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15 Finest Issues To Do in Merida, Mexico

Exploring ancient Mayan ruins, swimming in cenotes, taking in cultural performances, and indulging in Yucatecan cuisine. These are just a few of the many amazing things to do in Merida. Read on for a closer look at all this Mexican city has to offer. Despite being a state capital and popular destination for nomads, expats, […]

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Exploring historic Mayan ruins, swimming in cenotes, taking in cultural performances, and indulging in Yucatecan delicacies. These are only a few of the various superb issues to do in Merida. Learn on for a more in-depth have a look at all this Mexican metropolis has to supply.

Regardless of being a state capital and popular destination for nomads, expats, and retirees, Merida has lived within the shadow of close by Cancun, Playa del Carmen, and Tulum. In spite of everything, most vacationers who come to this a part of Mexico head straight to the seaside. 

With the closest seaside being 40 km (25 miles) away from Merida, this implies the largest metropolis within the Yucatan Peninsula has lengthy been an afterthought.

However, that's all altering.

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

streets of merida

Regardless that I've spent the higher a part of the final three years dwelling in Mexico, I hadn't travelled to Merida till just lately.  

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

I'm excited to share among the greatest issues to do in Merida with you on this submit. Vamos, chicos!

1. Discover Centro Historico & The Zocalo

Kicking off our checklist of issues to do in Merida is a stroll across the metropolis's Centro Historico. Apparently, solely Mexico City and Havana, Cuba have bigger historic facilities than Merida, so there's lots to see and do right here.

Be a part of a Strolling Tour

I like to recommend becoming a member of the free strolling tour for an informative and entertaining introduction to town. It begins at 10AM day by day in Santa Lucia Park and lasts about two hours. 

On this brief tour, you'll get launched to the historical past, tradition, and traditions of Merida.

Whereas the tour is free, it's customary to tip your information for a job effectively completed. tip for a strolling tour like that is 100 pesos (about $5). Head to their website to enroll in the tour. 

There are additionally some nice choices on Airbnb Experiences for exploring Merida's historic middle. You may soar on a 2-hour strolling tour within the night with an area knowledgeable in cultural and pure tourism. Click here to test it out and e book your spot.

When you're questioning what to do in Merida whenever you first arrive, becoming a member of a strolling tour is an effective guess. 

zocalo in merida

Discover The Zocalo Independently

Even in the event you join one of many excursions, it's price it to spend some additional time exploring the Zocalo by yourself. This tree-lined park may be very a lot the guts of town and is the perfect place to take in the native tradition.

The park is residence to a large Mexican flag and the colourful Merida signal, which is a should in your Instagram feed. It's additionally surrounded by essentially the most well-known and essential landmarks of town.

These embrace the Merida Cathedral, Municipal Palace, Casa de Montejo, and the Governor's Palace. The latter is residence to some unbelievable murals depicting town's historical past. They're all free to go to, so take your time and revel in all of them!

There's additionally a free strolling tour of the Zocalo given by town's tourism board. It begins at 9:30AM on the bottom flooring of the Municipal Palace, click here for instructions. 

2. Swim in Cenotes

One of the vital refreshing issues to do in Merida – a metropolis that's typically boiling sizzling – is cooling off within the surrounding cenotes. When you're not accustomed to these, they're principally pure sinkholes.

These are discovered all around the Yucatan Peninsula and quantity within the hundreds. Throughout the hottest time of the day, there's nothing higher than hiding from the solar and swimming in a cenote. 

There are numerous cenotes throughout Merida, so, simply take your decide!

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

cenote merida things to do

The full-day trip begins at 8:45AM and contains swimming in three cenotes, plus lunch, transportation, information, and entrance charges. Click here to be taught extra about this prime Merida attraction.

One other highly-rated tour is this Airbnb Experience that visits two completely different cenotes together with a wonderful hacienda. The cenotes aren't on the common vacationer monitor and also you'll probably have them to your self!

Alongside the way in which, your native guides will train you about Mayan tradition. Meals, transport, information, and entrance charges are included. Click here to be taught extra. 

3. Go Museum Hopping

In and across the Zocalo you'll discover a number of completely different museums, together with Casa de Montejo. Constructed within the 1540s, it was the mansion of the conquistador Francisco de Montejo. Today it's a museum that's free to go to, making it one of the vital standard issues to do in Merida.

Earlier than you head in, you should definitely take a more in-depth have a look at the facade of the constructing. It depicts the Spanish conquistadores standing on the heads of the native Mayans — a reminder of the horrific realities of colonialism in Mexico.

On the fitting aspect of the cathedral, there's a coated walkway known as Passage of the Revolution. That is the place you'll discover one other fully free museum, this one centered on the artwork of Fernando Garica Ponce and different Mexican artists. 

Finishing the trifecta is the Museum of the Metropolis of Merida, the place you possibly can be taught all in regards to the metropolis's historical past from the time of the Maya to the current. It's situated only a few blocks from the Zocalo, click here for instructions. 

4. Study About Mayan Tradition

A standard false impression amongst guests to Mexico is that there aren't any Mayan individuals round anymore. I'll admit that I used to be responsible of pondering this after I first traveled there a few years in the past. Nevertheless, this couldn't be farther from the reality.

It's estimated that around 60% of the inhabitants of Merida is of Mayan heritage, and it is a metropolis of almost 1 million. Mayan tradition may be very a lot alive and effectively right here, mixing with Spanish, French, British, and modern-day Mexican influences.

One of many prime locations to see in Merida is town's Great Museum of the Maya World. The constructing itself is sort of a powerful sight, and it holds an enormous assortment of Mayan artifacts.  

The museum is definitely situated fairly a distance from town middle. You may hop on the bus sure for Progresso and inform them you need to get off on the museum or simply get a cab on the market. Uber can be obtainable right here and works very effectively in my expertise.

It's open from Wednesday to Monday from 9AM-4:30PM and prices 150 pesos for foreigners. On Sundays, it's free for residents of the Yucatan, so I'd suggest occurring one other day. 

5. Go to Chichen Itza

Visiting Mayan ruins is no doubt one of many top things to do in Mexico. A wonderful thing about touring to Merida is that you could simply attain lots of the most epic ruins on a day journey. 

Indubitably, essentially the most well-known Mayan metropolis of all is Chichen Itza. One of many New Seven Wonders of the World, that is an unbelievable place to go to. Trying up on the huge pyramid often called El Castillo is an awe-inspiring expertise, to say the least.

chichen itza day trip merida

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

You may hop on this highly-rated small group tour that features transport, a information, a go to to a cenote, lunch, and extra. Click here to e book your spot. 

One other stable possibility is an Airbnb Expertise with an area man who's a licensed tour information in historical past and archaeology. His excursions run from 6AM-3PM and are extremely rated. Click here to test it out. 

Word: you could be pondering that 6am departure is early, however the line-ups and crowds will be big at Chichen Itza, and the solar will be intense — it's greatest to go as early as you possibly can. 

6. Journey the Ruta Puuc

Whereas Chichen Itza is by far essentially the most well-known, there are tons of different choices for visiting Mayan ruins within the space. From Merida, you possibly can journey the Ruta Puuc to see a handful of various Mayan websites. 

Amongst these, the biggest and hottest is Uxmal. It's a UNESCO World Heritage Web site and one of the vital essential locations within the Mayan world. Having been to all the large ones, I can truthfully say Uxmal is my favourite Mayan web site I've visited.

You may simply catch an area bus there and again, though you might find yourself ready some time on the aspect of the street for the return bus as we did. The bus prices 80 pesos per particular person every approach.

uxmal ruins day trip from merida

A extra comfy go to will be loved on this Airbnb Experience the place you additionally go to the Choco Museum. It prices simply $30 per particular person together with information, transport and a drink, however you'll have to cowl your entrance tickets. Uxmal prices 418 ($17) pesos for foreigners and the museum is 180. 

There are additionally just a few different, smaller ruins within the space like Kabah, Labna, and Xcalak.

One method to see all of those is with a rental automotive. When you'd moderately keep on with public transportation, the one possibility is catching the bus at 8AM on Sunday morning. It makes fast stops on the smaller ruins and provides you just a few hours to discover Uxmal. 

One simpler and fewer exhausting possibility is that this tour that visits each Uxmal and Kabah. It features a information, transport, lunch and a few pool time at a flowery lodge. Excursions begin at 8:30AM. Click here to be taught extra and e book your spot.

7. Hit the Seashore

As an inland metropolis, you possibly can't simply stroll to the seaside in Merida. It takes a little bit of effort, however a day journey out to Progreso is price it in the event you're on the lookout for a while on la playa

Progreso is a serious cruise ship port, so it's undoubtedly obtained that vacationer vibe. That being stated, the seaside is very nice and it's an excellent escape from town to get pleasure from a cerveza or two, and munch on some contemporary ceviche

When you get on the market early sufficient and are motivated, you possibly can rent a driver or join a day tour to discover the world. You may go to an ecological park, salt ponds, a pink lake, and a small Mayan web site on a half-day tour.

progreso beach places to see in merida

The most affordable method to rise up to Progreso is by catching the native bus. The station is situated just a few blocks south of the Zocalo, click here for instructions. It solely prices 19 pesos every approach, or about $1. 

8. Day Journey to Pink Lagoons

One of many prime issues to do in Merida is taking a day journey out to Ria Celestun, a biosphere reserve situated about 100 km out of town. It's effectively well worth the journey right here to discover the pristine seashores, mangroves, and low rainforests.

It's a novel place as its location creates a combination of freshwater from the estuary and saltwater from the ocean. The world is understood primarily for its pink flamingoes, who flock right here within the winter. 

To go to the reserve, you possibly can join a full-day tour that features a boat journey by way of the mangroves and lunch. It departs at 8:45AM from Merida, click here to be taught extra and to make your reserving.

ria celestun

9. Eat Scrumptious Meals

Merida actually is a foodie's paradise. There's a lot scrumptious meals right here that you might plan your entire keep round what you're consuming. From avenue meals and native markets to fine-dining, it's all right here. 

Mexico is residence to among the best food in the world, with the Yucatecan food being well-known all throughout Mexico — and for good motive.

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

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

cochinita pibil tacos merida

You should definitely skip breakfast in the event you join this excellent food tour. It takes you first to an area market, then a seafood restaurant, and eventually to a gelato store. The tour begins at 10:30AM and lasts three hours for $55 per particular person.

There's additionally this standard Airbnb Experience the place you go to a market after which pattern a number of vegetarian dishes in an area's residence. It runs from 4-7PM and prices $58 every.

Mexican cuisine is so numerous and scrumptious. Regardless of the way you select to expertise it (on a tour, avenue stands, eating places, on the seaside…), simply be sure to pattern all of it!

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

Are you aware what's even higher than making an attempt native meals? Making an attempt native meals that you just cooked your self! One of the vital rewarding issues you are able to do in Merida is taking a cooking class, and also you've obtained numerous choices.

On this half-day tour, you begin by visiting one of many busiest markets in Merida. You'll find out about among the commonest components, together with the spicy habanero chile.

Subsequent, you head to the kitchen to whip up some basic native dishes that you just'll get to get pleasure from for lunch. Better of all, you possibly can convey the recipes residence and impress your family and friends! This highly-rated tour begins at 10AM, click here to be taught extra.

There's additionally this extremely popular Airbnb Experience which takes you thru a market to get all of the components for the cooking class. Then, you'll get pleasure from your 3-course lunch in one of many nicest courtyards within the metropolis. It begins at 9:30AM and prices $78 every.

cooking class in merida

11. Admire the Structure on Paseo de Mantejo

Strolling across the tree-lined boulevard Paseo de Mantejo, you'll discover some fairly spectacular buildings. Most of those have been mansions constructed within the late nineteenth century when town was experiencing a big increase because of the henequen industry.

By no means heard of henequen? Neither had I.

This agave plant that one way or the other thrives right here in a spot with little water or fertilization can be utilized to make rope. The nice occasions didn't final eternally, although — lately a lot of the buildings are both museums or industrial areas.

Take a stroll alongside the boulevard and you should definitely convey your digital camera. You'll spot beautiful buildings just like the Palacio Canton and Quinta Montes Molina, each of that are museums which are price a go to. 

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

12. Expertise Ruta Bici

Among the best issues to do in Merida is collaborating within the weekly Ruta Bici occasion. Each Sunday morning, the Paseo de Mantejo is lower off to motorized autos for a number of hours.

Locals, expats, and vacationers alike all come out to get pleasure from strolling, skating, or biking alongside the scenic boulevard.

It's potential to hire a motorcycle for a couple of bucks an hour. You'll simply have to be sure to have an ID on you. 

Apparently additionally they do a particular nighttime Ruta Bici on the primary Saturday of each month now, in order that's undoubtedly price testing in the event you occur to be within the metropolis at the moment.

Don't miss this vehicle-free time in Merida!

merida streets

13. See Cultural Performances

Indubitably, one of many prime issues to do in Merida is taking in among the many cultural performances. There's one thing occurring each evening of the week right here, they usually're often free.

Among the greatest occasions to participate in embrace the Yucatecan Serenade, which occurs each Thursday evening in Santa Lucia Park at 8PM.  There's additionally the very festive Noche Mexicana (Mexican Night time) each Saturday with track and dance performances.

Maybe essentially the most enjoyable of all, although, is Sundays in Merida. It is a day-long occasion within the Zocalo and an excellent cultural expertise. There are meals stalls arrange all day lengthy and performances start later within the day.

14. Catch a Soccer Recreation

There's no denying the significance of soccer in Mexican tradition. It's extra like a faith right here than a sport as persons are very passionate in regards to the recreation! 

That's why one of many prime issues to do in Merida is cheering on the native soccer membership. Venados FC performs within the Liga de Ascenso, which is the 2nd tier league within the nation. 

They play over at Estadio Carlos Iturralde with video games going down between January and April. Check out their schedule to see if there's a house recreation whenever you're on the town.

15. Go Cantina Hopping

Final however not least, it's time for some cantina hopping. For the uninitiated, a cantina is a basic Mexican bar. Suppose swinging doorways, loud music, and loads of tequila.

Historically, a cantina has been considerably of a boys membership. That's why I often skip out on them after we journey in Mexico, as my spouse doesn't often really feel comfy going into a spot the place she's not precisely welcome.

That's all altering, although, and there are many cantinas in Merida which are open to each women and men. The most well-liked is certainly La Negrita. Providing complimentary botanas (snacks) and stay music in a pleasant courtyard, this place fills up each evening of the week.

cantina in merida

Now You Know What to Do in Merida

There's a motive Merida was named the perfect small metropolis on this planet. It's an excellent place to go to with a vibrant tradition, loads of fascinating sights, and infinite alternatives for adventures within the space.

Whereas close by Cancun is extra of a Disney model of Mexico, Merida is the true deal. When you're on the lookout for an genuine Mexican metropolis with pleasant locals, scrumptious meals, and raucous nightlife, look no additional.

After years of individuals telling me how cool Merida is, I'm joyful I lastly obtained to spend a while there. A 2-week digital nomad stint was simply sufficient to scratch the floor of all of the enjoyable issues to do in Merida and I'm undoubtedly planning on going again quickly.

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

Photos on this article are courtesy of Shutterstock. Click here to be taught extra.

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The submit 15 Best Things To Do in Merida, Mexico appeared first on Goats On The Road.

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Support author of this article and visit his post, originally published HERE

This post is originally published at Goats On The Road blog and it's not owned by this site! Respect content authors!
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