Mérida, the cultural capital of the Yucatán, has an abundance of ancient Mayan history and traditions and is considered the center of the progressive urban culture of the peninsula. The city boasts bustling markets, parks and plazas lined with Spanish colonial buildings dating back to the 16th-century, haciendas that have been converted into unique restaurants, and events happening almost daily.Some of the region’s best museums are found here, including the Gran Museo Del Mundo Maya and the Museo Fernando Garcia Ponce.
Things to See
Mérida hosts a variety of events and live entertainment year-round but on Saturday nights and Sunday afternoons Plaza Grande, the main square comes alive. Restaurants place tables on the streets so patrons can watch couples salsa and tango to the live music. Mérida is home to the oldest cathedral in the Americas, Catedral de Mérida. The building began in 1561 and took 37 years to complete it. The cathedral is made up of stones salvaged from the pyramids and Mayan ruins. Inside, you will find Cristo de las Ampollas, standing at a staggering 23 feet tall and representing the tallest Christ figure inside a Mexican church. The city’s streets are lined with haciendas and mansions that belonged to original residents and founders of Mérida. One of the most illustrious of them all is the Palacio Cantón, home of General Francisco Canton in the 1900’s. The palace is adorned with exquisite marble and is full of Doric and Ionic columns and you can find art exhibits displayed inside from time to time. There is an archaeological site just east of the city, Aké, dating back from 250 to 900 AD. Here you will find the ruins of a Mayan temple that was built over a thousand years ago and several building that were built from the stones of old haciendas and temples.
Hotels in Mérida
IHG® combines convenience, comfort, and luxury with properties located near Mérida’s Plaza Grande and many of the city’s historic sites. Either you travel for business or leisure, you can easily find a place to stay that is perfect for everything you have planned for your trip to Mérida.
Where to Stay
Mérida’s Plaza Grande is home to Colonial architecture and a variety of Mayan art and history museums. Within the square, Paseo Montejo is lined with famous haciendas and palaces. The majority of the popular sights and sounds of Mérida are located downtown, where you will find the square.
How to Get to Mérida
Manuel Conscencio Rejon International Airport (IATA: MID) is located just south of Mérida and offers daily flights to and from Mexico City, Houston, Miami, and several other cities. To get to your destination, you can either take an authorized taxi found at the exits of the airport or opt for the local public transportation system, ADO. Bus routes operate from the main bus station to the airport terminals regularly. When exploring the downtown areas, it is best to do so on foot. The city’s streets are often closed off to vehicles to allow only pedestrian traffic.