Wondering where to stay in Merida Mexico? Look no further.
This comprehensive guide has been written by a long-term Merida resident. It covers all of the best districts in Merida, as well as the best hotels and accommodation options within them.
It then provides a summary of what each area has to offer so that you can easily determine the best area to stay in Merida for you. You will find that the city has something for every budget and travel style.
Best Areas to Stay in Merida Mexico in 2023
The main square in Mexican cities is known as “the Zocalo”. In Merida, this is the Plaza Grande.
The Zocalo is a popular meeting point for locals who come and sit on the benches in the central square to chat and hang out with their friends. It is encircled by some of the most notable historical buildings in the city.
Namely, San Ildefonso Cathedral, 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 Mexico souvenirs.
On Friday nights, Pok-a-Tok reenactments take place here and should not be missed. Pok-a-Tok was an ancient ballgame played by the Mayans.
You will find the sunbleached remnants of ball courts in a lot of Mayan cities, including Chichen Itza, Uxmal, and Edzna in Campeche. The players had to hit a hard rubber ball through a stone hoop mounted high on the wall.
To make things more difficult, they were not allowed to touch it with their hands! Sometimes, these games were played to settle arguments and debates, and often, the losing team was sacrificed!
Fortunately, today the losers are not sacrificed! The Zocalo’s central location places you within walking distance of the best Merida restaurants, bars, cafes, and attractions.
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
Itzimna is a charming Merida neighborhood located just north of Centro and Paseo Montejo. Before the Spanish colonization, this was a peaceful Mayan town whose locals worshipped the God Itzamna.
Following the arrival of the Spaniards, the existing civilization was destroyed to make way for grand colonial mansions. Few tourists venture into this district which is arguably one of the most charming in the city.
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.
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 historic center of Merida looks slightly off-center when you look at any map of the city. This area runs from the Zocalo and the Parque de Santiago, up to the squares of the Parque de Santa Lucia and the Parque de Santa Ana.
It is easy and safe to explore this broad area on foot. Part of the fun in visiting is simply found in taking the time to get lost among Meria’s colorful streets and passageways, sipping Mexican Chiapas coffee in cobbled plazas, and taking photos of the beautiful churches and grand mansions that you find.
Merida dates back to 1542 when it was founded by the Spanish Conquistador Francisco de Montejo y León. The main boulevard in the city – Paseo 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. On Sundays mornings, the Paseo Montejo is closed off to cars.
Many locals take this opportunity to run, cycle, and rollerblade along its length. There are many bike shops in Centro where you can rent a bicycle for the day if you want to join in.
The main ADO bus station can be found in central Merida. This is worth noting if you are going to be depending on public transport during your trip and hope to take day trips from Merida.
Best Hotels in and around Centro
- 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.
Stay in a rural hacienda
Staying in an old hacienda is one of the best experiences that you can have in the Yucatan. There are dozens of gorgeous Yucatan haciendas scattered all over the state. Many have been converted into incredibly luxurious hotels.
Some date back as far as the 1500s. They were built so that the Spanish nobility had a place to live in a beautiful, rural setting, while the property also functioned as a ranch, a farm, or as a base from which to mine resources nearby.
Many haciendas thrived during the henequen boom (1880-1915). A lot of them then fell into abandonment in the 20th and 21st centuries.
Some, like Misnebalam, have become eerie ghost towns. Fortunately, a lot of haciendas were purchased by new owners who lovingly restored them and renovated them into luxury accommodations.
The wonderful thing about opting to stay in a hacienda is not only are these properties luxurious, but they are also very peaceful. Most haciendas only have 5-10 guest rooms and they are seldom fully booked, so you have a restful experience of enjoying a grand property without having an abundance of tourists to share it with.
Most haciendas are located away from the city center. Some are as close as 20-30 minutes to Merida.
You will find cabs and Ubers widely available in Merida. However, you may find it preferable to rent a car in Mexico if you are staying away from the city center. This makes getting around the Yucatan much easier anyway.
- Hacienda San Jose – 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.
Parque de Santa Lucia
The parks of Santa Lucia and Santa Ana are still classed as being in Merida Centro. However, each square offers a different atmosphere.
If you are hoping to experience the best of Merida’s nightlife, Santa Lucia is a good place to base yourself. Here, you are a short distance away from some of the city’s main bars and clubs.
You will often see salsa dancing going on in the square on Friday and Saturday nights. This is 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 from the Parque.
Mercado 60 is a great restaurant located here. This is 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. Dzalbay (Calle 64 x 53, Esquina, No.443, Centro, 97000 Mérida) is a traditional Mexican cantina that hosts live music virtually every night of the week and often hosts salsa classes.
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.
Best Hotels in and around Santa Lucia
- 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.
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 Orthodox church of the same name.
On the opposite side of the square, the Santa Ana market is a food market where you can buy light bites (tacos, burgers, nachos, burritos, etc) and street food eats. Whatever time you happen to stop by, you will find the park constantly filled with vendors selling agua frescas (Mexican drinks made from fruit), artisanal products, and 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 Santa Ana
- 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.
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 hotels in this area for now. However, there are several independent rentals and Airbnb properties around Parque Aleman.
North Merida is the more upscale part of the city. As you head northwards away from Centro and towards the beach town of Progreso, the colorful colonial buildings are replaced with large contemporary-style condos and villas.
This is the area of choice for most western ex-pats living in Merida, as well as a number of wealthy Yucatecans. The area is starting to look more and more like an American suburb, with popular chains like Dairy Queen, McDonald’s, Texas Roadhouse, and IHOP constantly popping up here.
This isn’t really the best place to base yourself if you are looking for true, authentic Mexican culture. However, you may enjoy stopping by if you want to indulge in some home comforts that you have missed while traveling.
The Mayan World Museum of Mérida is located here and if you only visit one museum in Merida, make it this one. The museum contains a number of artifacts that have been recovered from various Mayan ruins in the area. It also tells the history of the Mayan culture through the centuries and provides interesting insight into the Maya people that still live in this region today.
There are also a couple of nice shopping malls and cinema complexes in North Merida if you want to indulge in some retail therapy or have a night at the movies while you are in town. In particular, head to Galleria Mall or La Isla for high-street shopping, independent Mexican designer stores, and upscale boutiques.
Best Hotels in and around North Merida
- Hampton Inn by Hilton Merida – Affordable branch of Hilton brand hotel situated right outside the Mayan World Museum. Rooms from $60 a night
- Extended Suites Merida Siglo – Clean, comfortable and affordable accommodation beside the Galleria Mall. Rooms from $32 a night
Las Brisas & East Merida
The eastern part of Merida is a predominantly residential area. There is little to see here by way of either tourist attractions or even points of interest.
However, this can be a cheap place to stay on a budget and there are a lot of Airbnb rentals in the area. You can take buses into the city center from most points (check with your accommodation host to establish where your local bus departs from).
Convenience stores and small mercados are scattered around and for a cheap way to eat out, you can dine at local “cucina economicas”. These are budget restaurants that serve tacos, tortas, and any manner of other Mexican classic dishes. You will also find a large Walmart located in the entertainment complex at Macropolaza.
Best Areas to Stay in Merida Mexico FAQs
What part of Merida should I stay in?
The best area to stay in Merida is in the Centro – either close to the Zocalo, Santa Lucia, or Paseo Montejo. Here, you are within walking distance of most of the city’s main attractions and you can experience the colorful streets that put Merida on the map.
Is it worth visiting Merida Mexico?
It is worth visiting Merida Mexico, particularly as part of a wider trip around the Yucatan. 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. There is nowhere here that is really unsafe, although the southern part of the city is very run down 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. Mexico, in general, is much safer than people often realize. You don’t have to have any preoccupations about your safety when you travel to Merida.
Where to stay in Merida for families?
If you are traveling to Merida as a family, the Centro, Itzimna, or the Zocalo are the best places to stay. These areas place you in the perfect location for exploring all the city has to offer but they are not loud and rowdy at night.
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 Ubers, buses, and getting from A to B.
Where to Stay in Merida: Final Thoughts
Do you have any additional questions or concerns about where to stay in Merida Mexico? Have you visited the Yucatan capital already?
What did you think? Merida is best enjoyed as part of a wider Yucatan road trip.
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! Buen Viaje! xo