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Iona Chamberlin of Hacienda San Pedro Nohpat – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Woman in native dress selling pozole, Yucatan, Mexico – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingThe best things about living and retiring in Yucatan are the safety, the people, access to good medical care, restaurants, museums, and all kinds of cultural activities. The Yucatan is a unique untouched cultural mecca.  It’s not like the rest of Mexico because there’s so much culture here in Yucatan still. There are many Mayan people here in Yucatan who still eat the same food, wear the same kind of clothes, and have the same sort of rituals and practices that they had for many generations. 
 
The worst things about living and retiring in Yucatan would probably include having lots of street dogs, and erratic trash collection at times. But there are lots of street dogs and erratic trash collection in Canada. I could really think of more positive things than negative things.  
 
(Woman in native dress selling pozole in the market, Yucatan, Mexico, pictured.)
Thomas Lloyd of Top Mexico Real Estate – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
House on the beach in Progreso, Mexico – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingThe 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.)
Gustavo Cisneros of Petén – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Riding a golf cart along the white sand beaches and pier near Peten development in Sisal, Yucatan, Mexico – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingI would start with the worst thing about living in Yucatan. Most people complain about the heat. It’s very hot in Yucatan throughout the year. This winter, we haven’t had a day that is below 20 Celsius or around 70 Fahrenheit. There is no winter here; it’s always hot during the day. In Merida (the largest city in the state of Yucatan in the Yucatan Peninsula), from May to September, it’s very hot for most of the people that come here but the rest of year has hot days and fresh nights. On the coast, it’s always nice. The coast has the same temperature as in Merida but you have the breeze and that helps a lot to cool down the area.
 
The best thing about living in Yucatan is the quality of living here, which is an integral part. It is not just one element but rather all of the elements. I have friends and partners who are from other places of the world. They just arrived and they feel at ease here in Yucatan. I don’t know why but I know that that is one of the biggest advantages that Yucatan has. People who come here feel at ease. They feel relaxed and they feel that something is different.
 
I know that there are many things to consider, and in Yucatan, it is about the people, the culture, the food, and the feeling that you are welcome. That is the nicest thing about living in Yucatan. Most of my friends from Mexico City tell me that they really love Yucatan, and we have a lot of people from Mexico City who have started buying houses in downtown Merida.
 
(Riding a golf cart along the white sand beaches and pier near Peten development in Sisal, Yucatan, Mexico, pictured.)
Doug Willey of Doug Willey, Independent Real Estate Consultant – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
15 year old girls in their quince anos formal gowns – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingI have lived in different places in the Peninsula of Yucatan like Mahahual, Playa del Carmen, and in Cozumel, all of which are located in the state of Quintana Roo. The thing that I don’t like about Quintana Roo is that it is very touristy. Everything there is about tourism. The other thing that I don’t like is the mentality of the people is just totally different than the mentality of the Yucatecan people. 
 
Here in the state of Yucatan (also on the Yucatan Peninsula), everyone is almost like family. When you walk down the street here in the state of Yucatan, you will meet some of the Mexican families and they would always greet you, “Buenos dias” or “Buenos tardes” or “Como estas?” Everyone is friendly and all smiles and is concerned that you’re happy, whereas in the tourist areas, you’re basically just a number and how much money can you spend a day. 
 
I’ve lived now in the sate of Yucatan quite a while. I’ve gotten to know the locals. I’ve been invited to weddings and quince anos, which is when a girl turns 15 years old. That is a major event here in Mexico. Families will save money for 5 to 6 years to throw that party for the girl who just turned 15. As an example, the last one that I went to was for an average Mexican family.  The father is a fisherman. He doesn’t have an office in Merida. He’s just an average Joe. Still the celebration quince anos for his daughter cost him US $3,000. It’s a very big event. 
 
The people here in the state of Yucatan are just so friendly.  One of the other things that is kind of unique here is when I get invited to come over to one of the local’s homes for whatever reason, whatever the best is they have, that’s what I get. I get the best chair in the house, the best plate, the best silverware, etc. When it’s time to eat, the food is brought steaming. You are treated almost like royalty and it’s just amazing. 
 
As far negative things about living here in the state of Yucatan, I can’t think of any. The people here are great. The weather is great. It’s cheaper to live here. This is why I can’t think of anything negatives.  
 
(15 year old Mexican girls in their quince anos formal gowns, pictured.)
US (855) 221-5899This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.About Playa del Car...
Jason Waller of Playa del Carmen Real Estate – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Condo in Playa del Carmen, Yucatan, Mexico – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingBeing from Winnipeg, the best thing about living in Playa del Carmen in the Yucatan is it doesn’t snow; it’s not horribly cold. I like the heat and I enjoy it. It’s fun to be able to be outside all the time instead of being stuck indoors a lot of the time. We can go outside whenever we want, which is nice.
 
The worst thing about living here in Playa del Carmen is the normalcy that we’re used to back home.  It’s just a different feeling when you don’t have your family around.  Here, your friends become your family to a certain extent.
 
You miss the normalcy of being able to find things that you’re looking for instantly. Back home in Canada you can go to the grocery store and get everything you need, whereas here there may be the odd thing that you want and it’s not available at a particular store, so you have to go to a different store to find it or you’ll see it on the shelf today but it doesn’t mean it’s going to be there tomorrow. So little things like that are what we miss. We still have the big grocery stores, but they don’t seem to have the same stock as we would back home.   We’ve got Wal-Mart and all the big stores now but they’re still not the same as they are back home.
 
We’ve been here for 10 years. Our daughter was 4 when we moved here so she’s growing up here. Our son was born here so he’s got dual citizenship. Now this is where we decided to make our life and it was a great decision. The opportunities here business-wise are incredible. We’ve had opportunities we never would have back home and with the kids going to school here, they’re learning two languages in school—they do half the day in English and half the day in Spanish. So they learn everything in both languages. Our daughter is completely fluent. She even has a Mexican accent when she speaks Spanish.  
 
(Condo in Playa del Carmen, Yucatan, Mexico, pictured.)
U.S. & CA 941.227.2202This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.About Yucatan Beach...
Wade Yarchan of Yucatan Beach Homes – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
The staff of Yucatan Beach Homes taking a sieta after lunch, Merida, Yucantan, Mexico – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingI don’t think we would have enough time if I would tell you all the best things about living and retiring here in Yucatan. I love living here!
 
Some people come here to retire and when they get here, they realize that their life is no different than what it was in the US and they become really disenchanted. They have a language barrier. All the products that they are used to in the US aren’t here and that makes them disenchanted. Other people come here to literally explore and to live. I didn’t come here to retire. I came here to live.
 
I love working, so working is life. I love going into a store and not having to pay ungodly prices for things. I love having a plumber come to my house and not charge me $150 just for showing up and $75 for every half hour. On the other side of that, I don’t like when a plumber comes and he doesn’t know what he has and he doesn’t have any parts in his truck or if he doesn’t have a truck, he has a motorcycle or a bike. So there is good and bad on everything. Do not come here with high expectations because if you do, you are going to be let down. Come to Mexico with open arms, embrace the community and you can have an incredible life. 
 
What I don’t like about living in Mexico is paying the high price of the gasoline but that made me realize that maybe I do not need big SUVs. I don’t have a lot of “I don’t likes” here.
 
Spay and neuter clinics were big in the last few years but there are still lots of animals walking on the streets. We do a lot of adopting and fostering ourselves. That is probably the biggest thing I don’t like. I still don’t like some of the garbage, too. Go back to the 1960s before Americans were literally educated on not littering, and you’ll find that American streets were pretty littered. A lot of the streets on the beach are the same way. If you go to Merida, it is much cleaner. The Mexican people need to be educated on littering; they still need to be educated on all the things that we needed to be educated on. That is the downside of Mexico and that is one of the very few. The upside totally outweighs the downside.
 
(The staff of Yucatan Beach Homes taking a sieta after lunch, Merida, Yucantan, Mexico, pictured.)
John Venator of Casa de los Venados – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Ruth Bennett harpist from the Yucatan Symphony in concert at Casa de los Venados – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingSome people say that the worst things about retiring in the Yucatan is the heat. Yes, it is hot here but Chicago was, too. We would have days in Chicago in the low 90 degrees and humid and people say, “What’s the weather like there.” They all think that it’s like Arizona or Northern Mexico and that it’s 120 degrees; like you’re in an oven. If you have ever been in Miami or Key West, South Florida, that’s what the weather is like here in Yucatan. Most people do not realize that the biggest seller at Disney World are the plastic ponchos for everybody that comes in the summer and nobody understands that it rains. We have tropical rains here. It rains super heavy and then the sun comes back out. Then an hour or so later, everything dries up but guess what, it could rain again for about another hour.
 
A friend of ours has a house in San Cristobal de las Casas is a state south of Yucatan, where we are going to visit. It is high up in the mountains in the Chiapas. It’s in the low to mid 70s even now and humidity is not a factor. That is one thing that some people do not realize about Mexico. Mexico has different climates. There are also parts of Northern Mexico like Lake Patzcuaro where the climate is cooler because it has some elevation. You are not going to find snow here except for some of the mountaintops. There are mountaintops that do have snow between Mexico City and Puebla. There is a dormant volcano there that has snow on it. But those places are not in Yucatan. Yucatan is extremely flat and the temperature and the climate is pretty much the same throughout. The region is a scrub jungle and the terrain is very thin soil with lots of limestone plateaus and big boulders underneath them. There is no above-ground river in all of Yucatan.
 
There are a lot of best things about living here - the people here are friendly, the cost of living is low, and Yucatan provides a great lifestyle. We feel very comfortable living in a foreign country. Maybe it is because I did a lot of international travel for a living. I have been in India, Indonesia, Africa, and many other places. I have seen abject poverty. There is some poverty here in Mexico but the good thing here in Valladolid is that you don’t see beggars. It’s not like you would see in some other countries. For us, living here gives us a very comfortable lifestyle. 
 
We had one of my wife’s relatives come here and her husband loved just about everything here: the house, the swimming pool, the people we introduced him to, the restaurants we took him to; he loved it. In contrast, his wife would say, “Oh, look at the street dogs.” “Look at the shacks some of the people live in.” She just brought all her US American values with her and was very uncomfortable here, and despite what we told her about being safe, she said, “Are you sure we could really walk half a block to the main square and eat at the restaurant? It’s night in Mexico.  Are we safe?” No matter what we told her, she was not comfortable here the whole time and her husband loved it. You just have to decide what is your range of comfort. She did the proverbial “talk louder” because here, especially in Valladolid, not a lot of people speak English. Even in the hotels or restaurants, Spanish is the language. If you go to Cancun, everybody speaks English, especially in places where expats frequent such as hotels, restaurants, gas stations, Walmart, Kmart, Costco, Sam’s Club, Office Depot, Sears. You are not going to find as many English speakers here in Valladolid, so you have feel comfortable living in a place where they don’t speak your language and you need to learn to speak some survival Spanish, unless you go to Cancun.
 
In Merida, there are a number of universities, medical schools, and there are a lot of high-income people there. We go to a chamber music series in a place called Hacienda Xcanatun from October to June for a Chamber of Music society – a quartet. They play in the Yucatan State Symphony. They all speak English. The lead person in the Chamber of Music Quartet, whose name is Chris, is a Brit and who plays a Guarneri violin, which is about a $300,000 violin. Everybody knows about Stradivarius, and Guarneri is also another famous maker of violins in the 1700s. The crowd in the Chamber of Music was about 60 people and about two-thirds of them are expats. Everybody in that group speaks English. In fact you will find out that at one time in their life they probably went to boarding school or military school in the US. That was something they did a number of years ago and maybe even to some degree now.  We know a number of people who when they were kids, or even with their children now, they send them off to boarding school in the US.
 
(Ruth Bennett harpist from the Yucatan Symphony in concert at John Venator's home, Casa de los Venados, Valladolid, Yucatan, Mexico, pictured.)

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