Mérida may not be one of Mexico's better-known destinations, but it could be one of its best: with its beautiful architecture, storied past, and delicious food, the Yucatán capital is a must-see. Here are 10 reasons why Mérida should be on your bucket list:

1. It’s heaven for history buffs…

Mérida is the largest city in the Yucatán Peninsula, with a history that dates back more than 400 years — and a Mayan history that dates back further still. Because of this, some historians consider it the oldest continually occupied city in the Americas.

2. …and Pinterest pros

It’s not just the centuries-old architecture that makes Mérida an aesthete’s dream. The municipality is known as the “white city” for its proliferation of white limestone structures, many of which are painted vibrant pastel hues.

3. You can have pork for dinner…

Don’t sleep on a torta de lechón al horno, which is a sandwich jam-packed with roasted suckling pig.

4. …and dessert, too

More adventurous diners will want to try a scoop or two of ice cream at Pola Gelato Shop, where flavours range from mango and kiwi to pork and beans.

Merida's architecture is striking.
Merida's architecture is striking.

5. You can walk in the footsteps of the Mayans…

Chichen Itza is arguably Mexico’s most famous Mayan ruin, not least of all because it is the most well-restored. It was declared one of the “new seven wonders of the world,” so try to plan your trip to the site early to beat the crowds.

6. …then outfit your feet in the city

At B&G Atelier in downtown Mérida, you can have a pair of custom leather kicks constructed to your exact specifications — and measurements. Take note, though: you’ll need to be in the city for more than a day in order to have this done.

7. The weather is steamy…

If you don’t like the heat, get out of the Yucatán: Mérida is HOT. Daily temperatures average above 29 degrees Celsius (85 F) year-round, with high humidity.

8. …but the cenotes are refreshing

Luckily, what Mérida has in high temperatures, it matches in cool cenotes: deep sinkholes filled with cool groundwater water.

The sign says it all... now all you have to do is get there
The sign says it all... now all you have to do is get there

9. You can take in some art…

From Nahualli Casa de los Artistas, a private residence/studio/gallery, to the more contemporary Soho Galleries, Mérida has options for lovers of all types of visual art.

10. …then take a ride

Horse-and-buggy rides are available in and around Mérida’s long, wide streets. It’s a charming, old-fashioned way to see the city — and one that’s perfectly in step with its colonial architecture and rich history.

Article originally published Oct. 20, 2017. Updated on May 14, 2021.

Getting there

Keen on a visit to Mérida? G Adventures can get you there. Check out our small group tours to Mexico here.