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
Lane Simmons of RE/MAX Colonial San Miguel de Allende – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
San Miguel de Allende Peace Crowd After 9-11 – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingI think a lot of how foreigners are treated anywhere has to do with their foreign predecessors. The enchanting sort of frozen-in-time character of San Miguel in the late 30s and 40s started attracting many iconic Mexican and foreign artists, writers and actors, joined by World War II veterans who got GI Bill money for education and either could live like paupers, barely surviving in the United States off of what the GI Bill would give them, or they could come to San Miguel, attend an international credited college studying art or Spanish, and afford to have a maid. Not entirely unlike like what’s economically attractive to many of today’s retirees here.
 
Fortunately for us here today as well as those of us yet to arrive, the assimilation and community involvement of the overwhelming majority of foreigners who’ve chosen to live in San Miguel during the past century, has and continues to result in the extent to which we are warmly welcomed and well treated here. There’s even a street that the city named after a gringo author who moved here in the mid 30s, who worked tirelessly to help the local community, and did a lot to popularize San Miguel. 
 
San Miguel de Allende has more non-profit organizations per capita than any city in Mexico, providing food, shelter, education, and an ever-growing number of other community services. The public library started here by foreigners as well as locals back in the 50s now Peace candle being lit in San Miguel de Allende after 9-11 – Best Places In The World To Retire – International Livinghas more than 60,000 volumes in Spanish, English, German and French, offers many lecture, film and theater events, in addition to granting scholarships to young students and sponsoring numerous cultural activities.
 
Like any place where the local economy is primarily dependent on tourism, you have opportunists here from Mexico and elsewhere who might unscrupulously participate in the related financial harvest. And it could be alleged that some professionals, shopkeepers, service providers, etc. might quote a higher price to gringos than to Mexicans. But I think you could find comparable price differentiation in any similar marketplace. 
 
After the 9-11-2001 attacks occurred in the US, having been further shocked by TV images I saw showing the specter of celebrations appearing in some parts of the world, I can’t describe how comforting it was here to be blessed with participating in what today I suppose would be called a flash-crowd event in San Miguel’s main plaza, predominately attended by indigenous members of the community manifesting their solidarity with the Americans here.  
 
They had taken some white material like Styrofoam cups, and cut out little doves they tied on string to create necklaces, which were distributed along with candles we lit one with another.
 
Whatever’s going on in the world today, looking back at the history of the relationship between the United States of America and Mexico, I could imagine an argument for shooting us gringos on sight. But, instead, it’s been my observation that most people here tend to give others a chance to show who we are as fellow human beings before deciding how to treat us. 
 
Right now, I am getting to do some explanatory work with my close Mexican friends regarding the Donald Trump phenomenon, what with his likeness having recently become a popular piñata that I haven’t seen being filled with sweets, but like I’ve said, for the most part here we’re not held responsible for transgressions not our own.
 
Specifically with regard to retiring and aging here, the culturally inherent respect and admiration with which older folks here are treated is something I wouldn’t know where to find in such abundance elsewhere.  
 
Pictures:
  • Crowd in San Miguel de Allende after 9-11
  • Peace candle in San Miguel de Allende Jardin after 9-11
 
Judy Newell of Perfect Journeys – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Little Shop of Horrors performed by The San Miguel Playhouse, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico  – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingAmericans and expats in general are treated wonderfully in San Miguel de Allende. The expat community has been in San Miguel de Allende since the late 1940s or early 1950s. 
 
The expats have done so much for the local Mexican community that I doubt that there's a Mexican family who has not been touched by the generosity of the non-profit organizations in San Miguel de Allende that are run and funded by expats.  These organizations help with everything like eyeglass provision, free dental clinic visits, donation of computers for the youth, sending the youth to school, feeding the hungry, and establishment of old folks' homes and hospices. 
 
Jim, my husband, established the theater called "The San Miguel Playhouse" in San Miguel de Allende. It's the only non-profit, non-government supported theater here and is for people who love the theater and what the theater is doing. I act in this theater.
 
Jovenes Adelante is a "youth forward" organization that does a lot of work with the youth like supplying computers, offering scholarships, helping with the local S.P.A. (Sociedad Protectora de Animales), which is the only non-kill animal shelter in Mexico. This organization is established and run by foreigners. It touches every walk of life in San Miguel de Allende.
 
There have been so many things set up on a non-profit basis. Someone told me that there are about 80 non-profit organizations in San Miguel de Allende run by expats. The Mexican community has a great affection and trust for the expats because of the charity work that they do.  
 
(Little Shop of Horrors performed by The San Miguel Playhouse, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, pictured.) 
Greg Gunter of Dream Pro Homes – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
expat stirling dickinson san miguel de allende – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingReaders, expats, especially American expats, have been welcomed and received a warm welcome since U.S. expat Stirling Dickinson (the man pictured here) moved to San Miguel de Allende in the 1940’s. His efforts led to the publicity of San Miguel in Life Magazine in about 1949, which resulted in a flood of GI expats moving here after the war, and they have been coming for an increasingly broader number of reasons, the most common factor being lifestyle.
 
Because of this almost 70-year history with Americans, local expats are treated with cordial, and often warm, respect. The expat community here generates more non-profit support for the local residents than their own government often provides, and the locals are cognizant and appreciative of that support.  You’ll receive a warm welcome!
Jonathan Peters of Ventanas de San Miguel – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Banner for a golf tournament at Ventanas de San Miguel benefiting CRISMA, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingExpats are treated very well in San Miguel de Allende. The consensus would be that expats have brought more benefit to San Miguel than disadvantages. Just like anywhere you should be conscious that you're a guest in any country. No one wants to hear foreigners harping about things that the people in their guest country should do differently, because different is not always better. Every country's different, but as long as you're respectful and you treat people the way you'd like to be treated, you're treated as well as you'd be treated back in the States. The general perception of expats is really good here. Also if you're not a jerk, you're treated particularly well here.
 
(Banner for a golf tournament at Ventanas de San Miguel benefiting CRISMA, Centro de Rehabilitación in  San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, pictured.)
Ariadna Delsol of COLONIAL REAL ESTATE – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Doors in Colonial San Miguel de Allende, Mexico – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingExpats are treated well here in San Miguel de Allende. People would  not be moving here if they were not treated well. The reason why they move here is because they feel welcome and they are absolutely welcome.
 
Mexicans like having a mix of cultures. Having expats here is like having two cultures. In San Miguel de Allende, itself, there is a difference between the amount of money that expats have and the amount of money that typical Mexicans who are cleaning houses would have. However, there is a lot of middle class and upper class, wealthy and sometimes even very wealthy Mexicans who live in San Miguel as well. The chance for resentment between the haves and the have-nots is less here in San Miguel than in other places where the disparity is more pronounced and where the disparity is due to the expats having more money relative to the local people.
 
Mexico has historically always been divided into classes.. For someone who was unfortunate and was born in a place where they do not have a lot of hope or opportunities to advance in life, that’s what they are used to. They only have resentment if you treat them badly but I have never felt that with anyone. Locals do not think ill of expats coming here to hire cheap labor because we have done that all our lives. Through generations and generations in which there has always been the lower echelon of the stairway going up and then down. That’s in any society, even in the US. 
 
There will be resentment if you are in Mexico City and you have a beautiful car. If you go to a bad area and you park your Mercedes Benz or any nice, shining new car, somebody might scratch it with a key just for the heck of it. It’s just to ruin your day because you have a nice car. However, that has never happened to me and I hope it never does but I have seen friends whose cars have been scratched just because they are nice cars. But in general, in the day-to-day lives of expats here in Mexico, they are accepted.
 
(Doors in Colonial San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, pictured.)
Rio de Paz Cuellar – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Residential street in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingI happen to be a little bit of an expert on this particular subject because I’ve lived in 10 Latin American countries, and I’ve travelled through Asia. I was on the road for 8 years, and lived in 16 countries. I’ve stayed in over a dozen expat communities for 3 months, 6 months, and 2 years, so I know a bit about that. Of all the places I’ve been, which is extensive, I think San Miguel is at the top of the list. That’s why I live here.
 
I went to Boquete, Panama, when it was still a quiet little town and quite lovely. It was a little bit boring, but it takes time to settle into the community. I’ve lived in villages, but I didn’t stay there for too long. I went back later because I was looking for a place to live. Boquete is an expat nightmare. The locals have been ripped off, and they tried to be nice because it’s a livelihood, but they weren’t happy about it, and I couldn’t blame them. A lot of the expats were kind of disrespectful. They just don’t get it.
 
San Miguel is the opposite. San Miguel in the 40’s and more in the 50’s started to get expats coming from the GI Bill. I actually went to the Instituto Allende in 1974, so I’ve known about San Miguel for a long time. It has a very long history. But people are people, and you’re going to get everything that you get anywhere else, but generally speaking, I think that there is exceptionally good rapport between the Mexicans and the foreigners that has existed for a long time. There are many, many, many charities in which expats participate.  The foreign community also gives; it doesn’t only take. I think it’s exceptional.
 
(Residential street in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, pictured.)
Eric Chazaro of Keller Williams Allende – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Teresa Anderson of Arizona training real estate agents in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingBecause of all the many different charities that are run by the expats in San Miguel de Allende, and all the history that we have had as a people, and because the expats in San Miguel de Allende really love to give back to the locals and to the community, the connection between the expat community and the Mexican community is really nice. It is really close. The connection between the expats and locals here in San Miguel de Allende is completely different compared to other parts of the country of Mexico where somehow the expats are segregated from the Mexican community. Here in San Miguel de Allende it is completely the opposite.
 
Most of the expats who come to San Miguel de Allende really like to make an effort to learn Spanish, which is something that Mexicans appreciate. In all events, the relationship between expats and locals here in San Miguel de Allende is great.
 
(Tere Anderson of Arizona training real estate agents in San Miguel de Allende, 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