Dedicated to providing you with credible information about living overseas
Best Places In The World To Retire Community Questions and Answers about living and retiring abroad

Questions & Answers

Q & A Menu Q & A BY TOPIC
To navigate, use menu bar to the left
Iona Chamberlin of Hacienda San Pedro Nohpat – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Iona Chamberlain in her home and business, Hacienda San Pedro Nohpat, outside of Merida, Yucatan, Mexico – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingMost of the expats in state of Yucatan are actually really great people. I haven’t met too many people whom I haven’t really liked or didn’t want to associate with. Most people who move here are very unique. They’re on a journey in life, and they’re very open-minded. In general, people who come and live here from other countries bring the best of themselves, and they are the best people. 
 
People who are looking for experiences in life become more open-minded about what other people are doing and how other people are living, and whether they have lots of material goods means less to them. Generally, people who come here are very respectful, and the local people treat them with a great deal of respect.  
 
(Iona Chamberlain in her home and business, Hacienda San Pedro Nohpat, outside of Merida, Yucatan, Mexico, pictured.)
Gustavo Cisneros of Petén – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Jungle tour in Sisal, Mexico – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingThere completely different profiles of expats depending on each area in Yucatan. You have the people who live in Cancun who moved there a long time ago and are the pioneers. They are doing businesses and they have an expat community in Cancun.
 
The expat community in Playa del Carmen started around 1986 so you will see that the people there decided to live there because they want to be in a very small town contrary to Cancun that was becoming a big city with big hotels. This trend has changed. Now, Playa del Carmen has more hotel rooms than in Cancun. That area and the whole Riviera Maya corridor (which includes Cancun, Playa del Carmen, Tulum, and the areas in between) is a very important area and a lot of expats live there. 
 
We noticed that the people who moved at the beginning to the areas like Playa del Carmen looking for tranquility and a nice place to live without the hustle of the big city like Cancun was becoming are now caught up in another big town. Playa del Carmen doesn’t have big hotels but it is very busy in terms of hotels, tourism, and activities in the area. So in order to go to a less touristic place some of these expats are now moving out to Merida (the largest city in the state of Yucatan in the Yucatan Peninsula) and some to Campeche (a much less developed state in the Yucatan Peninsula). 
 
Merida also established itself around 20 years ago as a nice place. Then it started opening opportunities in downtown Merida. People started buying old houses, renovating them, and they either sell or live in them. It turned out to be a huge business and now we have around 10 realtors that are very good in the area of Merida with offerings downtown.
 
The expat community in Campeche is also starting to grow.
 
Just in the state of Yucatan, the expat population could range between 6,000 and 8,000, depending on the season. When the snowbirds come, they establish themselves on the coast and some of them rent houses downtown. In general, the Yucatan has a huge expat community. They come back year after year and from what we’ve seen and from the stories we’ve heard, expats really do love the Yucatan. They feel at home. In the end, they get used to the traditions in the area as well.
 
(Jungle tour in Sisal, Mexico, pictured.)
Mikki James – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Mikki James  – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingNine tenths of the expats down here are either American or Canadian, and the Canadians think and do things a little differently than the Americans. Some of the Canadians (but not all) come down here and they want to turn it into a little Canada. They want to upgrade the people, they want to upgrade the streets, they want to upgrade the animals, they want to upgrade everything to Canadian standards and it’s just not the thing to do; they want to change everything.  I ask myself, “Why would these people come down here to live in such a glorious beautiful place only to change it and make it like where they came from?” It doesn’t make sense to me. Americans, on the other hand, just come down and get with the groove. 
 
I live in a little fishing village called Progresso, about 45 minutes by car from Merida, which is a cosmopolitan city of over a million people.  There are some other fishing villages close by, such as Chelem and Chuburna, which tend to be wealthier than Progresso. In groups, just like other places, people from these areas tend to be more comfortable around people of similar economic status  and on an individual basis, these people are absolutely wonderful.  
 
 
(Mikki James in her floppy hat, an expat living in Progresso, Mexico, pictured.)
Gary De Spiegelaere of Celestun Properties – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Gary Celestun, Yucatan, Mexico – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingI live in Celestún, a village of about 7,500 people west of Merida in the state of Yucatan in the Yucatan Peninsula.  Most of the expats in Celestún are very friendly and very helpful towards each other. 
 
I meet a lot of expats at the grocery store and I stop and talk for a minute. You would always have something to say because you could ask them where they are from or how long they’ve been here, etc.
 
The expats here in Yucatan mix well with the locals. They try to integrate themselves to the community here but they also do get out of their way to meet all the other expats.
 
A lot of expats come to Yucatan and think that everything is almost free or that it is very cheap. In reality, things are very reasonably priced here but you still have to buy them. Unfortunately, some people from other countries come to the Yucatan or to Mexico and think that they are going to live off of nothing and they get angry when they can’t.
 
The cost of living here in Mexico is cheaper compared to other North American countries. Some people come here with the thought that they could live in Mexico on $500 a month. That was true 50 years ago and some people still believe that they could do that, so they complain when things cost more even if they have the money to pay for it.
 
However, you can still live very cheaply here in Yucatan.  The dentist in Merida (a city of over a million people in the state of Yucatan in the Yucatan Peninsula) told me a while ago that there was a lady from the US who receives a $600 pension a month and she survives here.  
 
(Canadian expat, Gary De Spiegelaere,  Celestún, Yucatan, Mexico, pictured.)
Doug Willey of Doug Willey, Independent Real Estate Consultant – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Doug Willey and family happy in Yucatan, Mexico – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingIn my opinion, there are a lot of expats who live here in Yucatan who shouldn’t be here. They should go back to where they came from. That kind of ties in with why my wife and I moved to Dzilam de Bravo (a small fishing village in the state of Yucatan with almost no expats) from Chelem (also a small fishing village in the state of Yucatan but with more expats). 
 
In Chelem, let’s say tonight I decided to go out to dinner at one of the local restaurants.  Without a doubt I would bump into two or three different expat couples and immediately they would start complaining about something. It could be that the carpenter they were expecting didn’t show up or something else but it’s just all negative. I could only listen to so much of that and it just drives me nuts. Occasionally, people got me to a point where I would tell them, “Look, if you don’t like it here, you know that airplane that flew you in, it makes return trips. Get back on the airplane and go back to where you came from. I don’t do negative. If you don’t like it here, there are no chains around your ankles so maybe you can go back where you came from and then everything would be like it was.” 
 
Not all the expats in the Yucatan are like that but around 40% of all the expats here are like that. That 40% should not be here; they should go back where they came from. Either that, or get a grip on where they are, quit complaining, and quit expecting for Mexico to change for them because they showed up, because that is not going to happen. You are the one who needs to change. If you want to live in the country of Mexico and live with these people, then you have to accommodate them; they don’t need to accommodate you. 
 
The other 60% of the expat population here love it here and they wouldn’t consider going anywhere else. They realize that things are not the same here as it is where they came from. Things are done differently here. Most of them learn something new every day so they are the ones who don’t have problems being here and do not talk negatively. It just makes life more enjoyable when you are around people who love being here and they understand that things are different. They understand that it is going to take a little while to get totally acclimated but learning how to do things differently is a fun journey.  
 
(Doug Willey and family happy in Yucatan, Mexico, pictured.)
Jason Waller of Playa del Carmen Real Estate – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Playa Real Estate on House Hunters International, Mexico – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingThe expats in Yucatan are great. The thing you come to understand about the people who move here is that they have all left the safety and security of their job and their home, where they grew up, to try something completely different. Because you typically don’t have your family here as expats, you become very close to people, the expats around town, they become your family. So you get a really good group of people because they’ve all done the same thing as you. They’ve all picked up, sold their house, changed their lives completely and moved to a different country.
 
The expats here are definitely more adventurous and open-minded, and they’re super friendly. Generally speaking, if you are someone who is not really interested in meeting new people and talking to people, you’re going to move to another country not knowing anybody. As a result, you get a lot of really, really good and nice people around here. 
 
A lot of people back home think we’re crazy for moving to Mexico. These are people who never go anywhere. They don’t experience life. They don’t do anything. The people who come here, they’re experiencing life. They’re experiencing different cultures. They meet new people. They’re seeing different things. So to be that kind of person, typically, you’re going to be a good person.  
 
(Expats with Playa Real Estate Group on House Hunters International, Playa del Carmen, Yucatan, Mexico, pictured.)
John Venator of Casa de los Venados – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
San Gervasio, Valladolid Valladolid,_Yucatan_church – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingIn Cancun, you will find expats that are looking for more beach areas or more urban or some place a little bit more Americanized. As another point of reference in Mexico, there are 40,000 Americans living in the Lake Chapala area, which is not in Yucatan. They live in gated communities; they have an American library, an American country club and the American Rotary Club.  Why not just go and live in San Diego, California? They don’t because of the cost of living at Lake Chapala. I think most of the expats who live in Cancun are there because they feel more comfortable there because it looks a little more Americanized. 
 
In Yucatan, we are in a town that was built 457 years ago. There are a lot of old colonial buildings. There is no particular reason economically to put on new façade and tear them down and build two or three-story buildings. The dominant language here in Yucatan is Mayan and Spanish is the second language. You will still see a lot of Mayan women wearing traditional white cotton dresses with elaborate floral embroidery on them. Yucatan is much more the real Mexico.
 
Now that we are Pueblo Magico, which is the government designation for towns in Mexico that meet a certain criteria architecturally, etc., the whole message of the Mexican Tourist Board is that Mexico is no longer just a beach. It’s cultural tourism. You come here and you will see churches. We live in a house that was built in 1600s and 1620s by the royal appointed mayor, called the alcalde.  It was always an important house and it is a large house.  At the same time, you also see a lot of modest houses that are 300 or 400 years old.
 
It’s a time warp when you come here to Yucatan but it is very comfortable for somebody who loves Mexico, loves being in Mexico, enjoys the food, likes the music, feels comfortable with everybody speaking Spanish to you and Mayan to themselves. All of our employees speak Mayan at home and some of our staff didn’t even speak Spanish until she went to school, which by law, the instruction is in Spanish. During the first day in grade school, for a girl I know, nobody spoke a language she understood.
 
(San Gervasio church in Pueblo Magico, the Magical City of Valladolid,Yucatan, Mexico, pictured.)

Go Here Next

Go Here Next

 
Best Places In The World To Retire Expat Stories contains text, video, and photos by people just like you who are already living abroadUse the menu on this page to go to categories of Stories.
Best Places In The World To Retire Community Questions and Answers about living and retiring abroadUse the menu on this page to go to other categories of questions.
The Best Places In The World To Retire Location Advisor makes personalized recommendations for where to live and retire overseasGet matched to your ideal location to live abroad.
Best Places In The World To Retire Community Questions and Answers about living and retiring abroadAnswers about living, working or visiting abroad.
Best Places In The World To Retire Expat Stories contains text, video, and photos by people just like you who are already living abroadStories by expats & others about their life aborad.
Best Places In The World To Retire - MarketplaceFind for profit, non-profit and religious organizations.
 

Go Here Next

 
Best Places In The World To Retire Expat Stories contains text, video, and photos by people just like you who are already living abroadUse the menu on this page to go to categories of Stories.
Best Places In The World To Retire Community Questions and Answers about living and retiring abroadUse the menu on this page to go to other categories of questions.
The Best Places In The World To Retire Location Advisor makes personalized recommendations for where to live and retire overseasGet matched to your ideal location to live abroad.
Best Places In The World To Retire Community Questions and Answers about living and retiring abroadAnswers about living, working or visiting abroad.
Best Places In The World To Retire Expat Stories contains text, video, and photos by people just like you who are already living abroadStories by expats & others about their life aborad.
Best Places In The World To Retire - MarketplaceFind for profit, non-profit and religious organizations.
 

Our Pledge To You

Best Places will present information from the Community in a transparent way, unedited, except to conform with our Conditions of Use.

You can trust that Best Places does not manipulate content to sell you anything. All opinions in the Community Q & A and Expat Stories are those of its authors, not Best Places.

Get Known To The Community

Those who contribute to the Best Places Community are our heroes! And being a Best Places hero is fast, fun, and easy. Just go to Questions & Answers, find your first question to answer, click on it, and then click the Contribute Your Answer To This Question Button. If you’d rather enter a Story, go to Expat Stories and click the Contribute Your Story Button".

Contact/Support

Please contact us. We would love to hear from you! Customer Service
Technical Support
Business Development
Suggestions
Press
Phone: (US) 520-940-0481