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Merida’s Best Photo Spots

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 cool 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.

The Beauty of Merida Photo Tour

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 that boasts 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 main square of the city, it is truly the heart of Merida’s cultural and social life. The square is surrounded by impressive buildings from different historical periods. 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.

Additional Photo Opps 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 east side of the plaza, but it’s really hard to miss. A particularly cool thing to know aboutt 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 cool 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 at this time and much more stunning to see.

Palacio de Gobierno
Mérida's best photo spots

Palacio de Gobierno, completed in 1892, is an important piece of 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.

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 is lined with historic mansions and elegant sculptures. The wide boulevard is perfect for capturing the grandeur of Merida’s past while also showcasing its modern day energy.

I would suggest that you take a 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 in the 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!

The Beautiful Squares of Mérida

Of course you will find 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.

Recently Santa Lucia Square has become a popular spot for Instagram shots because of the giant “confidente” chair. But it also features restaurants, live music, and Santa Lucia Church, which was 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 a great photo opportunities.

Another lovely square to visit is Parque de San Juan.

But my personal favorite was Parque de Santa Ana, 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. If you’re planning to visit any of the Mayan ruins while in Merida, this is a great first stop. You can gain some context and an up-close look at some of the fascinating pieces found at the sites. Or, the museum is actually 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 you long to notice the abundance of vintage Volkswagens. The city is filled with these gems. They are fun and quirky and delight to see. Not to mention, whether they are restored or not, they are awesome 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 the most important archaeological sites in Mexico and a UNESCO World Heritage site. The site is home to many impressive structures, including the Kukulkan Pyramid, also known as El Castillo, which is one of the New Seven Wonders of the World.

Beyond the pyramid, there 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. Not only does it have a well-preserved collection of monumental buildings, but it 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.

Celustun Biosphere Reserve

Celustun Falmingos 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, who are in Celustun between November and April, are a big draw for photographers and nature lovers alike. But the pristine beaches of the area, with waters ranging from turquoise to light blue, also attract thousands of visitors every year. Obviously it’s no wonder that 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 town’s quaint streets are lined with charming cobblestone alleyways, providing endless photo opportunities. Capture the locals going about their daily routines, or explore the town’s artisan markets to add some 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. With its long stretches of pristine beaches it is 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 snap shots 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 the 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 wonderful, 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’re looking for 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 and bar, a spa, and a restaurant that serves delicious Mexican and international cuisine. Plus it 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 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 long term. It is a newer hotel (2020) and the suites all feature a kitchen. The staff is excellent and their is a resort style rooftop pool and a gym. You get breakfast daily too. However, the Residence Inn is located about 20 minutes from Centro Historico, but it’s easily reachable by Uber or by taking a short walk to catch the bus. But the good news is that it iSight next door to the Galleria Merida and right behind the Costco.

Ways to get Around

Throughout Merida, there are lots of 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 actually 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 there is a large middle class living and working in Merida.

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

I certainly hope you have 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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