Last Updated on April 18, 2024 by Eric Livingston

Mérida is Overhyped?

Is Mérida Overhyped or Not?

Mérida’s popularity continues to grow, however some people are seeing the “true” Mérida beyond Paseo de Montejo and wondering if it may be somewhat overhyped. Mérida is well renowned for its safety in terms of violence; however, theft is commonplace. Still, it’s generally considered the safest city in Mexico. However, many feel the climate is simply unbearable and quite frankly unlivable and look for cooler destinations in Mexico like Querétaro or San Miguel de Allende or perhaps on the west coast in Baja California Sur like Cabo San Lucas or La Paz or where it has more of a dry heat. Rising electricity bills and dirty streets have some thinking twice about Mérida as the best retirement and/or expat destination despite its safety accolades.

Mérida was Initially too Good to Be True for Me

My 3 Month Stay at the Hyatt Regency

I first became enamored with Mérida in 2017. I stayed in the Fiesta Americana, back when Sanborns was still located on the bottom floor. I was amazed at the area and instantly fell in love with the city. However, I didn’t realize that I was just in a honeymoon phase. After returning to the same area in 2018 I decided to buy a place in the preferred north of the city, but I stayed at the Hyatt Regency, right across from the Fiesta Americana off of Paseo de Montejo because they allowed cats. I brought my beloved cat Scotty with me.

“Living Large” Gave Me a Warped Perception

These hotels are located close to el centro in a beautiful area of Mérida. This warped my perception of the city overall. I mean, it was amazing during my stay there. I stayed at the Hyatt for 3 months while my purchase was going through. The property purchase was a bit of a headache as can be expected, especially since I had to buy through a bank trust known as a “fideicomiso” in Mexico. This is due to the fact that Mérida lies in the restricted zone due to its proximity to the coast.

Eric with maid in Mérida, Yucatán at the Hyatt Regency.
I spent three months at the Hyatt Regency and this lovely lady became a friendly, familiar face for those three months

Go Beyond Montejo, the Privadas and Shopping

Mérida is Overhyped?

Trash in the Streets is Commonplace in Mérida

Once you venture beyond Paseo de Montejo, the fancy privadas (gated communities) and nice shopping centers you’ll soon realize just how filthy some of the streets are. Mérida is overhyped for this reason alone. There is garbage thrown throughout the city on the sides of the streets. Alcohol bottles, bags from chips, beer cans, mattresses, pizza boxes, soda cans, shoes, tires, and toilets, are just a few of the things I’ve seen in the hundreds of walks I’ve completed throughout northern Mérida. This is why Mérida is overhyped in my opinion. The walks I take are in, what is considered a nice area to live in called San Angelo/Montes de Ame. They have some rentals going for 52,000 pesos a month plus a 10,000-peso maintenance fee. So yeah, it’s not a bad area. It’s such a shame because Mérida really is a nice place otherwise. It’s safe from physical violence, has delicious cuisine and a perfect mix of history and modernity.

Mérida Expats Will Defend Mérida Regardless of the Truth

I know hard-core Mérida expats and retirees will defend Mérida to the death no matter what but that doesn’t take away from the fact that the streets are littered with garbage. Just listen to the Mexicans in the video above talk about how their culture (and country) is dirty. These expats will be quick to point out how some city in the U.S. is dirty, as if I was making a comparison. Or they’ll quickly turn to the easy target “gun violence in the U.S.” What does gun violence in the U.S. have to do with trash in the streets of Mérida? For whatever reason some people feel it’s like a personal attack against them. Many expats have this “need” to justify their move overseas and will defend it at any cost and completely bash and criticize whatever country they’re from. I’ve never understood that about human behavior. If someone criticized my hometown or where I’m from because it truly was dirty, I’d have no problem with that. It’s not personal. I just don’t get it.

The Humid Climate Starts to Wear on Me

When I first arrived, I never really thought about just how humid Mérida is. It never crossed my mind. I believe I arrived in the cooler months, possibly November, but I don’t recall precisely. In any event, it wasn’t an issue to me when I first arrived. However, after finally settling into my new place, the reality set in. I was no longer staying at the Hyatt Regency. I would go on my walking routine (fast intermittent) for about an hour and come back completely soaked head to toe. It was bad, real bad. The humidity in Mérida is on a whole ‘nother level. Awful humidity is another reason I feel Mérida is overhyped. In my opinion, and that of many others, the weather sucks. I know that weather is subjective, and some may love hot, humid weather but I know that a lot of people can’t stand it.

Water Leaks Down the Walls Inside My Home

Once the rainy season came, I saw just how bad the shoddy construction of my condo was. Streaks of water would just pour in the condo on the sides of the walls. I’ve never experienced this in my life in the United States or Ecuador or anywhere for that matter. Despite trying to “patch up” these obvious defects the water never stopped pouring down the sides of the walls in several spots. Needless to say, it was a bad purchase. I was beyond frustrated. It seems however, that people here are almost used to it. When people are “used to water running down their walls” that’s a problem to me. The water damage not only creates bubbles behind the paint but also creates dangerous mold. Needless to say, I wanted out and was lucky to unload the place after a couple of years. I’m guessing Mexico’s roofs must be basically flat for the “tinacos” or water containers and other items to sit on top of the roof. It doesn’t take an architect to figure out that a sloped roof is much better for draining water and preventing water leaks than a flat (very slight inclination) roof; yet sloped roofs don’t exist in Mexico. Water leaks or “filtración de agua” is very common in Mexico. Water leaks “being commonplace” in your home is another reason I feel Mérida is overhyped.

Property Appreciation Uncertainty Means Mérida is Overhyped

I was fortunate to walk away with basically a zero net gain or loss from my purchase; not ideal. Yet, I see so many realtors and sellers promoting single family home and land sales in Mérida virtually guaranteeing appreciation. All I can say is just be real careful and line yourself up with TRUE professionals, get inspections and on every part of the property, in addition to an appraisal from a vetted source. Just know that appreciation of your property is certainly not guaranteed in Mérida. Property appreciation uncertainty is another reason I feel Mérida is overhyped. I believe there are much better areas for investors to put their money to work.

I Still Love Mexico and I Still Like Mérida

I became a permanent resident of Mexico. It’s become a part of who I am. That doesn’t mean I don’t have two eyes and can’t see. If I didn’t like Mexico I wouldn’t be here. However, I feel residents should care about where they live instead of just turning a blind eye to blatantly obvious issues a city has. I’m in the process of considering my next move. It doesn’t mean I hate Mérida. It’s just time to move on. It’ll be the perfect place for many, I’m sure. I’ve had my eye on Querétaro for some time but still have three concerns about that city.

The nearby violence in Celaya is out of control. I’m worried that it may creep into Querétaro.
The airport doesn’t have a lot of direct international flights. Mexico City is 3 hours away so traveling elsewhere would be a bit burdensome.
The traffic is Querétaro is horrific. They’ve been working on Bernardo Quintana Boulevard for years. It was supposed to be finished in 2019. I’ve experienced the traffic there going from Juriquilla to el centro and it’s awful.

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