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
Gary Coles of Paradise For  Gringos – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account

Mexico City skyline – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingExpats in Mexico come in every type, shape and size.  There really is no particular type of expat, even though some people have stereotypes.

Here are a few of the groups that I feel make up most of the expats:

  • Retirees --- Of course, most of us who visit “Best Places in the World to Retire”  will immediately think of retirees as a major group. Retirees seem to make up most of the expat population in the popular destinations such as Cabo San Lucas, Puerto Vallarta, San Felipe, Puerto Penasco, Acapulco, Lake Chapala, Ajijic, Riviera Maya, Playa del Carmen,  La Paz, Guadalajara, Ensenada, Merida, Cancun, and San Miguel de Allende. These colonial or coastal cities catch the attention of most retirees. 
  • Corporate Transferees -  Many other expats are here for business.  They tend to work in the larger cities or near the US border.  There is a huge expat community in Mexico City and many others can be found in Guadalajara, Querétaro. Monterrey, Guadalajara, Puebla, Tijuana, Leon, Mexicali.  Trade between the US and Mexico is huge and many high-tech companies can also be found here.
  • Internet Geniuses  --  Telecommuting is growing every day and more and more people are finding they can work from any location in the world.  I’ve met lots of individuals who want the lower cost of living but still want to make a great income from their online efforts.  
  • Border Hoppers  -- A huge number of expats can be found living in Tijuana or Rosarito, but crossing the border to work in the US. They can afford to purchase homes here in Mexico for much less than they would be paying for rent in the US.
  • Family members --- Although the number may not be huge, there are plenty of expats who moved here for love or to be close to family. They may be found anywhere in the country.
  • Adventure Seekers  -- There are always some of us who want to experience new and different horizons.  For example, the surfer who comes for a few days surfing and stays for the rest of his life.
  • Vacationers  -- These are the expats who may have a home or condo here and spend anything from a few days to the snowbirds who are here all winter and then back to the northern climates.
Mexico is a mega-diverse and multicultural country.  It seems to offer something for almost everyone. It really is home to a broad range of expatriates.
+52 33 376 766 5151This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.About Bellon Insura...
Andre Bellon of Bellon Insurance Agents – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Graphic for Bellon Insurance Agents, Ajijic, Mexico – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingThe expats in Mexico take really good care of themselves. They are really concerned about their health, and that’s a really good thing for me because I’ve been in my office here in Ajijic for 5 years, and I’ve been an insurance agent for 18 years. For 5 years here in Ajijic, a hundred percent of my customers are only foreigners- none of them are Mexican. That is a big, big difference in culture. 
 
In contrast to the Americans and Canadians, Mexicans do not believe that something is going to happen to them. They say, “That’s what happened to my neighbor, but that’s not going to happen to me.” I have 400 customers in Guadalajara, and all of them are Mexicans. Here in Chapala, I have 200 customers who are expats. It’s much more difficult to convince my Mexican customers that they need insurance, In addition, hardly any of my Guadalajara clients go to checkups, because they’re Mexicans.   If they have something wrong with them, they wait until it gets much worse. That’s exactly how it is. The waiting is ironically costing them much more, because they didn’t deal with the issue when there was still something they could do about it.
 
(Graphic for Bellon Insurance Agents, Ajijic, Mexico, pictured.)
WhatsApp Mobile (+52 1) 984 115 40 54
Ivan Castillo of Secure Title  Riviera Maya – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Rotary club districts of Mexico – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingThe majority of our customers are individuals that are retired and are moving to this area and lease six months out of the year. They’re great because I found within the community that, for example, you’ve have the Rotary group that is composed of expats who are living here and are concerned about and want to help the community. They want to pitch in and help the society in certain ways. For example, there are expat organizations that collect money, clothing, and toys for individuals or children who don’t have the opportunity to get those things. I’ve seen some groups of expats go to very low-income schools and donate things and fix things and enjoy their time together.
 
There are multiple expats who have certain amount of expertise in some areas, which has caused them to become teachers, which is a very positive thing.
 
The expats here are great people.  It’s just beautiful.
 
(Rotary club districts of Mexico, pictured.)
Michael Eager of La Nueva Posada Hotel & Restaurant – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
expat giving candy – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingA lot of the people who are influenced by the news about Mexico don't come to Mexico because they already have this mindset that Mexico is dangerous. When they hear about other people going to Mexico, they ask, "Why would they want to go to Acapulco, Ajijic, or other places in Mexico?" Without knowing the country, these people will tell their families, "Oh no. You don't want to go there."
 
I find most of the people who come down to Mexico to have an open mind. There are people who go to Puerto Vallarta for a week to 10 days. Most of the people who come to the Chapala and Ajijic area do their due diligence and do some research on the possibility of retiring to this area in the future. 
 
In our hotel, when somebody checks in, I could tell within the first five minutes of talking to them whether they should stay in Mexico or they should turn around and go back to the airport because Mexico just isn't for them. A lot of these people are better off to stay back in the States or Canada. 
 
However, the people who stay are willing to adapt to what Mexico offers. Generally, expats who come to Mexico are great and beautiful. 
 
One thing I've noticed about expats in Mexico who have reached the retirement age, pensioners, and in their 60s and 70s is that they're all young at heart and have an adventurous spirit. A lot of them are ready to start or write a new chapter in their lives. This is what makes so many of the expats in Mexico so special.
 
(Expat giving out candy to Jet Metier of Best Places in the World to Retire as he enters a shop, Riberas de Pilar, near Ajijic, Mexico, pictured.) 
Tom Leonard of Hotel Perico – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Dog agility participant at Hotel Perico, Lake Chapala, Mexico – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingThe expats in Mexico are a little more adventurous because if they're not really adventurous, then they wouldn't leave the States, where they are used to the way things are and they wouldn’t leave their comfort. Coming to live in Mexico may not be as comfortable as living in the States of Canada. 
 
I find the expats who live in Mexico to be a little friendlier, easier to talk to, easier to get along with, more flexible, easier to make friends with, and they are good people. 
 
There are foreigners who come to Mexico to try to live here. We've got people who come to our hotel to check the Chapala and Ajijic area. I know of two people who only lasted one day. They came, went around, and said, "This is not for us." These people have never gone outside the States apart from this trip to Mexico. They heard about the Chapala and Ajijic area, came here, and it was culture shock for them because everything's different. It doesn't work for everybody.
 
(Dog agility participant at Hotel Perico, Lake Chapala, Mexico, pictured.)
Flip Nicholson of Fenix Real estate – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Dixie abd Flip Nicholson celebrating Halloween with his band, Ajicjic, Mexico – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingThere are two kinds of expats in Mexico. There are some I want to send back, and there are some who are here for the right reasons.
 
This is a very delicate question because I’m in the real estate business. I want to sell houses, but I also live here, so I want people to come for the right reasons. When expats come to embrace Mexico, learn Spanish and say, “I’m in love with the Mexican people and their culture, and I want to learn more,” that’s the guy I want. Those are the ones we want to move here.
 
Most of the expats in Mexico are educated.  They’ve traveled the world, think outside the box, and they’re already pioneers because they’ve crossed the border. So many people I went to school with say, “Oh my God! I can’t believe you live in Mexico. What’s it like?” We can send them all these beautiful pictures, but they still won’t really know what it’s like. They know it’s beautiful because they vacationed here, but living some place and vacationing are two different things. 
 
The second kind of expats in Mexico, I call “Wal-Martians.” They’re the ones who go Wal-Mart and want everything to be like Wal-Mart. When they drive down the rough cobblestone road, they can’t understand why it can’t be asphalt, and want to change it. They want to correct everyone who’s going the wrong way, or not showing up on time, or not cooking their food right. These expats just want it to be like it is back home, and we don’t want that, because it misrepresents our culture. 
 
There are jerks everywhere you go. There are jerks in Mexico, but most Mexicans aren’t jerks, and we’re visitors to their country, so we need to respect and to learn their culture and their language. 
 
We know we’re going to see more of the other kinds of expats in Mexico, and we just have to sway them to embrace this country and try not to make it like back home. I’ve got realtors who show up at my office and want to work here and say, “Well, back home, I used to have this much, and I did this, and this is the way we did it.” It’s not like that here. I’ve got contractors that say, “I’ve built 50 homes in Texas.” You need to learn how to build here, and how to work with the builders, because if you’re rude and crude, it’s not going to work for you. If you show them respect, they’ll turn around and give it right back to you. 
 
We want the good expat, and it’s up to us to filter them and explain. That’s why I’m really big on showing them how to live here. If you just turn them loose, they’re going to hate it because things will happen like, “How come I just got my bill and you shut off my electricity?” I still get somebody who sends me a Christmas card every year, and I get it February. We don’t have a good mail system, but who looks at mail anymore? Who even gets a catalog anymore? Everything’s online. We can live here.  We just need to learn how to live with them, and not try to live in our own little clique of Gringos, which you see a lot of in some of the subdivisions. They’re real comfortable moving to a subdivision that’s 90% Gringos because it’s a transition. They feel comfortable there.
 
For these same people, house number two is outside the development, and now they’re in amongst the locals, and they’ve branched out. It’s a stepping stone.  Not everyone is ready to jump right in the middle of Mexican climate, so it’s a stepping stone. We work with the Mexicans. Let’s hope the expats that we want keep coming, I hate to send them back.  
 
(Dixie abd Flip Nicholson, long time residents of Ajijic celebrating Halloween with his band The TallBoys Band, Ajijic, Mexico, pictured.)
Alberto Alvelais of Alvelais & Asociados – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Grand Bahia Principe, Tulum, Mexico  – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingIt is very difficult to talk about a broad topic such as how the expats are in Mexico because Mexico is quite big. What I could say about is here in Quintana Roo (a state in the Yucatan Peninsula that contains Cancun, Playa del Carmen and Tulum), the foreign / expat communities are extremely strong. There are a lot of foreigners here, perhaps about 20% of the population. 
 
The foreign communities are very powerful in terms of investments and in financial terms.
 
There are big international communities in Mexico, which makes Mexico quite an international place, and which generates a good atmosphere. 
 
(Grand Bahia Principe Tulum, an all inclusive resort, Quintana Roo, Mexico , pictured.)
Sandi Vandiver – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Orphans wrap themselves in donated blankets, Mazatlan, Mexico – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingThe expats in Mexico can range from the most ordinary people in the world to the roughly one fourth of them that may be here on the lam. But naturally I can’t say that I’ll be on the lam from the law, which is not very likely, but maybe from an ex-wife or child support.  Who knows?
 
Mazatlan is an easy, laid back community. It’s a very easy place to be an alcoholic, so we do have some of that. I like having a direction because of my artwork but I would have to say that most expats come here and they either start drinking too much, a lot of times, or they just hang out all day, exercise, they run their errands, etc., but that’s what they want. They don’t want to have anything to do all day.
 
A lot of the expats here in Mexico do volunteer work. I sometimes think that the Mexican community at large doesn’t quite get that the Americans and Canadians that are here in Mazatlan are helping the orphans, rescuing street dogs, getting them spayed or neutered, feeding them and find homes for them.  Between October and May, when all the winter and snowbirds come, every week there’s a fundraiser. Come have a dinner, pay 500 pesos (US $30.30) it all goes to Rancho’s Orphanage Home For Boys.  We do a lot of that.
 
I personally wouldn’t change it, but I do really think that there are a lot of oddballs. If you think about it, who leaves their home country? Statistically, the happiest retirees are the ones that stayed in the same house in the same neighborhood and in the same community, and never went anywhere. Most retirees would never consider taking up roots and living to any foreign country; Mexico or anywhere.  They don’t want to be far away from their grandchildren.
 
I also believe that probably at least half stay for four years. They buy a house, they’re in love, they’ve never been to such a small place, and then, four years into their move, they just miss their grandchildren too much, It’s too hot, they don’t like the locals; whatever.
 
Somebody once asked me, “What is the thing that you don’t like about Mexico?” I laughed and then I said that the culture can be frustrating.  The people are always late, they never have any money; they want money from you, etc.  As a result, some people go home.
 
On the other hand, I know an American gringo lady who owns a restaurant here who I asked how long she had lived here.  She told me that she has been here for 35 years and owns several businesses. Being in business here is not such a great idea, but if you can get past all the red tape, it’s okay.  People come here for a variety of reasons.  Some stay long term but a lot don’t. 
 
Expats are just a different breed.  These are not the same people who would move to a move anywhere to a big Del Webb Sun City, like around Phoenix. I went to see a friend of mine there years ago.  I went to her cute little house that looked like everybody else’s house and I said to her, “This looks like Stepfordville to me.”  There wasn’t even a gum wrapper on the ground.  And I said, “I couldn’t live her, Peg. It’s just too pristine. It’s all the same little squares, and everybody’s got to fit in the same little peg.”  It just didn’t appeal to me at all.
 
When my husband and I thought about retirement, all our kids wanted us to move to one of those little places where they got it all: golf course, shuffle board, and a clubhouse. I just said, “I’m sorry, I can’t do it. It’s just not my style.”  That type of living fits a lot of people because it’s safe and secure and gated and all that. It just wouldn’t be what I wanted to do.  So it’s a totally different breed of person who comes here. It’s risky.  We they take a risk. They’re going to hop off the edge of the world and do something and want to eat different food and live differently and meet really different people.
 
I very much like that real strong sense of community we have as expats here in Mazatlan. An example, at 4:30 in the morning, my friend John (whose wife is in the US) thinks he’s having a heart attack, so he calls my friend to help him. She immediately put him in the car and rushed him to Sharp hospital.  She goes every day to check on him.  As a group, we have to figure out what to do with the dog because the dog can’t stay in the apartment by himself, so everybody’s rushing around trying to figure out how to pitch in with the dog, to get John the things he need in the hospital, and to talk to the doctors.
 
When I first moved here in 2006, my husband dropped me off this little tiny house, and couldn’t stay with me.  It was July, I had no car, I didn’t know one person.  I didn’t even know where to get food, and I did manage to find a grocery store where I bought some things while I still had the car and at one point I ate frozen waffles for three days because I just didn’t know where to get groceries and I didn’t know who to ask. Well, finally, I said, “I can’t do this anymore.” I think somebody told me that the market was in a particular direction. So I put on my hat and my walking shoes and I just kept wandering until I found the supermarket.  I bought some rice, shrimp, chicken and I went home and I think that was the best meal I’ve ever had in my whole life.
 
Next, I needed to find a better place to rent. Within a couple of weeks I knew 14 people and they knew who I was because I’m asking everybody where I can find another rental. One of these people referred me to a fabulous apartment.  Next, I had to move.  We hadn’t brought very much; a bed (which is kind of a weird bed because it came apart in pieces so it’s easy to move), my computer, my personal items, a few dishes, a patio table, umbrella, and four folding chairs. All in all it took several trips because I didn’t have a car.  Eventually, I had two laundry baskets and two cardboard boxes left. I loaded those things up a little at the time, got in the taxi, and took it to the new place.  I started to walk up the three stories to my apartment when one of the expat ladies that I just met drove by. 
 
She saw me and asked, “What are you doing?”
 
I said, “I found a great place to live, Sue.”
 
She said, “Well, what are you doing?”
 
I said, “I’m moving my stuf.f”
 
She said, “Well, how are you doing it?”
 
I said, “Well, this would be my 11th trip in a taxi.”
 
She said, “Why didn’t you call me? I could’ve helped you. I got a big old SUV!”
 
I said, “Because I don’t ask for help.”
 
And she said to me, “You are in Mexico now. You’ll learn to ask for help.” And that was really true.
 
So that’s the deal now.  As an expat in Mexico, you’re much freer to ask for help. If I were in the US, I wouldn’t have asked any help. It would have to be a dire emergency for me to walk next door to my neighbor and ask for help. But here, it seems like you can’t do that any longer. You need to say, “Hey, Sue.” So sure enough, she helped me load up the last of my stuff and helped me haul it up it late August, up 3 flights of stairs, in a big, hot apartment. To this day, although she lives back in the US now, we’re great friends.
 
That’s what I think is so great about this sense of community. We help each other. We borrow things.
 
We have a younger couple that has lived here for a good number of years.  He’s only 51 years old but he’s going to die because he’s got cancer everywhere.  I’ve got to tell you, this community rallied to help him. They sit with him when he goes for his chemo treatments, food, they drive the wife around, hold her hand, all that. 
 
When my children were young, when you lost a couple and they all went to the same school, sure, we did a lot of things together, and at that time, we had a great church group and we did a fund raiser.  That was the only other time in my life where I felt that there was that sense of community. So that’s one other thing that keeps me here.
 
After my husband passed away, my kids said, “You’re coming back to the States, right, mom?”
 
I told them, I wasn’t, because I knew, instantly, what that meant.  Come back to the US, buy a little house, by a little condo, just sit there, and do what? Go to work at Walmart? Go to work at the big grocery store? Babysit my grandchildren? I’m not a babysitter.  I raised my kids, and now they’re on their own. I love my grandchildren, but I knew that I didn’t want to just sit around hoping that maybe they’d be able to ask me for dinner on Sunday. Here, I could be doing something eight nights a week if I wanted. I don’t choose to do that but there’s plenty to do, plenty of people to see, plenty of parties to go to, there’s plenty of great places just to hang out and just watch people walk by. Maybe you don’t do anything else; just go up on the seawall if you want a gorgeous sunset. There’s just things that keep me busy and my mind active.  If I were to live there I would just waste away.  
 
(Orphans wrap themselves in donated blankets, Mazatlan, 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