It is normally an honest craft that may suddenly become sly and tricky when vendors are offering a tourist a hammock. The reason could be that hammocks themselves are complicated, with many subtle variations in material, construction, quality, size and comfort. And, of course the fact, that you ARE a tourist.

So, to avoid getting something other than what you REALLY want, study the following suggestions very carefully before you make a purchase:

  • The best hammocks come from the capital in Yucatan; Merida. It has the widest selection and many shops offer almost bewildering varieties of hammocks. From cheap twine ones to fabulously comfortable (and expensive) linen models.
  • The largest hammocks are called matrimonial (marriage size) and can hold two people without any crowding at all. Most tourists are so amazed at the size of an authentic single hammock that they are easily convinced it is a matrimonial. It is important to know the difference. – A genuine matrimonial will be about 16 feet long (at least one third of this should be the woven section), weigh 4 ½ to 5 ½ pounds and stretch out to 10-16 feet in width without pulling too hard. It should have 100 or more pairs of strings (brazos) at each end.
  • A medium sized hammock is ideal for on adult or two kids and should weigh about 2 ½ to 3 ½ pounds. It will have slightly smaller measurements and string counts than the marriage size one.
    Be careful: A medium hammock is often sold as a matrimonial.
  • The best hammocks are made out of pure cotton!! Nylon end strings are becoming common, but they are inferior to natural fibers. The thinner the thread, the better! Thin thread is longer fibered, wears better and is more comfortable than thick thread. Cotton resists stretching, holds the color better and just plain feels better than synthetics.
  • The edges are very important! There should be 10 to 16 strings along the edge, well secured to the body of the hammock. This is critical for maintaining the shape and to prevent uncomfortable sagging.
  • Do check the weave. The tighter it is the more resilient and comfortable the hammock will be. A good hammock will be double or triple woven and the holes between the threads will be small. When one person is in a matrimonial the weave looks almost solid, like a cloth. A matrimonial is said to require 5 miles of thread, a medium 3 miles. Measure it, the fewer splices the better.
  • Check the end loops. They should be thick and tightly wrapped.
  • A ciyuana hammock has a beeswax coating on the threads. These feel silky and are especially resistant to dampness and mildew.
  • Hammocks can be ordered custom made. Now, with these measurements, you can ask for the best quality string and construction. Don’t forget the dimensions!!
  • Hammocks should be washed in cold water, by hand. Store them in a mouse and mothproof container to ensure their long life.
I know, this seems like a lot to keep track of and look for, but let me assure you, it will be worth your time and you will feel good about your purchase and that your money is spent well!


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