By: Melissa Parietti |

Mexico has received negative press about its safety as a destination for foreigners and expatriates. Despite the media’s coverage of border city violence, much in the same way that certain parts of the United States are safer than others, Mexico is host to several cities that can provide a safe location for retirees looking to move to a new country in pursuit of lower prices and a temperate climate. Retirement in Mexico helps those looking to retire abroad maintain a closer distance to the U.S. than European or South American destinations.

Over 1 million Americans are living in Mexico, and Americans comprise 75% of the documented immigrant population. Americans living in Mexico report that the ability to survive on a monthly budget of $1,000 encouraged them to move in conjunction with a higher-than-expected cost of living in the U.S. upon entering retirement.

Avoiding Cities With High Rates of Crime
Retirees looking to settle in safe locations in Mexico should consider factors that are typically associated with crime rates such as the presence of casinos and other gambling facilities. Specific to Mexico, border cities have reported higher crime rates. Overall, crime in Mexico has been on the decline over the past 100 years. Retirees may benefit from avoiding certain cities associated with higher levels of crime such as Tijuana and Ciudad Juarez. The U.S. Department of State issued a travel warning for those entering Tamaulipas, Guerrero, Michoacán, Estado de Mexico and Morelos.

Safe Destinations to Consider
Mazatlán is located on Mexico’s coast and is a popular destination for Americans and other tourists. The city has undergone an architectural facelift to encourage tourist activity, and new restaurants and businesses have sprung up as a result. Teatro Ángela Peralta hosts the city’s cultural and outdoor events. An attractive feature of the city is its 20 miles of beaches along with commercial infrastructure, museums and carnival celebrations. Mazatlán’s airport also underwent renovations. The population of 350,000 includes retirees from America, Canada and Europe. The city was a very popular vacation destination in the 1970s. As a large city, Mazatlán has several major attractions including the town square, Centro Historico; a lighthouse; and a large city market called Mercado Pino Suarez.

Campeche is host to the Mayan ruins and has a population of 250,000. The city was founded in 1540 and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Architecture in Campeche is made up of restored colonial and features colorful buildings. Restaurants are plentiful, and the price of meals is low with larger meals at restaurants at $10 and quick fare at $1. Even cheaper eats can be purchased at local markets where food is 30 to 50% less than what is charged in America. Unrenovated sites for $75,000 for retirees are plentiful, while renovated apartments and homes are more difficult to find.

Guadalajara is an urban location and hosts the country’s most popular soccer team, Club Deportivo Guadalajara, along with a high-capacity stadium that holds close to 50,000, called Estadio Omnilife. The city has many historical sites including the Guadalajara Cathedral and Plaza Guadalajara, which hosts an underground market. The city has a reputation for being a safe location in Mexico. Real estate in Guadalajara is more expensive than the remainder of the country. New properties with three bedrooms and a pool can be purchased for $200,000.

San Miguel de Allende is considered a retreat from Mexico City and plays host to a large population of American business owners and retirees. The city has a population of 140,000, and it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site known for its art community. Historic sites include Santuario de Atotonilco, a series of churches; El Jardin, the main square; and El Charco del Ingenio, a large garden. San Miguel de Allende hosts several museums, art institutes, music festivals and over 100 art studios. The city is free of casinos and chain stores, as franchises are disallowed from opening there. San Miguel de Allende is a 10-hour drive from the U.S. border and has a U.S. consulate. The lower end of home prices is $84,000, while the average sale price is $370,000. Cab fare is affordable at $2.50 a ride from many parts of the city. Property taxes on a home with a pool are estimated at around $300 a year. Food is affordable, with a breakfast for three costing around $15.

Mexican Economy
Mexico is experiencing a period of recovery following a drastic increase in interest rates in the 1990s and 2000s that negatively affected the country’s banks. Inflation has been between 2.75 and 3.5%. Mexico relies heavily on exports and imports to support its economy. Its open economy supports lower prices in stores and is conducive to competition between businesses. The country’s banking system is experiencing an expansion phase. Home construction and mortgages are expected to increase in 2015. The Mexican private mortgage market is not nearly as large as the American mortgage market, and interest rates are relatively high at 13.5% as of June 2015. Previously, mortgage terms were limited to 15 years and they have since been expanded to 30-year terms.

Purchasing Real Estate in Mexico
There are strict laws in Mexico on the purchase of real estate by foreigners. The system is called fideicomiso and requires foreigners to purchase real estate through trusts rather than allowing direct ownership. While proposed laws in Mexico may have supported direct ownership of beachfront properties, these laws were rejected by the government.

Political Movements
Former President Felipe Calderon was partially responsible for an increase in violence in Mexico, as his policies supported a higher police presence to combat crime issues. The higher police enforcement and presence caused breakouts of cartel-police border violence that was previously absent. As of November 2015, the president is Enrique Peña Nieto, who was elected in 2012. Nieto has taken less strident measures to combat Mexican crime. The wave of violence that passed through Mexico was concentrated between 2008 and 2010, and 46% of homicides were in five states: Baja California, Durango, Sinaloa, Chihuahua and Guerrero. Nieto is a member of the Institutional Revolutionary Party, and has supported low taxes and direct foreign investment.


By: Realty Today


The trend of retiring overseas for Americans has grown popular over the years due to one vital factor — affordability. Here, we list down the top 10 overseas destinations you can consider for your retirement.

As the New Year starts, International Living released its Annual Global Retirement Index for 2016. This year’s index is their most comprehensive yet and according to IL, “This year, across 10 categories, we factored in absolutely everything needed to make a great retirement destination. How much to rent? Can you catch a movie in English? What is the average humidity? Can you get direct flights to and from the US? How much does a doctor’s visit cost? Do they speak English? The list goes on”

Furthermore IL said that they factored in two new categories this year — Healthy Lifestyle category and Visas and Residence Category.

Among 23 countries included in IL’s list, here are the top 10 places to retire in 2016:

1. Panama

2. Ecuador

3. Mexico

4. Costa Rica

5. Malaysia

6. Colombia

7. Thailand

8. Nicaragua

9. Spain


Panama sits at the top spot of the list and many expats agree. Already a haven for 50,000 US expats, this Central American country has a low cost of living and a high quality of life according to NDTV.

Also in IL’s report, one expat shares why she chose Panama for her retirement refuge, “It is definitely cheaper than the US,” says Maureen LoBue, who enjoys a beach life in San Carlos. “Water is included in my rent, so I just pay electricity, which last month was $16. My satellite internet service is just $15 a month. And when I buy produce at the local market down the street, I can fill a bag with fresh veggies for less than $5.”

With choices like these that are offered abroad, you can be assured that your hard-earned retirement money will be worth every penny.


By: Patrick Murtha |

I live a block away from a gorgeous, 200-year-old park in the colonial city of Querétaro in the colonial highlands of Mexico. My apartment is located in the city’s centro historico, a UNESCO World Heritage site and the site of some of the most beautiful Spanish colonial architecture to be found anywhere, including a recently restored aqueduct from the early 1700s, made of pink quarry stone. The street plan in the center is basically the same as it was 400 years ago.
Life in this historic and culturally vibrant city is incredibly relaxed. I can live without a car…walking to the park with my dog or anywhere in the centro historico is a pleasure. I also love taking a book to an open-air restaurant and bar, watching the world go by as I read. The weather is glorious all year round, with daytime temperatures always falling between 65 F and 85 F, and the rain moderate when it occurs. Everyday living here is a pleasure.

Living in Querétaro, I manage perfectly well on about $1,000 a month. With a budget of $1,500 a month, I would have few limitations, and at $2,000 a month, I could live like a prince. Right now, I teach English freelance for a living but when I start receiving my Social Security checks in a few years time (I’m 57 years old), that will more than adequately cover my living expenses.

So what do I spend my money on? It breaks down like this:

Rent: I rent a furnished, one-bedroom apartment in the centro histórico, within easy walking distance of everything I need. The apartment costs me about $250 a month, and electricity, gas, and a building maintenance fee add another $50.

Transportation: If I can’t walk somewhere, I’ll take a bus or taxi. Querétaro’s bus system is efficient and rides cost about 50 cents. I spend approximately $18 a month on transportation.

TV and Internet: I don’t need cable TV, although I do have a TV set for watching DVDs. I don’t need a landline and my smartphone is pay-as-you-go. I do pay $16 a month for reliable internet access.

Food and Groceries: I spend $400 a month on food (including restaurant meals) and groceries. I indulge myself with a few beers at home every night, but good beer only costs about 70 cents a bottle.

Laundry: I don’t have a washer or dryer in my apartment, and prefer the convenience of sending my laundry out anyway. My laundry and dry cleaning come to $26 a month.

Medical: I am fortunate to be in good health. I do take some prescription medication that costs me $45 a month to buy in generic form.

Other Bills: I spend $25 a month to maintain a UPS Store box so that I have a mailing address in the U.S. Then other miscellaneous expenses like Skype, bank charges, and a couple of subscription services I have total about $53 a month.

So you can see that it’s easy for me to live in the heart of a fantastic city for just $1,000 a month.

You often hear that it is possible to live in certain countries for much less than it would cost to maintain a comparable lifestyle in the U.S. or Canada…and in my experience, that is certainly true in Mexico.


By: Suzan Haskins and Dan Prescher |

If you’ve ever been to Mexico, you’ve probably visited some of its beautiful beaches.

But there’s a lot more to Mexico than beaches, and if you’ve never been there or if you are afraid to visit for one reason or another, you are missing out.

Mexico is one of the biggest and most diverse countries around. There really is something for everyone … lovely, temperate-climate mountain towns, a vibrant Renaissance-like capital city, rainforests and farmlands and yes, those absolutely gorgeous beaches.

Today’s Mexico is not only amazingly diverse and exotic, it’s also far safer than the media would have you believe. And we won’t belabor this point because there is simply no way to convince the naysayers.

The truth is that there are plenty of us who love Mexico. It’s a top destination for U.S. and Canadian tourists. Lots of international conferences are held in its many welcoming cities and resort towns.

Mexico has also been a top expat destination for more than 60 years. We’ve lived here ourselves over the years, in the Lake Chapala, San Miguel de Allende, and Mérida.

Today, more U.S. and Canadian expats live in Mexico than anyplace else in the world — as many as a million of them, it’s said. There are many reasons for that, including the vibrant culture, an affordable cost of living and excellent healthcare.

Expats in Mexico know that this country is an easy place to live. The climate is great, it’s close to home (you can easily drive to Mexico from the U.S. and Canada) and it is, simply, convenient. You can get fast Internet and see first-run films in modern cineplexes — in English. You can shop at big-box stores and eat at chain restaurants like Chili’s, Applebee’s, Burger King, and McDonald’s if you want to.

But with Mexico’s culinary reputation, it’s doubtful you’ll care much about chain restaurants when you live in Mexico, where you’ll find some of the world’s tastiest and most exotic foods. Chiles, chocolate, vanilla — all these and more come from Mexico. And you’ll find regional cuisines here as varied as the country itself…

Some of the Most Popular Destinations in Mexico for Expat Living

Close to the U.S. border, you’ll find many Arizona residents own holiday and retirement homes in the Sea of Cortez seaside town of Puerto Peñasco, also known as Rocky Point.

Baja Norte from Tijuana to Ensenada is also very popular. And with new border crossing lanes recently opened at the San Ysidro crossing, getting back and forth to San Diego is now faster and easier than ever before. It’s so easy, in fact, that some expats in this area commute daily, working in the U.S. and living in Mexico.

Further south, in Baja Sur, popular destinations include the popular Los Cabos area and the resort town of Cabo San Lucas, as well as La Paz, Todos Santos, Loreto, and more.

Lake Chapala, in central Mexico, is often called the world’s largest foreign retirement community, with up to 16,000 or more U.S. and Canadian retirees in residence, depending on the season.

The large expat community means you’ll have a built-in support network as well as access to all the familiar products and brands from home. The 30-mile long freshwater lake is the largest in Mexico and provides cool breezes for this area, considered by many to have the best weather in the world. Being just an hour south of Mexico’s second-largest city of Guadalajara, internationally known for its teaching hospitals, you can also count on world-class healthcare.

Another popular expat destination, San Miguel de Allende is a 500-year-old town of about 140,000 people that sits at an elevation of about 6,000 feet in the Sierra Madre mountains right in the center of Mexico.

Its latitude gives it the perfect climate … never too hot, never too cold. No heat or air conditioning needed. San Miguel was recently designated as a World Heritage city and Conde Nast recently named it the world’s #1 most livable city. It’s not hard to understand why. Perfect weather, beauty on every corner, and it’s a town that thrives on culture. Art, theater, music, gourmet food, and more … you’ll find it here, as well as a large expat community of as many as 10,000.

About 90 minutes from San Miguel de Allende is the city of Guanajuato, also a World Heritage city and the capital of the state by the same name.

Guanajuato is a university town and has a fun, youthful feel to it. It’s known for its cultural activities. Every fall, the International Cervantino Festival is held here and brings performers from around the world. But you can find an abundance of art, theater, live music and more in Guanajuato any day of the week. Still, this city remains largely undiscovered by expats — only about a thousand or so call Guanajuato home.

Mérida, where we lived for four years, is one of our favorite cities in Mexico.

It’s a major city of almost a million people, the capital of Mexico’s Yucatan state, and is often referred to as the safest city in Mexico. It offers a lively local culture, an interesting and friendly expat community, and plenty of local amenities such as shopping, restaurants, health clinics, and hospitals. The Yucatecan architecture is French, Spanish and Caribbean-influenced, unique and inviting…

If you’re looking for convenience, and a quality lifestyle, gorgeous Puerto Vallarta, on the Pacific Coast and the huge Bay of Banderas, is your place. You’ll find everything you might want here, including direct flight connections to many destinations in the U.S. and Canada.

And if you’re not a fan of big cities, head north to small idyllic beach towns like Sayulita, where the laid-back lifestyle can’t be beat. You’ll find a good number of foreign residents all along this coast, called the Costa Nayarit.

The Riviera Maya, on Mexico’s Caribbean Coast, is very popular — and the beaches are among the most beautiful in the world.

Cancun is a huge tourist destination. And, increasingly, so are Playa del Carmen and Tulum. But plenty of expats live on the Riviera Maya full-time. Cancun and Playa del Carmen, especially, offer shopping, cinemas, major hospitals, and other amenities. And Cancun has the international airport — every airline flies to Cancun.

The truth is that Mexico offers an endless number of places where you might want to live, and we’ve only scratched the surface here. If you’re looking for an overseas retirement destination that’s conveniently close to home, and that offers a high quality of life, a rich culture, and a relaxed atmosphere … put Mexico on your list.