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13 Awesome Things to Do in Merida, Mexico

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When many people think about the Yucatan peninsula, they automatically think of Cancun. But did you know that just a few hours from Cancun lies another amazing city full of history, color, and great food? There are so many cool things to do in Merida Mexico, and tons of reasons to visit!

Merida has an airport, is located right near the beach, and is even more affordable than it's more famous sister, Cancun. It is the safest city in the entire country, and is well worth a visit! Here are 13 awesome things to do in Merida, Mexico.

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Things to Do in Merida #1: Check out Monumento a la Patria

This is the most iconic spot in Merida. El Monumento a la Patria is located inside of a roundabout, and is a truly remarkable monument that wraps around the entire circle. Take a walk over and admire the gorgeous architecture that the monument has to offer. Just make sure to be careful, as there are no crosswalks!

Monumento a la Patria, things to do in Merida

Things to Do in Merida #2: Eat at Netflix-famous 'La Lupita'

La Lupita is a restaurant that has essentially taken over Mercado de Santiago. Netflix has made this a must visit for anyone going to Merida, and with good reason! La Lupita is extremely affordable, but has the most traditional, fresh, and delicious Mexican food you could find.

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The weekends are packed! So make sure if you are there Friday-Sunday that you visit early. During the week it is easier to get a table. The fascinating part is that they really use every space to the max, making it possible to fit everyone in, but also complying with social distancing.

Taqueria La Lupita - Merida-2

Lupitas is a Netlix-famous restaurant in a market in Merida.

Things to Do in Merida #3: Take a Dip in the Cenotes de Hacienda Mucuyché

No trip to any place in Yucatan is complete without checking out at least one cenote. For us, our absolute favorite cenote near Merida was located at Hacienda Mucuyche, which is an hour away from the city.

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The hacienda (ancient residence) takes reservations for tours that last two hours. The guide will take you through the ruins and tell you about the history of the hacienda, and then will take you to a series of cenotes, connected with caves, and even has a waterfall at the end!

cenote Mucuyche, things to do in Merida

The ticket is 480 pesos, and tours go each hour on the hour from 9 am to 3pm. There is a restaurant on site next to a pool, showers, fitting rooms, and a shop full of local crafts and jewelry. To get here it is best to rent a car, and call in advance for a reservation.

Things to Do in Merida #4: Visit the Yellow Town of Izamal

Located just an hour outside the center of Merida is a truly unique town. Many cities in Mexico are colorful, but Izamal is almost completely yellow! Wander the streets of houses, shops, and churches completely painted in yellow, as well as the main attraction of Convento de San Antonio.

Izamal yellow city, Mexico

Izamal is colored from top to bottom in yellow.

To get here from Merida there is a small bus station on Calle 50 and the number is 521. For a reference you can look for the yellow arch, and it is just a few doorways down. The cost of the bus is 31 pesos (about $1.50) each way. Make sure to ask for times, as the last bus going back for us was at 4:30.

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Things to Do in Merida #5: Go Shopping at one of the Local Markets

Merida is full of markets! There are streets upon streets of kiosks that are full of local food, crafts, and shops for clothing. Some great ones to check out are Mercado Lucas de Galvez, Santa Ana, San Sebastian and Miguel Aleman.

On Saturdays make sure to check out the "slow food market" which features plenty of kiosks with organic goods, freshly baked breads, and local crafts. Get there early to beat the crowds because things sell out fast!

Things to Do in Merida #6: Have a Beach Day in Progreso

The great thing about Merida is that it is a big city, but is also located just a half hour from the beach! Progreso is a small town, and is a great place to head for a relaxing beach day. Go to the lighthouse, work on your tan, try some local seafood, and catch the sunset. There is also an Eladio's here, located right on the beach! 

Progreso, Merida

The beach of Progreso is just 30 minutes away from Merida.

Things to Do in Merida #7: Try some fresh Coconut Ice Cream

This may seem like a weird one to have on the list, but we can't stress enough how delicious the fresh coconut ice cream is here! Located right along Paseo Matenjo is a Sorbet shop called Dulceria y Sorbeteria Colon. Have a bowl of the 'sorbete de coco' to cool off from the heat for just 45 pesos! (about $2 USD)

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Things to Do in Merida #8: Wander the Colorful Streets

One of our favorite parts of this city is how colorful it is! Everywhere you turn the streets are filled with different colored buildings. Getting lost in the city and appreciating the array of colors it has to offer is magical. So grab your camera, and go out and explore the streets of Merida!

things to do in Merida


Things to Do in Merida #9: Go to the Cantinas

One of the most fun part of this city is all of the cantinas that they have! These old fashioned style bars offer "botanas" or small plates of snacks with each drink you order. They have lively atmospheres with music and colorful decor, and make for the perfect happy hour spots.

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La Negrita is one of the most popular with locals! Right now due to COVID the standards have changed a bit, but normally the place is packed. It also offers live Cuban music, and is full of people dancing, drinking, and having a great time. A couple other great spots to check out include Dzalbay, Balam, and El Cardenal.

Things to Do in Merida #10: Discover the Pink Lake

When people think of the pink lakes in Yucatan, they automatically think of Las Coloradas, and while these are just three hours away, did you know that there are also another set of lagoons close by that are also pink in color?

La Laguna Rosada is just an hour away from the city, and a half hour past Progreso. There are lagoons on the side of the highway that look pink/reddish in color depending on how the light hits them, and are free of charge to visit.

Pink Lake, things to do in Merida

There is a pink/reddish tinted lake near Merida.

Want to see water that is even more pink? There are salt ponds that are right next to the lagoon that are manmade, but are pink from the organisms that put inside to collect the salt, making it a truly unique spot. 

Note: When we went, the salt ponds were not open. We do not know if this is because of COVID or because of the time we went. It is possible that they will reopen these to the public.

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Things to Do in Merida #11: Sit in the Giant Kissing Chairs

In many of the main plazas in Merida you will find a very particular type of seating. "Las sillas confidentes" are seats that are attached, and facing one another, but side by side. These are said to be for couples that are meeting up but have very conservative families.

The chairs have become a symbol of the city, and can be found scattered all over the historic center, but in Parque de Santa Lucia, you can find a giant version, which makes for a fun place to take a photo with your loved one.

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Things to Do in Merida #12: Have a Drink (or two) at Eladios

Eladio's is a must for your list of things to do in Merida! This chain is only found in the surrounding area of Merida, and is famous for their generous portions of botanas.

With each drink, there is a small plate of food brought to the table. After a few drinks you will not even need to order a meal! Don't worry though, they also have a full menu if you want more food. 

There are a few locations inside the center of the city, as well as one in the beach town of Progreso.

Things to Do in Merida #13: Take a Day Trip to Valladolid or Campeche

Located just two hours from Merida are the two cities of Valladolid and Campeche. Both charming towns are a must see while in the area. Full of color, history, and nature, these make for a great weekend getaway from Merida. 

Valladolid Yucatan SYM (2)

Valladolid is located to the East and is inland. It is famous for its close proximity to the famous Chichen Itza, as well some really iconic cenotes. While Campeche is located two hours further down the coast, and is right along the water.


Want to learn more? Check below to learn about all of the awesome things to do in Valladolid!

Are you ready for the best things to do in Valladolid, Yucatan? Although it isn't as typically popular as the nearby beach cities, there are so many reasons to visit Valladolid!This Mexican town is considered a "Pueblo Mágico". This means that it has been preserved through time with its architecture and

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Merida is a wonderful city to visit, and should not be overlooked while visiting Yucatan! We recommend spending at least 3-5 days to fully enjoy the city and all it has to offer surrounding it.

Plan on visiting more great spots in Mexico? Check out some of our other Mexico guides we've created for awesome places to check out in this country!

Ready to start planning your trip? Sit back and relax, while we do the hard work. Now Scratch Your Mapa provides customized travel planing services to make you explore more and spend less. Want to learn more? Take a look at some of the travel planning packages that we have.

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