By Beverley Wood | Sixty & Me
“Why do you live in Mexico?”
I get asked that question a lot. And the answer is – for many reasons. I’ll start with the more obvious: great weather, delicious food and incredible culture. I could go on and on but I’ll try to focus. It’s just that every time I turn my head, I see another reason to love this country.
You are My Sunshine – Climate in Cuernavaca
I live in Cuernavaca, Mexico – about 50 miles south of Mexico City in a tropical savanna climate. The tropical part is mitigated by elevation (6,000 feet above sea level) and we never get too hot or too cold. It is known as The Land of Eternal Spring. The temperature rarely dips below 60F (15C) or above 85F (30C) and the sun shines about 250 hours every month.
There are many climates in Mexico. It’s a larger country than most realize. Geographically, it measures 750,000 square miles (about three times the size of Texas) and has a population of 120 million. Both the Pacific coast and the Gulf coast of Mexico can be hot and humid in the summer – which is why we don’t live at the beach.
The rainy season in Mexico is May to October. The Gulf coast is wetter than the Pacific coast. The farther south you go, the warmer it gets in the winter. The north of Mexico gets snow in winter at higher elevations and sometimes, they seriously have to close the main highways because of it.
There are many things to consider when choosing where to live in Mexico and it all depends on what is important to you. For us, it was the appeal of a consistent Mediterranean climate that brought us to the central highlands.
We tried several locations inside Mexico before settling on this one, and the climate was a large part of our choice. As was the proximity. It is 50 miles to a world-class city with a population of 22 million. There’s not much we want that we can’t find.
Food of the Gods
I’m a foodie – and Mexican food is highly sophisticated. Like the weather, your culinary experience can vary greatly with regional styles. Mole (“mo-lay”) sauces traditionally hail from the state of Oaxaca – but the most revered and best known is the Mole Poblano from Puebla. This velvet sauce is made with chocolate, as well as the obligatory ingredients of fruit, chili pepper and nuts.
Chile Poblano, the national dish, is also from Puebla: stuffed poblano peppers covered in walnut cream sauce and sprinkled with pomegranate seeds. It displays the green, white and red of the Mexican flag.
Cuisine from the Yucatán Peninsula is full of African, Caribbean and Middle Eastern influences. In Veracruz, on the Gulf of Mexico, Mediterranean ingredients rule and are evident in the state’s signature dish, Pescado a la Veracruzana, with tomato, capers and olives. Not exactly your Taco Bell menu.
Mexico is a blend of native (Mesoamerican), Spanish and other immigrant cultures. When Columbus got to Florida, they’d been in business 9,500 years already. Known for its folk art, some of the country’s most colorfully embroidered garments, baskets and rugs come from Oaxaca while Tonala, in Jalisco state, is famous for its glass, paper mache and hammered tin work.
But it’s the visual art that followed the Mexican Revolution (1910-1920), inspired by political and historical themes, that turned the world’s head. Artists such as Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo, José Clemente Orozco, and David Siqueiros put Mexico on the art map. Today, Mexico City is a hotbed of trendy art galleries and world-class museums. In fact, it has 150 museums, more than any other city in the world.
And the country is very serious about its fiestas. Most celebrations are a fusion of pre-Hispanic traditions and Catholic beliefs. And they are all big parties. From Day of the Dead (Dia de los Muertos) to Day of the Crazies (Dia de los Locos), you can almost find a fiesta every day. The Mexicans love to celebrate. So much so that the Christmas season begins on December 11 (The Virgen of Guadalupe‘s birthday) and ends on February 2 (Dia de la Candelaria).
But it’s not all margaritas and mariachi bands. There is outstanding vibrant music, dance, architecture and cinema. You can just Google Alejandro González Iñárritu. Domestic flights are dirt cheap. Return airfare to the beach at Puerto Vallarta is about $150 USD, so a weekend away is affordable. There is plenty to keep my 62-year-old mind engaged and curious and learning.
How Can I Move to Mexico?
Your next question may be: How can I move to Mexico? Undoubtedly, the prospect can feel overwhelming when you first begin to consider it. But it’s not difficult and there are many useful online resources that make it much easier than it was in the past.
I did all my research online first. I had binders and print outs and Excel sheets. Yet we hesitated. But once we had a safety net, things moved very quickly. When we moved to Mexico in 2012 we came with our two dogs and just the belongings that fit in our Honda Accord minivan. And we knew we could always go back home if it didn’t work out.
That was the option that got me over that barrier of all those “what ifs”. We can always go back. Don’t look at this as if it has to be forever. It’s something you are trying out. If you have a safety net, your fear will dissolve. And your future will burst wide open.
Once we settled in, our only regret was that we hadn’t done this sooner. I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comment section below.
In the meantime, I’ve just noticed that I need to go pick some pomegranates, limes, lemons, mandarin oranges, avocadoes, kumquat and papaya. Hasta Luego!