Tulum, Coba, Chichen Itza. Until a few years ago, these exotic-sounding locales weren’t commonly known to many travelers. Mexico’s main draw were spots like Puerta Vallarta, Cabo San Lucas and Acapulco. But recently, the Riviera Maya, that beautiful stretch between Cancun and Tulum on Mexico’s east coast, has become one of the most happening travel destinations, along with the whole Yucatan Peninsula, boasting cenote snorkeling, pyramind climbing and jungle excursions. There’s also a whole other Mexican style.
We felt inspired by the local boutique hotels such as Coqui Coqui Coba (see image above) with their canopied beds, by the creamy cotton hammocks sold roadside on jungle streets, by retro chic beach chairs in the Mayan back country. We cannot bring the magic of Chichen Itza or the feel of a turquoise freshwater cenote boasting stalactites and stalgmites back to the city, but these home decor ideas will virtually transport you to the Mexican Riviera – or bring a morsel of that magical Mayan land to your bed- or living room. Viva la buena vida!
Although dubbed Acapulco Chair, this tear-drop-shaped seat is a Mayan original. Invented in the 1950s by an unknown French tourist who found himself inspired by the Mayan weaving techniques used for local hammocks, it’s timelessly retro chic. We spotted examples of this mid-century marvel both in tiny Mayan villages, sitting in the mud in front of doorless abodes, as well as in chic hotels. Usually, the woven part is brightly colored polyester. Tri-color versions are especially fun. You can also find fancier models covered in leather. Here’s an Acapulco Chair made with vinyl cord.
Handwoven Cotton Hammock
After falling in love with the pristine white or cream-colored hammocks of the Riviera Maya, no other hammock will do. Handweaving these in the traditional Mayan style is a local tradition, and you can find beautiful wares right by the side of a jungle road. A dreamy hamaca will look just as great in a home north of the border. Not to mention it’s the coziest spot for an afternoon siesta or chillaxing with a margarita.
As with many handcrafted goods, like this edition above, there’s a great selection on Etsy.
Mosquito Net Bed Canopy
A canopy bed in a tropical climate is a functional necessity to keep mosquitos and other pesky bugs at bay, but many small hotels in Yucatan (such as Coqui Coqui Coba, pictured) use them just because they look so gauzily beautiful and evocative, and really soften up a space. It’s a romantic style that can be adapted in many a modern Gringo bedroom! It’s an easy DYI hack, too, but check out the silk and cotton versions at www.mosquitonets.com.
There’s gorgeous tableware, pottery, and more. But Mayan dreamcatchers and woven baskets are particularly striking. The dreamcatchers are quite different from those we are used to seeing from Native Americans in the United States. Where words fail, an image will deliver the message, as seen above. Mayan baskets, too, come in amazing styles and unique shapes. These Mayan Baskets handmade from Jippi Jappa palm grown in the rainforest offer a rustic home decor accent.