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Real Estate in Merida, Mexico: The Good Life on the Yucatan

The Yucatan Peninsula has long been considered one of Mexico's friendliest and most beautiful areas. International visitors flock to the peninsula's eastern cities of Cancun, Playa del Carmen, and Cozumel for their famous nightlife and resorts. The city of Merida, in the peninsula's interior, sees far fewer tourists, but is becoming a favorite expatriate destination because of the laid-back lifestyle and cultural wealth of the region.

Merida has a population of just under a million inhabitants, but it is often said to feel very accessible, like a small town. Founded in the 16th century, the city has Spanish colonial roots apparent in its architecture. Many beautiful historic buildings in the city center have been restored, and still others are waiting to be restored by their future owners. The city is built around the Plaza Grande, a central park fronting the oldest cathedral in the Americas. European-style boulevards are laid out in an elegant grid system. Like Yucatan in general, Merida has a reputation as a safe place, with low crime rates for visitors and locals alike.

Expats can take part in the rich cultural life in Merida, which is home to the Yucatan Symphony Orchestra, several museums, art galleries, cinemas, and shops. As the regional capital, Merida also hosts a number of festivals and seasonal holiday celebrations. The Yucatan has a strong Mayan influence, one that can still be seen in the speech, dress, and celebration of the peninsula's natives. Ancient Mayan archaeological sites, including temples and cities, can be visited as a day trip from Merida. The beaches of the northern Yucatan are about half an hour away from Merida, and many expats choose to buy Mexico real estate in this coastal area.

Those buying Merida Mexico real estate usually say that the pace of life in the area is peaceful and unrushed. The amenities in the area, however, are more on par with what you'd find in the U.S. Medical care is excellent and affordable, with many doctors trained in the U.S. and modern facilities available in Merida. Phone, cell phone, and internet service are all readily available and reliable.

Mexico real estate provides great value for U.S. citizens, and this is certainly the case in and around Merida. Beachfront condos or cottages with white sand beaches and turquoise water are available for well under $200,000. Merida's old colonials start under $100,000 unrestored, and restored, ask anywhere from the low $100,000s to the $300,000s. Renovated, these colonial homes are strikingly elegant, with high ceilings, colorful tile floors, and central courtyards.

Either in the city or at the beach, the Merida area offers a distinctly luxurious feel for the price. Expatriates who would at home be hard pressed to buy the work of a noted local artist, or splurge on a decadent restaurant meal, will find that in Merida, such things can be a regular part of their lifestyle. Many couples find that they can live comfortably on as little as $1,500 per month. Those looking for real estate in Mexico would be well advised to consider this safe, beautiful, and welcoming area of the Yucatan.