“You may have heard this before but it’s really true in my case,” says Nicky Simonyi. “I came down here on vacation and never left. That was 35 years ago.”
The 55-year-old Canadian is sipping a cool drink, just a few steps from the warm, Caribbean surf. You could easily toss a seashell into the turquoise water from where she sits.
“The beach in Cancún was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen,” she says. “The sand was so white it looked like sugar and I couldn’t believe all the shades of turquoise in the water. I came down for a two-week vacation in 1980. I knew I had found my new home and never wanted to return to Toronto.”
Nicky’s first job was as a charter boat captain.
“My friend went to Miami and bought five new sport-fishing boats, bringing them back to Cancún,” she says. “I ran one of them taking tourists fishing and diving the reef every day. I lived on the boat. It was a great life. I was young, my food came from the sea, and beer was cheap.”
Cancún sits on the northeast shore of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. A modern city of some 750,000 people, it is home to hundreds of modern resorts and hotels, condominium complexes, and over 700 restaurants…as well as seven hospitals and numerous contemporary shopping malls. A couple can live comfortably in the center of Cancún for $2,000 a month…if your budget extends further you can get a place by the beach with an ocean view.
When Nicky decided to quit being a charter-boat captain, Cancún presented her with other opportunities.
“One of my girlfriends was involved with real estate and property management, so I got into that business, learning the ropes as I went. With only a couple of breaks, I’ve been doing property management ever since and I love it,” she says.
The units Nicky manages range from luxurious, on-the-sand villas which can easily accommodate eight-to-10 guests, to smaller condos designed for two-to-four guests. They are only short-term vacation rentals—from one-to-four weeks—and they are almost always filled.
“That’s the range where the owners make the most money and I make from 10% to 30% of the total amount, depending on what services the owners want from me. Units rent from $1,200 per week to $4,000 per week for large villas.”
Nicky says she returns to Toronto once a year to visit family but can hardly wait to return to her life in Cancún.
“I truly can’t imagine living anywhere else and I have found a way to make good money while, basically, living an incredible life here on the Caribbean.”
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