Merida...The White City that sparkles in the Yucatan and soon to be Mexico's latest retirement hot spot. Though it is the capital and largest city within the Yucatan it has been flying under the radar for many years until the last decade. However, growth here over the last ten years has brought in such modern conviences as malls, big chain stores(WALMART), parks, entertainment centers and real estate developments, including the Yucatan Village and Resort which centers around a Jack Nickolaus 18 hole golf course.
Even though it is a city of over 1 million people, this ancient colonial city has never lost its' small town charm and never will. The inner city is filled with old colonial 18th century architecture, cobblestone streets, breathtaking cathedrals and beautifully landscaped parks. Perhaps its most endearing quality are the mayan natives who extend to all visitors a warm and inviting stay whether it is for a day or a lifetime.
In fact, in reading blogs across the internet the general chatter is that Meridans are among the friendliest people in all of Mexico. So it is no wonder that this once hidden city has come under the international scope of real estate developers, retirees and expats (expatriots). Interestingly enough the largest group of private home investors has been the 30 years of age and under bracket, many have chosen to give up on the American corporate rat race and opt for a calmer, sanier lifestyle.
Real estate deals here can be as wide in price range as any American city but if your a savvy shopper you can find the deal of a lifetime. The best deals involve the salvaging of old run down colonial homes that haven't seen the light of day for maybe half a century. With a little time and just over $100.000.00 you could have a dream Mexican Hacienda in one of the safest, most beautiful places in Mexico.
There are very distinct features attributed to colonial hacienda living which make the colonial yucatan lifestyle so unique. First and foremost don't be alarmed that the front facade of the house is not the most attractive or important feature, which is so very different from the U.S. housing market. Most colonials are very plain from the front, the true beauty lies on the interior which you will share with family and your new found Yucatec friends.
The second most striking feature to a true colonial is the traditional flooring called 'pasta' tiles. These tiles can be hundreds of years old and come in hundreds of colors and designs. If you are lucky enough to find a colonial to remodel, the floors will always be in the best condition. Most times you will simply need to refinish the tiles and perhaps replace a few here and there to restore the floors to their former glory. Many designs have a historic meaning or come from a well known artist of the time.
Perhaps one the most important and enjoyable attributes of the colonial is the interior courtyard which all colonials were designed around. This is the area of the home where many hours are spent relaxing and entertaining, it is a social hobby especially among the expats to have gatherings in each others courtyards. Some are quite elaborate and have vegetation as old as the house, others incorporate pools or modern architecture and style. That's one of the most interesting things about seeing the interior of a colonial, it's like opening a present you weren't expecting, you're generally always surprised and pleased.
The other aspect of colonial living is the rooftop, where you will find another entertainment area, garden or perhaps even a guest bungalow. Looking over this ancient city at sunset is a mesmerizing experience, and offers a different perspective of the city at any time of day. Roof top living is a new experience for most new home owners here, but once they have experienced it they wouldn't even consider not using the space!
While owning real estate in Mexico has it special little quirks there are many honorable and trustworthy agents in the Yucatan who will gladly hold your hand through the expat buying process and most likely will be among your first life long friends in Merida. Check out this recommended agent www.mayanliving.com and mexonline.com has a very indepth article on buying realestate in Mexico. Both are great resources for your research.
Life in the Yucatan has its perks as well as it quirks but there is a large contingency of world travelers who have chosen to settle here and it's quite a friendly community. The group meets once a month at the Merida English library for drinks, conversation and help ( i.e. where to find american pop tarts!). There's a wonderful publication called Yucatanliving.com that is a vital source of information and comraderie for anyone moving into the area. They've already been there and done that and can save you alot of time and heartache so be sure to check out the site.
While there are many areas of Mexico to invest in you couldn't find a better place that encompasses beauty, history, pyramids, beaches, museums, and even Walmart! Most of all Merida will always proudly hold onto its' culture and charm, making it a wonderful home for world travelers to sink roots. Discover Merida today it maybe your new home tomorrow!