These days I make my home on Mexico’s Riviera Maya, in a little beach town about 30 minutes south of the vacation hotspot Playa del Carmen. It’s a nice life in a place with plenty of conveniences and natural beauty.
But here’s the thing. My family and I are relatively new to the country. We’d been living in Costa Rica for more than four years when we moved. There was nothing bad that happened to us…we just wanted to make a change. And, from previous visits, we knew that Mexico, an expat favorite for decades, offered a lot.
Since making our move, my family and I have made a great discovery…we truly love Mexico, for so many different reasons.
In our particular corner of the country, on the Caribbean side of the Yucatán Peninsula, it never gets cold. It’s warm year-round, sometimes even hot and humid in the summer months—when temperatures go into the 90s F. But it’s balanced out by cooler temperatures in the winter and early spring, when it mellows to the low 80s F.
Of course, this is just one region of a country three times the size of Texas. In one of our favorite regions, the Colonial Highlands about four hours northwest of Mexico City, the higher elevation keeps the climate temperate, staying in the 70s F during the day and cooling off enough for a sweater at night, throughout the year. Just perfect!
2. Natural Beauty
When we moved to the Riviera Maya we drove down from our home state of Florida. It was quite a road trip, one that allowed us to see much of Mexico, from the desert, to the mountains, to lush rainforests, and more. Now we’re in a place of white-sand beaches and turquoise Caribbean waters. In fact, there are four or five of these beaches within a 10-minute drive, some completely undeveloped. We never get tired of it.
Another bonus to being on the Yucatán Peninsula are the cenotes—clear fresh-water swimming holes carved out of limestone bedrock by natural geologic forces.
3. Low Costs
In Mexico, we’ve certainly been able to live for less. We live in a modern, furnished condo in a resort style community minutes from the beach, for a fraction of what it would cost in the U.S. Trips to the grocery store are about 50% less than back home. Our air conditioning bill is about half or less each month. And we certainly save on meals out. For my family of four, a big meal at a nice restaurant, including a few rounds of drinks, will run to less than $40.
We really enjoy not having to stress about how much things cost as we go about our day. Things are just more affordable, and have been for decades. But it’s gotten even better recently with the favorable exchange rate of about 20 pesos to the U.S. dollar.
4. The Food
Mexican cuisine is world-renowned. But as you probably know, what you get at your typical stateside Mexican restaurant is most likely not authentic. I can tell you that what you get in a typical restaurant in Mexico blows pretty much anything you can get in the U.S. out of the water.
And being such a big country with distinctive regions, there are so many different cuisines and dishes to try. The mole sauces of Oaxaca…the Mayan-influenced dishes of the Yucatán…the seafood of Baja California…and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
5. The People
People in Mexico are friendly and welcoming…helpful and hardworking. We’ve made some great friends among the local natives and expats. Parties and get-togethers, play dates with the kids, Spanish conversation classes, events at my son’s school. Whatever the venue, we’ve really enjoyed getting to know our new neighbors. It’s a good feeling to know there are just some genuinely nice people here.
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