When building in Tulum or anywhere in the Riviera Maya, learn how to make your house tropics-proof

In our past posts, we talked about choosing the land for your house in Tulum and about main construction steps.

Now let's talk about architecture and decor.

So what should you keep in mind when you talk to your architect? Here's our list.


ADAPT IT TO THE LOCAL CULTURE. Tulum and the whole Quintana Roo state have rich Mayan traditions. Mayans were the real ancestors of these lands and built fascinating structures all over the peninsula. Incorporate their architectural elements into your house whenever possible.


USE LOCAL MATERIALS. Mayans used local materials for their buildings that are still found in the area. They are the best choice for your house.  For example, the three-house development K’AK’-JA’ – WAY  (in the photo below) in Tulum harmoniously blends modern architecture and design with local materials, such as limestone and Zapote wood, and integrates the project into the local tropical environment. Here are some tips on how to choose local Mayan materials.


K'AK' House bathroom, Tulum, by Riviera Maya Property Consultants


DETAILS. Use minimalist details and make tropical living easier: you will have less mold, more natural breeze, and less maintenance fees​.


KEEP RAINY SEASON IN MIND. Riviera Maya doesn’t get that much rain as other tropical destinations, but your house should be ready for some days or weeks of rain per year, especially in October – December. Plan strategically, and rainwater can be used to water the plants, for example.


SUN ORIENTATION. The right orientation of the house will help with the natural airflow and reduce the heat. If you want to prevent the sunlight from entering the house, keep east-west walls closed, and make north-south walls with large openings.


OPEN LAYOUT. In general, the lesser walls you build, the more airflow you will have. Open spaces also add to the impression of the size of your house, making it appear larger and airier.


COOL WITHOUT AIR CONDITIONER. To make your house cool and airy, create wide window openings and high ceilings. Big openings and windows on every side also bring in lots of natural light, as in this WAY house project in Tulum:


WAY House living room, Tulum, by Riviera Maya Property Consultants


OUTDOOR SPACE. Even if you don’t have a lot of space for your house, make sure you leave enough land to create a terrace and a tropical garden. Outdoor living is an important part of being in the tropics.


CHOOSE LIGHT, NATURAL COLORS. Light colors make the space appear bigger and soothe the senses. Light colors are also great for tropical environment as they reflect heat and make it feel cooler. Natural colors – such as beige, white, light brown, green – are the ones we find in the environment, and they will make your house feel more natural, a part of the surrounding nature.


MATCH YOUR FURNITURE WITH THE HOUSE AND ENVIRONMENT. When building a modern tropical house with local elements and materials, choose modern tropical furniture, but add a Mexican touch, which will make your house feel warmer and more original. (Read here how to Add Traditional Mexican Style to Your House)


USE LOTS OF TROPICAL PLANTS. Surround your house with tropical plants, inside and out. The plants will not only make your space feel beautiful and refreshing, but will also cool the area and provide shade.


WATER. Even if you don’t have space for a pool, consider a fountain or waterfall – water helps to decrease temperature. If you place a water feature outside of a window, the water will help to keep the air cool.


If you wish to talk to our architectural team, contact us.


WAY House pool, Tulum, by Riviera Maya Property Consultants



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