Widely considered the cultural capital of the entire Yucatan Peninsula, Merida blends Mayan influence with colonial heritage. From its art to architecture, cuisine, markets, nightlife and broad central plazas, Merida exudes a cosmopolitan mentality influenced by deep history.
Things to do in Mérida
Stroll the bustling city plazas, including the Plaza Grande and the Plaza de la Independencia. You’ll find extravagant colonial-era churches built with relics from ancient temples of the Mayan civilisation. Don’t miss seeing Merida Cathedral and Iglesia de la Tercera Orden, made of pure-white limestone.
Occupying the former palace of an archbishop, Museo Fernando Garcia Ponce-Macay houses famous works by the Yucatan’s cherished painters, Fernando Castro Pacheco, Fernando García Ponce and Gabriel Ramírez Aznar. The Museo de Arte Popular de Yucatán showcases Mexican pop art as well as ceramics and local huipiles (colourfully embroidered tunics).
Other museums focus on the architectural structures themselves, such as the 16th-century Casa de Montejo, a landmark mansion reflecting colonial plateresque architecture and furnishings from neo-rococo and neo-renaissance periods. You can delve into Mayan culture at the Mayan World Museum of Merida, which houses over 1,000 artefacts.
Experience authentic Yucatan cuisine on Parque Santa Lucia, where you’ll find small eateries, such as Apoala, serving enmoloadas with mole and tlayudas with Oaxaca cheeses. For a cosmopolitan mix of international cuisine, spend an evening at Mercado 60, a culinary market and cocktail bar with live salsa music.
Getting around Mérida
Many attractions in Merida are within walking distance of the main plazas. Taxis, buses and group mini-buses offer transportation or you can rent a car at Merida International Airport, about eight kilometres from the city centre.