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.