By: John Cagney Nash| traveltips

Mexico can be a bargain hunter’s dream, a perennially warm “paradise for peanuts” that attracts retirees from all over the U.S. That said, if you are cultivating the idea of uprooting an entire American life on a budget, with all the comforts and conveniences of home, you may be disappointed. While places where the complete, but cheap, American lifestyle can be lived certainly exist, you get what you pay for: Cheapness typically comes at a price. Adopting a Mexicanized lifestyle is imperative in keeping down the costs wherever you settle.


Mazatlan ( is the largest commercial port in Mexico, but also one of the country’s most popular beach resorts. The size of the city, and the inherent availability of goods and services, make it a popular retiree destination; if a laid-back, beach-centric atmosphere is to your taste, Mazatlan is worth investigating. The temperate weather is neither uncomfortably hot in summer nor cold enough to require anything more than a small space heater occasionally in winter.


Loreto ( is a smaller city on the Baja California peninsula. Aside from sun, sea and sand, effectively endless outdoor activities are available, from hiking and biking to whale-watching from tiny rowboats out on the Sea of Cortez. Active seniors should research Loreto. Temperatures may be too warm for retirees from the northern states; they remain around 80 degrees Fahrenheit all year.


Cuernavaca ( is only 45 minutes from Mexico City, and the community has developed around its proximity. The area has remained serene because all the residents’ shopping, entertainment and transportation needs can be met elsewhere with little to no inconvenience. The location, coupled with year-round weather that has no extremes, has made it a very popular retirement destination. That popularity, naturally, can affect its affordability, but great deals can always be struck if your schedule allows you to be in the right place at the right time. Huge enclaves are filled with permanent and semi-permanent U.S. and Canadian residents; if a budget-priced home away from home is your retirement ambition, Cuernavaca is the place.


Acapulco ( is rightly famed as a tourist destination; it was popularized in the 1950s by Hollywood’s newest invention, the so-called “jet set.” Nonetheless, with a little research, retirees can enjoy living at a fraction of the cost of remaining in the states; the gigantic resort hotels all employ thousands of staff, who all rent homes and buy food in Acapulco. Learning where is the key to making this a cheap place to retire. The attitude of the town, once away from the intensity of the beach-side bars aimed at year-round Spring Break mentality, is very laid-back and easy-come, easy-go. If easy access to high-tech entertainment and a buzzed leisure environment is for you, then so is Acapulco.

Ballpark Figures

Presuming you are happy with your lifestyle in the U.S., calculating the cost of living in the same way in Mexico is a matter of ballpark percentages. Housing is likely to cost approximately 50 percent of what you pay now, for a comparable sized home and standard features, for a rental or to purchase. Prices can run even lower in areas that are seldom visited by tourists. If you cook most of your meals at home, food costs will also be cut approximately in half for a similar standard of dining. While beer is about the same price as it is in the U.S., local wines and liquor are about 50 percent of what you are used to; in fact, partying into alcoholism is a real hazard in retiree-only communities. Utilities typically cost about 60 percent of their U.S. prices, but the cost of heating is negligible to non-existent.