My aunt has lived in Mérida, Yucatán for five years and had invited me and my family to visit her in August for our last family vacation before I got married in September.
My aunt loves being a tourist in her hometown and has taken the time to frequently visit cenotes, temples, beaches, and festivals.
Mérida is filled with Mayan and colonial history as well as impressive architecture and natural wonders.
Mixing some of my first hand experience with facts about Mérida, here is the list of natural and historical landmarks she took us to that made my vacation here a memorable one.
El Corchito in Progreso – Ecological Reserve and Exposed Cenotes
I would say that this was my favourite part of the trip. On a sunny morning we went to an ecological reserve called “El Corchito” that is located in Progreso, Yucatán.
You pay a small fee of about 35 to 40 pesos per person and travel by boat to a small island where you will find a variety of exposed cenotes.
Cenotes are round holes in the earth that have been filled with rain water that has been filtered slowly through the ground.
They are dreamy crystal clear pools of water that are safe and fun to swim in. I got to swim in a large one and it was refreshing to say the least.
We also got to encounter cute creatures called coatis, everyday raccoons, and turtles during our visit.
Here is a video of coatis and racoons munching on corn (the sound is oddly satisfying):
Progreso – Beach
If you look up Progreso Beach on google maps, you should be able to locate a public beach that is near by El Corchito.
It is a beautiful beach with warm ocean water to enjoy and swim in. The sand is soft and there are many shells to find along the beach line.
There are a variety of restaurants around this area if you are looking for something to eat during your adventure.
Archeological zone in Mayapán – Temples
This beautiful archeological space has a small fee for the precious historical and cultural treasures you will find inside. Discover Mayan artefacts, temples, and find out for yourself how they lived and how they saw the world.
Mayapán is considered the last great capitol of the Mayan culture in the post-classic era (1200-1450 d. C.) and had up to what was believed to be 12,000 citizens according to the information provided by the national institute of anthropology and history.
Cenote de Yaxbakaltún — Homún, Yucatán
There are over 6,000 cenotes that you can find in the Yucatan peninsula, and I would recommend this cenote as it was a wonder to see and a dream to swim in.
It was deep within a open cave and had a sturdy rope to swim and jump into the crystal clear water with. It had a small fee to enter it and is well worth the visit.
Here’s a video to give you a closer look…
Archeological zone in Uxmal – Temples
Uxmal is considered to be one of the most important archeological sites of Mayan culture. I have been to many Mayan historical sites around Mexico, but this is by far one of the largest I have visited.
The amount of complete architecture and large buildings and spaces made me feel like I was standing in the past versus looking at bits and pieces of one.
The stone work on the walls and the massive construction that must have gone on for years made me feel like an ant. It was breathtaking to witness it in person.
Remate de Paseo de Montejo – Festivals at 8 pm on Saturdays
This is located near the Paseo de Montejo which is at the centre of Merida in what is known as the walk of la Calle 60.
On Saturday nights you can walk down to the plaza and find beautiful live music fill space.
There are also dancers dressed in the regions traditional clothing performing on a large stage. I loved the local artisanal booths that fill the street and enjoyed the regional street food that lines the sides of the plaza.
The one regional street food that can be found in Merida are called las marquesitas. I highly recommend to try a bite.
El Monumento de la Patria – Monument
Here you will find a round about, and in the centre, a beautiful monument. I walked around the massive stairs and intensely detailed stone work to find brilliant designs and the history of Merida carved into the monuments walls.
It’s architecture is inspired by neoindigenous or neomaya and tells of moments that are key to the history of Mexico as a nation.
Paseo de Montejo – Museum on Calle 60
The proper name of this museum is La Quinta Montes Molina, and this is a precious landmark mansion from the colonial 16th-century.
It is a beauty to visit and is worth paying a small fee to have a guide explain the significance of the architecture and behind the family’s heritage of the mansion.
There are more museums to be found on this beautiful part of the city.
La Casa de los Abuelos – Food restaurant
To end my trip’s walkthrough, I would like to recommend an extraordinary restaurant that serves a large variety of authentic Mexican food with ingredients that are hard to find anywhere outside of this beautiful country.
I fell in love with the quesadillas of huitlacoche that I ate for dinner twice in a row, and finished my meal with a sweet bread dessert, concha con nata.
Enjoy your travels!