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!

New Year’s Eve, Playa del Carmen 2015

It is hard to believe we are already making plans for the end of the year! 2014 has gone by so fast and it has been a great year for us at Top Mexico Real Estate. Throughout the year many new and exciting projects were born, happy customers lived their dream of owning a home in paradise and our sales team grew, becoming greater than ever!

If you are visiting or live near the Playa del Carmen area, we have compiled a list of places that are offering New Year’s dinners to say goodbye to the old year and welcome 2015. Remember that good places get booked quite quickly, make your reservations as soon as possible!

I M P R E V I S T · Resto & Wine

1 Avenida Norte Entre Calle 14 Norte y 16 Norte Bis SN

Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo

+52 984 168 7025

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For only $130 USD you will enjoy a delicious gourmet dinner in a nice and romantic setting. Your dinner includes admission to a night full of live music and dancing at the 1st Annual Plank New Year’s Eve Bash!


Av. Juárez Mza. 217 Lote. 2 Col. Ejidal entre diagonal 65 y 70.

Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo

52 01 (984) 2062 589 / (984) 1471 563

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If you want to experience a unique gastronomic experience in an amazing place, you cannot miss the opportunity to enjoy your New Year’s dinner at Alux. This beautiful restaurant offers not only the best food and wine in town, but also a mesmerizing ambience: located in a subterranean palace adorned by stalagmites and stalactites and special lighting to create a magical atmosphere.

Enjoy this natural attraction unlike any other; do not forget to bring your camera. Their excellent selection of menus and extensive wine selection combined with a unique setting make for memorable destination dining.

Kool Beach Club

Calle 28 y Playa

Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo

01 (984) 803 19 61

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Kool Beach Club is offering a full night of fun on the beach for @ $140 USD. This gourmet 4 course steak and lobster dinner includes a premium open bar from 9pm – 1am, New Year’s Eve party kit, DJ and other entertainment. Ring in the New Year at a Kool, hip location on the beach.

Wah Wah Beach Bar

Calle 2 Nte y Playa

Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo

52 984 143 6009

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Wah Wah offers the best party in paradise! No cover, no expensive meal, and no reservations needed! Just come as you are and have FUN! Wah Wah’s will be offering their full menu. Renato and The Jam Session Combo will be rocking the stage all night long and at midnight they will have their annual Balloon Drop.

It’s better on the beach!

Wah Wah Annual Hangover Haven

Just when you thought the party was over, celebrate the First Sunrise of 2015, at Wah Wah’s 1st Annual Hangover Haven! Wah Wah will be serving an all you can eat breakfast buffet with unlimited bloody mary’s and live music for only $220 Pesos. Wah Wah Annual Hangover Haven is from 6am – 11am on January 1st.

Rise and shine into the New Year!

Top Mexico Real Estate wishes you a Happy New Year!

And remember, here at Top Mexico Real Estate…We Make it Happen!

Christmas Dinner: Catering Options in the Riviera Maya

For many, Christmas dinner means a long day of slaving away in the kitchen in order to share a beautiful dinner with friends and family. However, if you are not a big fan of cooking or would rather enjoy the festivities in other ways, there are plenty of catering services willing to do the hard work for you.

Catering companies throughout the Riviera Maya are willing to help you organize the Christmas dinner of your dreams. Think of how you would rather spend your day and what you would like to offer your guests without doing it all yourself: Christmas breakfast, brunch, traditional dinner, Mexican Dinner, cocktails, or whatever you may want.

Whether you have a small family affair or a big party, there are many options available to fit your needs.

Catering Options in the Riviera Maya: Advantages of Hiring a Caterer

Having a caterer can take a lot of the stress off your back. You can plan your Christmas dinner to perfection and know that the professionals will offer:

  1. Menu options: They can adapt to any social event: breakfast, lunch or dinner. The caterer will have a variety of menus that you can taste and choose from, to fit your specific needs.
  2. Flexibility: A caterer will work with you to offer special options for vegetarian or vegan guests as well as options to suit people with diabetes, celiac disease, gluten free, lactose intolerant, etc.
  3. Personalized pricing: You can set a budget and the caterer will work to make your dinner within that budget. No surprises!
  4. Stress- free dinner: Catering professionals will take care of everything allowing you to enjoy the food, the festivities and your guests.

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Catering Options in the Riviera Maya:  Christmas Dinner Menus

It is still early for planning, so there are not many options out there yet, but if you are spending Christmas in the Riviera Maya, you need to know that prices increase in many restaurants. Good places get booked quite early and you could end up with expensive dinners that are not as tasty.

Exploring options ahead of time will help you pick and order your dinner with plenty of time, and having a dinner at home will allow you to share with friends and family while relaxing and enjoying far from the crowds on 5th Avenue.

Some of the available catering services are:

Turtle Bay Cafe: Akumal

Located in the Center of Akumal

Plaza Ukana 1

Mx Telephone: 984-875-9138

US Telephone: 270-854-5392



Turtle Bay Cafe is one of our favorites; locals and visitors alike go to the Bakery to enjoy their delicious food, pastries and coffee. There are long lines early in the morning to get their traditional scones, and the place is always packed.

Located in Akumal, Turtle Bay has prepared a traditional menu for Christmas. They have the option to buy a breakfast or dinner menu and to pick it up on Christmas Eve between 4:00 and 6:00 pm.

You can see their menu below:

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City Club: Playa del Carmen & Cancun

Playa del Carmen Cancun
Carretera Federal Chetumal-Cancún Km. 2.3 #2100, Ejidal, 77712 Playa del Carmen, QROO01 984 803 9901 Ave. Andrés Quintana Roo S/N Km 39 Manzana 10 Lote 1, 77500 Cancún, QROO01 998 849 2604

This wholesale store is offering an attractive traditional menu, with sides and dessert for a reasonable price.

Choose a main course:

  • Roasted Turkey – $900 pesos @ $62 USD
  • Stuffed pork tenderloin – $570 pesos @ $ 39USD
  • Baked ham – $820 pesos @ $56 USD

Included side dishes:

  • 2 pounds of spaghetti with a choice of Bolognese, vegetarian or Alfredo sauce.
  • 2 pounds of mashed potatoes with mushrooms, 4 cheeses or plain.
  • 2 pounds of gravy: available flavorings of apricot, mushrooms or herbs.
  • One dessert: Tiramisu, strawberry dessert or apple pie
  • The turkey dinner also includes 2 pounds of mince stuffing

If you decide to have an extra dessert, they are offering a Christmas cake for only $115 pesos – that’s less than 10 USD.

In order to have your dinner ready from City Club, you need to order way ahead of time. So get on your phone and start dialing!

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These are just two of the many options for catering your Christmas dinner. As more local businesses keep publishing their Christmas menus, we will be posting them here for you to know.

Top Mexico Real Estate, your site for everything in the Riviera Maya!

Remember, here at Top Mexico Real Estate…

We make it happen!

Wildlife Wednesday: Bird watching and bird conservation; two of my favorite things about living in Riviera Maya!

I moved to Playa del Carmen about 10 years ago, since then I have been surrounded by nature and wildlife in a way and an unexpected hobby was born for me while living in Riviera Maya: Bird Watching. I could stay for hours and hours sitting on my terrace to just listen and if I´m lucky enough see a large group of euphonias, hummingbirds and parrots just to name a few.

In fact, bird-watching is a very popular activity throughout the Yucatan Peninsula, with so many different types of our feathered friends. Right here in Playa del Carmen is only a matter of where you are and what you hear to look up and see an entire group flying over the city.

But there are also aviaries, like the one located in Playacar or the recently opened aviary at Xcaret Park but the thing the I love the most about Xcaret is not the fact that there’s a brand new aviary, is actually the fact that wherever you place your sight inside the park, you’ll be able to find a breathtakingly beautiful bird and in some cases, and I kid you not, you are able to touch it.

Bird-Watching and interactive experiences

So, about a year ago there was a lot of buzz in Playa del Carmen regarding a particular conservation program and activities held around it at Xcaret, which was the “Flying Home” program, created to release Scarlet Macaws into their natural habitat in the Chiapas rainforest.

The Scarlet Macaw is an endangered species and the largest population of this colorful bird lives at Xcaret, visitors are able to see them and listen to them (they don’t talk, but make funny noises) and the awesome thing about having them here is that they are part of a very successful reproduction program.

Make sure that you visit this wonderful eco-theme park when you have a chance, we do it several times a year and is always a wonderful experience because we have lots of fun and always learn something new about wildlife and many ecological themes. Once again, one of the advantages of living in Riviera Maya is to be in touch with nature and learn from it.

– By Bea Lozano