The Bici-Ruta

 

Mérida is excellent at providing free activities for both visitors and residents of all ages and backgrounds. The Bici-Ruta on a Sunday morning is a truly wonderful example of this and a great way to explore the city. You can rent a bike for 20 pesos an hour and follow the route from the Monumento a la Patria (the Monument of the Father), down glorious Paseo Montejo, along Calle 60, through the central plaza by the cathedral and out the other side across Parque San Juan into the neighbourhood of La Ermita in the South. Families come to ride their bikes, locals come to walk their dogs and visitors find themselves swept up in the Sunday morning energy. In the hotter months, it’s definitely worth doing this earlier in the morning before the midday sun hits. Although there are often people giving out water along the route keep you hydrated, you should definitely take your own bottle! For breakfast after your morning of cycling through the city, we recommend Sukra where you’ll find live music and delicious takes on Mexican breakfast!

There are also some night options of bicirutas so check out the schedule below.

 

Here are some biciruta options:

Sunday Biciruta every Sunday 8-12:30pm

Night Biciruta 1st Saturday of each month 5-9pm

Every Wed leaving from Santa Ana park 8:30pm with the organization Cicloturixes

Put on Your Walking Shoes

 

If it’s not too hot (and let’s face it, it’s usually quite hot), one of the best ways to explore the centre of Mérida is to simply set off on foot and see where you end up. There are so many beautiful cafes, squares, cantinas, shops and market places for you to discover. For example, you can take a wander around the neighborhood of Santiago (to the West of the centre) where there is always live music playing and you can find some of the best ‘sopa de lima’ (a chicken broth) in the city. Similarly, la Ermita is a much quieter district with patchwork houses and cobbled streets. Or stroll down Paseo Montejo, the city’s spine which connects the old centro to the fast developing north which is named after Spanish conquistador Francisco Montejo. Admire some of the city’s oldest buildings including the Casa Gemelas (the Twin Houses), Palacio Canton and Quinta Montes Molina.

 

Free Guided Bilingual Walking Tour

Monday-Saturday 9:30-11am

Leaves from: Centro de Información Turística

Calle 62 between 61 & 63, at the Palacio Municipal

Goes to:

Palacio Municipal (Patio Central y salón de Cabildo)

Catedral de San Ildefonso

Palacio de Gobierno

Casa de Montejo

Centro Cultural de Mérida Olimpo

 

Neiborhood and site maps:

Santiago

La Ermita

Paseo de Montejo

Casa Gemelas

Palacio Canton

Quinta Montes Molina

Santa Lucia 

Explore the Markets

 

The market on a weekend is a really fun place to be. This might not be entirely free as we challenge you to spend a morning in a market and not purchase anything. There’s too much fresh fruit and veg, colourful candies, weird looking delicacies, bags upon bags of bright, aromatic spices, thirst-quenching juices and waters and mini fast food stops for you to simply just walk through. A great place to stop if the hustle and bustle is all a bit much in this Merida heat is the taquerias opposite all the flower stalls. Grab a couple of tacos (or anything else super Mexican) for very little money. Also, on a Sunday morning the central plaza is filled with market stalls, perfect for purchasing souvenirs and gifts. The roads are usually closed and filled with small street food vendors offering you a great opportunity to come and try some of the best street food in town.

 

The biggest must-see market:

 

Mercado Lucas De Galvéz

Mercado Miguel Alemán

Natural and Organic foods: Slow Food Market

Mercado Municipal No 2 Santos Degollado​

El Chem Bech

Take a Tour of the Cantinas

 

It doesn’t cost a lot to sit in a cantina for a couple of hours listening to local music, watching people of all ages salsa dancing and altogether soaking up an old tradition which is making a strong comeback. Cantinas are just like bars and they have a long history in Merida. Previously, many of these cantinas were men-only establishments and even now, some cantinas can be a bit rough and are not recommended for foreigners. However, ask anyone for a recommendation and they’ll tell you to check out La Negrita on Calle 62. With live music every evening, some great botanas (snacks) and the best atmosphere in the centro, this is one of the best cantinas in Merida. But if you’re looking for more of a laid back cantina vibe pop your head in Dzalbay which was established in the 1940s and sits just round the corner from la Negrita. Or visit a more traditional cantina such as El Cardenal, El Gallito, Chemas or Estado Seco (the second oldest cantina in Merida). With equality laws in place and the prohibition of women and children banned long ago, anyone will be welcomed here!​

Live Evening Events

 

Merida is excelling at providing free events in and around the centre of the city, particularly since it was named Cultural Capital of Latin America in 2017. Every evening you’ll find something going on either at the Remate (at the end of Paseo Montejo), the central square by the cathedral or one of the many smaller plazas such as Santiago or Santa Ana.

 

Don’t miss the video mapping which takes place every Friday evening at the cathedral. This is a really enjoyable event. Watch as images and patterns cover the front of the cathedral whilst telling the story of Spanish conquest and Mayan struggle.

On Saturday evenings there’s the ever popular re-creation of the Mayan ball game Pok-ta-pok. Watch as extremely agile young men hit a ball with their hips and try to score a goal through a hoop suspended in the air. Even more thrilling is when they light the ball on fire!

It’s also pleasant to walk along the pedestrianised Remate and stroll amongst the different pop-up stalls and try some local delicacies while enjoying the live music on the big stage.

 

Wherever you are in the centre, you’re bound to find some event happening that you can just enjoy after the sun goes down.

 

Some fun free ideas:

 

Free Guided Bilingual Walking Tour

Monday-Saturday 9:30-11am

Leaves from: Centro de Información Turística

Calle 62 between 61 & 63, at the Palacio Municipal

Goes to:

Palacio Municipal (Patio Central y salón de Cabildo)

Catedral de San Ildefonso

Palacio de Gobierno

Casa de Montejo

Centro Cultural de Mérida Olimpo

 

Mondays:

Vaquería Yucateca/TraditionalYucatecan Dance 9:00 p.m.

In front of Palacio Municipal

Calle 62 between 61 & 63 Centro

 

Tuesdays:

Trova Memories in Music 8:30 p.m.

Place: Parque de Santiago

Calle 59 &72, Colonia Centro

 

Wednesdays:

Tour of Historic Cemetary 8:00 p.m.

Place: Interior del cementerio general

Calle 89-A número 538 por 66, Colonia Centro

 

Noche de las Culturas meeting Francisco de Montejo 8:30 p.m.

Theatrical introduction to Francisco de Montejo the Conquistador and Founder of Merida

Place: Casa Montejo

Calle 63 between 62 y 60, Colonia Centro

 

Thursdays:

Santa Lucia Park

Serenade in Santa Lucía 9:00 p.m.

Parque de Santa Lucia

Calle 60 and 55 Colonia Centro

 

In the Heart of Merida 8pm

Streets are blocked off and restaurants put their chairs in the road. Live music all over the place, craft vendors, festive atmosphere in general

Calle 60 entre 59 y 61

Colonia Centro

 

Fridays: 

Video Mapping at the Cathedral 8pm

Video mapping called “sacred stones” happens at the main square

 

In the Heart of Merida 8pm

Streets are blocked off and restaurants put their chairs in the road. Live music all over the place, craft vendors, festive atmosphere in general

Calle 60 entre 59 & 61

Colonia Centro

 

Saturdays:

Noche Mexicana Remate 8pm

Place: Paseo de Montejo & 47

Craft fair, traditional food and ice cream and a stage set up for live music, dance a great show really.

 

Mayan Ball Game: Pok ta pok 8:30 p.m.

Merida Cathedral Main Plaza

Calle 60, Colonia Centro

 

In the Heart of Merida 8pm

Streets are blocked off and restaurants put their chairs in the road. Live music all over the place, craft vendors, festive atmosphere in general

Calle 60 entre 59 & 61

Colonia Centro

 

Sundays: 

BiciRuta 8am-12:30pm

 

Merida en Domingo 8am-8pm

Food stalls, crafts, music

Plaza Grande by the Cathedral

 

In the Heart of Merida 8pm

Streets are blocked off and restaurants put their chairs in the road. Live music all over the place, craft vendors, festive atmosphere in general

Calle 60 entre 59 & 61

Colonia Centro

Five ALMOST Free Things to Do in Merida, Yucatan

By Harriet Sleath

 

Mérida is a city that has so much to offer, so many surprises and hidden gems to be uncovered. She’s a city full of heart and character. From the colourful streets to the people who live here. There is always, always, something going on in and around Mérida and, what’s even better, is many of these won’t break the bank. Here are Mid CityBeat’s recommendations for 5 almost free activities which you can do in the White City at any time of year.​

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