades, thousands of women have prayed for peace in the world.
Location: Calle 20 #204 x 23 y 25, Col. García Ginerés (97070)

#65 Parque de Las Americas
A wonderful four-block park features columns throughout the park, dedicated to all the nations of the Americas and some Chac Mool sculptures carved in stone with Maya figures.
Location: Av. Colón y 18 x 20, Col. García Ginerés (97070)
Hours:  Outdoor Park

The Expats Have Spoken! Top 100 Things to do in Mérida

#66 El Gran Museo del Mundo Maya
Ancient engravings, books, and historical documents, artistic and religious works from the colonial era, pre-Hispanic stelae, bas-reliefs, and stone sculptures along with ceramic vessels, gold, jade, and shell ornaments, and sumptuary objects.
Location:  Calle 60 Norte No. 299E, Col. Unidad Revolución (97110)

#67 Wayan’e
A taco from this local establishment is a must when you are in Mérida. There are three locations; google for the location closest to you when you are hungry for tacos from this famous stand.
My favorite location: Calle 15 X 18A y 20, Col. Itzimná (97100)


Noteworthy Mayan ruins in and around Mérida

There is no question that one of the most advanced indigenous cultures of the ancient Americas were the Mayans. It should be noted, they migrated into the Yucatán around 2500 B.C and began as hunter-gatherers.

Without a doubt, Mexico, Belize, Honduras, and Guatemala have hundreds of Mayan ruins.

But here’s the interesting thing – 

The Yucatan Peninsula is the site of some of the most impressive ruins.

More importantly, between 300 and 900, the Mayans built several cities in the Yucatán region. Chichén Itzá and Uxmal were two of the most spectacular.

#68 Dzibilchaltún
The site of the famous structure known as the Temple of the Seven Dolls where seven effigies were found during its excavation. A great ruin to visit due to the close proximity to Mérida and the lack of crowds found at some of the more popular sites. Visit the cenote close by.
Location: Approximately 30 minutes from The Downtown

#69 Oxkintok
A well-preserved pyramid said to be one of the oldest in the area. It’s possible you may be able to climb and go inside. Located in the hills of a thick jungle, be careful of the growth on the narrow road that can scratch your car.
Location: Approximately 1 hour and 10 minutes from The Downtown

#70 Uxmal
Declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, you’ll find the Pirámide del Adivino (Pyramid of the Magician). Before you go, learn about the importance of the Mayan Rain God, Chaac for a frame of reference.
Location: Approximately 1 hour and 10 minutes from The Downtown

#71 Xcambo
A complex of ruins of a former fish curing and salt-producing center due to its location near the coast. Later construction features Puuc elements:  the repeated use of a series of architectural elements outstanding because of their technical perfection.
Location: Approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes from The Downtown

#72 Chichén Itzá
Listed as one of the new Seven Wonders of the World, Chichén Itzá was once a major spiritual and economic center. During the afternoon in the spring and autumn equinoxes, the northwest corner of the structure casts a shadow that creates the appearance of a snake slithering down the pyramid. Visit the cenote close by.
Location: Approximately 1 hour and 45 minutes from The Downtown

#73 Ek Balam
One of the regions least visited archaeological sites but quite possibly one of the most fascinating. The Acropolis Temple is the most iconic structure at the site. Ek Balam is renowned for its depictions of angels adorning a stucco frieze.
Location:  Approximately 2 hours and 45 minutes from The Downtown


Must-visit beaches of the Yucatan Peninsula

Undoubtedly, the beaches in the Yucatan are some of the most unspoiled and beautiful beaches in Mexico. And relatively speaking, there are quite a few beaches to visit within a short drive from Mérida.

For the most part, these beaches are known by locals and tourists alike. Others are best-kept secrets by locals to ensure the pristine nature of the sand, the water, and the experience.

#74 Progresso

The most popular beach destination among locals and tourists, Progresso is the number one choice for a quick and easy day trip. Progresso is accessible by bus, Uber, taxi, or car.
Location:  Approximately 40 minutes from The Downtown

#75 Chelem
A little diamond in the rough, Chelem will give you local flavor while helping you feel at ease with the Mexican culture. Chelem truly provides the feel of a beach town with small markets for fruits, vegetables, bread, staples, and, of course, tortillas.
Location:  Approximately 45 minutes from The Downtown

#76 Chuburna
Chuburna has many choices of restaurants with fresh fish as the main course. Like Chelem, you will also find small markets for fruits, vegetables, bread, etc.
Location:  Approximately 1 hour from The Downtown

#77 Chicxulub Puerto
Famous for being the epicenter of the crater caused by the meteorite that created many cenotes in the area. It is well developed, a bit more than the other locations, with a larger variety of shops, restaurants, and some modern amenities.
Location:  Approximately 45 minutes from The Downtown

#78 Celestun
Located in the biosphere reserve, Celestun is a quaint fishing village best familiar for the flamingos that inhabit its clear waters and mangroves. The best times to see these intriguing birds are in the fall and winter.
Location:  Approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes from The Downtown

#79 Sisal
With most of the locals visiting Progresso, Sisal is quieter and less crowded. The name of the port was due to the exportation of henequen fiber known as sisal.
Location:  Approximately 1 hour and 10 minutes from The Downtown

#80 Telchac Puerto
The road from Progreso towards Telchac is along a lagoon, rather than the beach. As you approach Telchac, there are a few spots along the way where you can find pink lagoons and even flamingos (although not in abundance as in Celestun). It’s just across from the lagoon at the Xcambo ruins.
Location:  Approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes from The Downtown


Haciendas are Mexico’s equivalent to American southern plantations

Luxurious haciendas were built by wealthy Yucatecos and became symbols of affluence and culture; adorned with furnishings and art from around the world. Sounds impressive, right?

For this reason, you’ll find large mansions on Paseo de Montejo and Avenida Colón. Consequently, the same owners built haciendas in the countryside where henequén called green gold was grown.

It’s worth noting that a trip to Mérida would be incomplete without visiting some of the many haciendas within a short drive.

#81 Hacienda Xcanatun
18th-century henequen hacienda transformed into an exclusive small luxury hotel. Visit the Casa de Piedra restaurant overlooking the extensive Palmas Reales garden.
Location:  Approximately 10 minutes from The Downtown

#82 Hacienda Misné
Built in 1870, this hacienda has been restored to its former elegance with lush gardens. La Pitahaya restaurant is captivating with a bright, airy dining room, lovely doorways, skylights, and stained glass windows.
Location:  Approximately 20 minutes from The Downtown

#83 Hacienda Santa Cruz
Immerse yourself in colonial opulence at its finest. The Valentina Restaurant located on the terrace of the old machine house overlooks the exotic garden featuring palms, orange trees, flamboyant, and other ancient tropical plants.
Location: Approximately 25 minutes from The Downtown

#84 Hacienda San Ildefonso Teya
Hacienda Teya is a restaurant, hotel, and popular wedding venue known for its quality Yucatecan cuisine and live trova acts on Saturday and Sunday afternoons. During the seventeenth century, it was one of the largest and most profitable cattle ranches in Yucatan.
Location: Approximately 25 minutes from The Downtown

#85 Hacienda Yaxcopoil
Experience the grandeur of one of the most important and authentic haciendas known for its size and magnificence. Mayan artifacts are displayed in the museum and its name means place of the green aspens.
Location: Approximately 40 minutes from The Downtown

#86 Hacienda Sac Chich
Combine old world charm & modern design and you’ll find La Casa Sisal and La Casa de Máquinas; parts of the Hacienda Sac Chich.  The historic hacienda captures the spirit of Yucatán culture, reflecting a sense of peace and harmony.
Location:  Approximately 40 minutes from The Downtown

#87 Hacienda Petac
This exquisite 17th-century estate combines is set on 250-acres of lush gardens and natural habitats. Upscale boutique hotel resort complete with spa and guest-related amenities and activities.
Location:  Approximately 45 minutes from The Downtown

#88 Hacienda San Pedro Ochil
Intimate and charming hacienda with a Yucatecan restaurant. Take a dip in the cenote or visit the museum of folk art. You’ll find the best examples of multiple disciplines of local, authentic artisans.
Location:  Approximately 45 minutes from The Downtown

#89 Hacienda Ticum
Contemporary art and deco chic meets colonial classicism at Hotel Hacienda Ticum the “place of the Maya god of the air.” Originally built in 1891, it was a small hacienda set on 10 acres that processed henequén.
Location:  Approximately 1 hour from The Downtown

#90 Hacienda Sotuta de Peón Live Hacienda
The only working hacienda in Yucatán which offers tours of the entire henequen-producing process. This beautifully restored 19th-century hacienda also has a restaurant serving Yucatecan food, a cenote for swimming, and cabanas for overnight stays.
Location:  Approximately 1 hour from The Downtown

#91 Hacienda San Francisco Tzacalha
Founded in 1857, which according to local tradition belonged to the Franciscan convent of Santa Clara, Dzidzantún. You’ll find delicious international cuisine at the restaurant La Bodega in a setting of peace and harmony with nature. Experience beautiful gardens,  birds, and other wildlife at the hacienda’s reserve.
Location:  Approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes from The Downtown

#92 Hacienda Chichén Resort
Experience genuine Maya traditions and culture at this boutique hotel. The location provides direct access to Chichén Itzá archaeological zone with an entrance gate within the hotel’s own gardens.
Location:   Approximately 1 hour and 45 minutes from The Downtown


Fascinating day trips inside and outside of Mérida

Yes, I completely get it. With so many things to do in Mérida, how could there possibly be time to do anything outside the city? I am going to guess you won’t just visit Mérida once.

The fact of the matter is – 

Many people who visit this beautiful city return time after time. With that in mind, I’ve asked around tod discover the most popular and culturally significant locations. Once you get your bearings and make your list, maybe these will be added to your top 100 things to do in Mérida.

#93 Ruta Puuc
If you want to explore some of the other, less popular Mayan ruins, the jungle canopy of trees on this route provides a sense of exploration. Each site has its own unique features and feel while short trails connect all three ruins to one another.

#94 Route of the Convents
At the recommendation of the Spanish Empire, these religious sites were built for the purpose of converting the indigenous population to Christianity. Visit centuries-old Mayan villages and archaeological sites, colonial churches, cathedrals, and convents.

#95 Izamal
With almost all the buildings painted an egg-yolk yellow, Izamal is one of Yucatán’s two magical towns (the other is Valladolid). Cobblestone streets and colonial lamp posts complete the scenery on the clean and peaceful streets. One of Mexico’s Pueblos Mágicos (Magical Cities).

#96 Valladolid
Perfect design and old mansions painted in the colors of its skies pull you into an ethereal bubble where time barely passes and the past melds with the present. Relive the Pre-Hispanic past, with temples, brave warriors, and gastronomic morsels for the gods.

Valladolid was called the capital of the Maya east and is another Pueblo Mágico.

#97 Cenote Zaci
Descend into a cenote, a large sinkhole filled with fresh, clean, and cool water. Prevalent in the Yucatan Peninsula, these sinkholes played an important role in Mayan cosmogony. What makes Cenote Zaci unique is the location, accessibility, and ingress to the water. You will also find a restaurant where, if you have a meal, your entrance to the cenote is free.

#98 El Corchito Ecological Reserve
Immerse yourself in this natural environment with indigenous wildlife including raccoons, coatis, and fresh-water turtles. You’ll also find three exposed cenotes to swim in. Inaccessible except by small boat, pay a few pesos for the ride into this gorgeous eco-reserve.

#99 Campeche
A stunning seaside city with colorful architecture and fascinating history. A two-mile wall was built in the 1600s to protect the city from invading pirates. Portions of the walls still remain and are used by visitors to admire beautiful views of the city.

#100 Esquinas of Mérida
Distinctive white and red plaques are found in Centro with a fascinating history. These picture plaques were placed on corners throughout the city center to help people get to where they were going. Each plaque has a unique story or meaning.

The Expats Have Spoken! Top 100 Things to do in Mérida

Final thoughts on the top 100 things to do in Mérida

Think you can make it through this list on your next visit?

I’ve lived here for quite some time and am currently working my way through the culture, architecture, and history that Mérida has to offer.

What makes this list so special?

You’ll find I included some places outside of Mérida to provide additional perspective and frame of reference for the history that has shaped this beautiful city from ancient times to the present day.

Make no mistake about it – 

After speaking to many, many people both expats and locals, I did not find one person who has visited every single spot listed.

Perhaps this will be you… If it is, let me know in my group where you can compare stories with other people just like you:  https://www.facebook.com/groups/lifeinmerida/

I’d love to hear from you and learn more about your experience!

The Expats Have Spoken! Top 100 Things to do in Mérida

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