Mayan Hammocks - how to shop for a good Mayan Hammock in Mexico
Many people have traveled to Merida, Mexico by cruise ship and purchased a Mayan Hammock from a vendor on the beach or road side, they haggle and barter over the price and talk the vendor down to the bottom dollar and leave believing that they have purchased a bargain, however when they get the hammock home and hang it in their yard to their dismay the hammock may be way smaller than expected, have holes in it or fall apart in a few short weeks.
Mayan hammocks are all individually hand woven, and like all hand made products they do vary immensely in quality from one to the next. For instance some Mayan hammocks are woven in Mexican prisons, the weaver is able to sell the hammock in return for money to pay for food and other essentials during his stay in the prison, you can imagine that these types of conditions are not conducive to producing the best quality of hammock.
The best quality Mayans are woven the people of the Yucatan peninsular area of Mexico, close to the city of Merida. These Mayan Hammocks are typically hand woven by skilled artisans, normally the women of the family. Vertical hand looms are used at the homes of the weaver so they are able to stay at home with their children while they earn extra cash. Typically the ladies will work 2 to 3 hours per day weaving hammocks and over the course of a few weeks produce one good size hammock. It is theses Mayan Hammocks that are normally the best quality.
So what should you look out for when buying a Mayan Hammock in Mexico an how do you choose the correct hammock ?
A) The very first thing to do is to hold the Mayan Hammock up close to your nose and inhale deeply, the hammock should smell clean like freshly picked cotton, if you can smell any hint of mold or mildew its probably best to pass on this particular hammock. Mayan Hammocks are mostly woven outdoors in the weavers back yard, during the summer rainy season it is easy for a hammock to get soaked by a storm and in the hot humid conditions develop mold or mildew. A rotten hammock will not last long or be a pleasure to use.
B) Next you should hang the hammock, open it up with your hands and inspect the weave, your looking for a consistent, even, close weave with no snags, pulls or holes in it. Mayan hammocks are quite delicate and easy to snag, these snagged hammocks will not be comfortable and they are often times passed off on unsuspecting gringos. A loosely woven hammock will not give you good support and the strings will dig into your skin leaving a waffle print on your exposed areas.
C) Now check the end cords to see if they are all an even length, if you see a lot of variation in the length of the end cords the hammock will not be comfortable. This is also a good time to check the knots that are used to tie in new cords or change the color of the cords during the weaving process, make sure they all look tight so the hammock will not easily fall apart.
D) Get into the hammock and test it for comfort and appropriate size. Its almost impossible to determine the size of a Mayan Hammock with out laying in it, even a small one can look deceptively large while no one is in it, so to avoid paying to much and to make sure you are getting the correct size hammock make sure to test it. I advise spending at least five minutes in the hammock testing it for size and assessing the level of comfort.
F) Buy only the hammock you have tested….. Avoid the old Mexican bait and switch !
Now you are armed with all the information you need to make a wise Mayan Hammock purchase. Enjoy haggling over price with the vendor but please remember it takes time a skill to produce a great quality Mayan Hammock and the enjoyment of owning a good Mayan hammock is sure to outlast the rush of thinking you got a good deal. Remember, its only a good deal when both parties are satisfied.
If your not going to make it to Mexico any time soon but would like to own a great Mayan hammock then please check out are extensive online selection, and relax, we have already triple checked all our hammocks for size and quality.