La Ermita Arco

Barrio de Ermita / Ermita neighborhood

In our continuing series featuring the unique homes and neighborhoods of Mérida, Yucatán, we are proud to present Barrio de Ermita neighborhood. Our host is Keith Heitke, a senior sales agent for Mexico International Real Estate.

Each video episode on our website features a different residential neighborhood of this interesting and beautiful city, focusing on a home which exemplifies the best of that neighborhood. While we’ll give you lots of great footage and design ideas, we hope it only whets your appetite to see more, and of course nothing beats experiencing these amazing homes in person. Yucatan Today operates a series of House & Garden tours every Wednesday from November through March as a fundraising project for three different non-profit organizations.

If you would like to savor the details about the neighborhood of Ermita, and the house itself, scroll down for a written summary. And if you would like to post a comment, you can do so at the end of the article.

Now, let’s have a look! Video by our friends at

Lovely and small in scale, Parque La Ermita de Santa Isabel is located at the corner of Calle 66 and Calle 77, just seven blocks southwest of the main square and completely contained within Merida’s centro historico.

The church of the same name is a stately and simple design, it dates from the mid 1700s. The church of the same name stands over this square to the south, and has presided over the main street leading to Campeche and the rest of Mexico for hundreds and hundreds of years.

Like all bustling city squares, there are a variety of diversions and shaded benches and folks of all ages.  Surrounding the square are the grand facades of private homes, still in almost cases functioning as private homes and not taken over by commerce like almost all other squares in the city.  The shops that are here are tiny little corner stores… literally located at the corners and providing schoolchildren and housewives with the basics such as batteries, coca-cola, bread and snack items, and cleaning supplies.   One large house, the exception to the rule, has become one of the learning institutions which specialize in the study of the Maya language, and scholars from all over the world come to this edifice to learn more about the language and customs of the indigenous people of this city.

It’s the La Ermita de Santa Isabel neighborhood where we find ourselves for this episode, let’s take a look inside a great home just a couple of blocks to the north of this quiet and tranquil square.

This old home was in horrible disrepair, as so many were and some still are. The current owner was actually the third foreign owner to take over this home, the majority of the remodeling work having already been done. One major addition the current owners made was the entire second floor of the house, of course not visible from the street. The entire second floor gives out to the entire roof and patios area, and contains two large bedrooms and a shared bathroom.

The house is old, probably from the early 1800s, and it still “feels” old as well. So many recent restorations in Merida scrub all the history away, and leave a very comfortable but almost interchangeable home as a result.  This house actually gives one the same wonderful feeling of history it was built with.

Twenty-foot tall ceilings can be found in the main front room, originally a formal living room, now serving as a grand entrance hall and two bedrooms.

Through this first room there are bedrooms on each side, with a beautiful large central courtyard straight ahead.  The courtyard is a typical Spanish Colonial feature which provided and provides light and air to all the rooms, and a splashing fountain completes the scene providing a bit of a sound buffer and the tranquil sound of water even in the dry season.

From here we enter a small reading room and the more formal living room, again overlooking the central courtyard.  Past this is the formal dining room, and then the new kitchen and family room.

The kitchen is a new addition since the original kitchen would have been as far away from the formal living space as possible.

From here we go through the more informal family room with a view to the swimming pool and rear patio area with formal colonnade at the pool’s edge. As tranquil and tropical as this area is, it’s hard to imagine the bland and formal façade and the bustling traffic just at the front door.

A second fountain in this area adds even more tranquility to the scene.

Four full bedrooms in separate areas of the house assure privacy for all occupants, and the central location means that any time someone is ready to leave the tranquility of this house, the whole of Merida’s Centro Historico await them just steps away.

Click here to see more of Keith’s house tour videos.

In our continuing series featuring the unique homes and neighborhoods of Mérida, Yucatán, we are proud to present Barrio de Ermita neighborhood.

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