The state of Yucatan is located at the south of Mexico, right at the border with Guatemala and it is the territory where Mayans settled for many years before being conquered by the Spanish Francisco de Montejo in 1527.
Merida, the capital is now a beautiful and very colourful colonial city surrounded by Mayan ruins, old colonial buildings, cenotes and beaches with crystal waters where you can sail using center console boats or bullet bass boats. Most importantly, before sailing, make sure to bring emergency kits and proper boating equipment like vests, extra boat batteries, marine engine mounts, etc. for safety and security purposes.
If you visit Merida, here are 5 things you cannot miss.
If you’re interested in learning more about this fascinating culture this is a MUST. Located in the north of Merida and surrounded by shopping centres the Mayan World Museum contains everything you need to know to understand Mayan history. From their language, to their civilization, to their organisation and beliefs to the Spanish Conquer and the mix of both cultures. Everything about the Mayans of yesterday to the Mayan people of today can be found here.
If you love swimming and nature and love having a good time with a low budget, this place can provide all at once.
El Corchito is a natural reserve where you will find 3 different open cenotes that vary in size and depth, but all of them have something in common: Crystal clear waters!
You will also see racoons running freely around the place and you will find hammocks to relax if you don’t feel like going for a swim immediately. Located only 50 minutes away from the city of Merida and a few minutes away from the town of Progreso, El Corchito is very easy to get to either on your own car or by bus, which is only 38 pesos/ 1.64 euro for a round trip from the Merida city centre.
Please consider that this is a natural reserve and food, and the use of sunscreen is not allowed, but don’t worry, all cenotes are surrounded by trees that provide you with enough shade to relax.
Xoco story is a museum where you will find the history of chocolate, which was very important in mayan culture. The museum is in the middle of a small reserve where you will see flora and fauna of the area. You will witness a Mayan ceremony and will taste the original recipe of Mayan chocolate. All in one place. At the end, you can complete your experience buying souvenirs at the shop, not the typical souvenirs but chocolate bars from all around the world, chocolate made with the original mayan recipe, and other products made out of chocolate like chocolate soaps. The entrance ticket is only 165 pesos/ 7.37 euro.
4. San Idelfonso Cathedral and the City Centre
This cathedral is believed to be the oldest one in the Mexican Republic, located in front of the main square in the city centre the San Idelfonso Cathedral is a must see. The city centre is perfect to walk around and discover restaurants, souvenir shops and beautiful and very instagrammable colourful colonial buildings.
This Mayan city is not located in the city of Merida, but in the State of Yucatan. To get there you will need to drive about an hour and a half from the city. The Mayan ruins are one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. You will be impressed by the details in each structure, and of course if you visit during the the spring equinox you will be able to witness the magic of the Kukulkan pyramid, that thanks to the sunlight creates an illusion of a snake “Kukulkan” that is coming down the stairs.
You will need to bring water with you, a hat or an umbrella and sunblock. Remember that Yucatan has a hot weather no matter what season you visit.
Entrance ticket price: 243 pesos/ 10.86 euro
Merida also offers great art and culture events every day of the week for free! These events usually take place in the main square where you will get to know even more about the culture and history of Yucatan.
If you want to see more of Merida, you can watch this travel guide from Expedia, with even more suggestions to visit during your visit.