Merida is a city that captivates many visitors so much that they decide to stay: it’s a haven for expatriates from the U.S., Canada, and Europe. The colonial center holds plenty of charms, including nightly music performances in various parks seven nights a week, plus the city is a great base for exploring Mayan ruins and cenotes.
Day 1: Exploring Merida
Soak in the colonial center of Merida, using the Zocolo (Plaza Grande) as your navigational center. Stroll the four sides of the plaza, seeing the cathedral, the Macay Museum, Casa de Montejo, Municipal Palace, and places to grab a bite or coffee. Walk a few blocks to the municipal market for some local color and shopping. Hire a carriage driver for a tour of town and Paseo Montejo. Catch a free music show and see couples dancing in the appropriate plaza for the evening—each plaza has its own night, which the tourism office can provide.
Day 2: Mayan Ruins
Take a trip to the Mayan ruins of your choice: Chichen Itza to the east, Uxmal (and possibly the Puuc Route) to the southwest, or Dzibilchaltun with cenote swimming and the Mayan museum to the north.
Day 3: Day Trips from Merida
Head to Celustun, about 60 miles northwest of Merida, to see pink flamingos, cool off in a spring-fed swimming hole, or tour a “petrified’ mangrove forest. Afterwards, head to the beach for some fresh seafood, shrimp ceviche, or a cold drink. End the day back in Merida in another plaza with a different music performance.