Hammocks are the essence of life between two palm trees swaying the in the breeze with a cool drink. They are also part of life in the Yucatan for those that live here. They have been used for centuries and are the perfect way to live in this climate. The great thing about hammocks is the way air is able to flow around your whole body. Think about it, at night in a bed your body is pressed up against a cotton mattress which is thick and keeps the body heat in, it is like having a jacket on half your body. That can make for an uncomfortable time sleeping. If you do not have air conditioning this can lead to heat rash on your skin.
Hammocks make great souvenirs because they are light, foldable, and useful when you get home. So where can you buy them, how much are they and what makes a good hammock? On 5th Avenue at street corners you will see gentlemen selling hammocks. Prices are not set and quality can be lowered for tourist expectation. Many other souvenir shops on 5th will sell them as well. Great hammocks are made right here on the Peninsula but you most likely will not have the time to go to one of the towns where they are made. In Playa Del Carmen there is a store that is dedicated to just hammocks. It is called La Casa De Las Hamacas. It is located on 30th Avenue between 52nd St. and 54th St. This is not in a touristy area but if you want a good selection and are serious about buying a good hammock, try shopping there.
What makes a good hammock?
The amount of threads used will make a hammock more comfortable and better quality. Count the threads at one end. A large hammock that is good will have 20 threads. Cotton is considered a more comfortable material for use but nylon will hold up much better outside. Spreader bars used at the ends is not a traditional Mayan method and makes it harder to pack to take back home after a vacation. It is a personal choice though.
How much are hammocks?
It depends on what you are going to use the hammock for. If you want to buy a hammock chair for occasional use, you can find these for about 300 pesos. If you want a hammock for your home and are going to use it occasionally then a hammock for 400-600 pesos will buy you one that is adequate. If you are serious about using one and having a good quality one that will be comfortable and last, then expect to pay about 800-1000 pesos.
Hanging a hammock
In many homes in the Yucatan peninsula there are hooks built in to the walls. These are in the living room and bedrooms. Your home will likely not have these so you will need to make hooks or find a nice spot to hang your hammock. The hieight at the ends should be 6 feet up and 12 feet apart between the hooks. Take a rope that is the same length as the hammock and hang it in the place you want to place your hammock and see how it looks. At La Casa De Las Hamacas they have hanging supplies.
Care and cleaning
If you have a cotton hammock and use it outside, make sure you keep it out of the rain. Moister will weaken the threads. If you have a hammock on your porch and it does get wet, put it in a pillow case and tumble dry in the dryer on warm. The same with washing hammocks. Put them in a pillow case and wash with cold water and soap.
Do not use hammocks with shoes on, button on cloths, or hairclips that can all catch in the threads of the hammock.