By Don Murray
There are many reasons for moving to Mexico: the people are welcoming, the cost of living is low, and buying real estate in Mexico is safe and easy. Mexico’s climate is generally warm and can, in fact, get downright hot in the summer. Tequila and guacamole are both plentiful (so survival is assured) and can accompany the many delicious regional foods throughout the country. Oh, and many of the beaches are world-class destinations and a casual wardrobe is all you will need for nearly every occasion.
All this can be had for costs that can be half or less than life north of the border. In fact, many report a lifestyle that is greatly enhanced while their cost of living has significantly decreased. One more thing…the medical care is good to excellent and costs pennies on the dollar compared to prices north of the border. That goes for medications too (which rarely need a doctor´s prescription).
Proximity to the U.S. is also a bonus when considering a move to Mexico—especially for those who have friends and family there or travel back and forth for business. Those who spend only part of their time living in Mexico find the proximity to be a nice benefit. Several airlines have direct flights between many Mexican and U.S. cities and some even choose to drive across the border in both directions.
If your move to Mexico involves retirement, Mexico’s process is direct and uncomplicated. Retirement visas are granted liberally and one can achieve Permanent Resident status without transitioning through the Temporary Residency process. The visa application process begins at the Mexican embassy/consulate in your home state or province. Complete a basic application, provide proof of financial solvency sufficient to obtain the visa you seek, present copies of your marriage license if appropriate, and a quick interview with a Consulate Officer should almost do it. Consulate web sites will provide a complete list of required documents. And, retirees can apply for a discount card that facilitates discounts up to 20% on a variety of goods and services.
Because Mexico is a large country and geographically diverse, it offers all kinds of climates and spectacular sceneries. Whether your dream involves gentle waves rolling onto the Caribbean shore, the majesty of the cliff-infused Pacific Coast, or the tranquility of the Gulf of Mexico, an affordable beachy life in Mexico is attainable for most.
Or maybe you would prefer the splendor of cool mountains, the reflections of sunrise on a calm lake, or the lush greenery of the jungle. Mexico has it all including untold numbers of ancient Maya ruins that would be the envy of Indiana Jones.
Are you a fan of big city life? Mexico City or Guadalajara can easily fill the bill with plentiful fine dining, world-class shopping, stunning architecture, and vibrant historic centers, art museums, symphonies, universities, modern medical centers, and pro sports teams. And of course, there is the crush of the crowd and tons of vehicle traffic to remind you you’re in a mega-city.
And for those seeking a less crowded option, there are countless small towns, medium-size cities, and tiny villages scattered throughout this beautiful country. The hard part is making a decision where to settle. The food and the people are wonderful, everywhere.
Mexico offers the perfect mix of centuries-old traditions and contemporary lifestyles. Most metro areas will have all of the amenities you grew accustomed to in North America: cable TV, high-speed Internet, and modern hospitals and up-to-date home appliances. And, if you prefer, you can even bring all of your favorite things with you without paying import taxes.
Everyone seems to agree: your quality of life improves in Mexico. Goods and services cost less, so you can afford the kinds of luxuries only the very wealthy enjoy up north: a maid, a cook, and a gardener, for example. Then you have time to read, volunteer, golf in the mornings, relax on the beach…time to savor life.
Be honest with yourself before committing to move to Mexico. Do heat and humidity bother you? Are you prepared to live in a place where English is not the first language and could you commit to learning a bit of Spanish yourself? Will you be able to adapt to a different culture? If you are ready for a change and looking to enjoy a more relaxed, affordable lifestyle, then Mexico may just be for you.
The Review- Top Ten Reasons
- It’s close to the U.S. Easy and inexpensive to travel between countries. In fact, you can even drive your own car.
- Low cost of living. Overall, including housing, medical care, food, and utilities, most folks say they save between 50% to 65% over their expenses in the U.S. This permits more money for things like housekeepers, cooks, gardeners, and travel. Simply put, Mexico just costs less, period.
- Affordable housing can be found everywhere. Naturally, beach properties cost the most but even those are a fraction of similar properties north of the border. Whether you rent or buy or even build your own home, you can afford to live in Mexico. And the property taxes are silly cheap, sometimes only a few hundred dollars per year.
- Excellent healthcare is one of the biggest benefits to a life in Mexico. At the time of this writing, the country is engaging a new healthcare system that will provide improved care for all, regardless of ability to pay or any pre-existing conditions. It is a good system now but is destined to improve.
- Beautiful beaches. I mean, world-class, jaw dropping aquamarine water kissing sugar sand beaches. Check out the Riviera Maya along the Caribbean Coast or slide over to the Pacific Coast to visit Puerto Vallarta for a treat. And the Gulf of Mexico washes the west side and northern tip of the Yucatan Peninsula. Beaches? We got them.
- Mexico’s rich, vibrant culture blends several indigenous populations with the Mexican people and that is all flavored by a huge Spanish influence left over from the conquistadors. Spanish architecture blends with ancient Maya and Aztec. A walk down any metropolitan street will display many different kinds of traditional attire and architecture.
- Expat Havens or strongholds can be found in several areas of the country. The Lake Chapala area just south of Guadalajara holds the largest number of U.S. and Canadian expats in Mexico with numbers thought to be around 20,000 and swelling to about 40,000 during the winter when snowbirds flock to the area. San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, and Puerta Vallarta also hold large numbers of expats which can be comforting, especially for new arrivals.
- Laidback lifestyles are the norm in Mexico. In fact, it is almost mandatory. Local businesses often close for a couple of hours in the afternoon, during the heat of the day. Siestas are a real thing and just because you are in a hurry does not mean you can hurry the culture. Mexico teaches patience.
- Friendly people are everywhere. The locals in every area would like to talk to you and may have questions about your lives before moving to Mexico. But, you must learn to speak the language of your new country. Learning a bit of Spanish truly makes life much easier and makes socializing and learning about your neighbors possible. Always remember, you are a guest in Mexico and it is your obligation to learn the language.
- And finally…food. Mexico has seven different regions when it comes to cuisine and each of them is as different as you might expect. After all, New Orleans food is significantly different than the food in Kansas, New York City, or Los Angeles. Mexico’s regions offer diversity in the ways food is prepared.
Local seasonings such as chiles can be included while cooking or be served on the side, for example. The types of seafood on the various coasts are treated differently. The Yucatan Peninsula is heavy with Maya influences and corn is often served, in one form or another, with every meal. If you really want to have some fun, plan a food tour of Mexico and hit all of the seven regions: North, North Pacific, the Bajio Plateau, South Pacific, South, the Gulf and Central Mexico, the Pico region.