Cancún boasts numerous white-sand beaches. ©Brendan White
At 45, Bob Cork is far from an old man. And yet he and his even-younger wife Nancy, 38, are both retired and living in the hip city of Cancún, on Mexico’s Caribbean coast.
“No, we didn’t win the lottery,” Bob insists. “I retired from the military after 20 years, put a few years into a civilian career, and suddenly realized life could be much better in Mexico. We could retire early by moving here and taking advantage of the much lower cost of living. And it’s even better now with the current dollar-to-peso exchange rate.
“Both of us were sick of the rat race. Houston traffic is horrible, and it would often take more than an hour to get to work. And the expense of living there, once I retired, simply wasn’t something we wanted to handle.”
The couple visited Cancún before moving and fell in love with it. The city lies on the eastern coastline of Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula. It is the northern gateway to an 80-mile stretch of postcard-perfect, Caribbean coast known as the Riviera Maya. The beaches here are world-famous, drawing millions of tourists each year to enjoy tropical weather, swimming, boating, and water sports.
“We love the culture and the atmosphere of Cancún. It offers great infrastructure and lots of activities. There are way more restaurants and night spots than we’ll ever be able to visit in our lifetime,” says Bob.
“And it’s been very easy to meet new friends,” Nancy says. “There is a large and active expat community here. We’ve hosted several get-togethers and (last year) our second Halloween party. It looks like we’ll make it an annual event.”
Bob and Nancy rent a fully furnished, multi-level, modern townhouse. It has three bedrooms, a maid’s quarters, four-and-a-half bathrooms, and comes complete with beautiful landscaping, three swimming pools, and 24-hour security. Their rent is 15,000 pesos a month ($731 at time of writing).
“We’re about 200 yards from one of the main public beach entries. It’s beautiful,” says Bob. “Rent on a house like this in the States, so close to the beach, would be four times more than what we pay here.
“Our overall cost of living is about a third of what our cost of living was in the States. Cell phone bills are probably the most noticeable. In the States, my cell phone bill was $140. In Mexico, I pay less than $12 for a plan that is good in Mexico, the U.S., and Canada.
“And Cancún’s only a two-hour direct flight to Houston, so we can quickly and inexpensively get back to visit family and friends.”
Bob and Nancy enjoy exploring the Riviera Maya coastline, as well as the inland portions of the Yucatán Peninsula. The Corks have been as far south as the bohemian beach town of Tulúm to see the large Maya archaeological ruins there and in Cobá. But, according to Bob, “one of our best adventures, so far, has to be swimming with sea turtles in Akumal Bay.”
Bob and Nancy admit that it’s taken a while to adjust to the slower life on the Riviera Maya, but think they have finally found the right pace.
“We have a full life here filled with friends and activities,” says Bob. “We now live full-time in a place where others pay large sums of money to spend only a week. I can’t imagine leaving.”
Editor’s Note: This article was taken from a past issue of International Living’s monthly magazine. Delivered straight to your door each month, we delve into the details you need to take action. We share our contacts. We lay out the pluses and minuses. And we keep you up-to-date on the latest developments with the best havens abroad, including…7 Great Retirement Towns You’ve Never Heard of…
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