Shopping for Authentic Pasta Tiles in Yucatán

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The Mosaicos Peninsular showroom.

Photos by Patricia Robert

If you’re anything like us, we heard of Mérida from friends who’d bought a fabulous house … where? On went YouTube, and on came the Neighborhoods of Mérida series or House Hunters International, and after a while, we would giggle at the inevitable “original pasta tile floor” comment. 

The floors are ubiquitous, and my theory is that aside from the climate, which makes wooden floors impossible, they perform a yeoman’s task of decorating the otherwise simple cubes and boxes that make up the volumes of colonial homes in town.

Related: How Pasta Tiles Are Made

Made from humble materials, a simple mixture of dry and wet cement is pressed along with a mixture of pigments poured into a mold. There’s no kiln process, but the extreme pressure binds the material together, and the slow drying as they’re stacked on their sides makes for an extremely hard and durable tile.

Whether you decide to polish them with kerosene to give them a wet look or just shine them to a high buff and let them acquire a subtle patina, they’re the Yucatán’s version of a Persian carpet. 

Did I mention they’re beautiful?

Create a pattern or design them in any color combination you can come up with. If you’re looking for a custom pattern, you’ll first need to have a metal mold made, after which you can then select your colors. 

After a strike-off or two to ensure that the pattern and colors work in your space, you just sit back and wait for the tiles to be made. This can take a while, depending on the design’s intricacy and the vendor you choose to work with. 

A repeating bird pattern in a custom floor mural design and concept collaboration by Brad Austin and David Serrano inspired by a David Serrano painting and produced by Mosaicos La Peninsular.

{Note to readers: The text under the photo above replaces inaccurate caption information originally published.}

Here’s my curated list of who makes tiles in and around Mérida these days:

Fabrica De Mosaicos La Peninsular

While there are various factories scattered throughout the Yucatán, decidedly the most famous is Fabrica de Mosaicos La Peninsular (pictured at the top of the page). Renowned for their work, their tiles have been used in the Empire State Building. And they have an exceptional level of crispness, which is often lacking in tiles of this type.
Calle 62 619, Centro, Mérida
mosaicoslapeninsular.com; 999-923-1196

Musaiko

Musaiko

Musaiko is a newer company specializing in more graphic and slightly more modern feeling tiles. They pride themselves on being a uniquely artisanal resource. Their colors are slightly different than what one might expect in traditional design with a chalky quality to the palette, as with all of the other companies entirely customizable. An interactive feature on their website helps customers come up with their own unique designs.
Calle 1H 107 between 20 and 22 Col. México Norte, Mérida; musaiko.mx; IG: @musaiko.mx
999-351 6502

Dzununcan

Mosaicos Dzununcan

Hard-to-find patterns and borders have been Mosaicos Dzununcan’s specialty for more than 30 years. While tiles (a pattern called Cathedral is pictured above) are most commonly found in the 20 x 20 size range, they offer tiles from 10 x 10 to a rectangle of 10 x 30.
Calle 37 318 Col. Monte Alban, Mérida;
mosaicosdzununcan.com
IG: @mosaicosdzununcan
999-217-9326

Traqui

Mosaicos Traqui

Another family-owned business, Mosaicos Traqui, always has most of its solid colors and popular patterns in stock. Being able to rely on their quick turnaround time is always nice, especially if you find that you need your tile in a hurry to meet a deadline. Watch as they make your tiles. Everything is made onsite in Ucu, which is just past Caucel on the highway leading to the beach.
Calle 21 74 between 14 and 16, Ucu, (exit 18 on the Periférco toward Celestún)
mosaicostraqui.com.mx
999-956-9416

Tejas y Talavera

While less common than pasta tile in the Yucatán, Talavera is what most people think of when they say “Mexican tile” — highly glazed with a slightly raised texture. Talavera tiles are a bit more complicated to make. They need 50-90 days to dry and a kiln firing after being dipped, painted and glazed.
Calle 6 118, Felipe Carrillo Puerto Norte, Mérida
tejasytalaveras.com
999-926-3816

Ferco Cerámica

Another attractive alternative to pasta and Talavera is porcelain. Ferco offers a beautiful selection of imported tiles. My current favorite, which I’m hoping to use along with pasta tile, is a Roman brick that comes in a variety of colors. One could easily border and supplement these stylish tiles to create panels.
Avenida Líbano at Calle 29, Col. México, Mérida
fercoceramica.com.mx
999-351-7219

Louis Navarrete
Louis Navarrete
Louis Navarrete is a Parsons-trained environmental and interior designer working on making the world a better place, one room at a time.
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