There are many things to do in Merida like admiring the old colonial architecture, trying the delicious Yucatan cuisine and the street food or enjoying the night music festivities. Merida is also the perfect home-base for day trips to the Mayan Ruins of Chichen Itza or Uxmal and also the beautiful Celestun Biosfera. Find out from this article which are the 10 things to do in Merida, Mexico.
A visit to Merida should be on everyone’s list travelling to Yucatan, Mexico. The prices for tours and trips, restaurants and hotels are much lower than those found on Riviera Maya. And the people of Merida, most Mayan descendest, are friendly and welcoming. Also, the cuisine has a distinctive flavour than anywhere else in Yucatan.
Begin the Day with a Free Walking Tour #1
For a quick summary of what Merida has to offer, begin your day with a guided walking tour. There is a free walking tour of Merida every morning, at 9.30 am, starting from the Merida Tourism Office, on the west side of Plaza Grande. You will found out more about Merida’s history, attractions and many other interesting facts that only a local knows.
Cool on a Bench at Plaza Grande #2
Surrounded by the Government Palace and the Cathedral, Plaza Grande is the heart of the city and the perfect place for a midday break. Enjoy an iced coffee, and the complimentary free wifi offered by the municipality on a shaded bench and watch the locals and the tourists as well. If it is getting too hot, visit one of the buildings lining the Plaza Grande. Those are free to enter and are air-conditioned.
While Merida has more plazas, Plaza Grande, located between Calle 60 & 62 and between Calle 61 & 63, is is the central spot and the place to be on Merida. If you are looking for souvenirs, there is a pretty market with lots of handicrafts on Sunday mornings.
Take the Double Decker Bus and Explore the City #3
Take the double-decker bus and drive through the historical city, for 1.5 hours. It will be a pleasant experience to tour around the town and see places you wouldn’t see otherwise. Although the tour is only in Spanish and we didn’t get much information, we wanted to have a different perspective on the city, so that didn’t bother us too much.
Enjoy the Yucatan Cuisine #4
One of the things to do in Merida is trying the Yucatan Cuisine. The colonial city is home to the best cuisine in Yucatan; therefore, the food is so delicious and in the meantime, different from everything I’ve tried on Riviera Maya. Taste the unique Yucatan cuisine at the famous La Chaya Maya Restaurant. Make sure to make a reservation, by calling before or asking your accommodation to make one for you. Try some Parrillada Yucateca, which is grilled Poc-Chuc & chicken fajitas served with beans and homemade tortillas in Yucatan style. Simply delicious!
Watch a Pok Ta Tok Game #5
Every Saturday night, at 8:30 pm, in Calle 60, you may watch the locals playing an old Maya ball game called Pok Ta Tok. If you’ve visited one of the Mayan ruins sites, you already know the history: players used a small rubber ball to rebound through stone rings using only their hips, knees and elbows. Come early to get a good spot and watch the game.
Taste some Street Food #6
Merida’s street food is different than the standard Mexican street food. Enjoy yourself by listening to cumbia music while tasting local street food at Plaza Grande. Walkthrough the market and try some elotes, marquesitas, churros or fries.
Elotes are grilled corns on the cob, served in mayonnaise and chilli. Marquesitas is a mixt between a waffle and an ice cream cone filled with a topping of your choice.
Enjoy the Night Music Festivities #7
Another thing to do in Merida should be enjoying the night festivities. After dining, you’ll find that Merida nightlife is vibrant and entertaining. Especially on weekends when the main streets are closed to traffic, and everything comes alive. There is always something going on every night. You just have to know when and where. Most of the events are free so check out what is happening during your stay.
After figuring out what Merida itself has to offer, consider visiting the Mayan Temples, the amazing cenotes and the beautiful Celestun Biosfera.
Explore the Mayan Ruins at Chichen Itza or Uxmal #8
Merida is the ideal base for visiting the Mayan Temple of Chichen Itza or Uxmal. Rent a car or use the public transport system and head to one of the famous Mayan Ruins. While Chichen Itza is the most famous one, Uxmal archaeological site is another beautiful place not to be missed. The perfect vacation should include a visit to both of them. Easy to do on your own, you don’t need an expensive tour to take you there.
Take a Trip to Celestun to See the Flamingos #9
Merida makes the perfect home base for a day trip to Celestun. Rent a car, take an Ado bus or Colectivo and take the two-hour drive trip to see the flamingos and the mangroves. Between November to March, you can see thousands of flamingos. Take a boat ride, enjoy some free time at the beach and taste some delicious fresh fish! Or some ice cream from the street vendor!
Cool Off in a Cenote #10
What better way to chill after a hot day spent visiting the Mayan ruins than swimming and cooling off in a cenote? And in Yucatan, there are plenty of them. Cuzama Hacienda, a combination of three different cenotes, is a great day out. Hacienda Mucuyche, a group of two cenotes connected by a human-made channel, makes another great day out. Simply find out what suits your itinerary and head over there.
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- Want to do something authentic on the other side of Yucatan? Go on a Self-guided Day Trip To Sian Ka’an & Muyil Ruins!