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.
This 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.
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.