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Ultimate Guide to Fun Things to Do in Merida Mexico

There are so many fun things to do in Merida Mexico, you may never want to leave. If it’s your first time visiting, you may be overwhelmed by deciding what to do in Merida—there’s a reason why so many digital nomads live there! In this guide to Merida things to do, I’m sharing the best things to do in Merida Mexico, and recommendations for where to stay in Merida. Are you wondering, “What’s the best time to visit Merida Mexico?” We’ll cover that, too!

P.S. If you are thinking of moving to Merida with children, read this book my friend Cassie wrote!

Quick Tip: I highly recommend booking all of your Mexico transportation with GottoGo. You can search for buses, shuttles, ferries, and Flights on their website. What I love most about them is their customer service. I know these guys personally from living in Guatemala, and they look after their customers.

If anything happens and you get delayed and miss your bus, you can just call them, and they are always there to help. If you book through them, you will pay a little more than booking in person at the bus station. But it’s worth it for the ease and security. Click here to search for transportation in Mexico.

My Weekend in Merida

As a travel blogger, I probably read four times as many blog posts as I write, and I love reading about travel as much as I love writing about it. When I visit a new place, I’m ordinarily solo—you will find me reading every piece of tour literature, studying the city map, and combing TripAdvisor and blogs for advice before I can relax. Then, I’ll either do a walking tour or get lost alone.

I threw all that out of the window when arriving in Merida for the weekend. It was love at first sight, and I instantly knew Merida wasn’t the place for maps and plans—it was for getting lost and wandering the streets, waiting for the magic to find me. The difference between visiting Merida during the weekend rather than the week is there’s much more going on in the evenings, with free outdoor performances and street food. Remember, Sundays can be slow, as many places close and the city tours don’t run.

Did You Get Travel Insurance Yet?

The Insurance companies I recommend are Hey Mondo and Safety Wing

Hey Mondo is great if you are looking for a great value flexible policy. They offer single-trip cover, annual multi-trip cover, and long-term travel cover. Safety Wing is great value, with monthly coverage starting at $45.08. It’s super easy to use, and it just renews each month. I currently use them as they offer me free cover for my son as part of my policy.

Read my full travel insurance post here, where I go into detail about all companies. 

Best Things to Do in Merida Mexico

My first and best advice is don’t plan anything!

Yes, this is a guide to Merida Mexico things to do, but I suggest keeping your trip spontaneous and unplanned. Merida is a cultural hub—there are many performances on the streets, city plazas, and theaters. The weekend is the best time to go to Merida Mexico for endless activity and entertainment options. If you fill your time with plans for what to do in Merida Yucatan, you may miss these unique opportunities to witness the local Mexicana and Mayan culture.

Rather than planning your Merida trip day-by-day, pick a few options for what to do in Merida that you can choose each day depending on your mood.

Free Walking Tour

Merida has two free walking tours: one at 9:30 a.m. and another at 6 p.m. Both meet at the tourist office on the central plaza. I didn’t do this as it only runs Monday through Saturday, and I was there on a Sunday, but you can also walk around solo (if you can handle the heat). I also suggest considering a Merida market tour, which is on my “Merida Mexico Things to Do” list for when I return.

Adventures in Mexico | How to spend a weekend in Merida

Quick Tip: Book accommodation, tours, and transport ahead of time online to save money and stress. 
Best Merida ToursClick here to check out the top Merida tours
Best Merida Accommodation: Click here to check out the best accommodation in Merida
Best Merida Transport: Click here to book a bus, ferry, or train in Merida

Bus Tour

I arrived at the tourist office at 9:30 a.m. as I had read on a blog that the bus tour was free at this time—however, it wasn’t, so I had to pay $120 pesos and walk to a different place for the 10 a.m. bus. There are two bus tours you can take. The first is a big, modern bus that leaves from the central plaza and is only offered in Spanish. If you want the tour in English, walk to Santa Lucia Park at 10 a.m. for the bilingual English and Spanish tour. This tour is on a rickety old wooden bus, but it’s the same price and route.

Adventures in Mexico | How to spend a weekend in Merida

The tour wasn’t great, but Merida was hot, and I didn’t want to walk with my backpack. I enjoyed seeing so much of Merida, but I wouldn’t have liked to walk that distance! Plus, I got some fantastic shots you can only achieve from the Merida tour bus perspective. A bus tour is considered one of the best Merida Mexico things to do, but don’t worry about missing it. If you prefer to sit comfortably, opt for the red bus and listen to some music while riding around.

City Plazas

I mainly toured Plaza Grande (the central plaza in town), Parque de Santa Lucia (a smaller park with excellent restaurants and a famous kissing chair), and a southern area of Monumento A Los Montejo (generally closed to cars on weekends). These central city plazas had many weekend activities and performances. If you walk between the three, you will find something exciting and unexpected.


Museums are can’t-miss things to do in Merida Yucatan, and there are many to visit. History buffs will love learning about the region’s past, and museums are perfect when figuring out what to do in Merida Mexico when it rains. Here are some top museum options in Merida:

MACAY – Contemporary Art Museum
Museum of the City
Museo de Arte Popular de Yucatan – Casa Molina
Gran Museo del Mundo Maya
Museo National de Antropologia – Palacio Cantón

Theater Performances

There are free events every day in Merida—for something special, take a trip to the theater and dress up a bit! You can check out the theater’s free and paid performance schedule in Merida here.

Adventures in Mexico | How to spend a weekend in Merida

Public Parks

Spend a relaxing afternoon at Parque de Santa Lucía, enjoying live music, street performances, and outdoor dining in a picturesque setting. There are also many other public parks throughout Merida to explore on a sunny day.


Are you trying to decide what to do in Merida Mexico after dark? You’ll be excited to know the city has a fantastic nightlife scene. Merida has many bars, clubs, and music venues where you can dance the night away.

Cultural Classes

One of the best ways to experience Merida is by taking cultural classes to learn a new skill and gain a deeper understanding of the local history. Whether you’re interested in cooking, salsa dancing, or speaking Spanish, plenty of fun and educational classes are available in Merida.

Adventures in Mexico | How to spend a weekend in Merida

Best Day Trips From Merida

Merida is a great place to stay for a week or more to explore this area of Yucatan—here are my top day trip recommendations from Merida.

Quick Tip: View my full Colombia packing guide here including a downloadable checklist. And check out my Colombia Essentials shopping list here.

Chichen Itza

Chichen Itza had to be the top choice for a Merida day trip—you must be crazy to miss one of the Seven New Wonders of the World! I don’t recommend going on a tour. Instead, take the first bus from either terminal.

You want to arrive before the Cancun hordes, ideally before 10 a.m. It is a 2-hour journey from Merida to Chichen Itza, and your best options are the bus, taxi, self-driving in a rental car, or taking a tour. Solo travelers should book a guided tour of Chichen Itza. When you have paid all the transport, parking fees, and more, there isn’t much price difference for the tour, plus you will get a guide. If there is more than one in your party, I suggest self-driving.

Adventures in Mexico | The Complete Guide to Chichen Itza in Mexico | How To Spend A Weekend In Merida

QUICK TIP: Book your tours, rental cars, and transfers through my local contacts

I’ve been working with Living Dreams Mexico for years and they are who I send all my family and friends to when they visit the Riviera Maya. I really can recommend them enough for private tours and experiences. They have solid 5* reviews on Trip Advisor and Google from almost 4000 reviewers! You can view all their tours here.

If you’re looking for private airport transfers and rental cars then Vanessa and Oliver from Turismo Channel are personal friends of mine and I can 100% recommend them to make an inquiry click here and complete the form. Someone will be in touch within 24 hours.

Uxmal and Kabah

The Uxml and Kabah ruins are second only to Chichen Itza, making them some of the best things to do in Merida Yucatan. Both are UNESCO sites and 100% worth a visit. If you are self-driving, finding your way is pretty straightforward—otherwise, take a tour. While you can visit both using public transport, it can take a long time and be tricky if you don’t speak Spanish well.


If you love nature and want to see flamingos in the wild, you MUST take this tour!


For a Mayan site that isn’t crowded, visit Mayapan. Known as the last significant Mayan capital of the Yucatan Peninsula, Mayapan is a great day trip from Merida.


Budget travelers will love Dzibilchaltun, as you can easily take a day trip here by colectivo. In addition to the ruins, there’s a nearby swimming hole that’s one of the most beautiful cenotes in Mexico. Your hostel or hotel can provide updated information, but I was told to go to Calle 62, between 65 and 67. There, you can take a colectivo to Ruinas Dzibichaltum. You will be dropped off about 1k from the ruins, so pack good walking shoes and sunblock! The Dzibilchaltun entrance fee is $152 pesos and the colectivo costs $11 pesos.

There are many amazing cenotes near Merida that you should check out if possible.

Progreso Beach

Did someone say beach? Progreso is the closest good beach to Merida. Lower your expectations if you have been hanging out in the Riviera Maya on the Caribbean side of Yucatan. It’s still a lovely beach worth visiting.

My friends at Roaming Around the World created a kick-ass guide to ALL these day trips and more.

Where to Eat in Merida

I’m sharing several restaurants you should check out in Merida, but I wasn’t wowed by any of them. I ate some fantastic empanadas, but the rest of the good food I ate was from street vendors. I recommend skipping the restaurants and eating on the street. Look for places with big queues of locals. Many spots have plastic tables and chairs to sit while you eat. Not only will you get an authentic taste of Merida, but you will also save a lot of money.

An average meal in Merida costs between $70 and $200 pesos, depending on where you go. If you stick to street food in Merida, you are looking at $50, including a drink. I found plenty of veggie and vegan restaurants in Merida, and there are many options from street vendors.

Adventures in Mexico | How to spend a weekend in Merida

Espacios de Mayas Y Algo Mas

This Merida restaurant serves amazing empanadas. The staff was friendly and helpful, and the prices were reasonable. There are plenty of veggie options and delicious fresh juices.

Mercado 60

Mercado 60 is on many people’s lists of must-visit Merida restaurants. While it was lovely, and I enjoyed my meal there, it was expensive, and the quality wasn’t great. Expect a beautiful venue, live music, and street food that will cost you three times as much as it would on the street—although the pizzas looked AMAZING!

Adventures in Mexico | How to spend a weekend in Merida

100% Natural

This is an excellent option if you are into healthy food or avoid eating animal products. I ordered a veggie burger and wasn’t a fan, but my friend got the pasta, which was delicious. I had a severe case of food envy!

How to Get Around Merida

You can walk or bike anywhere in Merida. The ADO bus station is south of the cultural center, where most hostels are located. While the walk is only 20 minutes, you can grab a taxi when the weather is scorching.

Remember, taxi drivers love adding $5-10 pesos to tourists’ fares, so always fix the price before getting in. When the driver says the price, suck your breath in and say, “¡Oh, es caro!” (oh, that’s expensive), and offer them $5 pesos less.

For the rest of my time in Merida, I walked everywhere. If you want to tour the top things to do in Merida Mexico, there are tourist buses that allow you to see the area without spending hours walking around in the heat.

If you want to explore the surrounding area, your best option as a solo traveler is the bus or colectivo. Since it is the capital city, many buses take you around town. They depart from the central bus station—while you can find the information online, the ADO website has a mind of its own, so I prefer booking in person the day before.

Top Tip: Book your ADO bus as far in advance as possible for the best prices.

I booked my Merida bus the night before and paid $500 pesos. To return, I booked my seat three days beforehand, costing only $300 pesos. That’s a $10 USD difference—as I like to think of it, an extra night in a hostel.

Another option is renting a car for the week to explore Merida and the surrounding areas freely. I 100% recommend this option if you travel as a couple or a group since driving in Mexico is straightforward. Ensure the rental companies aren’t adding extra charges, and call your insurance to confirm whether they offer coverage in Mexico.

Where to Stay in Merida

Adventures in Mexico | How to spend a weekend in Merida

Low Budget

Nomadas Hostel

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If you are wondering where to stay in Merida on a budget, Nomadas Hostel is the best choice. It has a pool with hammocks, a free DIY breakfast, drinking water, and a program of free activities, including a cooking class, yoga, salsa, and even Spanish lessons. This place is the gold standard for excellent hostels!

You must make your own bed, and if you get a top bunk, it’s pretty narrow (the bottom bunks are like double beds), but the price is incredible. Nomadas is a 20-minute walk from the bus terminals but only five minutes from the central plaza. They can also provide updated information on things to do in Merida—check things out alone or utilize their help to book a guided tour.

Trust me: this is the only hostel you want to stay at!


Hotel Medio Mundo

Hotel Medio Mundo has excellent online reviews, and the property looks beautiful. This Merida accommodation is conveniently located in a good area of town—expect to pay up to $266 a night.

Hotel Hacienda Merida VIP

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Stay at Hotel Hacienda Merida VIP for a picture-perfect Instagram spot that’s also excellent for relaxing in luxury. While this hotel doesn’t break the bank, the pool is to die for and is in a great location.


The Diplomat Boutique Hotel

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If money is no object, The Diplomat Boutique Hotel is undoubtedly the top choice for where to stay in Merida. They go above and beyond, providing everything you expect from a top-end boutique hotel. They have almost perfect reviews online for a good reason.

Casa Lecanda Boutique Hotel

Casa Lecanda Boutique Hotel is an upscale, adults-only luxury hotel. The online pictures of this hotel don’t do it justice.

How to Get to Merida

The best thing about Merida is it’s incredibly accessible throughout Mexico since it’s a capital city. You can get a direct bus from Bacalar, Tulum, Playa Del Carmen, and Cancun, all stopping in Valladolid. If traveling from Playa, you will likely stop in Tulum or Cancun.

If you want to travel on an ADO bus, I recommend booking your tickets in person at least three days beforehand. I paid $500 pesos by booking the day before my trip to Merida. My return, which I booked two days in advance, only cost $300 pesos! You can also get some good deals booking with Mayab at the ADO bus station. I honestly wouldn’t bother booking online, as the website and apps are challenging.

Best Time to Visit Merida Mexico

The best time to go to Merida Mexico depends on your travel preferences and plans. To help you plan the perfect trip to Merida, let’s discuss the pros and cons of visiting during different seasons.


Merida’s winter season typically runs from December to February. These months are famous for their warm, dry weather, making winter one of the most popular times for tourists to visit Merida. As a result, transportation and lodging can be more expensive during this time. Winter is an excellent option for exploring many outdoor activities and attending cultural festivals and events. Travelers who prefer fewer crowds and don’t mind some rain should consider other seasons.


Spring ranges from March to May and is a transition period regarding weather and activity options. While there’s more rainfall in spring, the landscape is breathtaking as flowers and trees bloom. I consider this the best time to visit Merida Mexico if you’re interested in photography and want to see migrating whale sharks.


Are you prepared to beat the heat? Summer in Merida (usually June to August) is the hottest and most humid time of year. Due to high temperatures and increased rainfall, indoor and evening activities are best for the summer months. Summer is also hurricane season, so be prepared for storms and stay aware of local weather warnings.


Merida’s fall season runs from September to November, characterized by cool temperatures and moderate rain. Storms still occur but are less frequent in fall, making it a good time of year to explore outdoors. Fall is also a top choice for budget travelers wanting to save money on their Merida trip.

Merida Travel Guide Planning

🧳 Any recommendations on what I should pack for Merida?

Yes! I have created a whole packing guide to Mexico which you can read here and you can also check out my packing list for Mexico on Amazon here.

🚗 Where can I book bus or private transportation while I’m in Merida?

I strongly recommend using GottoGo. You can book almost all transport in the major Mexican tourist destinations through them online. They don’t just cover buses they also cover shuttles, ferries, and private drivers.

🎫 Where can I buy tickets for museums, attractions, and tours in Merida?

First and foremost check out all of the amazing Mexico tours Where Sidewalks End has. They are a small local company and they have some really special experiences.

For everything else I recommend either Viator or GetYour Guide

If you are traveling to Cancun you can use GoCity and save up to 55% of the initial cost of entrance tickets to various museums, tours, and attractions!

If you are traveling to Playa del Carmen then I recommend booking through my friend Vanessa at Turismo Channel. You can check out their tours by clicking here and using the following discount codes for the best prices clairecaroff (car rental), claire10off (for 10% off group tours), claireprivate (for a discount on private tours). You can also send her a WhatsApp message quoting the above codes to receive the discount.

👩‍⚕️ What is the best insurance to have while traveling?

I recommend using Heymondo for a great value policy. The app also offers you 24/7 Dr Chat. For Digital Nomads check out SafetyWing digital nomad insurance.

I have also written a blog post covering all my recommended travel insurance here

✈️ Any flight recommendations?

WayAWay offers you cheap flights with cashback. You can use this code CLAIRE22 to get 10% off. Otherwise Skyscanner or Expedia are my go-to flight searching platforms.

📱What do you use for internet connection while traveling?

I’m a big fan of personal WiFi devices and they have saved my ass so many times when traveling. I wrote a full review of the top travel WiFi devices you can read here. I personally use GlocalMe as I can either pop in a physical sim card or use their local carrier.

With regards to my phone connection, I use e-sims while traveling, so rather than having to swap out my regular sim card I can download the app and buy a virtual sim card. I recommend using eitherAirhub or Alosim. Both have great coverage of multiple countries and are very easy to use.

🛏️ What is the best platform to use for booking accommodation?

The 3 best platforms that I normally use are, and Expedia They offer great deals and multiple options. I always check all three to be sure of the best deals.

🛅 Do you have any luggage recommendations for traveling?

I do have a complete list of the best packing and luggage products that I recommend, you can check the list here. I’m currently traveling with this suitcase and this backpack. 

Top Things to Do in Merida Mexico: Final Thoughts

Hopefully, you’ve enjoyed this quick and dirty roundup of can’t-miss Merida things to do! If you think I’ve missed anything important, let me know. Sadly, there was only so much I could cover in three days—you won’t regret spending a week here.

How to spend a weekend in Merida

Looking for Things to Do in the Riviera Maya?

Glamping in the Riviera Maya

Visiting Cenote Azul and Cenote Cristalino

The Complete Guide to Chichen Itza in Mexico

How to see the Mayan Ruins in Tulum

Visiting Coba Ruins

Food Tour in Playa Del Carmen

Choosing a Scuba Diving Company in Playa Del Carmen

Scuba Diving in Cozumel

Scuba Diving in Puerto Morelos

Cenote Diving in Tulum

This post was proofread by Grammarly.