Mérida at a Glance
Mérida, a colonial Capital adorned with the fragrances and flavors of its traditional food, offers visitors an infinite array of experiences, a result of the ancient legacy of its Mayan culture and the fusion of its colonial past. Merida has it all: beaches, colonial architecture, churches and temples, ancient sites and adventure tourism.
For all of this and more, Merida is a jewel in the Yucatan peninsula that you must experience!
Brief overview of the area's history
Mérida was built atop the ruins of Ichcaansihó, an old Mayan settlement that had been abandoned mostly by time the Spanish arrived in the 16th century.
On January 6, 1542, it was founded by the conquistador Francisco de Montejo “el Mozo” and one hundred Spanish households. The colonial architecture of the city dates from the 17th and 18th centuries. Read More
The city’s french architectural period of urban image begins in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, as evidenced by the large mansions on both sides of Paseo de Montejo, an avenue inspired by Paris’ Champs Elysées boulevard that runs from Santa Ana to the exit to Puerto Progreso.
The city witnessed significant economic expansion during the henequen boom at the end of the nineteenth century.
Today, Merida is regarded as a heritage city in Mexico, with a cosmopolitan community that values its historic and cultural heritage.
Museo del Mundo Maya
The Great Museum of the Mayan World in Mérida is the city’s most well-known museum, with over 1,160 objects representing Mayan daily life. Read More
It also features a collection of colonial engravings and historical documents, as well as Pre-Hispanic era items like as stelae, sculptures, and bas-reliefs, as well as gold, jade, and shell pieces, which allow visitors to learn about the history of the people who lived in this magnificent region.
A one-of-a-kind facility that promotes the Yucatecan Mayan indigenous perspectives, language, and history via the use of cutting-edge digital technologies.
Calle 60 Norte No. 299 E
C.P.97110. Mérida. Yuc.
Open from Wednesday through Monday
from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Palacio del Gobernador
El Palacio del Gobernador was built on the location of the ancient Royal Houses. The overall look of the palace dates from 1887 to 1892, when it was completed. Read More
27 paintings depicting scenes from the state’s history can be found on the building’s two levels, in the history room, both floors’ corridors, and the stairway.
Pok Ta Pok
This well-known ball game, which was the most important pre-Hispanic sport of all Mesoamerican societies, can be found in the majority of the Yucatan peninsula’s archeological sites. Read More
The Holy Ball Game was a ritualistic game with some political connotations.
Every Friday at 8 p.m., this spectacle is recreated for free at the doors of Mérida’s San Ildefonso Cathedral. The warriors are adorned in Pre-Hispanic attire and have their faces painted as they prepare for battle. At the end of the event, spectators will be able to take photos with the game’s competitors.
The splendid church on the square’s east side, the municipal palace, the Montejo residence, and the Government Palace are some of the plaza’s most iconic structures. Read More
This location serves as the social hub of Yucatecan society, it is surrounded by gorgeous centennial trees, cafes, museums, restaurants, and shops.
It is a colossal Plateresque-style mansion constructed between 1542 and 1549 by Don Fernando de Montejo, the city’s founder. Read More
Today it’s home to the Casa Montejo museum. The museum has four permanent rooms (the office-library, the dining room, the bedroom and the living room). These rooms are furnished in the 19th and 20th century Mexican style. It also has three exhibition halls where artworks are displayed, as well as a venue for popular art concerts.
Access is free
Open from 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Tuesday to Saturdays.
Sundays, 10:00 a.m.–2:00 p.m.
The temple, which is located to the east of the city’s main plaza, was built in 1562 and finished on November 4, 1598. Read More
ALL ABOUT Mérida
In terms of weather, the months of mid-November to April are the finest for exploring the peninsula’s splendor. The weather is pleasant, making it excellent for strolling through the city’s streets and avenues, as well as seeing ancient sites, haciendas, cenotes, and museums.
Accommodations and airfares are normally more expensive at this time of year, but it is definitely worth it. The weather usually turns north on these dates, bringing with it a drop in temperature, but nothing that a sweater can’t cure. From May to September, the region’s rainy season causes temperatures to be warm and humid.
Today’s Yucatecan cuisine is a wonderful blend of regional ingredients used in the fusion of the Mayan world, with the different elements brought by the Spanish during the colonial era. The menu offers a wide range of specialties, from desserts, sweets, drinks, and appetizers to main courses that will leave you with a pleasant taste in your mouth.
The most prominent ingredients are turkey meat, pork, maize tortilla, and of course the condiments, which are included in the majority of the stews, not to mention the habanero pepper, which adds a unique flavor to each bite. That combination of seasonings gives rise to a culinary experience of flavors, so extravagant and delightful, that it will be difficult to forget. Here you can find some Traditional Dishes
The Cochinita Pibil is one of the state of Yucatan’s signature dishes; customary on Sundays but great at any time, this dish is best consumed in tortas or tacos, but you can also taste it in individual portions; accompanied by chopped onion and sometimes a touch of habanero chile.
Panuchos come in a variety of flavors, including roast beef, breaded chicken, cochinita pibil, black stuffing, and even just egg, as well as the most popular, chicken or turkey. The preparation method is the same: corn tortilla filled with beans and marinated meat and onions.
The difference between salbutes and panuchos is the bean that fills the tortilla; in salbutes, the tortilla is not filled, it is usually prepared by hand, and it can expand somewhat when fried; as with panuchos, it should be almost brown before removing from the oil.
Among the Yucatecan foods that do not contain meat are the papadzules, which are tacos filled with egg and ground pumpkin seed, known as “ground pepita” and bathed in a cream prepared from the same seed and covered in tomato.
One of the distinguishing features of Yucatecan cuisine is the frequent use of condiments in their meals, which when combined create unique and exquisite flavors; the Black Filling is an example of the above; also combining ground hog meat, turkey meat, and eggs. It can be eaten spoonful, in tacos, tortas or in small portions.
Yucatecan cuisine is quite diverse, and each part of the state is different in certain ways, with varying reasons for cooking, therefore some stews, such as Poc-Chuc, have become the specialty of some specific places, leading to places like “Man” and “Ticul” being among the most known to enjoy its flavor. Pork and sour orange juice are two of the primary ingredients in this delicacy.
The haciendas were a 16th century Spanish agro-industrial structure that consisted of a complex of buildings for various functions. They were spread out over a broad area of land and were used to exploit sugar, agricultural, livestock, tequila, mining, and henequen operations. Many of them were abandoned after the country’s independence, while others were used during General Lazaro Cardenas’ agrarian reforms. Some Haciendas have been restored to their former beauty and repurposed into luxury hotels, social event venues, and a limited number have resumed henequen planting and processing.
It is one of the most beautiful haciendas in the region, with massive columns and magnificent gardens.
The hacienda is within walking distance of archeological attractions, sacred cenote diving, and excursions to neighboring towns.
On the Mérida-Campeche highway, it is 60 kilometers from the city of Mérida. This Hacienda was purchased by a family of businessmen, who rebuilt it into a luxury hotel and restaurant. It is operated by the Luxury Collection of Starwood Hotels & Resorts.
SANTA ROSA DE LIMA, MAXCANU, YUCATAN, MÉXICO
Carretera Mérida Campeche, Desviación Maxcanú, Santa Rosa, Yucatán. C.P. 97800
Teléfono: +52 999 923 19 23
Open to the public form 7:00 am until 6:00 pm
A charming hacienda that has been converted into a hotel, it features 18 rooms, a spa, outdoor Jacuzzis, beautiful gardens and outstanding service from the property's owners and personnel. Located five minutes from Mérida's city center.
One of the most famous and gorgeous haciendas in the vicinity of the city.
It has beautiful halls and lovely gardens where Yucatecan society's residents hold social gatherings. It also features a large restaurant that serves some of the best traditional food in the area and is open to the public.
This beautiful Hacienda is located only five minutes from Mérida, it was founded in the sixteenth century by Spaniard Don Alonso de Rosado. Today, after passing through the hands of more than a dozen different owners, this hacienda serves as a venue for events, weddings, conventions, and other gatherings.
Calle 35 S/N con calle 14 C, Chichi Suárez, Mérida, Yucatán. C.p. 97306
Phone: +52 999-611-6017
Don Pascual Gamboa Rivero built this hacienda in 1912, it is located on the Mérida-Motul road, about 15 minutes from the city of Mérida. The hacienda was constructed with colonial-style buildings for cattle and henequen activities in the region, and it comprises two levels with eight rooms, a church with space for over 200 people, an orchard, stable and even a zoo.
KANCABCHEN GAMBOA, BACA, YUCATÁN, MÉXICO.
Km 22 Carretera Mérida-Motul, desvío a Tixkuncheil , Baca, Yucatán.
Phone: +52 999-738-87-31
Open: 9:00 AM to 7:00 PM
Merida's cultural heritage can be witnessed in everyday life through its architecture, its churches and temples, prehispanic past, and in some of the city's most renowned museums, which depict the history and development of this prodigious territory.
The majestic Maya World Museum, the Palace of Music, and Palacio Canton all illustrate the region's evolution from the rise of the Maya culture to the present day.
Visiting them will be an enriching experience that you will treasure.
This museum, which was inaugurated on July 28, 2007, focuses on popular art and the understanding of Yucatan's artisan culture. On the upper floor, there are six permanent display halls and one temporary exhibition hall.
Its primary purpose is to preserve cultural heritage while also promoting Peninsula artists through the exhibition of their works of art.
Calle 50 #487, Barrio de la Mejorada, C.P. 97000. Mérida, Yucatán
Phone: +52 999-928-52-63 / +52 999-928-05-64
Open Wednesday through Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 17 a.m.
Tuesday, 10 a.m. to 15 p.m.
The main purpose of the music palace, which is located in the historic center of Merida, is to appreciate and promote traditional and popular Mexican music's cultural heritage.
Its facilities include a concert hall with 458 seats, an open-air terrace for social and artistic events, the Patio de Cuerdas, a patio whose architecture resembles piano strings and has unique acoustics that allow artistic events, as well as galleries, meeting rooms, and classrooms for educational activities.
Calle 58 #497 x 59 y 60, Centro Histórico, Mérida Yucatán
Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Phone: +52 999-923-06-41
The Regional Museum of Anthropology Cantón Palace, was built in the first decade of the twentieth century on Paseo Montejo Avenue in Mérida.
The architecture of the building is known as Beaux Arts, and it was popular during Mexico's Porfiriato period. The governor of Yucatan, General Federico Canton, lived there until his death.
In 1932, the General's family sold the land to the state government, and it became the location of the governor's mansion, as well as a school of fine arts and a primary school.
In 1980, it was renamed the Museum of Anthropology with the objective of presenting important temporary exhibitions on a variety of topics, as well as conferences, cultural, and academic events that promote awareness of the Yucatan Peninsula's pre-Hispanic inhabitants.
Paseo de Montejo 485, Centro, C.P. 97000. Mérida, Yucatán
Monday through Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Access: $65.00 pesos
Phone: +52 999-923-05-57
As a model Porfiriato-era architecture and the only house in its original state open to the public, this museum illustrates the way of life of Merida's aristocratic society at the turn of the twentieth century.
This building serves as a venue for social, cultural, and business gatherings.
Paseo de Montejo 469 entre 33 y 35, Centro, CP 97000, Mérida, Yucatán
Phones: +52(999) 925 59 99 / +52 (999) 925 51 24
Open to the public by appointment only
General Admission: $85 mxn
Children from 6 to 12 years old: $60 mxn
General guided tour $100 mxn
The primary goal of this museum, which is housed in the former Palacio de Correos in the city's historic center, is to highlight the state capital's history and culture. It is divided into four large halls, each of which takes visitors on a different journey through Mérida's history.
The pre-Hispanic period, the colony, the city's economic prosperity through the henequen industry, and the Porfiriato period, during which substantial architectural alterations can still be seen in its mansions and on Paseo Montejo.
Calle 56, 529, Centro Histórico, Mérida
Open from Tuesday to Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Saturdays and Sundays from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Access is free
Cenotes, are underground rivers of crystal clear water, consisting in limestone formations. They are part of a hidrogeologic system that supplies sweetwater to the entire Yucatan penninsula. The term “Cenotes” derives from the Maya word “dzonot,” which means “abyss”. You can find over 6000 cenotes in the area. The closest cenotes to Mérida provide a superb opportunity to observe the grandeur and majesty of the region’s natural formations, as well as to swim, snorkel, dive in them, or to simply spend a wonderful day with family and friends.
It is located within the archeological zone of Dzibilchaltun, only 17 kilometers from the city, its name means “old town” in Maya. Read More
This cenote is located 21 km southwest of the city of Mérida, taking the road to Campeche, in the town of Chocholá. Read More
It is a grotto cenote which is accessed by a staircase carved in stone to the platform where the water mirror is located.
With crystal clear waters and a maximum depth of 6 meters, you can experience swimming in the cenote both during the day and at night. It is located on a private property that offers all the necessary services and has cabins, a swimming pool, a restaurant, an organic garden, bicycle paths, showers and bathrooms.
It is located 49 km. from the city of Mérida, along the Muna-Uxmal highway, turning off at km. 39 right bank, towards the former Cacao farm. Read More
It has a restaurant, rental of snorkeling equipment, bicycles and parking.
Its name translates to “Place of Winds,” and it is only three kilometers from the historic site of Chichen Itza. Read More
It is located in the little village of Mucuyche, and its name means “Yellow Fruit of the Tree” in Mayan. Read More
This cenote is one of the area’s largest underground caverns, so you’ll have to descend a ladder to the bottom to admire the stalactites that fully surround the waterhole, as well as the roots that reach the cave’s bottom.
It is perfect for swimming, snorkeling, and diving, with crystal clear waters and depths ranging from five to fifty meters.
These cenotes are located in the municipality of Cuzamá, some 26 kilometers east of Mérida, in a former Henequén plantation. Read More
A restaurant serving authentic Yucatecan food is located at the complex’s central station. The three cenotes are as follows:
It is a subterranean cenote, with crystal clear water with a depth of up to 17 meters, illuminated by artificial light where you can observe the stalactites and stalagmites. Its name derives from a common cricket of the state.
It’s a semi-closed formation with natural sunlight during the day, turquoise blue and crystalline waters, and an 80-meter-long underwater cavern. Its name in Maya translates to “home of the red ant.”
With a depth of roughly 30 meters and spectacular stalactite and stalagmite structures, it is a great place for cave diving.
Its name refers to the nine light apertures that illuminate the interior of the cenote.
It features a vertically descending wooden ladder that leads to a platform with an incredible view and crystal clear water in varied hues, this cenote has a maximum depth of 35 meters.
Mérida is well-known for its history, culture and serenity, but its proximity to the coast and easy access to the picturesque beaches, is an added appeal. Beautiful white-sand beaches are only about 30 minutes away, inviting you to admire nature’s amazing creations.
Its Maya name translates as "place where flat stones are written on." Read MoreThis metropolis, which spanned around 19 km2, was one of the largest on the Yucatan Peninsula. One of its most iconic attractions is the Temple of the Seven Dolls, which attracts hundreds of visitors to observe the phenomenon of light and shadow during the equinoxes; other attractions include its impressive cenote and multiple beautifully carved stelae, with stela 19 considered a true work of art. The archeological site lies 12 kilometers northwest of Mérida. To get there, follow Federal Highway 261 through Puerto Progreso, then detour through the communities of Chablekal and Conkal. Follow the indications to the archeological zone once you arrive in Dzibilchaltun.
The archeological site is accessible 365 days a year. With an admission cost of $85.00 mxn
The location is open from 08:00 to 17:00 Monday through Sunday, while the Museum is open from 09:00 to 16:00 Tuesday through Sunday.
Its Mayan name translates as "the city on the edge of the Itzáes well." Read More
This historic city, located 120 kilometers from Mérida in the municipality of Tinum, mixes elements of Mayan and Toltec culture, distinguishing itself as the Maya's cultural and political center, as well as one of the peninsula's greatest manors. It is estimated that 50,000 to 100,000 people lived there since it served as a religious, cultural, and political center.
Among the most notable monuments at the site are the Great Ball Court, the temple of the bearded man, the temple of the jaguar, the temple of the eagles and jaguars, the sacred cenote, the set of the snail, the temple of the warriors, and the thousand columns where the Chac Mool is located.
During the spring equinox, the ancient city of Chichen Itza is famous for the phenomenon of light and shadow that is captured on the north stairway of the El Castillo pyramid, where the spectacular descent of Kukulkan takes place.
It was recognized as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1988, and it was selected one of the New Seven Wonders of the World in 2007.
The city's dominance was so great that Francisco De Montejo considered making it the state capital.
Open from Monday through Sunday, from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Adults $533 MXN
Children (3-12) $80 MXN
Mexican Citizens $237
Free admission on Sundays for Mexican citizens and foreigners residing in Mexico, identification is required.
It is located in the municipality of Tecoh, about 40 kilometers from Mérida. Read MoreIts Mayan name means "Mayan Flag." This 4 km2 walled city is regarded as the Mayan culture's last big metropolis. The area has approximately 4,000 structures with an estimated population of 12,000 people. Its main structures are reproductions of the Itza capital, created in the Chichén Itzá style. This city had a central square with a pyramid similar to but smaller than El Castillo's, as well as municipal, governmental, religious, and ruling-class mansions.
Open from Monday through Sunday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. ,all year.
General Admission: $45.00 pesos
The Puuc Route begins in Uxmal, 80 kilometers from Mérida, and takes you through the magnificence of Mayan culture. From there, the journey will take you to Kabah, Sayil, Labná, Xlapak and the Loltun caves. This is an adventure that can be done in a few days, and we recommend renting a vehicle to allow you to go at your own pace.
One of the Mayan culture's crown jewels, a walled city that peaked when the Mayan lords moved their urban centers out of the jungle and closer to the coast in the post-classic period.
Today, this archaeological site is situated next to a new tourism destination that is rapidly expanding. This city was known as Zama in ancient times, and the name Tulum was given to it when it was already in ruins. The castle is its most important structure, and it is part of the Mayans' cosmological perspective, relating to the sun and Venus. An outstanding example of the magnificent Mayan culture that ruled Mexico and parts of Central America until the arrival of the Spaniards on the region.
The route's second archeological site. Founded between the VII and XI centuries and is one of the few settlements that retains its true pre-Hispanic name, which means "The powerful hand." The site is located in the municipality of Santa Elena at kilometer 16 of federal road 261 Uman-Hopelchen. Monuments of the Puuc architectural style, the most famous of the Mayan culture in the region, may be found in Kabah, as can indications of the influence of the Petén and Chenes architectural styles, suggesting that some of its builders came from Guatemala and Belize.
The three major complexes that comprise the urban hub are a cultural center of tremendous importance and one of the most emblematic Mayan cities, as well as the Sacbé or road that ran twenty kilometers linking Kabah and Uxmal.
The settlement of X' Lapak will be the next stop on your journey; its name means "walls without mortar," and it is a collection of structures and mounds, three of which are half-restored, giving the visitor an idea of the state of most Maya settlements since the time of John Lloyd Stephens and Frederick Catherwood.
The next important city along the road is SAYIL, which is close to Uxmal and was also listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996. In this area, there is also a Sacbé that runs from north to south of the city and ends at the Great Palace, Sayil's largest and most well-known structure. Several structures in the area communicate with one another, including the Mirador, the ball court, and several smaller palaces, one of which features eight stelae and seven altars typical of the Puuc region.
The journey also includes a stop to the Labná archeological site, which translates as "abandoned ancient house" in Mayan. It is estimated that up to 3,000 people lived in this little urban area at its peak period.
It is made up of several structures, the most prominent of which is "El Palacio," which has 67 rooms and is adorned with masks depicting the god Chaak on its facade. From “El Palacio”, you can see a well-preserved Sacbé that leads to "El Mirador," a structure with four rooms and a ridge on top that reaches little over 20 meters tall. Other notable structures in the city include the building with the columns, which is notable for its façade decoration, and the arch, which is part of a building that divides the city's squares and is adorned with stylized snakes and masks.
A cavernous structure whose Mayan name translates to "Flower of Stone," is another gem of the Puuc trail. It is located 110 kilometers southeast of Mérida and has been a valuable source of information regarding human settlements in the area during the Pleistocene period, cave paintings, Mayan artifacts, and animal bones that show weather changes in the area. The site has illuminated pathways where visitors can learn about natural and cultural history spanning 10,000 years.
Mérida’s cosmopolitan shopping options cater to all tastes and budgets, with everything from handcrafted goods with gorgeous designs offered in numerous local markets to high-end brands sold in the city’s luxury retail complexes. Another fantastic option is to visit the communities neighboring Mérida, where local artists sell their products inspired by ancient Mayan motifs directly to tourists in their markets.
Mérida is also a great place to go if you want to party, listen to live music or eat and drink well at night. Visiting some of Mérida’s downtown cantinas is a fantastic option. The city’s canteens have been completely rebuilt in recent years, presenting a new concept within the historic buildings that house them, complete with various styles of decoration, a wide selection of drinks, and scrumptious menus, all while keeping the city’s unique identity and friendly environment. The “El Dzalbay” canteen is one of the most highly recommended, with over eighty years of history, excellent service, and wonderful snacks.
Mérida boasts a wide variety of entertainment options, including theater, plays, concerts, and even pubs where you may have a drink and spend an enjoyable evening dancing to the beat of salsa, merengue, cumbia or rock. There’s a little bit of everything in Mérida.