One seaside destination in Mexico that’s starting to gain attention is Campeche, in the Yucatán Peninsula. It’s one of the few colonial cities in Mexico that’s right on the ocean. And though there is no beach—the shore is rocky there—it enjoys sea breezes and a tropical climate. To top it off, the cost of living in Campeche is much lower than in many seaside destinations.
In Campeche, you can grab a quick snack, such as a Cuban-style sandwich, for just a dollar or so. Prefer a full lunch in a sit-down restaurant? You’ll pay just over $5 for a two-course lunch with beverage at Luz de Luna or about $10 for a seafood plate in Marganzo, a long-time traditional restaurant. Both are in the heart of Campeche’s historic center.
For shopping, you have your choice of supermarkets—Walmart, Sam’s Club, and the Mexican chains Mega Comercial, Chedraui and Bodega Aurrera. These supermarkets offer one-stop shopping—in addition to groceries, you can buy house wares, auto supplies and garden furniture. Most food items will run you 30-50% less than what you’d pay in the U.S. For even lower prices, buy local fruits and vegetables in the traditional markets. Produce will generally be fresher there, too (though you may still want to supermarket shop for items not grown locally).
Rentals in Campeche
Good furnished rentals are hard to find in Campeche. That’s because the city is just “taking off” as a cultural tourism destination, and there are few full-time expats. But there are a few semi-furnished rentals for around $800 a month, and a few high-end furnished colonials for about $600 a week.
If you have the time to look around—and you speak some Spanish—you can ferret out less expensive rentals in the local market. Many will be unfurnished. You can find unfurnished modern rentals for around $550 a month for a two- to three-bedroom home.
Potential expats are now looking at colonial properties to renovate in Campeche’s UNESCO World Heritage neighborhoods, which are the historic center plus three adjacent barrios. Campeche has perhaps a thousand colonial buildings, and many of these are for sale. In almost all cases you’ll be buying an un-renovated property; for the most part, renovated ones don’t go on the market because they’re being lived in.
Depending on their size, un-renovated colonials start at about $75,000. The work involved can range from simply upgrading wiring and communications to a complete remodeling.
Modern properties are also available, at a variety of price points. You can find smaller modern homes for well under $100,000…or you can get a modern, comfortable three- or four-bedroom home, possibly with a small pool, starting at around $200,000.
The few expats who have already bought and renovated properties in Campeche feel that they’ve gotten in “just under the wire.” They see more visitors every day who begin thinking of returning full-time, drawn to Campeche’s low cost of living, safety, friendliness and seaside beauty.
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