Where to Stay in Merida Mexico in 2024: Best Areas & Hotels

If you are wondering where to stay in Merida Mexico during your upcoming trip to the Yucatan, I have got you covered here. 

I am a British Travel Writer who has been based in Merida for the last 2.5 years and knows the city extremely well. I am not just someone who passed through the area briefly once.

Charming Merida has something for every budget and travel style so in this post, we will look at the best areas to stay in Merida, and the different hotels and accommodation options within them. If you then have further questions, you are welcome to reach out to me via the comments or social media.

The colorful new Merida gastronomic corridor

Best Areas to Stay in Merida Mexico in 2024

The district that you choose to stay in during your time in Merida can have a real impact on the quality of your trip. If you are only going to be spending a couple of days here, you ideally want to choose somewhere as centrally located as possible. If you base yourself in the historic center of Merida, you can easily get to most of the city’s most charming barrios, best restaurants, and key attractions on foot. 

The best neighborhoods that I would recommend for a first-time visitor then are:

  • The Paseo de Montejo

  • Plaza Grande (the “zocalo”)

  • Parque de Santa Lucia

  • Parque de Santa Ana

  • The “barrio magico”  of La Ermita 

Itzimna and Colonia are also charming, non-gentrified areas that are home to some excellent artisanal stores, coffee shops, and restaurants. They are overlooked from most people’s Merida itineraries and are still located within a walkable distance to the center of town. 

Staying in North Merida, the far west or east parts of town or outlying areas like Cholul, Dzitya, Caucel, and Los Heroes can make getting around a little awkward if you do not have a car. Outside of the quaint colorful colonial center, Merida is actually a much larger city than people realize. 

While Uber and other more “local” ridesharing apps like Didi exist, the cost of getting an Uber everywhere quickly adds up, traffic can be pretty bad in the evenings, and it just makes your experience in the city a lot less comfortable than if you choose to stay in the center. 

There are some nice, modern hotels close to the Gran Mundo Maya Museum in the northern part of town, but it is still easier to stay in the center, where possible. 

Where to stay in Merida Mexico Merida Cathedral flanks the Plaza Grande
Where to stay in Merida Mexico: Merida Cathedral flanks the Plaza Grande

Plaza Grande (The Zocalo) 

The main square in Mexican cities is always known as “the Zocalo” and in Merida, this is the Plaza Grande.

Merida’s main square is encircled by some of the most notable historical buildings in the city – namely the San Ildefonso Cathedral, the City Hall, Montejo House, and the Government Palace. A small handicrafts market is hosted here at weekends where you can pick up all manner of interesting handmade bags, accessories, and Mexican souvenirs

Every Saturday night at 8 pm., a reenactment of the Mayan ballgame “Pok ta Pok” takes place in front of the cathedral and is fun to watch. The game was often used to settle disagreements in the days of the Ancient Mayans and the players had to hit a heavy rubber ball through stone hoops mounted high on the walls using just their hips.

The losing team was often sacrificed but fortunately, that part of the tradition doesn’t happen anymore. Staying in the Zocalo places you in the heart of the action and means that you have tons of dining and nightlife options right on your doorstep.

Despite being central, it is not overly loud or rowdy if you stay here either.

Best Hotels in and around the Zocalo 

  • Hostal Zocalo – simple accommodation right on the square, with dorms and budget double rooms, starting from just $16 a night

  • Hotel H.O Merida – luxury without the luxury hotel. Beautiful hotel set inside a traditional building with a pool, with double rooms starting from $30 a night

  • Casa del Balam – gorgeous mid-range property set inside a renovated art deco mansion. Double rooms from just $45 a night

  • Hotel Embajadores – comfortable modern property with a pool, and an on-site restaurant that serves traditional Yucatecan cuisine. Rooms from $30 a night

  • Villa Orquídea Boutique Hotel – Exquisite contemporary property with luxurious, spacious rooms and suites 
Parque de Itzimná, Merida
Parque de Itzimná, Merida

Itzimna 

Itzimna is a picturesque Merida neighborhood located just north of the historic center of town and the Paseo de Montejo. Before the Spanish colonization, this was a peaceful Mayan town where the locals worshipped the God Itzamna.

Following the arrival of the Spaniards, the existing civilization was destroyed to make way for grand colonial mansions and ornate churches. Parque de Itzimna marks the center of the neighborhood and is home to the 18th-century burgundy “Our Lady of Perpetual Help” catholic church which was built on the grounds of an old Mayan temple.

Few tourists venture into this district which is arguably one of the most charming in the city. In the early mornings and the evenings, street vendors set up their stalls in the park selling cochinita pibl tortas, hot dogs, and fresh fruits and vegetables.

There are some charming independent stores and brunch spots in Itzimna that are arguably some of the best in town. Wayan E, one of the best loved taquerias in Merida, awaits on Calle 20 and is a great place to stop for some tinga de pollo or papas con chorizo breakfast tacos.

There are a number of charming coffee shops and beautiful Catholic churches that are worth looking out for. If you choose to stay in Itzimna during your Merida itinerary you will have plenty of authentic restaurants, cafes, stores, and supermarkets right on your doorstep. Mercado de Pan on nearby calle 17 sells some of the best bread and French pastries in Merida, and there is a little viewing window in the front where you can see the sous chefs hard at work as they prepare croissants and chocolatins.

Best Hotels in and around Itzimna 

  • Delfina Boutique Hotel – Gorgeous rooms set inside a renovated colonial mansion, boasting high ceilings, chandeliers, and elegant furnishings. Rooms from $145 a night

  • Hotel Zar Merida – Comfortable, affordable property that places you on the border of Itzimna and Colonia – two of Merida’s best local neighborhoods
The yellow Hermitage of Santa Isabel, La Ermita, Merida

La Ermita 

La Ermita de Santa Isabel is a picturesque neighborhood that was recognized by the Mexican Tourism Board as being Merida’s first “barrio magico” in 2023. The Barrio Magico program recognizes areas in Mexican cities that offer a particularly unique and special culture, history, and gastronomy. 

Generally speaking, if somewhere is identified as such, it is usually a pretty good indicator that it is a worthwhile place to visit. La Ermita sits between Calle 70 and 62, a short walk south of the Zocalo. 

Its central park is flanked by the gorgeous pastel yellow “Hermitage of Santa Isabel” church, built in honor of “Our Lady of Good Voyage” who is supposed to offer protection for travelers on their journeys. 

The park is a popular rendezvous- point among locals who come here to meet their friends with a takeout coffee or immerse themselves in a book. Some of the best street art in Merida can be found in the little streets and passageways that veer off from this central plaza.

The neighborhood really comes to life after the sun goes down, when dozens of street food vendors set up their stalls in Parque de La Ermita, selling everything from elotes and tacos to marquesitas. 

Best hotels around La Ermita 

Where to stay in Merida Mexico
Where to stay in Merida Mexico: A colorful colonial street in the center of the town

Centro Historico

The historic center of Merida runs from the Zocalo and the Parque de Santiago, up to the squares of the Parque de Santa Lucia and Parque de Santa Ana. 

It is easy and safe to explore this area on foot and part of the fun in visiting is simply found in taking the time to get lost among the colorful streets and passageways.

Merida dates back to 1542 when it was founded by the Spanish Conquistador Francisco de Montejo y León. The main boulevard in the city, the Paseo de Montejo, is named in his honor.

Prior to the arrival of the Spanish, Merida was the Mayan city of T’Ho. Its shrines, temples, and homes were dismantled to create many of the churches and cathedrals scattered around Merida today. 

Calle 59 and the Avenida Del Deportista are two of the most photogenic streets in the city if you want to take photos in front of colorful houses and grand mansions. Sunday mornings are the best time to experience the Paseo de Montejo when the road is closed off to cars so that locals and tourists can cycle and rollerblade down it.

There are many bike shops in Centro where you can rent a bicycle or a tandem for the day if you want to join in and many talented Yucatecan artists take to the boulevard to sell their paintings and sculptures.

The main ADO TAME bus station can be found on Calle 69, while the newly built “Parque La Plancha” from which you can take the IE tram to the Tren Maya station at Teya is situated on Calle 46. Staying in central Merida close to either makes it very convenient for taking day trips from Merida to Mayan ruins and other cities and beaches in the Yucatan.

Best Hotels in and around Merida Centro Historico

  • Rosas Y Xocolat – 2 Beautifully restored French-style mansions that have been converted into a hotel and spa with stylish suites, balcony jacuzzis, and Paseo Montejo views. Rooms from $325 a night

  • Diez Diez Collection – Stylish contemporary property with plush modern furnishings, unique artwork pieces, and a rooftop pool. Rooms start from $138 a night.

  • Fiesta Americana Merida – Grand five-star property boasting Porfirian architecture, stained glass windows, and elegant furnishings. Rooms start from $119 a night.

  • Hotel Plaza by Kavia – Modern property with clean, comfortable, stylish rooms, a rooftop pool, and a free continental breakfast. Rooms from just $39 a night

  • Hotel Boutique Casa Flor de Mayo – Quirky and colorful 8-room boutique hotel set inside an old colonial house in the heart of Merida Centro. Rooms start from $60 a night. 
My favorite hacienda in the Yucatan: Hacienda Sac Nicte

Stay in a Yucatecan hacienda on the outskirts of town

Staying in an old hacienda is one of the best experiences that you can have in the Yucatan if your budget allows it. There are dozens of gorgeous Yucatan haciendas scattered all over the state and many have been converted into incredibly luxurious hotels. 

If you are not familiar with the concepts, haciendas were grand, ranch-style homesteads that were built by Spanish conquistadors between the 16th and early 20th centuries. Many haciendas thrived during the henequen boom (1880-1915).

The properties typically boasted grandiose living quarters where Spanish nobles would live, and then feature several outhouses that served agricultural and industrial purposes. Many haciendas cultivated henequen to sell natural fiber products, and many also reared cattle and other animals.

Sadly, many of these properties fell into abandonment in the 21st century as the demand for henequen dropped with the introduction of synthetic fibers. Some, like Misnebalam, have become eerie ghost towns but many others have been purchased by investors and renovated into accommodations.

A random and expensive hobby I have picked up while living here is trying to stay in all of the haciendas in the Yucatan. Many are located just 20-30 minutes away from Merida, or close to the Uxmal ruins.

Cabs and Ubers can take you to these properties, but your life will definitely be a lot easier if you choose to rent a car in Mexico. Haciendas offer a very intimate experience too as most have only 5-10 guest rooms and are seldom fully booked.

Best Haciendas close to Merida 

  • Hacienda San Jose – A gorgeous property in Tixkokob whose rooms have 18-foot ceilings, beautiful wooden beds, hand-carved furnishings, and traditional Yucatecan hammocks in every room.

  • Hacienda Temozon – Exclusive property that exudes palatial vibes and boasts a very large swimming pool. Temozon was the location of two US Presidential summits.

  • Santa Cruz Hacienda – Gorgeous 17th-century property with spacious rooms, a traditional restaurant, and live Mexican musicians and mariachi that perform as you dine

  • Hacienda Misne – Renovated hacienda 15 minutes from the center of Merida, with French and Spanish colonial influences. 
A statue dedicated to motherhood in Santa Lucia, Central Merida

Parque de Santa Lucia 

Santa Lucia is still in central Merida but is a great place to base yourself if you are hoping to experience the bars, cantinas, and general nightlife scene of Merida. On Friday and Saturday nights, locals meet in the center of the square to salsa dance – a tradition that has been happening in this part of town since 1965.

Arguably, since the Parque de Santa Lucia area can get noisy, this is not the place to base yourself if you want to be in bed by 9 and have a good night’s sleep. If you want to ensure your hotel is quiet, look for accommodation that is located a couple of blocks away.

To experience the best of Merida by night, check out Dzalbay (Calle 64 x 53, Esquina, No.443, Centro, 97000 Mérida), a traditional Mexican cantina that hosts live music virtually every night of the week and often organizes salsa classes and competitions. 

Nearby, La Negrita Cantina (Calle 62 Esquina, C. 49 415, Centro) is a local favorite hangout spot with live salsa music. However, it is perpetually crowded so you need to get here ideally before 8 or 9 pm to secure a seat. 

For light bites and street food in a casual setting, head to Mercado 60, a gourmet food-court-style eatery that has 9 restaurants and 3 bars in one hip space.

Some of the best bars in Merida can be found in this area.

Best Hotels in and around Santa Lucia Merida

  • Hotel Los Aluxes – Four-star property without the four-star price tag. Spacious, comfortable rooms two blocks from Parque Santa Lucia. Rooms start from $40 a night

  • Hotel Hacienda Merida VIP – Gorgeous 19th-century converted  Porfirian-style mansion recognized by Conde Nast as being one of the best hotels in the world. Rooms start from $104 a night

     
  • Casa Tavera – Quaint independent boutique hotel set inside a traditional colonial home with azulejo tile details. Rooms from $59 a night

  • Che Nomadas Merida Adults Only – Social hostel with private rooms, a pool, and communal areas, set inside an old colonial mansion. Private rooms from $31 a night.
Where to stay in Merida: Parque de Santa Ana
Where to stay in Merida: Parque de Santa Ana

Parque de Santa Ana 

Parque de Santa Ana is a great place to base yourself if you are wondering where to stay in Merida. This little piazza is home to the gorgeous pastel-yellow Catholic church of the same name.

On the opposite side of the square, the Santa Ana Mercado is an authentic food market where you can buy light bites (tacos, burgers, nachos, burritos, etc) and street food. Whatever time you happen to stop by, you will find the park constantly filled with vendors selling agua frescas (Mexican drinks made from fruit, water, and sugar), artisanal products, traditional clothing like huipils and guayaberas, and other cute Merida souvenirs.  

This is a nice area to stay if you want to be in the heart of the action and within walking distance to most points of interest, yet you want to stay in an area that isn’t packed full of tourists. Many of the best things to do in Merida are centered around this area.

Best Hotels in and around Parque Santa Ana, Merida

  • TreeHouse Boutique Hotel – Stunning traditional property whose stylish rooms feature private plunge pools and patios. Rooms from $170 a night
  • Hotel Plaza by Kavia – Modern property with clean, comfortable, stylish rooms, a rooftop pool, and a free continental breakfast. Rooms from just $39 a night

  • Hotel Santa Ana – Comfortable budget choice with large spacious rooms from just $24 a night

  • Hotel Marionetas – Bed & breakfast with traditional Mexican decor, Yucatecan hammocks in the rooms, and a refreshing pool. Rooms from $60 a night. 
Loaded elotes at Parque Aleman
Loaded elotes, a popular street food snack at Parque Aleman

Parque Aleman 

Parque Aleman is a charming park and plaza just northeast of central Merida. Few tourists venture here unless they blindly book accommodation in the area.

However, as far as locals are concerned, Parque Aleman is one of the best places in town to grab some street food or spend an evening with friends. By day, this is little more than your regular neighborhood park.

If you stop by at 10 in the morning, you will just see a couple of people walking their dogs, jogging, or having a rendezvous with their friends over an al fresco cup of coffee. However, by nightfall, dozens of street food vendors set up their carts here, and the park really comes to life.

This is one of the best places to sample Yucatecan street food in Merida. You can find everything from fresh churros drenched in chocolate sauce, to marquesitas (Yucatecan crepes) and loaded elotes (doritos covered with sweet corn, cream, cheeses, and all manner of potato chips). 

There is a small fairground with old-fashioned games and rides for children of all ages. On any night of the week, you will see lots of families and groups of friends here having picnics, playing basketball, and generally just hanging out.

The square is encircled by a number of restaurants and take-out-style eateries. For the best burritos in town, head to Las Brasas (C. 24 277, Miguel Alemán).

It is worth noting that although Parque Aleman is lively at night, this is a safe, family-friendly place. It is not noisy or surrounded by rowdy bars filled with drunks.

You won’t find any luxury Merida hotels in this area for now. However, there are several independent rentals and Airbnb properties around Parque Aleman. 

The Mayan World Museum, Merida
The Mayan World Museum, Merida

East, North, and West Merida

If you are staying in Merida for an extended period of time like say for instance, you are using it as a base for traveling around the Yucatan for several months or you are in the process of relocating here, you will generally find much more affordable accommodation away from the city center. 

This is especially true if you are going to be traveling during the peak period between December and March when prices are at their highest. Merida is a very safe city (it is the safest city in Mexico overall!) and as long as you avoid Kanasin which is a little rough around the edges, you will be very safe and comfortable in any random neighborhood you choose. 

I live out in Los Reyes/Pacabtun in East Merida which is a very Mexican, non-touristic area and I feel safe and have all the amenities I need. The areas in the north tend to be more upscale and are often the neighborhoods of choice for gringo expats. 

(For example, San Ramon Norte, Altabrisa, Francisco de Montejo, and Montes de Ame). However, the lesser-known east and west parts of the city often have affordable properties and are cheaper. 

You just have to be mindful of how you plan on getting around and how long it will take you to get to the city center. A cultured highlight of North Merida is the Mayan World Museum which contains a number of artifacts that have been recovered from various Mayan ruins in the Yucatan.

It also tells the history of the Mayan culture through the centuries and provides interesting insight into the Maya people who still live in this region today. 

Amazing street art murals by a famous local artist in East Merida

Best Hotels in and around North, East and West Merida 

  • Hampton Inn by Hilton Merida – This affordable branch of the Hilton brand hotel is situated right outside the Mayan World Museum. Rooms start from $60 a night

  • Extended Suites Merida Siglo – Clean, comfortable, and affordable accommodation beside the Galleria Mall. Rooms from $32 a night
Where to stay in Merida Mexico
Where to stay in Merida Mexico

Best Areas to Stay in Merida Mexico FAQs 

Do you still have any concerns or uncertainty about where you should stay during your trip to Merida? I have answered some frequently asked questions below so hopefully you will find the information that you are looking for there.

If not, please do not hesitate to reach out to me.

What part of Merida should I stay in?

If you are only spending a couple of days in Merida, try and stay as central as possible to make the most out of your time and be close to the city’s main attractions. That means staying on the Paseo de Montejo, close to the Zocalo, Parque Santa Lucia, La Ermita, or Santa Ana.

If you want a more luxurious experience and you are mostly visiting Merida so that you can head out to cenotes and remote ruins, you can also consider a hacienda on the outskirts of the city.

Is it worth visiting Merida Mexico?

Yes! It is absolutely worth visiting Merida Mexico, particularly if you want to experience the city as part of a wider Yucatan itinerary. Some of the best Mayan ruins in Mexico are located just a short drive away – including the world-famous Chichen Itza, Mayapan, Uxmal, and Dzibilchatun. 

Are there any unsafe areas in Merida Mexico? 

Merida is the safest city in Mexico and one of the safest cities in the Americas on the whole. The only area that is by any means unsafe is Kanasin and I would advise against staying there.

I have been to Kanasin during the day and it was fine, just a little rough around the edges, but there is definitely a lot more petty crime in this area and break-ins are not unheard of. The southern part of Merida is a little unsightly in places and mostly consists of industrial districts. 

You have no reason to venture here and staying in this area would place you a long way away from anything of interest so opt for the barrios recommended in this article and you will be fine. Mexico, in general, is much safer than people often realize.

Where to stay in Merida for families? 

Virtually all parts of Merida are safe and family friendly. The historic center, Paseo de Montejo, Itzimna and the Zocalo are all great areas to base yourself.

None of these areas are loud and rowdy at night so you will be able to get a good night sleep if you want the little ones to be tucked up in bed early.  

Where to stay in Merida for the best nightlife? 

If you want to experience the best of Merida’s nightlife scene, opt to base yourself close to Parque de Santa Lucia or near the Paseo Montejo in Centro. That way, you can walk to all of the city’s best bars and restaurants. 

Where to stay in Merida on a budget?

Merida, in general, can be enjoyed on a budget. In the city center, you can find hotels with rooms for as little as $20-$25 a night, and hostels with dorm beds for as little as $16 a night. 

If you really want to spend the minimum though, look for vacation rentals in residential neighborhoods in the east and west parts of town. Keep in mind the total cost though, and consider how much you expect to have to spend on Uber, buses, and getting from A to B. 

If you stop by Itzimna, be sure to try the tacos at Wayan E!

Final thoughts on where to stay in Merida

I hope that this article has helped give you some food for thought on the best areas and hotels to stay at during your time in Merida. As I mentioned, I have been living in Merida for several years now and have bounced around rental accommodations virtually all over town before eventually purchasing a property here in Autumn 2023.

If this is your first time visiting Mexico, you may be interested in reading this collection of tips to know before you go. You may also enjoy this post on renting a car in Merida or this post on the best time to visit the Yucatan.

Have a safe trip and do not hesitate to reach out if you need to! Buen Viaje!
Melissa xo


Melissa Douglas

Melissa Douglas is a British Travel Writer based in Merida, Mexico and the Editor-in-Chief of Mexico Travel Secrets. She has over seven years worth of experience in working in travel media and has travelled to 57 countries, mostly solo. Throughout her career, Melissa has produced written content for several high-profile publications across the globe - including Forbes Travel Guide, the Huffington Post, Rough Guides, and Matador Network.

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