I have a hard time deciding which part of Mexico I like best. It’s quite a big country, about three times the size of Texas. And there are so many different regions with different climates, landscapes, and lifestyles.
The colonial highland cities of San Miguel de Allende and Guanajuato, in the center of the country, boast perfectly preserved colonial architecture, a never-too-hot, never-too-cold climate, and a rich cultural life, with live music performances, art galleries, and more.
The historic city of Puerto Vallarta, on the Pacific, has a walkable town center and a thriving art and theatre scene. The beachside malecón, or boardwalk, is lined with restaurants, bars, shops, boutiques, and more. My favorite places to grab a bite are the little seafood restaurants right on the sand, with views of the water. It’s best to get a few heaping plates of ceviche and fried fish and shrimp to share among friends, with a cold chelada (beer on the rocks, with lime juice) to beat the heat. And from the hotel and condo towers lining the shore and the hillsides that slope up from the water, you never get a bad view, especially at sunset.
My current home, on the Riviera Maya, near the town of Tulúm, is warm and humid. But it’s balanced out by white-sand beaches, cool cenotes (freshwater swimming holes) amidst the jungle, and the laidback lifestyle that comes from living in a coastal resort destination. It’s so easy to forget the cares of the world with your toes in the sand and a cold drink in hand as you watch waves lap against the shore.
And that’s just the start of all that Mexico has to offer.
There are some big benefits you’ll find in all these regions. The cost of living is low, especially now, thanks to the favorable exchange rate between the Mexican peso and American dollar. My wife and I can have a nice meal, anywhere in Mexico, for under $40, including wine. And if we eat where the locals eat—which we tend to prefer anyway—it’s under $10 or $15 for both of us. Delicious street stall tacos, better than anything we’ve had in the U.S., are just 75 cents. We’re eating well as we explore all the varieties of Mexican cuisine.
Our trips to the grocery store are much cheaper also—about half of what we paid in the U.S. We can get many products we used back home, but we enjoy using the entirely new-to-us local ingredients available here. I never knew there were so many different types of hot peppers.
Here we can live in a condo by the beach, with resort amenities, for a fraction of what it would cost in the U.S. Plus, we have someone come to our home each week to clean—something that was totally unaffordable in the U.S.—for just $12.
And while Mexico does have plenty of North American retirees, it’s also a hotbed of expat entrepreneurship. Plenty of folks are working online, like I do. But there are also expat tour operators, hotel and restaurant owners, shopkeepers, coffee shop owners, and more. The startup costs are lower, as are operating expenses. Combined with the lower cost of living, it’s ideal for pursuing a business dream.
And with the popularity of the region with vacationers, there are also plenty of folks making an income from vacation rentals. Owners can rent out their condo or home while they’re away and leave the management up to local companies or buy an extra unit or units while they live on site and landlord themselves.
But no matter your circumstances, you’ll find an open and welcoming attitude here. We feel accepted in Mexico. You can’t put a price on that.
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