Mérida is the perfect base from which to explore all the offerings of the state of Yucatan. In just 7 days you will be able to get a taste of this beautiful colonial city, explore white sand beaches and magical cenotes and visit Mayan archeological sites which will fill you with wonder.
Arrive in Mérida and spend the day in the centre, walking its soulful, colourful streets and seeing a bit of its history.
Top Tip: At 9.30am everyday (except Sunday) a free walking tour leaves from the Tourism Office under the Town Hall building in the main square. Its a good way to start your trip and begin to get to know Mérida. Pick up a copy of Yucatan Today in the tourism office – its full of useful maps for your trip.
Visit the places of interest in the main square, including the imposing Cathedral, the Casa de Montejo, MACAY museum of art and then go and see the historical murals in the Government Palace. Buy a refreshing chaya juice on the corner of 62 and 63 and sit in the ‘love’ seats in the park to watch the comings and goings and soak up the atmosphere. When you get hungry, eat gorditas on the corner opposite the cathedral.
Walk up Calle 60 and have a coffee in one of many cafes near Santa Lucia Park. Keep going up until you reach Santa Ana park, visit the perfect little church and from there you can explore Paseo Montejo, the wide, leafy avenue home to impressive colonial mansions and interesting museums such as the Museo Canton. Take a selfie at Monumento de la Bandera.
Take the bus or drive North up the highway towards the beach. Stop at the ancient Mayan site Dzibichaltún to see the famous ‘Temple of the Dolls’ and swim in the extremely photogenic cenote.
Continue up the highway until you reach the beach town Progreso where you can spend the day relaxing, swimming and sampling the delicacies of Yucatan’s amazing seafood.
Visit Uxmal, about an hour from Mérida, an impressive Mayan site where you will feel transported in time. Learn about the history of this incredible civilisation and climb to the top of the pyramids to get stunning views across the vast tropical jungle.
Afterwards, head to the small town Mani where you can see the way of life in a very Yucatecan town and eat traditional dishes in one of the state’s best restaurants, the Principe Tutul Xiu.
Go and visit one of Yucatan’s famous haciendas such as Yaxocopoil or Sotuta de Peon. In the afternoon cool off and have fun in some fantastic off-the-beaten-track cenotes such as Kankirixche or this one near Abala.
Visit the ‘yellow town’ Izamal, set deep in the Mayan heartland. Stroll through the quiet streets, visit the convent and the ruins of a pyramid. Shop for beautiful artesian products. Have lunch in Kinich, where you will eat like kings.
Spend the morning exploring the huge, labyrinth-like Lucas de Galvez market in Mérida, where you will find heaps of fresh produce, local products and snacks.
In the afternoon head to one of the centre’s traditional cantinas where you can enjoy live music, free snacks called botanas and try your hand at dancing salsa with the locals. Try La Negrita on Calle 62 or El Cardenal in the neighbourhood Santiago.
Spend your last day in Yucatán in heavenly Celestún, enjoying the white sandy beach and taking a boat tour out to see flamingos and the mangrove forest. Enjoy the tranquility of this huge nature reserve and eat some delicious seafood.
Don’t forget to go to some of the daily events that happen in the centre every week. A few not to miss are : Mérida en Domingo and Biciruta on Sundays, Serenata Yucateca in Santa Lucia park on Thursdays and the Mayan game ‘pok-ta-pok’ match in front of the cathedral on Friday evenings.
Make sure you try as much local food as possible, go to some of the restaurants mentioned here!