People ask me all the time what I like about living in Mexico. After 15 years, you’d think I’d have an answer.
And I do! It’s pretty much the same things that initially drew me here on vacation. Here’s the short list:
1. The weather
Yes, it’s kind of a cliche, but that’s because it’s true! Living in Mexico’s warm, comfortable climate 365 days a year is pretty wonderful.
Like millions of people, if you’ve visited Mexico, you’ve probably thought that somehow the colors seemed brighter and the sky more blue. That wasn’t your “vacation imagination!” Because Mexico straddles the Tropic of Cancer, that southern longitude means the sunlight really is different than more northern locations. That “extra” light makes us feel better, more happy and carefree. It’s not just that it’s stronger; there’s a unique—and noticeable—quality that’s quite tangible. Could it be the Vit. D? Maybe. But whatever it is, it’s real.
Depending on where in Mexico you are, there’ll be a cooler fall and winter season, but you can forget about snow and sleet. Both coasts will be hotter and more humid than locations inland, but that humidity takes 10 years off your skin and helps stiff joints relax. Miss the seasons? Well, that leads us to another reason to love living in Mexico…
2. Proximity to the U.S.
This is one of the main reasons why so many folks move to Mexico instead of other more far-off destinations like Portugal, Bali, Spain or Italy. Not only does Mexico share a border with its neighbor to the north, both governments make it oh-so-easy to cross that border, whether by air or land. For those of us with adult kids and grandchildren, this is a big plus.
Direct flights to many U.S. and Canadian cities are not uncommon, and even with the pandemic, Mexico has continued to welcome visitors. The visa process is easy too, and a 180-day (six month) tourist visa is standard for everyone entering the country. (For longer or more permanent stays, residency visas are a straightforward process started in your native country).
Should you need to use Medicare or other medical services north of the border, it’s an easy flight from almost anywhere in the country. Which brings us to…
3. Cost of living
People who’ve already retired or moved to Mexico will tell you it’s hard to imagine all the amazing options that open because the cost of living is just so low.
What you’ll save on basic expenses—utilities, internet and cell phone service, home and car repair, and of course medical and dental costs—frees up your budget so you can do the things you’d only dreamed of before. Love to travel? Go for it! Always yearned for that home of your dreams? In Mexico you can afford to build or buy it.
One of my friends and her husband have traveled to China, Australia, Peru and Italy since retiring to Mazatlán 10 years ago. “Our life is fabulous!” she said. “We pinch ourselves every day.”
4. The culture
Put aside whatever you think you know about Mexican culture; what you see in the U.S. is a drab version of the fascinating and vibrant reality. Whether we’re talking about the food, crafts, clothing, dance, art or music, Mexico has a lot more to offer than burritos and cheap tequila. With a history that goes back 10,000 years, each state has developed its own unique flavor, with regional variations that make exploring the country or even your local holidays, markets and shops an exciting and often eye-opening experience.
Cities are full of museums and theaters, and indigenous artisans still ply their crafts in smaller villages and towns. Foodies will delight in eating their way around the country, exploring new ingredients and ways of using them with delicious results. Holidays, birthdays, anniversaries and more are celebrated with family and fanfare, much more so than we’re used to. There’s a freedom to celebrate here, to let go and be happy about what you, a friend or family member or the country has achieved. For all these reasons (and more!) it should come as no surprise that Mexico was named “Travel & Leisure’s 2022 Destination of the Year.”
5. Last but not least: The adventure!
They say travel is good for the soul and opens us up to new possibilities; doubtless you’ve had that experience. Studies show that being in a foreign country—stepping out of our comfort zone—stimulates the senses and inspires our brains to think about things differently and be more open to change.
Let’s go one step further: Imagine waking up to an adventure every day, in a way that revitalizes your entire life to be more happy, less stressful and more full of beauty. People tell me all the time that I’m “living the dream” and they wish they could too. Well, I’m here to tell you it’s not that difficult; if I can do it, you can too. Mexico’s winning formula—from its natural beauty to its simple immigration policies—makes it pretty easy to find and create your own “happy place.” That’s exactly what I was looking for. What about you?
Comments? Questions? Janet Blaser is a writer, speaker and author of the best-selling book, “Why We Left: An Anthology of American Women Expats.” A semi-retired journalist, you can see more of her work and read about her life on CNBC.com and her website, www.whyweleftamerica.com, and @thejanetblaser on Instagram and Facebook.
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