While many Mexican tourist attractions and homes to American expats are located on the coast, Merida, is an inland city with a lot to appreciate. In fact, this amazing city has been named the American Capital of Culture – twice.  […]
While many Mexican tourist attractions and homes to American expats are located on the coast, Merida, is an inland city with a lot to appreciate. In fact, this amazing city has been named the American Capital of Culture – twice.  It was first awarded the honor in 2000 and was just crowned the winner again in 2017; it is the only city to have a dual win to its name.
Located in the northwestern part of Yucatan (and serving as its capital city), Merida’s history is rooted in Mayan culture and is shaped by colonial influences. The Mayan influence is everywhere, from architecture to cuisine to the laidback camaraderie of the people themselves. Merida is also home to the Gran Museo del Mundo Maya, a breathtaking art and history museum.
The colonial influence of the region is also strong, with many of the haciendas that were once inhabited by Spanish conquerors being repurposed into tourist attractions. These gorgeous plantation houses have been converted into hotels and spas, maintaining a piece of this tense history with a modern-day twist.
The city is large, home to almost 900,000 residents. Its weather remains pretty consistently warm with an average between 63 and 97 year-round, with the warmest peak in May and June. One amazing natural attraction of Merida is the “cenotes” (meaning sinkholes). These natural geological features create amazing caves and pools to explore. Some of them boast turquoise water and glimpses of a rare eyeless fish. Others have underwater caverns and waterfalls. These unforgettable sights will be sure to make for a meaningful vacation stop.
Because it doesn’t lie along the coast, Merida has only a moderate expat penetration. The population that does call this city home has a lot to say in its favor, though.
For one thing, the cost of living is lower than many other areas. It appeals to urbanites, as the population is dense, and the hustle and bustle are constant. It is a melting pot of cultures, reflected in both its history and its present. If you’re looking to stay busy, this city will offer you a continuous parade of festivals, concerts, and art displays. You’ll always have something to do!
The switch from an American lifestyle to one in Merida is often not as difficult because of the city’s large size and colonial history. There are many modern amenities built into the scene. Land and housing both remain very affordable, and excellent healthcare is available. In fact, there are world-class private hospitals that rival hospitals anywhere in the world.
One of the most praised parts of Merida is its local markets. Booths filled with fresh, exotic fruits and vegetables line the streets. And cooking classes abound to help you get acquainted with the cuisine.
Upon first glance, this city may not seem as appealing for expats as the paradise-like locales that draw other retirees and wanderlust travelers, but Merida has a charm all its own and a vibrant history and culture that can’t be matched anywhere else.
Travis Scott Luther is the best selling Author of The Fun Side of the Wall: Baby Boomer Retirement in Mexico. Luther is also a former Adjunct Professor of Entrepreneurship at MSU Denver. He received his Masters Degree in Sociology from the University of Colorado Denver where he later served as Entrepreneur in Residence.
Luther first became interested in Baby Boomers retiring in Mexico during graduate school. His Masters Thesis research contributed to the content of this book. He continues to be interested in U.S. expatriates retiring all over the world and continues to monitor those who have retired in Mexico.
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 Yucatan Expat life. (2016, January 9). Merida wins Cultural Capital title – again.
 Capmeil, J. & Wilentz, A. (2012, June 26). Merida in Bloom: The food, art, design, and Mayan culture of Merida. Conde Nast Traveler.
 Henderson, J. (2017, July 25). How the crumbling haciendas of the Yucatan have been reinvented as ultra-stylish hideaways. The Telegraph.
 Mexperience. Ibid.
 Walsh, N. (2017, November 16). A guide to Merida, Mexico: 10 reasons to visit now. Forbes.
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