Expats Rank Mexico 1st Place for Personal Happiness

Expats in Mexico are the happiest people in the world, according to a recent InterNations survey. They surveyed over 18,000 expats from 163 countries, taking into consideration different factors of moving and living abroad. Mexico ranked first – out of 68 countries – for personal happiness. It ranked second for leisure, ease of settling in and cost of living. Thanks to the investments being made in safety and quality of life in the Yucatan Peninsula, many foreigners continue choosing it as their perfect retirement destination. Others find it to be ideal as a snowbird destination.

Perfect Retirement: Settling in is Easy in Mexico

Retiring to Mexico

According to other studies, 39% of expats living in Mexico are, in fact, retirees. Out of all expats in Mexico 20% have said that they moved down here for the weather and quality of life. No wonder it ranked second for leisure, ease of settling in and cost of living. 85% of the expats mentioned that settling down in Mexico was really easy. They mentioned the ease with which the local culture has made them feel at home. In fact, if you compare cities such as Sarasota to Playa del Carmen you will notice that it is over 50% more affordable to live in Mexico than it is to retire in the United States.

Another aspect of the survey that made Mexico stand out was the friendliness of the Mexican people. 64% of those surveyed said that Mexicans are some of the friendliest people they’ve encountered. Because of this, it ranks first in friendliness. Over half of them reported that the local’s attitude towards foreigners is very friendly, which is why making friends in Mexico is easy. And the language barrier is no problem. In fact, 96% of them reported that they already speak Spanish to some level.

Expats are Happy with the Financial Benefits of Living in Mexico

But it is probably the financial benefits of moving to Mexico that is the driving force of retirees wanting to move down here. The survey revealed Mexico to be second in cost of living and third in the personal finance index. Actually, 17% of expats in Mexico reported that they have more money than they need.

Overall, Mexico remains a top-of-mind retirement destination for many reasons. But personal happiness is perhaps the most important one. That is why 88% of expats surveyed said they were quite satisfied with their lives in Mexico placing it in fourth place in the overall ranking. And the truth is, that purchasing a retirement home in Mexico is really simple. With so many Mexico real estate options available, it also comes as no surprise that people are choosing this beautiful place to spend their winters and benefit from their home the rest of the year.

Top 25 Beaches in the Riviera Maya: A Day at Akumal Beach

Beach #15 on the Countdown to the Best Beach in the Riviera Maya: Akumal Beach

Most beaches are just that: beaches. Beautiful white sand, gorgeous blue waters…everything you want a beach to be. But sometimes, beaches come with amazing surprises. Akumal Beach is #15 on our Top 25 Beaches in the Riviera Maya, and for good reason! Akumal (which means Place of the Turtles in Mayan) is home to juvenile and adult sea turtles. Not only that, but it’s a beautiful and tranquil bay, as well.

Akumal is a bay surrounded by coral reef, which stops the break. This makes the water seem pool-like, calm and wave-less. The deepest parts are approximately 6 meters and it hosts all types of life; from corals, to fish, to seahorses, rays, and turtles, Akumal is a large, natural aquarium!

Located south of Playa del Carmen, and north of Tulum, it is easily accessible and a beautiful place to spend the day, or weekend, at. Akumal beach offers all types of activities, from snorkeling to diving, and has an array of delicious restaurants, as well. A day at Akumal Beach will never be boring. And, if you visit during the right season, you may also encounter nesting sea turtles and hatchling releases from the Akumal Ecological Center (CEA).

Akumal Beach is unique in that ecology, nature and tourism go hand in hand. The town’s people and the Ecological Center work together with snorkeling guides and tourists in order to preserve the bay in all its glory for the juvenile sea turtles that call this place home. Donations can be made to help with the efforts.

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Akumal Beach: Getting There

Akumal is divided into Pueblo (town) and Beach. It is very easy to reach Akumal from any point of the Riviera Maya, as it is located 20 minutes south of Playa del Carmen, and 20 minutes north of Tulum.

Driving: If you have a car (rented, or otherwise), all you need to do is get onto the Federal Highway 309 and drive south (coming from Playa del Carmen), or north (coming from Tulum), until you reach Akumal. It is very well signaled. If you are coming from the north, it is right past Sirenis; if you are coming from the south, you need to pass the Bahia Principe resort. Akumal Pueblo is on the west side of the highway and is mainly where the workers live; you want to go to Akumal Beach which is where all the tourist attraction is.

Taking a Taxi: A taxi will charge you over $300 MXN to drive you to Akumal. A taxi from the airport will cost $900 MXN, or more. However, if this is the alternative you want to take, just mention to the driver that you want to go to Akumal Beach and they will drive you all the way down to where the main access is.

Public transportation:

Colectivos: Colectivos are readily available on the highway. However, you can also take one from the van central on 15th Avenue with 2nd Street in Playa del Carmen. Hop on the one heading towards Tulum and ask to be dropped off in Akumal. Cross the overpass bridge and walk approximately 5 minutes until you reach the beach. Coming from Tulum, you will need to take a van headed towards Playa del Carmen. You will already be dropped off on the east side of the highway, so there is no need to cross the overpass bridge. The colectivo should cost no more than $3 USD per person.

Buses:  You can take the Mayab buses at the ADO terminal, heading towards the south. These buses make stops as they drive down the highway, so just make sure you ask the driver to point out the stop at Akumal.

Akumal Beach: Things To Do

Akumal offers an array of fun activities for the whole family, mostly nature related. Here is a list of things you can do while visiting Akumal Beach:

  • Snorkel with sea turtles – this is the main attraction in Akumal. Just remember to respect nature by not touching or harassing the turtles, and by not stepping on the corals. You will not only see turtles, but you will probably also see rays, all types of fish (even barracuda!), and the diversity of its corals.
  • Go diving – there are two dive shops in Akumal ready to take you out on amazing dives just past the reef where you can encounter adult sea turtles and many other species.
  • Visit Yal Ku Lagoon. Located approximately 10 minutes from Akumal Bay, this lagoon is a mix of fresh and salt water, giving life to beautiful marine life.
  • Go fishing, catch your fish, and have it cooked at La Cueva del Pescador restaurant.
  • Eat at one of the many delicious and fresh restaurants – most of them offer catch of the day – and enjoy great Mexican and international cuisine.
  • Rent a kayak and paddle throughout the bay.
  • If visiting during nesting season, walk on the beach looking out for nests (do not touch them, of course).
  • Visit the Ecological Center for information about marine life and the possibility of taking a night tour to see nesting sea turtles (during season May through September).

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Akumal Beach: Recommendations

Akumal is a small fishing town, however, they don’t lack any services. You can find everything from restaurants, to medical clinics (if necessary), convenience stores, shops, bars, and more. Nonetheless, it’s always best to take some things into consideration:

  • Bring money – Akumal is an expensive place. Food, tours, and souvenirs are all pricey so it’s best that you are ready to spend.
  • Use biodegradable sunblock and put it on 30 minutes before going into the water – as mentioned before, Akumal is an ecological town working on saving the marine ecosystems. Sunblock bleaches corals and kills fish, so be considerate when using it.
  • Make sure you listen to your guide, or locals, about how to treat marine life (no touching, harassing, or stepping on things).
  • Although Akumal looks like a pool, it is still the ocean, so rent out life jackets before going in for a swim – better be safe than sorry!
  • Be careful when snorkeling and do not to touch anything – corals are home to sea urchins, and they hurt.
  • Akumal does not have beach clubs and does not rent out beach beds (unless you’re a guest at one of the hotels), so make sure you bring towels and shade.

Remember to have fun and enjoy the beautiful and natural marine life that calls Akumal home! This beach is one of the most popular destinations when visiting the Riviera Maya; it is beautiful, calm, and does perfectly well as a day’s getaway destination.

You can continue learning about the best beaches in the region by following our Top 25 Beaches in the Riviera Maya countdown every Friday! If you are looking for the perfect beach, make sure you check out our options. We aim to provide you with the best information about living in the Riviera Maya!

Top Mexico Real Estate is the leading website in real estate in the Riviera Maya and throughout Mexico. We help foreigners find their dream homes in paradise. If you are looking to invest in a vacation, retirement, or full-time property in the Riviera Maya, feel free to contact one of our Top Mexico Buyer’s Representatives. They will happily guide you through the process of becoming a homeowner in Mexico!

And remember, here at Top Mexico Real Estate…

We Make It Happen!

Cost of living Riviera Maya -vs- other popular retirement destinations in America.

People from all over the world are choosing Mexico as a retirement destination. More than a million foreigners live permanently in Mexico, and about 50,000 snowbirds spend part of the year in this beautiful country.

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We have covered in other blogs the many benefits that Mexico offers its expats: easy straightforward immigration policies, cheap medical bills, warm weather and beautiful settings. But there is also another reason, the lower cost of living in Mexico.

Living in Mexico can reduce your bills dramatically, but do not take our word on it; let the numbers speak for themselves. We have selected three top retirement spots in America and two cities in the Yucatan Peninsula, to do a cost of living comparison on everyday items and services.

*The Lowest values are marked in gree

Phoenix, AZ Miami, FL Tampa, FL Playa del Carmen Merida, Yucatan
Meal, Inexpensive Restaurant 11.50 13.00 10.00 4.10 5.29
Meal for 2, Mid-range Restaurant, Three-course 43.50 60.00 50.00 32.42 20.48
McMeal at McDonalds (or Equivalent Combo Meal) 6.00 6.62 7.00 4.61 5.46
Domestic Beer (0.5 liter draught) 3.25 3.72 3.50 1.71 1.37
Imported Beer (0.33 liter bottle) 5.00 4.48 5.00 2.73 2.25
Cappuccino (regular) 3.61 3.34 3.66 2.18 2.44
Coke/Pepsi (0.33 liter bottle) 1.48 1.61 1.59 1.02 0.74
Water (0.33 liter bottle) 1.23 1.32 1.10 1.15 0.55
Milk (regular), (1 liter) 0.75 1.03 1.05 0.96 0.98
Loaf of Fresh White Bread (500g) 2.29 2.59 2.40 1.73 1.54
Rice (white), (1kg) 3.18 2.44 2.83 0.68 1.06
Eggs (12) 2.20 2.63 2.28 1.17 1.59
Local Cheese (1kg) 7.80 9.96 11.83 4.44 6.37
Chicken Breasts (Boneless, Skinless), (1kg) 5.84 8.49 7.38 5.12 6.46
Apples (1kg) 3.43 4.03 4.00 2.01 2.00
Oranges (1kg) 4.41 3.13 4.05 0.78 3.04
Tomato (1kg) 3.20 3.73 3.90 0.78 1.06
Potato (1kg) 2.46 2.70 2.40 1.13 1.18
Lettuce (1 head) 1.21 1.63 1.80 0.96 0.61
Water (1.5 liter bottle) 1.82 2.13 1.64 0.92 0.75
Bottle of Wine (Mid-Range) 12.00 12.00 11.00 7.17 6.14
Domestic Beer (0.5 liter bottle) 2.50 3.80 2.13 0.80 1.16
Imported Beer (0.33 liter bottle) 2.08 4.62 3.07 1.54 1.18
Pack of Cigarettes (Marlboro) 7.50 7.00 6.38 3.41 3.41
One-way Ticket (Local Transport) 2.12 2.25 2.00 0.48 0.48
Monthly Pass (Regular Price) 64.00 113.75 60.00 N/A N/A
Taxi Start (Normal Tariff) 3.00 2.50 2.50 1.88 1.37
Taxi 1km (Normal Tariff) 1.38 1.49 1.00 1.37 0.55
Taxi 1hour Waiting (Normal Tariff) 32.50 20.00 25.00 10.24 10.24
Gasoline (1 liter) 0.91 0.97 0.92 0.85 0.85
Volkswagen Golf 1.4 90 KW Trendline (Or Equivalent New Car) 20,000.00 19,000.00 21,500.00 13,310.31 12,969.02
Utilities (Monthly)
Basic (Electricity, Heating, Water, Garbage) for 85m2 Apartment 173.60 173.54 150.31 91.30 133.10
1 min. of Prepaid Mobile Tariff Local (No Discounts or Plans) 0.12 0.25 0.13 0.11 0.24
Internet (6 Mbps, Unlimited Data, Cable/ADSL) 49.38 48.42 47.22 22.17 25.04
Sports And Leisure
Fitness Club, Monthly Fee for 1 Adult 35.83 38.89 36.00 47.10 22.75
Tennis Court Rent (1 Hour on Weekend) 10.00 19.50 16.67 17.06 11.95
Cinema, International Release, 1 Seat 9.88 12.00 11.00 3.92 4.78
Clothing And Shoes
1 Pair of Jeans (Levis 501 Or Similar) 39.17 37.00 39.00 56.31 43.69
1 Summer Dress in a Chain Store (Zara, H&M, …) 21.33 57.86 33.71 20.48 59.16
1 Pair of Nike Shoes 67.00 78.33 75.44 75.08 64.85
1 Pair of Men Leather Shoes 70.00 80.83 79.25 40.95 52.33
Rent Per Month
Apartment (1 bedroom) in City Centre 833.33 1,609.29 885.00 477.81 204.77
Apartment (1 bedroom) Outside of Centre 723.89 1,050.00 693.18 196.24 153.58
Apartment (3 bedrooms) in City Centre 1,334.00 2,850.00 1,466.67 1,185.98 420.92
Apartment (3 bedrooms) Outside of Centre 1,156.75 1,819.50 1,186.36 477.81 477.81
Buy Apartment Price
Price per Square Meter to Buy Apartment in City Centre 1,829.86 3,632.82 1,345.49 728.09 648.45
Price per Square Meter to Buy Apartment Outside of Centre 1,453.13 1,795.49 1,184.03 750.84 614.32
Salaries And Financing
Average Monthly Disposable Salary (After Tax) 2,767.86 3,151.83 2,834.99 739.46 418.65
Mortgage Interest Rate in Percentages (%), Yearly 4.35 4.35 4.89 9.00 11.50
Source: Numbeo

As you can see in this cost of living comparison, the cost of living in Mexico is much lower. Even if you decide to spend only part of the year in Mexico, your pension or savings will surely stretch further!

If you have ever dreamed of retiring in Mexico, please feel free to browse our beautiful properties! We have modern condos, retirement communities, beachfront homes, jungle cabanas…. whatever you can dream of!

Our professional and certified real estate agents have the expertise and credentials to help you become a homeowner in Mexico.

And remember, here at Top Mexico Real Estate…

We make it happen!

Night of the Blue Crab; Join the Conservation Effort!

Every year around the last few days of September and the first few days of October, along the magnificent views of the moon; Cancun gets a special visitor. Thousands of giant blue crabs (Cardisoma guanhumi), try to cross the dangerous path that divides the Nichupte Lagoon from the beach.

If you have ever driven the road that goes across the touristic area in Cancun, I think you have a good idea of the catastrophic results of thousands of crab trying to cross that very busy street. Environmentalist, government agencies and the general public decided to work together in a campaign to help blue crabs have a safe journey.

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The Blue crab protection campaign was founded in 1991, it is a very popular activity among families with kids and all sorts of volunteers. The amount of crabs coming out, depends on the amount of rain, the rainier the season; the more crabs make the treacherous journey.

Get to know the blue crab

The blue crab is one of the biggest specimens, they can grow as big as 14 inches. Adults have blue-gray color, while the young are usually orange or brown, and weight up to a pound or more.

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Blue crabs are herbivorous, as most of the species feed on fruits, coconuts and mangrove leaves. They often live in muddy beaches, mangrove swamps, coconut trees and can be found inland. Crabs tend to dig caves and hide during the day and at night they leave their burrows and are very active.

The reproductive cycle is closely linked to seasonal weather patterns and moon phases. With the arrival of heavy rains during the rainy season in the tropics, the crabs begin migration. The males mate with mature females during the months of July, August and September. Most females can be seen carrying their eggs externally. After about two weeks the eggs hatch and should be released in salt water, the typical development time from birth to the first crab stage adult is approx. 42 days.

What can I do to help?
This Blue crab species is endangered, the fast growth of Cancun, amount of hotels and cars makes this trip extremely dangerous. Environmentalist believe that the loss of free beaches and hatching areas can affect the population of these attractive species. If you would like to volunteer for this event registration begins at 6:30p.m. at each meeting point.

October 8th, 9th and 10th
7:00 PM

The following beaches in Cancun: Playa del Niño, Playa Las Perlas, Playa El Mirador II, Punta Nizuc and Tajamar.

If you want to join the effort it is important to bring one of more of the following items:
– Flashlight
– Bait Gloves (you can find them in any hardware shop as “Guantes de Carnaza”)
– Bucket
– Dustpan
– White clothing
– Insect repellent

Want to know more:
If you want to receive more information about this and other preservation efforts in the Cancun area, follow the Ecology Department of Cancun;
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Ecologia-Cancun
Twitter: @ecologiaBJ

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Now if you have any question about this or any of the TOP MEXICO REAL ESTATE properties we have listed in Playa Del Carmen, The Riviera Maya or anywhere throughout Mexico, please feel free to contact any of our TOP MEXICO EXPERT SALES TEAM and we will be glad to help you find your very own piece of paradise.

And remember, here at TOP MEXICO REAL ESTATE

We make it happen!

Childbirth at the Local Public Hospital – “Best Treatment I’ve Had”

On Friday I posted about the variety of health care options available to choose from on a day to day basis in Mexico. Today, I’m going to share the story of an expat who’s worked in the office here for the past few years and their experience with the public hospitals, specifically his wife and childbirth.  While most expats we know won’t be going in to have a baby delivered any time soon, it reflects how good the service is even in Mexico’s “working-class” health care system.

Here it is in his own words:

“My wife and I have had 4 children; the last 2 were twins, so it was 3 childbirths for my wife – the first was in a semi-charitable hospital specialized in childbirth and maternal health in Mexico City, the second was the public-insurance hospital (IMSS) in Playa del Carmen, and the third was a hospital in Canada.

“As for cost, for the one in Canada my wife – who is Mexican – was not yet covered by public health insurance, so we had to pay it out of pocket.  While they gave us easy, interest-free payment options, it was a HUGE bill, by far the most expensive.

“The cheapest?  The IMSS hospital in Playa del Carmen.  Our entire family was covered by my wife’s insurance; we had started a little family business, and I had “hired” her.  The monthly fee was pretty low.  In any case, I know you can also get full coverage on a person-by-person basis for about $350 a year.  However you get this insurance, it’s simply cheap.


Best Service

“Now, you’ll never guess which was the best treatment.  The specialist hospital in Mexico City was very professional, and without a doubt knew what they were doing, but my wife said it was impersonal.  Canada – well, it was Canada.  Nice doctors, nice nurses.  Did everything right, and were very friendly, but nothing above and beyond.

“The public-insurance hospital in Playa – she remembers going in; the nurse put on music, and made a real effort to make her comfortable.  It was the longest birth of all them, but she never felt like they were rushed or anything, she was comfortable and well-attended the whole time.

“After the last birth in Canada, she said the level of service and comfort was a close call, but Playa del Carmen’s IMSS hospital still won out – and this is considering that it was all but free!


The Choices

“Now we had our options in Playa.  There were excellent private hospitals that would’ve charged anywhere up to about $1600 for childbirth – a far cry from the $8000 we paid in Canada!  There were also private gynecologists who charged about the same or somewhat less.

“We were thinking about those options.  But in the end we thought: we have this insurance already; there’s a brand-new, pretty-looking IMSS hospital in town.  Previously they would’ve had to send us to Cancun, which we weren’t terribly interested in, but with the new hospital we could be a 5 minute drive from our house.  We knew people who work at the hospital, and had been there for some of the pre-natal check-ups.  Everything seemed professional and well run.

“We decided to go for it, and – considering it was the cheapest and BEST treatment my wife had – we’re glad we did.


The Down Sides

“Not everything is rosy and perfect.  We had only one major complaint; I wasn’t allowed into the delivery room.  This is standard practice in all public/low-cost hospitals in Mexico. The private options I mentioned would’ve allowed it.  Since all the options looked really good, the question came to this – was it worth $1600 for me to be in the delivery room? Since we were still paying off the little townhouse we bought, we decided ‘no.’

“My wife would’ve liked.  I would’ve liked it.  But the excellent treatment they gave her helped to balance that somewhat.

“The other downside was the quick shipment out the door.  They definitely took the time to make sure she and the baby were in good shape and that she had rested enough to go home.  But the baby was born at 6 am; by 2 pm, she was at home. “Same day delivery” I guess …

“BUT Canada was no different!  While I did get to be in the delivery room, she was also out the door before at the soonest possible moment.

“So, in the IMSS hospital, I stayed up all night in the waiting room, read an entire book of The Lord of the Rings, drank about 10 cups of coffee (there’s an all-night OXXO, like 7-11, across the road) and probably paced a hole into their brand-new floor.

“I remember when Tom came by to pick me up around noon so we could get my older son and mother-in-law to welcome our new baby as a family; we didn’t have a car, and I wouldn’t have been in the shape drive any way.  I must have looked like a wreck, but I was the happiest man in the world.  I had just talked to the doctor, who also looked like a wreck after being up all night delivering babies; but, as attested to by wife, he has spared no effort to make everything go well.


The Bottom Line

“The bottom line is that IMSS, one of Mexico’s “cheap” options, gives Canada’s first-world healthcare a run for its money, which cost about 100 times more (if we count all the usage we got out of it); even if Canada had been free, IMSS still won out on the comfort they provided for my wife.”

So, there you have it.  I’m going to dig up some more health care stories from expats here in Mexico in the future.  I can tell this already; while it’s not all perfect, you begin to see a pattern – lower cost, better service.


-by Thomas Lloyd



5 of Mexico’s Best Kept Secrets – Travel Tips for Expats and Vacationers

Now, if you’ve been reading our blogs or otherwise making use of the Top Mexico website, 3 of the 5 of these will be no secret to you, but this is a nice overview of 5 mostly undiscovered locations in Mexico.  These locations are ideal for your own discovery road trips – which are a great way to spend retirement years or vacations in this beautiful country – or you can even choose them as your home away from home!



So, from Fodor’s, here are excerpts from “Undiscovered Mexico: 5 Places You Haven’t Been”:




Costalegre (from Costa Alegre, “Coast of Joy”), also known as the “Virgin Coast,” is a series of beaches, capes, and bays set like pearly brooches along the Pacific coast, just south of Puerto Vallarta. If travelers know Costalegre at all, it’s for the fabulous eco-centric jetsetting celebrity haunt, El Careyes, with its polo fields, golf courses, turtle recovery program, and spectacular multi-million-dollar cliff-side villas exploding with color. But you don’t have to be Heidi Klum (who owns), or Uma Thurman and Francis Ford Coppola (who rent), to enjoy its wonders. …





The vision of cobblestone streets lined with craft markets and cafes, street vendors selling authentic foods, magnificent museums, and splendid colonial architecture lives in Morelia, tucked away in the central mountains. The capital of the state of Michoacan was founded in 1541 under the name Valladolid, and its original layout comprises a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The 17th-century aqueduct, notable for 253 stately arches, still supplies water to the city. Most of the grandest structures date back to the 18th century, encompassing the various architectural styles that have been fashionable in Mexico, but most magnificent is the Cathedral, with its twin 200-foot bell towers. Nearly all are constructed of cantera (pink stone), really more ecru, which is particularly stunning at dusk. …



Valle de Guadalupe, Ensenada


Tequila, tacos and… Tempranillo? Not to mention Cabernet, Syrah, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, and more? Surprise: the Western Hemisphere’s first winery was established in 1597 in Coahuila. And the better-known Argentine and Chilean vineyards literally stemmed from Mexican grafts. Today, Baja’s Valle de Guadalupe, just northeast of Ensenada and 75 miles south of San Diego, is wine central, with cool Pacific breezes and morning fogs mimicking the climatic conditions of the Napa or Rhône Valleys. Despite medals at international competitions and raves from such influential industry icons as Robert Mondavi, it remains undiscovered—meaning lower prices and a warm welcome, often from the vintners themselves. …





If you believe all the Yucatan has to offer aside from Mayan ruins is pre-fab Cancun and Riviera Maya all-inclusives, think again. Two hundred miles west of Cancun, cosmopolitan Merida remains virtually unknown to American tourists despite its reputation as one of Mexico’s safest and most gracious cities. Merida is nicknamed “The White City:” some claim for the gleaming limestone of the buildings, others for the residents’ cleanliness bordering on fetish. The Sunday market here jams with live bands and locals selling traditional crafts. The Paseo de Montejo, often called Mexico’s Champs-Elysées, offers chic boutiques, art galleries, and sidewalk cafes. You can also tour Mérida’s boulevards and plazas by horse-drawn calesa. …



Mazunte/San Agustinillo


Dubbed both the Costa Chica (“Little Coast,” despite Pacific swells that lure surfers) and the Riviera Oaxaqueña (despite its poverty), the 75-mile stretch between Puerto Escondido and the failed Cancun-wannabe Huatalco features gorgeous, unspoiled beaches the color of champagne and just as apt to make you feel giddy. The Sierra Madre del Sur mountains, percolating with resurgent coffee plantations, practically tumble down to the Pacific, forming a glorious backdrop. …



You can read the entire article there.  Of course, there are many other well-kept secrets in Mexico, such as Campeche, but this list is good one.



-by Thomas Lloyd
Mexico Real Estate Investment Kit

The Experience of a Lifetime – Taking the Bus in Mexico!

There are many things that we consider thrilling and exciting in this day and age, but did you ever think that taking a bus would be one of them. If you didn’t, then you have never taken a bus in Mexico.


The rules need not apply!


Buses make their own rules and take you along for the ride.


Here in Playa Del Carmen there are many advantages to public transportation. For instance, the bus will pick you up from any location; there is no need to walk to a bus stop. Just wave down a bus and he will happily stop to collect you. The same goes for drop offs. Just remember to shout the secret word ‘bajan!”(remember the “j” sounds like an “h”) and they will stop as soon as possible to let you off.


The buses here also don’t worry so much about capacity. A bus is considered full when the door will no longer close. So if you can squeeze yourself on, get on – because if you don’t, someone else will.


 Speed is another advantage. A bus is likely to get you where you are going faster than driving. That’s because they can go as fast as they like, which offers another advantage… free window air conditioning! The faster the go the cooler you feel.


On a serious note every bus here in Playa del Carmen has fantastic brakes – this is proven every time someone wants to get off. So make sure you hold on.


So, all in all taking the bus is a win, win situation. It’s cheap, you stay fresh (most of the time) and you can spend some time relaxing and listening to your favorite tunes. I see many tourists take the bus here, and they are always smiling. It’s an adventure the locals enjoy every day.


For the more serious of you out there, I’d stick to the bigger buses. But for those of you that want a bit more adventure, try the little bus… I dare you!!! Where else can you get a fun-filled ride for 5 pesos?


-by Thomas Lloyd

Mexico Closing Costs Kit

How Old Do You Have to Be to Retire … in Mexico?

How old do you have to be to retire? How old do you have to be to retire in Mexico?


They are two distinct questions, and have two distinct answers.


We all know that in the U.S. and Canada retirement age is on the rise – often due to financial constraints.


In Mexico, there are several factors to consider:


  • The cost of living is lower, which makes it easier to retire sooner.
  • It’s easy to start your dream business; it costs less and there are fewer hurdles. Mexican bureaucracy can be a marathon, but outside of the government offices you’ll find that it’s easier to get things going. Most people running their business in Mexico just keep doing it – even if they’re financially ready; they just like it so much.
  • It’s easier to be healthy making it easier to choose to keep working or to have an active retirement otherwise.  Warm weather, good and affordable healthcare and easy access to fresh, healthy food have many advantages.


When it comes right down to it, you might not think of it in the same way as you do there.  You may just enjoy life here so much, that the distinction between work and retirement blurs and even disappears!


-by Thomas Lloyd


Mexico Health Care Kit

The Pricing Factor – The Even Cheaper Parts of Mexico

Retirement living in Mexico

The colonial town of Valladolid – not far from Cancun, Playa or Merida

Here’s something that may or may not surprise you; regardless of which retirement location you choose in Mexico, regardless how low the cost of living, there are probably many parts of the country that are even cheaper!


So, why don’t you pack up and move to one of those places?


Well, the answer to that is usually fairly obvious; the more popular expat and tourist locations usually have more modern services, more people that speak English, better airport and highway access, etc. And they’re already so much cheaper than what life back home was.


Yet, there are several benefits to these very low-priced parts of Mexico.




While you’re home base will be Playa del Carmen or Puerto Vallarta, you can hop on a nice coach bus or rent a car and head out to visit nearby villages. The cost of everything from hotels to icecream to taxis will be low, even compared to the surprisingly los prices you were just getting used to in your new home town. For example, about 2 hours from Playa del Carmen is the charming – yet all but unknown – town of Valladolid.


retirement living in MexicoThis makes it easy to spend retirement years traveling, seeing new sights and having new experiences, even if you’re on a tighter budget. One couple who headed out for a trip through some of these quieter villages told me that there full vacationing expenses – hotel, bus, restaurants, etc., – cost them less than their regular expenses would’ve been for the same amount of time back in Canada. Mind you, this couple likes to “rough it” a little, but they fully enjoyed all aspects of the trip.


Affordable Help


One of the many advantages of retiring in Mexico is that you can afford to hire a maid, a gardener, a handyman for maintenance, etc. and not bust the budget. People coming into the more economically thriving areas from the villages are part of what makes this possible. For them, even the wages which already seem surprisingly low to us seem quite high. Many of them send part of their wages back to the farm where the cash goes a long, long way.


Of course, we want to give back to our new communities and not take advantage, but paying the going wages or a bit higher will go a long way for these people. Hiring them offers a double benefit; it’s good for you since it offers you a more comfortable lifestyle for a much better price. It’s good for them because it gives them access to cash and a better life that otherwise they wouldn’t have.


So, yes, there are most certainly places in Mexico that are cheaper than the expat town you chose. No, they probably wouldn’t be appealing for you to live in, and yes, there are ways which you can both enjoy the benefits of the low costs there and contribute to the lives of those who live there.


-Thomas Lloyd

Pyramid Marketing or Relaxing Retirement on Mexico’s Beaches?

The word is getting out there; more and more Americans are worried that they won’t have enough money to retire comfortably.


Wall Street Journal has taken notice.  Yahoo News did too.  It’s becoming common place to see articles analyzing the situation and offering advice for those who are approaching retirement with lower funds than they would ideally want or need.  Solutions are being offered up that include anything from even more frugality to elaborate savings and tax strategies.


This guy is even suggesting that the best solution is to join an internet based pyramid marketing program. (He’s the CEO, so no surprises …!)



Now, I have nothing against how people make a livelihood, but let’s just get right down to a simple, basic question:


How would you prefer to spend your retirement years?  Trying to sell products to your family, friends and neighbors, or simply enjoying a relaxing life on the beach?


I think even JR Ridinger would choose beach.  (He’s so rich, he doesn’t have much to worry about, but if it came right to down to it …)
The point is that if you retire in Mexico, you won’t have to become a pyramid salesman in your free time to make ends meet – or, if you do, that money will sure go a heck of a lot further.  This true of any part time job.


And what about those elaborate savings and tax strategies?  Go for it!  No one will complain about having too much saved.  But why not take some of the pressure off and enjoy the hard work you’re putting into those savings a little more?


-by Thomas Lloyd


Awa Condos Playa del Carmen