When we hear about the Yucatan, our mind usually races to images of resort towns like Cancun, Playa del Carmen and Tulum. When we begin to explore the Yucatan, we are sometimes surprised to learn that the Yucatan is also in fact a state on the peninsula of the same name. The other states occupying the peninsula are Quintana Roo (Cancun, Tulum, Playa) and Campeche (home of the capital city of Campeche, a stunning UNESCO World Heritage site).
The Yucatan itself is somehow its own planet. Full of amazing treasures to discover, the state offers unique experiences to live and a local personality to savor. With an ideal climate, sunny skies, amazing food, affordable beachfront real estate and an advantageous cost of living, expats are choosing to call the beaches of Yucatan “home.”
The Beaches of Yucatan State
The Yucatan is a fascinating place, with a coastline where the Gulf meets the Caribbean. Many small towns, authentic pueblos and fishing towns dot its shore. Quite different than the big resort cities, the smaller Yucatan towns are places where you can grab an incredibly affordable fresh fish dish at the local restaurant looking out onto the water. Where you can feel the breeze on your skin and wander out into the warm, clear, blue waters. Where you can take a walk on beautiful beaches dotted with single family homes or low-rise constructions. Where Mexico is at its finest in so many ways.
The proximity of the coastline to Merida with towns like Progresso and Chicxulub make laid-back beach-front living easy and attractive in the Yucatan.
If you haven’t been to Progreso in awhile, it’s time to go back. At 36 kms from Merida, this forward-moving port town of 37,000 is set to receive Blue Flag Certification. Testifying to compliance with environmental standards, high quality environmental management practices, educational outreach programs and accessibility criteria, Progreso is pushing ahead with a vision. Strategically connecting the Gulf of Mexico with the Caribbean Sea, Progreso is drawing attention. Local government is involving and empowering citizens in clean and accessible beach programs, creating pedestrian beach accesses, continually enhancing a long and enjoyable beach walk with bike and jogging lanes, installing public art and replanting native beach species with boardwalks through the dunes.
The coastal town of Chicxulub lies eight km (five miles) east of the port of Progreso, and 65 km (40 miles) north-northeast of the city of Mérida. It is an authentic town of 5000 people with a well-developed beachfront with modern condominium complexes and homes. The town itself is a relaxed place with local eateries, long stretches of beach and social and volunteer opportunities to spend time with other residents and visitors. Activities abound: beach-combing, bird-watching, exploring, cycling, fishing, horseback riding, jet-skiing, sailing, sightseeing, swimming, walking, water skiing, wind and kite surfing. A convenient bus and van service gets you to Progresso where you can easily catch a bus to Merida.
This is where you begin to understand why there is an important expat population here.
Merida, the Capital
Ranked the Best Small City in the World, the Most Liveable City in Mexico and one of the World’s Safest Cities, Merida is the state capital. It is a bustling city full of charm and easily walkable. Conveniently connected to neighboring towns, Merida is the go-to center for shopping needs with Costco and other large stores. The city has its own international airport and first-class health care.
Do not miss the Gran Museo de Mundo Maya (Mayan World museum) in Merida. Ideally, you would start your discovery of the Yucatan here. The museum has a stunning visual explanation of the geography of the area.
Then head into town and walk around the colonial-inspired center.
Merida is one of those places where you just feel good. The beauty of the city, the cultural offerings and amazing food scene keep you always wanting to come back for more.
The Yucatan of the inland has the magical city of Valladolid, smaller, market towns and stunning architectural sites.
The Yucatan peninsula is fascinating in many ways. Home to the Mayan civilization, the region has a high concentration of archaeological ruins and amazing natural beauty. Mayan civilization extends south to Chiapas, Guatemala and Honduras but is significantly concentrated in Yucatan. The Mayan languages are very much alive today. This Mayan culture weaves together the state not only with its ancient sites, but its modern-day Mayan personality: soft, affectionate tones and incredible, genuine smiles.
Of course you’ve heard about the cenotes, these underground or open air pools of water created by the limestone rock. Some of the region’s most breathtaking sites, the cenotes, are witnesses to the geological history that shaped Yucatan.
The Lay of the Land in Yucatan
At the end of the Cretaceous period, about 66 million years ago, an asteroid measuring about 10-15 kilometers in diameter struck the area which was then all under ocean water. This is the same asteroid attributed to widespread earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, all contributing to the extinction of the dinosaurs. Evidence of the Chicxulub crater, is found today in NASA satellite imagery that shows the cenotes form a perfect circle, sometimes referred to as the ring of cenotes. There are rare cenotes inside the crater or circle. Since the peninsula was covered by water, there is no evidence of a hole or crater. But you will notice that the Yucatan is monumentally …flat. That flatness of the interior is attributed to the spray the land received as a result of the crashing asteroid. The Yucatan rose from the ocean between 24 to 33 million years ago.
The Economy Today
The Yucatan coast is focused on retirement living with investment opportunities for a range of budgets. There is still a good amount of cattle ranching around the peninsula but the henequen production has been lost. (Henequen is a fiber made from the agave plant, comparable to hemp fiber. ) The economy today is concentrated in tourism with the major centers of the peninsula being Cancun, Playa del Carmen and the Riviera Maya in general.
Once in Yucatan, opportunities to visit are everywhere. Relatively close to the large resort towns, Yucatan state has lots of towns, villages and sights that set them apart from the heavily-visited tourist areas.
All of these reasons and many more like an ideal climate, sunny skies, incredible infrastructure, amazing food, quality ingredients, an advantageous cost of living are why expats are choosing Yucatan state. If you’re interested in knowing more about great real estate opportunities here, get in touch. We can help you Own Mexico!