Mexico, by an enormous margin, is the number one choice for expats moving and retiring abroad. According to recent official population estimates, the foreign-born population of Mexico is around 1,007,063, the majority from the U.S.
On the Eastern coast of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, 80 or so very special miles of palm-infused, sugar-sand beach is known as the Riviera Maya. This postcard-perfect stretch of paradise is bathed by the warm, turquoise-green, clear waters of the Caribbean Sea.
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.
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.
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.
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.
After 35 years in soggy Seattle, Pat and Russ Huber were ready for a drier, warmer climate. They thought that Santa Barbara, California, close to friends and family and with much improved weather, would be their solution. They sold all their stuff, putting only a few things in storage, loaded their car, and headed south, looking forward to their new lives. But after about a year in California, Pat encountered a major medical issue.
It’s not hard to see what drew Valorie to this village of 12,000 people. Puerto Morelos lies about 30 miles south of Cancun and claims several miles of spectacular natural beachfront. Temperatures most days hover in the 80s F. The water is warm and clear, its colors ranging from dark blue to varying shades of turquoise. The sand is light and fine as sugar, and the tropical waters host all manner of colorful fish, lazy sea turtles, and even migrating whale sharks.
Cancún’s huge, maze-like outdoor mega-mart, Mercado 23 is where locals go to find the best deals. Here you’ll find dozens of food vendors and fish mongers, a large aromatic spice shop, butchers’ markets filled with cages of squawking chickens, sweet-smelling bakeries, and a dizzying array of specialty shops. Unfortunately, as entertaining and culturally enriching as it is, most visitors to Cancún never find their way to Mercado 23.