merida-tradicional-sala-1The real estate market in Mérida and the Emerald Coast of Yucatán is booming as more and more expatriates arrive from around the world to settle here. Prices compare favorably to the Riviera Maya and San Miguel de Allende, other popular ex-pat settlements, but it’s the unique charm of Yucatán that truly sets us apart! The colonial homes in the historic center of Mérida combine European elements – the carved doors and high ceilings of Spain, for example – with the fine craftsmanship of Mexican artisans in tile, wood, and wrought-iron work.


The Moorish influence in Spain crossed the ocean with the original Spanish settlers. Enclosed gardens and inner courtyards not only give privacy and muffle street noise, they bring the outdoors inside, creating a sense of lushness and tranquility. Fountains, fish ponds, and swimming pools add a water element, creating a cool and peaceful environment. Collecting water was important to the Maya people as well as the Moors, as Yucatán has little surface water. The two cultures are infused beautifully in the gardens of Mérida – where you might find an antique stone water trough used as a water garden, or a European mythological fountain head with a backdrop of Talavera tile. Plants we usually think of as only growing indoors or in nurseries thrive in Mérida’s warm, tropical climate. Bougainvillea, gardenia, azaleas, and tea roses compete with banana trees and coconut palms in a riot of color and scent. It’s practically guaranteed you will over-plant, as everything grows so well here!


Providing a transition between the outdoors and indoors, portales, the traditional covered porches, provide shady, restful spots, helping to shade the interior of the home. With a rustic wooden table and chairs for meals, and hammocks for siestas, these are often the most used living spaces in Mérida homes.


Another architectural element which crossed the sea in the 1800s is antique French clay tiles, often used on terrace roofs. The traditional pasta floor tiles of Yucatán are also a major feature in colonial homes.


The multi-colored, repeating patterns are reminiscent of Moorish carpets. If you are lucky enough to find original pasta tile floors, you’ll find them easy to renovate and maintain. New pasta tile floors can be purchased locally, as the craft is maintained by skilled artisans in the region.


Almost every room in the house will have hamaqueros, the wall fittings used to hang hammocks – and hammocks provide wonderful, cool rest – but Mérida provides a wealth of options for furnishing your home. Whether rustic furniture – hand-crafted from indigenous tropical woods, wicker, leather, or rattan – or contemporary Euro-style furniture is your choice, you will have no trouble finding the perfect pieces.


Kitchens, always the heart of the Mexican home, are a wonderful mix of traditional styles and contemporary amenities. Counters are often made of finely polished cement, with bright Talavera tile backdrops. Kitchen shelving is often open, providing air circulation, though cabinetry can be custom-designed if preferred. The most modern appliances are readily available in Mérida.


The Mérida English Library offers weekly tours of beautiful colonial homes in Mérida, giving you the chance to view some of the treasures of the city. It’s a great way to envision your future in Mérida!



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