The city of Merida is located in the Yucatan Peninsula, just four hours west of Cancun and islands such as Cozumel. If you are planning to explore the Yucatan, it’s best to fly direct to Merida Airport (MID) versus Cancun Airport due to the proximity that Merida has to some of the most incredible parts of the Yucatan peninsula.
The high season in Merida and the entire Yucatan lasts from approximately December to March. If you are planning on visiting during the high season in Merida, we highly recommend booking your car rental at Merida Airport well in advance of your arrival as every year Merida just seems to be getting more and more popular and rental cars sell out fast.
During the dry season from the month of November until May, the weather of the city is a little cooler with relatively low humidity. The city is especially crowded from December to March, as these months offer the best climate throughout the year.
Home to the largest Mayan population in the country, Merida also consists of several archaeological sites and a Mayan Museum. Visiting these historic sites is as fun and exciting as exploring the food and culture of the city.
This travel guide will help you make the best of your three full days in this beautiful colonial city.
Table of Contents
- Day 1 Itinerary:
- Day 2 Itinerary:
- Day 3 Itinerary:
Day 1 Itinerary:
Walk to the Zocalo
Start off your tour by walking to the Zocalo to explore the local life and vibrant culture. Covered by colonial architecture, Merida’s Zocalo is truly unique and beautiful.
There are a number of historical buildings located within the bounds of Zocalo. It is also home to interesting archaeological sites.
The Zocalo is especially busy on the weekends as the management holds events including lively historical re-enactments and musical concerts. A Sunday food market is set up, where you can explore the most delicious Yucatan cuisine.
You can see the extravagant townhouse of the once wealthy Montejo family, which encompasses a small museum as well.
Be it breakfast, lunch or dinner, the Zocalo offers a wide range of food options for all foodies, and you won’t have to travel far for a meal as you’re exploring.
Cathedral of Merida
On one side of the Zocalo, you can take a look at one of oldest cathedrals in Latin America, the Cathedral of Merida. After the conquest, the Spanish built this cathedral on an ancient Mayan temple. It was completed in 1952.
Visit the Palacio de Gobierno
The richly furnished museum, as well as a functioning government office, Palacio de Gobierno showcases elegant murals, painted on its courtyard walls.
The museum also offers documents, depicting the important details of Yucatan history.
You can visit the museum between the hours of 9 a.m to 10 p.m.
Mercado Lucas de Galvez
At this point of your day, you’d probably be starving. Take a walk around this bustling market and find Torta stands or Taco stalls to revitalize your body.
Museo de la Ciudad de Mérida
Just outside the busy market, you can find the fascinating Museum of the City of Merida. You can find artifacts that date back to the colonial era.
If you still have some energy, you must visit the popular art museums of Merida including Museo Fernando Garcia Ponce and Museo de Arte Popular de Yucatán.
Day 2 Itinerary:
Famously known as the Yellow City, Izamal is a small, charming city that has yellow buildings only. The yellow shops and houses surround the main yellow square that lies in the center.
Once you take a stroll down the main square, you will find the remains of Mayan temples as the city was built on a Mayan temple.
Paseo de Montejo
After having your lunch in Izamal, ride back to the city and take a tour across the Paseo de Montejo. You can take a look at the unique colonial mansions that were once built by the wealthiest inhabitants of Merida.
Museum of the Mayan World
You will eventually find this museum on Paseo de Montejo, but it is better to ride to the museum as the distance is quite long. This is the city’s newest museum, where you can learn about the wider Mayan civilization and the history of Yucatan.
Exploring the museum can be a tiring experience and you will probably need food to energize yourself. Once you’re back in the city, head out to find the local Cantinas that offer delicious traditional Yucatan dishes such as Poc Chuc and Castacan.
Day 3 Itinerary:
A popular Mayan Archaeological site, Dzibilchaltun is known mostly for how the sun shines through the doors of the Temple of Seven Dolls.
Complete with a museum, statues scattered all over it and interesting ancient relics, this place offers a variety of services including restaurants and a visitor center as you walk through to explore it.
With white sandy beaches and warm waters, Progreso Beach is the best place to relax and get a stunning tan. Not only can you swim freely in the ocean, you have access to drinks and snacks on the beach itself.
Progreso has the world’s longest pier, a plethora of beach clubs, salt flats and flamingos. Exploring the beach will be completely worth it, and the surrounding facilities make it even better.