Retire with Zest in This Activity-Fueled Beach Town

Terry Turrell and her husband Jon live in the village of Sayulita, on Mexico’s Pacific coast, about 45 minutes north of the resort destination Puerto Vallarta. And from her home office Terry has taken up a new career as a writer.

She considers it a rewarding business that provides a bit of income, but more importantly, it helps people. She’s author of three e-books available for download on Amazon: Living in Mexico Lessons Learned, Retirement Before the Age of 59, and Healthy Living and Traveling in Mexico.

She also maintains two frequently updated blogs that highlight their expat life and the couple’s adventures in their community. The blogs are also a way to promote her books.

Terry worked for years as a pharmacist back in Ashland, Oregon. It was a stressful job, so she’s happy to be retired. However, a laidback retirement is not for her. She keeps very busy…but with work she finds fulfilling.

“It’s a personal release for me,” says Terry. “I got involved in this to help people realize Mexico is a safe place to live as long as you’re smart about where you hang out. It’s safe and healthy to live here and to travel here.”

Sayulita is a famous surf spot, popular with those interested in yoga and natural health as well. It’s set on a bay, with the beach lined with small hotels and restaurants. The jungle-covered hills above are spotted with luxury villas.

Terry says that Sayulita is the perfect destination for an active retirement.

“We needed to live somewhere you can stay active and exercise. This town has so much you can do, from surfing to yoga classes. A big part of why we like this town is that you can walk everywhere,” says Jon, who notes the couple don’t have a car.

They also bike, boogie board when the waves are good, and stand up paddle board when the water is calm. Some days, they just enjoy sitting at the beach. It’s an active lifestyle in a beautiful tropical setting.

When they get home from a day out and about, Jon reads and Terry starts writing, either a new e-book or for her blog. She’s found that her new slower-paced life keeps her productive.

In fact, she also manages to teach Zumba, an activity she took up when she retired nearly five years ago.

“I teach at El Club, a fitness center with a hardwood floor, mirrors, and a great sound system—perfect for Zumba classes. The class is made up of half expats, half locals and tourists. It’s a great way to keep in shape. And it’s a social thing too,” says Terry, who charges 50 pesos ($2.70) per person for a class, or five classes for 200 pesos ($10.75).

Like her e-books, teaching classes brings in some extra income. But mostly she enjoys helping her students stay active. In retirement, she’s picking and choosing the work she does.

Besides, in Mexico the couple’s cost of living is about half what it was in the States.

“Groceries are inexpensive,” says Jon. “We pay $18 for internet every month, $12 for water, and 500 pesos ($26.60) every two months for gas. We pay $30 a month for electricity—but we only run our air conditioning at night so we can sleep when the weather gets warmer. Our property taxes are so low—less than $100 a year.”

Sayulita offers other benefits too, say the couple, including great restaurants (they enjoy happy hour and dinner with salsa dancing at Don Pedro’s), the availability of fresh produce at local markets, and the ability to get by with limited Spanish, although they are taking Spanish classes. The climate is just about perfect for the couple.

“We also like living close enough to Puerto Vallarta that we can drive our motorhome into the city and stay at the trailer park for a long weekend of listening to live music and dining at fine restaurants on the beach. We thoroughly enjoyed the Rhythms of the Night boat trip, dinner, and show there recently,” says Terry.

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