I live in Loveland, Colo., just turned 60 and would love to be retired within the next year. I’m looking for a more affordable place to retire and am thinking about Mexico — somewhere I can live for between $800 and $1,200 a month.
Ideally, I would like a pretty big expat community, but a place that still retains the feel of Mexican culture (Cabo feels like SoCal to me, so nothing like that); somewhere with a decent number of cultural things to do, like music and plays; and good food. I’d also like to be in a moderate climate and somewhat near the ocean. And I would like the ratio of single men to women to be 10:1 — I’m kidding!
Sadly, there does not appear to be a fitting spot with that coveted 10:1 males-to-females ratio (and if I do find it, I’ll let you know, and we’ll set up our own dating service!), but I do think I’ve found some excellent, affordable places for you to retire in Mexico.
While it’s harder to retire on that little money in America, Mexico does offer more options. The spots that fit the bill do come with downsides — some may have elevated crime rates (the U.S. Department of State gives Mexico a Level 2 safety warning, suggesting that Americans traveling there “exercise increased caution” and highlights areas to avoid), and others are extremely hot in the summers. That said, we have turned up some locations that might fit the bill.
Mazatlán: Though there are touristy sections of this Pacific Coast resort town (John Wayne and Gary Cooper used to go marlin fishing here), there’s also plenty to fall in love with, like cobblestone streets, neoclassical and French Baroque architecture and cultural amenities like theater and art galleries. And as the Washington Post recently said of Mazatlán’s gorgeous historic Centro neighborhood: “Time and again people described the Centro to us as ‘Mexican with some tourists,’ rather than a tourist town (ahem, Puerto Vallarta) with some Mexicans.”
Janet Blaser, a 63-year-old former journalist who left Santa Cruz for Mazatlán, told MarketWatch that she loves the access to nature here, too, specifically the “beautiful glittering Pacific Ocean, warm and swimmable.” And it’s inexpensive: Blaser says she lives on about $1,000 a month (learn more about the cost of living there.) She adds that, though it can be helpful to have a car, many expats get by without one.
It’s important to note that crime is an issue in the area (the state in which Mazatlán is located, Sinaloa, is on the State Department’s “do not travel” list due to crime, but the U.S. does permit its employees to go to parts of Mazatlán, and Blaser reports she feels safe where she lives). Added perk: Mazatlán’s weather. Though it gets hot in the summer, it’s milder than in Mérida (another of my suggested destinations).