Life by the Beach in Small-Town Mexico For $1,500 a Month

The sun glistens down the six-mile stretch of white-sand beach. This is the heart of my hometown of La Misión, on Mexico’s Baja California peninsula.

Sitting just 90 minutes south of San Diego, La Misión is a beautiful and quaint village (it has a population of just under 1,000) that has yet to be discovered by the masses of tourists who visit the better-known destinations of Rosarito (pictured) and Ensenada.

I moved here from Orange County, California, just over six months ago. Life up north had become all about work and I was tired of it. I wanted to live somewhere quiet and affordable that was close to the States. La Misión offered me all those things.

Rents here are low, food is cheap, and you can live comfortably for $1,500 a month. For $375 a month I rent a small, newly renovated house that sits atop a ridge overlooking the entire village with ocean views. Even though the grocery stores are full of cheap, fresh, local produce, it’s also easy to eat out every day. Tacos at roadside stands or local restaurants rarely run more than $1…. my favorite stand is Tacos Richi, where I can get a delicious taco for 80 cents. At home I’d easily pay $3 in Taco Bell for the same thing. Tamales are often even cheaper and equally delicious. Just yesterday I bought three tamales for my lunch from a roadside stand for $2.50.

If I get a craving for a taste of home, minus the hassle of crossing the border, there are plenty of gringo joints that cater to U.S. palates in Rosarito, including southern barbecue joints that serve up slabs of meat for a fraction of the price you’d pay Stateside.

Although I still work (just three or four hours a day…down from the 10 to 12 hours I was working in Southern California), I have a lot more time to work in the organic garden I planted and take my dogs for long walks on the beach.

And I’m exploring all that Baja California has to offer. Thirty minutes from La Misión is Mexico’s version of Napa, called Valle de Guadalupe. I try visit at least twice a month for the delicious organic food and wine. One of my favorite places is the La Casa de Doña Lupe vineyard, where I go to buy delicious jam and olive oil along with wood-fired pizza. It’s just one of the many great wineries in this area.

August and September are harvest season and the typically quiet “Ruta del Vino” heats up, with a wave of tourists looking to sample the freshly harvested delights and watch the world-class wine being made.

Living in Mexico, I now have time to relax, read, and enjoy life as opposed to the go-go-go lifestyle I was living in the States. The weather is perfect (no need for A/C or heating) and the cost of living means I don’t have to spend every waking minute working to pay for a hectic life I’m not enjoying.

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