With three days to dedicate to the capital of Yucatán state, you can explore nearby jungle, escape to the coast, and visit an ancient archeological site. Plus, you’ll still have time to tick off colonial highlights and sample local cuisine. Here’s how to make the most of 72 hours in Mérida.
Get your bearings in Merida by kickstarting your stay on a walking tour that covers Zocalo (Central Square), which is encircled by several free-to-enter buildings such as Merida Cathedral and Casa Montejo. This is also the ideal place to grab a cup of coffee or breakfast from a street vendor. Then, dedicate the afternoon to Yucatan cuisine during a street food tour, market visit, or cooking class.
When night falls, make your way to the Mérida plaza that’s hosting the evening’s musical performance—each day sees a different spot hosting the shows and night tours ensure you get to the right place for the right time. Round out the evening by snacking on a cheese and Nutella-filled marquesita (Mayan crepe).
Mérida is a great jumping off point for wider exploration of the Yucatán, due to it being within day-tripping distance of archaeological sites such as Uxmal, Dzibilchaltun, and Chichen Itza—one of the New7Wonders of the World. Make the most of limited time in the region on a private or group tour that lets you skip the stress of car hire by taking care of round-trip transportation. Tours typically include lunch and tend to stop at cenotes, haciendas, Mayan villages, and beaches depending on the itinerary.
Once you’re back in Mérida proper, immerse yourself in cantina culture on a cantina crawl around some of Mérida’s most traditional watering holes. Beer and bar snacks are typically included though bring cash to continue your night out in Mérida after the excursion ends.
Take the opportunity to get back to nature on day three. Mérida’s privileged position close to the tip of the Yucatán peninsula makes it the ideal base for outdoor adventures such as caving, snorkeling, cenote diving, and encounters with flamingos at Celestun National Park.
Other options for day three include touring some of the Yucatán’s typical haciendas or taking a day trip to nearby towns and cities, such as Campeche and Izamal. Known as the Yellow Town, you can explore Izamal on foot or by carriage before catching the evening light show. Otherwise, get further off the grid on full-day excursions to lesser-known destinations such as Mayapan, Homun, and Acanceh,. Alternatively, combine culture with adventure during joint cenote and hacienda excursions.