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Merida’s Best Photo Spots

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Merida's Best Photo Spots

Merida, Mexico, is a paradise for photographers. From historic buildings to vibrant street murals, every corner of Merida is a canvas waiting to be captured on camera. To inspire you, this guide will take you on a journey through Merida’s best photo spots. Not to mention a few incredible day trips you should take as well.

Brace yourself for a visual feast as we explore the city’s markets, historic sites, and natural wonders. Read on to discover why Merida is a hidden gem for photographers and how to make the most of your trip.

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When you’re ready to plan your trip to Merida, Booking.com can help.

When is the best time to visit Merida, Mexico?

Merida has a lovely tropical climate, with warm temperatures year-round. What I love most about Merida is the sunshine! However, there are two distinct seasons. The dry season is from November to April, and the rainy season is from May to October.

Most days are beautiful and sunny during the dry season, with limited rain. Temperatures typically range from 80 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit during the day. The rainy season brings more humid conditions and afternoon showers. The temperatures in the summer months will be primarily hot and humid and may not be enjoyable for everyone. Do keep in mind that hurricane season runs from May to November. No matter the time of the year you visit, I highly recommend you pack plenty of sunscreen lotion and a hat or head covering to protect from sun exposure.

Merida’s Best Photo Spots

Centro Historico

Calle 60 Colorful Buildings - photo by Lisa Soots
Image by Lisa Soots

First of all, you need to visit the Centro Historico district. With its rich history and colonial architecture, there are plenty of photo opportunities to capture here. Start your photo journey at the Cathedral of Merida, an iconic landmark with stunning architecture and detail. Or, like I did, you can make your way down the buzzing Calle 60. Here you’ll find lovely buildings adorned with intricate ironwork and balconies with lush foliage.

The Beautifully Preserved Plaza Grande

Mérida's best photo spots - photo by Lisa Soots
Image by Lisa Soots

Second on the list is the Plaza Grande—another of Merida’s best photo spots. As the city’s main square, it is truly the heart of Merida’s cultural and social life. Impressive buildings from different historical periods surround the square. They include the Palacio de Gobierno, Catedral de San Ildefonso, and the Casa de Montejo. Also interesting to note is the Catedral de San Ildefonso, also known as the Mérida Cathedral, is the oldest cathedral in Mexico. 

The Plaza Grande is one of the liveliest spots in Merida, and we definitely enjoyed hanging out here. Additionally, the Plaza Grande is also home to cultural events and festivals throughout the year. So make sure to check what’s happening during your visit.

Merida Photo Spots in Plaza Grande

Catedral de San Ildefonso

Mérida's Best Photo Spots - Catedral de San Ildefonso by Lisa Soots
Image by Lisa Soots

The “Catedral de San Ildefonso” (cathedral) is the oldest church in the Americas. You can find it on the plaza’s east side, but it’s tough to miss. A particularly cool thing to know about the cathedral is that it was built from stones of pyramids from the ancient city of T’hó, which was part of the Mayan civilization.

Casa de Montejo

Museo Casa Montejo, Mérida, Mexico - photograph by Lisa Soots
Image by Lisa Soots

On the south side of the plaza is Casa de Montego. It is the oldest house in the Yucatan. It was the residence of Don Francisco de Montejo “El Adelantado”. Now, the home is a museum, and it is free for you to explore.

Palacio Municipal

Palacio Municipal - photograph by Lisa Soots
Image by Lisa Soots

Another of the remarkable buildings in the Grand Plaza is the “Palacio Municipal”, and it is located on the west side of the plaza. Of course, to see it at its prettiest, you should visit close to sunset or after. The palace is lit up now and much more stunning to see.

Palacio de Gobierno

Mérida's best photo spots

Palacio de Gobierno, completed in 1892, is essential to Mérida’s history. Today, it is not only a fully functioning government office but also a museum that visitors can stroll through to see local artifacts (like murals and oil paintings) and admire the building’s colonial architecture. Just like Casa Montejo, it is free to visit. Palacio de Gobierno is located on the north side of the Plaza Grande.

More Instagrammable Places in Mérida

The Iconic Paseo de Montejo

Mérida's best photo spots - Paseo de Montejo by Lisa Soots
Image by Lisa Soots

As you continue your photographic journey through Merida, don’t miss the iconic Paseo de Montejo. This grand avenue stretches for miles and has historic mansions and elegant sculptures. The wide boulevard is perfect for capturing Merida’s past’s grandeur while showcasing its modern-day energy.

I suggest you stroll down the tree-lined avenue to take it all in. And if you have time, be sure to visit both during the day and evening. Not only do you get more photo opportunities this way, but you can also enjoy the many restaurants along the way.

With stunning architecture and lively street scenes, the Paseo de Montejo is truly one of Merida’s best photo spots! 

Of course, some of Merida’s best photo spots are in the beautiful squares. First, there is Parque de Santa Lucia.  It sits at the intersection of Calle 60 and Calle 55, three blocks north of the Cathedral de San Ildefonso, and it is the oldest in the city.

Santa Lucia Square has recently become one of the top Instagram spots because of the giant “confidente” chair. But it also features restaurants, live music, and Santa Lucia Church, originally built in 1575. Additionally, you can join the “Serenata” and enjoy music and traditional dancing if you visit on Thursday evenings. Besides all that, the brightly colored buildings and vibrant energy of the square make for great photo opportunities.

Another lovely square to visit is Parque de San Juan.

But my favorite is Parque de Santa Ana, which is definitely one of Merida’s best photo spots! Obviously, there are many more squares to find and enjoy, but these will get you started.

Gran Museo del Mundo Maya

Gran Museo del Mundo Maya - photo by Lisa Soots

Another great place to explore is the Mayan History Museum. Celebrating the Mayan culture, the museum houses a permanent collection of more than 1100 remarkably well-preserved artifacts. This is a great first stop if you plan to visit any Mayan ruins while in Merida. You can gain some context and an up-close look at some of the fascinating pieces at the sites. Or, the museum is a great alternative if you are unable to visit any of the ruins.

Vintage Volkswagens

Mercado 60 vintage Volkswagen Merida Mexico - photo by Lisa Soots

As you explore Merida, it won’t take long to notice the abundance of vintage Volkswagens. The city is filled with these gems. They are fun and quirky and a delight to see. Not to mention, whether they are restored or not, they are fantastic to capture with your camera.

 Gorgeous Day Trips from Merida for Amazing Photos

Chichen Itza

Mérida's best photo spots - Chichen Itza photograph by Lisa Soots

As a photographer, no trip to Merida is complete without a visit to the iconic Chichen Itza. This ancient Mayan city is one of Mexico’s most important archaeological sites and a UNESCO World Heritage site. The site is home to many impressive structures, including the Kukulkan Pyramid, El Castillo, one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. 

Beyond the pyramid are plenty of other fascinating structures to capture, including the Temple of the Warriors and the Great Ball Court. The intricate carvings and sculptures found throughout the site offer an endless array of photographic opportunities. 

For the best experience, consider visiting Chichen Itza early in the morning or late in the afternoon to avoid crowds and harsh lighting. And be sure to bring a wide-angle lens to capture the grandeur of the structures. 


Uxmal, The Adivino, by ivstiv Getty Images

Next are the beautiful ruins of Uxmal, another ancient Mayan city. Also, like Chichen Itza, it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It has a well-preserved collection of monumental buildings and is considered one of the most significant examples of Mayan architecture. Notable structures include the Pyramid of the Magician, the Governor’s Palace, and the Nunnery Quadrangle. Undoubtedly the city’s rich history and impressive structures make it a must-visit destination for anyone interested in ancient civilizations.

If you enjoy Chichen Itza and Uxmal, I highly recommend visiting Tulum and exploring the beachfront Tulum Mayan Ruins.

Celustun Biosphere Reserve

Celustun Flamingos by segarza Getty Images

Celestun, Mexico, is a small fishing village on the Gulf Coast of Mexico, 60 miles southwest of Merida. Surrounding the town is the Celestun Biosphere Reserve, which is unique for the flocks of flamingos that migrate here every winter.  The flamingos in Celustun between November and April are a big draw for photographers and nature lovers alike. But the area’s pristine beaches, with waters ranging from turquoise to light blue, also attract thousands of visitors every year. Obviously, it’s no wonder this place would be considered one of Merida’s best photo spots.


Mérida's best photo spots - Day Trip to Izamal - photograph by Lisa Soots
Image by Lisa Soots

Known as the “Yellow City,” Izamal is a jewel of a colonial city, with almost all the buildings painted an egg-yolk yellow. The town’s main attraction is the Franciscan Monastery of Izamal, which features a towering yellow pyramid at its center. This unique structure provides an excellent opportunity to experiment with angles and composition. Not to mention it is stunning to look at.

But Izamal is not just about the monastery. The quaint streets are lined with charming cobblestone alleyways, providing endless photo opportunities. Capture the locals’ daily routines, or explore the town’s artisan markets to add cultural flair to your shots. Additionally, there are Mayan pyramids, colonial-style buildings, parks and plazas, horses and buggies, and lots of people-watching.


Image by Lisa Soots

Just a short drive or bus ride, the coastal town of Progreso is the closest beach to Merida. Its long, pristine beaches make it a hidden gem and a lovely day trip option. Plus, there are endless opportunities to capture stunning images. 

Take a stroll along the Malecón, the town’s boardwalk, and snapshots of the tiki huts and local vendors. For a different perspective, head out into the water and capture the pier from a distance, or get closer to the shore and frame your shot with the waves crashing in the foreground. The town’s streets are also filled with colorful murals, adding a touch of whimsy to your photos. This was one of my favorites of Merida’s best photo spots.

Visit a Cenote

Image by Lisa Soots

As you venture further into the Yucatan, don’t miss out on the chance to explore the region’s stunning cenotes. These natural pools are formed when limestone bedrock collapses to reveal crystal-clear pools of water, often surrounded by lush greenery. There are thousands of cenotes in Mexico, mainly in the area covered by the Chicxulub crater. This crater was formed after a meteorite hit the earth that extinguished dinosaurs. 

Swimming in these refreshing waters is an experience like no other, but the cenotes also offer endless opportunities for capturing breathtaking photos. With natural light streaming in from above and vibrant greenery surrounding the pools, the contrast of colors makes for stunning shots. 

Places to Stay in Merida

Not only are Boutique hotels in Merida excellent, they are also on the list of Merida’s best photo spots! Here are some of the best places to stay in Mérida if you want a unique experience. Below each description, I have included a link to make it easy to book your reservation if you would like.

Hotel Casa Azul

Places to Stay in Merida

Hotel Casa Azul is located in the heart of Mérida’s historic district and offers luxurious accommodations in a beautifully restored mansion. The hotel features a rooftop pool, a spa, and a restaurant that serves traditional Yucatecan cuisine.

Rosas & Xocolate Boutique Hotel

Merida's best photo spots

This stunning hotel is known for its unique design, which blends traditional Mexican architecture with modern style. The hotel features a rooftop pool, bar, spa, and restaurant serving delicious Mexican and international cuisine. Plus, it is definitely one of Merida’s best photo spots.

Hotel Merida

Hotel Mérida - photograph by Lisa Soots

Conveniently located in Mérida, Hotel Merida features an American breakfast and free WiFi throughout the property. Built in 1940, the property is within a 4-minute walk of Merida Cathedral. The Main Square is 1,000 feet from the hotel.

Hotel Hacienda VIP

Hotel Hacienda VIP

Now this charming hotel is located in the heart of Mérida’s historic district. Some of its features include beautifully appointed rooms, a rooftop pool, and a restaurant that serves Yucatecan cuisine. In addition, the hotel is within walking distance of many of Mérida’s top attractions.

Casa Lecanda Boutique Hotel

This elegant hotel is very unique because it is housed in a beautifully restored colonial mansion. Some of the many features are luxurious accommodations, a swimming pool, and a restaurant that serves delicious Mexican and international cuisine. Casa Lecanda is located in the heart of Mérida’s historic district, thus making it an ideal base for exploring the city.

Residence Inn Merida (For Extended Stays)

Residence Inn Mérida - photo by Lisa Soots

On this trip, we chose to stay here because it was a terrific option for the long term. It is a newer hotel (2020), and the suites all feature a kitchen. The staff is excellent, with a resort-style rooftop pool and a gym. You get breakfast daily too. However, the Residence Inn is about 20 minutes from Centro Historico, but it’s easily reachable by Uber or taking a short walk to catch the bus. But the good news is that it sits next door to the Galerias Merida and behind the Costco.

Ways to Get Around

Throughout Merida, there are many ways to get around, from newer buses to older buses and taxis. Additionally, Uber or Didi are available as well. You can always get somewhere if you don’t want to walk.

Is Merida Safe?

Merida is considered one of the safest cities in Mexico. If you have concerns, I can assure you that we spent almost 40 days in Merida, and it was wonderful. The people are very friendly, and a large middle class lives and works in Merida.

That being said, any city you visit can have sketchy areas. Naturally, it’s always a good idea to be mindful of your surroundings and avoid areas you don’t feel comfortable in. I spent a lot of time taking beautiful photographs of Merida and never had any issues.

I hope you enjoyed this post on Merida’s best photo spots. If so, you may also enjoy Must Try Experiences in Buenos Aires and Top Foods to Eat in Buenos Aires.

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