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!

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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.

Mérida Highlights

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It also features a collection of colonial engravings and historical documents, as well as Pre-Hispanic era items like as stelae, sculptures, and bas-reliefs, as well as gold, jade, and shell pieces, which allow visitors to learn about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
Unidad Revolución
C.P.97110. Mérida. Yuc.
(999) 341.04.35
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

It is a two-story eclectic classicist structure with portals and a beautiful quarry stone stairway. It is notable for its expansive central terrace.
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.

Plaza Principal

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.

Casa Montejo

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

The basilica layout (rectangular) is divided into three naves by twelve Doric columns finished in quarried limestone, and it boasted the first dome in the new world at the time, adorned with superb carved stone ornamentation. It is one of the most stunning examples of religious architecture from the colonial era, with Renaissance-Mannerist influences.



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.


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.

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.

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

  It is regarded as one of the region’s most beautiful open-air cenotes, as well as the deepest uncharted cenote to date. This cenote retains the beauty of its crystal-clear waters as well as the diversity of its flora and wildlife. The ancient Mayans protected the shore of the cenote with stone walls; it has a depth of one meter at its lowest end and more than 45 meters at the deepest part. To access this cenote you must pay for access to the archaeological site.

San Ignacio

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

Upon reaching the former San Antonio Mulix hacienda, take a 2.3 km dirt road to get to the site. It is an open-type cenote, with crystal clear turquoise water, with a depth that varies from 1 meter to more than 60 meters. It currently offers tourist services for diving, swimming, snorkeling as well as being able to practice cave diving.
It has a restaurant, rental of snorkeling equipment, bicycles and parking.

Ik Kil

Its name translates to “Place of Winds,” and it is only three kilometers from the historic site of Chichen Itza. Read More

This cenote is 48 meters deep, cylindrical in shape, and has been found to contain creatures dating back centuries as well as Mayan offerings. There are bungalows, a restaurant, and parking on the property.


It is located in the little village of Mucuyche, and its name means “Yellow Fruit of the Tree” in Mayan.  Read More

This location may be reached by driving the Mérida-Uxmal highway, then the highway to Muna until you reach the Abalá deviation, then follow the road to Mucuyche.
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

All guests are driven through the jungle on a historic Decauville system with animal traction that runs on the same rails used for the henequen plantation maintenance, and harvesting, providing an exciting experience Rustic and delightful, with opportunity to learn about the fauna and flora of the area. Each cenote has green areas for lounging and picnics.
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.

Best beaches

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.

Puerto Progreso

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Take federal route 176 to one of Mérida’s most popular beaches, where you may partake in water sports including kayaking, windsurfing, and paddle boarding. Along the promenade, you’ll find restaurants serving Yucatecan gourmet specialties, seafood and shellfish, cafés with live music, and shops selling regional handicrafts.


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This charming fishing village is located northwest of the city on federal highway 176, 40 kilometers from Puerto Progreso. Another of Mérida’s beaches worth visiting, with white sand and calm waves, it’s great for a relaxed day. There are a variety of businesses in town, including restaurants and craft shops.


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To get there, take federal route 25 northwest of Merida. It is an ideal spot for ecotourism or simply resting, with its white sand beach and numerous natural features. This beach is the gateway to the Del Palmar Reserve, which attracts thousands of migratory birds every year. It has a variety of restaurants, craft shops, and hotel options to suit all interests and budgets.


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Chelem is a lovely seaport, reach it by driving federal road 261 about 9 kilometers north of Mérida. Because of its proximity to Progreso, the community is highly popular during the summer because it is scenic, clean, and quiet. The area has hotels, restaurants, a local market, and very nice beaches. One of the attractions in the area is a boat tour of the estuary to see such a wide variety of migratory birds.


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 This beach is part of the Celestun biosphere reserve, which is located west of the state of Yucatan and 109 kilometers from Mérida. The Baldiosera spring is located to the east of this beach and is a magnificent natural formation where you can enjoy snorkeling and diving. Tambor, also in the area, is where the pink flamingos rest and feed. The site is home to a wide variety of flora and fauna, including ocelots, jaguars, monkeys, sea turtles of various varieties, and crocodiles. Another one of Celestun’s attractions is its towering lighthouse, which is the highest in the state. 


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This magnificent beach is located in the same-named village, just 8 kilometers east of progreso. This location with its white sand and clear blue ocean, is great for water sports like windsurfing, diving, paddle boarding, and kayaking. The town has everything you need for a day or several days, including accommodations, restaurants, and a vibrant nightlife. Not to mention that here is the site of the famed meteorite that ended the dinosaur era.

Archeological Sites


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.