Does Retirement in Mexico Deserve a Fresh Look?

A happy senior couple sits on the front of a sail boat on a calm blue sea.

According to U.S. News and World Report, Mexico was perhaps the original overseas retirement destination for Americans.  Americans have been relocating south of the border for retirement for decades. More than a million American expatriates and retirees call Mexico home.

In recent years, Mexico has been overshadowed by countries in Central and South America. These other destinations also offer appealing options for a sunny, coastal retirement on a small budget. Mexico has recently suffered some bad press, including the swine flu epidemic of 2009 that fizzled after a few cases and the drug violence in some border cities and beyond that has affected the perception of the entire country.

It’s true that some parts of Mexico don’t belong on any list for retirement.  However, there are good places at cheap prices.

It’s time to take a fresh look at this old favorite. Housing markets in many areas of Mexico are depressed. The great recession took its toll, especially in areas popular as second home markets.   In many markets, prices still have not recovered. Mexico is not the ultra-cheap destination it was in the 1950s and 60s, but it’s still a very affordable lifestyle option, especially at the current exchange rate.

Today’s dollar buys 15.38 pesos, making the cost of living in Mexico cheaper than it’s been in a long time for anyone with dollars in his wallet.

In addition, Mexico is also a culturally familiar neighbor and is accessible.  Americans can drive back and forth or take a short flight

Mexico is a big country, with many diverse retirement lifestyle choices.

One particularly appealing coastal retirement option is Mazatlán. This city opened its first tourist hotel and restaurant in 1850 and has been a major international tourist destination since the 1940s.  In the 1970s, Mazatlán began to fall out of favor, as more travelers to Mexico’s west coast opted for its cousin city, Puerto Vallarta, some 270 miles to the south.

One reason these places are popular among North Americans is its excellent winter weather. From December through March, daytime temperatures hover in the high 70s, with lows in the low 60s and little to no rain. Between July and October, temperatures average around 90, with most rain falling between July and September.  Today’s prices in Mexico make these destinations worth a look.

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