The number one best thing about living in Yucatan is the cost savings, starting with the purchase of a property. When you first buy a property, your acquisition tax or your total taxes are a little bit higher than what many Americans and Canadian, are used to back home but your property taxes on an ongoing basis in the Yucatan provides an incredible savings compared to how much it is basically in any state in the USA. The extra that you do pay on the closing, you quickly recuperate within one or two years, on account of lower property taxes.
I did a presentation up in New York recently wherein we talked about cost of living. Once you’re living down here, you will experience 20% to 25% savings just from groceries. If you go to a movie theater down here, a ticket costs 40 pesos (around $3), which is quite a bit less than what you pay in the States right now.
The weather here in Mexico is great. I visited some people yesterday who came in from Seattle. He had two years to go before retiring, but he has an option to retire earlier. He came down here with his wife, who is having some problems with arthritis and some health issues with her knees and legs. They were looking at buying in Arizona as well as here in the Riviera Maya (an area that includes Cancun, Playa del Carmen and Tulum). She shared some stories and said that as soon as they got off the plane, the sun and the heat started to do wonders for her. That’s why they are deciding to make the move from rainy Seattle and then come all the way down to sunny Quintana Roo. The weather here is fantastic. Obviously, if you are from Minnesota or Calgary, then this is a big change. That’s why a lot of the retirees want to come down here during the winter months and go home to their home towns during the summer.
Another one of the best things about living here are the beaches. I’m from Indiana and it’s always raining, especially in the winter. Here in Quintana Roo, we are on the Mexican Caribbean and it is just drop dead gorgeous. In the state of Yucatan next to Quintana Roo, you have the beautiful Gulf of Mexico and all culture and the Mayan history is just amazing.
I would name three worst things about living here in Mexico. For me, number one is missing my family. I still have a lot of family up in the States, in Indiana. Of course they have been coming down and they visit since I have been here in Quintana Roo. One good thing about being in Quintana Roo is the ease of getting to the airport. There are so many direct flights into Cancun, which makes it so easy if you are living in Minneapolis. If you live in St. Louis, you can find direct flights into Cancun as well. That makes a big difference if you’re living down here because at one time, you made that trip down and you had to catch connecting flights, you have to make a run between terminals, and that adds up especially if you’re starting to get bad knees. You don’t want to be doing a lot of running especially if you make that travel six times a year. As an alternative example, a woman from New York came here and fell in love with Ixtapa. The connecting flight from Ixtapa to New York took so long that she decided she would rather retire in the Quintana Roo zone just because it’s so much easier for her to get a direct flight from New York into Cancun. It’s just a 3-hour flight.
Going back to the worst things, some of the foods that we North Americans are used to, are difficult to find here. That was my own experience several years ago, but now it’s easier to find food that we are used to, such as certain chilis, which are now available in grocery stores like Soriana.
During the summer months, it can get pretty hot and humid here. During August and September, when you go out, you could just be sweating to death here. We also have hurricane season. I came from Indiana and the only thing that we had to worry about back there were tornadoes. When I moved to Mexico City, then all of a sudden, I moved to a zone where we have earthquakes. Then I moved to Quintana Roo, where the biggest thing that you have to look out for were hurricanes. I think out of these three situations, I prefer the hurricane, because you have a five or six-day notice before it comes and so you can prepare for it. What’s interesting is, you will find that 95% of the buildings and the structures here in Quintana Roo are made of cement blocks, which can stand up to most hurricanes. A tornado, however, is capable of destroying pretty much everything and is quite dangerous. In a hurricane, you have to protect the windows. If you are on the frontline on the beach, then you have to watch out for sea surges. For me, out of those three choices of natural disasters, I would prefer being in the zone of hurricanes just because you have a good amount of time to prepare for it. Hurricane Wilma headed towards Cancun when I was living there. I compare my experience with hurricanes with my experience in Indiana with tornadoes and I must prefer to be in a hurricane situation than in a tornado that sneaks up on you within 15 minutes.
The hurricanes are not as big as a threat to the Gulf side of the Yucatan Peninsula in the state of Yucatan as they are on the Caribbean side because hurricanes mainly come just off of the African coast and zip along the Caribbean. The majority of the hurricanes go to the east side of the Caribbean and that goes to Quintana Roo. There are occasions when the hurricanes come in underneath the Caribbean islands and that’s when they head to Tulum, Cancun, or Playa del Carmen. If you look at the map, you will find the Gulf of Mexico around the middle, around the peninsula. In the last 10 years, I would say the ratio of hurricanes hitting the areas around the Gulf of Mexico versus the areas in the Caribbean is 1:10. For every 10 hurricanes that come through the Quintana Roo, probably just one would come in through to hit the Progreso or the Gulf Coast.
(Little house offered for under $160,000 on the beach in Progreso, Mexico, pictured.)