My Valentine to Mexico!

Visitors flock to the colonial town of San Cristobal de Las Casas in Chiapas to enjoy colorfully painted exteriors, a bohemian atmosphere, and artisanal art.  It is popular with young artists and students alike.                              Photo credit: 

I received a beautiful piece of art from a local artist at Parque Centro in La Paz!  Fernando Saldivar is a sweetheart!  photocredit:

Mexico shares its northern border with the United States and its southern border with Guatemala and Belize. Baja California in the west is a 1,250 kilometer (775 mile) peninsula and forms the Gulf of California. In the east are the Gulf of Mexico and the Bay of Campeche, which is formed by Mexico’s other península, the Yucatán.   photocredit:

Having access to fresh food is the number 1 reason I love living in Mexico! 

I  Love Mexico

This is my Valentine to Mexico.  In celebration of my adopted new home, I will list the top 5 reasons I love Mexico in ascending order.  Hopefully, you will find your favorites among them.  

5.  I Love Having Easy Access to Family and Friends Back Home.

Whether you hail from the US or from Canada, traveling back home is a relatively short trip away.  Most major airlines offer direct flights between the US and major cities in Mexico.  

For six months out of the year Canadians call Mexico home. They buy a vacation home or rent an apartment for six months to escape long, cold winter months. It is also said that Canadians return to Canada for the remaining six months of the year so that they will not lose their access to health care in Canada.   

Snowbirds from the US vacation here to enjoy outdoor activities and explore Mexican culture.  There are so many places to explore as Mexico is a huge and vast country.  Visitors can travel from the Pacific Coast to the Yucatan, and have truly different and varied experiences. 

4. I Love Access to Affordable Health Care.  

The first time I filled a prescription in Mexico I was truly surprised.  I went to visit a doctor with the help of an employer who took me to her private doctor and accompanied me to translate and see that I had excellent care.  I took the bottle of meds that I use for high blood pressure.  He looked it up and told me that he was prescribing one that was higher quality.  

As I approached the counter to pay for my visit I was informed by the receptionist that there would be no charges for my visit.  She said the doctor said that it was his pleasure to serve me that day and that I could return as needed to check my blood pressure.  

We then went to a local pharmacist to fill the prescription.  To my amazement, the cost to fill the prescription was even cheaper than my copay in the states --with good insurance.  I almost cried.  

Getting a prescription filled in Mexico is done without fanfare and with no hassle.  You simply take your bottle to the pharmacy or tell them the name of your prescription, tell them how many milligrams you need, and how many tablets you need.  Oftentimes you will be presented with a choice of packages depending on how much you would like to purchase at a time.  The process is incredibly simple.

Visiting a dentist is also another service that is sought after here.  Good dental care is reasonably inexpensive and the services can range from a routine cleaning to a root canal or tooth repair.  

I highly recommend looking into private health insurance to protect you in the case of an emergency or an unexpected diagnosis.  There are free services available for those who become full time residents, but you will be competing in line for access to a doctor.  For example, if you need to go to a local health clinic, you should expect to wait for hours behind others ahead of you.  Once you do see a doctor you will not be guaranteed a private room.  These are things to consider.  This is why Private health insurance is highly recommended for expats.  

3. I love the Climate. 

About two-thirds of Mexico consists of mountains and highlands while deserts dominate the north and tropical rain forests are located in the south.  There are three distinct regions in Mexico: the highland areas, the coastal slopes, and the great southern depression.  (see map)

If you are searching for “Eternal Springtime” then look no further than Mexico.  Visit the central highlands and you will indeed enjoy temperate weather all year long.  

Some like it hot!  If you prefer beaches and swimsuits visit destinations closer to the coasts.  You can choose between two peninsulas-- Baja California and the Yucatan.   Think Cabo San Lucas, La Paz, or Cancun.  Whichever you decide to visit, you are sure to be rewarded with beautiful  beaches, pristine turquoise water, and breathtaking sunsets!  

For those who want to experience the cooler climate, for a change of pace, head for the mountain regions.  For example a trip to Chiapas will wow you with green fauna, waterfalls, and natural beauty but it can get cool at night during the winter months.  You will also discover that there are two seasons: the dry season (from November to March) and the rainy season (from April to October.)

Whichever you decide, you are sure to appreciate Mexico’s vast climate regions.

2. I Love the Lower Cost of Living

Mexico ranks high among places to retire when compared to other options such as Costa Rica or Panama.  The low cost of living is one of the main factors.  

The cost of living can vary based on where you choose to reside.  For example the cost of living in large cities such as Guadalajara, Mexico City, or along the Riviera Maya is more expensive.  Living in these places will cost from 1000 to 1500 USD on average.  Everything is based of course on choice of housing and whether you prefer to dine out or eat at home. 

The average cost of living in the second tier cities, however, can range from 500 to 900 USD on average.  You might look into colonial towns like Oaxaca, San Miguel Allende, Mérida, Guanajuato, or Lake Chapala for instance.  You can choose to find an apartment that is fully furnished or unfurnished.  This can drastically increase your living expenses as well. Should you decide to build a home here you may find that property taxes are relatively lower and maintenance costs are less expensive due to the cheaper price of building materials and labor.  

1. I Love the Food!  

Who doesn’t like tacos?  People who come to Mexico are delighted by the fact that they can eat better food without breaking the bank.  It is very easy to dine at world class restaurants without blowing your budget.  Whether you like seafood, empanadas, burritos, or barbeque--you can find it all.  Even street food is good --and cheap!

The best thing about eating in Mexico is access to fresh locally grown fruits and vegetables.  Shop at the local market to enjoy a feast for the eyes without putting a drain on your wallet.  I was definitely overwhelmed the first time I went to an open market.  I was amazed at how little I paid for so much fresh, organic food!  

You will also be charmed by local cafes and restaurants that vie for your pesos!  The service industry is truly essential as Mexico relies on tourist dollars.  The service is usually top- notch as everyone from servers in restaurants to bag checkers at the grocery store, and hotel room attendants rely on tips to make a living.  Please honor their service by remembering to give a generous tip.  They are eager to please so they work hard for your tip!   

There you have it!  These are the 5 reasons I love Mexico!  Be sure to check the coffee talk on miles and coffee channel for more!