Home House Hacks Being comfortable in Yucatán means working with the heat

Being comfortable in Yucatán means working with the heat

Being comfortable in Yucatán means working with the heat
Shady balconies offer great relief from the heat. Photo: Joanna van der Gracht de Rosado
Photo: Courtesy

As I write this post, it is 3:30 pm., definitely the hottest time of the day. My friend just texted me to say that she’s rocking in her hammock and looking up at the hand-hewn beams soaring 12 feet above her. She says that when she finishes catching up on her email, she’ll leave her cool bedroom and go for a swim. She doesn’t mention if she’ll venture directly into her side yard or first go into the large living room.

In both spaces, cool green plantings are everywhere. From inside, she can see the Delft-blue sky through floor-to-ceiling windows. Outside, the rolling white clouds are not only visible when she looks up, they are also reflected in the crystalline water of her pool.

Softly muted Bach plays through Bose speakers allowing her to still make out the trickle-trickle from multiple fountains interspersed throughout the house and yard.

She says she has not broken a sweat all day long, and yet the temperature outside is 37 degrees Celsius, or 99 Fahrenheit.

“Being comfortable in Yucatán is all about managing to work with the heat, and not doing battle with it. If homeowners don’t get that essential part right, no amount of AC will keep them from turning into temperature casualties during the long summer months,” she adds. 

And how does manage to “work with” the heat?

The first point to consider is the direction your property faces. You need to avoid doors or windows on the eastern and southern exposures because that’s where the sun beats down during the hottest hours (from midday to sunset). Anywhere the rays can sneak in will increase the heat inside all your rooms.

If you already own a home with access on the east and south, consider replacing the pretty windows with cement blocks, plaster and paint. Do likewise with the doors. And if you can’t?

Well, other strategies exist, and some are quite easy to do. But let’s have a look at them in a day or two because right now, it’s time for a siesta.