Cheap Living and Properties in Merida

If you are anything like me you have been looking  for cheap living options at property websites on line in Yucatan.  I too have been looking at them. 

There are a multitude of properties in the 20k-50k price range but it scares the hell out of me as to where they are in Merida and whether I’d ever get a return on my investment.  I’ve looked at Merida websites and seldom can get a good picture as to where they are located.  Are they situated in the slums or are they in “good” areas?  


My Father –in-Law, back in the 70’s was against buying anything downtown.  That has proven untrue.  He also stated that anything south of “El Centro” was for hoodlums.  Yet I see on the websites that expats have begun to buy in these areas.  Who do you believe?

I recently received $20K from an international pipeline to drill across to Canada and I informed my best friend that I had this money to invest into a property.  He said he would look into it.  To date I’ve heard nothing.  I have since thought about it that this probably sounds ridiculous to him since he is wealthy.

This has caused me to think!  All I am thinking about is a little hurricane house, a living room with hammock hooks, bath and kitchen.  A plus would be a pool or tank pool in the back yard.  What more would I need to ride out a hurricane?

I received a call from an attorney in Las Vegas this morning inquiring about how his friend, that has lost much in the current real estate market, could retire in Yucatan.  My hurricane house immediately came to mind.  What more would I/he really need?  Yes we’d all like a seaside mansion but let’s be real.  Those too come with their own set of problems.

We Americans have been brainwashed into thinking we need so much more but do any of us really want a large house or yard to maintain?  I currently have a 27 room Victorian house I can’t keep up with and 3.5 acres of yard to maintain.  I’m tired and don’t want to do it anymore!

All I REALLY NEED is a place to hang my hammock, a bathroom and a nice kitchen with a pool to spend my day in.  For you that have never slept in a Yucateco hamaca I can only tell you that you’ll never sleep in a bed again once you’ve tried it.

Yes Yucatan can get hot in the summer but sitting in the pool is sweet.  Much better than freezing up north through the winter.  Besides, isn’t it time you mooch off of your kids and summer back up north of your kids for a change?  I think you’ll find your kids, or better yet your grandkids, summering with you instead. 

My Yucateca wife and I spent our summers in Yucatan and my In-Laws summered with us on the beach.  It, to this day, is a set of memories not to be forgotten.

How to Buy a Small House/ Property

Merida is over 400 years old downtown and “younger”  as you work your way out.  Meridanos aren't interested in living downtown in “El Centro”.  Their life does not revolve around El Centro but rather in the outer growing areas.  Good for them but better for us!

Downtown is full of abandoned potential cheap living houses, many with collapsed roofs.  Better for us!  To rebuild is quick and easy.  Many of these houses look intact from the street with nearly nothing behind.  Sounds scary?  Yes, but bringing in a knowledgeable crew from a good building company can clear the debris in a day and rebuilding can occur in the week. There are no foundations to concern yourself with since the ground is all limestone.  Put a wall where you want.  The roofs are made of cement I-beams and filled with cement roof blocks.  Plumbing and electrical is run through PVC tubing to wherever you want.

My personal preference is how they build baths and kitchens out of glass with broad open glass door walls leading to the rear gardens/pool.  Seriously, what more do I need lest I want to impress someone and that has never worked out for me so far and at my age I really don’t care!

Many of the downtown properties have deep back yards, though narrow, that allow sufficient space to build a guest house in the back and if you really need the space you can always go up with a second floor master suite.

Buying/Viewing on Line

I too have been looking for cheap living homes!  Many of the houses in El Centro are narrow.  Connected to the next house. Look like heck from outside.  Too simplistic.  Yes, you’re right!  We Americans are all about what it looks like outside, but  WRONG!  Merida houses are all about what is inside.  When you go inside you find a garden oasis surrounded by house.

When looking at houses I have found that “It is all about the windows”.  If the house is just a door with no windows it may be too small but may open to a huge oasis in the interior simply because the front may have been sold off as a store yet yields a large central home inside.  Don’t pre-judge!  Go inside a have a look.  Besides, less to maintain out front!

A door and a window house front may yield a long narrow home with a garden in back.  Do you need more than that?  That is for you to decide.

A door and two windows usually indicate a larger home that can be quite spacious with a large garden and surrounding rooms.  Quite nice.  Also much more expensive!

A door and three windows is getting a bit large for me simply because I don’t want the maintenance.   These homes can be quite large and extensive which can be nice but you need to know that you can plan on repainting every year due to the leaching that occurs through the limestone.  Another reason to have a small frontage is that work and repairs can all be done in less than a day’s work at a fraction of the cost here in the USA.

A house with a garage/parking in considered ideal!  My wife and I rented a gorgeous restored downtown mansion, The Casa Blanca on Calle 66 but had to rent a parking space two blocks away for the month.  An inconvenience!  Some streets have no street parking and those that have in El Centro can be hard to find a spot during peak hours.  The Centro streets are narrow and if you own a Hummer it may stick way out into the main street.  Something to think about.


Where to Buy Cheap Living Properties

Expats seem to be gravitating to the west side of Merida for cheap living mostly in the Santiago area and north of there or the beach areas.  See our articles on the beach areas in other parts of our website.

The North and Northeast areas of Merida are very nice and honestly any area of Merida would work for expats.  Colonia Aleman and Itzimna are nice older areas where expats are gravitating to for cheap living.  These areas have an aging population and are experiencing rejuvenation by younger Meridenos and expats.

The southern and far eastern areas of Merida are populated but probably are not what most expats are looking for yet it is very difficult by looking on line to discern which areas to buy in for cheap living homes.  It is very important to have a knowledgeable realtor on your side to help you.

Our Hurricane House

Hurricanes happen in the Yucatan.  My beach house in San Bruno was hit by Hurricane Gilbert in the 80’s and caused considerable damage.  Had we been living there I would not have wanted to ride out the storm there!

This has caused me to think!  All I need is a little cheap living hurricane house, a living room with hammock hooks, bath and kitchen.  A plus would be a pool or tank pool in the back yard.  What more would I need to ride out a hurricane?

I need a cheap living place of refuge away from the beach to ride out the storm.  Whatever that may be!  The cement and stone houses here are literally indestructible yet on the beach you are dealing with water damage and storm surges.  Our cheap living Hurricane House is our answer.  A plus is that while my stepson is in school I can go to the house to spend a few hours after shopping until I need to pick him up and as quite often happens here, return him to school for a night activity or soccer game.  Having a child in school in Merida can literally mean a drive in from the beach four times a day.  Why not have your little Garden of Eden nearby?  Just a thought (and my plan!)

Top of Cheap Living Properties in Merida