All of my friends and family back home in Australia are always saying things like “I’m so jealous” and “You’re living the dream” and you know what…? They’re right. I mean, who doesn’t want to live in a tropical paradise island? Everyone I know does, so here’s seven reasons why it’s not only doable, but ideal to live here in the Caribbean.
1. Holiday Heaven
Cozumel Island, where I live, lies just offshore from Playa del Carmen on Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula.
It’s one of the world’s top dive and holiday destinations. The crystal-clear waters beckon you to play every day with awesome visibility and an abundance of wildlife. There’s amazing dining out and nightlife and some of the friendliest people on earth. It’s safe and it’s cheap making it one of the most desired places to live in the Caribbean.
For one-half to one-third of what you would pay in Australia, you can enjoy a higher standard of living, dine out a few times a week and sip cocktails while enjoying a Caribbean sunset.
A hearty breakfast is around $3 unless you want to splurge and gorge yourself then it’ll be about $5 and will have you waddling out of the door. Yes, that’s Aussie dollars.
Rent is cheap, to give you an idea, my apartment which is brand new, fully furnished complete with king sized bed and looks like it is straight out of a home décor magazine is only $750 a month. That includes all amenities like water, internet, cable TV and gas.
Depending on your needs, you can choose from a house, condo on the waterfront or high-rise apartment and usually the rent includes all amenities as well. Most real estate agents speak English so finding a place here isn’t a problem and helps if you have a problem with your internet or other amenities.
3. English-Speaking Ease
The language barrier isn’t a barrier at all here on Cozumel. Spanish is the official language, as it is throughout Mexico, but as tourism is the number one industry on the island a lot of locals speak English and there is also a big expat population here to socialise with. That said, learning Spanish is fun, shows some respect and it will make your life a little easier.
4. A Food Lover’s Paradise
A foodie heaven, on Cozumel you can eat out at a fraction of the cost and the food is amazing. You’ll find cuisines from all over the world in everything from traditional Mexican food to fine-dining, 5-star restaurants. There’s street food as well which is cheap as chips and you can have an entire three-course meal for $5 making it cheaper to eat out than buy your own groceries.
The supermarkets are well stocked and there is even a zero-waste store where you can take your own containers and refill your pantry staples, oils, local honeys and more, all while you do your bit for the environment.
5. Laidback Living
A relaxed lifestyle that affords you a great work/life balance is easy to come by here with warm days, spectacular sunsets, affordable dining options and newfound friends from all over the world being just a few of the perks.
People find they get out more, enjoy walking around town, along Cozumel’s amazing shorefront overlooking the turquoise and cobalt waters and their overall health increases as their stress levels drop.
The ocean is shark-free and safe, there’s a huge athletics arena with swimming pool, tennis and basketball courts, athletics track, gym and it’s all free to use.
Warm weather year-round is one of the Caribbean’s biggest drawcards. If you are sick of ‘five seasons in one day’ then the tranquil clear waters and sunshine is heavenly. But it is the tropics so yes, for a couple of months of the year you may want to use the air-conditioning a little until you acclimatise.
To give you an idea, if you’re from somewhere in far North Queensland like Cairns, then it’s just like being at home, but it’s not as hot as Darwin. Temperatures peak in August with a daily average of 28 C and dip to 24 C in the coldest month, January.
A lot of people are concerned about the safety as soon as you say ‘Mexico’. Living here as a single woman I have never had an issue. Cozumel is one of the safest places in Mexico. It is the largest island, there are cruise liners stopping daily, a huge diving industry and tourism is king.
Everyone knows if crime goes up, people stop coming and as most locals earn a living off visitors to the island they wouldn’t do anything to jeopardise that. So, if safety is your concern, then know that Cozumel has one of the lowest crime rates in Mexico and you can rest easy. Of course, there is some petty crime occasionally like in every country, including Australia, but I feel safe walking down the street and locals usually wish you good morning or say hi. It’s a friendly place.