RETIRING IN ROSARITO BEACH

By: SoloFinance.org

Today, all retirees, especially BABY BOOMERS , are looking to retire younger. They are seeking a quality of life and a lower cost of living that cannot be obtained in the United States.

To date the U.S. Consulate counts more than 170,000 U.S. citizens as residents of Baja. Some believe the real estimate is closer to 400,000. With the decline of the stock market, and the collapse of pension plans, real estate is the closest thing to wealth that many people possess. A substantial number of these individuals are using their equity to purchase Baja Real Estate property in Mexico.

Due to the high cost of maintenance, taxes, services, and healthcare, many retirees are realizing that they cannot have the retirement lifestyle in the U.S. they once envisioned. Due to the low cost of services and labor in Baja, the amenities that a retiree can enjoy are far superior to those in the United States. Another major attraction to Mexico is the significantly lower property taxes. A 3-bedroom, 2.5 bath home costing $155,000, located just north of Rosarito and about 2 blocks from the beach, has a yearly property tax bill of under $200.

With satellite television and high speed Internet, you certainly wont have a feeling of isolation. On the contrary, you can run your business, use your cell phones, and hang onto those old familiar United States phone numbers youve had for years. In addition, many of America s favorite retailers have crossed the border. Signs you are sure to recognize include McDonalds, Smart & Final, Office Depot, Wal-mart, Home Depot, and Costco, to name a few.

There are developments being built to American standards by American developers. Many developments are offering American title insurance, American Financing and escrows. With these safeguards in place, its no wonder there is a wave of Americans entering Baja. You can dramatically reduce your current living expenses when you retire in Mexico without sacrificing the conveniences youve become accustomed to at home. You might even find you can significantly raise your standard of living.

Its hard to beat the climate, cost of living, quality of life, and investment potential you find in Baja. But these are far from all the reasons you should consider Mexico. The most compelling reason may very well be the Mexican people themselves. They are a warm, gracious, loving people who openly welcome Americans into their country and relaxed way of life.

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LIVING ¨RICH¨ FOR MUCH LESS IN MEXICO!

By: Douglas Hudson | ImagineMexico.com

Most people know that Mexico is an affordable place to visit, but it can be even more affordable to live here. The cost of living in Mexico is a fraction of what it is in the United States or Canada.

First, the monetary exchange rate (the number of Mexican pesos that you get for every dollar) is extremely favorable for Americans and Canadians. For example, just a few years ago, $1 US dollar got you $10 Mexican pesos. But today, $1 US dollar trades for almost $17 Mexican pesos. At these rates, the average US Social Security check equates to a middle manager’s salary in many place in Mexico.

Real estate, property taxes, and rentals are also much less expensive in Mexico. Many foreign retirees and second home owners have purchased properties in Mexico. Comparable properties in costal comminutes in the United States, Costa Rica, or the Caribbean are extremely costly. The influx of foreigners to Zihuatanejo has produced an inflation of prices over the past twenty years, but the inflation does not compare to other Mexican destinations like Puerto Valletta or Playa del Carmen. Living in Zihuatanejo can be less costly than almost any part of midland America or Canada.

Rent and property taxes are other major differences from Mexico’s neighbors to the north; these expenses are generally a fraction of what one would pay in the states. For a $200,000 US dollar home the entire property tax bill is equivalent to $200 US dollars. You can rent a brand new, one bedroom furnished apartment along the waterfront in Zihuatanejo for around $1,200 US dollars a month. There are wonderful, furnished two-bedroom apartments for rent for as little as $500 US dollar a month.

The cost of health care and medication has also drawn many people to Mexico for many years. The quality of health care in Mexico is also quite comparable to North America. Zihuatanejo has many skilled specialists in town, and you can walk into a pharmacy to see a doctor at any time. The cost ranges from only $2 US dollars for general care to $30 US dollars for a specialist. If more specialty care is needed, patients are transported to Morelia (a four hour drive from Zihuatanejo) to obtain care at a fraction of the cost in the United State or in Canada.

Other living costs like transportation, dining, and communications are less expensive in Mexico. Many people who come to Zihuatanejo use the local taxi service, since it is very affordable. A ride within the city cost $1.50 USD, between Ixtapa and Zihua (5 miles) $4 USD. A meal in a restaurant can vary from $3 USD to $25 USD. Sea food is the local specialty and can be found just about everywhere. The common cost for a shrimp dinner with drinks should not surpass $20 USD. Due to new telecomm reform, Mexico is the only country in both North and South America that has decreased the price of communication services in 2015.

Best of all, Zihuatanejo welcomes its foreign visitors and immigrants. Each year, our local Immigration Department hosts a complimentary party for all foreign immigrants to honor their contributions to the community.

Zihuatanejo and the state of Guerrero are known for their rich history and culture. The community also provides an opportunity for a “rich life” where you can live with very little cash in hand.

MEXICO’S MEZCAL COUNTRY

By: Philip Sweeney | Independent.co.uk

While fancy dress shops around Britain are flaunting their Day of the Dead costumes, and dramatic Day of the Dead parades march across cinema screens in the latest 007 instalment, Spectre, this annual Mexican tradition is essentially a very picturesque cult of the departed. Families gather at graves and churches to remember loved ones, a ritual animated by colourful folk-art skeleton figures, sugar skulls, and offerings of marigold garlands, candles, toys for deceased children and shots of alcohol for adults.

In both cemetery and cocktail bar, mezcal is fast overtaking tequila as the smart spirit of Mexico for the dead and the living. Both drinks are distilled from the agave cactus, popularly known as the maguey, but while tequila is made from one species only, all 15 varieties are used for the older, indigenous mezcal, allowing for a much greater variation of tastes, like single malt whiskies.

Once dismissed as cheap country hooch, mezcal in exquisite bottles now graces new-wave restaurants and specialist mezcaleria bars, and aficionados scrutinise the backroads of the chief mezcal regions in the north and centre of the country for the palenques – little artisan distilleries – of the best master mezcaleros.

It was with such a pilgrimage in mind that I travelled to Mexico. Checking out a cross-section of the mezcalerias of the capital seemed a good start, and an excellent theme for a rapid Mexico City tour. I’d been directed to Mezcales de Leyenda, 20 years ago one of the pioneers of the mezcal boom. Its original bar, La Botica de Condesa, in the bohemian district of Condesa, prime mezcal hipster territory, sets the tone: a simple interior dominated by wood, paintings of magueys, backlit shelves of bottles, a discreet rock soundtrack, minimal snacks. The two latest Boticas, both in historic buildings in the area around the cathedral, are similar. All offer around 50 mezcals, including four of the company’s own – three regional varieties plus the flagship bottle, Peloton de la Muerte (Death Squad), made in Oaxaca.

The Leyenda group has plenty of competition. In smart Polanco, Los Amantes offers an interior aglow with vibrant colours, neon and fairylights, exotic statuary and sepia photos. Downmarket and downtown, there’s the equally colourful poster-draped Tenamba in the Plaza Garibaldi, notable for its mariachi-infested kitsch. Next door, in the new Mezcal and Tequila Museum, you can study agave botany, inspect a model palenque and a period bar, see displays of the beautiful labels and buy bottles, paraphernalia and novelties.

But Mexico City is a consumer of the spirit, not a producer. There are numerous sources, prominent among them northern Durango and the state of Guerrero on the Pacific, but Mexico’s undisputed mezcal heartland is Oaxaca, home to the largest variety of native agave, and origin of 80 per cent of the nation’s production. The state designates its highway 91 a Camino del Mezcal.

Oaxaca city, the capital, is a 40-minute flight south of Mexico City, its elegant colonial centre occupying a wide valley bordered by rugged hills. On a Friday evening, the centre was buzzing with families milling around buying balloons and hot dogs, drinking beer and lemon on the café terraces, listening to ranchera groups and appraising the trinkets hawked by young girls. In front of the 17th-century church of Santo Domingo, the wide concourse was planted with spiky magueys.

I began my bar crawl in the Zandunga mezcaleria (around the corner from the Oaxaca branch of Los Amantes) – tiny, jewel-like and enticing but full. I started with a Mexicanised Cuban mojito – pleasant, though the undertones of smoke and earthiness from the mezcal, infused in the roasting pits of the palenques, along with ubiquitous coriander garnish, took some getting used to.

Next, a tasting: a pinch of worm salt on the tongue, a suck of orange, a slug of spirit. The finely ground worm, a greyish shading, added a certain savouriness to the salt. The three I tried were distinctly different, but a herculean feat of drinking would be required to acquire a lasting comprehension of the varying degrees of smokiness, the spectrum of sharp to mellow, the flavour of the variety of agave: tobala, espadin, jabali …. Oaxaca has a couple of dozen more mezcal bars to assist, from popular favourites such as Zandunga and the Mezcaloteca to Piedra y Lumbre, the serious connoisseurs’ hang-out, and a genuine speakeasy, the semi-clandestine El Destilado. The most colourful venues are rows of stands in the series of covered markets south of the centre, all sporting crammed shelves of bottles.

Hotspot as it is, Oaxaca City is still not the source, nor even the Mezcal Capital. That title is claimed by Santiago Matatlán, 50 kilometres east. Between the two towns, the Camino del Mezcal is lined with small producers, all ready to show off their stills and their little bar-shops.

The road rolls through a generous landscape, cattle prairies interspersed with plantations of magueys. Arriving at Matatlán, I passed under the ornamental civic arch proudly surmounted by a model copper mezcal still, while a wedding party with brass band marched up the fast lane. The main street contains a dozen palenques, but I was heading for La Perla Blanca, a local producer which supplies Mezcales de Leyenda.

Up a flight of maguey-adorned steps, owner Cudiberto Sernas was on hand, ready to walk visitors through the piles of maguey kernels to the big wood-fired roasting pit, the massive stone crushing wheel and Aldo, the horse that drives its circular motion. The fermenting barrels, the coils of copper distilling pipes in their tanks of muddy water were also visible. As with thousands of his countrymen, Cudiberto owes the current success of his family business to the great mezcal renaissance.

“So this is due to sales of Peloton de la Muerte in the smart new mezcalerias of Mexico City?” I asked. “Yes, but we call it Perla Blanca here,” he replied, showing me a bottle of his own brand. I must say I approved. The Mexican obsession with mortality is all very picturesque, but give me White Pearl over Death Squad for an aperitif any day.

COST OF LIVING IN SAYULITA, MEXICO

By:Virginie | FarmBoyAndCityGirl.com

Have you ever wanted to live close to the beach, surrounded by tacos and palm trees? Then Sayulita is for you. An hour outside of Puerto Vallarta, the small town has everything one could need (or almost). Even if it’s not always quiet, the beach is a great place to relax. And during the dry season (winter), you don’t have to worry about the rain since it’s sunny almost every day. Which means you’ll have plenty of time to enjoy the water.

How did we end up in Sayulita? Well, we knew we wanted to go to Mexico since Chris has a friend here. But we would only spend a week in Mexico City/Puebla, and then we had two months that we had to spend somewhere else. After looking online and reading some blogs, we narrowed it down to Playa del Carmen or Sayulita/San Pancho. Since we don’t like very crowded and touristy places and we prefer an authentic experience, we decided to visit the west coast. Then from reading online about San Pancho, it became clear that the internet there was too slow to work on, so Sayulita it was!

Note that the currency exchange at the time was 15 pesos for $1US
GETTING TO SAYULITA

The best way to get to Sayulita is to land at the Puerto Vallarta International Airport. Depending on where you’re coming from, the price will vary. Since we decided to visit Mexico City first, we arrived from there. Flights with Interjet can be pretty cheap, so if you decide to travel within the country, I would recommend checking them out. We flew twice with them (Costa Rica to Mexico, then Mexico City to Puerto Vallarta), and we never had any problems. We spent $82US each for the flight.

Once you arrive in Puerto Vallarta, you can either take a taxi or the bus. Of course, one is cheaper than the other; it all depends on how much money you want to spend. We took the bus, which was fairly easy and much cheaper. Outside of the airport to the left, there is a bridge crossing the highway. You simply have to cross it and wait for the bus on the other side. I expected a bus terminal, but there wasn’t one. It was just a stop on the side of the road. Look for the white and green buses that say Compestela and make sure it says Sayulita on the windshield. One ticket costs 35 pesos ($2US) whereas taking a taxi from the airport could have costed us from 500 pesos ($33US) to 800 pesos ($53US) (all depending on if you take the more expensive airport taxi or one on the street). For more information about how to get to Sayulita, visit Sayulita Life.
RENT
Because we couldn’t find a place to stay online, we simply arrived in Sayulita and booked a hostel until we found a more permanent location. We met a lady on the bus who told us where she was staying, so we followed her and ended up at Lush. I don’t regret that choice! The hostel was comfortable and for 250 pesos/night ($16US), it was great value.

Read Chris’ post on how to find an affordable apartment in Sayulita if you would like more info on that.

In the high season, we were lucky to find an apartment for 7,000 pesos ($415US) a month. It’s cheap for what we have, even though the internet is not perfect, and the shower lacks some hot water (which we think are quite common problems for the area). But we have a nice kitchen, a comfortable bed and everything else that we need.

If you’re not interested in having internet or you don’t care where you’re staying, you can find cheaper apartments. We were offered a place for $250US a month, but it didn’t have what we needed. It all depends on what you’re looking for.
FOOD
On our first days here, we had to eat three meals a day in restaurants. If you’re going to do that for a long time, it can get expensive very fast. Depending on the type of food you like to eat, you’ll have to pay between $3US and $20US a person. Where are you going to find a meal for $3US? Street food. They have hamburgers and tacos that you can get for this amount. Don’t expect a lot of vegetables, though. For a standard sit-down restaurant, you can expect you meal to be around $10US. If you’re going for something fancier, that’s when you’ll hit the $20US.

There’s plenty of restaurants in the city, most of them offering local Mexican food, but you can also find Italian Restaurants and pizza places.

On average, we go out once a week and spend around $20US for two people.

Groceries are a bit more complicated here. There are a lot of stores, and not all of them have the same things. What you can find in one, you might not find in another, so sometimes you have to go to all of them. It’s hard at first, especially when you’re trying to cook something a bit fancy. After a few weeks though, we finally learned what we could find where, so things are a bit easier. If you’re having difficulties, you can always read my post about where to eat in Sayulita. Take the time to compare the prices, because they can vary a little bit depending on the stores. There’s not one that is really cheaper than the other ones. For example, alcohol can be cheaper somewhere, but they’ll have pricey pasta. On average, the two of us spent around $400-500US per month on groceries, which includes around $60US for a few bottles of wine and tequila.

For water, we buy it in a convenience store close to our house. A jug is 28 pesos ($1.86US), and it lasts us for a good 3-4 days. It’s not a really big investment, but at the end of the month, it’s still 280 pesos ($18US).

OTHER EXPENSES
Unfortunately, I still had to do a trip to the doctor. What’s the good news then? It’s not that expense! A consultation with the doctor costs only 200 pesos ($13US). Pills are usually cheaper than in North America too!

We ended up buying two paddleboards that we plan to sell at the end of our time here, which were about $750US each. In the end, this won’t really be an expense, since we plan on selling them for the same price, but it’s something we needed the money for and that you might want to consider, since renting one is $10/hour.

We didn’t have to pay for laundry here since there is a machine in our building, but there are a few places around town to do that. One of them charges you 30 pesos ($2US) for washing and 40 pesos ($2.50US) for drying.

So every month, we spend on average $960US on food and rent for two people. I don’t count plane tickets, transportation or any kind of touristic activity.

RANDOM NUMBERS
Ciel 1.5L water bottle: 11 pesos ($0.73US)
Sandwich bread bag: 24 pesos ($1.60US)
Fresh bread: 25 pesos ($1.66US)
Salted butter 200g: 51 pesos ($3.40US)
Small bag of rice: 18.50 pesos ($1.20US)
Instant Noodles : 6 pesos ($0.40US)
Whole barbequed chicken with rice and salad: 120 pesos ($8US)
Half a kilo of ground beef: 58 pesos ($3.86US)
Taco: 35 pesos ($2.33US)
3-4 Bananas: 13 pesos ($0.86US)
Barilla pasta 500g: 15 pesos ($1US)
Spagetthi Sauce 24oz: 58 pesos ($3.86US)
Cheddar Cheese (400g): 60 pesos ($4US)
20 flour tortillas: 22 pesos ($1.46US)
Argentinian wine: 90 pesos ($6US)
Tequila bottle 100% agave: 115 pesos ($6.33US)
Ice Cream Bucket (1L): 35 pesos ($2.33US)
4 toilet paper roll: 34 pesos ($2.26US)
Sunscreen 236ml : 185 pesos ($12.33US)
Hammock: 350 pesos ($23US) (don’t forget to negotiate for the best price!)

17 REASONS WHY LIVING IN MEXICO IS AWESOME

By:Adrienn Takacs | Point2homes.com

1. It’s a heaven for gourmands

If you like to eat delicious food and don’t mind an ounce of corn, pepper or chili in your dinner, then Mexico is the place for you! Besides the renowned quesadillas, tacos, and nachos with guacamole, make sure to try out something more traditional. Tostadas, a type of deep-fried corn tortillas, can be a great new alternative to traditional tortillas. Tamales, first prepared by the Mayans, Incas and Aztecs, are pockets of corn dough, filled with a delicious stuffing and wrapped in banana leaves.

2. You can enjoy a ride on the Saturday Tequila Express

What better way is there to get to know the region where this famous distilled beverage originates from, than sitting in a train and enjoying the view between the Amatitan and Hacienda San Jose del Refugio agave plantations? Visitors get to see the old processing techniques and can taste shots or cocktails of tequila on site. Across the road from the Jose Cuervo Factory, one can also visit the National Tequila Museum, where old photos are exhibited regarding the preparation of this world-famous alcoholic drink.

3. It’s the best place to take an afternoon nap

Although the biggest commercial centers and cities have already abolished the siesta, it is still common in smaller towns and in the rural area. This daily ritual is held every day between 1:30 and 4 pm, so that workers can grab a meal and even enjoy an afternoon nap before returning back to work.

4. Speaking of siestas, the weather is also perfect!

Since siestas are usually held in countries with warm climates, one will be happy to find that Mexico is no exception! The Cancun area has an annual average temperature of 26OC, similarly to Mexico City. It also has about 9.41 hours of sunshine daily on a yearly average, and has about 80 rainy days in total each year.

5. Contribute to the local economy by purchasing handmade goods

The best place to purchase your artisanal products in the country is in Ciudad de Mexico, in Mercado de la Ciudadela, the local market. It is the largest and most famous fair in Mexico, where you can buy everything from souvenirs to fresh fruit and vegetables.

6. Living is inexpensive

Compared to other North American, and even most of the European countries, Mexico is way cheaper. A three-course meal for two in a mid-range restaurant costs somewhere around $22 USD, and a monthly pass on the local transportation system is $20 USD. Monthly rent for a three-bedroom apartments outside the city center usually cost under $400 USD, whilst basic monthly utilities (such as electricity, heating, water and garbage) is generally $50 for a 915 sqft apartment.

7. Affordable residential properties

When on apartment hunt, bear in mind that you can purchase a great apartment in one of the most popular neighborhoods of Merida for $69,000. With a spacious kitchen, snug living room, a dining room, a bedroom and a full bathroom downstairs, the house also comes with two additional bedrooms and a bathroom on the first floor. The residential property is very close to the city center, and comes with two parking spaces off the street.

8. Beach Luxury in Cancun

If in search for luxurious seaside condos, Mexico will surely not disappoint! For a whopping $850,000 you can purchase a two-department condo, with a total of 6 bedrooms and six baths, on 6,351 sqft. The property is located in the luxury hotel zone of Cancun, in the first row right next to the sandy beach with crystal-clear waters. The main apartment consists of a master bedroom, two other bedrooms with their own baths, large dining and living room with a lovely kitchen. The secondary area has three bedrooms, of which the master has an amazing view of the sea, three bathrooms, kitchen with its own sea view, a living area, and a dining area. The property is located in one of the trendiest neighborhoods in the region.

9. Oaxaca is a true festival city

Oaxaca, lying on the southernmost part of the country, is mostly known for its indigenous peoples, thus having a strong cultural heritage. Near Christmas time, during Calendas, locals dance from church to church. Even the large, national festivals gain a regional atmosphere here.

10. Celebrate the Day of the Dead

The Day of the Dead is one of the most famous Mexican festivals, and it is one of the most important for Mexicans. Despite its morbid name, the Day of the Dead is a happy and emotional time, when people remember their passed loved ones. The manifestations vary from region to region, but the strongest celebrations are in the rural area and in the southern and central part of the country.

11. The Impressive Historic Center of San Miguel de Allende

To catch a glimpse of the Mexican essence, you have to check out El Jardin, the historic walking area of San Miguel de Allende, where every day mariachis play traditional music while locals dance. 17th and 18th century historic and religious buildings in the center are also a must-see. You shouldn’t miss the opportunity to take a trip into the nearby desert during wet season (from August to October), when cacti are in full bloom.

12. Mexico City, the cultural capital

To say that Mexico City is the capital of Mexico would be an understatement, since its abundance in museums, historic and religious architecture, exhibits, and events make it the cultural center of the country. From the lively historic center through the Museum of Modern Art and the Ciudadella craft market, the city has something memorable to offer to everyone. If in search for great food, active nightlife, or shopping, head to the San Angel and Condesa districts. To get a glimpse of the remains of the city before the Spanish conquest, check out the floating gardens of Xochimilco.

13. You can go to Mazatlan, the beach paradise

The second largest city of Mexico, Mazatlan, is also a famous resort town. Its long sandy beaches in the front of prestigious hotels make it one of the most sought-after destinations in the country. Water sports enthusiast can practice various activities ranging from sailing and surfing to snorkeling and scuba diving.

14. Merida, the Mayan center

Located in the state of Yucatan, Merida is one of the best cities to have as a base for exploring Mayan ruins. Its proximity to Uxmal, La Ruta Puuc and Chichen Itza, the most spectacular construction on the Yucatan Peninsula, has made it a must-see destination for history and architecture lovers.

15. Discover the unique underground world of the cenotes

The Mayan Riviera is home to more than 20 cenotes, a kind of natural sinkholes occurring in limestone, which were formed by the crumbling of the bedrock, displaying water underneath. Some of the best cenotes are the Ik Kil (between Chichen Itza and Valladolid), Dos Ojos south of Tulum, and Sak Aktun, just outside of Tulum.

16. Hike a volcano

Since the country is located on a seismically active region, it is rich in both active and dormant volcanoes. These mountains are considered a real challenge for local and foreign hikers. One of the most frequented destinations is the Nevado de Toluca, a 4,558-meter high dormant volcano 80 kilometers west of Ciudad de Mexico. If you get to the top, you can admire a splendid crater lake, and during clear days, you can admire an amazing view of the also dormant Iztaccihuatl volcano.

17. Save baby turtles

The Mexican Riviera is home to 7 of the 8 existing marine turtle species in the World, and because of this, locals have taken action to conserve and protect the hatchlings which can be found on the beach. Local tour companies organize night walks to observe how females lay their eggs, or at the end of the season, guide their babies towards the ocean. A number of organizations accept long-term volunteers to assist in protecting and monitoring these sea creatures.

So it’s really no wonder that so many people think about moving or retiring to this amazing country, where the culture is strong, the living is affordable, and the natural as well as the man-made attractions are some of the best in the World!

HURRICANE PATRICIA ANTI-CLIMACTIC FOR COUPLE LIVING IN MEXICO

By: Kevin Maimann | Edmontonsun.com

An Edmonton couple living in Mexico was hoping for a little more drama from Hurricane Patricia.

Weather experts warmed the storm would be one of the worst in world history before it struck the Mexican coast Friday, and residents prepared for catastrophic damage.

Instead, the strongest hurricane ever recorded at sea was downgraded to a tropical depression shortly after reaching land.

“We were quite disappointed, actually,” said Kim Cable, with a laugh.

“We didn’t want the devastation. But my husband is a weather nut, and he just likes the real stuff and he was all excited.”

Cable and her husband Ross live in a small fishing village north of the beach resort Puerto Vallarta, where tourists were asked to stay put during the storm and the airport was closed in anticipation of damage from 200 mph winds and projectiles.

The two gassed up their vehicles, put their outdoor plants away and helped a local SPCA evacuate animals.

“We had a little bit of rain – just a sprinkling like an Alberta shower – and no wind, nothing,” Cable said.

“The river went really high, but other than that, there was absolutely nothing.”

Officials told residents their power would be shut off Friday afternoon, but only water was briefly turned off.

The storm uprooted trees and toppled power lines in some parts of Mexico while heavy rain caused mudslides, but no fatalities or significant damages have been tallied.