Sunday, April 8, 2007


Americans Living in Mexico

For many decades, a significant number of Americans have been moving beyond mere vacation travel and choosing to own real estate in Mexico. This number is likely to increase sharply in the near future when more of the Baby Boomers reach retirement age. These Americans are frequently more adventuresome than the generation that came before them. Baby Boomers travel more. The entire globe is part of their experience but Mexico is an attractive choice for them.

More seniors are looking at Mexico retirement as an option to living elsewhere. Being familiar with and close to Mexico, are but two of the reasons that Baby Boomers and Seniors choose Mexico for a second or permanent home. What are some of the other reasons?

The People

Authors John Howells and Don Merwin have tried to answer why the Mexican people appeal so strongly to North Americans. What provokes a response that is so positive? One quality is the friendliness of the people. Mexicans generally treat strangers with warmth and curiosity. Secondly, the people are basically happy. It may be an anomaly: even though there may be poverty, there is little misery. "This ability to enjoy life, no matter how difficult the circumstances is a gift that, as a people, we in the U.S. do not appear to possess," say these authors.

Mexicans are almost always willing to stop whatever they are doing to be of assistance to a friend, a neighbor or a stranger. They are helpful and usually very courteous. This strong tradition of courtesy goes back centuries. It is still proper to ask to be excused when they must squeeze by you in a crowd. The custom is followed of prefacing every request or order with "por favor".

Love for their children. It is not uncommon to see a father, whatever age, carrying his baby with great care. If you look closely, you will see older children as well as adults kissing and holding the smallest babies.

While we North Americans show affection for our pets, and don't understand anyone that does any less, we often offend our Mexican neighbors if we use strong verbal language when reprimanding our children.

The Americans who have chosen to spend more time in Mexico and learn more Spanish, increase their understanding of their adopted country and her citizens. This understanding moves through changes over time. Easy friendliness will not necessarily foster deeper friendship. But, that's ok, too.


Snowbirds look forward to warm skies and beaches in their escape from frigid temperatures. An average temperature in the Bay of Banderas is 80 degrees Fahrenheit during the majority of days in November through April. It is so pleasant for us warm-blooded creatures to experience a sunny day followed by a cool or mild evening.

On this Pacific side of Mexico, we enjoy the continual ocean breezes. The warmer climate soothes our bodies as well as our minds. How often do we hear someone say that they can relax once they reach our destination?

A lot of Americans have been buying old and beautiful homes in little towns close to the border where they live a life feeling that they did travel to the XIX century. In the state of Sonora, border with Arizona, a lot of artists are emigrating to a little town of Huachinera where they already built an Artistic and Cultural Center. The homes that this artists bought and fix, now look like beautiful museums.

Eclectic Beauty

Blue Waters and sandy beaches, swaying palms awaken our senses. The jungle offers a panorama of calming green and songbirds. The foothills of the Sierra Madre define our horizon. Besides the natural beauty, we have the charming neighborhoods of cobblestone streets, white walls with red tiles roofs.

A variety of food is enjoyed in elegant restaurants or simple beach palapas. Beautiful Mexican architecture is formed from tile, stone, and brick. Curves from arches move our eye to the strategically placed cupolas and towers of churches, homes and city buildings.

Each part of Mexico has its own particular character. Each city and village is distinct, its personality different. This uniqueness can be a contrast to the more perfectly built, homogeneous American towns. Well-known chain restaurants advertise their recognizable logos in bright lights. Volume or track builders offer different floor plans with a choice of several facades. Somehow it all looks similar as you drive down the street. You know that very fourth home is the same "Plan A: living room with extra game room, three bedroom, two-bath" design. This home is "English Tudor", and its sister four houses over is "French Country".


The price of homes purchased in the Bay is quoted in dollars. Americans and Canadians looking for homes have found that real estate has continued to go up in price. The cost of building materials and labor has increased every year. A villa or condo in Vallarta and its surrounding area is expensive or inexpensive, depending on where you are from in the United States or Canada.

It is not always true that living in Mexico is cheaper than living in the US or Canada. It is not a bargain if it is not something you need or like. There are trade-offs for living anywhere, and living in Mexico is no exception.

Each community here is unique and will appeal to different tastes. Bucerias, Punta Mita, La Cruz, Mismaloya, and Vallarta, each offer a different quality and type of life style. These villages, and the communities in between, are some of your choices of where to live in Mexico.

North Americans in Guadalajara, Lake Chapala and Ajijic own many homes where they are surrounded by their North American neighbors. Other towns such as Oaxaca and Puebla have fewer gringos living there. You can take your pick as to how many North Americans you want to live around.

You have the opportunity to choose your living experience. It can be unique for you. Where you live doesn't need to be a cheap copy of another place or country.

Where you choose to live will be one of the key steps in your becoming a different you, a person who lives in and appreciates a culture other than where they grew up.

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