When expat Donald Murray and his wife Diane first decided to retire overseas, they moved to Ecuador, but after two years the couple decided to move to Mexico, where Don could receive top-notch medical care for a heart condition.
“Our retirement plans were in serious trouble in the U.S.,” writes Donald. “I had suffered my second heart attack in 2009 and soon after I lost a good job and the health insurance that came with it. I was unemployed, uninsured and the medical expenses were stacking up.”
After deciding to leave Ecuador, it didn’t take long for the couple to hone in on Cancun and the Riviera Maya along Mexico’s only Caribbean coast. They both knew the beach was a “must have” on their retirement destination bucket list, and Mexico offered easy access to everything they were looking for and more. Since moving to Cancun nearly a year ago, the couple has never been happier, since most people speak at least passable (if not excellent) English and the region offers more adventure – not to mention every modern amenity – than anywhere else on earth, and for a fraction of the price.
“I’ve come to the conclusion that Cancun is an international city with strong Mexican overtones,” shared Donald. “Though it retains its Mexican flavor, it’s a vibrant, modern and sophisticated city.”
Known as the Riviera Maya, this stretch of the Mexican Caribbean runs south from Cancun all the way to Belize. Today, the region has become known worldwide for its sugary, white-sand beaches, gorgeous tropical weather and ancient Mayan ruins.
“The lifestyle here is nearly impossible to replicate,” shares Richard Houghton of Investment Properties Mexico. “It’s laid back, sophisticated and modern, yet also incredibly rich in tradition, ancient culture and history at the same time.”
In addition to the ancient Mayan ruins found throughout the area, the world’s second largest barrier reef system lies just offshore. The reef provides easy access to a wide variety of world-class recreational activities and adds to an environment where opportunities for unforgettable adventures abound.
Cancun itself is a rather modern city that began development in the early 1970s and has evolved into one of Mexico’s most active resort destinations. As such, Cancun is home to a large international airport, which provides easy access to the entire Riviera Maya region from every major city in the world. Cancun is home to large shopping malls, hundreds of fantastic restaurants and modern infrastructure, along with a large number of grand resorts, hotels, condos and vacation homes. Of course, there are also several major hospitals, a variety of schools, English language movie theatres and plenty of non-touristy options to explore.
“The open markets at Mercado 23 and Mercado 28 are two of our favorites, with hundreds of stalls and booths seemingly arranged as a maze that winds through several blocks,” writes Donald. “We recently watched an artisan hand-make piñatas in all shapes and sizes, applying layer upon layer of wet newspaper and glue to wire frames.”
Of course, there’s plenty to discover farther south down the coast as well, including the chic city of Playa del Carmen, the quaint fishing village of Puerto Morelos and the ancient seaside Mayan ruins in the eco-chic town of Tulum. Cenotes (pronounced say-note-tays) are also plentiful in the Riviera Maya. These underground lakes of crystal clear water are typically accessed by sinkholes on the surface and are an excellent place to snorkel, swim or dive.
“These days, when tourists ask, ‘Why Cancun?’ I don’t rush to answer,” Donald shared. “Instead, I take them to a leisurely lunch with Diane and explain all of the reasons above – and many more – over cochinita pibil tacos and guacamole with one of the local cold beers.”
By: Investment Properties Mexico