Mérida is a city of contrasts. You will find elegant hotels, restaurants and malls in the northern part of the city. Downtown, there are hotels and restaurants to suit every budget. A large central market and numerous small shops are found all around the main plaza. Mérida has a rich cultural life which also reflects its diversity. Many free concerts, performances and other events are held daily.
The city was founded by the Spanish conquistadors in the 1540s on top of a centuries-old Maya city called T'ho. The palatial home of the family of conquistador leader Montejo can still be seen on the south side of the Zócalo or main square. Here and there bits of ancient Maya stonework can be seen reused in Spanish Colonial era buildings in the old part of town.
From the later 1800s to the 1920s, Mérida enjoyed prosperous boom times fueled by the henequen or sisal plant harvest, which made Yucatán the rope maker to the world. Progressive Mérida had electric trams and street lights before Mexico City. The wealthy constructed the grand Pasejo Montejo avenue north of the old town, inspired by the Champs-Élysées in Paris. With the development of artificial twines the sisal boom ended, and Mérida slowed to a more sleepy provincial capital until development picked back up in the late 20th century.
The city's ambiance is colonial and the climate is tropical. The daytime temperature varies; in January, it is about 24°C (75°F) and in June, about 35°C (95°F). To beat the heat, most people are busiest in the mornings. They have lunch and siesta, then go back to work for a few hours in the late afternoon. The cool breezes from the Gulf of Mexico drift into Mérida in the evenings and this is when many of the residents spend their time outdoors. You can see them visiting and talking as they stroll along the streets, sit in the plazas or dine in the many sidewalk restaurants.
From Mérida, it is easy to take day trips to a vast array of destinations: archaeological sites, ecological parks, typical villages, caves, beaches, colonial missions and more. Take your time and really explore the Maya sites, walk for miles along the Gulf of Mexico, attend a village festival, photograph the wildlife, crawl through a cave or swim in a cenote.
|Daily highs (°C)||30.8||31.5||34.0||35.6||36.3||35.3||35.0||34.9||34.2||32.7||31.5||30.6|
|Nightly lows (°C)||17.2||17.3||18.6||20.2||21.7||21.6||21.4||21.3||21.6||20.8||19.3||17.5|
- Tourist Information (Turismo Mérida), e-mail: email@example.com. The city maintains several tourist information offices, all of which can offer helpful information on accommodation, free maps, and bus connections. All offices also have free copies of Yucatan Today, a helpful weekly Spanish-English publication listing all events in the city and the surrounding region.
- City Hall Information Center (Módulo de Información Turística Palacio Municipal), Calle 62 between 61 and 63 (inside the Palacio del Gobierno left of the main entrance), ☎ +52 999 942 0000 x80119. Daily 08:00-20:00, Su 08:00-14:00.
- Paseo de Montejo Information Module (Módulo de Información Turística Paseo de Montejo), Ave Paseo de Montejo 56A x 33A, ☎ +52 999 920 4044, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Daily 08:00-20:00.
Manuel Crescencio Rejón International Airport (IATA: MID) has direct international flights to Havana, Miami, and Houston. Domestic connections include Mexico City (Aeroméxico, Interjet, VivaAerobus and Volaris), Monterrey (Aeroméxico, Volaris, VivaAerobus), Guadalajara (Aeroméxico and VivaAerobus), Veracruz and Villahermosa (Aeroméxico and MAYAir). Regional carrier MAYAir also has connections with Cancún and Cozumel.
The airport is located in the southeast of the city, and is best reached by by heading south on MEX 261 (direction Umán). A taxi stand with fixed rates is located just outside the baggage claim; pay the fare beforehand at a booth. ADO also have a stop in the island in front of the arrivals doors for a direct bus to Hotel Fiesta Americana and CAME (two separate routes). For a cheaper and frequent option, Bus 79, also known as Aviación, makes a round trip between the airport and Calle 70 in the city center, near the CAME bus station. The bus departs every thirty minutes until 21:00, and costs around $4 MXN.
Travelers can also get to Mérida by flying into Cancún and driving (or riding the bus) west on the carretera (MEX 180D) for three hours.
There are several bus stations in Mérida; most visitors will arrive at either the first- or second-class stations. If coming from Cancún (4 hours) or from several other cities you can choose to go to Mérida's CAME bus station (described below) or to the Terminal por Hotel Fiesta Americana, which is closer to el centro and a short taxi ride away.
- Mérida CAME Central de Autobuses, Calle 70 No 555 btw 69 and 71, ☎ +52 999 920 4444. Mérida's first class bus station is centrally located, and most regional and long-distance travel buses pass through this station. Longer distance buses travel to Veracruz, Palenque (night bus only), and Mexico City (with the least expensive ticket costing $1,592 MXN). If coming from Mexico City's TAPO station you will need to ask to go to the CAME station.
- Lines served include ADO, ADO GL, ADO Platino, and OCC lines. ADO Platino is the highest class of service with free instant coffee packs in the back with hot water along with your choice to choose a single seat by yourself on the left side of the bus, and TVs on the back of every seat allowing you to choose an array of movies and TV shows, some even in English. ADO GL is a step down without the extras but some more legroom that the regular ADO buses.
- Terminal de Autobuses Mérida, Calle 69 No 554 btw 68 and 70 (around the corner from the CAME station), ☎ +52 999 924 0830 x2909. Mérida's main second class bus station has service to/from most of the same destinations as the CAME station, except that buses stop more frequently at many of the small towns midway and anywhere along the road on request. Most destinations served from here are in Yucatán, Campeche and Quintana Roo states. There are no second class buses from Mexico City, so travelers pinching their centavos may opt to travel from Mexico City via multiple transfers in between Mexico City and Mérida.
Mérida street signs
Many street corners in the Centro Histórico have, in addition to the standard street signs, whimsical plaques illustrating such diverse subjects as fruits, animals, musical instruments, etc. These signs served as a navigation aid in an era when the majority of the city's residents were illiterate, and frequently reference businesses or buildings which were (and in some cases still are) located there. Most plaques now on display are replicas, but still provide an unusual glimpse into an earlier age.
The streets in most of the parts of interest to visitors are in a rough grid with numbers for street names. Even numbered streets run from north to south, with the numbers increasing as you go further west; odd numbered streets run from east to west, with the numbers increasing as you go further south. This makes it easy to tell how many blocks away from something you are (just remember to divide by two when counting blocks in the same direction). Addresses are commonly given as either intersections of two streets, or stated as on a street between two cross streets. For orientation in the old part of town, remember the Cathedral and Zócalo (main square) are at the corner of 60 and 61 ("Calle 60 x 61").
If staying in the older central part of town, many attractions, restaurants, etc. are within walking distance for those who don't much mind walking in the tropical climate.
Mérida is served by a sprawling network of privately-operated buses with service to the outlying suburbs. Most routes radiate outward from a 4-block area east of the Zócalo, on Calles 56 and 58 between Calles 59 and 63. Destinations of routes are painted on the windshields; if in doubt you can always ask the bus driver. For visitors the most useful routes will be those heading up Paseo de Montejo from the centro – these depart from Calle 56, and will have 'Paseo de Montejo' and/or 'Altabrisa' marked on their windshields.
Most bus stops are not marked, but many buses can be hailed from points along the route. To get off, simply say (or yell) 'baja!', and the driver will pull over at the next opportunity. A single ride costs $7 MXN (no transfers); pay the bus driver directly on entering. Buses generally operate between 05:00-21:30 during the week, with less frequency on Sundays and holidays.
The Municipio de Mérida maintains a helpful webpage with a complete list of public bus stops in the Centro. Travelers wanting a more comprehensive route map can purchase a Guía de Transporte Mapa de Mérida from one of the newsstands located at the northwest and the southeast corners of the Zócalo for $50 MXN.
Taxis are numerous and reasonably priced. Most taxis do not use a meter, and it's best to agree on a fare before getting in. Taxis marked 'taximetro' use a meter and tend to cost a bit more – make sure that the driver does not switch the meter to the night ('noche') rate if you are traveling during the day.
Mérida is surprisingly bicycle-friendly outside of the centro. Bicycles can be rented from a number of shops.
On Sunday mornings the city holds the weekly Bici Ruta (literally Bicycle Route), when from 08:00-12:00 the entire lengths of Paseo de Montejo and Calle 60 are closed to motor vehicles. This popular event is open not only to cyclists, but to rollerbladers, skateboarders, runners, and those who simply want to enjoy a pleasant stroll with no noisy traffic. For those who don't own their own bicycles, they can be rented from a temporary bicycle stand (open Sundays only) near the Monumento a la Patria on Paseo de Monteo, as well as from Bici Merida (also on Paseo de Montejo, tel. +52 999 287 3538, M-Sa 09:00-22:00, Su 08:00-15:00).
By horse-drawn carriage
An especially note-worthy type of transport in Mérida is the calesa, a traditional horse-drawn carriage used continuously since colonial times. Carriages can be picked up along Calle 61 by 58 and 60 (on the north side of the cathedral), and head up Calle 60 and return down Paseo de Montejo. A typical tour lasts about 45 minutes and includes narration, costing about $350 MXN.
By tour bus
- Turibus, Av Colón s/n x 62 (Centro), ☎ +52 999 277 0021, e-mail: email@example.com. With the collaboration of the city of Mérida, Turibus operates a hop-on, hop-off bus service. The route includes sights in the Centro Histórico and heads down the Paseo de Montejo, with buses departing approximately every 15 minutes; a complete schedule is available here. The total circuit requires 1 hour 45 minutes, and tickets can be reserved by email. Day pass: $120 MXN (adults), $100 MXN (seniors), $50 MXN (children 3-12).
By rental car
Most major car rental companies maintain counters at the airport, and also have offices on the ground floor of the Hotel Fiesta Americana and/or in the centro. All rentals include mandatory liability insurance, but this may not always be included in quotes and may lead to confusion if you are shopping around.
- Mexico Rent A Car, Calle 57A No 12, between 58 and 60 (Centro), ☎ +52 999 923 3637, +52 999 127 8556, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Daily 08:00-12:30, 18:00-20:00. A family-owned operation. The man and his super-friendly mother will tell you how to get out of town, and throw in some sightseeing tips. Around US$35/day.
There is much to see in Mérida, a city of a million inhabitants that is over 400 years old. Besides the Centro Histórico, where most tourist attractions are located, there are many charming neighborhoods, shopping malls and parks. Progreso and the Yucatán Gulf Coast are only thirty minutes away to the north.
Around the Plaza Grande
- Plaza Grande (Zócalo, Plaza de la Independencia). In pre-Hispanic times the center of the Mayan city of T'Hó, the central square is at the heart of the historic center of the city. It is surrounded by impressive buildings, most of them built from stones from the Mayan temples which originally stood here. The central park is a pleasant place in which to sit and people-watch, as it is a favorite meeting place of locals, tourists, street performers, and vendors.
- Catedral de San Idelfonso, ☎ Daily 06:00-12:00. , 16:00-19:00This is the first cathedral built in the Americas and the oldest in Mexico, built on the site of the Mayan temple Xbac-Luum-Chaan. The temple stones were incorporated into the new building, and a number of original Mayan carvings are still visible on the church walls. Construction began in 1561 and was completed in 1599, except for the bell tower, which was finished 200 years later in 1774. The building is rather austere in style, partly due to its Franciscan design, and partly due to looting during the Mexican revolution.
- The stations of the cross in the interior on the side naves are particularly noteworthy, as is the painting above a door depicting the baptism of the Mayan ruler of Maní. An additional item of interest on the left side is the so-called El Cristo de las Ampollas ('The Christ of the Blisters') located in a side chapel. In 1645 this wood carving was brought from the village of Ichmul, after it miraculously survived a fire which had destroyed the village church. The original was destroyed during the revolution, but the devout still come to pray at the replica. Free.
- Museo de Arte Contemporaneo Arteneo de Yucatán, Pasaje de la Revolución entre 58 y 60 (E side of the Zócalo, directly to the right of the cathedral), ☎ +52 999 928 3258, e-mail: email@example.com. Tu-Su 10:00-18:00. Housed in the former bishop's palace, this museum has a permanent collection of sculptures and paintings by the most well-known artists from the state of Yucatán. Rotating exhibits of work by local artists are also on display. Free.
- Casa de Montejo, Calle 63 No 506 (S side of the Zócalo), ☎ +52 999 923 0633 x25565, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Tu-Sa 10:00-19:00, Su 10:00-14:00. The 1549 palace of Montejo the Conquistador – his descendents lived here until as recently as 1978. Although the building was extensively remodeled in 1850, some of the original architectural features remain. The ground floor has been converted to commercial use (a Banamex bank with handy ATMs), but the restored interior of the building is open to visitors during banking hours. If you miss an opportunity to have a look inside, the elaborate facade on the outside is alone worth the visit. Elements of the facade include the Montejo family coat of arms, as well as figures of Spanish Conquistadors standing on the heads of conquered native Maya – a graphic illustration of the new order the Conquest imposed. Free.
- Palacio Municipal (Ayuntamiento, Old City Hall), Calle 62 x 61 y 63 (W side of the Zócalo), ☎ +52 999 942 0000. Mérida's red city hall, easily spotted by its distinctive clock tower, was built in 1735. From this building in 1821 the Republic of Yucatán declared independence from Spain.
- Palacio del Gobierno (Governor's Palace) (N side of the Zócalo). Daily 08:00-22:00. This lovely colonial palace was built in 1892 in the Neoclassical style, with a large couryard and impressive staircase. Upstairs there is a permanent exhibit of paintings by the painter Fernando Castro Pacheco illustrating key events in the history of Mexico and of the Yucatán peninsula. The main balcony upstairs has a good view of the Zócalo and the cathedral. Free.
Museums and galleries
- Museo de la Ciudad de Mérida, Calle 56 No 529a entre 65 y 65a (the old post office building, 3 blocks east and 1 south of the Zócalo), ☎ +52 999 923 6869, e-mail: email@example.com. Tu-F 09:00-18:00, Sa Su 09:00-14:00. The Museum of the City of Mérida provides more evidence of the city's long history and rich culture. Admission is free, with guides who speak Spanish, English, and French. The museum has a very interesting permanent exhibit, as well as changing art exhibits upstairs. An added bonus is that the museum is just across the street from Mérida's central market, Mercado Lucas de Galvéz. Free.
- Museo de Arte Popular de Yucatán (Casa Molina), Calle 50A No 487 x Calle 57 (Col La Mejorada, across from Parque de la Mejorada), ☎ +52 999 928 5263. Tu-Sa 10:00-17:00, Su 10:00-15:00. Housed in an early 20th-century mansion, this museum showcases folk art, textiles, and household objects from Yucatán and across Mexico, with a permanent collection and rotating special exhibits. Highlights includes masks from the states of Guerrero, Morelos, and Oaxaca. There is also a small gift shop. Free.
- Museo de la Canción Yucateca, Calle 57 No 464 x 48 (Col La Mejorada), ☎ +52 999 923 7224. Tu-F 09:00-17:00, Sa Su 09:00-15:00. This museum is dedicated to Yucatecan music and musicians.
- Galería Mérida, Calle 59 No 452A x 54 y 52, ☎ +52 999 924 0117, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Tu-F 10:00-12:00 14:30-17:30. The largest private art gallery in Mérida, this gallery showcases local Yucatecan artists with rotating exhibits.
- Nahualli Casa de los Artistas, Calle 60 No 405, entre 43 y 45, ☎ +52 999 928 6566, e-mail: email@example.com. M-Sa 10:00-14:00 16:00-20:00. Owned and operated by two internationally-exhibited Mexican artists, this gallery also offers frequent workshops in painting and sculpture.
- Casa Frederick Catherwood, Calle 59 No 572 entre 72 y 74, ☎ +52 999 154 5565, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. M-Sa 09:00-14:00, 17:00-21:00. In the 1840s English architect and artist Frederick Catherwood joined American explorer John Lloyd Stephens on an expedition across the Yucatán and Central America in search of Mayan ruins. In addition to illustrating Stephens' subsequently published travel journal, Catherwood published a collection of his remarkable lithographs in an edition of 300. Casa Catherwood does not have a direct historic connection with the artist, but does have the only complete collection of his lithographs on display in Mexico, located in a gallery on the upper floor. The building also houses a bed and breakfast and café. $50 MXN (lithograph collection).
Religious buildings and architecture
- Iglesia de Jesús (Iglesia de la Tercera Orden), Calle 60 (corner of Calle 59), ☎ +52 999 924 9712. This church was built in 1618 as part of a Jesuit college once covering an entire city block – only the church survives today. It was built with stone from an earlier Mayan temple; these carved stones can be seen on the west wall.
- Iglesia de Santa Lucía, Calle 60 x 55 (across the street from Parque de Santa Lucía). This was built in 1575 by the merchant D. Pedro Garcia. In 1871 the park of the same name was opened to the public, and the door arches embellished. The obelisk dedicated to General Sebastian Molas was added in 1887.
- Iglesia de San Cristóbal. This is the newest church in the centro, with construction begun in 1756 and completed in 1796. Of particular interest is the distinctive scalloped vaulting over the main entrance, as well as a wall-top defensive walkway surrounding the building, used for surveillance in case of revolt. An annual procession takes place here on 12 December in honor of the Virgin of Guadalupe.
- Ermita de Santa Isabel, Calle 66 x 79. Daily 07:00-13:00, 16:00-20:00. This church was built in the 18th century, and although it hasn’t been well maintained it is worth a visit for the baptismal font as well as the painting of St. Anthony, located in a small niche. The charming garden with small chapel is also worth seeing.
- Estación del Ferrocarriles (Escuela Superior de Artes de Yucatán), Calle 55 No 435 between 48 and 46. Since passenger rail services had stopped in 1997, this neo-Colonial building has been recently renovated and now houses an art institute. It is one of the best preserved buildings of its kind and is for this reason worth seeing. The ornate architectural details reflect Moorish influences, and the central tower is especially noteworthy.
- Arches of Mérida. In 1690 a number of arches were built to demarcate the boundaries of the Centro Histórico. All arches share a similar style and are unique in Mexico. Three remain standing today.
- Arco de San Juan (Arch of St. John), Calle 64 x 69. This once marked the beginning of the road from Mérida to Campeche. Of the remaining arches, this is the largest and best preserved.
- Arco del Puente (X-Cul Arco, Arch of the Bridge), Calle 63 x 50. Topped by a stone cross, this was named after an earlier bridge situated here, used in times of seasonal flooding. Noteworthy are the doorways on either side of the arch, each of a different height.
- Arco de Dragones (Arch of the Dragons), Calle 61 x 50. Named for the adjoining former barracks of the Spanish regiment, this has a niche on top with a statue of St. Anthony.
Paseo de Montejo
A beautiful, tree-lined street, lined with houses developed by the henequen-industry barons. It's a great place to walk in the evening. Have a dish of ice cream, look at the renovated mansions – an especially interesting villa is the Casa del Minarete (No 473). A romantic treat is renting one of the horse-drawn carriages, called calesas, that will drive you up and down the grand boulevard. You can catch a calesa at the Plaza Grande and take a trip down Paseo de Montejo and back.
- Museo Regional de Antropología (Palacio Cantón), Paseo Montejo No 485 (corner of Calle 43), ☎ +52 999 923 0557. Tu-Su 08:00-17:00; last admission at 16:40. The regional archaeology museum is housed in one of the grandest mansions from Mérida's boom time, showcasing ancient Maya artworks and artifacts, as well as temporary exhibits. Completed in 1914, the building originally served as the governor's mansion and is worth seeing in its own right. $48 MXN (adults), free (students/children/seniors/disabled/children under 13); free admission on Su for Mexican nationals and foreign residents.
- Quinta Montes Molina (Casa Museo), Paseo de Montejo No 469 entre 33 y 35, ☎ +52 999 925 5999, e-mail: email@example.com. English tours: M-F 09:00 11:00 15:00, Sa 09:00 11:00; Spanish tours M-F 10:00 12:00 14:00 16:00, Sa 10:00 12:00. Another of the Paseo's grandest old mansions is also a museum, still owned by the original family. 40-minute guided tours of the lavish interior can also be booked by appointment. $60 MXN (adults), $40 MXN (children).
- Monumento a la Patria (Monumento a la Bandera). This monument was designed by the Colombian artist Rómulo Rozo and inaugurated in 1956, and is dominated by the 14-meter high stone figure of an indigenous man holding a flame. The structure has 31 columns, representing the 28 states of the Republic of Mexico, the 2 territories and the Federal District.
- Museo de las Ferrocarilles en Yucatán (Railroad Museum), Calle 43 No 429, entre 48 y 46 (5 blocks E of Paseo de Montejo), ☎ +52 999 923 3073. Daily 10:00-14:00. Rail buffs will love this mostly outdoor museum near the train station northeast of the Centro. Old locomotives and lots of quirky old rolling stock.
- Gran Museo del Mundo Maya, Calle 60 Norte No 299 E (Unidad Revolución Cordemex), ☎ +52 999 341 0435. W-M 08:00-17:00. Opened in 2012 and located in a building clearly inspired by the Beijing National Stadium (aka 'Bird's Nest'), the museum has a large permanent collection of Mayan artifacts as well as a number of interactive exhibits. $150 MXN (foreign nationals), $100 MXN (Mexicans/residents), $25 MXN (children/students/seniors).
The ayuntamiento (city hall) sponsors many cultural events during the week, free of charge. Almost every night visitors and residents alike can enjoy outdoor concerts or dances in one of the many downtown parks and squares. Sunday afternoons at the Plaza Grande (at and around the main square) are a particular treat, and perhaps the most charming time in Mérida. The streets around the square are closed to vehicles, and the locals dress up to go for strolls to see and be seen. Brass bands and dance orchestras hold free concerts, and couples dance – if you're not shy, consider joining in, or ask a local to teach you the steps to a local dance like the jarana. Street vendors sell a variety of refreshments.
- Centro Cultural Olimpio, Calle 62 x 61 (directly next to the Palacio Municipal, on the W side of the Zócalo), ☎ +52 999 942 0000 x80121. A cultural center where dance performances are staged most evenings. Information on upcoming performances is available in the entrance. These performances are very popular – it is best to arrive early. Shortly before the performance people without tickets gather in a queue stretching sometimes to over 100m, in the hopes that paying audience members leave the performance early and thus vacate a seat.
- Teatro Peón Contreras, Calle 60 s/n (by Calle 57, 2 blocks N of the Zócalo), ☎ +52 999 928 3843. Th-Sa 09:00-18:00. The city's grand opera house. The current structure was designed by a visiting Italian architect and opened in 1908 during the height of the boom times, replacing a less opulent earlier theater of the same name; it is still the largest theater on the Yucatán peninsula. The theater is the center of Mérida's high culture and in 2011 was recently renovated with a new stage and updated air conditioning. If opera, symphonies, and ballets aren't to your taste, the building is still worth a look for the impressive architecture. There is also a sizable art gallery downstairs with changing exhibits.
- Cairo Cinema Café, Calle 20 No 98A x 15 y 17, ☎ +52 999 926 5718, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Su-Th 13:00-23:00, F Sa 13:00-24:00. Independent movie theater, coffee shop and DVD rental store. They show movies from Thursday-Sunday at 19:00 and 21:00. You can have a beer or a glass of wine and a baguette while you're enjoying the screening. $30 MXN per movie, includes popcorn.
- Mérida Fest, e-mail: email@example.com. Entire month of January. Sponsored by the city, this annual festival commemorates the founding of Spanish Mérida in January 1542. All arts are included, with many performers coming from across Mexico to participate. Most events are staged in open spaces and free to the public.
- Mérida y Yucatán Film Festival (FICMY), Calle 21 No. 117C por 24 y 24A (office), e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Late January. An annual weeklong festival devoted to Mexican as well as international cinema. Films are screened at several venues across Mérida.
- . Date varies, ending at the eve of Ash Wednesday; mid-February through early March. An annual event with a week of celebrations leading to up to Fat Tuesday. Mérida has one of the five most important carnavals in Mexico.
- Festival de Aves Toh (Toh Bird Festival), ☎ +52 999 988 4437 x113. Established in 2001, the festival sponsors a number of birdwatching and photography tours and workshops throughout the year, culminating in a marathon bird-count (Maratón Xoc ch'ich / Bird-a-thon) held in late November. The organization also maintains a list of qualified guides throughout the Yucatán peninsula.
Those who have time to spend several months in Mérida, will also encounter many opportunities to become a volunteer – helping women, children, the disabled, the elderly, the sick and the illiterate. Places to volunteer include PPPN for helping disabled children and AFAD for helping unwanted dogs and cats find health and new homes.
If you are interested in learning Spanish, learning about Latin America and learning more about yourself in the process, Mérida is an excellent place to do so.
- Cursos Mérida. If you are looking for courses in the city, you can check this webpage to find what to do. This webpage announces all types of courses (sports, cooking, art and more). If you have trouble reading it in Spanish, you can always send them an email for translation.
- Mercado Lucas de Galvez, Between Calle 65-67 at the intersection with Calle 54-56 (Centro). Daily until about 17:00 or 18:00. Large, crazy indoor market, with small stalls that sell everything from shoes to clothes to fruit and dead turkeys. The Lucas de Galvez market is on the north side with entrances on calle 65/65a with seafood, fruits, vegetables, candy and pets.
- Mercado San Benito, Calle 69 x 54. Adjoining Mercado Lucas de Galvez on the south size with entrances on Calle 54 is the newer San Benito market housing the meat hall, flowers, jewelry, and some spices. Truly a different experience for most travelers.
- Mercado Domingo (Sunday Market), Plaza Grande (Zócalo). Su 09:00-21:00. Held every Sunday in the main square, this weekly market is a good place to pick up traditional crafts and clothing, as well as local food items.
There are hundreds of stores in downtown Mérida. In and around the Plaza Grande, the large plaza in the Centro directly across from the cathedral, it is common for street salesmen to engage passersby in friendly small talk, by telling them some historical facts about the surroundings. The conversation will quickly turn to recommendations of shops selling hammocks, guayaberas, handcrafts, jewelry, etc. The items sold in stores that use street salesmen to find customers tend to be highly overpriced. While there are honest and hardworking street salesmen, as a general rule, the best shopping strategy is to browse stores without the assistance of any street salesmen and to never allow a street salesman to bring you to a store. Since street salesmen work on commission, tourists are usually charged higher prices if they are brought into a store by a street salesman or other street guide.
Mérida is a great place to pick up a good quality hammock. However, be aware that many people selling hammocks in and around Mérida will try to get the highest price they can from a tourist. A good hammock costs between 300 and 800 pesos, not dollars. The tighter the weave, the better the hammock. You should always insist on unfolding and viewing a hammock before buying it.
There are plenty of hand-crafted hand-crafted things to buy in the shops along Calle 56A.
- Artesanias Bazar García Rejón, Calle 65 (at the corner of Calle 60). Daily. A collection of shops with Yucatecan handicrafts.
- Alma Mexicana, Calle 54 No 476 x 55 y 57 (corner of Calle 55), ☎ +52 999 923 4711. M-Sa 09:30-18:30, Su 11:00-15:00. Mexican folk art and crafts. Lighting & furniture, home decor items, Day of the Dead art, retablos and ex-votos, saints and angels, beautiful jewelry, hand-woven bedspreads, designer leather handbags, cards and stationary, curios and unusual gifts.
- Casa de las Artesanías, Calle 63 No 503 entre 64 y 66 (by the Iglesia de las Monjas), ☎ +52 999 928 6676. M-Sa 09:00-20:00, Su 09:00-13:00. This is a government-operated shop selling a wide-range of handicrafts. If you are looking for high-quality, locally-made items, this is a good place to find them. Prices are fixed, no bargaining possible.
The Yucatán is also famous for its guayaberas, to the point that the shirts are also known as the camisa de Yucatán (the shirt of the Yucatán). Locally-made huipils, the traditional garment worn by Yucatecan women, and jipijapa hats (aka Panama hats) are also popular items for sale. As with hammocks, quality varies widely.
The street salesmen who offer to bring tourists to stores that sell traditional clothing almost always accompany or direct people to stores that offer the double whammy of low-quality guayaberas and huipils at high prices. (Most such salesmen work on commission, which explains their aggressiveness.)
- Guayaberas Presuel, Pasaje Picheta, Calle 61 x 60 y 62 (Centro, across the street from the Plaza Grande and next door to the governor's palace; store is located on the right side of Pasaje Picheta right inside the main doors), ☎ +52 999 928 2622, e-mail: email@example.com. Daily 09:00-21:00. Family-owned and one of the oldest and most respected outlets on the Yucatán — one that does not employ street salesmen. Known in Mérida for its own brand of high-quality guayaberas and huipils, it has three locations and counts members of the Mexican Supreme Court, telenovela actors, and other prominent people among its clientele. All outlets also sell Mexican handcrafts, jewelry, T-shirts, and other items. The owner of the store, Cristina, is the daughter of the company's founders and speaks fluent English. Prices are reasonable and clearly marked, from $30 MXN for small handcrafts to over $1,000 MXN for high-quality guayaberas (for men) and huipils (for women).
- Camisería Canul, Calle 62 No 484, ☎ +52 999 923 5661. M-Sa 08:30-21:00, Su 10:00-13:00. This shop sells high-quality custom-tailored guayaberas and huipiles.
Cuban cigars are also a common item being sold by street vendors, but beware: many if not most 'Cuban' cigars sold on the streets of Mérida are excellent fakes that are manufactured elsewhere in Mexico. True Cuban cigars can be found in Mérida, but they are sold mostly in non-tourist areas.
A range of street food is available, especially at Mercado Lucas De Galvéz, the central food market. This is also a good place to shop for local specialties, including queso mennonito, an unpasteurized cheese made in the nearby Mennonite community.
Near the Monumento a la Patria on Paseo de Montejo, a family sells tamales every evening (and has been for decades). The tamales are cheap, fresh and absolutely delicious.
On Sunday afternoons the streets around the the Plaza de la Independencia (Zócalo) are closed to vehicles, and the square comes alive with craft vendors as well as street food stands serving traditional Yucatecan dishes. Those vendors offering full meals have their own shaded outdoor seating available. Snacks can be enjoyed on the many benches in the plaza, which is also a great place for people-watching.
- Café Pop, 57 x 60 y 62, ☎ +52 999 928 6163, +52 999 923 2341, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. 07:00-24:00. Small and clean but with personality, a favorite of the students of the University of Yucatan just around the corner as well as knowing visitors for generations. The menu offers a curious combination of Yucatecan specialties along with old style diner & soda-fountain treats. Breakfast, lunch, snack, or dinner. In the same building as the larger and more upscale Portal del Peregrino. Inexpensive.
- Casa Savia Vegetariano, Calle 59 #451 x 52 x 54 (Centro), ☎ +52 999 928 6673. M-F 08:30-16:30. This restaurant specializes in vegetarian and vegan cuisine, with creative twists on traditional Yucatecan and Mexican dishes. All ingredients are organic and locally-sourced. Comidas $55-65 MXN.
- D'Al, Calle 54 No. 454 (on the corner of Calle 53), ☎ +52 999 923 7012. A wonderful local hangout for lunch, menu includes very inexpensive tasty fare, specialties are seafood & local cuisine. Try the shrimp cocktail, delicious. Great specials and soups.
- El Origen, Calle 64 No. 557 x 69 y 71 (Barrio San Juan), ☎ +52 999 291 0914. M-F 09:00-16:00. A small restaurant offering tasty, healthy comidas with vegetarian options, at a very economical price.
- Pizzeria La Fogatta, Calle 59 No. 504 x 60 y 62 (Centro), ☎ +52 999 923 2727. Tu-Su 18:00-23:00. One of the better pizza places in Mérida, this tiny place offers wood-fired thin-crust pizzas with creative Mexican twists on standard classics, with such toppings as jalapeños and avocados. They also serve sandwiches and salads.
- Restaurante El Trapiche, Calle 62 No 491 (between Calle 59 and 61), ☎ +52 999 928 1231. M-F 08:00-23:00, Sa 08:00-01:00. Good and cheap Mexican food, nice atmosphere, friendly staff. The daily comida is an especially good value.
- Wayan'e, Circuito Colonias por 4-A 57-C (Col Itzimna), ☎ +52 999 938 0676. A simple taqueria, extremely popular with locals.
- La Bierhaus, Calle 62 No 487 x 57 x 59, ☎ +52 999 928 0330. Daily 07:00-03:00. Serves traditional German food along with a wide assortment of imported German and European beers as well as local Mexican brews. Diners can eat indoors or outdoors in a Biergarten-style setting.
- Cafetería Impala, Paseo de Montejo 497, ☎ +52 999 923 8196. Daily 17:30-02:00. A local institution since 1958, this is a great spot for late night dinners and drinks. Outdoor seating only.
- La Chaya Maya, e-mail: email@example.com. This restaurant serves up traditional Yucatecan dishes, and is justifiably popular with both locals and tourists, with even several vegetarian options on the menu.
- La Chaya Maya Centro, Calle 62 x 57, ☎ +52 999 928 4780. Daily 07:00-23:00. The original location, and usually very busy, especially for Sunday comida.
- La Chaya Maya Casona, Calle 55 x 60 y 62 (one block away from the older branch), ☎ +52 999 928 4780. Daily 13:00-22:00. The newer, larger branch, located in a historic colonial mansion. The food is the same excellent quality, but the setting is more atmospheric with more tables available.
- Hennessy's Irish Pub, Paseo de Montejo at Calle 41, ☎ +52 999 923 8993, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Daily. A favorite with locals, expats AND tourists. The restaurant has good food at reasonable prices, a full bar and, of course, Guinness beer. The two impossibly handsome owners are almost always on site and greeting customers. There are various distinct rooms, smoking and non-smoking, outdoors and air-conditioned. Something for everyone, and no need to dress up or make reservations. Mains $95+ MXN.
- La Parrilla Mexican Grill, Calle 30 No 87x17, Prolongación Montejo, ☎ +52 999 944 3999. Daily 12:00-02:00. A great outdoor restaurant. Be sure to have the Sopa de Lima, which is a chicken soup flavored with lime, a Yucatecan specialty.
- Marlin Azul (Blue Marlin), Calle 62 (between Calle 57 and 59), ☎ +52 999 260 2860. M-Sa 11:00-20:00.
- Restaurante Amaro, Calle 59 No 507 x 62, ☎ +52 999 928 2451, e-mail: email@example.com. Daily 11:00-01:00. Andrés Quintana Roo, the attorney and politician who helped draft Mexico's declaration of independence, was born in this colonial house in 1787. Today the building functions as a restaurant, with pleasant ambience in the courtyard and nightly live music. On offer are local specialities, crepes, and pizza, as well as a good selection of vegetarian dishes. Mains around $100 MXN.
- Restaurante Los Almendros, Parque de la Mejorada, ☎ +52 999 928 5459. M-Sa 11:00-23:00, Su 11:00-21:00. This restaurant serves traditional Yucatecan dishes in an informal setting.
- Pancho's, Calle 59 No. 504 (between Calles 60 and 62, in the Centro Histórico), ☎ +52 999 923 0942, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Daily 18:00-02:00. A steakhouse owned by the same father-son partners as Trotter's.
- Portal del Peregrino, Calle 57 No 501 x 60 y 62, ☎ +52 999 928 6163, +52 999 923 2341, e-mail: email@example.com. European and Yucatecan fare in the historic centro. Mid-range.
- Rosas y Xocolate, Calle Paseo de Montejo 480 (by Calle 41), ☎ +52 999 924 2992, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Daily 07:30-12:00, 13:00-24:00. Serves fusion food with impeccable service. Mains $200-750 MXN.
- Slavia Bar-Restaurant, Calle 29 x 58 (by Paseo de Montejo), ☎ +52 999 926 0304. Daily 17:30-. Serves fusion food.
- Trotter's, Circuito Colonias (between Paseo Montejo and Calle 60 Norte), ☎ +52 999 927 2320, e-mail: email@example.com. M-Sa 13:00-03:00, Su 13:00-18:00. An upscale steakhouse with English-speaking staff, owned by the same father-son duo as Pancho's.
Bakeries and desserts
- Dulcería y Sorbetería Colón, Calle 61 No. 500 (facing the Zócalo), ☎ +52 999 928 1497. Daily 08:00-23:00. Established in 1907, this family-run establishment specializes in delicious sorbets and meringue-filled pastries, perfect on a hot afternoon. Sorbets are in a slew of exotic flavors, including perennial favorites coconut, mango, pineapple, and limón. Outdoor seating is in a prime spot for people-watching.
- Dulcería y Sorbetería Colón Sucursal Montejo, Calle 56A #474 x 41 y 39 (off of Paseo de Montejo), ☎ +52 999 927 6443. Daily 09:00-23:00. This second branch of the popular sorbetería offers the same array of flavors and has ample outdoor seating.
- Panificadora Montejo, Prolongacion Paseo de Montejo s/n (across from the Monumento a la Patria and McDonald's). M-Sa until 21:00. If you are walking along the Paseo de Montejo during the day, make sure to go to this traditional bakery. The baked goods are delicious.
Look for a drink called agua de chaya, often simply called 'chaya'. It's a cool, green, mildly sweet and very refreshing juice made by pressing a spinach-like vegetable.
- Aventura Hotel, Calle 61 No 580 between Calle 74 and 76, ☎ +52 999 923 4801, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. A clean, American-owned budget hotel. Each room has a private bathroom. Located a few blocks from Santiago Park.
- Casa Nico, Calle 63 No 517 btw 66A and 68, ☎ +52 999 286 8944. Check-in: 12:00, check-out: 12:00. Quiet, clean and cheap hostel with free wifi and good breakfast. Private rooms and 6 bed dorms. Enough common space to meet others. $100-180 MXN.
- Faby Hostel, Calle 44 No 501-B x 61 y 63, ☎ +52 999 928 8593, 999 142 2010, e-mail: email@example.com. Check-in: after 15:00, check-out: until 10:00. $13-20 USD (dorms).
- Hotel Aragon, Calle 57 No 474 entre 52 y 54 (Colonia Mejorada), ☎ +52 999 924 0242, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Placed in a neighbourhood house, just 200 meters from the Carmen Church and Park of Mejorada or "Ninos Heroes". 18 rooms with bath, air conditioning, telephone, cable TV and detailed decoration. $400+ MXN.
- Hotel del Peregrino, Calle 51 No 488 x 54 y 56, ☎ +52 999 924 3007, e-mail: email@example.com. Check-in: 13:00-24:00, check-out: 05:00-11:00. A colonial house that has been renovated into a comfortable and clean hotel. $600-890 MXN (doubles).
- Hostel Zócalo, Calle 63 No 508 x 60 y 62 (in front of the Zócalo), ☎ +52 999 930 9562, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. $120+ MXN (dorms), breakfast included.
- El Jardín Bed & Breakfast, Calle 70 No 509 x 61 y 63 (Centro), ☎ +52 999 900 8719, e-mail: email@example.com. Check-out: $206+ MXN (dorms), $430+ MXN (private rooms). A nice place to stay in Merida on a low budget.
- Nomadas Hostel, Calle 62 No 433 x Calle 51, ☎ +52 999 924 5223, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Dorm accommodation. Internet and simple breakfast included. Kitchen use. Nice large pool. $175+ MXN.
- Casa del Balam, Calle 60 No 488 X 57 (across from the Teatro Peón Contreras), ☎ +52 999 924 8844, toll-free: 01 800 838 0204, e-mail: email@example.com. An elegant colonial boutique hotel. $798+ MXN.
- Cascadas de Mérida, Calle 57 No 593C x 74A y 76, ☎ +52 999 923 8484, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. A unique bed and breakfast, consisting of four casitas built for maximum privacy around waterfalls and a filtered swimming pool. $85-92 USD.
- Hotel Boutique Mérida Santiago, Calle 74-A No 499, x 57 y 59-A, (Colonia Santiago), ☎ +52 999 285 4447. A small hotel near the center of Mérida. Four spacious suites with big bathrooms. The filtered swimming pool with LED lights is open 24 hours. Parking space is available. $89+ US.
- Hotel El Español, Calle 69 No 543c, ☎ +52 999 923 2854, 999 924 1036, e-mail: email@example.com. Accommodations come in double, triple, standard king, and standard twin types. All guestrooms are air-conditioned and fitted with a deck/balcony. Rooms also come with a refrigerator, IDD telephone, and cable television. Room service is available.
- Hotel Las Arecas, Calle 59 No 541 between Calle 66 and Calle 68, ☎ +52 999 928 3626, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. A small 5-room hotelito in the historical center. Modest, clean and run by a local Yucatecan. $35 USD, breakfast included.
- Hotel Los Aluxes, Calle 60 No 444 entre 49 y 51, ☎ +52 999 924 2199, toll-free: 01 800 712 0444. Check-in: 15:00, check-out: 12:00. A great, clean, and friendly place to stay that is only a few blocks to the main plaza. Off-street, secured parking is a big help if you have a rental car. Make sure to have the cafe con leche in the cafe. $630+ MXN.
- Hotel Luz en Yucatán, Calle 55 No 499 x 60 y 58 (3 blocks from the Zócalo), ☎ +52 999 924 0035, e-mail: email@example.com. Has fully furnished apartments, complete with kitchen and private bath, in a former nunnery. Rates vary from $54-150 USD, depending on facilities and how 'successful' you rate yourself to be.
- Hotel Marionetas, Calle 49 No 516 x 62 y 64, ☎ +52 999 928 3377, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. A small charming hotel with colonial style. Every room is different, with unique furnishings, mosaic floor tiles and views of the inner courtyard with pool. Wi-fi, phones and A/C in the rooms. $80-130 USD (doubles).
- Hotel Montejo Palace, Paseo de Montejo 483C x 39 y 41, ☎ +52 999 924 7644, 999 924 7290, e-mail: email@example.com. $549+ MXN.
- Hotel Piedra de Agua, Calle 60 No 498 x 59 y 61, ☎ +52 999 924 2300, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Rooms fitted with a private toilet and bath with shower, internet and DVD player. $850+ MXN.
- Hotel Hacienda, Calle 62 No 439 x 51 y 63, ☎ +52 999 924 4363, fax: +52 999 924 4477, e-mail: email@example.com. $129-179 USD (doubles).
- Hyatt Regency Mérida, Av Colon esq Calle 60 (100m from Paseo Montejo), ☎ +52 999 942 1234, fax: +52 999 925 7002, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. 289 rooms and suites. The hotel is five minutes from the city's convention centre. $84+ USD.
- Rosas y Xocolate, Calle Paseo de Montejo 480 (by Calle 41), ☎ +52 999 924 2992, e-mail: email@example.com. 17 rooms and suites. The hotel is five minutes from the Hotel Zone (Hyatt and Fiesta Americana). $245+ USD.
- Fiesta Americana (Hotel Fiesta), Paseo Montejo No.451 (Intersection of avenues Colon and Paseo Montejo, north of downtown.), ☎ +52 999 942-1111.
Free wi-fi is available in all plazas, including the Zócalo (Plaza Mayor). Additionally, many restaurants and cafés now offer free wi-fi for their patrons.
Mérida is a relatively safe city; however visitors should beware of pickpockets and keep their bags secure. If in spite of these precautions you fall victim to theft your best course of action will be to contact the Policía Turística (Tourist Police), tel. +52 999 942 0060. Tourist police officers wear blue and white uniforms, and many speak English. They can be easily found in the center around the Plaza Grande, and along the Paseo Montejo.
The tourist police also maintain two assistance booths in the centro: one in Hidalgo Park (corner of Calle 60 and 59), and one in Santa Lucia Park (corner of Calle 60 and 55). Both stands are open daily 08:00-20:00.
Mérida has one of the best hospital networks in Mexico, and receives patients not only from Mexico but from neighboring Guatemala and Belize as well as from the United States. Cooperation with the medical establishment in cities like Houston has helped to develop a comprehensive network for medical care, with many private clinics meeting and even exceeding standards in Europe and the US.
Public hospitals can provide urgent care, but facilities are basic and staff are unlikely to speak English. For visitors who are not confident with their Spanish, private hospitals and clinics offer a good alternative. Many doctors can speak some English, but nursing staff and receptionists will likely not.
- Clínica de Mérida, Av Itzáes No 242 (Colonia García Ginerés), ☎ +52 999 942 1800, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. This all-inclusive hospital is the closest to the center, and has experience in dealing with non-Spanish speakers. They operate their own ambulance service.
- Star Médica, Calle 26 No 199 (Colonia Altabrisa, near the Altabrisa mall), ☎ +52 999 930 2880, +52 999 930 2880 x5 (emergencies). Part of a chain of hospitals throughout Mexico, and probably the most modern hospital in Mérida.
- Mérida English Library, Calle 53 #524 x 66 y 68, ☎ +52 999 924 8401, e-mail: email@example.com. M 09:00-13:00 and 18:30-21:30, Tu-F 09:00-13:00, Sa 10:00-13:00. Although only members can check out books, the library can be helpful for visitors with listings of short- and long-term apartments for rent. The library hosts tours of private historic homes, art studios, and the like, all of which are open to nonmembers for a fee. Free weekly lectures about local and regional topics are also open to the public, and there are public computers with internet access as well as a selection of books for sale.
- Greece, Anillo Periferico 12512 (Pacatbun Oriente), ☎ +52 999 930 1107, fax: +52 999 982 2824, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
- United States, Calle 60 No. 338-K x 29 y 31 (Col Alcala Martin), ☎ +52 999 942 5700, toll-free: +52 999 942 5759, e-mail: email@example.com.
Several important archaeological sites are close to Mérida. Many moderate sized sites, such as Dzibilchaltun and Mayapán, are an easy day trip. The largest, Chichen Itza, is somewhat further and much more extensive – while a day trip visit from Mérida can be (and often is) done, if you want to see the whole site without being rushed, Chichen is better visited in two days with an overnight stay. Fans of ancient Maya architecture can also find staying overnight at Uxmal worthwhile, since it has a night-time light & sound show, and the following day one can visit the nearby smaller ruined cities of Kabah, Sayil and Labna.
- Chichen Itza is a large pre-Columbian archaeological site built by the Maya civilization, located in the northern center of the Yucatán Peninsula, present-day Mexico. The main edifice, the Castillo or Pyramid of Kukulcan, was voted one of the new Seven Wonders of the World in 2007.
- Cuzamá is one of the interesting sites on the Ruta de los Cenotes itinerary, with prominent cenotes (sinkholes leading to significant caves). Buses to Cuzamá depart from Terminal Noreste (Calle 67 btw 50 and 52). Buses from this station also head to Mayapán, Izamal, and Rio Lagartos.
- Dzibilchaltún (15km N of Mérida), ☎ +52 999 922 0193, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Daily 08:00-17:00 (site), Tu-Su 09:00-16:00 (museum). The site has been continuously occupied for thousands of years. Its most famous structure is the Temple Of The Seven Dolls (El Templo de las Siete Muñecas), so named because of seven small effigies found at the site when the temple was discovered under the ruins of a later temple pyramid by archaeologists in the 1950s. On the spring equinox the sun rises so that it shines directly through one window of the temple and out the other. The temple is connected to the rest of the site by a long sacbé. The other major feature of Dzibilchaltún is its cenote, which is used as a swimming hole by local residents year round; it is the first stop on the Ruta de los Cenotes. Also on the site are the ruins of a 16th-century Spanish church, as well as a museum displaying Mayan artifacts from the site and the region. $68 MXN (adults), $39 MXN (Mexican adults, non-Mexican children under 12).
- Mayapán (about 40km SE of Mérida and 100km W of Chichen Itza), ☎ +52 999 944 0033, e-mail: email@example.com. Daily 08:00-17:00. A compact, well-preserved pre-Columbian site, Mayapán was the political capital of the Maya in the Yucatán Peninsula from about the late 1220s until 1440s. Unlike at other Mayan sites, climbing of pyramids is permitted, and worth the effort. Hourly buses to Mayapán can be picked up at Terminal Noreste (listed above). Tell the driver you'd like to go to the 'ruinas', and he will drop you off at the beginning of the dirt road; from here it's a 5-minute walk to the entrance. There are toilet facilities but no amenities, so bring your own water. $39 MXN.
- Uxmal is a large pre-Columbian ruined city of the Maya civilization in the state of Yucatán, Mexico. It is 78 km south of Mérida, Yucatán, or 110 km from that city on Highway 261 towards Campeche, Campeche). ADO (Autobuses de Oriente) offers buses to Uxmal that leave at 06:00, 9:05, and 10:40, and come back at 15:20 and 17:00 (also one around 12:00). Buses depart from Terminal de Autobuses Mérida (the main 2nd class bus station described under 'Get in'), $55 MXN one-way.
Other attractions near Mérida
- Progreso is the port city directly north of Mérida. The beaches aren't quite as nice as the famous ones on the peninsula's east coast in Quintana Roo, but have the advantage of being only 40km (30 miles) north of Mérida. Progresso also has restaurants specializing in fresh local seafood. If you don't want to spend your whole day at the beach, you can combine a visit to the ruins of Dzibilchaltun in your day trip, since it's just off the highway between Mérida and Progreso. Buses to Progreso depart from the Terminal Auto-Progreso (Calle 62 No 524 between 65 and 67) daily every 10 minutes from 05:15-22:15, with a journey lasting 55 minutes.
- Celestún Wildlife Refuge. The coastal town of Celestún is 90km west of Mérida. Almost 90% of the world's wild pink flamingos spend the winter in Yucatán, and the largest group of these are in the mangrove marshes around Celestún. Take a boat tour in the park for to see great flocks of pink in the trees and flying in the air! The town of Celestún has a couple of restaurants serving fresh seafood.
- Hacienda Sotuta de Peón, Municipio de Tecoh (30 min S of Mérida), ☎ +52 999 941 6441, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Daily tours at 10:00, 13:00. A former sisal plantation which has been restored and opened up to the public. Sisal, the rope made from the fibers of the henequen plant, put Mérida on the map in the 1900s and made millionaires out of many landowners of that time. The rope came to be known by the name of the port town, Sisal, where it was shipped from to places around the world. Henequen was (and still is) planted throughout the Yucatán Peninsula. The industry crumbled after about 30 years for various reasons, leaving many haciendas in ruin. Today many of those haciendas have been restored, and Sotuta de Peón is an example of one which can be visited without spending the night. Tour only $430/215 MXN (adults/children), Combo (transport, tour and lunch) $870/460 MXN (adults/children).
- Hacienda Yaxcopoil, Carretera Federal 261 Km 186, ☎ +52 1 999 900 1193, e-mail: email@example.com. M-Sa 08:00-18:00, Su 09:00-17:00; by appt. Another good example of a hacienda kept in a state of arrested decay as a museum. $75 MXN (adults), free (children).
- Izamal is a small city about 70km east of Mérida. In ancient Maya times and the Spanish colonial era it was one of the largest cities in Yucatán, leaving impressive historic architecture. Buses to Izamal can be picked up at Terminal Noreste (listed above).
- Oxkintok and the Calcehtok Caves are only 43 miles away. The oldest and most well known building of Oxkintok is the Tzat Tun Tzat, Mayan for labyrinth or place in which one may be lost. Built in three levels on top of each other, its interior forms a maze of long, narrow rooms, connected by small gates and narrow stairs. The Calcehtok served as shelter for the Mayan people during the Caste War. You must have a guide to enter the cave. Rates generally run about $200 pesos an hour. This large complex of over 30 connected caves offers 4 different tours of varying lengths. Walking and climbing through the cave can be rough, so be sure you are wearing good shoes and are willing to work a bit to see the stalactites, stalagmites, natural formations, and Mayan artifacts.
|Routes through Mérida|
|Campeche ←||S E||→ Valladolid → Cancun|
|Progreso ←||N S||→ Uxmal → Dzibilchaltún|
|Celestún ← Hunucma ←||W E||→ END|