Using Uber in Merida is a great way to get around the Yucatan capital. It is a lot more comfortable and convenient than taking a bus, and the app is safer than using a random street taxi.
If you are not familiar with Uber, it is a ridesharing app that allows you to order a cab to your location. It often works out much cheaper than using street taxis and you can see both the fare and the route upfront.
As such, you know that there will be no scams or surprises when you reach the end of your journey. It is a good idea to download the app and create an account before you travel to Mexico.
Then, when you arrive in the country and you want to order a car, you simply open the app, enter your pickup and drop-off locations, and it will find a driver. Nearby drivers are displayed as little car icons on the map.
If you don’t want to be picked up immediately, you can reserve a pickup in advance. There are usually plenty of Uber drivers in Merida so you don’t have to wait too long for a fare.
An estimated price for your journey will display on the screen. You can opt to pay via cash, card, or ApplePay.
Uber in Merida: Is it Safe?
So, this isn’t a part of Mexico where you have to be worried about getting into a car with a stranger. Perceptions of the Uber app differ around the world.
In some countries, Uber may be considered less safe than regular cabs but in Mexico, most people have the opposite view. If you spend any amount of time in Mexico, you will note that most locals and expats prefer to take Uber in Merida over regular street taxis.
There is much more accountability with an Uber vs a street cab. When you order an Uber, you have the driver’s name, vehicle info, and license plate number.
Of course, since they have created a profile on the app, Uber will also have their more personal details on file should they ever need them. (E.g. name, address, telephone number, vehicle registration info, etc).
On the contrary, when you get into a regular street cab, you don’t know who you are getting in a car with, you don’t have their name or any past references. You also probably don’t write down their license plate number before you get in the car.
Uber in Merida is generally the much safer and better option. There are just a few things that you should keep in mind while using the app to make sure your experience runs smoothly.
Things to Know About Using Uber in Merida
Check the driver’s information and rating
When you get into a car via Uber, you are not getting into a licensed cab, you are getting into a private vehicle. While Uber in Merida is safe, there are always additional precautions that are worth taking.
First of all, always look at the driver’s profile when your fare is accepted. A good driver will have a rating of at least 4.5 and above, and you will also be able to read other short reviews by previous passengers.
If they have completed hundreds or thousands of trips, have a good rating, and have been on the app for years, you can generally feel assured that you are in safe hands. If they are completely new to the app or have a poor rating, you can feel free to cancel and search for another driver.
Uber will not charge you if you do this promptly. Your comfort and safety are paramount and that way, you are free to wait for a driver that you are more comfortable with.
You will be able to see the driver’s location on the little map as they are en route to you. Sometimes, drivers accept your fare while they are completing a journey nearby, so you have to wait a little for them.
Uber will provide an estimated wait time and this will update accordingly. If your driver seems to be stationary for a long time or is doing something weird on the map and going backward and forwards, you are also free to cancel and look for another driver. Never get in a car with someone who is making you uncomfortable.
Always double-check the license plate
When your vehicle arrives, always make sure that the license plate corresponds with what you see in the app. If it is different, you should refuse to get in the vehicle and notify Uber.
Some places in Merida such as the ADO bus station in Centro, or the Walmart on Paseo Montejo are popular pickup points. Multiple people may be waiting for an Uber or a cab at any given time, which is why it is important to always check the license plate of any car you are getting in.
Share your trip info with friends
When you get into your Uber, you have the option to share your trip information with your friends. This will give the person(s) that you choose to share this information with, a real-time view of where you are on your journey, your driver’s details, and the license plate number.
Be aware of Uber’s safety features
Uber has started introducing a lot more safety features in recent years to appease concerns about safety on the app. These are worth keeping in mind for your own peace of mind too.
Uber now offers you the ability to record the audio of your journey. If your driver makes you feel uncomfortable at any point en route to your destination, makes inappropriate conversations, disputes the prices, tries to trick you, or is unprofessional, you can audio record it.
Your driver will not know that you are recording the journey on your app. When you arrive at your destination and the journey ends, the audio file is sent to Uber for review.
Uber now also checks in on passengers if the driver deviates from the route, or spends a long time stationary on the journey. It will pop up with a message asking if you are okay, and you can dial the emergency services or reach the Uber emergency customer service team at the push of a button if needs be.
Approximate prices for taking an Uber in Merida
Uber in Merida is very affordable and cars ordered via the app are generally a lot cheaper than street cabs. Journeys from one part of the city center to another (e.g. Itzimna or Santiago to Parque Santa Ana or Santa Lucia) are usually no more than between $2.50 and $5 depending on the distance.
If you travel a little farther afield, for instance to the Dzibilchaltun ruins in the north of Merida, to La Isla mall, or to the Mayan world museum, you are looking at a fare of around $10. Fares from central Merida to the airport are usually between $10 and $15.
Prices for using Uber in Merida can sometimes as much as double or triple during peak times (e.g. the 5-6 pm rush hour) or if there is a massive rain storm. Since the price difference is so phenomenal, you are usually better off waiting somewhere with a coffee and the price will level out in an hour or so. (You can also check if the price is better on other rideshare apps.)
It is better to order an Uber in Merida in advance if you want to make a long-distance journey, rather than waiting until the last minute. Failing that, you can ask your hotel/accommodation to organize a trusted
Using Uber in Merida for long-distance journeys
There are a few interesting Mayan ruins, pueblo magicos, towns, and Yucatan beaches that make excellent day trips from Merida. For instance, you can go from Merida to Valladolid for the day, to Celestun, or to the ancient city of Mayapan.
Public transport and ADO buses serve most of these attractions and buses in Mexico are generally very comfortable and reliable. However, they often run on limited schedules and so if the times are not convenient (or you prefer more privacy and comfort), you may prefer to travel via Uber.
Some Merida Uber drivers are happy to accept longer distance fares. However, others are not as they cannot find a return fare and it is not always worth their while.
Prices vary depending on the specific place you are going to and the time of day. But to give examples, an Uber from Merida to the beach town of Progreso is likely to cost you between 400 and 500 pesos. (Circa $20-$25 USD).
From Merida to Uxmal, an Uber driver is likely to charge 700-900 pesos ($35-$45 USD). To Celestun, it is likely to be 1000-1200 pesos ($50-$60 USD).
If a driver accepts your fare, you may be able to message them via the app to negotiate a rate for them to wait for you and then bring you back to Merida. Do keep in mind that otherwise, you will have to make alternative arrangements to get back to the city as Uber does not exist in other places in the Yucatan (except the coastal areas of Progreso, Chelem, and Chicxulub Puerto).
You cannot take an Uber from Merida airport
You can take an Uber from central Merida to Merida airport. However, you cannot take an Uber from Merida airport. Only regulated, licensed cabs are able to offer airport pickups.
This is something that you will find all over Mexico. For instance, Uber in Cancun exists, but it is banned at Cancun airport.
There is unfortunately no way around the ban on using Ubers at Merida airport. Instead, you can opt to take the airport bus from the airport to ADO Centro for less than $1 USD or you can take an airport taxi.
A Merida airport taxi should cost you no more than around 240 – 300 pesos ($12-$15 USD). Some online sources will advise you that you can walk from Merida airport little ways down the street and then call an Uber.
This is bad advice as trudging your luggage down the highway around the airport is not safe. If you do this, you can also put yourself and your driver at risk of a fine from the Mexican police.
Do note that you can take an Uber from central Merida to the airport. You just cannot do the same in reverse.
One unique problem that you may only experience if you use Uber in Merida compared to elsewhere, is that the drivers are very particular about being paid in cash. If you order a car, and you have your credit/debit card listed as your payment method, you are likely to encounter problems.
Drivers may accept your fare and then after leaving you waiting for 10-15 minutes, they cancel. Or they may message you to ask you what payment method you are using and if you respond with ¨card/tarjeta¨, they abruptly cancel the journey.
This is usually because drivers want the money in their hands there and then, rather than having to wait weeks for card payments to be processed. A lot of Merida Uber drivers will use a rental car for the day and will need the money ASAP because they are living hand to mouth.
Of course, this is understandable to an extent but it can be very annoying if you are trying to get somewhere and multiple drivers have canceled on you. Unfortunately, the way the Uber app is currently set up, you cannot contact Uber support to complain or notify them about drivers that do this as you can only review drivers that you have completed journeys with.
If you can, always try and pay with cash. It is useful if you keep plenty of small bills (50 and 20 peso notes) and coins with you.
Drivers often don’t have enough change to break large 100, 200, and 500 pesos notes.
Other Rideshare Apps in Merida Mexico
Uber is one of the most popular ridesharing apps in Merida and Mexico on the whole. It can be a great way to get around during your Merida itinerary.
However, it isn’t the only rideshare app that exists in the Yucatan. You can also use Didi and Indriver which are local alternatives.
Didi ridesharing app
Didi is essentially the Mexican version of Uber. It functions in very much the same way and offers a lot of the same safety features but it is often cheaper to use than Uber.
Most locals tend to prefer Didi over Uber. If you are ordering a cab to take you somewhere, you can enter the journey details via both platforms to see which works out cheaper.
If you want to use Didi, you may find that you need to change your country location to Mexico in your phone and Apple account settings.
Indriver ridesharing app
The third and final ridesharing app that exists in Merida is Indriver. A lot of locals use this app, but since it offers fewer safety features, it is generally better to stick to Uber or Didi unless you are traveling with a group of locals.
When you use Indriver, you enter your pickup and dropoff locations just as you do with Uber. Then, you enter the amount that you would like to pay for the journey.
Local drivers then respond with their best offers. From there, you can bid higher/lower.
This is usually the cheapest option of the three.
Final thoughts on taking Uber in Merida Mexico
Have you ever used Uber in Merida or elsewhere in Mexico? If you are going to be visiting Merida and the Yucatan for the first time, you might also enjoy reading this article on the best things to do in Merida, or this post on the best time to visit the Yucatan.
Safe travels! Bien Viaje! xo