Things to Do in Merida: Top 25 Instagrammable Sites + FREE Map

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posted by Shelley | last updated March 26, 2021

looking for prettiest, best things to do in Merida?

Known as one of the most beautiful places in Mexico, and one of the country’s prettiest colonial cities, there are no shortage of Instagram worthy Mexico shots you can take in Merida.

Located only about 3.5 hours from Tulum, Cancun and Playa del Carmen, the Yucatan state’s capital city seems to have endless beautiful, colorful and instagrammable sites — but let’s start with these Top 25 can’t miss Merida places.

BONUS: They are all pinned to a handy and FREE Merida map below, just for you 💗

From historic monuments to colonial buildings, colorful streets to charming cafes, you’ll never run out of beautiful places to photograph, and fun things to do in Merida, Mexico! If by chance you do run out, head to 25 Best Merida Day Trips, to discover more beautiful places to see within 1-3 hours of Merida.

🏡 Need a Merida Airbnb? 12 Stunning Airbnbs in Merida Mexico You Need to Book Now

How do I know all this about Merida, Mexico?

Well — I live here! 👋 I’m Shelley, I have been living in in Merida since July 2019 (and Mexico since April 2018). I also happen to love me some Instagram — and sharing Mexico’s beauty is the reason I blog and podcast, and share so many photos on social media.

If you’re ready, let’s dive in and explore the 25 most photogenic places and pretty things to do in Merida, one of the most beautiful cities in the Yucatan Peninsula. I hope this article helps you find all of my city’s beauty.



Best things to do in Merida, Mexico

Instagram Worthy Merida Map

For your convenience, all 25 of the instagrammable things to see in Merida mentioned in this blog have been pinned to the map below. It is the perfect way to plan your Merida sightseeing adventure in Mexico.

You might notice on this map of Merida that many things are quite close to one another — and you’d be right! Merida is not a very big city, and in fact, it makes for the perfect Mexico weekend getaway because you could leisurely explore downtown Merida and the surrounding areas in two days.

If you have more time, head to one of the nearby towns like Tulum, Valladolid and Campeche, and all these other 25 Best Merida Day Trips.

Related Blog 📸 How to Get Awesome Solo Travel Photos + 5 FREE Presets

Top 25 Merida Things to Do & see

1. Paseo de Montejo

There are no shortage of beautiful, photogenic places to see in instagrammable Merida Mexico! Some of the prettiest parts of the city are located along and around the Paseo de Montejo (Montejo Street/Walkway). This walkable, tree-lined street, is full of history and some of the most beautiful buildings in Merida.

The Paseo is about 13 city blocks long (2 miles/3.2km), with numerous beautiful buildings, cute cafes and chic shops along the way, so go ahead and walk the whole street, to create your very own Merida walking tour!

Paseo Montejo runs north-to-south. It goes from a small park called El Remate on the south side of the Paseo on Calle 47 (47th St.), and ends two-miles north at the Monumento a la Patria (Monument to the Fatherland). This iconic structure if the most photographed monument on the Paseo.

Essentially, you can start at either side and walk to the other. For this article, we’ll start on the south/El Remate side, and head north to the Monumento a la Patria.

🚦 Pro Tip: North of this monument, the street name changes to Prolongacion Paseo de Montejo, and there’s not much to see or do — so you can stop at the monument.

Best things to do in Merida, Mexico

2. Casa Montejo 495 (Casas Gemelas)

Casa 495, one of the two Casas Gemelas (Twin Houses), is like stepping back in time.

The inside of this European Renaissance-style mansion has been well preserved and reflects the esthetic style popular in Merida during the early-1900s, when Casa 495 was built. Within this picturesque home, you’ll see tapestries from all over the world, sculptures, paintings, stained glass windows and more.

⚠️ Pro Tip: Casa 495, and most Merida museums, are closed Mondays.

  • Casa 495 Address: Paseo de Montejo #495, Merida, 97000
  • Casa 495 Hours: Open Tuesday-Sunday, 9am-5pm
  • Casa 495 Admission Cost: $250 pesos ($13)
European style houses in Instagrammable Merida, Mexico
Visit the Casas Gemelas (Twin Houses) on Paseo de Montejo.
classical european decor inside a historic mansion in Instagrammable Merida, Mexico
Step back in time inside Casa 495, one of the Casas Gemelas, or Twin Houses. (Photos by Casa Montejo 495)

Best things to do in Merida, Mexico

3. Museo Palacio Canton

Museo Palacio Canton (Canton Palace Museum) is undeniably the most photographed building in Merida! This museum is also the biggest and most iconic of Paseo de Montejo’s grand European-style buildings, with its stunning Old World design, both inside and out.

Recently, the museum’s name changed to Museo Regional de Antropología de Yucatán, Palacio Canton (Regional Museum of Anthropology of Yucatán, Canton Palace), as it now houses a small collection of Mayan artifacts. Locally, however, everyone still knows it as Palacio Canton or Palacio Canton Museum.

⚠️ Pro Tip: Palacio Canton Museum, and most Merida museums, are closed Mondays.

  • Casa 495 Address: Paseo de Montejo #485, Merida, 97000
  • Casa 495 Hours: Open Tuesday-Sunday, 8am-5pm
  • Casa 495 Admission Cost: $65 pesos ($3)
Historic large European-style building  one of the things to do in Merida, Mexico

Best things to do in Merida, Mexico

4. Quinta Montes Monlina

Quinta Montes Molina is the last of the beautiful European-inspired homes along Paseo de Montejo. It is now a museum and private event space. You can request a guided tour to see for yourself, as they don’t allow walk-ins, but this tour is one of the best free things to do in Merida.

  • Quinta Montes Molina Address: Paseo de Montejo #469, Merida, 97000
European style house, one of the things to do in Merida, Mexico

Best things to do in Merida, Mexico

5. Monumento a la Patria

The Monumento a la Patria (Monument to the Fatherland) is beautiful both during the day and at night, when lit up with different colored lights. Unlike many monuments, you can go right up to this one to check out the details.

The monument was made by Colombian sculptor, Romulo Rozo. It features more than 300 hand-carved figures, chronicling about 700 years of Mexican history. On it, you’ll see artistic representations of everything from the establishment of Tenochtitlan (present-day Mexico City) in 1325, through other notable and historic events in the 20th Century.

Best things to do in Merida, Mexico

6. El Pinar

El Pinar (The Pine Grove) is one of Merida’s most instagrammable homes. When you see it, you’ll know why — It’s basically Barbie’s Dream House!

This French-style mansion is actually privately owned, so you can’t go in. However, you can put your camera through the gate and snap some photos, like everyone else on Instagram — me included, as you see in my photo below — has done.

El Pinar Address: Calle 60, between Avenida Colon and Calle 35, Merida, 97000

Pretty pink house in french style architecture, one of the things to do in Merida, Mexico

Best things to do in Merida, Mexico

7. Hotel Casa Azul

The Hotel Casa Azul (Blue House Hotel) is super pretty and has actually been declared a national historic monument. Its light blue exterior makes for a beautiful photo, but so does the interior courtyard — just ask nicely and the front desk staff will let you snap some quick photos.

Hotel Casa Azul Address: Calle 60 #343, Merida, 97000

🏨 Book your stay at Hotel Casa Azul, one of the best hotels in Merida Mexico, with near-perfect reviews.

Rosas & Xocolate Boutique Hotel

Looking for another one of the best hotels in Merida? Look no further than Rosas & Xocolate.

This boutique Merida hotel is located right on Paseo Montejo, and hard to miss with its bright pink color. From the second you walk in, you’re transported to a bohemian jungle meets modern clean lines, complete with resort hotel, luxury spa, outdoor cafe, indoor restaurant/bar and boutique artisan shop.

There are only four rooms in this Rosas & Xocolate Merida, so if you can’t book one, head to the Instagram worthy cafe for brunch.

beautiful pink hotel, one of the things to do in Merida, Mexico
Book one of the four rooms at this Instagram-worthy Merida hotel, Rosas & Xocolate. (Photo: Rosas & Xocolate)

🏩 Book your stay at Rosas & Xocolate, one of the most beautiful Merida boutique hotels.

Best things to do in Merida, Mexico

8. Parroquia Santa Ana

Built in 1733, the Parroquia Santa Ana (Parrish/Church of Saint Ana) is one of several photogenic spots in the hip Santa Ana neighborhood.

In the adjoining park, you’ll also find some of Merida’s famous Tu y Yo (You and I) white chairs, as well as the open-air Mercado Santa Ana (market). At the mercado, be sure to eat some traditional Yucatecan cuisine, like cochinita pibil (slow-cooked suckling pig) and sopa de lima (lime soup).

History of the Merida Kissing Chairs

These white chairs go by several names: Tu y Yo Chairs (You and I), Sillas Confidantes (Confidant Chairs), and Kissing Chairs. You’ll find them throughout Downtown Merida and Yucatan state, but their true origins remain unknown.

One widely-accepted theory is that hundreds of years ago, an overprotective father created the chairs so his daughter and the young man courting her could sit together and talk — but without actually touching one another. On the , the two could interact in a more modest way than on a traditional bench.

historic colonial pink church surrounded by trees, one of the things to do in Merida, Mexico

Best things to do in Merida, Mexico

9. Calle 47 (Restaurant Row)

So we’re back to Calle 47 (47th St.), where we started the Paseo de Montejo journey at El Remate. This street is wonderful, and the buildings on Calle 47 are all very beautiful and well-maintained. You should check it out on both the east and west sides of Paseo de Montejo, as they are both quite photogenic.

The side of Calle 47 to the east of Paseo Montejo is known as Restaurant Row, where — you guessed it — some of the best restaurants in Merida, Mexico, and the trendiest cafes are located here… including these places, which are all very Instaworthy.

Related Blog ☕️🥐 Eating Alone While Traveling: How to Overcome Your Fear

Best merida restaurants on Calle 47

  • Catrin: Hip Yucatecan gastropub with funky artwork.
  • Oliva Enoteca: Upscale Italian food, with a great wine list.
  • Micaela Mar & Leña: Mexican/Yucatecan fusion, with a seafood focus.
  • 130° Steakhouse: Upscale steakhouse, with a great wine list.

Best merida cafes ON CALLE 47

  • Cafe Latte Quattro Sette: One of the prettiest Merida cafes.
  • Marmalade Barra de Cocina: Great, hip breakfast/brunch spot.
  • Te Extraño, Extraño: Beautiful indoor/outdoor breakfast/lunch cafe; located just off around the corner from Calle 47, in the Lagala Building.
pretty interior of a coffee shop
Cafe Latte Quattro Sette is one of the most instagram worthy Merida cafes/coffee shops. (Photo: Cafe Latte Quattro Sette)

Best things to do in Merida, Mexico

10. Cafe Impala

Cafeteria Impala, a favorite among locals that’s located at the intersection of Calle 47 and Paseo Montejo. This indoor/outdoor old school diner is both instagrammable and has stood the test of time, serving delicious food at one of the best restaurants in Merida since 1958.

This Merida institution is popular day and night, but many love to head there after Sunday morning Merida bike ride along the Paseo Montejo, called the BiciRuta 🚴‍♀️

  • Cafe Impala Address: Calle 56A #500, between Calles 47 and 45, Merida, 97000
  • Cafe Impala Hours: Open daily, 8am-1am
vintage looking cafe, one of the things to do in Merida, Mexico
Cafe Impala is great for people-watching, photography, and old school diner-style food. (Photo: Alan Morales)

What is the BiciRuta in Merida?

The Merida BiciRuta, which means “bike route,” is a city-wide bike ride that takes place several times a week, with the most popular ride on Sunday mornings along Paseo Montejo from about 8am-12pm.

There are both free bike rentals (if you get there early enough) and paid bike rentals available for Merida visitors; some renters require a passport, and some only need an ID/driver’s license.

Best things to do in Merida, Mexico

11. Plaza Grande & the Merida Letters

Located in Downtown Merida, Plaza Grande (Main Plaza) is the basically the Town Square, or central meeting place. It is also known as the Zocalo, and is as old as the city itself.

In general, Centro de Merida (Downtown) never gets old; there are just so many colorful homes, vintage cantinas, beautiful colonial buildingsbougainvillea bushes, charming windows and doors, vintage VW cars and so many more things to see and photograph.

Many of Merida’s instafamous places, however, are found in Plaza Grande (and all pinned on the FREE Merida Map at the top of this blog), including the big, colorful letters spelling out MERIDA. You’ll find letters just like these in all of Mexico’s major and historic cities.

Colonial plaza in downtown, one of the things to do in Merida, Mexico
Things to Do in Merida, Yucatan: Photograph the big MERIDA letters in Plaza Grande.

Best things to do in Merida, Mexico

12. Palacio de Gobierno

Built in 1892, the Palacio de Gobierno (Government Palace) houses Yucatan state’s executive government offices. This pretty green building is lovely from the outside, but do head inside if it’s open.

Check out both floors for some pretty Instagram worthy Merida spots and beautiful art, including murals and oil paintings by local artist Fernando Castro Pacheco, showcasing the Yucatan Peninsula’s history.

  • Palacio de Gobierno Address: Calle 60, between Calles 61 and 59, Merida, 97000
  • Palacio de Gobierno Hours: Monday-Friday, 9am-4pm
  • Palacio de Gobierno Admission Cost: FREE!
Archways in pretty green building, one of the things to do in Merida, Mexico

Best things to do in Merida, Mexico

13. Merida Cathedral

Built throughout the 16th century from 1561-1598, this is one of the oldest cathedrals in the entire Americas Continent. It’s also the main/biggest church in Merida. The outside and inside are both very instagrammable — just remember to be quiet and respectful if you take photos inside the church.

📸 Pro Tip: Head there on Saturday night to see the colorful video mapping display on the front of the cathedral.

Outside of a grand colonial church, one of the things to do in Merida, Mexico
Things to Do in Merida, Yucatan: Check out the San Ildefonso Catedral de Merida (Merida Cathedral).

Best things to do in Merida, Mexico

14. Pasaje a la Revolucion

The Pasaje a la Revolucion (Revolution Passageway) sits between the Merida Cathedral and the Fernando Garcia Ponce-Macay Museum. Inside, you’ll find a rotating lineup of art installations from both Mexican and international artists. The Pasaje is FREE to walk through.

Public art display, one of the things to do in Merida, Mexico

Best things to do in Merida, Mexico

15. Museo Casa Montejo

The outside of the Museo Casa Montejo (Montejo House Museum) is itself a work of art. It is one of only a few examples seen in Mexico of the architecture style called Plateresque, which is found mostly in Europe.

As the name implies, the Casa Montejo Museum is also a house, and the inside is like going back in time. Head there to see what’s on display in the gallery, as there’s rotating exhibits throughout the year.

⚠️ Pro Tip: Museo Casa Montejo, and most museums in Merida, are closed Mondays.

  • Museo Casa Montejo Address: Calle 63 506, Merida, 97000
  • Museo Casa Montejo Hours: Tuesday-Sunday, 10am-7pm
  • Museo Casa Montejo Admission Cost: FREE!
pretty vintage peach colored building, one of the things to do in Merida, Mexico
The Plateresque architecture style at Casa Montejo Museum is rarely seen outside of Europe.

Best things to do in Merida, Mexico

16. Parque Santa Lucia

In Parque Santa Lucia (Saint Lucia’s Park), you’ll find Merida’s famous and instagrammable giant white chairs.

Though they don’t always look it in photos, these chairs stand at almost 8-feet-tall (2.5m).

These chairs, located all over Merida and Yucatan state, go by a lot of names: Sillas Tu y Yo (You and I Chairs), Sillas Confidentes (Confidants’ Chairs), and Kissing Chairs.

Regardless of the name you choose, one thing’s for sure: You probably want your photo sitting on the instagrammable white chairs in Merida.

📸 Ready to level up your solo travel photos? Head to this blog, How to Get Awesome Solo Travel Photos, and get 5 photo tips and 5 FREE editing presets!

the giant white chairs, one of the things to do in Merida, Mexico
Take a photo on the big white Merida chairs in Parque Santa Lucia.

Merida Nightlife: Santa Lucia Park

Parque Santa Lucia is pretty during the day, but it really comes alive after the sun goes down. At night there is often live music and folk dancing, and all the restaurants open — transforming this unassuming park into the perfect place to enjoy dinner al fresco, listen to music and people-watch.

Best things to do in Merida, Mexico

17. Arco de Dragones & Arco del Puente

The Arco de Dragones (Dragon’s Arch) and Arco del Puente (Bridge Arch) are two of Merida’s three remaining arches that still stand today. There were originally eight, but the others have fallen over the years.

These two of the three are located on both ends of Calle 50 (50th St.), so when you’re standing at one, you can see the other. Walk to both and see where the sun is hitting better, to get the most instagrammable shot.

  • Arco de Dragones: Calle 50 and Calle 61
  • Arco del Puente: Calle 50 and Calle 63
yellow archway on a colonial street, one of the things to do in Merida, Mexico
Photograph two of Merida’s three remaining arches, located on the same street, Calle 50. This is Arco de Dragones.

Best things to do in Merida, Mexico

18. Arco de San Juan

Located on the outermost edge of downtown, the Arco de San Juan (Saint John’s Arch) is little bit of a walk — but also the prettiest of the three, so it’s worth it. If you do want to see it, there is also the Iglesia de San Juan Bautista (Church of Saint John the Baptist) and Parque de San Juan (Saint John’s Park) right next to the arch.

💡 Pro Tip: Walk under the arch, hearing southwest on Calle 64 (64th Street) to see a whole street full of cute, colorful buildings.

Large archway on a colorful street, one of the things to do in Merida, Mexico
Things to Do in Merida, Yucatan: Visit Merida’s third arch, located on the outskirts of downtown at Parque San Juan.

Best things to do in Merida, Mexico

19. Teatro Contreras

Teatro Jose Peon Contreras (Jose Peon Contreras Theater) is the oldest, and arguably, the most beautiful theater in all of Merida. It is stunning from the outside, but you have to go inside, even just to the foyer. It was designed by Italian architects and looks similar to any grand and opulent European theater from the 19th century.

Want to see a live performance in this historic theater? When in season, the Yucatan Symphony Orchestra performs here Friday nights at 9pm, and again on Sundays at noon.

  • Teatro Jose Peon Contreras Address: Calle 60 490, Merida, 97000
Grand European style theater in yellow color, one of the things to do in Merida, Mexico

Best things to do in Merida, Mexico

20. UADY (University Campus)

The Universidad Autonoma de Yucatan (Autonomous University of the Yucatan), or UADY for short, is a college campus. That being the case, you can’t just roam it freely. However, the courtyard right at the entrance is the beautiful and instagrammable part of UADY. This Moroccan-inspired entryway looks like it’s straight out of Marrakech.

  • UADY Address: Calle 60 491A, Merida, 97000
beautiful courtyard with moroccan design influence, one of the things to do in Merida, Mexico
Things to Do in Merida, Yucatan: The Moroccan-esque campus of UADY makes for a gorgeous photo.

Best things to do in Merida, Mexico

21. Parque Hidalgo

Of all Downtown Merida parks, Parque Hidalgo (Hidalgo’s Park) tends to be the most relaxing. Get an ice cream at the Santa Clara or a coffee at Starbucks, then sit on the white Tu y Yo/Kissing Chairs and people-watch. Oh, and bonus: There’s FREE WiFi in Parque Hidalgo!

Before leaving Parque Hidalgo, head inside Gran Hotel and Hotel Caribe, both located in the park. The two hotels have beautiful lobbies that make for great Instagram photos. Parque de la Madre (Mother’s Park) is right across the street, and there, you’ll find the beautiful Iglesia de Jesus (Jesus’ Church).

statue of a man in the middle of a park, one of the things to do in Merida, Mexico

Best things to do in Merida, Mexico

22. Fundacion de artistas

You won’t see this place on any other Merida travel lists, because the Fundacion de Artistas (Artist’s Foundation) is one of Merida’s hidden gems.

This unique space is an art gallery with a boutique store and café outside in a beautiful courtyard. They always have really cool exhibits, but if you’re not feelin’ the art, the outdoor space is stunning and totally instagrammable and the indoor store is one of the best places to shop in Merida.

  • Fundacion de Artistas Address: Calle 55 520, Merida, 97000
Vintage decor at a art gallery/cafe, one of the things to do in Merida, Mexico
Things to Do in Merida, Yucatan: Head to the instagrammable heaven that is the Artist’s Foundation. (Photo: Fundacion de Artistas)

Best things to do in Merida, Mexico

23. Coqui Coqui Merida

Located in a converted home, the Coqui Coqui store wears many hats — Perfumeria (perfume store), spa and one-room hotel. In fact, it is one of the best spas in Merida, and one of the best boutique hotels in Merida Mexico as well. Head there for some beautiful photos and to create your own custom perfume scent.

💡 Pro Tip: You must make a reservation to visit Coqui Coqui.

  • Coqui Coqui Address: Calle 55 516, Merida, 97000
vintage perfume shop with french boho decor, one of the things to do in Merida, Mexico
Things to Do in Merida, Yucatan: Create your own perfume at the beautiful Coqui Coqui Merida. (Photo: Coqui Coqui)

Best things to do in Merida, Mexico

24. Casa de las Artesanias

The Casa de las Artesanias del Estado de Yucatan (House of the Artisans of Yucatan State) is a fair trade store — and one of the best places for shopping in Merida Mexico to purchase authentic handicrafts from local artists.

Opened in 1978, the Casa de las Artesanias is operated by the Yucatan state government. It is part of a nonprofit cultural program to support indigenous Mayan artisans.

🤑 Pro Tip: Unlike similar artisan shops, prices in the Casa de las Artesanias are non-negotiable.

  • Casa De Las Artesanias Address: Calle 63, between Calles 64 and 66, Merida, 97000 (next to Monjas Church)
colorful mayan hummingbird art, one of the things to do in Merida, Mexico
Things to Do in Merida, Yucataan: Buy some fair trade souvenirs from local Mayan artisans at the colorful Las Casa de las Artesanias store.
Best things to do in Merida, Mexico

25. Mayan World Museum of Merida

The Gran Museo del Mundo Maya (Mayan World Museum) houses the largest collection of Mayan art and artifacts in Merida. Though located about 20 minutes by taxi or Uber outside of downtown, this is known as the best museum in Merida, so it’s worth a trip for art and history lovers.

⚠️ Pro Tip: Mayan World Museum is closed Tuesdays.

  • Mayan World Museum Address: Calle 60 Norte #299, Merida, 97110
  • Mayan World Museum Hours: Open Wednesday-Monday, 9am-5pm
  • Mayan World Museum Admission Cost: $150 pesos ($8USD)
Things to Do in Merida, Yucatan: The Merida Mayan World Museum is beautiful, both inside and out. (Photo: Ian Morton)

Merida Travel FAQ

Is Merida Mexico Safe?

Short answer: Yes

Longer answer: This question is tricky, as no place is 100% safe. I do my best to address the Mexico safety question in this article, Mexico Solo Travel: How to Be Safe & Crush It. But, in short, the answer to Is Merida safe? is Yes!

Merida has been ranked as not only one of the safest cities in Mexico, but one of the safest in all of the Americas by CEOWorld magazine. In 2019, Conde Nast Traveler magazine named it the best small city in the world.

Though Merida is considered safe, you’ll still want to follow the 10 General Travel Safety Tips below to err on the side of caution. These safety measures are the same ones you’d follow when traveling anywhere on Earth, and they should suffice in Merida, Mexico.

10 General travel safety tips
  1. Always listen to your intuition — because your intuition is always right.
  2. If you get a sketchy or uneasy feeling about a person or place, get away from that person or place asap. Don’t worry about making a kind, nice or politically correct exit from a creepy person or bad situation — Just get away fast.
  3. Don’t walk home alone at night.
  4. Don’t keep your phone, keys, wallet, passport, or anything valuable in your back pocket.
  5. Learn some basic Spanish. If you can’t learn it, save this infographic as an image on your phone so you have something to use even if you’re off-WiFi.
  6. Take all of your belongings into the bathroom with you, rather than asking a cafe/bar neighbor to watch your things. This is annoying, for sure, but it works to not get your stuff stolen.
  7. Speaking of bar neighbors… don’t take drinks from strangers and/or leave your drink unattended.
  8. Don’t wear flashy clothes, expensive jewelry, designer sunglasses, etc.
  9. Keep some cash in your pocket so you don’t have to pull your whole wallet out every time you need to pay.
  10. When in doubt: Get Travel Insurance!
Register for the STEP Program

Make sure you enroll in the free STEP Program before your trip. The Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, or STEP, allows U.S. citizens traveling to Mexico to document your trip with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate.

After you’ve registered, the U.S. Consulate in Merida can contact you in the event of an emergency, including natural disasters, civil unrest, etc. STEP can also put you in touch with your family and friends back home in the event of an emergency while abroad.


Mexico Travel Insurance

Want an added level of security and peace of mind during these strange travel times? Smart choice!

Just as you insure your car, home and body, you can also insure your luggage, belongings and health while traveling. If Mexico and Merida travel safety are on your mind, get your free quote below from World Nomads, one of the biggest names in travel insurance.

Merida, Mexico Map

Where is Merida, Mexico?

Merida is the capital of Yucatan state, one of three states that make up the Yucatan Peninsula, in southeastern Mexico. The city is considered the Mayan cultural capital of Mexico.

Merida is located about 160 miles west of Tulum, 190 miles west of Cancun, and 180 miles west of Playa del Carmen and the Riviera Maya.

It is also not far from other top Yucatan Peninsula destinations, like Bacalar Lagoon, the “Maldives of Mexico,” about 215 miles southeast and the pueblo magicos (magic towns) of Valladolid, 95 miles east, and the “Yellow City” of Izamal, located just 40 miles east of Merida.


Traveling to Merida Mexico

Wondering about flights to Merida? There’s actually an airport about 20 minutes from downtown — Merida International Airport (code: MID).

There are direct flights to Merida Mexico from the Miami, Oakland and Houston airports in the U.S., and daily flights from most of Mexico’s major airports, including Mexico City or Guadalajara International Airports. From there, where you can take a short, connecting flight into MID.

From the airport, you can take a rental car, Uber, taxi, or private transport service to your accommodation. The airport is only about 25-35 minutes from Downtown Merida.

Merida, Mexico Car Rental

If you are looking to rent a car in Merida, the airport is the best place to do so. For travelers mostly staying in the city limits, you might want to skip a rental car, but if you’re planning to take a few of the 25 Best Merida Day Trips, you’ll want a car.

As Merida isn’t a big city, can rental options can be limited… so do book in advance. Click the image to book with Discover Cars, a reputable company for a rental car in Merida.

🚗💨 12 Useful Mexico Driving Tips

1. Rent with a reputable company! As they say, “you get what you pay for.” For a reliable Cancun car rental company, go with Discover Cars.

2. Avoid driving at night. When you live in Mexico long enough, you start to realize many people simply avoid driving at night, if they can. If you do drive at night, stick to only main roads and highways.

3. Always use the couta, or toll, roads. Yes, they cost money, but they are much better maintained and generally considered safer. Pro tip: Bring cash for the tolls.

4. Download an offline map. Your signal will go in and out as you travel through rural areas of the Yucatan Peninsula, so download an offline map from Google or Maps.Me. You’ll also want to download some podcasts and music while you’re getting that map.

5. Speed limit signs are in kilometers per hour, not miles per hour. You don’t have to worry about conversion math here; just make sure the speed limit sign number matches your speedometer number.

6. Do not use your cell phone while you’re driving. Not only is this unsafe, it is also illegal. In fact, even having your phone in your hand is a ticket-able offense, so try not to even hold your phone while driving.

7. The rumors are true about the cops expecting bribes. If the cops pull you over, and they only will if you give them a reason to, they will expect a cash “payment” in exchange for not ticketing you.

8. Mexican roads are notorious for their abundant amount of topes (speed bumps). Make sure you keep your eyes on the road, as topes don’t always have signs alerting you to them.

9. Mexico’s gas stations are not self-serve. When you stop for gas, an attendant will pump it for you and take your payment. These people don’t actually work for the gas station, and live off tips. When they finish, it’s customary to tip them at least $10-20 pesos ($0.50-$1).

10. Mexico’s traffic lights go from green to yellow, to flashing yellow for a few seconds, to finally, a red light.

11. Make sure you purchase Mexican car insurance. You are generally not covered in any way through your U.S. company when you drive in any other country.

12. Most travel insurance policies cover driving. In case you’re wondering Should I get travel insurance for Mexico?… The answer is hell yes! There’s a whole page of this website dedicated to travel insurance, because it’s just that important — maybe even more so when traveling during the pandemic.


Final Thoughts: Merida Travel

Merida’s central location — in the near-dead center of the Yucatan Peninsula — makes it a great place to use as a home base to explore the region. As a place that’s not at the top of everyone’s bucket list (yet!) Merida is still affordable.

Besides the city itself, which is a cultural hub full of beautiful places and yummy food, there’s also great Merida, Mexico beaches on the Gulf of Mexico, Mayan ruins, swimmable cenotes, historic haciendas, and more. In short, Merida is an ideal travel destination for so many types of travelers.

Is Merida worth visiting?

As someone who lives in Merida, of course I think Merida is worth visiting 💁‍♀️ I have been to half the states in Mexico now, and a good amount of the cities and top travel destinations, and there really is something special about Merida, Mexico.

Merida, Mexico Weather: As no place is perfect, the months of May-October are quite hot and humid, to the point that it turns many off. If you can’t even with tropical weather, make sure to plan your Merida trip for November-April, when the weather’s coolest and the humidity’s at bay.

Have questions about things to do in Merida?

Please go ahead and drop me a line in the comments below, and I’ll get you the info you need.

Enjoy these related blogs!

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I’m Shelley, a former Miami travel magazine editor who ditched the office for the world!

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  1. Jyotsna

    OMG What stunning photos and pins. I neeeeeed to go back to Mexico!

    • Megan Anderson

      I have heard so much buzz around Merida and I love your in-depth guide through photos. Hidden gems are the best and this definitely looks like one! P.S.I travel for food, too, so love your bonus info!!

    • Shelley

      @Megan Anderson Merida seems to be on more & more travel radars with each passing month! The food here is probably a part of that lol.

    • Shelley

      @Jyotsna I can’t recommend that idea enough!

  2. Jenny Ventura

    The title really says it all – these are gorgeous spots! Makes me want to plan a trip now.

    • Shelley

      🧡 Merida really is such a photogenic city! I hope you do plan that trip.

  3. Agnes

    Beautiful photos! We had kind of a disaster of a trip to Mexico City on our last trip to the country, so would love to give things another shot with beautiful Merida. Saving this for later!

    • Shelley

      I am so sorry for the disaster! Hopefully the next trip to Mx will be nothing like that 🤞

  4. Taylor

    All of these spots look absolutely beautiful! I need to go back to Mexico and visit Merida. It truly looks like a fairytale! I will be keeping this blog post handy for the future. 🙂

    • Shelley

      I hope you do visit… I’ve never referred to Merida a “fairy tale” before, but I think you are totally right about that.

  5. Lenore | The Nitty Gritty Travel OT

    I love Instagram too lol. You’ve really inspired the wanderlust in me with all of these beautiful photos! I’ll be adding Merida to my list for sure. You’ve found the best spots!

    • Shelley

      Funny enough, I was never into photos until I moved to Mexico 2+ years ago. This is just such a beautiful country though, so it’s easy to find instagrammable palces.

  6. Mikaela

    I enjoyed scrolling through your post! Great shots and nice places. Hope I could visit someday to take photos too

    • Shelley

      I hope you do! If you’re into photography, you’d really enjoy Merida.

  7. Courtney in the Middle Seat

    Love the beautiful architecture that shows many layers of Merida’s history! My wife & I have been wanting to visit Merida, and I will definitely save this post. Always love a map for help planning out our routes for the day. Thanks!

    • Shelley

      I’m glad you like the map! I hope you & your wife get the chance to use it when you do visit.

  8. Maya

    I was there such a long time ago and it had such an authentic feeling. I wonder how I might feel if I visit it now. I love all the colorful pictures. You’ve made me want to go back to Mexico so thanks for that!

    • Shelley

      I have lived in Merida just about 1 year now & I hear from locals how much it’s changed with the increases in tourism from just 2-3 years ago. It’s still considered up & coming for Mexico, but I think it will be a destination in less than 2 years.

  9. Janine

    Merida is soooo beautiful! I was only there for 24 hours when I went so we just gawked at the incredible architecture on Paseo Montejo, ate some cochinita pibil, and wandered around centro. I’d love to go back one day!

    • Shelley

      ….as long as you ate cochinita, you did well 😋

  10. Julie

    Wow the El Pinar Palace looks like something out of my childhood dreams! I’ve always wanted to visit Mexico and this list makes me want it even more haha

    • Shelley

      It’s such a cute house (well, mansion!) ….and it’s currently for sale. I believe they’re asking $7M USD.

  11. Nina

    I love your pictures! Mexico looks amazing. Hopefully I’ll get there one day 🥰

  12. Sarah Camp

    What absolutely stunning places! You’ve really made an in-depth guide of the best photo spots. I’ll have to get to some of these when I return! I really love the Fundación de Artistas – it’s gorgeous! Thanks so much for sharing these great tips!

    • Shelley

      That place is stunning!! I only know about it from living here. I doubt it would be on too many other (if any) Merida guides.

  13. Sara Essop

    I’ve never heard of Merida before but it looks so beautiful in your photos that I want to go there now!

    • Shelley

      It’s still considered off the beaten path, but it seems to get more & more popular each year… it’s located about 3 hours from Cancun & Tulum, so tour companies are starting to do day trips over here from those cities.

  14. Curls en Route

    Wow!! So beautiful! I’m definitely pinning this for later, Mexico’s high on my list 🙂

    • Shelley

      I am admittedly biased, but Mexico really is such an amazing & often underrated destination.

  15. Portia Jones

    Hot damn your Mexico photos are awesome. I’ve travelled a fair bit around central America but i’ve never been to Mexico, for shame right? I definitely need to add it to my bucket list once restrictions are lifted. 🙂

    • Shelley

      PRETTY PLEASE add it to your list!!!

  16. Pia

    Looks incredible, need to get to Mexico one of these days. Your pics are really beautiful.

    • Shelley

      Yes, please do visit 🇲🇽

  17. Bella

    What a thorough blog! And the photos look great! I just got back from a work trip to Mexico, didn’t get to see much that time so will make sure I visit as a tourist as soon as I can and when I do I’ll put Merida on the list!

    • Shelley

      Thank you for the compliment. I’m glad that at least the work trip made enough of a good impression that you want to return. It’s such a beautiful, lively, colorful & friendly country.

  18. Ophelie

    I haven’t visited Mexico YET. But when I go, I will make sure to visit Merida! It looks really amazing and you included so many extra tips! Thank you!

    • Shelley

      lol I love the “YET” …and you are very welcome. I hope you make it to Mexico SOON!

  19. Linn

    Great photos! It’s definitely a place I would like to visit, especially after reading your post. I’ll bookmark this for when I get the chance to travel there.

    • Shelley

      So glad you found value & use in the post!!

  20. Sujenne

    Damn girl ! You actually gave me enough places to have a whole photo album filled with pictures !
    Loved this so much. Never had Merida in mind because I have never heard of it, but after this blog I won’t be waiting to plan a trip there. Maybe you can be my guide!

    • Shelley

      I would love to be your guide 💜

  21. Polly

    All of these look absolutely stunning! Your photos are so beautiful too! Would love to walk down the Calle 47 Street.

    • Shelley

      It’s such a pretty street!

  22. Allison

    WOW all of these buildings are absolutely stunning! I live in Playa del Carmen and have been dying to get to Merida! Hope I can visit soon!

    • Shelley

      Oh cool, I lived there for a while. I miss the beach!!! But Merida is so pretty it makes up for it. I hope you make it over here soon, you’ll love it.

  23. Emma

    The map is super helpful, but also love how easily this guide is laid out as a walking tour. And the places there all are definitely instagrammable. I’m craving some travel right now but this is helping. Mexico is probably my next trip

    • Shelley

      Thank you for your kind words! Mexico would be a wonderful next trip.

  24. Jade

    Hey Shelley! This looks amazing – I am planning on moving to Mexico for a few months once I leave Europe and I’ve heard a lot about Merida – your photos are stunning! Thanks for sharing!

    • Shelley

      It’s a great place to be in Mexico! You can explore a lot of the Yucatan with Merida as a home base… and also, we have a lotttt of European expats here, so you’d be very comfortable.

  25. Suvarna Arora

    All of the pictures are so beautiful that it makes me wanna go here.

    • Shelley

      Thank you!! Merida is even prettier in person, so I hope you make it here.

  26. The Spicy Travel Girl

    How come I’ve never heard of Merida?? This place is so beautiful!
    Also, your photography is amazing! I’m new to the field so I don’t have a lot of beautiful photos yet. Hope to learn a bit from your skills!

    • Shelley

      I appreciate the kind words! And yes, your photography skill will improve over time. Everyone starts where they are, and only gets better ❤️📸

  27. Helena

    Your photos are so gorgeous and I’m saving this for when I finally get to Mexico! I’ve never been but it’s a dream of mine to go!

    • Shelley

      I hope you make it soon! It’s an amazing country.

  28. Lekha C

    Such a beautiful city. I hadn’t heard of it until now. Thank you for sharing! Mexico is such a diverse and colorful country. So many places on my bucket list!

    • Shelley

      Thank you for your kind words, Lekha! And, yes… it is a huge country. I’ve only been to half of the states (so far!), but with that many alone I feel like I’ve been to at least 3 different countries.

  29. Anna

    These places are adorable! I’ve never been to Mexico, but it looks so fun.

    • Shelley

      💚🇲🇽❤️I can’t recommend Mexico enough!

  30. Zsuzsanna

    Oh, all these spots look really beautiful and photogenic! Saving this for our next Mexico trip in the future! 🙂

    • Shelley

      I hope you can use it! You’re going to enjoy Mérida 🇲🇽

  31. Lisanne

    Wow, love all these spots! I would love to visit Merida!

    • Shelley

      I hope you get the chance to! It’s an amazing city & a great home base to explore much of the Yucatan Peninsula.



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