Want to become a Merida digital nomad?
Merida is the capital city of the Yucatan peninsula. The stunning architecture, the safety and the delicious food are what make Merida such a popular tourist destination…
…but does Merida have the potential to be a great digital nomad destination?
We spent almost a month as Merida digital nomads and we are here to share all of the details you need to know (coworking, wifi, community and more).
Why Become A Merida Digital Nomad?
You’ve probably heard how great it is to be a Playa del Carmen digital nomad…
Maybe you’ve even heard how cool it is to be a San Cristobal de las Casas digital nomad…
…but a Merida digital nomad?! While it’s not the most popular city for digital nomads to flock to right now, we believe it is on the rise.
Here are some reasons why:
Safety: If you’re worried about safety or you just want to have peace of mind every time you step out the door…Merida is one of the safest places to live in Mexico. It’s been in the top 5 safest places to live in North America (not just Mexico) for the last couple of years.
Wifi: Merida’s wifi speeds are some of the fastest we have seen in our 7 months living in Mexico. They even have public wifi for free at some of the big parks like Plaza Grande and Parque San Juan. The Merida coworking spaces have fast and stable wifi you can count on!
Location: Merida is a great hub to base yourself as a digital nomad in Mexico. You have an international airport less than 30 minutes away from the city center, you’re also 30 minutes away from the beautiful Progreso beach and there are thousands of cenotes for you to swim in within a couple of hours’ drive!
There are so many more reasons Merida gets our vote! That being said, not every digital nomad destination is perfect. There are definitely areas Merida can improve on as they continue to attract more digital nomads.
Merida Digital Nomad Guide 2022
If you’re thinking about becoming a Merida digital nomad, here’s our complete guide to help you settle in, find your coworking space or cafes and get in with the digital nomad community.
How To Get To Merida From The Airport
You’ve just landed at the airport and you’re ready to explore your new city! But how do you get from the airport to the city center?
You have 3 options: take a taxi, order an Uber or hire a private transfer.
Ordering an Uber is the easiest option, however, the drivers aren’t allowed to go near the airport zone. We didn’t know this and we ordered one. The driver asked us to walk outside of the airport zone and we thought “yeah that’s normal and not a problem”. We walk outside and realize he wants us to go waaay outside and we ended up walking 15-20 minutes to the main highway with all our digital nomad luggage. This wasn’t fun at all and we still paid the full price (around $15 USD).
This might still be the best option for you especially if you don’t want to haggle with a taxi driver or pay a high price for a private transfer. Just keep in mind you might have to communicate and sort out your pickup with your driver.
How to Get a SIM Card in Merida?
Getting a SIM card in Merida is pretty similar to getting a SIM Card in Playa del Carmen. You have 3 telephone company options to choose from in Mexico:
- AT&T Unidos
We asked my Mexican friend, Abraham, and he went with Telcel so we just did the same. We felt it has the best coverage all over Mexico and while it’s a little more expensive than MoviStar – it is the leading telephone company in Mexico for a reason.
How much does a SIM card in Mexico cost?
When you first buy a SIM card, the usual offer is that you’ll get unlimited social media and around 3GB of internet. You won’t get any calls or texts but we usually don’t need this anyway. The SIM card costs around $12 USD.
You can buy the SIM card at any official Telcel store or even at a small tienda. You can recharge your data for the next month at most grocery stores like Chedraui or Mega Soriana.
When Is The Best Time To Visit Merida for Digital Nomads?
The weather is something you need to think about when choosing your next digital nomad destination. And Merida, Mexico is no exception!
Merida isn’t rainbows and sunshine all year-round. There are times it’s best to skip town but overall it’s still pretty great tropical weather.
Best Months To Visit Merida
The best time to visit Merida is from November to April. This is the time you’ll get lots of sunshine without the intense humidity. If you visit Merida during these months, you will also get less rainfall so you can enjoy your days exploring the city or taking days trips!
Worst Months To Visit Merida
The worst months to visit Merida is from May to September. Why? The humidity can get really intense and no one likes to tour around when you are sweating everywhere. Even the locals decide to stay inside with their air-conditioning on. While hurricanes aren’t such a big issue in Merida, the rainfall can hit during these months too.
How To Get Around Merida – Transport Options
Merida is the largest city in the Yucatan area and it can be tricky figuring out how to get around everywhere.
There are several ways to get around Merida:
Public Bus: You could take the public bus…if you had lots of time! It’s pretty inconsistent so you never know when it’s going to arrive. We took it a couple times and it’s really cheap but again – unreliable! Our friends have waited anywhere from 10 minutes to 2 hours for a bus to arrive. You’ve been warned 😉
Uber: This is the easiest way to get around Merida. It’s available all around the city and they arrive pretty quick. The cost for a 20-minute ride is around $5 USD. Be careful though because it does add up!
Taxi: The taxis in Merida seemed to be pretty fair about price. If you can speak a little Spanish, you can negotiate with them. TTA TIP: Check the price of one Uber from point A to B so that you know how much to expect more or less for a taxi.
Rental Car: If you want to take a weekend trip somewhere along the coast or the Riviera Maya, the best thing to do is rent a car because you can have more independence.
Where To Stay in Merida – The Best Neighborhoods
One of the most important things to think about before you even arrive as a Merida digital nomad is…
…where to stay in Merida! There are plenty of great areas to look at but there are a couple of things to think about.
The best areas to stay as Merida digital nomads are:
- Santa Ana: Best Overall Neighborhood In Merida
- Santiago: Best Place To Stay In Merida For Couples
- Paseo de Montejo: Best Area In Merida For A High-Quality Of Life
- Benito Juarez Norte: Best Place To Stay In Merida If You Have A Car
The first is the location of your Airbnb. We didn’t realize how important this was till we calculated our cost of living. We lived about 20 minutes away from the city center and spent an embarrassing amount on Uber rides. If you want to void racking up the Uber bills, stay closer to the center of the city.
Our Merida Digital Nomad Apartment
Our friends, Dom and Tara, were already in Merida and we wanted to be with them for some time. So we decided to get an apartment together and found a 2 bedroom 2 bathroom spot in the Benito Juarez Norte neighborhood. As I said, we probably wouldn’t choose this neighborhood again because it was too far from the city. Although, it was a really bougie area with huge houses and it felt completely safe.
As Merida digital nomads, we enjoyed having a good table to get some work done. Our place also has a shared pool which we used most afternoons. We paid $728 USD for each couple for a 1-month stay.
Cost of Living for Merida Digital Nomads
Digital nomads assess the cost of living for any place they go to! We always write the cost of living guides because they have helped us decide where to go next and see on average what it costs for things like rent and coworking costs.
As a Merida digital nomad, what’s the cost of living then? This is our monthly breakdown for 2 people living in Merida:
|Activities & Entertainment||$241|
|SIM Card & Pre-Paid Data Plan||$28|
Our total monthly cost of living in Merida Mexico for 2 people is: $2,588 USD.
If you want to get a detailed idea of the cost of living in Merida – click here to read our guide.
I KNOW. I KNOW. It’s a lot! It’s too much in fact. What did I say…those Uber bills add up! We definitely splurged but we were with friends and just enjoyed ourselves.
The realistic cost of living for Merida digital nomads is more like $1,100 USD for a single person and around $1700 USD for a couple staying together. You can definitely do it cheaper – you always can. You just need to decide for yourself what kind of lifestyle or standard of living you want to have in Merida.
Is There A Merida Digital Nomad Community?
This is probably the main reason Merida hasn’t exploded to the top as a digital nomad destination like say Playa del Carmen has. The digital nomad community exists in Merida but it’s not what it can be.
This is what I mean: The demographic of foreigners in Merida tend to skew on the older side. The expat community is much bigger than the digital nomad community which is great if you’re looking to live or retire in Merida. However, this means that the age of people you’ll meet will more likely be from their 30s to 50s.
That doesn’t mean there are zero people there for you to connect with. Here are some ways to get into the Merida digital nomad community:
- Join FB Groups
- Visit popular expat spots
- Join WhatsApp chats
This is an area that can be improved upon. While the pace of life is generally slower in Merida than Tulum, for example, it still has a high standard of living and safety than most places in Latin America.
What’s The Internet / Wifi Speeds Like in Merida for Digital Nomads?
Mexico isn’t known for having the best wifi in the world. We didn’t really know what to expect when we first arrived in Mexico.
The wifi in Merida is pretty decent and we got speeds of 20+ Mbps at our apartment. If you want even faster wifi, the coworking spaces in Merida are your go-to! We got speeds of 80+ Mbps and it’s very reliable wifi.
2 Best Merida Digital Nomad Coworking Spaces
Which are the best coworking spaces in Merida? Let’s get straight into the top spots to work for digital nomads, remote workers and full-time travelers.
Conexion 60 Co-working Merida
After trying several coworking spaces in Mexico, we can honestly say that Conexion 60 is one of the best places to work from in Merida.
It was a little difficult to find – we got lost and had to call the reception which was super friendly and helped us out. The staff speaks English which makes it easy to discuss their membership options and tour the place.
Conexion 60 is a very spacious, clean and comfortable co-working space to work from. The chairs are pretty ergonomic and there’s enough desk space for you to spread out all your digital nomad gear. The wifi was pretty fast – the fastest wifi we have seen at around 80+ Mbps. This co-working space is also open 24/7 which is great if you work in European times zones!
The only 2 things are this: the price is a tad high for what you get and the style of the office is just too corporate for me. I like a place that’s a little more chill where I don’t feel like I need to be wearing a suit if that makes sense.
The price for a monthly unlimited pass to Conexion 60 is $171 USD per person.
Terraza60 Coworking Merida
Want a more relaxed and boho-chic coworking space in Merida? Terraza 60 is a great option for you. They have both outdoor and indoor seating which gives you the choice to switch up your work environment.
While it isn’t as big as Terraza 60, you can still get some productive hours of work done. The chairs inside are ergonomic and if it ever gets too hot, you will have air-conditioning running through the space.
Terraza 60 costs $123 per person for a monthly unlimited pass.
3 Cafes for Merida Digital Nomads to Work From
Maybe coworking isn’t your thing? That’s okay! With this digital nomad lifestyle, you have the freedom to choose how you work and travel. That’s the whole point!
Here are some of the best cafes in Merida to get productive work hours done:
1. Manifesto Casa Tostadora Calabrese
If you’re a coffee aficionado like Matt wants to be…Manifesto is a great cafe to drink some of the best coffee in Merida and get some work done. For the tea lovers out there, you’ve also got plenty of options at Manifesto (although the coffee is *chefs kiss*).
There are plenty of chairs and tables to sit at although it does get really busy at times. Go early in the morning to snag a seat or go for an afternoon work session when there are fewer people.
2. Voltacafe Santa Lucia
Voltacafe has gained popularity over the years and now has 3 locations all across Merida. This is a great cafe to work from in Merida because it has both indoor and outdoor dining. If your laptop is fully charged, feel free to sit outside and enjoy the courtyard setting. I don’t believe there are any plugs out there.
The wifi is strong enough to get some serious work done. They offer a bigger selection of food and drinks so you can also have your lunch break here!
3. Latte Quattro Sette
The cutest cafe in Merida we ever did see…Latte Quattro Sette is the most aesthetically pleasing coffee shop! As soon as you enter, you will see the beautiful marble tables, the white decor and those scrumptious pastries.
While it’s a very small cafe with limited seating, if you go early you can snag a good seat! The sandwiches tasted great and they even made me an iced vanilla latte (my go-to order). Come here to work or just sit and enjoy the cafe vibes at Latte Quattro Sette.
Best Restaurants To Try in Merida
Merida is a foodie’s dream. As the largest city in the Yucatan peninsula, you can expect to find the best Yucatecan food in Merida. From the famous cochinita pibil to sopa de lima and more!
As Merida digital nomads, we enjoyed going out to all the different restaurants this colonial city had to offer. Here are some of our favorite restaurants in Merida Mexico:
- Tacos: Taqueria La Lupita (this shop was featured on Netflix)!
- Local breakfast: Cafeteria Impala
- Yucatecan food: La Chaya Maya
- Sushi: Miyabi El Arbol
- Italian: Trattoria La Pasta Montejo
- Fine-dining: Kuuk
- Gelato: Pola Gelato
Make sure to save these on Google Maps so you always have a place to go. For some reason, our group really craved Italian food most of the time – Trattoria La Pasta Montejo was a great option! The prices weren’t the cheapest we’ve seen around Mexico which is what drew our cost of living up but it’s still pretty affordable costs compared to US prices.
Being a Merida digital nomad meant you will have plenty of restaurants options for most cuisines you could want. However…I do have to say that the restaurants in San Cristobal de las Casas took it to a whole other level. Mexico’s food game is just top-notch!
Things To Do In Merida Mexico
When you’re looking to become a Merida digital nomad – it’s important to see if there are enough tourist attractions in the area to keep you satisfied! While beach days are great, it does get old and you want a little adventure in your life, right?
Being a Merida digital nomad means you won’t run out of things to do! Here are some of the best things to do in Merida Mexico:
- Witness flamingoes in Celestun
- Road trip to Las Colorados
- Tour the beautiful haciendas
- Eat all the yummy Yucatecan food
- Visit any of the hundreds of cenotes nearby
- Day trip to towns like Valladolid and Izamal
- Beach day in Progreso
- Tick Chichen Itza (New 7 Wonder of the World) off your bucket list
We were there for almost a month and felt like hadn’t even scratched the surface yet. If you’re worried about the pace of life in Merida being too slow or that there might not be enough things to do – don’t! Merida digital nomads know how to make the most out of their time in the Yucatan capital and surrounding areas!
Is Merida Safe For Digital Nomads?
Merida is one of the safest places to live in Mexico. You honestly can’t get any safer than this colonial city. We have heard the same but wondered if that would be our personal experience!
We never felt like we could get robbed walking down the streets like Paseo de Montejo or that anything bad could happen to us. It was weird to feel so comfortable walking around but that’s Merida’s safety for you! Matt and our friend Dom walked around our suburb at night and they said it was pretty peaceful!
Conclusion: Should You Become A Merida Digital Nomad?
Here we go…
The big question: Should you become a Merida digital nomad?
I hate to give this answer but for this instance, it’s the truth – it depends!
If a young community and a vibrant social life are super important to you, Merida might not be the city for you. To be honest, it’s just not there yet and the demographics definitely skew on the older side. If you like to party…there are nice places but it’s not going to be happening like Tulum for example.
If you value that peace of mind of feeling safe then being a Merida digital nomad is for you. Like I mentioned above, you won’t run out of things to do and explore. You’ll also have a high standard of living at very affordable costs. The internet speeds are fast, there are plenty of cafes and coworking spaces plus it’s a very walkable city! Maybe you stay for a month to take a breather from travel or maybe get comfortable and stay 6 months, either way, being a Merida digital nomad is pretty sweet!
As having been Merida digital nomads, we can see the potential this city has to become a digital nomad destination. It’s not there yet but it’s definitely not far off!