Scot and Vicki Lyall like to joke that “we went downtown to buy a bottle of liquor and bought a condo.” It’s not far from the truth. The couple had been coming to the town of Playa del Carmen, on Mexico’s Riviera Maya, for years for vacations.
Thanks to its popularity as a beach vacation destination, Mexico is perhaps best known to most North Americans for its resort towns like Puerto Vallarta and Cancún.
Mexico’s Riviera Maya is a much-loved tourist destination. Hotspots like Cancún—with its all-inclusive resorts, shopping, and nightlife—and the chic and sophisticated Playa del Carmen to the south, are popular with visitors from around the world.
Set in Central Mexico, the Colonial Highlands region has been drawing retirees and other expats for decades. One town in particular has been a favorite, San Miguel de Allende, which is about four hour’s drive northwest of Mexico City.
High in the Peruvian Andes, life is lived much as it has been for centuries. Locals farm corn, potatoes, and other crops. The indigenous tongue, Quechua, is the first language for most of the locals, who are descendants of the Incas and fiercely proud of that heritage.
Cusco, in a valley high in the Peruvian Andes, has a history going back centuries. Starting in 1400, it was the capital of the vast Incan empire.
A few years ago, on a sunny Sunday afternoon, I was enjoying a beer at a local bar while I watched the football game. I was living in Costa Rica at the time—in the Pacific beach town of Tamarindo.
You couldn't ask for much better when it comes to a place to live. Ideal weather—highs in the mid-70s F most days, cooling off at night, with 300 days of sunshine a year.
Stretching from along the eastern edge of Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula, from Cancún in the north to Tulúm in the south, the Riviera Maya is one of the world’s top vacation destinations.
If you visited Playa del Carmen 10 or 15 years ago, you wouldn’t recognize it today. This once sleepy seaside town on Mexico’s Riviera Maya used to be primarily known as the place to catch the ferry to the island of Cozumel just offshore.