15 Best Merida Mexico Beaches in the Yucatan Peninsula


Curious about the Gulf of Mexico beaches near Merida?

You’re in the right place to discover the best Merida Mexico beaches on the Gulf of Mexico!

I live in Merida, and I’ve explored much of the 200 miles of coastline in Yucatan state — known as the Costa Esmeralda (Emerald Coast), for its emerald colored water.

While the Mexican Caribbean beaches in Cancun, Playa del Carmen and Tulum (all in Quintana Roo state; next to Yucatan state) are considered the best Mexico beaches, Yucatan beaches have a charm all their own.

If you’re looking for quieter beaches, the Yucatan beaches in Mexico are for you.

Though there’s no shortage of amazing things to do in Merida itself, many can’t imagine coming to Mexico and not visiting the beaches.

As Merida’s just 30 miles inland, you have access to great beaches via bus and in your Merida rental car, which is the better option.

In this article, you’ll discover the Top 10 best beaches in Merida Mexico, and what you need to know to visit!

Some of the ones featured include Progreso, the closest beach to Merida, Celestun, home to thousands of Yucatan flamingos, and my favorite Merida Mexico beach, San Crisanto.

Ready to discover all the best beaches in Yucatan? Let’s get to it, starting with a Merida Mexico beaches map, which will give you have a better idea of which beach towns are located where.

best Merida mexico beaches

Is Merida Mexico on the beach?

No — The closest beach to Merida is Puerto Progreso Beach, a cruise port city.

The town of Progreso, Mexico is located about 23 miles (36 km), or 45 minutes by car, from Plaza Grande (City Center, or Central Plaza), the Paseo de Montejo and Downtown Merida.

What is the Merida Pink Beach?

There are the Las Coloradas Pink Lakes near Merida — but they are lakes, not a beach.

Many people have seen photos of the pink lakes in Mexico online, and while they do look like a beach, it’s actually a pink lake in Yucatan.

best Merida mexico beaches

Merida Mexico Beaches Map

To help make visualizing their locations easier, check out this map of Mexico beaches located near Merida.

For a reference on driving distance, Progreso is about 30 minutes away, and both Celestun to the east and Dzilam de Bravo to the west are each about 1.5 hours from Merida.

best Merida mexico beaches

Merida Mexico Beaches: Quick Rundown

On one of my Yucatan road trips, I went to all the Merida beaches — and stayed at this Airbnb in Chicxulub Puerto.

Below is a short description for each of the Best Merida Mexico beaches.

While they are all located along the Gulf of Mexico, not all beaches are created equal — meaning some are prettier than others, some you’ll need a rental car to visit, and some are more suited to overnight stays.

✈️ First Merida Trip? Check out my Ultimate Merida, Mexico Travel Guide [Written by a Local] to help you plan an epic Merida vacation!

best Merida mexico beaches

Most-Visited & Best Yucatan Beaches

Chuburna Puerto is about 45-minutes from Merida. (Photo: Jorge Zapata via Unsplash)

🏝 Puerto Progreso, Mexico

This is the closest Merida beach at about 30-45 minutes away, and one of the best beaches in Yucatan.

It is popular with Merida locals, and has a cruise port, so if you’re not into crowded beaches, check the Progreso cruise ships schedule to see when the ships dock.

🏝 Telchac, Mexico

Telchac beach has some nice areas around Telchac Pier, and a nice downtown with seafood and traditional Yucatan foods restaurants.

There are also some fun things to do in Telchac, like visiting the Xcambo Mayan Ruins and Xtampu Pink Lakes.

🏝 Celestun, Mexico

Celestun has beautiful, quiet beaches with seafood restaurants right on the sand, though it’s better known for the Ria Celestun Biosphere Reserve, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Here, you’ll see the large flock of Celestun flamingos and the other birds that call this part of Mexico home. 

🏝 El Cuyo, Mexico

Located about 3.5 hours from Merida, El Cuyo makes a great weekend getaway.

It has some of the best beaches in Yucatan, located at the eastern edge of the state and sharing a border with Quintana Roo state and the Caribbean Sea. El Cuyo is popular with kite-surfers.

🏝 Chelem & Chuburna Puerto, Mexico

Chelem beach, and its neighboring beach town of Chuburna Puerto, have a large Yucatan expat community.

Located just west of Progreso, these two beach towns are popular with those seeking the best beach near Merida Mexico — that’s quieter and calmer than Progreso.

best Merida mexico beaches

Off the Beaten Path Yucatan Beaches

Sisal Beach is about 45-minutes from Merida by rental car, and closer to 90-minutes using public transportation. (Photo: Jorge Zapata via Unsplash)

🏝 Sisal, Mexico

In 2020, Sisal was named a Mexico pueblo magico (magic town). These small towns are highlighted by Mexico’s Secretary of Tourism for unique qualities and a welcoming environment for visitors.

There’s not much in Sisal, just beautiful nature and restaurants right on the sand.

🏝 Chicxulub, Mexico

Chicxulub Puerto is where the meteor hit that wiped out the dinosaurs. There’s even small a dinosaur theme park there now called Sendero Jurásico, which means Jurassic Path, and is popular with families.

You can’t see the impact site as it’s in the water, but what you do have in Chicxulub (pronounced che-che-lube) is high end homes with near-private beaches, and easy access to Progreso.

🏝 San Benito, San Bruno & Uaymitun, Mexico

Located just east Chicxulub, the posh vibe continues in the beaches of Uaymitun (pronounced why-me-tune), San Bruno and San Benito, Mexico.

You’ll definitely feel disconnected from it in all these tranquil towns, which have little more than beach houses (often beach mansions!) and upscale beach clubs.

🏝 Chabihau & San Crisanto, Mexico

San Crisanto is known as the coconut grove, and there’s usually more coconut trees than people on the beaches.

Located about 1.5 hours from Merida, there’s not much around Chabihau and San Crisanto besides the beach, so only visit if you have a rental car.

🏝 Santa Clara & Dzilam de Bravo, Mexico

Located on as far east as the road goes along the coast, you’ll be in these two small fishing village beach towns — both almost entirely off the beaten path for tourists.

I went once, and for me, the beaches weren’t nice enough that I’d want to return.

Best Merida Mexico Beaches

1. Progreso, Yucatan

day trip from merida to progreso beach, mexico
Puerto Progreso Beach, Merida Mexico’s closest beach — and the largest city of all Yucatan beach cities on this list.

Puerto Progreso is the closest beach to Merida, popular for weekend trips made by Merida locals because it’s the most convenient beach to get to.

Progreso is a cruise port town, and when there’s a ship docked, expect thousands more people than usual in this chill beach town.

🚢 Progreso Beach Yucatan Tip: Check to see if there’s a cruise docking before you visit, if you’d prefer to see Progreso when it’s a bit more laid back.

Progreso is the most developed of all Merida and Yucatan beach towns, and it has a large population of expats in Mexico from the United States and Canada.

It is also popular with windsurfers, kitesurfers and kiteboarders, as Progreso can be quite windy.

🏝 best Things to Do in Progreso Mexico

Stroll the Malecon (Beachfront Boardwalk) in Progreso Merida Mexico — a popular destination for all Merida travelers. (Photo: Thomas Andersen via Flickr)

🚶‍♀️Walk the Progreso Malecon

Once you arrive in Progreso, stroll down the Malecon (walkway) for a bite to eat and to get a better feel for the town.

Find your favorite spot on the beach and rent a shaded palapa with beach chairs for $300-500 MXN pesos ($15-25 USD) for the day.

🪁 Take Kiteboarding Lessons

The western side of Progreso has several kiteboarding schools that offer lessons and equipment rentals. Three well-reputed Progreso kiteboarding schools are Yuckite, Kite Beach and AlphaKite.

🏖 Lounge at the Progreso Beach Clubs

The two best beach clubs in Progreso are Silcer Beach Club and El HaGuay. Personally, I prefer El HaGuay, as it’s the more relaxed of the two, but if you’re looking for a lively atmosphere, Silcer Progreso may be the better choice.

El HaGuay is located right next to the giant, colorful Progreso letters sign, on the eastern end of the beach. They let you have a beach chair for the day for free, as long as you order food and drinks.

El HaGuay Progreso has a relaxed vibe with Instagram worthy boho decor. It has become quite popular in the last few years, and now you need a reservation for the beach chairs, which you can make via Facebook.

💦 Visit El Corchito Cenote

Located about 10 minutes by car off the beach, head to the El Corchito Ecological Reserve.

For about $50 pesos ($2.50 USD) you take a short boat ride over to what’s known as Raccoon Island. Here, you can swim in two Yucatan cenotes as the raccoons run by.

🌮 Best Restaurants in Progreso Mexico

Crabster Seafood & Grill on the Malecon is a great option for breakfast or brunch in Progreso. Yum Ixpu, Los Henequenes and Eladio’s Bar are three great Progreso restaurants to eat local Yucatan cuisine and fresh seafood.

  • For a nice dinner with a view, Eladio’s is perfect for a casual, beachfront sunset dinner.
  • For a more upscale dinner atmosphere, check out Almadia.
  • For live music, check out the schedule at Crocodiles Bar & Grill Progreso, which has a lot of great nighttime events.

🚙💨 How to Get From Merida to Progreso Beach

You can drive your rental car, take Uber or a taxi to Progreso for about $25 USD each way. However, the cheapest way to get there is via Auto Progreso — the Merida to Progreso bus.

🚙💨 Note: If you want to use Uber, make sure you have a Mexico SIM card with data so you can call one.

Auto Progreso has a private bus terminal in Downtown Merida, with departures about every hour or so. The drive is 45-minutes, and Auto Progreso tickets cost just $25 pesos ($2 USD) each way.

🏨 Best Progreso Hotels & Apartment Rentals

Under a palapa in Progreso Beach, Mexico. (Photo: Laurentiu Morariu via Unsplash)

If you’re planning to spend the night in Progreso, there are some really great and affordable options for larger groups, couples, solo and budget travelers.

$$$ Progreso Beach Hotel Rental: Penthouse de Lujo — Perfect for groups, this chic beachfront home sleeps six and has a pool. Located in a safe area, where you can walk to everything.

$$ Splurge Progreso Hotel: Tecnohotel Casa Villamar — Boutique hotel in a converted mansion located right on the beach. Enjoy the pool, room service and FREE continental breakfast each morning.

$ Budget Progreso Hotel Apartment: Punta Progreso — Located only 300 feet from the beach in a new construction building that has a pool and 24 hour security, as well as WiFi and AC.

best Merida mexico beaches

2. Celestun, Yucatan

The calm, tranquil, white sand beaches of Celestun, Mexico.

Celestun beach is located about 90-minutes by rental car from Merida, though it’s closer to three hours by bus. For this reason, you might want to consider a Celestun hotel if you don’t have a rental car (see options below ⤵).

Though the town has some of the most beautiful Yucatan beaches, they are often overshadowed by the Celestun flamingos. However, there’s no reason you can’t experience both, especially if you’re renting one of the Celestun hotels featured below.

🏝 Best Beaches in Celestun

Among the best Yucatan beaches are Playa Norte (North Beach) and Playa Sur (South Beach) in Celestun. There is a large fishing pier in Celestun, and these two beaches are located on either side of it, to the north and south.

These two beaches look more or less the same, as they are right next to one another.

However, Playa Norte is the most popular of the two because it has better amenities and restaurants, including La Palapa and Los Pompanos, two of the best restaurants in Celestun, Mexico. 

💦 Things to Do in Celestun

The ojo de agua Celestun cenote in Yucatan, Mexico, is the perfect place for a refreshing swim — and one of the best things to do in Celestun, Mexico.

Besides soaking up the sun on the beach and swimming in the Gulf of Mexico, there’s the Ria Celestun Biosphere Reserve, one of the best Mexico UNESCO Sites.

This large nature preserve is the best place to see flamingos near Merida, and one of the best places for Mexico birdwatching.

🦩 Take this Celestun Boat Tour to see the flamingoes on a cruise through the peaceful mangroves.

This large flock of flamingos in Yucatan travels throughout the peninsula during the year, moving between a few places.

The best time to see flamingos in Celestun is from November to early-March, when the (estimated) 35,000 flamingos live in Celestun during their mating season.

Many people do the mangrove tour via kayak to see the birds in their natural habitat.

Some tours also take you to the ojo de agua baldiosera. This is a swimmable cenote (freshwater sinkhole) sometimes called the baldiosera cenote. It is located in the Celestun mangroves, and you can see it in the photo above.

🚙💨 How to Get From Merida to Celestun

🦩 As many as 35,000 Yucatan flamingos call Celestun home. It is the best place to see flamingos near Mexico.

You have three options: Merida to Celestun tour, car or bus. In your rental car, this is an easy 90-minute drive by just taking Highway 281 right into Celestun.

You also can also do a Celestun tour with departures from Merida — Check out some additional tour options below

The Merida to Celestun takes three-hours each way, so you might want to stay overnight.

Celestun buses depart from the Noreste Bus Station in Downtown Merida, usually every hour on the hour. Tickets are about $150 pesos ($7.50 USD) each way, and you can buy them right at the bus station.

🚌💨 Merida to Celestun Tours

🏨 Best Celestun Hotels & Home Rentals

As a pueblo (small town), hotel options in Celestun are limited — so do book in advance. Below are a few great options, for travelers in all budgets.

$$$ Splurge Celestun Hotel: Casa BreMar 3097, Comfy, stylish rooms, plus a swimming pool, garden, AC in your room, outdoor patio and free WiFi, on a near-private beach.

$$ Mid-Budget Celestun Hotel: Villas del Mar (Beach Suite), Basic accommodations but this is a whole house you have to yourself, located right on the beach.

$ Budget Celestun Hotel: Hotel San Julio, Basic accommodations in your room, but a great location right on the beach, and only a few minutes from Celestun town.

best Merida mexico beaches

3. Sisal, Yucatan

One of the most tranquil Merida Yucatan beaches, the Sisal pueblo magico. (Photo: José Angel Vera Félix via Flickr)

Looking for a quiet, relaxed beach? Look no further than Sisal, which has a white sand beaches, a pier to walk down, a few places to eat and drink — but little else.

It was added to the prestigious Mexico pueblos magicos (magic towns) list in 2020, the only Yucatan beach on the list.

🤔 What is a pueblo magico? Mexico Magic Towns are welcoming to tourists and visitors, with noteworthy qualities including unique culture and folkloric traditions, and natural beauty.

When I personally visit Sisal, I rent a beach chair under one of the shaded palapas outside of the Muelle de Sisal restaurant.

Rentals are about $100 pesos ($5 USD) for the day, and if you order food and drinks from the restaurant, they let you use their bathroom all day.

🚙💨 How to Get From Merida to Sisal

As with all Merida Mexico beach day trips, it’s fastest to drive your rental car.

If you aren’t getting one, this trip involves taking two colectivos (small, shared vans), which aren’t super comfortable for this longer 1.5-2 hour trip — though its certainly economical at $50 pesos ($2.50 USD) each way.

For the bus to Sisal, head to Terminal de Taxis Hunucma in Downtown Merida. The colectivo leaves when it fills up, about every 15-30 minutes.

Exit the colectivo in Hunucma, Yucatán, and walk across the street toward Farmacia Yza, where you’ll catch the Hunucma to Sisal colectivo.

best Merida mexico beaches

4. Chuburna, Yucatan

Chuburna Puerto is the westernmost beach you can access along the Costa Esmeralda (Emerald Coast) beach road that goes from Dzilam de Bravo on the east, to Chuburna on the west. It’s about 20-30 minutes by rental car from Progreso.

It is a town popular with expats, and there’s even an area called “Gringo Gulch,” mostly populated by U.S. and Canadian expats and retirees.

As you might imagine, Chuburna is a pretty sleepy town, but a nice place to spend the day on relatively-empty beaches.

best Merida mexico beaches

5. Chelem, Yucatan

Chuburna and Chelem, Mexico, are calm beautiful beach towns, with large populations of expats. (Photo: Jorge Zapata via Unsplash)

One town east of Chuburna, about 15-minutes by rental car, you’ll be in Chelem. It is a little more populated than Chuburna, though definitely still a pueblo (small town).

The beaches here are tranquil and pretty, and there’s some good Chelem restaurants, like TacoMaya and Que Onda Cafe.

🚙💨 How to Get From Merida to Chelem & Chuburna

The easiest way to get to both Chuburna and Chelem if you don’t have a rental car is to take the Auto Progreso bus from Merida to Progreso.

From there, call an Uber or take a taxi over to either town, which should cost about $100 pesos ($5 USD) each way.

best Merida mexico beaches

6. Chicxulub, Yucatan

Chicxulub Beach is about 15-minutes from Progreso. (Photo: Geovanny Alvarado via Unsplash)

Chicxulub (pronounced che-che-lube) is located just one town east of Progreso. It has larger homes and apartments right on the beach.

Here, you’re basically on a private beach, and only 15 minutes from Progreso by rental car. It felt like the best of both worlds — peace and quiet on the beach during the day, and easy proximity to restaurants for dinner.

Note: I don’t recommend staying on Chicxulub beach without a rental car. It’s near-impossible to get around without one, and you really can’t walk to much.

🚙💨 How to Get From Merida to Chicxulub

If you’re not renting a car in Merida, take the Auto Progreso bus from Merida to Progreso.

They have their own bus terminal located near, Museo de la Ciudad de Mérida, a small museum in Merida. From there, grab a taxi to Chicxulub, which should cost about $100-200 pesos ($5-10 USD).

best Merida mexico beaches

7. San Benito, Yucatan

Keep driving east past Chicxulub Puerto, and you’ll be in the area of San Benito, San Bruno and Uaymitun (pronounced why-me-tune). These are the most upscale of all the Yucatan and Merida Mexico beaches.

While there’s not much besides the beaches, there are great large homes for rent. If you’re traveling with a group, San Benito, San Bruno and Uaymitun have some of the best beach house rentals in Yucatan.

San Benito itself is a tranquil beach area, with little more than the beaches an a few restaurants.

It’s far enough away from Progreso that you’ll definitely escape the crowds, noise and development. However, you’re also close enough that you can drive into town each night for a nice dinner and a bit of nightlife.

best Merida mexico beaches

8. San Bruno, Yucatan

San Bruno Beach in Yucatan is one of the best places to get away from it all.

There are a lot of beachfront house rentals (see above ⤴) in this area, but if you prefer a resort, the Technotel Beach Resort is the perfect luxurious retreat on San Benito beach.

9. Uaymitun, Yucatan

Uaymitun Beach is the next beach over from San Bruno, if you’re heading east.

It has the nicest homes of any town on the entire Coast Esmerelda, and many of its beachfront mansions are available for rent. As there’s not much around, you’ll need a rental car.

best Merida mexico beaches

10. Telchac, Yucatan 

Located right next to the Telchac Fishing Pier, there’s some swings and several restaurant options.

The next town over from San Benito is Telchac Puerto, a more small town place with inexpensive seafood restaurants in the small downtown area.

The beaches in Telchac are nice, especially in the area around the Muelle de Pescadores de Telchac Puerto (Telchac Pier).

🏩 Need a Telchac hotel? The Reef Yucatan All Inclusive Resort has large rooms with balconies and amazing views of the Gulf of Mexico, AC, a huge pool area, gym, restaurant and more.

🤩 best things to do in Telchac Puerto

Xtampu is the closest pink lakes to Merida — though Las Coloradas Pink Lakes is the more famous of the two.
Xcambo is one of the best Mayan Ruins near Merida — and one of its closest archaeological sites.

Besides the beaches, there are some fun places to visit and things to see in Telchac Mexico. These include visiting the Xcambo Mayan Ruins and the Xtampu pink lakes.

Xcambo Ruins a smaller ruins site, with a few structures and pyramids you can climb. This is a great options for those not visiting Chichen Itza, one of the Seven Wonders of the World.

While there’s no Yucatan pink beach, there are the Yucatan pink lakes in Mexico. Xtampu is less-visited than Las Coloradas near Rio Lagartos — but it is the closest pink lakes near Merida.

If you’re wondering, yes, the pink color is real! The lakes are used by locals to collect salt. It is free to visit Xtampu, so head there and see the lakes for yourself.

best Merida mexico beaches

11. San Crisanto, Yucatan

A cooler and a bathing suit is all you need at Sac-ha balneario (beach club) on San Crisanto Beach — one of the most untouched, beautiful places in Yucatan.

San Crisanto is a bit of a drive from Merida, at one hour. It only makes sense to head there in your rental car, as it costs about $50 USD each way for an Uber or taxi.

When visiting, pack and a cooler because there’s not many restaurants or local markets near San Crisanto Beach. 

The best way to visit San Crisanto beach is at Balneario Sac-ha; balneario loosely translates to beach club, though there are few services here aside from restrooms and showers.

Entry to Sac-ha San Crisanto is about $150 pesos ($7.50 USD) per car for the day.

🛶 San Cristanto Mangroves Tour

For a different experience, the San Crisanto Mangroves EcoTour (skip to 0:15 in the video) is a must in San Crisanto, Mexico.

Besides the beach, take the San Crisanto Mangroves EcoTour. This peaceful, gondola-style boat ride through the mangroves ends at Ojo de Agua (cenote) where you can swim in a natural pool in the middle of the Yucatan.

This unique experience is only about $75 pesos ($4 USD) per person. 

best Merida mexico beaches

12. El Cuyo, Yucatan

The white sand beaches of El Cuyo, located about 3.5 hours from Merida, so you’ll want to book one of these best El Cuyo hotels.

El Cuyo is quite a ways away from Merida, at 3.5 hours by rental car, and closer to 4.5 hours on public transportation, as you’ll need to take two buses. When visiting El Cuyo, there are some great hotels in El Cuyo Mexico to choose from.

It is a unique beach town, as it’s located on the eastern edge of the Yucatán Peninsula, where the Gulf of Mexico meets the Caribbean Sea.

With the location of this small village at the intersection of the gulf and sea, the clear waters of El Cuyo, Mexico resemble those of the Riviera Maya.

🪁 Best Things to do in El Cuyo

woman kiteboarding in El Cuyo, Mexico, Yucatan Peninsula
Kiteboarding in El Cuyo, Yucatan, Mexico — one of the best Mexican beaches for this sport!

There isn’t much around it, but this up and coming beach town, popular for kiteboarding, has enough beautiful beaches and activities to keep you busy.

For things to do in El Cuyo, you can take an ATV tour to Las Coloradas pink lakes, go paddle boarding, kayaking and birdwatching.

After a day of activities, head to the best restaurants in El Cuyo, Naia Cafe and El Chile Gordo, for a bite to eat. Head back to the beach to watch the sunset and the kite-boarders as they surf the sky.

During certain times of year, some companies offer tours to see the sea turtles in Yucatan.

🏨 Best hotels in El Cuyo Mexico

beachfront La Casa Cielo hotel in El Cuyo
La Casa Cielo El Cuyo is the hands-down best hotel in El Cuyo Mexico. (Photo: Expedia)

As a pueblo (small town), hotels in El Cuyo — especially those with beachfront real estate — are limited. Below you’ll find a few great options, for travelers in all budgets.

$$$ Splurge El Cuyo Hotel: Hotel La Casa Cielo, Comfy, stylish rooms, situated on a private beach area, with swimming pool and hot tub, garden, terrace, lounge area and WiFi.

$$ Mid-Budget El Cuyo Hotel: LunArena Boutique Beach Hotel, Each of the 12 suites has a kitchenette and private terrace with hammock. There’s a pool, restaurant and free bikes for use.

$ Budget El Cuyo Hotel: Casa Cuyo Hotel & Restaurant, Rustic chic accommodations located just 1,000 feet from the beach (305 m). All rooms have a terrace, and some have AC.

best Merida mexico beaches

13. Pig Beach (Playa Cochino): Puerto Yucalpetén, Yucatan

pigs swimming in the ocean | pig beach mexico, progreso yucatan peninsula

Ever dreamt of swimming with pigs in the Bahamas on the Exuma Islands? Head to Playa Cochino, or Pig Beach, in Puerto Yucalpetén for a similar experience where you can swim with the pigs in Mexico 🐷

Located between Progreso and Chelem, there’s not much in Puerto Yucalpetén besides a group of Vietnamese potbelly pigs that live on the beach — so you’d really only go there to see them.

The adorable piggies live in a pen on the beach, and come out to swim throughout the day.

Locals from town and members of the Policía Ecológica (Ecological Police) care for the pigs. If you visit while an attendant is around, they will usually let you hold and pet the cute piglets.

Besides the pigs, you can enjoy a nice meal at nearby Playa Bonita Restaurant & Beach Club.

best Merida mexico beaches

14. El Palmar State Reserve & Beach, Yucatan

merida beaches
El Palmar Beach, one of the nicest beaches near Merida, located about one hour away. (Photo: joselito2 via Flickr)

Reserva El Palmar Ecological Reserve, located between Sisal and Celestún, is untouched by people and development.

It is the perfect place to enjoy the beautiful Yucatan nature and Mexico ecotourism — as there’s the beach to one side and an eco-reserve to the other.

The nature reserve, similar to the Florida Everglades, is one of the most diverse ecosystems in Mexico. A protected area, El Palmar is home to mangroves, many bird species, and numerous other types of flora and fauna.

Its Faro Palmar is the tallest lighthouse in Yucatan Mexico.

El Palmar is an easy drive to the beach from both Celestun and Sisal, though the roads to get in and out of the reserve aren’t great, especially after big rainstorms.

With a four-wheel drive rental car, you should be fine — or you can just stick to the beaches.

best Merida mexico beaches

15. Dzilam de Bravo & Santa Clara, Yucatan

merida beaches
One of the restaurants on the beach in Santa Clara, Yucatan. (Photo: Alain Berthelot via Flickr)

These are the last two beach towns you reach before the beach road ends. On my last Meridda road trip to the beaches of Yucatan, I made the drive all the way down here — about two hours from Progreso Beach.

For those who are curious (like I was!), these off the beaten path places in Mexico are always worth checking out. However, I personally didn’t find them special enough that I need to return any time soon.

If you are considering going, there are some good seafood restaurants with fresh catch.

best Merida mexico beaches

Merida Mexico Beaches FAQ

Where is Merida Mexico located?

Merida is the capital of Yucatan state, one of the three states that make up the Yucatan Peninsuala, which is in southeast Mexico.

Contrary to what some think, Merida is not a beachfront city! It’s about 30 miles (48 km) inland from the nearest beach in Progreso, Mexico.

🗺 Merida Mexico Map

There are no City of Merida beaches, though there are miles of beaches near Merida, Mexico. With its central location, Merida makes a great home base to explore them all!

There are many great beaches close to Merida, with about five options a short drive of 30-60 minutes away by car. Note: Be sure to check this Merida Beaches Map for a visual.

A few more options are within 90 minutes, and El Cuyo, Yucatan, is 3.5 hours away, though it makes for one of the best overnight Merida weekend trips.

best Merida mexico beaches

What’s the Merida weather like?

Wondering about Merida weather and the best time to visit Merida?

November to April are the best months for visiting Merida, and any beach near Merida. This is the dry season, so rain won’t be an issue.

Summer is the rainy season all over Mexico, though summer storms often pass quickly.

🌡 Merida Mexico Weather Chart

weather in merida mexico beaches

Is Merida safe for travelers?

Yes — For the vast majority of travelers, it is.

Merida is known as the safest city in Mexico. The state of Yucatan, where all beaches on this list are located, also constantly ranks as one of the safest Mexico states; if not the safest.

For a deep dive into this topic, check out Is Merida Mexico Safe to Visit Right Now?

best Merida mexico beaches

Where can I get a rental car in Merida Mexico?

exterior of the merida airport in merida yucatan mexico
Merida Airport is the best place to pick up your Merida car rental, as it has the largest selection in town. (Photo: Wikipedia)

Besides Progreso Beach, you’d want to rental car to visit all the other Merida Mexico beaches.

Though you can access some others with a combo of public transport and a taxi, once you’re on those beaches, there’s not much around and it’s quite hot to walk from place to place.

I personally use Discover Cars for all my Mexico rental cars. In fact, I have rented from Discover Cars all over Mexico, from Merida to Mexico City, and 100% recommend this company, as I’ve had great experiences.

Discover Cars is an aggregate search site that checks local and international companies to get you the best price.

The majority of car rental agencies are located at Merida International Airport (code: MID), so you can pick yours up when you arrive. ▶︎ BOOK your rental car in Merida now!

best Merida mexico beaches

Final Thoughts: Are Merida Mexico Beaches worth visiting?

The Merida Sign in Plaza Grande (Main Plaza in Centro Historico) is one of the stops on the FREE walking tour of Merida, offered by the Merida Tourism Office. It’s one of the best things to do in Merida, “The White City.”

Though the beaches in Yucatan Mexico aren’t as popular with tourists as the Mexican Caribbean beaches in Quintana Roo State, this is a great thing for visitors seeking peace, quiet and nature.

Coming from Merida, you have plenty of beach options in Costa Esmeralda (Emerald Coast).

The closest beach to Merida, Puerto Progreso, is the easiest to access, with places like San Crisanto and El Cuyo a bit further away.

To really see all the best beaches near Merida Mexico, you’ll need a rental car; though you can reach Progreso on the Auto Progreso or ADO bus.

For a quick Merida beach day, Progreso is the best option. It has everything you need — beach clubs, restaurants, convenience stores, lively Main Square, and great Progreso hotels, if you decide to stay overnight.

For a calmer beach, all the others on the list make good options.

Merida Travel Planning Guide

🚑 Should I buy Mexico travel insurance?

100% YES! — With basic coverage averaging just $5-10USD per day, enjoy peace of mind with a plan from World Nomads, the biggest name in travel insurance. (Read more)

💧Can you drink the water in Merida?

No — You’ll want to buy a Water-To-Go Bottle, which filters your drinking water so you don’t get sick from drinking water in Mexico, and helps keep you hydrated while traveling Mexico. (Read more)

🚙💨 Is it safe to rent a car in Merida?

Yes — Renting a car in Mexico is one of the best ways to see the country! I always rent with Discover Cars, which checks both international companies and local Mexican companies, so you get the best rates. (Read more)

📲 Will my phone work in Merida?

Maybe — It depends on your company, so check with your provider. If you don’t have free Mexico service, buy a Telcel SIM Card. As Mexico’s largest carrier, Telcel has the best coverage of any Mexico SIM Cards. (Read more)

🏩 What’s the best way to book my Merida accommodation?

For Mexico hotels and hostels, Booking is the best site. If you’re considering a Mexico Airbnb, don’t forget to also check VRBO, which is often cheaper than Airbnb! (Read more)

✈️ What’s the best site to buy Mexico flights? For finding cheap Mexico flights, I recommend Skyscanner.

🎫 Do I need a visa for Mexico?

Likely Not — U.S., Canadian and most European Passport holders don’t need a visa for Mexico; but check here to see if you do need a Mexico travel visa. The majority of travelers will receive a 180-Day FMM Tourist Visa upon arrival.

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