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More Expats Are Calling Mérida Home

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Street in Merida
Credit: RINCEN | Deviantart

It wasn’t that long ago that we added Mérida to our collection of expat hotspots in Mexico and after interviewing Leroy Osmon, “The Music Man of Mérida” for this month’s Hometown Series article, I can say with authority that it was a great choice.

If you’re looking for a large but beautiful colonial city steeped in culture and cosmopolitan in every way, Mérida may be your place. Osmon estimates there are about 10,000 expats living in Mérida and other cities in the state of Yucatán.

Osmon should know. He and his wife Cay have lived there for nearly two decades, he is heavily involved with the local music community and he sells real estate for a local firm when he is not writing music or directing musical activities at Hacienda Chicano Tune, which produces a concert series October through May of each year.

Felice and I have been devotees of HGTV’s House Hunters International for years and have always really enjoyed the shows focused on Mérida because of the large and gorgeous colonial homes found in the Centro area of the city.

Most of them are extraordinarily large but incredible values. Osmon told me that he recently showed aspiring expats from Los Angeles a home that was about 8,600 sq. ft. but needed just a bit of renovation. Price? Just US$155,000. Osmon said that he showed them properties in that area up to US$319,000, some of them covered up to a half block.

If you’re from California, you know that amount of money may buy you a small starter home in the central valley, not in the cities.

My biggest surprise was the breadth of culture in Mérida. Osmon said there is a symphony orchestra, a chamber orchestra and at least a dozen or more chamber music organizations. If you like jazz, as I do, there is a big jazz festival each year and also an international music festival.

If you’re a foodie, this international city has it all: Lebanese, Korean, French, Italian and many other cuisines, reflecting the tastes of the international tourists who descend on Mérida each year.

The city also has an embarrassment of riches when it comes to museums, including a Maya museum that opened a few years ago. Speaking of Mayas, Mérida is a great jumping off point for visits to legendary historical sites like Uxmal (a little over one hour away) and Chichen Itza (about two hours).

If you’re moving to Mexico and still undecided about where to live, you may want to consider Mérida. Over 10,000 expats can’t be wrong.

3 COMMENTS

  1. If they are calling Merida home it is inside under a fan in summer time. The last time I was there in summer time the place was 6 degrees colder than hell. It is a beautiful city but the weather leaves much to be desired.

  2. Catherine & I have been to Merida and it is a unique and beautiful city. We enjoyed just taking a walk through El Centro and lucked out the afternoon we checked into our hotel that there was a tour program scheduled for the following morning to Chichen Itza. We stumbled upon Merida by accident since it was not initially on our travel plans for that year. We were in Cancun but it soon lost our interest being too much an overpriced tourist area and an over enthusiastic time-share salesman really damaged our vacation. We just went to the bus station & saw a bus was leaving soon for Merida and we decided to head that way for a few days prior to flying back to the U.S. out of Cancun airport. We never regretted our visit to Merida and the Mayan site at Chichen Itza and would highly recommend to everyone.

  3. Let me add that “living in Merida” also includes the beach communities. Centered on Progreso and extending out to the east and west along the Gulf of Mexico, the “Emerald Coast” is a tourist mecca for Mexicans and popular choice for expats, more Canadian than US. Merida is a short drive or express bus trip away (on a lighted 8-lane free highway). We’re still hot in summer but with more breezes and much less rain than the city. Look for locations like Chuburna, Chelem, Chixculub and Telchac as well as Progreso.

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