I haven't always lived in paradise but these days, I do... And so can you for far less than you might think. And, if you don't want to live in paradise full time, you may consider investing in a second home.
Unless I’m catching an early flight, I never need an alarm clock. The sun rising over the Caribbean is perfectly framed in my oversized bedroom window and delivers its warm, penetrating rays directly onto my face. I merely have to open my eyes for a spectacular view of the languid, aquamarine waters grooming the powder-white sands only yards away. As I finish my first cup of coffee, I peer around gently swaying coconut palms to watch large, pouch-billed Pelicans fold their wings and splash into the gentle surf capturing their bright, wriggling breakfasts.
Mexico’s exquisite Caribbean Coast from Cancun south to Tulum is known as the Riviera Maya. It’s here that lush jungles provide homes to small monkeys, dragonish iguanas, and millions of colorful tropical birds.
For some 80 miles, extending south from Cancún, the warm turquoise-green Caribbean Sea gently bathes the sugar-sand beaches of Mexico’s eastern shore. This spectacular stretch of bleached-white coastline is known as the Riviera Maya and has become the Caribbean’s most popular vacation destination. With year-round temperatures typically in the 80s F, plenty of sunshine, modern infrastructure, and first class healthcare, the Riviera Maya is also home to those who have discovered their retirement paradise here.
The view was literally breathtaking. Mexico's largest lake, Chapala, was just yards away and if I turned my head slightly, the purplish hues of the Sierra Madre mountains were visible just over my shoulder. It was late in the afternoon and the sky was turning astonishing shades of crimson and pumpkin-orange as the sun began its descent. I was submerged to my chin, out-of-doors, in a steaming cauldron heated by underground geothermal activity. I rolled an icy beer can across my forehead as I allowed the hot water to perform its magic.
There have only been two times in my life when the influence of others has provided immeasurable positive benefits for me. The first was when I met and married my wife, Diane. The other was when I discovered International Living.
Imagine sitting on your terrace with a freshly brewed cup of coffee. Your view takes in the entire arc of the bay as pelicans gracefully swoop and splash into the surf, gathering their morning meals. Several humpback whales are surfacing just offshore on their annual migration. The sky is, once again, a brilliant blue and the gentle, warm ocean breeze regularly delivers the fresh scent of the sea.
My wife, Diane, and I are fortunate enough to live on the Riviera Maya--a stunning, palm-infused, unflawed stretch of coastline on the east coast of Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula. Kissed by the turquoise, warm waters of the Caribbean Sea and graced with powder-white sands, this part of Mexico is spectacular. A living reef (the world’s second largest) lies just offshore and provides world-class diving and snorkeling opportunities year-round. An International airport in Cancún annually delivers some five million tourists from all across the globe to this popular Caribbean vacation destination.
Lake Chapala is a snowbird’s paradise that is home to a large and welcoming expat community. And that’s not all. In my opinion, Lake Chapala has the best-value real estate you’ll find in any of this country’s expat hubs. Sitting at an altitude of 5,000 feet in west-central Mexico, Lake Chapala (the country’s largest freshwater lake) boasts one of the best climates in the world.
As a retired expat and current resident of Mexico, I frequently get asked if Mexico is a safe place to live? Media outlets in the States are fond of highlighting occurrences of cartel-related violence near the U.S. border, leading many to conclude that all of Mexico is a scary, unsafe place. Further, the U.S. Department of State does a great job of issuing real-time warnings to travelers regarding upticks in violence in various Mexican locations.