Colonial cities in the Yucatan are undergoing a renaissance of sorts. Historic homes are being bought and restored to their former, or new, glory by foreigners making a fresh start in Mexico. These historic buildings have “good bones” like thick, rock walls which have kept them through the many decades, and classic architectural features such as 20 foot-high beamed ceilings, hand-painted pasta tiled floors, fountains, bright, Talavera tiled kitchens and interior courtyards. Buyers are drawn to these antique homes in Yucatan, not only because of the historic value, but because in Yucatan, Mexico they are still very affordable and remodeling costs are reasonable.
To really appreciate the effort and vision it takes to rescue a centuries old house, one must be able to recognize the various historic elements and have an eye for the unique features, especially when they are hidden by dust and disrepair. Anyone who has taken on such a restoration project has experienced a deep satisfaction and a sense of accomplishment, but they will also tell you it was a long, laborious journey of love. However, for some, the romantic enticement of owning a tropical, colonial home is strong.
As the oldest city in the Americas, Merida has a history like no other, with most of it lining the streets of Centro, the town’s historic district. Behind each and every carved wooden door lies a family history that dates back hundreds of years. As was the Spanish tradition, these homes have been passed down from generation to generation, never changing hands until recent history.
Merida has a unique array of architectural styles. French neo-classical inspired mansions with ornate detailing strung along the famous Paseo Montejo Boulevard, Spanish-colonial homes in the family neighborhoods of Centro and mid-century moderns located on the outskirts.
Valladolid, a smaller, sleepier version of Merida, also has the quaint brick streets, colorful facades and stately, Spanish colonial architecture that makes these communities so unique and desirable. Coqui Coqui, an exquisite perfumery and accessories shop is an example of a Yucatecan mansion lovingly restored in classic, French style.
The Merida English Library has a series of home tours that include many of the city’s restored colonial homes and haciendas. Anyone who appreciates the beauty of these hand-crafted architectural treasures will surly enjoy either the “Home and Garden Tour” given each Tuesday or the “Evening of Merida Magic” tour that includes a wine tasting.
Casa de los Venados, one of the most extensively remodeled homes in Valladolid, offers a tour through the home which is also a “museum” of the largest, private Mexican folk art collection.
Find a historic hotel in Yucatan.