The city of Campeche, on Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula, increasingly attracts attention from tourists and snowbirds.
And why not? It’s a UNESCO World Heritage city with a beautiful, well-preserved Spanish colonial center. On top of that, it lies right on the Gulf of Mexico, whose sea breezes cool Campeche’s warm winters. Many tourists who visit start to dream of staying a while, often looking for rentals in Campeche.
The city is filled with hotels at every price point, but if you long to rent a property and “play house” in Campeche for a few weeks or months, your options right now are limited. Because Campeche is new to tourism—and it’s largely off the expat radar—locals have been slow to see the need for expat-caliber furnished rentals.
With tourist interest growing, that situation may well change soon. Until it does, though, here are three tips to help you find that dream rental in Campeche.
1. For short-term rentals, think creatively
The best short-term furnished rentals in Campeche city center that I know of are listed on www.vrbo.com. These one- and two-bedroom rentals are usually renovated colonials, with pasta tile floors, comfortable furniture, TV and internet, and back garden spaces with pools. These are literally the only rentals I know of that fully meet expat standards. Their price–$600 and up per week.
If that’s a bit rich for your blood—or if these are booked—think creatively. There are numerous small hotels in town whose nightly rate runs $30 to $60 a night for a double room. True, you won’t have kitchen facilities, and you may need to ask about A/C in the lower-priced hotels (it’s a necessity in the humid Yucatán summer). But many offer breakfast or are near local eateries, and if you stay long-term in a small hotel you may start to feel like one of the family…you may even be able to negotiate a lower long-term rate.
Hotels in this price range include the Hotel Maya Campeche, Hotel López, Hotel América and Hotel Castelmar, among many others.
If nothing else, staying in a small hotel may give you the time to search out an inexpensive local house or apartment rental…which brings us to tip #2.
2. Ask around, and look for unadvertised rentals in Campeche
Let’s be honest: In many places, the highest-priced rentals will be those catering to foreign tourists who book in advance…and which are advertised on English-language websites. If you have the time to stump the streets—and you speak some Spanish—you can often scope out deals. These tend to be properties owned by locals who don’t cater to the foreign market—or at least not enough to list their property on an English-language site. These properties are likely to vary in quality, so be prepared to negotiate—and to look closely at your responsibilities under the rental agreement.
3. For long-term rentals, be prepared to furnish it yourself
If you’re looking to rent long-term, keep in mind that many long-term rentals in Campeche are unfurnished. Again, that’s because the long-term rental market has traditionally been ordinary Mexicans, not expats or snowbirds who relocate without furniture.
In fact, you may well prefer to rent a place that’s officially unfurnished. That’s because “furnished” is a very loose term. Often a “furnished” house will only have a stove as old as Grandma…together with the bureau and table Granny left behind when she moved out. The owner will expect you to provide the rest of the furnishings—but may still charge a premium for “furnished” accommodation.
In Mexico in general, “unfurnished” means that a place is totally empty. You’ll need to provide appliances like a stove, refrigerator, washing machine, and any other electronics. Unless a property is brand-new, you may also need to do a little upgrading (replacing kitchen cabinets or bathroom tiling, for instance). But the price will be lower than the so-called “furnished” rentals.
Long-term rentals in Campeche are affordable. I’ve heard of small homes and apartments renting for as little as $300 a month. (You need to ferret out these deals, though—preferably by chatting up locals.) Realistically, a medium-sized (two- to three-bedroom) property in a central neighborhood will run you $600 and up per month.
If you speak Spanish, there are several realtors in town who handle rentals as well as purchases, including Casa Dan and MBA Bienes Raíces. For English-speakers—and for those wanting a realtor who understands U.S. and Canadian needs—see Viva-Campeche. Its British owners live in central Campeche themselves.
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