- Family Fun
- Culture and History
Get there by
Car, Shuttle, ADO Bus
Cancun to Merida takes between 3.5 - 4 hours on the road.
Avg. Night Stay
ON THE MAP
When in Merida, you won’t be able to resist joining the lively cultural dances held in the streets every day. Along with celebrating its rich culture, Merida also honors its colonial past as the largest city in the Yucatán Peninsula.
Celebrating A Rich Culture
Merida, located 180 miles west of Cancun, is known for having one of the largest centro histórico districts featuring beautiful 16th century colonial style architecture. The main avenue, Paseo de Montejo-- built after the Avenue des Champs-Élysées in Paris --hosts many of the city’s iconic attractions. One of them being Monumento a la Patria, a sculptural monument built in the 1950s featuring artistic carvings paying tribute to the Yucatán culture. You’ll also discover spectacular Neoclassical mansions lining the avenue that have been repurposed into museums, restaurants, shops, and bars.
Discover the special flavors of Meridian cuisine by stopping in one of these Neoclassical restaurant buildings. Merida uses traditional Mexican flavors such as achiote--a popular red spice typically ground up with other spices like black peppercorn, cinnamon, and oregano to form a peppery paste used in several local dishes. The local cuisine also incorporates Spanish cooking traditions such as frying in pork fat or marinating meat in adobo sauce.
Daily performances and entertainment keep Merida bustling with cultural shows, folk dancing, art exhibits, and even graffiti contests. On Sunday evenings, head to Calle 60 at Parque Santa Lucía to see up to a thousand locals dancing in the street to the cha-cha, mambo, and rumba. Don’t be shy to get into the rhythm, and then follow it up with local food and drinks at one of the many food vendors. Also, be sure to shop at the mini flea market in the area to find the perfect knickknack to take home.
Two nearby quaint towns to visit while staying in Merida includes Izamal and Valladolid. The first thing you’ll notice about Izamal is that everything is painted in a egg-yolk yellow, including the market, the convent, and all the colonial buildings. These beautiful backdrops will make for memorable travel photos. Artisans are also at work in Izamal where you can watch them in their workshops weaving hammocks, carving wood statues, and using cocoyol seeds to create unique jewelry pieces.
Valladolid is another charming town worth visiting with its colorful buildings and narrow stone streets. Take a walk through Central Park, reflecting both the Mayan and European styles, and admire the surrounding churches built with stones from the ancient Mayan city. At night, visit the Franciscan Convent to watch the light and sound show highlighting the Mayan culture.
For a more adventurous outing, visit the Cenote Bolonchoojol in Cuzama, just an hour away, to swim in one of the most beautiful cenotes in the area. Other nearby attractions include the archaeological Mayan site, Chichen Itza, an hour and a half away, as well as Uxmal and Ek Balam. Popular tourist cities like Cancun, Playa del Carmen, and Tulum are 3-4 hours away.
Merida has an airport that handles domestic and international flights. However, if you land in the more popular Cancun International Airport, there are several ways to get to Merida. It’s connected to the Highway 307 where other major cities are located like Cancun and Tulum. Taxis, buses, colectivos, and renting your own car are all great ways to travel along the highway en route to Merida.
Merida is a walkable city with major attractions in town all near each other. Metered taxis are affordable and available in town as well. You can also get around town on a Turibus, an open-top sightseeing bus. A ticket will allow you to hop-on and hop-off as often as you please while exploring the city. Another fun experience is to hire a horse-drawn carriage for a historical throwback through the streets of Merida.