“I bought a one-way ticket to Playa, knowing it would be my new home.” Gary says that Playa del Carmen has everything he needs to live a great life.
“The beaches are spectacular, the water is warm, the weather is sweet and everything works like it’s supposed to; phones, internet and electricity. No worries at all, and there is always something to do on the water.”
Residents of Playa enjoy the recreational benefits of an offshore reef, which extends the entire length of Mexico‘s Caribbean coast and beyond, providing the perfect backdrop for boating, fishing, scuba and snorkelling year-round. “The water is 20 different shades of brilliant blue and turquoise and so clear you can see a turtle swimming 60 metres away,” says Gary.
Gary’s passion for Playa del Carmen has remained strong over the years.
“We live an active life,” Gary says. “I’ve just started working as a concierge for one of the local jungle tours and (my wife) Katrina works, too. When we aren’t working, I volunteer a couple of days a week for the local animal shelter. We love animals and have a bit of a menagerie at our house, with five dogs and seven cats. I’ve also started training in computer repair and maintenance. We definitely aren’t bored.”
“There is so much to see and do in the area. The beach is close and there are many local Maya ruins to visit. There are also ancient cenotes (underground rivers and lakes) where you can swim in cool, clear fresh water.”
Gary says that Playa has tons of restaurants and clubs, shopping, theatres and a very cool, artsy-bohemian vibe. “There are many small galleries and some wonderful art stores down on 5th Avenue.”
“If we want an inexpensive lunch, we can grab a couple of tacos and a cold drink for about $4. The city has an international flavour, so all kinds of food is available. There are tons of wonderful restaurants with fresh seafood if that’s what you want. I just heard about a great New Orleans rib shack where the ribs are slow-cooked and the meat falls off the bone.
“There is new construction happening everywhere. Playa del Carmen isn’t the secret it once was. Investors from all over are buying here now and you can definitely see an increase in the traffic from a few years ago, but that doesn’t bother us one bit. Even though Playa is growing, it still feels like a small town,” said Gary.
“We have a two-storey house on the northeast side of Playa, two bedrooms and one bathroom with a nice yard, which is great for the animals. The house is paid for but would rent for about $540 to $670 per month if we were renting it. It’s close to everything so walking is easy.
“One of our favourite things to do is to go down to 5th Avenue and wander up and down the pedestrian way,” Gary says. “It’s closed to traffic so pedestrians can enjoy a nice stroll, maybe sit in a sidewalk café and watch a street performer.”
Gary says their overall budget is between $1,200 to $1,340 monthly.
“I don’t have one regret. Coming here was a great decision. I love my life!”
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