If you are browsing around the Yucatan capital searching for street art in Merida, you might feel a little disappointed that at first glance, there doesn’t seem to be a ton of it around.
At least, streets and buildings in the historic center of Merida are not covered in murals and paintings like other Latin American cities such as Medellin, Cartagena, or Mexico’s own CDMX and barrios like Iztapalapa and Roma. However, if you know where to look, and with a little patience and interest in traveling off the beaten path in Merida, you will find some gorgeous pieces.
You are in good hands here because I have been living in Merida for the last two and a half years and I have gotten to know the city and its surroundings extremely well during that time. Since commenting to a friend that there wasn’t a ton of street art in Merida, I have been specifically on the lookout for it, and every new piece I find, I will add to this compilation here.
Where to Find the Best Street Art in Merida
A lot of great murals in Merida are in random residential areas, malls, and not in the center of town. Assuming you are staying somewhere fairly central during your Merida itinerary, the most central pieces to look out for are in the parking lot of Calle 47, beside Latte Quattro Sette coffee place, and in the charming barrio of Itzimna.
Some of the best pieces to look out for, in my opinion, are in East Merida, near the ungentrified residential barrio of Los Reyes along the route of the IE tram. However, since this area is far away from basically everything, you would be coming here specifically for the street art as there is not a lot else nearby.
For each of the Merida murals referenced in this post, I have also provided the exact address and the Google Map coordinates so that you can easily locate each one.
Yucatan Toh Bird on Calle 47
The mysterious Toh bird is a gorgeous bird with vibrant, multi-colored plumage that has become something of a symbol of the Yucatan. It is most commonly found in caves, cenotes, and dark places where it lives in isolation but very rarely, you will also see them singing in the trees on the outskirts of Merida.
There is also a fun, thought-provoking legend about the Toh bird that the Mayans teach their children to educate them about teamwork and humility. In a parking lot just off Calle 47 (Merida’s new gastronomic corridor), beside the cute coffee place Latte Quattro Sette, you will see a stunning mural of the Toh Bird.
The mural also reads “Esperare a que sientas nostalgia por mi” which means “I will wait for you to feel nostalgic for me.” The mural is close to some of the best bars and restaurants in Merida, so stop by, and then treat yourself to an elevated Yucatecan lunch.
Gran Plaza Mall
There are some great street art murals painted on the walls of the Gran Plaza Mall, close to the Montes De Ame neighborhood in North-Central Merida. To be honest, this is far from one of the “best” malls in Merida and most of the stores here cater to a more local taste.
(For the best clothes, accessories, and electronics shopping, I would recommend either Plaza La Isla or Altabrisa Mall). However, if you are in the area and you are looking for street art, there are some gorgeous pieces by the local artist Datoer here that depict scenes of modern life in the Yucatan.
- An older Mayan woman using social media on her phone while wearing a traditional Yucatecan huipil dress
- An older Mayan man laughing
- Bart and Milhouse from The Simpsons in Ancient Mayan dress with a stone statue of Kukulkan, the serpent god
- A black and white image of a cheerful Mayan man winking
- A pretty, blue-eyed woman standing beside a colorful mask of the Mayan rain god Chaac
Since so many great pieces are found here, basically one after another, it is worth coming here if you have a real love for street art. Street vendors often set up tianguis (stalls) in the mall selling interesting traditional clothing and artisanal goods, and you can grab lunch in the food court and have a fruity ice cream at the locally famous “Sorbeteria El Colon” dessert spot.
Calle 20, East Merida mural street
Calle 20 in Los Reyes, East Merida is where you will find one of the biggest collections of street art murals in the city. Every inch of the wall along this road has been decorated with artwork created by various Merida artists.
There is an entire section dedicated to our solar system, with gorgeous paintings of the stars. Another section is dedicated to life under the sea, animals in the Yucatecan jungle, and then, scenes of life in Merida, with images of Mayan women in huipils laughing and making tortillas, etc.
I walked along Calle 20 taking photos of the pieces that I liked and ended up with more than 50 pictures. Some of my personal favorites are the sepia scenes of Hanal Pixan, the Yucatecan answer to Dia De Los Muertos, paintings of the Ancient Mayans wearing animal masks, and an image of Kukulkan, the serpent king in Mayan mythology.
You are likely to pass the street if you are heading on day trips from Merida to places east of the city such as the cenotes in Homun, the pueblo magicos of Izamal and Valladolid, or to grab lunch in Tixkokob. If you are renting a car in Merida, you can easily park up and walk along the street so that you can admire each individual painting, although do note that this is a very busy street with a lot of traffic and congestion.
Purple Woman Datoer, Del Parque
On the corner of Calle 14 and calle 53-B, a relatively unsuspecting area of Del Parque in Eastern Merida, you will find another mural by the famous Yucatan artist Datoer. The mural shows a purple woman with black hair tied neatly in a bun, glancing off into the distance, against a pretty pastel-colored pink and turquoise background.
Datoer is one of the most established artists in the Yucatan although, saying that, we really don’t have that many here! (Yet). He has been painting for over 16 years, honing his craft, and has been at the forefront of paving the way to establishing more of a street art and graffiti scene in the Yucatan.
This is particularly notable since the Yucatan is a place that is often very conservative and where people have often associated graffiti with the destruction of property and buildings,
(Even when Datoer has been specifically commissioned to paint murals on certain buildings and facades.)
Along with his partner Sanah and some friends, Datoer formed a local artistic group known as the “GS crew” who often depict Yucatecan life and traditions in their works. Historically, police have hassled street artists in Merida, believing them to be part of some sort of criminal gang (!). Gradually, this type of art is becoming increasingly respected.
Freddie Vs Jason Halloween Mural
One more fun Datoer piece that popped up in East Merida during Halloween 2023 is this Freddie Kruger Vs Jason mural. The detail is phenomenal and the mural awaits in Colonia Manuel Avila Camacho at the intersection of Calle 47A and Calle 14A.
Hip Hop abuelo with a spray can
A short walk away from the Freddie vs Jason mural, past the little park that sits between Calle 35 and Calle 50 in Pacabtun, is this fun mural depicting a gold-chain-wearing, hip-hop-style Viejito. To his left, you will find some more graffiti showing colorful geometric letters and the pieces have the tag “Ackon”, showing their creation by another Yucatecan artist who lives here in the eastern part of Merida.
The tentacled man beneath the sea, Itzimna
The Merida barrio of Itzimna, named after the Mayan God Itzamna, is where you will find a couple of great street art pieces in Merida. Since the neighborhood is so charming anyway, it is worth making the trip here specifically to see them and then explore the wider area.
The barrio is centered around a plaza known as “Parque Itzimna” which is flanked by the gorgeous burgundy “Our Lady of Perpetual Help” Catholic church. The park is a popular rendezvous point among locals and a pleasant place to hang out with a delicious iced coffee (I recommend the choco-mint) from nearby Cafe Latte Itzimna.
The murals are not found directly in the square, but a couple of blocks away. On the main “Circuito Colonias” road, close to a casual dining spot called “Baguettes Cafe” (31 #84, Col. México, México, 97125), you will find this fun painting of a tentacled man beneath the sea, surrounded by fish.
Abuelito with an upturned book on his head
On Calle 20 in Itzimna, just a short walk away from Parque Itzimna, past Wayan E, you will find a travel agent called “Mexplorer DMC” with a yellow mural of an old man with a book balanced on his head at the side of the building. The piece was created by a local artist called Rodolfo Baeza.
This used to be a great little restaurant called Gabbos Bar & Grill which hosted live music every night of the week, but sadly it permanently closed in spring 2023.
Parque Lineal, West Merida
Parque Lineal is an outdoor recreation area in the western part of the city where locals come to walk their dogs, run, and cycle, along various trails that extend across a distance of 25km. Since it gets really really hot in Merida during the spring and summer months, a lot of people come here at night to exercise.
Here, you will find free outdoor gym equipment, groups of ladies doing yoga, zumba, and pilates, and street food vendors preparing everything from elotes to marquesitas. There are a couple of murals in the park, with large stretches of blank walls where it seems likely that more will appear in the future.
Right now, there is a huge mural that covers the entirety of a building here and shows three portly men standing with folded arms against the backdrop of one of the colorful streets of Merida, along with the phrase “Cocina Yucatecan para hombres” (“Yucatecan food for men”).
Cholul is a charming, upscale pueblo located just northeast of Merida. It sits off the tourist trail for now and the only people that are really aware of Cholul are Merida residents, but it is worth stopping here for coffee and brunch as some of the best breakfast spots in town can be found here.
The atmosphere here is particularly nice on Sundays, when a flea market is set up in the zocalo and the grounds of the local church. There are a couple of murals to look out for in Cholul.
In the central square, you will find a painting of a young girl eating a watermelon, and a couple of blocks away is this hunky mural of a shirtless, handsome man.
Crazy worker and Frankenstein’s monster, Colonia Los Reyes
I live in East Merida and bought a house here in 2023 which is why you will notice a lot of the pieces in this post are set in this part of town. On the corner of Calle 34 and Calle 15 in Los Reyes, you will find this fun mural of a mad professor creating some sort of green, Frankensteins monster.
It is only a short walk away from the Calle 20 mural street, and about 15 minutes walk away from the Freddie Vs Jason and hip-hop abuelo murals so you can definitely see them all at once. While you’re in the area, go and grab some cookies or sweet bread (pan dulces) from Panaderia Las Margaritas, it’s my local, and their cookies (“galletas”) are to die for!
Drake Bell mural, Jardines Del Norte
You will find another Datoer piece on the corner of Calle 13 and Calle 12 in the “Jardines Del Norte” area of the city. The painting depicts an attractive, shirtless man gazing off into the distance against a beautiful yellow and lime-green backdrop.
The man in the painting is actually the American actor Drake Bell, who visited the Yucatan as part of the “Tsunami Merida Comic-Con” event in September 2023. Datoer created the mural in honor of his visit, and it was much appreciated by the local Drake Bell fan club.
Merida San Sebastian murals
A handful of murals in different painting styles can be found in the historic center of Merida, a short walk from the Paseo de Montejo in the barrios of Santa Ana and San Sebastian. Some of the best ones to look out for are:
- Toh bird mural
- Children walking in the rain
- Jaguar mural
You will find a vast collection of murals in the barrio of Xcalchen in the southern part of the city. This area has a similar concentration of murals as Calle 20 in East Merida and is worth stopping by if you have time to spare to visit the Merida Cementario General if you want to see the grandeur and alternative beauty of a Mexican panteon (cemetery).
Every June, Xcalachen hosts the annual Yucatan chicharron festival (chicharron are marinated pork rinds that are a beloved snack in Southeastern Mexico). So if your travel dates coincide, you might find the pairing of a pork snack festival and street art pretty interesting.
There is a detailed mural of the late Mexican movie star and singer Pedro Infante here, as well as images of traditional life in the Yucatan, and of the infamous “Lele” doll who hails from Santiago de Queretaro.
Final thoughts on street art in Merida
Merida and the wider Yucatan area have seen a lot of development in recent years, as President AMLOs Tren Maya project is finally completed and the Mexican government and tourism board have injected a lot of money into promoting tourism in the Yucatan peninsula. As more and more people travel to Southeastern Mexico, perhaps more street art will start to pop up throughout Merida.
If you visit the Yucatan during your travels through Mexico, you can also find great street art and murals in the beach town of Progreso, Motul, the abandoned ghost town (“pueblo fantasma”) of Misnebalam, Chicxulub, and the seldom-visited Yucatan pueblo magico of Tekax.
Do you have any more questions about planning a trip to the Yucatan? Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me via social media, email, or by dropping me a comment below and I will get back to you ASAP.
Safe travels! Buen Viaje! Melissa xo