Where to Stay in Merida: 6 Best Areas

Where to stay in Merida for tourists? In this post, we will be looking at the best areas to stay in Merida for first-timers (include map and video), best hotels in Merida for all budgets, and the safest neighborhoods.

Merida is the cultural capital of the Yucatan Peninsula, located in southeastern Mexico that separates the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea.

Yucatan is famous for its ancient Mayan culture with many Mayan archaeological sites like Chichen Itza and Uxmal. Home to Riviera Maya with Cancun, Playa del Carmmen, Cozumel.

Known as The White City, it is one of the most beautiful colonial cities in Mexico with tons of historical landmarks and cultural attractions to enjoy. Bursting with gorgeous architecture, natural beauty, and modern shopping districts and eateries, Merida is definity well worth a visit.

In 2019 Merida ranked as the second safest city in North America, so this is an ideal destination for anyone who wants to visit Mexico but worries about the country’s reputation for crime. Bus as you travel to any city, you should use common sense and be aware of your surrouding.

Where to stay in Merida Mexico?

The best areas to stay in Merida for tourists are Zocalo, Mérida Centro, Santa Lucia, Santiago, Santa Anna, and Paseo de Montejo. These are popular and safe neighborhoods for travelers that offer a wide variety of attractions and amenities.

Zocalo is the overall best area to stay in Merida for first-timers. It is the central point of Merida, both geographically and socially. If you stay here, you will be located within walking distance to restaurants, bars, shops, and attractions such as the Plaza Grande and the Cathedral.

To book hotels, I recommend spend at least 3 days in Merida, which is enough to see the tourist sights, dip in the cenote, visit Mayan ruins, get a feel for the local hitory, culture, and food.

If you have more time, you can do the day trips to other spots on the Yucatán peninsula such as Vallodolid, Chichen Itza, Izamal, Uxmal, and Iglesia De San Servacio.

💖 Best Area for first-timers:Zocalo
💎 Best luxury hotel:Hotel Boutique La Mision De Fray Diego
🏨 Best mid-range hotel:Hotel Caribe Merida Yucatan
💰 Best budget hotel:Hotel Principal

Map of areas and neighborhoods in Mérida:

6 Best areas to stay in Mérida for tourists:

1. Zocalo


Zocalo is the best place to stay in Merida for the first-time travelers who want to be in the heart of the action. This area has a super central location, offering easy access to the major attractions and tourist amenities,

The Zocalo, also known as Plaza Grande, is a grand public plaza at the very heart of the historic center. The square is a popular meetting place, and is surrounded by several grand, historical buildings and Dante bookstore, cafes, and restaurants.

It is also the location of various events and performances such as the traditional dance of Yucatán and La Vaquería. Neaby, you can find historical building such as the Fernando García Ponce Museum, San Ildefonso Cathedral, Olimpo Cultural Center, Government Palace, and Teatro Mérida.

On the west side of the square is the Merida Municipal Palace. The building is beautiful, with its vibrant pink façade of sweeping arches and the oldest clock tower in Merida.

Directly next to the Municipal Palace is the Olimpo Cultural Centre. Boasting a planetarium, a frequent roster of events, including film screenings and live performances, and various arts and cultural exhibits, it’s well worth checking to see what’s being displayed here during your visit.

Merida Cathedral looms over the east side of the plaza. The imposing 16th century stone structure was built with stone taken from ancient Mayan ruins, making this a fascinating blend of two of the region’s major cultures. 

Separated from the cathedral by the ‘Passage of the Revolution’, a glass-roofed tunnel often displaying various art installations, is the MACAY Museum of Contemporary Yucatan Art. Converted from a colonial-era palace, this is another beautiful building, filled with art exhibits in a range of mediums produced by Mexican artists.

This area has a wide range of acommodations for all needs. It is great base to explore the city.

Best places to stay in Merida in the Zocalo area:

luxury ($$$): Hotel Boutique La Mision De Fray Diego, 5-star hotel located in the historic center and commercial zone. It has an on-site restaurant serving regional and Spanish cuisine, and an outdoor swimming pool.

mid-range ($$): Hotel Caribe Merida Yucatan, 4-star hotel centrally located in the historic center of Merida, 3 minutes walk from the city’s main square where you can enjoy an array of tourist attractions. It features rooms with a private bathroom, hairdryer, cable TV, and air conditioning.

budget ($): Hotel Doralba Inn, great accommodation located in colonial mansion in central location, short distance from the Plaza Mayor. In this central park, you will find the Cathedral, Olimpo Museum, and Casa de Montejo which belonged to the founder of the city.

2. Mérida Centro

Mérida’s Centro Histórico, or El Centro by locals, is a great area to stay in Merida for the first time. This area has a high concentration of historical sites, museums, and art galleries.

Amongst the many museums in Centro is the Museo Casa Montejo. Set in a beautiful 16th-century mansion, with many of its original interior features preserved, the museum itself feels like taking a walk back through history.

Alternatively, the Museum of the City of Merida is a more contemporary museum. You’ll find a broad spectrum of fascinating exhibits on the culture and development of the city, with information displayed in both English and Spanish. You will be able to view relics dating from the modern day to as far back as the Mayan period.

To learn more about local Mayan culture and history, you can make a day trip to visit the Mayan World Museum, which is located on the northern outskirts of the city.

For foodies or anyone with pickier appetites, Centro has the broadest range of dining options in Merida. Whether you are planning to sample as much of the local cuisine as possible, or prefer choosing from a variety of more familiar options, Centro has you covered.

If you love city breaks for their potential for shopping sprees, you can find plenty of souvenir shops, craft stores, and artisan markets. Merida’s main market, Lucas de Galvez Market Merida is a great place to visit to soak in the local life!

As far as accommodation, Centro has a broad range to choose from. From luxury hotels and boutique guesthouses to comfortable hostels, you will surely be able to find something to suit your preferences and budget.

Best places to stay in Mérida Centro:

Fiesta Americana Merida With a great location in Merida near the historical city center, this hotel offers Porfirian architecture combined with contemporary amenities and services just a short drive from the airport.

Ibis Merida provides accommodation with a restaurant, free private parking, a bar, and a shared lounge. Featuring a garden, the 3-star hotel has air-conditioned rooms with free WiFi, each with a private bathroom. The hotel features family rooms.

Hotel Doralba Inn is set in a colonial mansion located in the historical district just 300 m. from the Plaza Mayor. In this central park you will find the Cathedral, the Government Palace, the Olimpo Museum, and Casa de Montejo which belonged to the founder of the city.

Casona 61 by GuruHotel features air-conditioned rooms and free WiFi. Featuring an outdoor swimming pool, this property is situated a short distance from Main Square, Merida Bus Station, and Montejo Avenue. 

3. Santa Lucia

Santa Lucia is a small district directly north of the Zocalo. The neighborhood centers around the colorful Santa Lucia church, with its bold pink façade and the neighboring Parque Santa Lucia (Saint Lucia’s Park).

Considering how close the area is to the city center, it retains a remarkably local, community vibe. If you are looking for a neighborhood that has a homey, residential atmosphere, whilst being just steps from the city’s most iconic attractions, this is it. 

Santa Lucia Park is the central hub of the area. The leafy public square is full of benches where locals rest in the shade of the towering palm trees and is surrounded by cafes with alfresco dining terraces spilling into the plaza.

Best of all is the weekly Yucatan Serenade. A community dance party with live music from local bands, it has been held every week since 1965 and is absolutely not to be missed. Every Saturday, it hosts a Noche Mexicana (Mexican Night) with song and dance performances.

For anyone who appreciates a particularly vibrant nightlife scene in their local area, Santa Lucia is the neighborhood for you. Popular with Merida’s population of ex-pats, Santa Lucia not only boasts a particularly diverse variety of restaurants, offering cuisines from around the world but also the highest density of bars in the city.

This is also where you will find most of Merida’s few nightclubs. If you plan to keep your nights out going into the early hours of the morning, Santa Lucia is where you want to go.

Hotels in this area mostly fall into the mid-range to affordable category. Not quite as cheap as you can find elsewhere in the city, but plenty of quality options at reasonable prices. If you are looking for luxury 5-star accommodation, then you’re out of luck in this particular neighborhood. 

Best places to stay in Merida in Santa Lucia:

4. Santiago

Sit directly west of the Zocalo, The Santiago Park and Church – Calle 72 y Calle 59 is of the oldest Colonias in Mérida.

Santiago church is a burial place of one of the first bishops of Yucatán, Fray Luis de Piña y Mazo. Santiago Park (Parque de Santiago) is a popular meeting point of local people, close to e central Plaza and Mercado Santiago market where you can buy fresh local products.

Currently one of Merida’s up-and-coming neighborhoods, this former industrial area is still a great place to find low-cost accommodation, even as it grows increasingly hip.

You can find some great quality but very affordable hotels and hostels just a road or two away from the Zocalo plaza.

In recent years, many of the area’s warehouses and packing plants have been converted into trendy bars, popular shopping areas, food markets, and niche museums.

The indie-hipster vibe is a fun contrast to the cultured historical atmosphere of much of the rest of central Merida. This is an ideal neighborhood for anyone who wants to stay somewhere a little more laid back.

At the westernmost edge of Santiago, you can find both Centenario Zoological Park and the Natural History Museum. Combined they make for a great family day out where you can learn about a wide variety of animals, both living and long extinct.

Best places to stay in Merida in Santiago:

5. Santa Ana

Santa Ana is a small neighborhood just north of Santa Lucia and is centered around Santa Ana Park. The attractive plaza features a fountain and monument to Andrés Quintana Roo, a 19th-century politician, and often hosts street vendors and food stalls.

The plaza is overlooked by the lovely 18th-century Santa Ana church. The cheerful yellow face and twin steepled towers provide charming scenery for anyone enjoying a break at one of the cafes surrounding the park.

The neighborhood is best known for its thriving arts scene, with a high number of independent art galleries in the area.

Santa Ana is located at one end of the Paseo de Montejo boulevard, connecting it to the city center. This is a budget-friendly location to stay in if exploring the paseo Montejo is high on your list of things to do, but you don’t want to stay too far away from the heart of Merida.

Best places to stay in Merida in Santa Ana:

6. Paseo de Montejo

Named for the founder of Merida, Paseo de Montejo (Montejo Walk) is the most important street running through the north of the city. It’s named after the founder of Merida, Francisco de Montejo.

Once the preferred residential area for affluent Meridians, the leafy avenue is lined with grand historical mansions. Many of the mansions have been converted into museums, with guided tours offering visitors a glimpse back at how the wealthy of Merida once lived.

In between the beautiful houses, you will find a number of monuments and small museums, as well as chic boutiques and fashionable cafes. The area has retained much of its upmarket atmosphere and it’s definitely worth taking a stroll around the tree-shaded boulevard to experience a different side of this diverse city.

Along the road, you will find Monumento a la Patria, the old Palacio Cantón (which is now Anthropology and History Museum), the 20th-century ‘twin houses, or Casas Gemelas;

Paseo Montejo is lined with coffee shops, restaurants, shops, and bars. be sure to stop by Heladeria El Colón to grab an ice cream; Cafeteria Impala for a cup of coffee; and look for the famous Pox (local Mayan liquor).

Paseo Montejo is a great place to shop too, you can find almost everything here hip souvenirs with Mayan designs, ceramics, clothing, and home decoration.

Best places to stay in Merida in Paseo Montejo:

Check out my virtual tour about the best places to stay in Merida in this video:

Where should I stay in Merida for the first time?

Zocalo is the best place to stay in Merida for first time visitors because it is the most convenient location and it has a wide range of accommodations that suits all budget travelers.

What are the best areas to stay in Merida?

Zocalo, Mérida Centro, Santa Lucia, Santiago, Santa Anna, and Paseo de Montejo are the best areas to stay in Merida because they are the most popular neighborhoods for tourists that offer a wide range of attractions and amenities.

Where to stay in Merida on a budget?

Zocalo, Centro, and Santa Ana offers a wide range of budget-friendly accommodation options. Some of the best budget hotels with very good reviews in central of Merida are Hotel La Nacional By Kavia, Hotel Reforma, and El Gran Hotel.

How many days should I spend in Merida?

Well, that depends on what you want to see and do in Merida. I suggest spending at least 3-4 days to explore the city’s rich history, culture, and cuisine.

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In conclusion, Zocalo, Mérida Centro, Santa Lucia, Santiago, Santa Anna, and Paseo de Montejo are the best places to stay in Mérida for tourists and first-time travelers.

Overall, Zocalo is the best area to stay in Merida for tourist because it is the most convenient location and it has wide range of tourist amenities such as hotels, restaurants, bars, and shops. If you stay here, you will be located in within easy access to many things.

About Author: Linda Smith

I'm Linda Smith, the Hotel Expert, an experienced travel blogger who passionate about traveling. I'm here to share with you all my travel experiences and tips. I cover a wide range of travel topics, specializing in sharing information about the best areas, neighborhoods, and hotels in each city. I hope all these things will make your travel easier.

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