Free cultural events every night of the week
Mérida is a vibrant, cultural city, where every day of the week, all year long, you’ll find a wide variety of fabulous free events to check out in the weekly Semana Meridana.
Genuine pride in local culture and history runs through the events of the Semana Meridana. Yucatecans are extremely proud of their heritage and the clear delight in being able to share it with visitors is a joy to behold.
While being able to speak Spanish will be useful at the events, all can still be enjoyed without doing so. If you do speak Spanish, you’ll be able to be amused by the explanations of local traditional dress and dance styles as well as the poetry and jokes that accompany the events.
Vaquería Traditional Dance
Begin the week in the Plaza Grande with the Vaquería, a traditional celebration that began during the Spanish rule and which has stayed at the heart of Yucatecan culture. The dancers are all dressed in stunning traditional clothing, and watching their feet move in a blur is always my favorite part of this show. If you speak Spanish you’ll also enjoy the tradition of the Bomba, a comedic, rhymed pattern between each dance. Limited seating, but can stand and watch.
For an evening of romantic music, you can’t do much better than the Trova Tuesday. Each week, a Trovador trio delights audiences with a set comprising classic Yucatecan and Mexican timeless songs. Trovadores are the Yucatecan alternative to Mariachis: they’re the ones to sing by your window at night, as a show of someone’s undying love. Limited seating.
Parque de Santiago
If you want to see Mérida at its happiest, this open-air free-for-all dance is an absolute must. Watch young and old dance together to live music, join in the dancing, and grab a bite at the famous Parque de Santiago. Limited seating, but can stand and watch or even better, you can dance!
Video mapping: Diálogos del Conquistador
Diálogos del Conquistador is a video mapping presentation that takes place at Casa Montejo, a bank and museum by day, and an art installation on Wednesday nights. A (subtitled) interaction between Francisco de Montejo and a Maya leader, it’s a moving piece of theatre that highlights that Mérida was first a Maya city, and that it owes so much to the Maya culture.
Parque de Santa Lucía
Without a doubt, this is the most popular night of the week. I have never seen Parque de Santa Lucía as busy as it is on a Thursday night. If you don’t have tickets, you can try grabbing a table at one of the many fabulous restaurants on the square. The evening is full of joy and music in the form of different bands, singers, and dancers. Different acts are presented each week, but with the same format: the orchestra and dancers, followed by a trio, poetry, and a solo performer. Limited seating, but can stand and watch.
Video mapping: Piedras Sagradas
Catedral San Ildefonso
Video mapping is something that México truly excels at. If you’re out and about in Centro on a Friday evening enjoying the pedestrianization of town, be sure to stop by for the beaming of a potted history of Mérida onto one of the oldest cathedrals in the Americas. Limited seating, but can stand and watch.
Remate de Paseo de Montejo
Pok Ta Pok
Every Saturday at 8 pm on the esplanade of the Catedral de San Ildefonso, a free representation of Pok Ta Pok is presented.
Paseo de Montejo and Centro
8 am -12:30 pm
On Sunday mornings, roads are closed to traffic from La Ermita de Santa Isabel to the Monumento a la Patria at the top of Paseo de Montejo. Rent a bike, walk, or skate to explore Mérida’s Centro at a leisurely pace, including the several market stands along the way.
Editorial by Cassie Pearse
Freelance writer and blogger, born in the UK. Cassie has a BA from Oxford University and an MA from SOAS, University of London. She lives in Mérida and loves exploring Yucatán with her family.
Photography by Cassie Pearse for its use in Yucatán Today.
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