The number of inquiries we receive about relocation to Mexico is rising steadily. As more baby-boomers retire, and the underlying reasons people choose Mexico for living—full-time or part-time—continue to influence decision-making, the long-term trend is for even more foreigners to come to Mexico.
We regularly talk with people who have made their home in Mexico and, while all gardens can never be rosy all the time, here are the key reasons why those who have come here and settled, say they are staying for the long-term:
“We’re enjoying a better quality of life”. It’s no secret that the cost of living is rising across most of the world’s advanced economies—that is, shelter and food are costing more, and incomes are falling when compared to real inflation. Retired folks on fixed incomes are particularly affected by this process. People are moving to places like Mexico where their fixed incomes stretch furtherbecause they are not paying as much for the basic necessities of shelter and food and their incomes are not being hit by rising taxation that they cannot avoid, for example, rising property taxes.
“We’re eating better food and paying less for it”. There is an abundance of fresh, wholesome, food available in Mexico at affordable prices. Fresh foods are available in industrialized countries—but at a premium to highly processed / non-fresh foods. In Mexico, you don’t have to spend the whole pay-check eating wholesomely.
“Our homestead costs are much lower in Mexico”. The fees and taxes home-owners have to pay in places like the US, Canada, and Western Europe have climbed steadily over the last decade—to the point where these are now a significant line-item on personal budget sheets. Rises in house and community taxes have out-stripped inflation, and maintenance costs are steep: in summary, home ownership is becoming an expensive pastime and putting a lot of pressure on people with fixed incomes. In Mexico, home owners enjoy low property taxes as well as lower maintenance costs due to lower material prices and labor fees for house maintenance services.
“We enjoy a fantastic climate”. In terms of climate, Mexico is a land of three lands. If you enjoy a year-round temperate climate, the central highland areas are ideal; if you need to be where it’s warmer/hot beside the ocean, there’s plenty of choice— and unlike the U.S., seaside property is still affordable here. If you prefer cooler temperatures year-round, Mexico’s highland mountain towns could suit you. Whether they come for the winter, or stay all year, expats are able to find a climate to suit their clothes in Mexico.
“We can afford healthcare in Mexico”. Routine medical care, specialist services, and medications cost less in Mexico, and you don’t have to compromise on the quality of healthcare you receive. Long-term healthcare in residential homes is emerging as the next boom-industry here in Mexico, and it’s not surprising as monthly cost for residential care in Mexico costs between US$500-US$1,500 in comparison to the U.S., where the monthly costs run between US$5,000 and US$6,500. As the limitations of the US medical care system reveal themselves, people are looking abroad for the treatments and care they need—and Mexico’s geographical closeness is as attractive as the affordability. See our healthcare section for more details and the latest articles.
“We feel safe in Mexico”. In a previous article, we wrote: “If what you’re seeing about Mexico on your TV screen scares and keeps you away now, your perceptions have been hijacked before you allowed yourself an opportunity to better understand these lands, and see what others here see: a country in transition, a country which is, by and large, less violent than those places where stones are so readily thrown from glass houses.” Despite the near-constant anti-Mexico news flow, expats living here report that they feel safe and settled in Mexico. The drug cartels are not targeting expats or tourists. Persons who are not involved in the drug trade have a very small chance of being affected by it.
My wife and I have wintered in Mexico the past 20 years. Visited just about every region from Baja California to Yucatan and loved all. Certainly there are problems. There is no perfect place anywhere.
Traffic in most towns and cities can be nasty. Polution in larger towns is bad. But the pros are much greater than the cons.
Great people. Easy to make friends (Learn Spanish. It will enhance your experience)
Much better quality of life at a lower cost. Medical services that are affordable and with a personal touch and just as good as in US.
It is sad to see that only bad news are reported about Mexico.
Reply to Diego
My wife & I traveled extensively through out Mexico during our working years so we were already very comfortable with the culture & the people. We retired full time to Rosarito Beach in Nov. 2014 & have enjoyed every minute of everyday! The cost of living is about 70% less than living in California. Our annual property taxes are only $96.00! To see a a doctor costs us 50 pesos, less than $ 3.00. The meat & produce are much fresher & better for us. We have made many new like minded dual pats. We are always having a great time. Like any big city in the states if you are looking for trouble you can find it. As long as you are not involved in the drug scene, you will have no problems at all. We are close enough to thec USA to see our Moms, children, & grandchildren whenever we want. If you crave a more relaxing slower pace of life please consider Mexico!
Reply to Tony
Hi – I am finally retiring and am planning on spending February through April in San Miguel de Allende. My plan is to learn Spanish through an immersion program there and use San Miguel as a base to travel throughout the country. In addition to wanting to connect with expats there, I also would like to know more about public transportation to get around both locally and across the country. How is public transportation in Mexico and are there opportunities for expats to travel together to different spots in Mexico. I am so excited for this time in my life!
Reply to Gail
My wife and I have done a number of 30 day across-Mexico trips on public bus, staying in cheap hotels along the way. Never a hitch. One good one was from Mexico City west, flying home from Puerto Vallarta, and another good one was Mexico City east, south, around the Yucatan and flying home from Cancun. We do our best to avoid the tourist places. Mexico’s first class buses are FAR better than those of my native Canada and far cheaper. We usually take the next to first class and they are similar to what we have at home. We often find it hard to get out of Mexico City right away, as there is a lot to see and do, but we always try and save some for our next trip. Last winter we rented a house in a village a couple of hours south of Mexico City and have decided to retire there. The locals are very friendly, like in any small town anywhere, and they kindly put up with my bad Spanish.
Reply to Al
You will love traveling in Mexico. There are wonderful cross-country buses that are much more comfortable than the equivalent in the US or Canada. The cost is cheap. From San Miguel there are quite a few opportunities to travel with a group such as the Lions’ Club, which arranges trips outside of San Miguel. There is even a forum devoted entirely to traveling outside of San Miguel:
Enhancing the San Miguel Experience !
This group is for posting information about all trips, events, locations in Mexico that are outside of San Miguel de Allende but which generally originate in San Miguel. You may post trips offered, ask for information and generally discuss places and things outside of San Miguel.
Reply to Pat
Monica Rix Paxson
Another feature of Mexican life that is missing from this list is affordable household help. Even people on a fixed retirement income can typically afford a maid every week. And being a maid is considered decent, honorable work.
Reply to Monica
We are looking forward to moving to Ensenada where we can enjoy the beach, the fresh seafood and the wonderful people who live there. Our plans are to move there next year.
Reply to Heather
HI..I AM PRESENTLY RETIRED IN BRAZIL, IT IS BECOMING EXPENSIVE..BUT AFTER READING THESE WONDERFUL COMMENTS ABOUT MEXICO I AM THINKING SERIOUSLY MOVING OVER THERE..I WILL START SEARCHING FOR A NICE AFFORDABLE CIUDAD..YOU SEE MY MONTHLY RETIREMENT INCOME IS ABOUT $1500..WHAT DO YOU THINK? THANKS
Reply to jOE
Joe, With what you get for retirement you can have a good life here in Mexico. Do you want a beach, small city, large city? If I can help I will.
Reply to John
I love Cancun and have been there many times, been to other places in Mexico too. What I don’t like about Cancun is the tourists and that it’s very expensive. I am a single woman and am looking to retire in a small beach town that is clean and safe and not by the border. Also easy access to medical care. Any ideas? Thank you!
Reply to Lynn
My husband an I live near Lake Chapala, the best climate in Mexico, at the West End of the lake. We live on $1,000 US for the two of us. We live in Jocotepec, it is near Ajijic, a popular retirement town for Expats. It is MUCH more expensive to live there, though. We love Joco because it is a Mexican town, very friendly, low food and rent prices, and we live in the country. I can get all I need here, and Guadalajara is only 50 mins away, where you can buy all you can imagine. The airport is about an hour away. If you would like more information, e mail me on rosfreed @ yahoo.com
Reply to rosalind
We moved to Huatulco Mexico and are now going into our 5th year living here. Yes there can be some hurdles to overcome but there are many people willing to help you with these obstacles. We love it for all of the reasons listed above and after travelling Mexico for 15 years we could not recommend our favorite, the hidden gem of Huatulco (Wa-Tool-Co) more. We highly recommend you come for a visit.
Reply to Brent
My husband and I own a house just north of Todos Santos in Las Tunas, 45 minutes north of Cabo on the Pacific side, and cannot wait to be there full time. We love the traditional community, the gringo support of the local population, the fresh food from the local farms, the weather and especially the wonderful friends we have made there. Safety has never been an issue
Reply to Terry
Thank you so much for this information on PV. I am a single mom, 61, and coming to PUERTO VALLARTA for a long-term stay to see how I like it. My concerns are less about the health care, food, bills, weather (as these are all wonderful). My concern is more about creating a balance of expat friendships alongside getting to know the local people. It’s a bit scarey doing it alone – but I’m sure all will fall into place in it’s time. I am outgoing, love the water, hiking and wanting to horseback ride and perfect the Spanish language! Any communication will be warmly welcomed!
Reply to Arlene
Arlene, we have lived in La Peñita de Jaltemba which is a 1 hour drive north of the PV airport since 2006. The expat community here is warm, welcoming and active. My suggestion is to catch a Pacifico Bus from PV and visit our pueblito. Thursday mornings feature a great street market called Tianguis on the central plaza of LP. Checkout the Jaltemba Jalapeño a local online website for lots of info. Good luck…Ken Snyder
Reply to Ken
Arlene – If you’re not able to find expats in the area that you move to, I’ve found there are a lot of wonderful Mexican people who have worked in the USA and then returned to their home. Most of these folks speak English on a functional level and are happy to link up with gringos for friendship and to help. In return, your friendship helps them with their English. Be prepared to listen about their experiences in the USA (many have questions about things that they experienced) and to help them understand current events. In addition to the help you’ll receive, you’ll be immersed in their language as their friends tag along.
You’ve probably heard the old phrase “mi casa es tu casa”. This is still very strong in the Mexican culture (from what I’ve experienced). People are typically a mirror…if you treat with kindness, humbleness and love, you will experience the same.
Reply to Jim
Yes, your reasons are all part of the reason my wife and I bought a Villa on the South Shore of Banderus Bay (Puerto Vallarta) during 2014. We are moving there on a full-time basis in a few months after testing the water approximately 20 times during the past 8 years. The people are warm and gracious, the weather is sublime, and the costs are reasonable. We have visited several times during each season and we believe the weather in each season is better than each comparable time in SW Missouri.
For those doubters out there PV is cleaner, less stressful, safer, and offers better healthcare that is more cost effective and more timely than does the U.S.
Reply to Dean
We just spent our sixth Christmas here on the beach at Huatabampito in very southern Sonora. We own a home on a gorgeous 13-mile long beach that has less than two dozen full-time residents. We are surrounded by a farming community and have a nearby fishing village – so we enjoy a wide variety of wonderful, affordable and fresh food of all types. Great healthcare and the best neighbors that we’ve ever had. Paradise!
Reply to Henry
We started going to Mazatlan 10-12 yrs ago & finally 2 yrs ago made our dream come true by selling everything in the US & moving here. We love it! Much cheaper, tons of things to do, beautiful beaches, great rest’rnts, etc. The people of Mazatlan are some of the friendliest, most welcoming in the world. Not a single minute of regret! Life is wonderful here!
Reply to Sharl
This article describes precisely why we live here! Los Barriles in Baja California Sur has become a desirable retirement destination for active Baby Boomers who enjoy biking, hiking, kiteboarding, windsurfing, fishing, SUP, kayaking and more. As a Realtor in Baja I’m living my dream and helping buyers and sellers realize their dreams!
Reply to Dede
I have lived in Campeche for four years. Prior, while working in Ciudad del Carmen. Avoid Carmen. Very, very expensive. It is the center of the MX offshore petroleum industry. But, (San Francisco de) Campeche, the state capitol is a well kept and very affordable city. Safety? I take my nightly walks between midnight and two in the morning. Cooler and less humidity. I walk every where and feel safe Better than in my state side home in Las Vegas. I do eat healthier here for a fraction of the cost in the US. Campeche is a UNESCO world heritage city. The forts are refurbished and the homes in “old town” are freshly painted by the city/state. An alternative city in the Yucatan is the city of Merida.
Reply to First
This article speaks clearly to me and my wife. We are now in our moving to Mexico countdown and the reasons you are citing for doing so are precisely the reasons we hold for uprooting ourselves at the ages of 78 and 75 respectively.
WHY MOVE TO MEXICO