8 Reasons to Become an Expat in Mexico

Since not everyone is familiar with the term expat, I’ll start this post by defining it with a little help from Wikipedia:

An expatriate (often shortened to expat) is a person temporarily or permanently residing, as an immigrant, in a country other than that of their citizenship. The word comes from the Latin terms ex (“out of”) and patria (“country, fatherland”).

My wife and I became expats when we moved to Mexico from the United States in 2015. Although the idea of starting over from scratch in a new country was scary, we decided to take a chance and try it anyway. Our gamble paid off and we now enjoy a laid-back Caribbean lifestyle on 1/3 of the income that we had in the U.S. We couldn’t be happier.

If you’ve ever thought about becoming an expat yourself and just need a few good reasons to try it, here are eight of them:

1. Low Cost of Living

Your money goes a lot farther in Mexico which means you won’t need as much of it.

If you want to see our monthly expenses, click HERE.

2. Access to Affordable Healthcare

I’ve been very impressed with both the quality and the cost of healthcare in Mexico. You can see primary care doctors and even specialists without having health insurance for the price of a copay in the United States.

The doctors also spend a lot more time with each patient and it’s not unusual for a doctor in Mexico to give a patient his or her personal cell phone number in case they have any questions later. This still amazes me.

Even if you take out a health insurance plan to cover major medical expenses — which is my recommendation — you’ll find that expat plans are very affordable.

3. Improved Safety and Security

As a retired law enforcement officer, crime and safety are very important to me. I keep up with crime trends and important news stories in my area of Mexico. I can honestly say that I feel safer here in Akumal than I did living in Central Florida.

4. Improved Social Life

Our social life is far more active than it was in the United States. The expat community in this area is full of outgoing, friendly people who are eager to live life to the fullest. We have already made a lot of great friends.

5. Close Proximity to the U.S. and Canada

Just in case we have to go back to the United States for a family emergency, we can get there quickly. The flight from Cancun to Orlando averages about 1 hour and 25 minutes.

6. Mexican People

From the moment we arrived, almost everyone that we’ve encountered has been friendly, helpful and has gone out of their way to make us feel welcome.

We originally moved to Mexico for the low cost of living and the beaches, but one of the main reasons that we stay is because of the people. This is the type of community that anyone would want to be part of.

7. Opportunity to Learn Spanish

The best way to learn a foreign language is to surround yourself with it. Here’s your chance.

8. Less Stress

This one shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone. After all, it’s difficult to feel stressed when your sipping a margarita next to the turquoise waters of the Caribbean.

Let’s Wrap This Up

Becoming an expat does not mean giving up your citizenship or your allegiance to your birth country –it only means that you’ve chosen to live in another country. You can even have the best of both worlds by dividing your time between paradise and your previous home.

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About the Author

Q-Roo Paul

Paul Kurtzweil (Q-Roo Paul) was a deputy sheriff in Florida for 25 years and retired at the rank of lieutenant in 2015. He moved to Mexico with his wife six days later to enjoy a laid-back, Caribbean lifestyle on a tight budget.

In 2016, Paul started a blog to share information with other people who may be thinking of making the move to Mexico. The blog, Two Expats Living in Mexico (qroo.us), has been viewed over a million times and Paul’s articles appear in periodicals across Mexico.

20 Comments on "8 Reasons to Become an Expat in Mexico"

  1. Do you have to make some type of application to live there

  2. Another fantastic blog Paul!

  3. Lynnmarie Clark | January 28, 2017 at 4:00 pm | Reply

    Enjoyed this!

  4. Carole Waterer | January 28, 2017 at 4:22 pm | Reply

    Paul, a blog about the Fideicomiso for people planning to move to Mexico could be helpful. An expense that needs to be factored in when buying property in coastal communities and the annual fee needs to be part of an annual budget.
    Carole Waterer

    • I have it on my list of possible topics but there is already so much information on it out there that I’ve been reluctant to do it.

  5. Bud Gallagher a proud Canadian living in Mexico | January 28, 2017 at 5:09 pm | Reply

    Paul, I endorse your list and add that our decision to move to the Lake Chapala area of Mexico was also influenced by the climate in our area, rated by National Geographic as the second best in the world, behind South Africa.

    A great blog. Thank you.

  6. Thank you! What about cost of renting, as opposed to owning?

  7. I love your blog, Paul, because it’s always full of useful information and written from a solid perspective. My wife and I have traveled in Mexico on nine trips over the years, and we’re getting ready for our tenth. We’ll be laying a foundation for our eventual move to Mexico for all of the reasons you listed. Salud!

  8. I have the same question about renting. What would a 1/1 and 2/2 cost? I realize there would be beach, gated, inland options. Maybe ideas of where most expats are…

    At times, you mention costs of property tax and insurance. What other yearly fees do you pay that’s not mentioned in your monthly break downs? Are “flood or hurricane insurance” offered? There’s always risks regarding hurricanes, but would the assumption that (current) building codes require withstanding a Cat 3+ storm be accurate? BTW, I’ve looked for your previous monthly budget to compare the changes, but can’t find it.

    What about single expats? Would one feel like a 5th wheel? Your blog has piqued my interest in retiring to MX – for a cheaper lifestyle, as well as a more social one.

    How’s the uprising on gas prices going now that the MX government allows stations other than PEMEX?

    Thanks for your blog. I look forward to your posts.

    • Hi Sarah. We live in a condo and we all pay into a plan that covers the structure itself (around $500 a year). The walls of the buildings are all constructed with block, the roof is block and even the interior walls are block.

      I actually have a lot of experience with hurricanes having worked as a deputy sheriff in Florida. I worked post hurricane relief in and out of the state and I feel very comfortable in this condo because of it’s construction.

      There are quite a few of single expats in the area. People do things in groups of three, four or more. No worries there. We have single friends that we hang around with.

      The gas prices are still regulated by the government and they hiked them up in January, causing quite an uproar. The true “free market” pricing hasn’t started yet. It will be implemented in phases this year but at first, the competitors will still be buying gas from Pemex — so the prices won’t change too much. By 2018, several of the larger corporations should have distribution centers established and will be bringing in their own gasoline. That’s when we should see an improvement in both cost and quality — that’s the idea anyway.

      • Forgot to mention the rentals. People often write me looking for a rental for a period of 1-6 months. That can be difficult to find because most people want you to rent for at least a year or they want to charge you vacational rental prices which are very high.

        Many of the other condo owners here rent their units as vacation rentals when they’re not using them, It can generate a pretty substantial income stream.

  9. Have lived in Cozumel for 22 years. Loving every minute of it.

  10. Debbie Hilyard | January 29, 2017 at 10:58 am | Reply

    Hi, could you tell me what community you live in and what it would cost to buy a 2 bedroom condo there? Do you have any websites that were really helpful for you in looking at Mexico life and real estate before you left Florida?

  11. Paul, Thank you SO much for all of the information you have posted on your blog. Your blog was the final impetus we needed to decide to move to Mexico. We are currently in the process of getting rid of all of our material possessions before the move and we plan to be moving within the next six months. We made a recon visit in December to Playa and have pretty much determined the area where we initially want to live.

    We also really had a laugh when we realized that the picture for this blog post was taken at our favorite hotel on Isla Holbox, Villas Paraiso del Mar!

  12. Kathleen LaBella | February 11, 2017 at 10:53 am | Reply

    Paul,
    We’ve been exploring and enjoying Mexico for many years and want to retire there soon. But one of the reasons for our exit out of USA is political. Since you’ve been in law enforcement you must have some qualified insights on subjects like our growing police and security state closing in on us. Not to mention the upheaval in Wash DC.
    Can you please address that in a post? We know a retired chief of police from a big city who has lived in Mex for 20 years and he shares our concern (out rage) at the loss of our freedoms.
    Thanks for doing this website. You are a good writer!Kathleen LaBella

  13. Thanks for your blog very informative . Love it

  14. As we enjoy this beautiful land, we must remember that there are Indigenous people who live in communities where our world of opulence is a billion miles away.
    Our Charity is helping some of these people. Please help us to continue our work.
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  15. I’m new to your blog and am seriously considering relocating from FL to Riviera Maya MX myself. I’ve read through many of your posts and haven’t run across anything addressing being a single woman expat. Wondering if there are many, is it just as safe for women alone as when with men, are there special precautions to take, etc?
    Very much enjoying the great info you share!

    • There are several single female expats in our area and to my knowledge, they’re all getting along just fine. There are no special safety precautions to take. My only advice is to keep using common sense to avoid situations that might increase your chances of becoming a victim, like using an ATM at 2AM.

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