If you are considering traveling to the Yucatan, let me answer your question- Is Merida Mexico Worth Visiting? Not only is it beautiful, but it also is safe, has lots of history, and is very friendly.
Is Merida Safe To Visit?
Merida is listed as the safest city in Mexico, and on some sites as the safest city in the Americas.
As with any travel, it is important to always be mindful of where you are and who and what is around you.
That being said, during our time in Merida, we never felt unsafe. I traveled by myself with my 2 teenagers and a female friend of the family. We all felt very safe navigating the city.
We flew into Merida and loved the small airport and ease of travel. Merida is the capital of the Yucatan State, so their airport was very nice.
Is Merida Open For Travel Right Now?
Yes, you can travel to Merida. Masks are required in the airport and all stores, but almost everything was open while we were there.
Do you Have To Quarantine In Merida?
We didn't have to quarantine when we got to Merida. This part of Mexico is open with almost no exclusions.
You do need a negative Covid test for coming and going, so be mindful of that. We found several locations that did this in the city. The appointments were easy to make.
What Covid Safety Precautions Are In Place?
Wearing masks were required everywhere we went in Merida. Most businesses also required temperature checks before entering. People were giving out hand sanitizer in the streets, and upon entering any stores and restaurants.
What Is The History Of Merida Mexico?
Merida has a very Mayan-based history. The modern name Merida came when the Spanish came in 1542, but the city was actually built on an ancient Mayan city called T’hó.
When the Spanish arrived, they took down a lot of the ancient Mayan buildings and used the stones to build their churches and missions. The main cathedral in Merida was composed almost entirely of recycled limestone, which gives it that beautiful color that had nicknamed Merida "The White City."
What Is There To Do In Merida?
Mercado Lucas de Galvez was one of our favorite things to do in Merida. It is a market that sits in the middle of town. They had everything from meat, to fish, to clothing, to jewelry.
Paseo de Montejo is one of the more historic streets. They have lots of restaurants down this road and plenty of street vendors selling food and souvenirs. We had pizza here and also went on a carriage ride to learn more about the history. I do not recommend the carriage ride, it was nice to see the city, but the driver does not act as a guide. Our carriage ride in Izamal was much better.
The Museum of the Mayan World is another must-see stop while in Merida. Unfortunately, the museum was closed because of the pandemic when we were there, but we have heard it is worth the visit.
If you are looking to do some shopping while in Mexico, Merida is the place to do it. There were tons of shops selling just about everything you could need. This is where we bought our souvenirs.
Just walking around the city and its parks is a great way to relax on your trip. Merida is beautiful, it is historic and there is so much to see. If you have a quiet minute on your trip, I highly recommend walking around and seeing this city up close.
Where To Eat In Merida
Los Trompos. This was probably the best place we ate in Merida. It offers delicious authentic food, and you can see right into the back where the chefs are working. I recommend getting the tacos al pastor.
On the Paseo Montejo, there was a delicious Italian pizza restaurant called Trattoria La Pasta Montejo that we loved.
As we were in the city for such a short time, I cannot give too many recommendations on restaurants. I will never recommend a location I have not tried personally, that is why there are only a few listed.
Cochinita Pibil is a regional favorite, I would certainly try and find this if you are in the area. Panuchos as well. We didn't eat these in Merida, but in other cities in the Yucatan when we were in the area.
Marquesitas are another food of Merida. You can see this in the photo above. They are a lightly sweetened crepe. Traditionally they are filled with cheese, but you can get them filled with just about anything you can imagine!
Our hotel had breakfast, and most other hotels in the city will have some sort of restaurant inside of it.
Do I Need To Know Spanish In Merida?
Not necessarily. You can get by knowing a little. Most people will know at least some English.
I never let my lack of language skills stop me from traveling. Just do your best. Be respectful, kind, and use Google Translate when you need it!
Where To Stay In Merida
When we flew in, we stayed at Hacienda Inn. It was okay and the rooms were comfortable. It was very close to the airport. We only stayed here for one night then headed to Isla Holbox.
When we came back to visit for a few days, we stayed at Viva Merida Hotel Boutique. It was a beautiful hotel, and close to their main area. It was a restored mansion, with authentic architecture and amazing staff. The hotel also had a delicious breakfast menu.
How To Get Around Merida
We used a rental car while we were in Merida. Navigating the city wasn't too hard. The roundabouts are terrifying during rush hour, but as long as you are careful you shouldn't have any problems.
There is also a really great bus system in Merida. This is perfect for getting around the city.
Uber and Taxis are very common in Merida. We used them going to and from the airport with no problem.
Best Time To Visit
It is key to visit Merida when the weather is not too hot. We missed out on the best season, so it was very hot when we went. According to the locals, the time to visit is between October to March, when the weather’s cooler and not so humid. We went in May, and it was humid and hot the whole time. May through August is usually the hottest months.
Merida is located in the tropics, so it has a rainy season. This is June to September so if you visit then, you should expect rain almost every day.
Like any touristy spot, December is filled with vacationers to Merida. There are lots to see at this time. Merida has city-wide festivals like Noche Blanca that are a must-see, and the nice weather is a plus.
Is Merida Mexico Worth Visiting?
If you are planning a visit to Mexico, you should definitely include Merida in your itinerary! This city is a perfect blend of history and modern times. There is great food, awesome culture, and plenty of sights to see.
Other Mexico Travel Posts
- Planning a trip to Mexico
- Beautiful Izamal- lovely historic city
- Uxmal Ruins- ruins near Merida
- Isla Holbox- Island paradise
- Ek Balam Ruins and Cenote
MARGARITA F ANDRADE says
Yes it is beautiful place...as soon as this virus is gone i am going back to live there....
It is such a great place!! We cannot wait to go back too.
We are going to Merida every year.... usually in July. Yes, it's really hot there in the middle of Summer. However, it's a beautiful city and we are hoping to retire there. Cannot wait.
It is a beautiful city!! You are lucky to be able to retire there. We cannot wait to go back!
David Brody says
As an American ex-patriot living in Merida I agree that it is a great city to visit. History, beautiful architecture, authentic Yucatecan food, nearby Mayan sites, flamingo preserves, are among the reasons to come.
I feel that the article’s author missed a lot and several of the details were incorrect (i.e. ADO busses are for intercity travel.) For authentic cuisine skip Los Trompos and head for Los Almendros, where Mexican families go for a treat. Skip the rental car other than if you’re going out of town to visit the coast or Mayan sites. (One can also hire a cab and driver for the day if you don’t want to drive yourself.
Read up on Merida and you will enhance your visit.
Thank you for the addition David. Merida was the last city on our vacation, so already had a rental car. We used a cab several times, and I agree, they were fantastic. Los Trompos was suggested by locals, which was why we visited. Next time we are in town, we will need to try Los Almendros.
Terry B Carrillo says
Best city to go in Mexico, really safe. Nice people, Clean streets, delicious food.
I totally agree. Our family loved it!
Rafael M. says
Wow, you were there in May? That is the hottest time to visit!
No, we were there in July. Very hot!! We look forward to trying a cooler time of year.