Merida is a city of contrasts. You will find elegant hotels, restaurants and malls in the northern part of the city. Downtown, there are hotels and restaurants to suit every budget. A large central market and numerous small shops are found all around the main plaza. Merida has a rich cultural life which also reflects its diversity. Many free concerts, performances and other events are held daily.
The city's ambiance is colonial and the climate is tropical. The daytime temperature varies; in January, it is about 75 degrees Fahrenheit (24 Celsius) and in June, about 95 F (35 C). To beat the heat, most people are busiest in the mornings. They have lunch and siesta, then go back to work for a few hours in the late afternoon. The cool breezes from the Gulf of Mexico drift into Mérida in the evenings and this is when many of the residents spend their time outdoors. You can see them visiting and talking as they stroll along the streets, sit in the plazas or dine in the many sidewalk restaurants.
From Merida, it is easy to take day trips to a vast array of destinations: archaeological sites, ecological parks, typical villages, caves, beaches, colonial missions and more. Take your time and really explore the Maya sites… walk for miles along the Gulf of Mexico… attend a village festival… photograph the wildlife… crawl through a cave or swim in a cenote...
'Manuel Crescencio Rejón International Airport (IATA: MID) (ICAO: MMMD) with direct flights to Mexico City, Houston, Miami, Las Vegas and Europe. Travelers can also get to Merida by flying into Cancun and driving west on the carretera for 3 hours.
There are hardly any cheap 2nd class buses into Merida. It might thus be cheaper to travel to/from Cancun. In particular, there are no 2nd class buses between Merida and Mexico City. The cheapest 1st class bus to Mexico City is 1058 Pesos (about USD $90).
Getting Around Merida
Organized tours are also available from a variety of companies.
Rent a cheapo VW Beetle from México Rent-a-Car for around US$35 a day. Calle 57a between 58 and 60. They have strange opening times, but just ask at the restaurant next door. The man and his super friendly mother will tell you how to get out of town, and throw in some sight seeing tips.
Chichen Itza is a large pre-Columbian archaeological site built by the Maya civilization, located in the northern center of the Yucatán Peninsula, present-day Mexico. The main edifice, the Castillo or Pyramid of Kukulcan, was voted one of the new Seven Wonders of the World in 2007.
El Paseo Montejo is a beautiful, tree-lined street, lined with houses developed by the henequen-industry barons. It's a great place to walk in the evening. Have a dish of ice cream, look at the houses. Make sure to go to the bakery at the Plaza de La Bandera circle (across from the McDonald's). The baked goods are delicious. Right outside, a family sells tamales (and has been for decades). The tamales are cheap, fresh and absolutely delicious.
Mayapan Mayapan is a Pre-Columbian Maya site in the state of Yucatán, Mexico, about 40 km south-east of Mérida and 100 km west of Chichen Itza. Mayapan was the political capital of the Maya in the Yucatan Peninsula from about the late 1220s until 1440s.
Uxmal is a large pre-Columbian ruined city of the Maya civilization in the state of Yucatán, Mexico. It is 78 km south of Mérida, Yucatán, or 110 km from that city on Highway 261 towards Campeche, Campeche)
Carnaval de Merida [] is an annual event every February. Merida has of the five most important Carnivals in Mexico.
The 'Ayuntamiento de Merida' (City Hall) sponsors many cultural events during the week, free of charge. Almost every night visitors and residents alike can enjoy outdoor concerts or dances in one of the many downtown parks and squares.
Those who have time to spend several months in Merida, will also encounter many opportunities to become a volunteer — helping women, children, the disabled, the elderly, the sick and the illiterate. Places to volunteer include PPPN  for helping disabled children and AFAD for helping unwanted dogs and cats find health and new homes.
If you are interested in learning Spanish, learning about Latin America and learning more about yourself in the process, Merida is an excellent place to do so.
Merida has a growing number of art museums and art galleries. Be sure to see the MACAY gallery just off the zocalo next to the Cathedral. Galleries include Artists in Mexico  and Galeria Merida .
Hacienda Sotuta de Peon Thirty minutes south of Merida is the Hacienda Sotuta de Peon, a former sisal plantation which has been restored and opened up to the public. Sisal is what put Merida on the map in the 1900's and what made millionaires out of many land owners of that time. The product called sisal was made from the fibers of the henequen plant, which was (and still is) planted throughout the Yucatan Peninsula. The industry crumbled after about 30 years for various reasons, leaving many haciendas in ruin. Today those haciendas are being restored, and Sotuta de Peon is an example.
Merida is a great place to pick up a good quality hammock.
However, be aware that many people selling hammocks in and around Merida will try to get the highest price they can from a tourist. A good hammock costs between 300 and 800 Pesos, not dollars. The tighter the weave, the better the hammock. You should always insist on unfolding and viewing a hammock before buying it.
Alma Mexicana, Calle 54 No. 476 (x 55 & 57 corner of Calle 55), ☎ 52-999-923.4711, . Mexican folk art & crafts. Lighting & furniture, home decor items, Day of the Dead art, retablos & ex-votos, saints & angels, beautiful jewelry, hand-woven bedspreads, designer leather handbags, cards & stationary, curios & unusual gifts. Telephone +52-999-923-4711 Cel +52-999-155-6049. Open Mon to Sat, Hours 9:30 am - 6:30 pm. Sun open half day 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.reasonable.
D'Al a wonderful local hangout for lunch, menu includes very inexpensive tasty fare, specialties are seafood & local cuisine. Try the shrimp cocktail, delicious. Great specials & soups. Located on the corner of Calle 54 & 53, downtown, historical section.
Las Palomas Bistro is a great place to have romantic dinners in downtown. The restaurant is located within the hotel "Casa del Balam", near the Peon Contreras Opera House just two blocks from the Main Plaza. The menu offers international and regional cooking with some very creative choices of the chef. Perfect romantic ambiance at night in an open terrace where embraced by lush tropical plants.
La Parilla on Paseo Montejo is a great outdoor restaurant. Be sure to have the Sopa de Lima, which is a chicken soup flavored with lime.
Villa Maria on Calle 59 at the corner of Calle 68 is an elegant restaurant with a relaxed attitude. The restaurant is inside an elegantly restored colonial building with a full bar and European menu. The ambiance is quiet and authentically Yucatecan. The most beautiful place to eat downtown. No need to dress up or make reservations.
Hostel El Jardin, Calle 70 No. 509 x 61 and 63 (centro), Phone (999) 123-4178, dorms from 150 Pesos. Private rooms from 270 pesos (fan) and 360 pesos (A/C).The nicest place to stay in Merida on a low budget. E-mail: el_jardin_merida(at)yahoo.com
Nomadas Hostel, Calle 62 #433, at the corner of Calle 51, Phone: 999-924-5223, E-mail: nomadashostel(at)hotmail.com, dorms from 94 Pesos (women) 97 Pesos (men). Internet and large breakfast included. Kitchen use.
Hostel Zocalo, , is located on Calle 63 #508 (between 60 and 62) in front of the Zocalo on the main plaza. Breakfast is included. Phone: 999-930-9562, E-mail: lacasa_delpoeta(at)hotmail.com. Dorms from 120 Pesos.
Hostal del Peregrino at Calle 51 # 488 (between 54 and 56) is a colonial house that has been renovated into a comfortable and clean hostel.
Faby Hostel, Calle 44 No. 501-D entre 61 y 63 centro, Tel. (999) 928 8593 Mobile (999) 142 2010, E-mail: info(at)hostelfaby.com.mx, dorms from USD 13 (fan) USD 20 (a/c)
The Nameless Place, Calle 57 #495, between Calles 58 and 60, Phone: (Spanish) 999-924-0859 (English/French) 044(999)969-5282, E-mail: r_espejo(at)yahoo.com
Aventura Hotel, A clean, American-owned budget hotel. Each room has a private bathroom. Located a few blocks from Santiago Park. Calle 61 #580 between Calle 74 and 76, Phone: 999-923-4801, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Hotel Aragon, No. 474 entre 52 y 54, Col. Centro, Merida, Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico, 97000, ☎ (999) 924-0242, . Placed in a neighbourhood House at the suburb of "Mejorada", just 200 mts. Away from the Carmen Church and Park of Mejorada or "Ninos Heroes". Hotel Aragon offers 18 rooms with bath, air conditioning, telephone, Cable TV and detailed decoration.
Hotel Las Americas, Calle 35 No. 494 x 54 y 56, Col. Centro C.P. 97000, Mérida, Yucatán, México, ☎ (999) 938-12-82, .
Hotel Villa Maria Merida, Calle 59 No. 553 x 68, Colonia Centro, Merida, Yucatan 97000 Mexico, ☎ +52.999.923.3357, . Located on the corner of Calle 59 and 68 in the historical center of Merida. The hotel occupies a restored 17th century mansion. It 11 rooms, each with air conditioner, mini bar, television and room service.
Hotel El Espanol, Calle 69 Num 543c por 70 C.P 97000, Centro, Merida, Yucatan, Mexico, ☎ 01999-923-28-54, 01999-924-10-36, . Accommodations at Hotel El Español come in Double, Triple, Standard King, and Standard Twin types. All guestrooms are air-conditioned and fitted with a deck/ balcony. Rooms also come with a refrigerator, IDD telephone, and cable television. Room service is available.
Hotel Montejo Palace, Av. Paseo de Montejo #483-C x 39 y 41 Col Centro, Mérida, Yucatán; México, ☎ (999) 924.76.44 / 924 72 90, .
Hotel Villa Merida. Just 7 suites, all different.+52-999-928-8466
Hotel Las Arecas is a small 5-room hotelito. Modest, clean and run by a local Yucatecan. Economical and well-located in the historical center. 
Hotel Piedra de Agua, calle 60 no. 498 x 59 y 61 centro. Cp. 97000 merida yucatan mexico, Merida, Yucatan Peninsula 97000, Mexico, ☎ 01 800 999 924 2300, . Rooms fitted with a private toilet & bath with shower, Internet access, and DVD player.Rates start at MXN 950.
B&B Cascadas de Merida is a unique and private bed and breakfast. Four casitas built for maximum privacy around waterfalls and a filtered swimming pool. Known for their hospitality and modern conveniences. 
Hotel Casa del Balam is an elegant Colonial boutique hotel, located across the Peon Contreras Opera House in downtown. 1 800 624 8451 
Hotel Luz en Yucatan urban retreat, Calle 55 #499 x 60 y 58 (three blocks from the Zocalo), +11-52-999-924-0035, . Has fully furnished apartments, complete with kitchen and private bath, in a former nunnery. The rates vary from 350–800 pesos, depending on facilities and also how "successful" you rate yourself to be. Unique website.
Hotel Suites del Sol are apartments for rent by the day, week or month. Calle 58 at Calle 39. . The apartments are spacious and have all the comforts, including full kitchens. 1 and 2 bedroom apartments. Off street parking.
Hotel Marionetas is a small charming hotel with colonial style and modern conveniences. Calle 49 between Calle 62 and 64 in Centro Historico. Every room is different, with unique furnishings, mosaico floor tiles and views of the inner courtyard with pool. Wireless internet, phones and A/C in the rooms.
Hotel Los Aluxes is a great, clean, and friendly place to stay that is only a few blocks to the main plaza. Off-street, secured parking is a big help if you have a rental car. Make sure to have the cafe con leche in the cafe.
Hotel Posada Santiago Guesthouse Calle 57 No. 552, x 66 y68 Centro +11 52 999 928 42 58. A 4 room guest house.
Hyatt Regency Merida, Av Colon esq Calle 60 (100m from Paseo Montejo), ☎ +52 999 942 1234 (email@example.com), . 289 rooms and suites. The hotel is five minutes from the city's convention centre.
Several important archaeological sites are close to Mérida. Major ones that are Mexican National Parks and are described in their own articles include:
The ruins and national park at Dzibilchaltún are only a few minutes' drive from Mérida. An admission fee is charged. The site has been continuously occupied for thousands of years. Its most famous structure is the Temple Of The Seven Dolls, so named because of seven small effigies found at the site when the temple was discovered under the ruins of a later temple pyramid by archaeologists in the 1950s. On the Spring Equinox, the sun rises so that it shines directly through one window of the temple and out the other. The temple is connected to the rest of the site by a long sacbé. The other major feature of Dzibilchaltún is its cenote, which is used as a swimming hole by local residents year round. Dzibilchaltún is the first stop on Mexico's Ruta de los Cenotes, a network of natural and cultural sites that stretches from Mérida to Puerto Morelos on the Caribbean coast south of Cancun. Dzibilchaltún also contains the ruin of a 16th century Spanish church built at the site after the conquest. The archaeological site offers a museum which houses Mayan artifacts from the site and the adjacent region.