Beautiful Virgin Islands

Friday, Feb 03, 2023

These Americans all left the U.S. for Mexico—here's how they found their 'perfect location' and made it happen

These Americans all left the U.S. for Mexico—here's how they found their 'perfect location' and made it happen

Thinking of moving from the U.S. to Mexico? With about 1.5 million Americans living in Mexico, everybody does it differently. Here's how to make your expat dream a reality, according to retirees and entrepreneurs who have done it.

In 2006, after years of living paycheck to paycheck in California, I decided to move to Mexico. I was 50, and a prior vacation in the beautiful coastal town of Mazatlán had convinced me that an easier, happier and more affordable lifestyle was possible.

And I was right. Now, at 66, having spent the past 15 years in Mazatlán, I frequently get questions from people who want to make the leap, too.

There is no one way to make your expat dream a reality. With about 1.5 million Americans living in Mexico, everybody does it differently.

I’ve met and made friends with so many wonderful people who moved to Mexico. Here’s how they handled the most common challenges of relocating and created new chapters abroad:


Challenge #1: Making it happen


Tip: Buckle down and do the research.

Moving can be a dreadful process. It’s complicated, time-consuming and often expensive.

Some people are comfortable making spontaneous decisions, like my retired friend Glen Rogers, who bought a house a few days into her first trip to Mexico 20 years ago. But most of us will look for answers before we make the move.

Tranquil courtyards, patios and balconies beckon from inside beautiful colonial-era homes and haciendas in Mexico’s San Miguel de Allende, providing a respite from the hustle and bustle of the city.


My advice? Do your due diligence. Reach out to experts, as well as people who’ve done it and have been living abroad for years. You may even want to consider using a relocation service that will guide you from start to finish.

Decide on a few primary sources of information so you don’t get bewildered by everything that’s out there. Ask every question, even if it seems silly or inconsequential. And if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. (A good example is the myth that there’s “free health care” in Mexico.)

The Pueblo Magico (“Magical Town”) of San Miguel de Allende is full of charming streets, picturesque buildings and a vibrant artist community.


I’ve found these three websites to consistently have helpful and up-to-date information:

1. Sonia Diaz Mexico: Offers in-person and virtual services and information about visas, taxes, vehicles, health insurance, moving, pets and more.

2. Dream Retirement in Mexico: Host Risa Morimoto investigates everything expats need to know about moving to Mexico in sophisticated, well-researched videos, podcasts, webinars and courses.

3. Best Mexico Movers: Long-time expats themselves, Chuck Bolotin and his wife have many years of experience helping people move from the U.S. and Canada to new homes all over Mexico.

Glen Rogers lives on $620 per month in San Miguel de Allende, where she bought a home for $160,000 in 2002.


Challenge #2: Finding the perfect location


Tip: Clarify what you want and value in life.

Mexico is a big country with lots of lifestyle options. Beach or mountains? House or apartment? Cosmopolitan city or small-town casual? These are just some of the decisions you’ll need to make when moving here.

Jan Davis found that living in an expat community was a priority. “For me, it’s important because of the tendency to attract out-of-the-ordinary people. San Miguel de Allende draws a lot of mild eccentrics — like me,” she tells me.

A bumpy dirt road led Holly Hunter and Dan Gair to Mayto Beach.


Holly Hunter and Dan Gair moved from Maine to Mexico. They spent a month exploring different towns within a two-hour distance limit from the airport, looking for a property in their price range that answered the question: “What would you do with your life if you had all the money you would ever need?”

A bumpy dirt road led them to Mayto Beach, which would become their next home and also where they would start Rancho Sol y Mar, a sustainability education center and resort.

Kerry Watson retired in her 40s after spending more than a decade going back and forth to different places in Mexico. When the time came, she asked friends who loved Mexico where she should go. The “overwhelming answer,” she recalls, was Chapala, Jalisco.

Chapala Lake in Jalisco, Mexico Arturo Peña Romano Medina

“I still remember the first time I crested the mountain pass towering over Lake Chapala,” she says. “I cried because it was so beautiful. I was immediately bonded to the town. It felt like I was coming home.”


Challenge #3: Navigating new cultures and customs


Tip: Go slow and be easy on yourself.

A slower pace of life is part of the deal; learning patience is a necessity.

Even if you really want to move to Mexico, it’s likely to still be a big step outside your comfort zone. Those who’ve done it, myself included, say that no matter how much you prepare, there will still be surprises, even years down the road.

Holly Hunter and Dan Gair


You learn to expect that you’re going to make mistakes, and the only way to learn and move forward is exactly that: Learn and move forward — with humility and a good sense of humor.

“I continue to adapt and sometimes be baffled by things,” says Linda Laino, who has lived in San Miguel de Allende for 10 years. “Be prepared for nothing to go your way.”

“I try to never forget I’m a guest in this beautiful country and to have respect for the customs and way of life, however inconvenient they are at times,” she adds.

As they were preparing to move to Mexico, Cat Calhoun and her partner realized that “fear was not a sustainable fuel source” for the day-to-day tasks they needed to take care of.

Shopping for fresh produce in the local market is a fun and inexpensive way to stock your pantry. Practice Spanish and get to know the local community!


“We deliberately shifted our focus from ‘running away’ to ‘moving toward,’” she tells me. “We became excited about learning Spanish, immersing ourselves into a new culture, living on less and having more time to enjoy each other’s company, create art and travel.”

Newsletter

Related Articles

Beautiful Virgin Islands
Close
0:00
0:00
EU found a way to use frozen Russian funds
I have a dream, MLK inspiring speech
First generation unopened iPhone set to fetch more than $50,000 at auction.
Aretha Franklin, Marvis Staples - Oh Happy Day
WARNING GRAPHIC CONTENT - US Memphis Police murdering innocent Tyre Nichols
BVI Freedom Song
Almost 30% of professionals say they've tried ChatGPT at work
Billy Preston - You Can't Beat God Giving (Live)
Interpol seeks woman who ran elaborate exam cheating scam in Singapore
VIRGIN ISLANDS REGGAE CARIBBEAN RIDDIMZ
What is ChatGPT?
Oh Happy Day Edwin Hawkins - Anthony Brown w FBCG Combined Choir
Bill Gates is ‘very optimistic’ about the future: ‘Better to be born 20 years from now...than any time in the past’
'Stand by Me' performed by Karen Gibson and The Kingdom Choir
Tesla reported record profits and record revenues for 2022
National Anthem of the British Virgin Islands - Oh, Beautiful Virgin
Prince Andrew and Virginia Giuffre Photo Is Fake: Ghislaine Maxwell
Hello Dolly
Opinion | Israel’s Supreme Court Claims a Veto on Democracy
for KING & COUNTRY - Amen (Reborn) [feat. Lecrae & The WRLDFMS Tony Wi
Moonwalker Buzz Aldrin Gets Married On His 93rd Birthday
Bob Marley - Get Up Stand Up
Who’s Threatening Israeli Democracy?
Yes He Can
Federal Reserve Probes Goldman’s Consumer Business
What A Friend We Have In Jesus
China's first population drop in six decades
Unforgettable
Microsoft is finalising plans to become the latest technology giant to reduce its workforce during a global economic slowdown
Touch The Hem Of His Garment
China's foreign ministry branch in Hong Kong urges British gov't to stop the biased and double standards Hong Kong report
The Lord's Prayer
Tesla slashes prices globally by as much as 20 percent
THE GOD MOVEMENT...BEAUTIFUL BVI
1.4 Million Copies Of Prince Harry's Memoir 'Spare' Sold On 1st Day In UK
Siyahamba
After Failing To Pay Office Rent, Twitter May Sell User Names
Ray Charles And The Voices Of Jubilaton, Oh, Happy Day
Lisa Marie Presley, singer and daughter of Elvis, dies aged 54
Ramblin' Rose
FIFA president questioned by prosecutors
Protoje - Who Knows ft. Chronixx
Britain's Sunak breaks silence and admits using private healthcare
Pressure - Virgin Islands Nice
Hype and backlash as Harry's memoir goes on sale. Unnamed royal source says prince 'kidnapped by cult of psychotherapy and Meghan'
Phil Wickham - House Of The Lord
Saudi Arabia set to overtake India as fastest-growing major economy this year 
My God Is Real (Yes, God Is Real)
Google and Facebook’s dominance in digital ads challenged by rapid ascent of Amazon and TikTok
The Lion King Circle of Life by LEBO M. — LIVE at the HAVASI Symphonic
FTX fraud investigators are digging deeper into Sam Bankman-Fried's inner circle – and reportedly have ex-engineer Nishad Singh in their sights
Louis Armstrong - When The Saints Go Marching In
TikTok CEO Plans to Meet European Union Regulators
Kanye West Sunday Service - hallelujah, salvation, and glory
UK chaos: Hong Kong emigrants duped by false prospectus
Jonathan Nelson - I Believe (Island Medley
France has banned the online sale of paracetamol until February, citing ongoing supply issues
From The Virgin Islands Sqad Up
Japan reportedly to give families 1 million yen per child to move out of Tokyo
Common, John Legend - Glory
Will Canada ever become a real democracy?
Anthony Evans vs. Jesse Campbell - If I Ain't Got You
Hong Kong property brokerages slash payrolls in choppy market
I have a dream, MLK inspiring speech
U.S. Moves to Seize Robinhood Shares, Silvergate Accounts Tied to FTX
Aretha Franklin, Marvis Staples - Oh Happy Day
Effect of EU sanctions on Moscow is ‘less than zero’ – Belgian MEP
BVI Freedom Song
Coinbase to Pay $100 Million in Settlement With New York Regulator
Billy Preston - You Can't Beat God Giving (Live)
×