15 Amazing Mayan Ruins Near Merida Mexico [2024]

chichen itza | best ruins near merida mexico

Want to visit the best Mayan ruins near MERIDA?

You’ve come to the right place because I live in Merida, and I’m going to highlight the best Mayan Ruins near Merida for you.

They have all been pinned to a handy Merida map so you can easily find all the ruins — which highlights all the ones you won’t want to miss when you visit Merida, Mexico.

There are about 200 public Mayan Ruins in Yucatan Mexico, with only about five on the main tourist trail. For those who choose to venture off the beaten path, you might have some of the other sites all to yourself.

Ready to discover all the best Merida Mayan ruins? Let’s get to it, starting with the most visited of all Mayan Ruins in Mexico, Chichen Itza.

15 Amazing Mayan Ruins Near Merida Mexico

1. Chichen Itza Ruins

woman on a chichen itza private tours in front of the El Casillo pyramid
Chichen Itza has over two million visitors per year, a tie with Teotihuacan Ruins in Mexico City.
  • Chichen Itza Hours: Open daily, 8 am-5 pm
  • 🎟️ Chichen Itza Admission: $618 pesos (about $36 USD)

As one of the New Seven Wonders of the World, does Chichen Itza even need an introduction?! It is centrally located in the Yucatan Peninsula, and only about two hours from Merida.

To visit, you’ll want to consider a tour — like one of the Chichen Itza tours featured in this article, 10 Best Merida to Chichen Itza Tours to Book.

Why opt for Merida tours to Chichen Itza?

chichen itza, a mayan pyramid and wonder of the world - day trips from Merida
Perhaps the most famous Mayan ruin sites of them all — Chichen Itza Ruins.

As such an important Mayan pyramids site, you’ll want someone knowledgeable to explain why it’s so significant and all the things to see at Chichen Itza — otherwise, you’re essentially just looking at rocks 🪨

Besides that, most Mayan ruins near Merida tours incorporate other amazing things to do in Yucatan.

Tips for Visiting Chichen Itza Mayan Ruins near merida

Cenote Yokdzonot
Cenote Yokdzonot is just one of the places you’ll visit on the popular Chichen Itza, Cenote and Magic Town of Izamal Tour.

If you want to go on your own, you can drive your rental car, or take the ADO bus from Merida to Chichen Itza. ▶︎ Book your ADO bus tickets here!

For those who go on their own, you can still hire a Mayan Ruins at Chichen Itza tour guide when you arrive.

When arriving at the Chichen Itza entrance gate, where you pay to get in, you’ll see accredited tour guides selling day tours for anywhere from $1,500-2,000 pesos (about $85-120 USD).

If you want to hire one, remember to bring enough pesos to pay them, and arrive early to ensure you get a guide.

With about two million annual visitors, Chichen Itza is often crowded, so arrive as close to 8 a.m. when they open as possible.

There’s very little shade, so wear a sun hat, breathable clothing, and these items which outline what to bring to Chichen Itza:

Things to do at Chichen Itza Mayan Ruins

chichen itza stone mayan - day trips from Merida ruins - day trips from Merida
The Nunnery at Chichen Itza Ruins — one of the best Mayan ruins in Yucatan.

There are several Mayan pyramids and unique Mayan archeological sites to see at Chichen Itza.

It is a very large place, at 4 square miles (10 square km) — so wear your most comfortable shoes with gel inserts, and plan for about 3-4 hours so you can see everything.

Upon entering Chichen Itza, the first pyramid you see is El Castillo (AKA the Temple of Kukulcan); this is the Chichen Itza pyramid you’ve seen in photos.

Other notable sites include the Temple of the Warriors, Group of a Thousand Columns, El Caracol Observatory and Sacred Cenote.

Merida to Chichen Itza tours

best mayan ruins near merida

2. Uxmal Ruins

pyramid at uxmal mayan ruins in mexico yucatan peninsula
There are technically no pyramids in Merida, but one of the nearest ones is the Pyramid of the Magician (AKA El Adivino Pyramid) at Uxmal Merida Ruins.
  • Uxmal Hours: Open daily, 8 am-5 pm
  • 🎟️ Uxmal Admission: $428 pesos ($22 USD)

One of the most popular Merida day trips, and best Mayan sites near Merida, is Uxmal Ruins (pronounced oosh-mall).

Uxmal is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is considered the second most important Mayan archaeological site in the Yucatan Peninsula, after Chichen Itza.

Though lacking the name recognition of Chichen Itza, Uxmal is equally impressive — and some would say, even more so.

As it sees only about one-tenth the annual visitors as Chichen Itza, Uxmal is less crowded, and many say it feels more authentic and a lot less touristy.

Besides smaller crowds, you’ll also enjoy other perks by visiting off-the-beaten-path Mexico Mayan ruins — namely, you won’t be hounded by hordes of souvenir vendors.

Uxmal is simply a more peaceful place overall, where you’ll feel relaxed as you admire its ancient Mayan architecture.

Chichen Itza vs uxmal: Should I visit Chichen Itza or Uxmal?

Chichen Itza Mayan Ruins Mexico
Since there are no Merida pyramids, Chichen Itza and Uxmal are both fascinating Mayan ruins near Merida, but Uxmal is far less crowded.

While Chichen Itza or Uxmal is a matter of personal choice since they are both impressive, there is one definitive reason to pick Uxmal — You can climb the Uxmal pyramids and buildings!

For about the last decade, Chichen Itza has not allowed anyone to climb any structures.

Visitors will enjoy climbing the Great Pyramid, located right next to the tallest pyramid at Uxmal, El Adivino, or Pyramid of the Magician).

Though you can not climb El Adivino, from the top of the Uxmal Great Pyramid, you’ll have some amazing views of it and the surrounding Yucatan jungle.

You can climb other Uxmal buildings as well, like the House of the Turtles, Nunnery Quadrangle, House of the Birds, and more, to see Uxmal’s intricate carved stone designs.

Uxmal is one of five sites on the Ruta Puuc, which all have structures in the beautiful Puuc esthetic.

Where is Uxmal Mayan Ruins located?

woman at uxmal ruins in yucatan mexico
The view of El Adivino Pyramid from atop the Great Pyramid at Uxmal Mayan Ruins, one of the amazing ancient sites Mexico.

Uxmal is quite remote, but the closest city is Merida, located about 52 miles (84km) away.

⚠️ Note: If you happen to be coming from other places in the Yucatan, like Cancun, Playa del Carmen or Tulum, know this is a 4-5 hour drive, so you’ll want to book one of these best hotels in Uxmal, Mexico.

Another reason to stay overnight is so you can see the amazing Uxmal Light and Sound Show, which takes place after the sun goes down.

Merida TO Uxmal tours

The Ruta Puuc Route

Though Uxmal has the most name recognition, there are four additional sites on the Puuc Route to check out.

The complete list of Ruta Puuc sites are Sayil, Labna, Kabah, Xlapak and Uxmal — and they all fall under the UNESCO World Heritage Site designation, not just Uxmal.

What is the Puuc Route (Ruta Puuc)?

The Ruta Puuc is a 36-mile (58km) drive that goes along Highway 261 (Hopelchen-Uman Highway).

Coming from Merida, Uxmal is the first site you’ll pass, at 52 miles (84km) away.

If you keep following the road southeast, you’ll pass Kabah, Sayil, Xlapak and Labna, in that order. You can also check Mayan Ruins Map Mexico to see the route.

The word puuc means “hills” in Maya. Though Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula is mostly flat, these five sites sit on an elevated land area.

Puuc also signifies the intricate style of carved stone you’ll see on structures at these five sites.

How to visit the Puuc Route (Ruta Puuc)?

Find Your Rental Car

The easiest way to see all the Puuc Route sites is in a rental car, as there’s not always public transport. For info on the Ruta Puuc Bus, head here.

There’s also the Full Day Tour of Uxmal Sotuta de Peón Planetarium and Cenote, where you’ll go with a guide to all three sites, and enjoy a traditional meal!

best mayan ruins near merida

3. Kabah Ruins

tall, large mayan pyramid - day trips from Merida
Kabah Mayan ruins near Merida, with an amazing Mayan temple Mexico, located on the Puuc Route.
  • Kabah Hours: Open daily, 8am-5pm
  • 🎟️ Kabah Admission: $55 pesos ($2.50 USD)

The ancient city of Kabah is about 1,300 years old. It has a series of Mexican Mayan temples and structures you can climb and explore.

At the Palace of Masks, the central structure, you’ll see an impressive display of more than 300 masks of Chaac, the Mayan rain god, which line the walls.

best mayan ruins near merida

4. Sayil Ruins

large stone building at mayan archeological site - day trips from Merida
The Great Palace at Sayil Mayan ruins near Merida, Mexico and one of the ancient ruins in Mexico.
  • ⏰ Sayil Hours: Open daily, 8 am-5 pm
  • 🎟️ Sayil Admission: $55 pesos ($2.50 USD)

Archeologists estimate that during its heyday in 900 AD, Sayil had an impressive 10,000 inhabitants. The main ruins at Sayil is the three-tiered Great Palace, thought to have been residences for Mayan royal families.

best mayan ruins near merida

5. Xlapak Ruins

mayan ruin site made of carved bricks - day trips from Merida
Xlapak Mayan Ruins in the Yucatan on the Puuc Route.
  • Xlapak Hours: Open daily, 8 am – 5 pm
  • 🎟️ Xlapak Admission: Free

The smallest of the Puuc Route sites, Xlapak is FREE to visit, so don’t skip it! At Xlapak, there are three palaces, located within separate complexes.

Of the three, the main palace is a gorgeous building with several decorative masks honoring the Mayan god of rain, Chaac.

best mayan ruins near merida

6. Labna Ruins

stone arch at Labna, one of the Best Mayan Ruins in the Yucatan
The Labna Arch, at Labna Mayan Ruins in the Yucatan on the Puuc Route.
  • Labna Hours: Open daily, 8 am – 5 pm
  • 🎟️ Labna Admission: $55 pesos ($2.50USD)

Archeologists say Labna is about 1,400 years old, though it’s very well-preserved, especially the Labna Arch.

There’s also El Palacio (The Palace), a long structure decorated with Chaac masks in honor of the Mayan rain god, and El Mirador (The Lookout), a pyramid with a temple on top.

Merida Puuc Route Bus

If you want to go on a Sunday, there is one Ruta Puuc public bus.

You will have to buy tickets in person, so show up early to the CAME Merida bus station on Calle 69 in Downtown Merida to buy yours. (🚍 Note: This Merida bus station is also sometimes called the CAME.)

The Puuc Route Bus has one trip, from 8 am to 5 pm, with the Oriente bus company.

With this bus, you’ll go to all the sites with a designated amount of time you can spend at each site before the bus departs for the next one.

This is not a tour; it’s just a bus that stops at all the sites one day per week.

mayan ruins near merida Mexico

7. Dzibilchaltun Ruins

temple at Dzibilchaltun Mayan Ruins Mexico
Temple of the Seven Dolls (AKA Temple of the Sun) at Dzibilchaltun Mayan ruins near Merida — one of the amazing Mexican Mayan temple.
  • Dzibilchaltun Hours: Open daily, 8am-5pm
  • 🎟️ Dzibilchaltun Admission: $227 pesos ($11 USD)

Dzibilchaltún (pronounced zee-bee-shall-tune) is the closest Mayan ruins to Merida.

The main structure is the Temple of the Seven Dolls (AKA Temple of the Sun), but there’s also a separate area with a few Mayan pyramids and structures you can climb.

There’s also an onsite museum, Museo del Pueblo Maya de Dzibilchaltún, with large Mayan artifacts, a mini sculpture garden to walk through to see statues recovered from other Yucatan pyramids, and Cenote Xlacah you can swim in — you get a lot out of your Dzibilchaltun entrance fee.

Xlacah Cenote at Dzibilchaltun, which is the closest of all Merida cenotes. ⚠️ Note: this cenote has been closed for some time, but will hopefully be open when you visit the Mayan Ruins of Dzibilchaltun.

dzibilchaltun equinox celebrations

mayan pyramid stone building - day trips from Merida
Dzibilchaltun is one of the many Aztec ruins Mexico.

Many visit Dzibilchaltun on the Spring and Autumn Equinoxes to see the sunrise.

On these two days of the year, the rising sun passes directly through the rectangular opening in the Temple of the Seven Dolls.

mayan ruins near merida Mexico

8. Mayapan Ruins

old mayan archeological site with stone pyramid building - day trips from Merida
Mayapan Mayan Ruins Yucatan Peninsula are about 1.5 hours from Merida, one of the pyramids near Merida you should drop by.
  • Mayapan Hours: Open daily, 8am-5pm
  • 🎟️ Mayapan Admission: $40 pesos ($2 USD)

As one of the off-the-beaten-path Maya ruins near Merida, you may have Mayapan all to yourself.

Here, you’ll find a large, central pyramid resembling the famous El Castillo pyramid at Chichen Itza Mayan Ruins. It is called the Castle of Kukulcan and stands at an impressive 50 feet tall (15m).

There is also a large, round structure called The Observatory, which looks just like the structure of the same name at Chichen Itzá.

This cylindrical building resembles the round Toltec Ruins seen in the city of Tula near Mexico City, as historians say Mayapan has a Mayan-Toltec connection.

Mayapan is said to have been the last Mayan city ever built and inhabited before the Spanish conquistadors arrived in the Yucatan.

Though one of the most important pre-Columbian cities in Yucatan, along with Uxmal and Chichen Itza, Mayapan sees far fewer visitors than the two.

Mayapan Yucatan ruins are located in the small pueblo of Tecoh, Mexico, about 28 miles (45km) from Merida.

When visiting, combine it with a swim in any of the 25 or so Merida cenotes near Mayapan, like Cenote Telchaquillo, Cenote Nah Yah, Cenote Noh-Mozon and Cenote Suem.

merida TO Mayapan tours

mayan ruins near merida Mexico

9. Piramide Kinich Kakmo Ruins (Izamal Ruins)

woman at Kinich Kakmo Ruins in Izamal, Mexico
Mayan ruins Merida Mexico: Kinich Kakmo Pyramid is a must-see in the pueblo of Izamal, Mexico.
  • Kinich Kakmo Hours: Open daily, 8 am-5 pm
  • 🎟️ Kinich Kakmo Admission: FREE

Located in the Izamal pueblo magico (magic town), you’ll find the Kinich Kakmo Ruins, often called the Izamal Ruins or Izamal pyramid.

The Yellow City of Izamal (yes, all buildings in Izamal are yellow) is among the best day trips in Merida, and the ruins are just minutes from downtown.

The site is smaller, with just one Kinich Kakmo Pyramid, so you’ll definitely want to combine it with a visit to the city of Izamal itself.

It is one of the FREE Mayan ruins near Merida, and you can climb the pyramid, so it’s worth checking out on your Merida to Izamal trip.

merida TO Izamal tours

mayan ruins near merida Mexico

10. Xcambo Ruins

Xcambo ruins near Merida
Looking for Mayan ruins near Progreso? Xcambo Mayan Ruins, located not far from Puerto Progreso beach Merida and Puerto Telchac beach near Merida.
  • X’Cambo Hours: Open daily, 8 am-5 pm
  • 🎟️ X’Cambo Admission: $75 pesos ($4 USD)

Xcambo Mayan Ruins are off the beaten path. For those heading to the best beaches near Merida Mexico, especially Telchac Puerto, the ruins are just minutes away.

There are two pyramids you can climb, several smaller structures, and a few large stucco sculptures of Mayan gods.

Xtampu Salt Lakes (Mexico Pink Lakes)

woman visiting the Xtampu Pink Lakes
Xtampu Pink Lakes, used by the local Maya to collect salt.

Those visiting Xcambo Mayan ruins will want to also check out the Xtampu Salt Lakes.

These Mexico pink lakes aren’t as well known as Las Coloradas Pink Lakes, but they are just as beautiful, and only about five minutes from Xcambo.

To see them in their most bright pink color, you must visit on a sunny day, and at midday, when the sun is directly overhead.

mayan ruins near merida Mexico

11. Ek Balam Mayan Ruins

ek-balam mayan ruins yucatan mexico
Looking for Mayan ruins near Merida from Tulum? The Mayan Ruins Ek Balam, one of the Yucatan Peninsula Mayan Ruins, have a very distinct look, full of symbolism from the Maya civilization.
  • Ek Balam Hours: Open daily, 8am-5pm
  • 🎟️ Ek Balam Admission: $413 pesos ($21 USD)

Ek Balam Mayan ruins is located about two hours from both Cancun and Tulum, and just a short drive of about 30 minutes from Valladolid, Mexico.

As one of the more off-the-beaten-path Mayan ruins in Mexico, it’s not uncommon to have the place all to yourself if you’re visiting on a weekday in the off-season.

It is a visually interesting site, with thatched roofs covering many of the pyramids, a gorgeous contrast with the stone pyramids.

Towards the interior of the buildings, don’t miss the elaborately carved stone statues tucked away beneath the thatched overhangs.  

You can climb the main pyramid at Ek Balam, the Great Acropolis, for some spectacular jungle views of the surrounding area.

With its unique look, this is one of the coolest ancient Mayan pyramids in Mexico. It’s also one of the ruins near Chichen Itza so you can go to both on the same trip.

Overall, it’s a gorgeous Mayan ruins site, so make sure your phone is charged when you visit because you’ll want tons of photos.

mayan ruins near merida Mexico

12. Calakmul Ruins: Best Mayan Ruins in Campeche Mexico

calakmul ruins campeche mexico yucatan peninsula ruins
Since there are no Merida Mexico Mayan ruins, you can take a day trip to see the Calakmul Ruins in Campeche.
  • Calakmul Hours: Open daily, 8am-5pm
  • 🎟️ Calakmul Admission: $55 pesos ($3 USD)

Campeche State is one of the three states making up the Yucatan Peninsula — with Quintana Roo and Yucatan State, of which Merida is the capital.

Campeche is off the beaten path, but is known for its amazing Mayan ruins and colorful capital of Campeche City, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Calakmul Mayan Ruins (pronounced cah-lack-mool) is one of the best off-the-beaten-track Mexico ruins, and worth a visit, though it’s not easy to get to.

It is about five hours by rental car from the closest major city, Campeche City, deep in the Calakmul Biosphere Reserve.

🏩 Visiting Calakmul? Book at least one night in Hotel Casa Maya Calakmul, as these ruins are not advisable as a day trip from anywhere.

While lengthy, the trek is worth it for anyone who loves Mayan ruins and history. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Calakmul Ruins have two very large pyramids; one that you can climb.

The largest one, Structure 2, is more than 148 feet tall (45m) and is the tallest Mayan pyramid ever discovered.

Structure 1 is the one you can climb. It is a bit smaller than Structure 2, but offers incredible views of the surrounding jungle from the top.

After climbing, you’ll be looking out over the entire jungle tree canopy, seeing a sweeping vista you could never have envisioned while still on the ground.

mayan ruins near merida Mexico

13. Edzna Ruins

woman at edzna ruins yucatan mexico
Located a few hours from Merida, take a group tour to see the Mayan ruins in Campeche on the Full-Day Campeche Tour with Edzná & Becal.
  • Edzna Hours: Open daily, 8am-5pm
  • 🎟️ Edzna Admission: $55 pesos ($3 USD)

Located much closer to Campeche City than Calakmul, you’ll find the Edzna Mayan Ruins. There are some great tour options below if you don’t have a rental car.

You can do a day trip from Merida to Edzna, and though they’re in different states, it’s only about 2.5 hours from Merida to Edzna.

Of all the ruins in Campeche State, Edzna is arguably the most beautiful. The central structure at Edzna is called the Grand Acropolis.

It has five levels and stands 131 feet tall (40m). Though you can’t climb this one, you can climb others, like the Small Acropolis and The Palace.

Only just excavated in 1988, the Temple of the Masks is another amazing structure at Edzna.

This pyramid has two large masks at its base — one that represents the Mayan Sunrise God, and is located on the east side, and the other, for the Sunset God, is located on the west side.

merida TO edzna tours

mayan ruins near merida Mexico

14. Becan Ruins

tall stone temple at Becan, Campeche, Best Mayan Ruins in the Yucatan
Becan is one of the best ruins in Yucatan, yet so few visit this amazing place.
  • Becan Hours: Open daily, 8 am-5 pm
  • 🎟️ Becan Admission: $65 pesos ($3.50 USD)

Located not far from Calakmul, Becan Mayan Ruins are much easier to get to.

Though Becan is in Campeche state, it’s a popular day trip from other parts of the Yucatan Peninsula, like Mérida and Lake Bacalar, the Lagoon of Seven Colors, located near the Riviera Maya and Central America.

Becan is a larger site with 20 or so structures. The biggest pyramid stands at about 90 feet tall (27m), and you can climb it. From the top, you’ll get amazing views of the entire site.

There are other pyramids and plaza-style structures at Becan, with rooms you can walk inside and explore.

mayan ruins near merida Mexico

15. Chicanna Ruins

Chicanna Mayan Ruins of Mexico
The House of the Serpent at Chicanna Mayan ruins near Merida Mexico.
  • Chicanna Hours: Open daily, 8 am-5 pm
  • 🎟️ Chicanna Admission: $55 pesos ($3 USD)

Chicanná is the least-visited of all the Campeche Mayan ruins listed here, but it’s worth visiting for those headed to nearby Becán Ruins.

There are actually about 45 Mayan ruins sites in this area, the Rio Bec Region, though most are small and won’t have much visual impact for visitors.

The most important and beautiful building at Chicanna Mayan Ruins is Structure II, also called The House of the Serpent.

To enter this impressive structure, you’ll walk through a doorway that resembles a serpent that has its mouth open — complete with teeth and eyes.

best mayan ruins near merida

Best Mayan Ruins Near Merida Map

As you may have noticed on the Mayan Ruins Mexico Map above, many of the best Mayan ruins in Yucatan are a bit off the beaten path.

For this reason, the easiest and most convenient way to reach them is by rental car — Get info here: Renting a Car in Merida: Everything You Need to Know.

6 Tips for Visiting Mayan Ruins Near Merida

1. Rent a Car

As you’ll see on the Mayan Ruins near Merida Yucatan map at the top of this article, many of the best Mayan ruins Yucatan are a bit off the beaten path.

For this reason, the easiest and most convenient way to reach them is by renting a car in Merida and driving to them.

Find Your Rental Car

🚗💨 Ready to book your Mexico car rental? I recommend, and personally use, Discover Cars anytime I need a car rental in Mexico. ▶︎ BOOK YOURS NOW!

Mayan ruins near Merida

2. Go with a Group Tour

If you don’t plan to drive, consider a tour of the Mexico Mayan ruins near Merida.

To be frank, if you don’t have a qualified guide explaining all the interesting and rich history of the site — you’re essentially just looking at piles of rocks! I always book my tours in Merida with Viator. ▶︎ BOOK NOW!

Mayan ruins near Merida

3. What to Pack for Mexico Mayan Ruins

Now that your rental car or tour is squared away, you’ll want to know what to pack for Mexico to bring to the ruins. When including the Merida Mayan ruins on your Mexico itinerary, don’t forget to pack these items:

  • Water-To-Go Bottle: This will keep you hydrated and filter your drinking water so you don’t get sick in Mexico. 💸 Get 15% OFF with code SOLO15 at checkout!
  • Water Buffalo Hydration Backpack: These offer a book bag and water bottle all in one — and make for the perfect, practical accessory for a long day of exploring Mayan ruins near Merida.
  • Bullfrog Anti-Bug Eco Sunscreen: The Mayan ruins in Mexico are hot year-round, and most don’t have much shade to hide under. Besides that, they are in the Yucatan jungle, so expect mosquitoes.
  • Some additional items: Sun hat, sunglasses, comfy shoes, breathable cotton clothing.
Mayan ruins near Merida

4. Get a Mexico Sim Card

As mentioned, most Mexico Mayan ruins near Merida are located off the beaten path. The best way to guarantee you have a cell signal is by using a Telcel Mexico SIM Card.

This is Mexico’s largest cell service provider, so using a Telcel SIM ensures you have the best coverage possible.

Mayan ruins near Merida

5. Come with Cash in Pesos

Since many of the Mayan ruins near Merida are in remote locations, staff aren’t able to process a credit card transaction.

Even at ruins that take credit cards for the entrance fee, if you need anything inside, i.e. water, snacks and souvenirs, you need cash (Mexican pesos).

Mayan ruins near Merida

6. Get Mexico Travel Insurance

Just as you insure your car, home, and body, you can also insure your luggage, belongings and health while traveling to Mexico.

If Mexico and Merida travel safety is on your mind, get your free quote below from World Nomads and Safety Wing, two of the biggest names in travel insurance.

  • World Nomads: Perfect for those who want to do adventurous activities while traveling — like climbing Mayan ruins near Merida!
  • Safety Wing: Ideal for general travel coverage, and for digital nomads who travel for extended periods of time.
best mayan ruins near merida

FAQs: Merida Travel Guide

Where is Merida Mexico located?

Mérida is the capital of Yucatan State. This is one of the three states that make up the Yucatan Peninsula, which is located in southeastern Mexico.

📍 Merida Mexico Map

✈️ Wondering about the airports near Merida Mexico? There is actually one in town, Merida International Airport (code: MID).

best mayan ruins near merida

Where to stay in Merida Mexico

Merida basically has three neighborhoods that visitors would want to stay in — Centro Historico (Downtown Merida Mexico), Paseo de Montejo and North Merida.

Keep scrolling to find info on each Merida neighborhood — or, use the guides below to book one of the best places to stay in Merida:

best mayan ruins near merida

Best neighborhoods in Merida Mexico

historic colonial cathedral in merida mexico
Aside from seeing Merida Mexico pyramids, there are so many things to do in Merida.

Downtown Merida: For those who have seen photos of Merida online, you’ve likely seen Centro Historico, Merida’s Historic Downtown.

Known for colorful colonial architecture, historic buildings, and authentic Yucatan food restaurants, this is the main hub of town.

Paseo de Montejo: This is the most beautiful street in Merida, with wide sidewalks to walk on, boutique shops, trendy bars and plenty of restaurants.

Staying anywhere on or near Paseo Montejo, located only a few blocks from downtown, gives you walking access to anything you’d need.

The NH Collection Merida Hotel, seen in the photo below, is located on Paseo Montejo!

North Merida: Located in the northern part of the city, about 20-30 minutes by car from downtown, this is more of a suburban neighborhood.

There are large shopping malls and entertainment complexes, and new construction condos — but this isn’t the Merida you’ve seen in photos.

best mayan ruins near merida

Is Merida safe?

Short answer: Yes — for the majority of visitors, Merida is safe for travel. Longer answer: This question is tricky, as no place is 100% safe.

campeche colorful sign
Campeche City, one of the best Merida overnight trips or day trips, is located only about two hours from Merida.

I do my best to address the Merida Mexico safety question in this article, Is Merida Mexico Safe for Travelers? [20+ Tips from a Local]. However, in short, the answer to the Is Merida safe? question is Yes.

Merida has been called the safest city in Mexico, and one of the safest on the entire Americas Continent, by CEOWorld magazine.

In 2021, Travel + Leisure magazine readers ranked Merida as one of the best cities in the world, and in 2019, Conde Nast Traveler magazine named it the world’s best small city.

best mayan ruins near merida

How many days do I need in Merida?

Of course, this depends on your travel style — but you could cover a lot of ground in 2-4 days, including some Merida day trips.

For those who plan to visit for just a short amount of time, check out the Merida itinerary options below, with more Merida itinerary posts to come!

best mayan ruins near merida

Is Merida worth visiting?

Admittedly, I’m biased because I live in Merida, but YES — Merida is worth visiting! Known as the Cultural Capital of the Yucatan, those who love Mayan ruins, Mayan history and Mexican culture will especially enjoy traveling to Merida Mexico.

cenote zaci valladolid mexico
Make sure you visit the best cenotes near Merida, like Cenote Zaci.

Still an off-the-beaten-path Mexico travel destination, Merida is starting to appear in more Mexico bucket list articles.

With positive press like the 2020 Conde Nast Traveller magazine poll, which named Merida the #3 Best City in the World, it won’t stay a Mexico hidden gem for much longer!

Mayan ruins near Merida

Final Thoughts: Best Mayan Ruins Near Merida

Besides the Merida Mayan Museum, you can see artifacts and ruins at close to 200 Yucatan Peninsula Mayan ruins open to the public.

While this list just scratches the surface, it does highlight many of the most popular Mayan ruins near Merida.

While most who visit Mexico will want to visit Chichen Itza Ruins, one of the Seven Wonders of the World, some of the lesser-visited sites are just as impressive.

Visiting these off-the-beaten-path Mayan ruins near Mexico offers their own perks.

One great perk is that they feel more authentic because there aren’t souvenir vendors trying to sell you tchotchke (a problem at Chichen Itza).

Merida Travel Planning Guide

Should I buy Mexico travel insurance?

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

Can you drink the water in Merida?

No — You’ll want to buy this 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.com 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 always 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 or passport stamp upon arrival.

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chichen itza | best ruins near merida mexico