Living, Retirement

Key Reasons Why People are Relocating to Mexico

Lens on Mexico Map

The number of inquiries we receive about relocation to Mexico is rising steadily, especially from people seeking options for retirement in Mexico.  We regularly talk with foreign residents who have made their home in Mexico and, while all gardens can never be rosy all of the time, here are the key reasons why those who have come here and settled say they are staying for the long-term:

“We’re enjoying a better quality of life.” It’s no secret that the cost of living is rising across most of the world’s advanced economies—that is, homestead and food and utilities are costing more, taxes are rising, and incomes are falling when compared to real inflation. Retired folks on fixed incomes are particularly affected by this process.  People are moving to places like Mexico where their fixed incomes stretch further because they are not paying as much for the basic necessities and their incomes are not being hit by rising taxation that they cannot avoid, especially rising property taxes.

“We’re eating better food and paying less for it.” There is an abundance of fresh, wholesome, food available in Mexico at affordable prices.  Fresh foods are available in industrialized countries—but at a premium to highly processed / non-fresh foods.  In Mexico, you don’t have to spend the whole pay-check eating wholesomely.

“Our homestead costs are much lower in Mexico.” The fees and taxes home-owners have to pay in places like the US, Canada, and Western Europe have climbed steadily over the last decade—to the point where these are now a significant line-item on personal budgets.  Rises in house and community taxes have out-stripped inflation, and maintenance costs are steep: in summary, home ownership is becoming an expensive pastime and putting a lot of pressure on people with fixed incomes. In Mexico, home owners enjoy low property taxes as well as lower maintenance costs due to lower material prices and labor fees for house maintenance services.

“We enjoy a fantastic climate.” In terms of climate, Mexico is a land of three lands. If you enjoy a year-round temperate climate, the central highland areas are ideal; if you need to be where it’s warmer/hot beside the ocean, there’s plenty of choice— and unlike the US, coastal property can be afforded by those selling their home and moving to live beside the ocean.  If you prefer cooler temperatures year-round, Mexico’s highland mountain towns could suit you.  Whether they come for the winter, or stay all year, foreign residents are able to find a climate to suit their clothes in Mexico.

“We can afford healthcare in Mexico.” Routine medical care, specialist services, and medications cost less in Mexico, and you don’t have to compromise on the quality of healthcare you receive.  Long-term healthcare in residential homes is emerging as the next boom-industry here, and it’s not surprising as monthly cost for residential care in Mexico costs between US$500-US$1,500 in comparison to the US, where the monthly costs run between US$5,000 and US$6,500. As the limitations of the US medical care system reveal themselves, people are looking abroad for the treatments and care they need—and Mexico’s geographical closeness is as attractive as the affordability.  See our healthcare section for more details and the latest articles.

“We feel safe in Mexico.” In a related article about finding your niche in Mexico, we wrote: “If what you’re seeing about Mexico on your TV screen scares and keeps you away now, your perceptions have been hijacked before you allowed yourself an opportunity to better understand these lands, and see what others here see: a country in transition, a country which is, by and large, less violent than those places where stones are so readily thrown from glass houses.” Despite the near-constant anti-Mexico news flow, foreign residents living here report that they feel safe and settled in Mexico. The drug cartels are not targeting foreign residents or tourists. People who are not involved in the drug trade have a very small chance of being affected by it.

You can find extensive information about living, working and retirement in Mexico on our Mexico Lifestyle guides.

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53 Comments

  1. Rick 57 says

    It’s costing the homeless in California probably $25 or $30 to live on the street. You can live in a apartment in Mexico, eat good and take it easy.. I lived in central America for 6 years on less than a $1000 visited Mex many times. And 6 other countries.. my family begged me back, prices in the first store I walked into let me know why I left.. Pepsi $2 cigarettes $7, where I lived cigarettes 2 or 3$ Pepsi .50¢ . Nice hotel in Mexico $25 or $30 . 8 hour bus ride $20.. I’m going to Mexico in November because I’m rich there. I’m poor in USA.. Never lost any blood in 6 years of travel… Go to Atlanta Georgia, Mami.. see if it’s dangerous.. I’m a Tennessee hillbilly.. I love the Spanish countries.. and the ladies are very beautiful.. SEE you in Mexico..

  2. Bev says

    As a Canadian, I am not thrilled with the prices of health care in Mexico – our BC health care is $37.50 a month and covers all pre-existing conditions with no deductible. So paying $18,000 USD ($25,000) a year for good private insurance that doesn’t cover pre-existing and has a deductible – goes a long way to equalizing the costs between living in Canada or Mexico. The weather is better though.

    • Tony e. says

      Don’t know where you get your prices from. We pay 65.00 u.s. per month for the two of us and covers most prestigious existing conditions. I think you are looking at pesos. Mind you have to have permanent residence status to qualify.

      • Marie Blizzard says

        That’s what I have heard from my friends. Are your deductibles high?

    • Lynn says

      25k a year? Dollars? Where are u? We pay 500 a year

  3. Rosantina says

    I have rheaumatoid and would like to move where the weather is always nice not cold. Where do you suggest.

    • tony says

      We spend winters in loreto, baja. Weather usually perfect except for a month or so in January when it will drop to mid 60s. Apparently gets pretty warm in July august. 90 plus.

  4. Jolene Louden says

    I am thinking of moving to Mexico. The climates would be a lot better for my health. I don’t know where to move to. Would like rural areas better than large cities. I have read that there are beautiful lakes inland. Is living around such areas expensive? I would like somewhere where I would be able ride horses, would that be possible? And wonder where in Mexico to live? What would a
    two bedroom 2 bath housing cost? Would appreciate any information about Mexico. What part of country to live e, etc. Jolene

  5. Mary Bragg says

    Daniel, a friend linked me to this site, which is very good. My husband and I have lived in Mexico for 27 years now. We first lived for 10 years in Cabo San Lucas, (yes, expensive) where we opened many businesses and flourished. After a visit to Ajijic on Lake Chapala during the hot summer months in Cabo, we were sold on the lifestyle of central Mexico. The weather here is amazing, a very interesting mix of sophisticated Guadalajarans, and foreigners both from the US and Canada with a sprinkling from Europe and South America.

    Although we still have our Medicare in the US, we never use it. Health care here is fantastic; I think better than the US, with amazing care from doctors, and state of the art hospitals in Guadalajara. The cost is MUCH lower, so we just “self insure”. Cost of living is a bit higher here in Ajijic than in other towns on the lake, but to us it is worth it. For a comparable home, and 2 gardeners and a housekeeper it would cost us at least double in the US. But we love the laid back lifestyle here. And surprise! Those of us who live here full time love our quiet, rainy season during the summer months. No heat for us; just lovely cool weather. We have not given up our friends in the US, who often come to visit, but we have fantastic friends here, both Mexican and foreign. With the airport so close, travel is easy, and we do travel the world as much as we can. We love it here and will probably never return to the US to live; we have been here now almost 30 years. I promise, you will live longer here. part of the reason is the great weather, healthy food, and active lifestyle. I play tennis 3-4 times a week, as do hundreds of others around here, we work in our gardens year round, personal trainers are very inexpensive, and you see people walking on the malecon by the lake in droves. It’s just a much healthier lifestyle. Come visit!

    • Colette Pepperell says

      Beautifully written, Mary!

      We are already in the process of moving there from here in Ecuador but your post is like the icing on the cake. You have validated all that we believe.

      We have lived as expats for many, many years but the Yucatán will be our final place to call home.

      As you said, you can easily access the world from there.
      Muchísimas gracias,
      Colette and Philip

  6. Cal says

    What is the process for becoming a citizen of Mexico (dual by a US citizen) with no Mex connections (by marriage or family history) and is retiring in Mexico with a permanent resident card? I have heard that it requires 5 total years residence in Mexico, a test of basic Spanish, and maybe a health test. Age exempts older retirees from the culture/history exam.
    Is it possible to get a Mexican credit card? Can such a person become a member of a “credit union.” I know that getting a bank account is very easy, but how about earning interest on that account?
    Thanks, in advance, for any advice that can be offered.

    • Mexperience says

      Hi Cal,

      You can find information about become a naturalized Mexican here:
      https://www.mexperience.com/becoming-a-naturalized-mexican/

      It will take some years if you don’t have a a Mexican spouse. Persons over the age of 65 may be exempt from the citizenship test.

      You don’t need to be a citizen to get a credit card but banks do ask for a residency card before opening a bank account. You can find out more about Mexican banks and banking services here on Mexperience:
      https://www.mexperience.com/lifestyle/living-in-mexico/banks-in-mexico/

    • Donald Schofield says

      Cal, why would you become a citizen? Get Permanent Resident card instead. It’s an age, financial requirement process. I hired a guy here in Playa and for $200.00US he handled everything. You can do it yourself but this guy knew everybody (no waiting in line)….the biggest upside is not having to go back every 180 days.’I just asked my banker about a credit card but will let you know. As far as interest on a checking account…..how much are you getting in the US?….I have $104,000.00 in my BOA checking and get about .88 a month in interest. Hope this helps…..(P.S. I love Playa,,)

      • Gregory Bernd says

        Hello Donald,

        Moving to Playa soon…can you give me contact information for the guy who helped you with the residency card?

        Thank you

  7. Brenda says

    My husband and I have talked for years about moving to Mexico, and we could be just a few years away from being able to do it. But where is my place?? We love the Yucatan (in the winter), but I think it might kill me in the summer. Heat & humidity are not my specialty. My husband is disabled and doesn’t do well in hilly terrain, though he can walk for awhile if it’s flat. If there’s lakes and streams, I can probably live without the ocean. My husband needs access to good medical care. Any ideas?? Limited time to travel now, but we should be able to go explore soon. I appreciate any tips or thoughts. Thanks!!

  8. Marcela and Petr Fibingr says

    We were visit Mexico Chapala Lake three years ago and we like everything here .We went back to Canada sell everything move here and like it. We both small house and like people of Mexico, colorful houses, food and blue sky. Even rainy season is very beautiful .Other reason was weather in Canada, too cold and to humid and I have fibromyalgia so that was hard for me .Here in Mexico I feel much healthy and I can enjoy the paradise ,and old age with inexpensive life style, which small retirement money in Canada will be not possible. We still visit kids and grandkids ,but here is our home. Originally we emigrate 1981 from Czech republic to Canada and I am sorry we did not find out this Chapala Lake earlier. Slowly learning language and everyday is worth of wake up. Meet lot of friends enjoy life.

    • Richard McGregor says

      I am fully committed to permanently moving to Mexico, probable to the interior (Lake Chapala) area. Recently retired, in great health, however, while my wife initially was on board she has decided she could not move there as she knows nobody and would feel too lonely.
      I have shown her the videos of the Lake Chapala area and how many Americans and Canadians live there but nothing seems to change her mind. I have really had it with the Canadian winters and feel the best option at this stage of our lives is to make the big move.
      Our kids are on board as like they say, they will probably visit more often and they all love Mexico. Is there any particular website where I could find fellow Canadians that have made the move and we could possibly connect with to talk to them about their experiences.

  9. Diego Valdez says

    My wife and I have wintered in Mexico the past 20 years. Visited just about every region from Baja California to Yucatan and loved all. Certainly there are problems. There is no perfect place anywhere.
    Traffic in most towns and cities can be nasty. Polution in larger towns is bad. But the pros are much greater than the cons.
    Great people. Easy to make friends (Learn Spanish. It will enhance your experience)
    Much better quality of life at a lower cost. Medical services that are affordable and with a personal touch and just as good as in US.
    It is sad to see that only bad news are reported about Mexico.

  10. Tony Gaines says

    My wife & I traveled extensively through out Mexico during our working years so we were already very comfortable with the culture & the people. We retired full time to Rosarito Beach in Nov. 2014 & have enjoyed every minute of everyday! The cost of living is about 70% less than living in California. Our annual property taxes are only $96.00! To see a a doctor costs us 50 pesos, less than $ 3.00. The meat & produce are much fresher & better for us. We have made many new like minded dual pats. We are always having a great time. Like any big city in the states if you are looking for trouble you can find it. As long as you are not involved in the drug scene, you will have no problems at all. We are close enough to thec USA to see our Moms, children, & grandchildren whenever we want. If you crave a more relaxing slower pace of life please consider Mexico!

  11. Gail Barraco says

    Hi – I am finally retiring and am planning on spending February through April in San Miguel de Allende. My plan is to learn Spanish through an immersion program there and use San Miguel as a base to travel throughout the country. In addition to wanting to connect with expats there, I also would like to know more about public transportation to get around both locally and across the country. How is public transportation in Mexico and are there opportunities for expats to travel together to different spots in Mexico. I am so excited for this time in my life!

    • Al says

      My wife and I have done a number of 30 day across-Mexico trips on public bus, staying in cheap hotels along the way. Never a hitch. One good one was from Mexico City west, flying home from Puerto Vallarta, and another good one was Mexico City east, south, around the Yucatan and flying home from Cancun. We do our best to avoid the tourist places. Mexico’s first class buses are FAR better than those of my native Canada and far cheaper. We usually take the next to first class and they are similar to what we have at home. We often find it hard to get out of Mexico City right away, as there is a lot to see and do, but we always try and save some for our next trip. Last winter we rented a house in a village a couple of hours south of Mexico City and have decided to retire there. The locals are very friendly, like in any small town anywhere, and they kindly put up with my bad Spanish.

    • Pat Hall says

      You will love traveling in Mexico. There are wonderful cross-country buses that are much more comfortable than the equivalent in the US or Canada. The cost is cheap. From San Miguel there are quite a few opportunities to travel with a group such as the Lions’ Club, which arranges trips outside of San Miguel. There is even a forum devoted entirely to traveling outside of San Miguel:
      Enhancing the San Miguel Experience !
      Group Description
      This group is for posting information about all trips, events, locations in Mexico that are outside of San Miguel de Allende but which generally originate in San Miguel. You may post trips offered, ask for information and generally discuss places and things outside of San Miguel.

  12. Monica Rix Paxson says

    Another feature of Mexican life that is missing from this list is affordable household help. Even people on a fixed retirement income can typically afford a maid every week. And being a maid is considered decent, honorable work.

  13. Heather says

    We are looking forward to moving to Ensenada where we can enjoy the beach, the fresh seafood and the wonderful people who live there. Our plans are to move there next year.

  14. jOE MONZER says

    HI..I AM PRESENTLY RETIRED IN BRAZIL, IT IS BECOMING EXPENSIVE..BUT AFTER READING THESE WONDERFUL COMMENTS ABOUT MEXICO I AM THINKING SERIOUSLY MOVING OVER THERE..I WILL START SEARCHING FOR A NICE AFFORDABLE CIUDAD..YOU SEE MY MONTHLY RETIREMENT INCOME IS ABOUT $1500..WHAT DO YOU THINK? THANKS

    • John says

      Joe, With what you get for retirement you can have a good life here in Mexico. Do you want a beach, small city, large city? If I can help I will.

      • Lynn Zuniga says

        Hi John,
        I love Cancun and have been there many times, been to other places in Mexico too. What I don’t like about Cancun is the tourists and that it’s very expensive. I am a single woman and am looking to retire in a small beach town that is clean and safe and not by the border. Also easy access to medical care. Any ideas? Thank you!
        -Lynn

        • sandra says

          Try around Progreso, chixulub, chelem area. Very safe, inexpensive beachfront.

          • Donna N says

            Check Mahahual on the Yucatan.

      • Lucy says

        Just found this great forum. I’m thinking to retire early and thinking about Mexico but I have CLL chronic lukemia which mean I would be getting my treatments in mexico. Does anybody know if Mexico has good cancer oncologists same standards as USA and how much a private insurance would cost roughly for a 49 yr old.

    • rosalind freed says

      Hi Joe
      My husband an I live near Lake Chapala, the best climate in Mexico, at the West End of the lake. We live on $1,000 US for the two of us. We live in Jocotepec, it is near Ajijic, a popular retirement town for Expats. It is MUCH more expensive to live there, though. We love Joco because it is a Mexican town, very friendly, low food and rent prices, and we live in the country. I can get all I need here, and Guadalajara is only 50 mins away, where you can buy all you can imagine. The airport is about an hour away. If you would like more information, e mail me on rosfreed @ yahoo.com

    • Stevee Gallo says

      I wound up in Puerto Aventuras, between Playa del Carmen and Tulum….Very happy in my studio apartment ($600/mo incl a/c electric) for me and my Steinway upright, with great pool. I joined the OMNI Resort down the block, so I have too a beach club; I just have to buy $167/month in rum, guacamole….a bargain!

      • Marie Harlow says

        Steve,

        Is there a website or contact for info on rentals in Puerto Adventeras?

        I love the Yucatan and am working hard to stop working and MOVE TO MEXICO?

  15. Brent May says

    We moved to Huatulco Mexico and are now going into our 5th year living here. Yes there can be some hurdles to overcome but there are many people willing to help you with these obstacles. We love it for all of the reasons listed above and after travelling Mexico for 15 years we could not recommend our favorite, the hidden gem of Huatulco (Wa-Tool-Co) more. We highly recommend you come for a visit.

    • janice stein (underhill) says

      Hi Brent, my husband and I have recently become curious about Huatulco and are planning a trip this coming winter. What in particular would you recommend for us to do, see, etc.? We were thinking of starting to look at property. Can you give us some pointers?
      Thanks, Janice and Warren Underhill

  16. Terry Hawes says

    My husband and I own a house just north of Todos Santos in Las Tunas, 45 minutes north of Cabo on the Pacific side, and cannot wait to be there full time. We love the traditional community, the gringo support of the local population, the fresh food from the local farms, the weather and especially the wonderful friends we have made there. Safety has never been an issue

    • Scott Soper says

      Terry, that seems like an excellent location. Is the cost of living reasonable?
      scott soper @ Yahoo . com

    • Julian says

      Terry Hawes ! Do you rent your place by the week, month. When not there? Do you handle it or do you have an agent.

  17. Arlene Rubensteina says

    Thank you so much for this information on PV. I am a single mom, 61, and coming to PV for a long-term stay to see how I like it. My concerns are less about the health care, food, bills, weather (as these are all wonderful). My concern is more about creating a balance of expat friendships alongside getting to know the local people. It’s a bit scarey doing it alone – but I’m sure all will fall into place in it’s time. I am outgoing, love the water, hiking and wanting to horseback ride and perfect the Spanish language! Any communication will be warmly welcomed!

    • Ken Snyder says

      Arlene, we have lived in La Peñita de Jaltemba which is a 1 hour drive north of the PV airport since 2006. The expat community here is warm, welcoming and active. My suggestion is to catch a Pacifico Bus from PV and visit our pueblito. Thursday mornings feature a great street market called Tianguis on the central plaza of LP. Checkout the Jaltemba Jalapeño a local online website for lots of info. Good luck…Ken Snyder

    • Jim Redwine says

      Arlene – If you’re not able to find expats in the area that you move to, I’ve found there are a lot of wonderful Mexican people who have worked in the USA and then returned to their home. Most of these folks speak English on a functional level and are happy to link up with gringos for friendship and to help. In return, your friendship helps them with their English. Be prepared to listen about their experiences in the USA (many have questions about things that they experienced) and to help them understand current events. In addition to the help you’ll receive, you’ll be immersed in their language as their friends tag along.

      You’ve probably heard the old phrase “mi casa es tu casa”. This is still very strong in the Mexican culture (from what I’ve experienced). People are typically a mirror…if you treat with kindness, humbleness and love, you will experience the same.

      Enjoy!
      Jim

    • Connie munoz says

      Arlene , one of my friends moved down there at age 70, been there 3 years, she has friends and is always doing something

    • BA Garcia says

      Look to join the International Friendship Club for expats, you’ll meet everyone and pretty soon you’ll have your choice of activities to socialize, volunteer, etc. Many many expats there, you’ll love it!

  18. Dean Orem says

    Yes, your reasons are all part of the reason my wife and I bought a Villa on the South Shore of Banderus Bay (Puerto Vallarta) during 2014. We are moving there on a full-time basis in a few months after testing the water approximately 20 times during the past 8 years. The people are warm and gracious, the weather is sublime, and the costs are reasonable. We have visited several times during each season and we believe the weather in each season is better than each comparable time in SW Missouri.

    For those doubters out there PV is cleaner, less stressful, safer, and offers better healthcare that is more cost effective and more timely than does the U.S.

  19. Henry says

    We just spent our sixth Christmas here on the beach at Huatabampito in very southern Sonora. We own a home on a gorgeous 13-mile long beach that has less than two dozen full-time residents. We are surrounded by a farming community and have a nearby fishing village – so we enjoy a wide variety of wonderful, affordable and fresh food of all types. Great healthcare and the best neighbors that we’ve ever had. Paradise!

  20. Sharl says

    We started going to Mazatlan 10-12 yrs ago & finally 2 yrs ago made our dream come true by selling everything in the US & moving here. We love it! Much cheaper, tons of things to do, beautiful beaches, great rest’rnts, etc. The people of Mazatlan are some of the friendliest, most welcoming in the world. Not a single minute of regret! Life is wonderful here!

  21. Dede Bacon says

    This article describes precisely why we live here! Los Barriles in Baja California Sur has become a desirable retirement destination for active Baby Boomers who enjoy biking, hiking, kiteboarding, windsurfing, fishing, SUP, kayaking and more. As a Realtor in Baja I’m living my dream and helping buyers and sellers realize their dreams!

  22. First Last says

    I have lived in Campeche for four years. Prior, while working in Ciudad del Carmen. Avoid Carmen. Very, very expensive. It is the center of the MX offshore petroleum industry. But, (San Francisco de) Campeche, the state capitol is a well kept and very affordable city. Safety? I take my nightly walks between midnight and two in the morning. Cooler and less humidity. I walk every where and feel safe Better than in my state side home in Las Vegas. I do eat healthier here for a fraction of the cost in the US. Campeche is a UNESCO world heritage city. The forts are refurbished and the homes in “old town” are freshly painted by the city/state. An alternative city in the Yucatan is the city of Merida.

    • Stevee Gallo says

      I’m in Puerto Aventuras, Quintana Roo and heard that in Campeche you can get real raw unfiltered HONEY! Last year I succeeded in getting 20 gallons from a bodega on the Tulum-Valladolid road. It was The Real Deal: even had parts of bees in the honey! That’s when Y’know! Look into it and let me know.

  23. Daniel Cobb says

    This article speaks clearly to me and my wife. We are now in our moving to Mexico countdown and the reasons you are citing for doing so are precisely the reasons we hold for uprooting ourselves at the ages of 78 and 75 respectively.

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