Research and assess Mérida as a location for living, working or retirement in Mexico
Mérida is the capital city of the state of Yucatán, famous for its rich Mayan history and culture as well as some of Mexico’s most important archaeological sites. Mérida is a regional hub of activity and extremely well connected by land and air to other parts of the Yucatan region, to Mexico City and by air to the U.S.A.
734,000 (2005 Census)
30 feet above sea-level
105F/38C (Daytime, Summer);
64F/18C (Nocturnal, Winter) Year-Round Average 79F/24C.
Merida’s rainy season runs from late May to October each year, with heavy tropical downpours occurring in these months
Merida’s weather can be affected by hurricanes from the Gulf of Mexico as well as the Caribbean.
Textiles, Tourism, Agriculture, Commerce, eCommerce
Cost of Living
*Relative to other foreign expat communities in Mexico
This city portrays a considerable charm and buzz about it brought about by its contrasts: Mérida is cosmopolitan and quaint; Mexican but with a strong Mayan influence everywhere you go.
For those wishing to retire in the Yucatán region of Mexico, the capital city of Mérida offers colonial-era charm, urban vibrancy, and ease of access to the best the region has to offer including art, cultural events, secluded beaches, nature reserves and archaeological treasures.
Removed from the glitzy sunshine boulevards of Cancun (although the two are connected by a super highway), Mérida offers residents a piece of authentic Mexico, while also keeping a unique flavor and style that is unmistakably Yucatecan.
Merida is distinct culturally and politically from the rest of Mexico. This is brought about, in part, through centuries of desire for political autonomy, driven by a Mayan inheritance which continues to influence the city, its inhabitants and environs.
You will find “Meridanos” are proud to show you their unique blends of culture which embrace food, art, and music and which are exclusive to this region. Unlike most other colonial cities in Mexico, Merida is a place that is brimming with a diverse variety of art galleries, cultural festivals, as well as cinema and theater.
The principal focal point at center of Merida is the Plaza Grande (the main plaza), that is surrounded by carefully laid out streets showcasing impressive colonial structures which today play their roles as government buildings, cultural centers, museums, and up-scale private residences.
Flanking this architecture you’ll also find peaceful, shady parks lined with laurel trees and color-laden flower beds which provide some respite from the direct heat of the sun. And although tranquil spaces may be easily sought here, Merida is not a sleepy town. Every night of the week you will find some kind of entertainment or event that may include concerts, festivals, art openings, or parades.
The pulse of daily life may be experienced everywhere on Merida’s streets, and particularly in the plazas and courtyards where locals congregate, engage with each socially, trade or watch the world go by. On weekends, cars are prohibited from entering the city center and the street is transformed into haven for strollers, market goers, street artists and tourists.
Merida’s geographical location places it firmly inside the category of “tierra caliente” (hot lands) — and living here means that summer heat and humidity are as much as part of the landscape as the rich colonial architecture.
During the rainy season, that runs from May to October each year, Mérida combines its hot climate with thunderstorms and humidity ensues. The humidity wanes in the dry season, bringing a welcome change of climate to residents and visitors alike. Expatriates who can’t take the extreme heat but who adore the winter climate here, take their winters in Mérida, flock back home in the summer, and return when the season changes again.
Affordable and Appealing Colonial Lifestyle
Affordability and modern amenities are two key factors which call retirees’ attention to the city of Mérida. Expatriates accustomed to comfortable living arrangements and the availability of modern services and amenities around them find living in Mérida appealing because it delivers authentic colonial charm, a lower cost of living than the U.S., Canada and Western Europe, as well as commercial, cultural and medical amenities expatriates often wish to see around their living spaces. Mérida offers many modern-day conveniences and services which Mexican colonial towns and cities of a similar size and standing often lack.
Those who fall in love with Mérida are oftentimes enamored with the whole Yucatan peninsula. Using Mérida as a base, you can explore historical destinations such as the colonial cities of Valladolid and Izamal; visit the vast wealth of the Mayan’s ancient cities — far beyond the tourist-heavy archaeological sites of Chichen Itzá, Tulum, and Uxmal. The region is dotted with dozens of Haciendas; some in ruins, some partly restored and others fully restored into beautiful hotels or fine restaurants. Within a day-trip you can visit white sand beaches and savor the azure-blue waters of the Mayan Riviera; or perhaps spend a night or two at one of the hospitable beach towns there. Yucatan’s natural environment provides an abundance of options for outdoor activities such as bird watching, scuba diving, caving, and hiking; fine nature reserves, including Ka’an Biosphere reserve, are in easy reach, too.
A City Back in Bloom
During the course of the last decade, Mérida has come to popular attention among foreigners seeking affordable and authentic Mexican living in a culturally-sophisticated environment.
Mérida today is a progressive city, indeed, a ‘poster-boy’ example of how a ‘colonial backwater’ can come to reinvent itself. After decades of economic decline following the Mexican revolution of 1910-1917, and subsequent collapse of the sisal plantations and haciendas which took an enormous economic and social toll on this region, Mérida is once again becoming transformed by its people and and adapting itself to the new economies of the twenty-first century.
For expatriate residents, and foreigners considering Mérida as a place for living and especially for retirement, Mérida and the Yucatán region offer an exciting, authentic and promising array of options and prospects.
The cost of living in Mexico is typically lower in Mexico than it is the USA, Canada and Western Europe, although precise costs depend upon where you live and your lifestyle choices.
Cost of Living Report
To learn more about the cost of living in Mexico, connect to the Mexico Cost of Living page on Mexperience.
Regional and geographical cost variations do exist, and this part of the guide shows you how some goods and services at Mérida vary from the average.
Information about the real estate market in Merida
Real Estate Market in Merida
Prices of land and property in Mérida, as elsewhere in Mexico, have risen over the last decade, although they still remain at very affordable levels when compared to properties in the popular resort cities in this region.
Foreign retirees have discovered that they can live among a piece of Mérida’s colonial past by purchasing colonial homes and refurbishing them to their former splendor. The central colonias (neighborhoods) of Santa Ana and Santiago contain the greatest concentration of expatriates, but there are plenty of other colonias which attract foreign investors. The further away from the historic center you look, the lower prices become.
While over the past decade the cost of colonial homes has risen steadily, foreign capital can still go a long way here, especially in comparison to prices in the U.S.A. and Western Europe. The recent influx of expatriates as well as wealthy Mexicans, particular those relocating away from Mexico City or seeking investments in Mexico’s provincial towns and cities, have driven the market in recent years.
Property prices continue to be relatively robust for desirable properties and especially those within the historic center of the city. Land development continues to take place here as Mérida’s economic prosperity — brought about through government initiatives as well as domestic and foreign capital inflows — continues to rise.
Most real estate is sold through local realty agents who know the area and the surrounding region, as well as directly through the developers marketing major realty projects, often on prime beachfront locations or on fine golf courses. However, you can also make deals directly with owners who advertise on the Internet or by means of a simple sign on the property reading “Se Vende.”
Property types in Mérida range from land parcels, to colonial ruins in need of restoration (inside or outside the city), restored colonial homes ready to move into, glamorous colonial-era mansion houses, casitas (little colonial style houses or cottages), modern suburban dwelling houses and even specialized properties like haciendas.
Rentals Market in Merida
The rental market in Mérida is quite buoyant. The best prices can be sought when you inquire locally; prices of properties advertised on the internet are usually aimed at foreign visitors on extended stays or vacations, not long term local residents; the prices reflect this.
Most rental properties in Mérida are offered through local realty agents or by individual property owners listing properties on the Internet or local newspapers and magazines as well as signs posted at the property for rent as well as restaurants, cafes and bars near the vicinity where the rentals are situated. Some property developers rent out their units or rent out units on behalf of owners: check with local developers or a local realty agent for details and further information.
In addition to Mexico’s state sponsored healthcare provided via the country’s national health service IMSS, good quality healthcare services offered through private clinics with US -standard healthcare services exist in Mérida. The privately-run out patient clinics available locally are ideal for day-to-day ailments, sprains, broken bones and other health matters which would normally be diagnosed and treated by a General Practitioner of medicine.
In recent years, medical companies have invested millions of dollars in Mérida building and supplying first-world standard private medical facilities for Mérida’s insured and well-heeled classes. This has come about as a result of research showing that Mérida is becoming a top location for foreign expatriates as well as wealthy and well-off Mexicans, many of whom are abandoning Mexico City for certain provincial cities and towns: Mérida is on the list of popular alternatives.
Mérida’s climate is tropical; hot in the dry season and hot and humid in the rainy season. Prevailing easterly winds, which cool the air on the coasts, do reach the city, but due to its inland position and low elevation, their effect is not as noticeable as as it is at the nearby coasts.
Mérida has, in recent years, recorded an average temperature of 76F/21C, although the summers can and do get much hotter. Winter months can be cooler and nocturnal temperatures may drop to 64F/17C; summer months may reach highs in excess of 100F/37C in May through August especially, accompanied by drenching humidity and torrential downpours of rain in the afternoons or evenings.
November through January are the coolest months in Merida; January being the coolest with an average nocturnal low of 64F/17C). Average temperatures range from 74F/22C to 77F/25C during these months.
February through April the climate is a continuation of winter: dry and relatively mild. Temperatures begin to rise to the late 70’sF/26C towards the end of April.
May through October are the hottest months in Merida, with temperature ranging from 75F/21C overnight, to 95F/35C or hotter in the daytime. The rainy season begins in late May and torrential downpours are common during June, July and August; the high temperatures do moderate during the downpours, but as the rains pour the humidity levels soar. The hottest month is May and the highest humidity levels appear during September.
Temperatures begin to moderate during the latter half of October, the humidity passes and the hot, humid, daytime temperatures climb down from their summer highs. Temperatures in the late autumn months reflect very similarly to those in the winter, ranging from 74F/22C to 77F/25C.
Merida’s rainy season runs from May to October, with most of the rain falling in June, July and August. Torrential afternoon rains may be experienced several days a week and, in the peak temperature months of July, August and September tropical storms may feature, too.
Hurricanes from the Gulf of Mexico and the Mexican Caribbean can affect Merida. Although the hurricane storms do not affect the city directly (as it is inland) tropical storms and hurricanes on the coasts can cause adverse weather conditions over Mérida and environs.
Sea Temperature in Progreso, near Merida
The average sea temperature in the water off Progreso, a beach side town less than an hours drive from Mérida, is 87F/30C.
This section contains links to guides where you can learn more about living in Mérida.
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