48 Hours In Merida – 2 Day Itinerary

I’ve spent a lot of time travelling around Mexico, and I’m especially fond of the city of Merida. It’s a great destination for travellers who are looking for culture, adventure, and relaxation. The past few times I visited, I made sure to make the most of my 2 days there.

To help you plan your trip to Merida, I put together this list of fantastic activities that you can do while you’re in town. From exploring ancient ruins to discovering new flavours at the local markets–you’ll have plenty to keep you busy!

I’m sure that after two days in Merida you’ll leave feeling like a real traveller. With that being said, here’s my two-day itinerary for Merida:

The Yucatan Peninsula capital of Merida has been gaining much recognition for the past few years, which isn’t surprising. Merida is a captivating city with rich history, architectural splendour, and a vibrant cultural scene. 

Also known as the “White City” for its abundance of gleaming limestone buildings, this city is a must-visit for seasoned and first-time Mexico travellers. This is why, in this 2 Day Itinerary for Merida, we’ll share how you can enjoy the city.

While 48 hours in Merida may seem short with time, this is enough to enjoy major landmarks and immerse in local culture. 

Merida boasts of its Mayan heritage, colonial charm, and modern sophistication. Some of the most famous sites in the city include Chichen Itza and Uxmal, where visitors can marvel at the magnificent pyramids and immerse themselves in the ancient world. 

Merida San Idefonso cathedral sunrise in Yucatan Mexico

Merida’s historic centre showcases its colonial past, with grand plazas, cobbled streets, ornate churches, and elegant mansions that exude an old-world charm.

The city of Merida also offers a plethora of experiences. As you wander through the bustling markets of Lucas de Galvez and Santa Ana, you can enjoy checking out everything from handcrafted textiles to exotic fruits. 

All these are just the tip of what you can enjoy on your 2 days in Merida. But ideally, travellers would stay in Merida for 2 days as part of a Yucatan road trip. 

To enjoy your weekend in Merida, consider visiting from November to February when the temperatures are more relaxed. This is the best time to visit Merida as it is more comfortable for you to go on a walking tour, as the scorching heat of the Yucatan summer can be overwhelming.

When choosing accommodation, the Centro Historico (Historical Center) is the ideal area to stay in Merida. This charming neighbourhood has boutique hotels, guesthouses, and colonial-style accommodations, offering easy access to the city’s main attractions. 

You’ll surely enjoy visiting if you follow this 2 days itinerary for Merida. So, take note and remember to keep track of what’s important! 

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Overview of 2 Days in Merida Itinerary

Here’s a glance at what you’ll see and do in two days in Merida:

Day 1 in Merida:

  • Have breakfast at Rosas & Xocolate
  • Visit the Mayan World Museum of Merida
  • Stroll around Paseo de Montejo 
  • Have Cochinita Pibil for Lunch
  • Explore Merida’s Centro Historico
  • Tour the Palacio de Gobierno
  • Take photos at Parroquia Santa Ana Church
  • Dinner at Hacienda Ya-axka
  • Enjoy some drinks at Merida’s Local Cantinas

Day 2 in Merida:

  • Quick Taco Stop for Breakfast  
  • Head to see Chichen Itza Mayan Ruins
  • Swim at Cenote Ik Kil 
  • Late Lunch at Manjar Blanco
  • Join the Free Walking Tour
  • Relax at Plaza Grande
  • Watch the Merida Cathedral Video Mapping Show
  • Dinner at La Cantina El Porvenir
Merida, Mexico. City hall in the Old Town.

Day 1 in Merida

Have breakfast at Rosas & Xocolate

One of Merida’s most famous breakfast and brunch spots is Rosas & Xocolate, located in the same boutique hotel. This charming restaurant offers a delightful culinary experience where you can have a spread of delicious breakfast featuring a variety of Mexican and International food options while inside a vibrant yet tranquil space. 

From freshly baked pastries to hearty Mexican dishes, Rosas & Xocolate is the first place you must visit upon arriving in Merida. Whether checked in at their hotel or not, you’ll still experience an elegant and stylish ambience that adds to the overall experience, making it a perfect way to start your day in Merida.

Visit the Mayan World Museum of Merida

Merida is well-known for its rich cultural heritage, including several traces of the Mayan civilisation. Head to the Mayan World Museum of Merida for your first stop on this Merida Mexico trip. 

This impressive museum showcases over 1,160 pieces of artefacts, textiles, religious elements and exhibits that shed light on the ancient Mayan way of life; as you enjoy your time inside the museum, you’ll be able to go through interactive displays, historical documents, books as well as artistic paintings all from the colonial era. 

The museum is six days a week, closed on Tuesdays. It is also open as early as 8 AM, so morning is the best time to visit without several crowds seeing yet.  

Stroll around Paseo de Montejo 

One of Merida’s most famous tourist destinations is the Paseo de Montejo, and your 2 days in Merida would only be complete with visiting the landmark. Paseo de Montejo is an avenue lined with stately mansions and buildings, which reflect the city’s colonial past and are reminiscent of European influences. 

As the main promenade that runs across from Calles 56 and 58, many iconic Merida spots are in Paseo de Montejo. Aside from the neoclassical mansions and buildings that were turned into coffee shops, bars and restaurants, this is also where you can spot the Museo de Antropologia e Historia and Casa Montejo.

You should also see the famous Casa T’oh, a concept shopping and dining centre that has been a go-to among locals and tourists. It’s situated inside a 19th-century mansion, having a courtyard area now serving as a Mediterranean restaurant. 

Of course, your time at Paseo de Montejo would only be complete with snapping a pic at the renowned Monument de la Patria. This towing monument of an indigenous man is Merida’s most iconic landmark, as it depicts everything from the founding of Tenochtitlan. 

So, savour your time at Paseo de Montejo as you admire the architectural beauty, with French and Italian styles prevalent throughout. You can relax at the cafes along the way for a stroll.

Tour Pick
Merida, Mexico - Cathedral of San Gervasio, a historic Church in Valladolid in the Yucatan peninsula of Mexico.

Mike&Duck Walking Tour

  • 1.5 hours 
  • Affordable Private Tour
  • Fantastic Guides
MERIDA, MEXICO - Statue of Yucatans conquerors, father and son, both named Francisco de Montejo, in Merida, Mexico

Have Cochinita Pibil for Lunch

Every visit to Merida is complete with indulging in Cochinita Pibil, a traditional Yucatecan dish. This delicacy features slow-roasted marinated pork, typically served with tortillas, pickled onions, and fiery habanero salsa. 

You can find cochinita Pibil in almost all of the city’s local restaurants and food stalls. While they already sell this dish internationally, the taste of authentic and traditional Conchinita Pibil is far from different – it has a uniquely sweet, earthy aroma imparted with Seville oranges. 

Some restaurants you can check out for the best Conchita Pibil in town are  La Lupita and La Chaya Maya. But if you want to immerse in local culture, head onto local mercados (markets) to get a good taste of this delicious dish. 

Explore Merida’s Centro Historico

As mentioned, one of the best places to stay in Merida is at the Historical Center. Many factors contribute to this, including convenience and accessibility to the bustling plazas, lively markets and iconic historical landmarks. 

After getting a fill to your meal, explore the historical centre of Merida by first stopping by the Zocalo. Also known as the Plaza Grande, you will find almost all of the main buildings in the city, such as the Casa de Montejo, Palacio de Gobierno, Cathedral of San Idelfonso, Passage Pichet and Olimpo Cultural Center. 

While entering every building is unnecessary, you can still admire these magnificent buildings from the outside. With their neo-classical architectural style, you will be entertained as you wander through Merida’s Centro Historico streets.

Aerial view of Plaza Grande in Merida

Tour the Palacio de Gobierno

Now that you’re already at Merida’s Historical Center, we highly suggest you take a self-guided walking tour to the Palacio de Gobierno

The Palacio de Gobierno is the Government Palace of Merida. This historic building showcases impressive murals depicting the history and culture of the Yucatan Peninsula. 

Here you can learn about the region’s political and cultural significance as you explore the various rooms and corridors adorned with beautiful artwork. 

The palace also offers a fascinating glimpse into the city’s past and present, giving you an idea of what it was like in Merida in the past century. 

MERIDA, MEXICO - Inner courtyard of Palacio de Gobierno Government Palace in Merida, Mexico.

Take photos at Parroquia Santa Ana Church

Another famous landmark in the city, probably the most photographed structure in Meridal, is the Parroquia Santa Ana Church

This picturesque church in the Santa Ana neighbourhood boasts stunning architecture and intricate details. The pastel-coloured facade and charming bell tower make it a favourite spot for photography enthusiasts, so we made sure to add the stop to this 2 days itinerary for Merida.

So, aside from the Merida Cathedral (the oldest building in Merida), Parroquia Santa Ana Church is also worth visiting while in the city. 

Santa Ana park and church with tropical trees with sunny blue sky, Merida, Yucatan, Mexico

Dinner at Hacienda Ya-axka

It’s simply normal that by now, you’re probably craving some good food again after going on a long day tour on your first day in Merida. This is why we’ll take you somewhere different for this dinner meal regarding the dining experience. 

Hacienda Ya-axka is a renowned restaurant set within a traditional Yucatecan hacienda. They offer authentic Yucatecan cuisine prepared with local ingredients and flavours, prepared carefully by a local professional chef. 

Aside from its extensive list of menus, the hacienda’s beautiful surroundings and warm hospitality create a different atmosphere – making it a perfect place to end the day.! 

Enjoy some drinks at Merida’s Local Cantinas

Before hitting the hay, immerse yourself in the local night culture at Merida’s local cantinas. The city’s many traditional bars offer a vibrant and authentic atmosphere where you can enjoy various drinks, including regional favourites like mezcal and Yucatecan craft beers. 

You can hop from one place to another as you listen to live music, mingle with locals, and savour the lively ambience of these traditional establishments. This is a fantastic way to unwind and simultaneously experience Merida’s vibrant nightlife.

Merica, Yucatan, Mexico - Colonial blue building with typical cantina painted text

Day 2 in Merida

Quick Taco Stop for Breakfast

For your second day in Merida, you’ll need to go on a quick breakfast run before you head to your day tour of the famous Chichen Itza.

Since there are numerous street food stalls and small taquerias where you can grab food as early as 7 AM, we highly suggest you have some = tacos filled with a variety of fillings, such as pastor (marinated pork), carne asada (grilled beef), or cochinita pibil (slow-roasted pork). 

Aside from tasting the authentic flavours of Mexican food, it’s also easier to bring with you for takeout or eat it on the go. Usually, street food stalls also sell coffee and agua frescas, which would go great with your taco.   

Head to see Chichen Itza Mayan Ruins

Chichen Itza Mayan Ruins is a must-visit in Merida, no matter how many days you’ll stay in the city. This UNESCO World Heritage site is one of the most important Mayan centres in the Yucatan peninsula, having more than 1,000 years of history.   

The Mayan ruin is renowned for its impressive pyramid, El Castillo (the Temple of Kukulkan). It has always been excellent how El Castillo was made, given the relatively simple technology available at the time. This structure has remained preserved with the help of the Mexican government, thus being a sight to see when visiting Chichen Itza. 

Other ancient structures you can explore here are Las Monjas, the Great Ball Court, the North Temple, the Steam Bath, the Temple of Warriors, the Group of a Thousand Columns, and much more! Enjoy admiring the intricate carvings, and learn about this ancient Mayan city’s fascinating history and astronomical significance.

Located a few kilometres from Merida, you must leave early to drive to Chichen Itza, mainly if you use a rented car. Meanwhile, if you’re joining a tour, you will most likely leave early in the morning with your guide and group tour. 

Tour Pick
Chichen-Itza, Mexico - Pyramid of Kukulcan El Castillo in Yucatan peninsula

Chichen Itza, Cenote and Izamal

  • 9 hours 
  • Max of 10 people 
  • Local Guide
Chichen-Itza, Mexico - Pyramid of Kukulcan El Castillo in Yucatan peninsula

Swim at Cenote Ik Kil 

Before returning to Merida, you should also visit the famous Cenote Ik Kil to make the most of your day trip. This cenote is located on the highway you’ll pass by on your way back to Merida. 

Cenote Ik Kil is most famous for its unique terrain, deep down the natural sinkhole and surrounded by lush greens. As you wind down the stairs, you’ll be welcomed by clear turquoise waters, perfect for swimming!

Since Cenote Ik Kil has become a famous tourist destination, they have made several adjustments to the area, having a restaurant, a snack bar and even a gift shop you can visit already.

After refreshingly dipping in the crystal-clear waters, they also have changing rooms and lockers you can use for an extra fee. 

Ik-Kil Cenote, Chichen Itza, Mexico

Late Lunch at Manjar Blanco

Once you return to Merida, treat yourself to a late lunch at Manjar Blanco. This traditional Merida Yucatan restaurant offers regional dishes, including favourites like sopa de lima, poc chuc, and panuchos. 

It has become a go-to restaurant for many locals and travellers alike because of the casual and homey vibe of the place. Not only does their food taste homecooked and well-prepared, but they also make sure to serve their customers as attentively and friendly as possible. 

Join the Free Walking Tour

If you’re still thinking is Merida worth visiting, this free walking tour will catch your attention!

The local government of Merida offers a free walking tour almost every day of the week to tourists who want to explore Merida in just a short period. They offer different kinds of free walking tours that you can take depending on your interest. 

You will be led by a professional tour guide that will take you to significant spots in the city, together with a small group of tourists. You just need to meet with the group at a particular place in the city, and from there, you’ll visit one landmark to another. 

You can quickly check out schedules of free walking tours in Merida online and even book ahead if you want to. Usually, the tour lasts about 2 to 3 hours, just enough time to spend before you end your day. 

MERIDA, MEXICO -  Aerial view of a street traffic in Merida, Mexico

Relax at Plaza Grande

While you’ve probably been to Plaza Grande yesterday already, this time, it’s about time you just take things slow and take in Merida’s environment from a relaxing spot. 

After a long day, take some time to relax and sit on a bench under the shade of a tree, people-watch, and admire the surrounding colonial buildings.

There are also a lot of cafes and restaurants where you can enjoy a cup of coffee while watching people pass by and street performers to live music.

MERIDA, MEXICO-Plaza de la independencia the street festival merida en domingo, merida, mexico

Watch the Merida Cathedral Video Mapping Show

As evening falls, visit the Merida Cathedral and witness the mesmerising video mapping show. Only a few tourists know about this, but locals come to see the video mapping show every time! 

Videos are projected onto the cathedral’s facade; the exhibition brings the historic building to life with stunning visuals and animations that tell the story of Merida’s past.

Although this only happens every Friday at 8:00 PM, it would be great to plan your trip to Merida ahead of time, according to specific show schedules. 

Merida, Mexico -  Cathedral of San Gervasio, a historic Church in Valladolid in the Yucatan peninsula of Mexico.

Dinner at La Cantina El Porvenir

Capping off your 48 hrs in Merida, head onto La Cantina El Porvenir to get the best out of Merida’s local culture. This popular restaurant offers an authentic cantina experience with a lively atmosphere and traditional Yucatecan dishes. 

Here you can sample many specialities like salutes, relleno negro, or pollo pibil (marinated and roasted chicken). They also offer drinks like local beer and agua frescas, which you can pair with your meal. 

Tours in Merida to take over 2 days

Street Food Tour

Merida is a well-known city for having one of the best Yucatan specialities. If you are a foodie who wants to enjoy what the region offers, this street food tour is something you can enjoy! 

During the tour, you will walk with a local guide along Merida’s primary market and visit a seafood restaurant and gelato shop for dessert. Get to sample plenty of local dishes, including but not limited to empanadas, tamales and seafood tacos. 

This 3-hour street food tour will familiarise you with Yucatan cuisine and Merida’s local culture. 

Merida, Mexico - An unidentified man sells snacks in a Yucatan street. Yucatan is the safest State in Mexico and Merida was awarded City of Peace in 2011.

Cooking Class 

Many travellers from around usually want to experience local delicacies’ first-hand cooking, especially those interested in culture and cuisine. 

This is why, in this Merida Cooking Class, you’ll get help from a local chef who will teach you the basics of Yucatec cooking and the ingredients they usually use for their dishes. 

This tour will start with a market visit, where you’ll be shopping for fresh ingredients you will use. Once done, you’ll head to the class kitchen where you’ll prepare yourself (guided by the local chef) a 3-course Yucatan meal. 

No worries, this is also available for those with special dietary restrictions as they offer vegetarian meal options. 

 Pastor taco vendor preparing food with fire at a taco stand at night, Merida, Yucatan, Mexico

Final Thoughts: 2 days in merida

Whether planning a weekend in Merida, or a road trip around the Yucatan Peninsula, this 48 hours in Merida itinerary could help you plan your vacation ahead of time!

So, if you’ve taken down notes, you’re probably ready to enjoy this vibrant and magical city of Merida! 

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