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Cathie Smith LoCicero of Cathie Smith Insurance – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
On the rocks in Los Cabos, Mexico – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingThe lifestyle in Los Cabos – La Paz is really fun. The sun shines almost every day. It's a medical fact that a person's state of mind is more open and happier when the sun is shining than when it's dismal, so we get a lot of people who go to southern Baja or the southern parts of Mexico just because they want to escape the doom and gloom of the rain, snow, and the cold elsewhere.
 
The Mexican people are fabulous people. They're so friendly and open. When they say, "Mi casa es tu casa", which means "My house is your house", they really mean it. One thing that I had to adapt to was people just showing up at my doorstep without letting me know that they were coming. Living in the United States, if someone shows up on your doorstep without saying they're coming, it's rude. 
 
In Mexico, people just stop by to say hello because they're in the neighborhood. When this happens, be gracious, invite them in, and always offer them something to eat or drink just like the old-fashioned times of our grandparents in the United States and Canada. That's what our grandparents did generations ago; and in Mexico, they still do that.
 
I was really surprised when a lady friend of mine from La Paz showed up at my doorstep one evening with her daughter, who she was dropping her off to spend the weekend with me and I didn't even know it. I was taken aback, but then I realized that's just what people do. "I'm in town. I'm going to stay with you," and the mother took off. I thought, "What if I was gone or somewhere else for the weekend and they showed up and there was nobody home?" Mexicans are wonderful people and very open. 
 
It is easy to lose track of what day it is because every day is a beautiful day. La Paz and Cabo San Lucas get only about 10 days a year of rain so you get really used to sunny days and it's easy to lose track of time. 
 
The locals are different on the highway so be careful when you're driving. There's no formal driver's education in Mexico. As an insurance agent, I gasp and tell my people to be careful when they're driving and keep to the right on four-lane highways. In some states in the United States, people are more used to using all of the lanes when they drive. The signs in Mexico do say in Spanish, "Keep right unless you were passing." For your own safety, do keep to the right unless you were passing and watch when you're passing someone else because sometimes they're not using their rearview mirrors and they might make a left-hand turn or change lanes without a signal. 
 
The courtesy that is extended to you on the streets, in the home, and in shops is not the same courtesy that you're going to find out there driving. That's my only negative warning; to be careful on the road. 
 
When you live in the La Paz and Cabo San Lucas area gringos reach out when you go alone in bars. If you're going to hang out in that if you're you’re lonesome, don't know what to do with yourself, and you're all by yourself and you want to go talk to some gringos, there's always a bar or two with a gringo hanging out who is willing to engage in conversation. Just don't be that guy who’s there every afternoon because that could get you into trouble. 
 
Another warning is that there is mañana syndrome in Mexico so you have to take a deep breath when you call for a plumber, electrician, or mechanic because their attitude about these services is just different. I would advise to ask your friends and new neighbors who to recommend for electrical repairs, plumbing, cleaning, mechanics, and stuff like that. Sometimes people will tell you they're coming over and they just don't show up, which can be very frustrating if you let it get to you. 
 
It's a different culture. It's a whole different way of life so we need to adapt to their way. It's their country. Be respectful and not expect everything to be run the way you would expect it run wherever you're from, the United States or Canada. Like I told a few people who were complaining about the mañana syndrome and say, "They don't show up. They're always late." If that really bothers you that much, then maybe you should have just stayed back home because there are certain things that we just have to adapt to. 
 
Make the old Ben Franklin list of all the positive things on one side and the negative things on the other side and if you do that about your life in Mexico, I'm sure you're going to find that the positive side is going to be a lot longer than your negative side.
 
(On the rocks in Los Cabos, Mexico, pictured.)
Paul Clark of East Cape Homes – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Off road racing vehicle, Baja California Sur, Mexico – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingWe live in a ranching community in San José del Cabo just 30 miles outside of town called Cabo Pulmo.  Cabo Pulmo is located 28 miles east of the Los Cabos Airport (SJD). Just north of Cabo Pulmo is where our house is located.
 
When we first built our house, there were only a couple of Americans who had part-time homes, and one other full time American couple or group in the area. 
 
We used to say we could see 20 miles north, south and west inland and we can name every person in it. That’s how small our community was. There were also ranchers who had ranch houses and ran cattle in the area, and that was it.
 
Over the years, we have has slowly acquired more people, more subdivisions, and more full-time residents. Cabo Pulmo is quite a social community with a few hundred-people living in the same area now.
 
Living in La Paz was wonderful with a very nice society. Mexico is full of family-oriented communities. If you went out for the evening, it’s not just one or two people, it’s always meant an entire family going out and enjoying the bar, park, restaurant, or the malecón in Puerto Vallarta.
 
Whenever we were invited to Mexican events in La Paz, we found the events to always be family oriented- from the oldest generation to the youngest, all mixed together. This is something you won’t find in our northern society anymore.
 
The feeling of family and community mixing is different. For example, at weddings in La Paz, there would be kids running around, yelling and screaming. Americans would tell the kids to be quiet because there is a ceremony, but the Mexicans would say, “What’s the problem? They’re kids. Let them have fun.” That’s how we really enjoyed living within a Mexican society in La Paz.
 
Los Cabos is more structured for Americans than La Paz. The Mexican families are still warm and comfortable. As an example, we were on the road when we were asked to help collect for the Red Cross.  We parked our cars beside the roads, and people would stop walking and stand on the streets collecting money from the motorists. For the most part, the expat community would have their windows rolled up, look straight ahead and not want to give a penny without the understanding that it’s a donation. A Mexican, on the other hand who drives a piece of junk car with smoke and five kids would roll down the window and give a peso or two, or whatever they could. 
 
That’s the difference between the Mexican and expat communities. The expat community lives behind walls to isolate themselves, only ever mixing with the Mexican society when they deal with the service people. On the other hand, when living and being a part of the Mexican community, there’s a warmth for socialization and more willingness to talk, be friends and be happy.
 
We’ve been racing cars for the last fifteen years in Mexico. The racers are classed into groups and drive anywhere from a Trophy Truck or the “Class One” cars that cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, down to a Volkswagen bug which may cost $3,000-$4,000.
 
There would be 100-150 cars racing, four or five of which are driven by American or Canadian drivers. Spectators would consist of entire families. Point to point races, which are races that start in La Paz and end in Cabo Pulmo, have whole families coming up to watch and cheer you on. 
 
It’s a wonderful experience. The groups of people, the camaraderie, and the expression of joy from what you are doing all made it a wonderful experience. 
 
(Off road racing vehicle, Baja California Sur, Mexico, pictured.)
Lana Nixon of La Ventana Bay Properties – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Wind surfing in La Ventana Bay, La Ventana, Baja Mexico Sur, Mexico – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingMany of us here in the La Paz – Los Cabos area have a very active lifestyle. We go hiking, we ride bicycles, we live right by the ocean, and so we swim and snorkel. We like to do wind sports here. There is a lot of fishing, too. There are a lot of great bike trails that you can go to if you are into that kind of activity.  On the other hand, there are also people who are not as active and who like to have dinner and have a get together with friends.
 
The weather is always very pleasant here so that makes for a different style of living because you have a lot more outdoors living and patio living. We have gorgeous scenery here. We have the mountains, the ocean, and everybody’s yards have the opportunity of lush planting of palm trees and bougainvillea, etc. It is just a different feeling to be here.
 
Almost everything is just within walking distance. You can walk to the store, the restaurant, or down to the beach. We have a more free type of living because we don’t have the constriction of having to bundle up and get into your car. You don’t have issues with traffic here. We don’t have weather issues where you have to plan everything based on the weather because it is warm and sunny here most of the time. There is a time during summer when it gets hot and a lot of people want to spend that time going north and visiting other friends and family but you could also just stick it out and be in the air-conditioning more. But generally, throughout the rest of the year, the climate here has always been ideal. 
 
In my opinion, Cabo is more a more tourist-oriented and foreign-oriented city. I am sure that the real estate prices and the bulk of people that are migrating to Cabo is a lot greater than it is in the towns because Cabo is more popular and there are lots of gorgeous homes and tons of great restaurants there, too. Cabo has tons of golf courses and they have wonderful marinas. There are lots of opportunities to go fishing and sightseeing. Cruise ships go there. Cabo has a lot of hotel resorts that offer all kinds of amenities but for someone like me, I don’t feel like Cabo is a real city as much as it is a foreign-generated lifestyle. 
 
When you go to La Paz, which is a major city in Mexico and the capital of Baja California Sur, it is an industrial city that is not really geared towards tourist living. So that is what makes the difference. There are a lot of theaters in La Paz. There is also a lot of nice restaurants and there are courses to be taken and art festivals that you can go to. There are many things going on in La Paz that are not usually tourist-oriented but they are geared towards the ordinary Mexican people. There are also nice resorts, golf courses, and sightseeing opportunities in La Paz but it has more of the commerce feel than a tourist feel. 
 
La Ventana is a small beachfront community where I live about 40 minutes from La Paz and about two hours from the Cabo San Lucas area.  When you go to La Ventana, it is a different thing altogether because it is a small community. Most of our communities are on dirt roads. We have a health center in La Ventana but if you have a major health concern, you can certainly drive into La Paz for medical attention. We don’t have a bank or a bank machine yet here in La Ventana. We have a couple of grocery stores but we don’t have a major chain. The only major chains that we have here is a gas station and an Oxxo, which is similar to 7-eleven. The restaurants are local businesses here. We have a lot of resorts in La Ventana and we are the number one kite boarding destination in the world right now. We also have a lot of wind surfing, spear fishing, scuba diving, mountain biking, and hiking. Living in La Ventana gives you a very outdoorsy style of living. There are also people here who are active but they do not do all those extreme sports and who nonetheless enjoy the society and they are just out and about in the community.
 
(Pictured: Wind surfing in La Ventana Bay, La Ventana, Baja Mexico Sur, Mexico.)

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