48 Hours in Merida, Mexico
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I am a beach girl at heart and crave time at the ocean but I also love traveling to locations rich in history and culture.
If you are wanting a unique location for a romantic getaway or are taking a road trip through Mexico, I highly suggest adding Merida to your list of places to visit.
If you only have one day in Merida, make sure you find your way to this city on a Sunday but if you can extend a few more days, I promise a weekend here will have you wanting to come back again.
After spending a week exploring Merida, here is what I would suggest if you only have 48 hours in Merida.
If you can find your way to this lovely city on a Sunday I highly recommend it, so I am going to highlight spending 48 hours in Merida on a Saturday + Sunday.
Saturday afternoon check into The Diplomat Hotel. This boutique, four bedroom hotel is owned by Sara + Neil who are gracious hosts, talented chefs and are eager to make your trip even more memorable.
Take a dip in the pool and then enjoy a long shower before heading out for dinner. Be sure to admire the custom tiles that Sara designed. I wish I could add these to my bathroom immediately, they are absolutely gorgeous!
Sara and Neil will kindly make you a dinner reservation. My personal suggestion for dinner would be Apoloa. Apoloa is frequently highlighted as one of the best restaurants in Merida. Located in parque Santa Lucia, it has great outdoor seating. The menu leans more toward Oaxaca style and puts a spin on Mexican cuisine through creative dishes and drinks.
Dine outside, enjoy a delicious meal and then find your way to the Malahat Speakeasy next door to Apoloa for a night cap. Don’t get scared when a waiter escorts you through the back parking lot, into the kitchen and then through a small (really tiny) enclosed room that finally leads to this quaint, candlelit bar for a drink.
Even if you aren’t into the bar scene or don’t drink, this is such a unique spot, you do not want to miss this experience. I ordered a coke so they have options other than liquor, but if you enjoy spectacular drink recipes and watching bartenders with magic hands you will love the mixology options here. The feeling of complete privacy paired with the ambience of an era gone by is what makes this place really special.
Parque Santa Lucía Local 2
Calle 55 x 60, Centro
Reservations at Apoala Mexican Cuisine
Wednesday to Saturday
7:30PM to 3:00AM
Take an uber back to The Diplomat and then delight in a restful sleep. Wake up and indulge in breakfast thoughtfully prepared by Sara and Neil. Seriously y’all, this is one of the best meals I have enjoyed while traveling. The flavor that Sara infuses through simple fresh ingredients is incredible. I am working on getting all of Sara’s recipes! And to add to the flavor combinations, look how creative and pretty breakfast is presented.
Even though you may be headed home today, resist the urge to kick back and relax in a hammock by the pool. Trust me, today’s activities will be worth it and you can come back to your hammock this afternoon. First thing on the agenda after breakfast is to take an uber to Paseo de Montego Drive. Every Sunday the cobblestone streets are shut down on from 8AM to 12PM and it’s an incredible atmosphere to experience.
Couples, families and friends gather to enjoy a relaxing morning. You can walk up and down the large sidewalks of Paseo de Montego admiring the historic mansions or rent a bike and join the fun cruising up and down the streets.
Musicians are scattered on the sidewalks and there were even a few DJ’s setup along the street. Music of all varieties was playing for everyone to enjoy. How adorable is this young man playing the drums! The music brings a high energy vibe and helps you continue to walk the streets in excitement even as it gets warmer throughout the day. I went in May and let’s just say it was hot, really hot.
For a special treat, get an ice cream cone from a local street cart or stop into the chocolate museum for a chocolate tasting. There is also a handful of restaurants along the street if you want to enjoy a snack or a light lunch outside on the patio. I stopped for a snack and cold Mexican coke at the famous pink hotel Rosas & Xocolate Boutique Hotel. If you don’t typically drink soda or haven’t enjoyed a Mexican coke, add this to your agenda. I promise it will be worth the extra calories. I am typically a Dr. Pepper drinker at home but Mexican coke is soooo good and I look forward to it each time I travel. After my break, I loved walking up and down the street seeing the history of this beautiful city. From run down Mansions to gorgeous restored homes, it truly is a wonderful street to explore.
At noon, this busy street clears out and the streets are opened back up for driving. Say goodbye to Paseo de Montego and head over to Santa Lucia Park. The same location as Apoloa.
Upon arrival to the small square, the sounds of salsa music vibrate the streets as women dressed in their Sunday best twirl with their favorite dance partner. It quickly gets crowded with families and the occasional tourist filling the bleacher seats and plastic chairs.
Indulge in handmade tacos from one of the local Mayan women cooking fresh tortillas on a big iron griddle and an ice cold Mexican coke straight from the bottle. My favorite taco was the corn and poblano. It has just the right amount of kick and was delicious. Find a table or stand amongst the crowd while you take in the music and dancing on the front stage. You can even join in for a salsa dance or two!
After lunch, make your way to the local market which is in the main square in downtown Merida. This is a weekly market where you will find food, clothing, art, and plenty of souvenirs. I fell in the love with the hammocks at at the hotel and when I saw a young man that had creamy white handmade hammocks, I couldn’t resist. While you are there, be sure to get a photo in front of the large and colorful Merida sign in the Plaza Grande. Spend the evening people watching, tasting Mayan treats, wandering into the museums and churches that are close by or getting lost in the colonial streets.
For dinner I encourage you to explore traditional Yucatan cuisine and La Chaya Maya has a wide selection for your tastebuds to delight in. From relleno negro (black turkey stew) to my favorite cohinita pibil (slow cooked pork) and the unexpected pumpkin seed dip that is addicting.
If you only have 48 hours in Merida and your trip has to come to end, I hope that even with a short itinerary you have a taste for the Yucatan and are planning your next trip back to explore even more.
Merida is full of charming surprises, especially on Sundays. A city that is rich in history and culture that leaves you wanting a little more each time you leave.