One Year Down and a Lifetime to Go

Source: Q-Roo Paul

It has been one year since Linda and I arrived at the Cancun airport with 99% of our worldly belongings stuffed into four suitcases.

When we arrived, we both had lofty expectations of what it would be like to like in the Riviera Maya. I imagined taking catnaps on empty white sand beaches, swapping stories with locals at swing bars, and sipping cold beer next to the turquoise waters of the Caribbean. Basically, I imagined living inside of a Kenny Chesney video.

As silly as that sounds, that basically describes our life here in Mexico. We live a very stress free, laid back Caribbean lifestyle on a limited budget. There is no way — short of winning the lottery — that we would have ever been able to afford this lifestyle if we had stayed in the United States. And although we have fewer possessions, we lead much richer lives.

The Year in Review

Here are a few random pictures taken over the last year:


Spending some time at Caleta Tankah



Baby turtles hatching



In Mexico, even the view from the gym is amazing!



Me on Isla Holbox



Just us relaxing on some beach, somewhere



One of our favorite overnight getaways, Pavo Real Beach Resort



Our sunset view while eating dinner at Lol Ha Restaurant

Let’s Wrap This Up

When we arrived in Mexico, we told ourselves that we would give it one year and then we would decide whether or not we would make it our permanent home.  Well, that time has come and in case it is not obvious enough — we are not going anywhere.  We love our new life in Mexico and wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world.  We are excited to see what adventures await us in the years to come.

A special thanks to all of you who take a little bit of time out of the day to read our blog.

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About the Author

Q-Roo Paul
Paul Kurtzweil (Q-Roo Paul) was a deputy sheriff in Florida for 25 years before retiring at the rank of lieutenant in 2015. He and his wife moved to Mexico looking to maximize their retirement income. In 2016, they started a blog called Two Expats Mexico ( sharing their experiences, as well as information about the logistical and legal aspects of retiring south of the border. The blog has been viewed over two million times and the articles have been republished in numerous periodicals across Mexico.

45 Comments on "One Year Down and a Lifetime to Go"

  1. Thanks for this folks! We are doing the same thing next winter (although we are much older than you). We are retiring to the Gulf of Mexico just outside of Merida. And things are even cheaper there! I am way too excited about it! We will spend the winter at our condo this winter – then come home & ditch everything & become expats! I excited and nervous! Although your blog is making me feel much less of a fraidycat! Keep it up and keep the stories coming!
    Bar in Canada is a fan!

    • Thank so so much for reading the blog! How exciting for you. You will definitely not regret your move and you’re right, things are so much cheaper in the Yucatan. We plan on doing a little bit of traveling there over the winter as well.

  2. Hello Paul, nice to read you as always. Greetings for Linda.

  3. I love reading your posts. What do you do about seeing family members? Do you have children?

    • We occasionally return to the States to see family members but we encourage them to come see us in Mexico instead. We have an adult son and we hope to have him visit in the near future.

  4. Congratulations on your 1st year – may you have many more wonderful years in Mexico!

  5. Thanks for all the great info I am a newbie here and really enjoy your blog lots of great tips. I have a small house in a large resort and I am slowly finding my way around. Congrats on the one year!

    • Thanks for reading the blog and for taking the time to comment. Finding your way around in a new country is part of the fun. It is difficult to get bored when there is so much to learn and do.

  6. I have enjoyed reading your blog. We did this move, but to Belize a couple years ago however we had to come back stateside after a year and take care of some business and are hoping to be back to the sea this coming spring. We are looking very seriously at Quanta Roo area since we love the sea and life style we had in Belize (Ambergris Caye). Mexico is much cheaper to live and has easier access to things we ended up missing more that we thought living in a more remote and 3rd world country. We are looking at possibly the Porta Morales area but think we might want to go further south. Any insite on towns and locations not so on the map would be wonderful. Keep up the boggin!

    • Thanks for checking out our blog. We love the Quintana Roo area because the infrastructure is similar to what we are used to back in the States. I feel like we get the comforts of home but with a much lower price tag. Puerto Morelos is very nice, I loved their beer festival. We decided to move south of Playa del Carmen to stay out of the congestion and traffic; however, we love being close enough to go there for shopping and great food.

  7. Personally, I am a big fan of yours now. I do not when I started reading your blog, but there’s always rather interesting in them. So, I am happy that nice people like you come to Mexico to share and enjoy what we have to offer.
    By the way, not wanting to diminish any other places, I believe you are in the most beautiful one in Mexico. Enjoy it.

    • Thanks, Juan. We love Mexico more every day. We came for the beaches and cost of living but we discovered so much more once we were here. One of the reasons that we have felt so at home here in Mexico is because the Mexican people that we have met have been so warm, inviting, and helpful. I know that you already know this, but you have a wonderful country.

  8. BTW, just for my clear understanding, could you define what a swing bar is, please?
    I guess I need more beach vocabulary.

  9. Paul, love reading your blog. Live here too and would love to meet you sometime. In one of your earlier blogs you talking about looking into health insurance. Will you do a blog on what you found out please. Thanks, Michael and Tina

    • Thanks for reading the blog and we would love to meet. We have made some great friends and contacts through the blog.

      As for health insurance, that is a big concern for all of us. We are working on putting something together (mostly on rainy days). Until then, I have been referring people to a very knowledgeable, English speaking expat who deals with such issues.

  10. Congrats..Love your Blog..Read everyday.

  11. Congratulations on your first anniversary in Mexico! Your blogs are informative, and delightful. I would like to know what Americans need to do regarding the driving privilege and vehicle insurance?

    • You can drive with your foreign driver’s license here but you will definitely need insurance. If you make Mexico your full time home and get a vehicle with Mexican plates, you should obtain a local license. Our car actually came with one year of car insurance. If you are bringing your foreign plated car into Mexico, you may need to pick up a supplemental car insurance plan that is good in Mexico. We should probably do a blog article on this in the future. So much to do…haha.

  12. Charles Brown | August 11, 2016 at 1:10 pm |

    Paul and Linda, congrats on your first year living in Mexico. Retiring in Mexico has been my dream for a long time. I love reading your blog, it has answered a lot questions I have about moving to Mexico permanently. I have a beauty salon and many clients tell me that I am crazy to want to move to Mexico because of the crime and drug cartels. I tell them how every morning I watch the local news and I see all the overnight shootings and drug arrests in Pittsburgh. I remind them that there are parts of Pittsburgh that I would not drive through during the day, but that doesn’t make Pennsylvania an unsafe state. You just have to know where not to go. Thanks for your blog and good luck in the future.

    • Thank you very much. Everyone thought we were crazy for moving here too. It sounds like you have a great response for those negative folks. The funny thing is, I actually feel safer where I live in Mexico than where I did in Florida.

      Good luck on your future move to Mexico. Maybe we will run into each other some day. 🙂

  13. Deana Clymer | August 11, 2016 at 3:32 pm |

    Paul, I really enjoy reading your Blog and congrats on 1 year in Mexico. Did you rent for the first year or buy a condo.

    • We rented for one year but ended up buying it after 3 months when the owner offered to sell it to us.

  14. I too have an itch to run to south of the border. On one hand I see wonderful story of living south of the border like yours. On the other hand I see state department warnings of security, murder, kidnapping for many parts of Mexico. I picked san luis potori, which supposed to be a small, wonderful colonial town in Mexico with many expats. After a little research on security on the town, I see stories about recent murders of expats and how some of the expats are packing it up.

    Do you have to live with constant vigilance in Riviera Maya?

    • First of all, thanks for reading the blog. It is true that there are security issues in certain parts of Mexico (as there are in any nation), but we feel very safe in this part of Mexico.

      As you may know from the reading the blog, I was a law enforcement officer in the US. I spent 25 years dealing with dangerous people and situations, but when I retired, I chose a peaceful place to do it. I feel safer here than where I lived in the US.

      Do a little homework about your target area, talk to some expats there through FB, and you should be just fine.

  15. Derek Barlow | August 11, 2016 at 4:06 pm |

    Congrats we love your Blog keep them coming ! My wife and I enjoy reading them when ever they come across our computer . My wife always says that will be us in no time (8
    years but who is counting ) ! If your ever in Playa check out the Mayan Bistro one of our favorite spots ! Also we have one son he is 11 and when I can retire from my job at The University of Minnesota he will be 19 yr old can you share how your son dealt with you leaving and how old he was by chance ? That is my wife’s greatest worry is leaving our son .

    • Thanks for reading the blog and for tip on the Mayan Bistro, we will check that out. My son was 22 when we moved to Mexico. We filled his apartment with new furniture so he took it VERY well. He should be coming down to visit us soon.

  16. Bravo for you both! We are living vicariously through you two for now!

    • Thanks you fro reading our blog. I noticed you wrote “for now”, does that mean we might be neighbors someday? 🙂

  17. I enjoy reading your blog,thanks so much. We go to Mexico for the winter months—Nov till May. We have a condo house in a gated community in Ajijic. Ever hear of it? It is an expat community as well, but inland–about 1/2 hr south of Guadalajara. We live amongst the Mexican people–who I agree are very friendly. It’s on Lake Chapala–very large lake. We can walk to everything in the village. Lots of our friends moved there full time. From May till Nov we live in our cottage on the ocean in Nova Scotia, so we feel we have the best of both worlds! May you have many more great years there!

    • Thanks for reading the blog. You make that area sound so good that I would love to see it. I think we will add it to our list of “must see” places in Mexico. 🙂

  18. Congrats Paul on your one year!!…love the blog! Thanks for answering my email last week also, it was very helpful. We hope our upcoming one month stay will lead us to another longer stay then to maybe a full blown move. Just fyi to all… we’ve always felt very safe up and down the Riviera Maya area…just as others have said don’t do or go anywhere in Mexico that you wouldn’t in your home town. My biggest concern at moment would be actually driving in Mexico and have an accident. …heard it’s a big hassle and expense especially if you are at fault. I would also like your thoughts and facts on health care policies in Mexico. Ibe done some research and it looks very very tempting and affordable once one gets settled there. Anyway love the blog and keep rocking on my friend!!!

    • Thanks! Good luck on your drive down. Just make sure you have insurance that works in Mexico and a company that has representatives that will respond to the scene if you have an accident. They will negotiate on your behalf to settle the financial aspect so no one ends up in jail. As far as health care is concerned, I know an expat who is an expert in that field. I will email you her info and I think she will be able to help you out.

  19. Love your blog and Congrats. We made an offer on 2 lots in Cozumel TODAY. Yeah

  20. mlodle54@yahoo,com | August 12, 2016 at 2:33 pm |

    Qroo Paul, We enjoy reading of your adventures. You described the area of your residence in an earlier blog. I told my wife that I bet we stayed at the resort near/where you purchased your condo last October and we toured the condo’s at that time. Wish I had known you then would have loved meeting you and Linda. I believe you and I shared the same profession. After seeing this blog, I recognized the gym and the pool to know exactly where you are living. We too intend to make Mexico our home by the end of February next year. I retire in October and my wife will retire in January. Our house will be on the market soon but we will be hanging on to some of our property for a while just in case things don’t work out. Hate to rent a storage but gotta keep momma happy. Will start working on our visa’s in October as well. However, we intend to start with the island life on Czm. Already have a few contacts on the isla. We are so looking forward to this next step in our lives. Hopefully, we can meet up some day. We can surely use all the advise we can get. Thanks for the blogs, we enjoy your post.

    • Thanks for reading the blog and good luck on your future move to Mexico. It’s a shame we didn’t get to meet when you were in my area but send me a message when you get back down this way. As far as the storage shed is concerned, I know all about the importance of keeping momma happy…haha. Maybe after a little bit of time down here, she will be more inclined to get rid of it in order to have more money to invest in daily adventures in Mexico.

  21. Congratulations for one year Mexico.
    My hubby and I are German and live about 8 years in Merida Conkal.
    Unfortunately Merida is not our city.
    For years, we try to sell our house, so far without success.
    We also love Cancun or Playa. Perhaps we will eventually
    there times encounter when we have a house there or when you visit Merida.
    Until then please many beautiful other reports.
    Sorry, my English is modest.
    I also have a blog
    Best regards

    • Hi Gil. Thanks for reading the blog. I am sorry to hear that you are having some trouble selling your house in Merida. Maybe one of the readers of this blog will see your message and contact you for more information about it. Sometimes things just work out that way. Let us know if you are ever down around Akumal, we can meet for a drink next to Akumal Bay. Take care.

  22. Paul – just discovered your blog through a friend who shares my love of dreaming to be somewhere tropical in the next few years – excellent job! As I have been studying and attending shows (Canadian) to do as much research into the next stage of our lives, I still haven’t found the answers to a few questions that keep nagging me. First is more details on the move itself; there’s only so much that can be taken with you in 4 or even 8 suitcases. Heavy things like photo albums or many other personal items that you wouldn’t want to liquidate but want with you for a sense of “home” even though they might not have much in the way of real value. How do they let you into their Country with only a 1-way ticket – was there some visa wrangling that had to happen back stateside first? Another one is accessing money – just manintain your “home” bank account and figure to hit the ATM 1 per week or open a Mexican account and make monthly lump sum transfers as I begin to liquidate my retirement accounts? (I have no pensions and need to maintain my Canadian account for a rental property). I could go on but won;t bore your readers further – any thoughts on hosting a webinar as a fee for service? Keep up the good work.

    • Hi Rob. In our case we scanned all the photos into the “cloud” and then we got rid of the hard copies.

      As for the ticket in, a lot of our neighbors enter with one way tickets on only a tourist visa. None of them have reported any problems at all.

      As far as banking, if you have a Mexican resident card — or a Mexican corporation — you can open a bank account here. Then you can transfer money to it electronically from your bank in Canada. The other options are to wire money to yourself via sites like or rely on your ATM.

      I haven’t thought of doing a webinar before but that’s definitely something to look at.

      I have several things planned for Feb related to real estate and banking. Hopefully some of those posts will help.

      Thanks for reading the blog and for the webinar idea. 🙂

  23. Really really really enjoy your Spanish Lessons videos! I love the direction in which you approach the teaching. I laugh and I learn. Thanks SO much for taking the time to make them! We will be moving to Tulum next year and beginning our next chapter in the book of life. Can’t wait!

    • Q-Roo Paul | July 17, 2017 at 5:53 am |

      I’m glad to hear that you like the videos. Good luck on your move to Tulum. I’m sure we’ll bump into each other here someday.

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