Feeling Fortunate to Live in Mexico

Source: Q-Roo Paul

Today I’m sitting in Mahahual, Mexico – about a three-hour car ride south of where I live in Akumal. We decided to head down to this small beach community with some neighbors on a whim because they had never been here before.

Mahahual is a small beach community whose primary source of income comes from tourism. There is a port here that is frequented by cruise ships. When the ships leave, the community transforms itself back into a laid-back beach town with a cool, rustic vibe to it.

The weather isn’t perfect today. It’s partly cloudy and the wind is a little stronger than I would like – but it’s still an amazing place to be. As I’m writing these words, I’m listening to the sound of the waves crashing against the reef and enjoying the feel of the warm Caribbean breeze on my face.

I decided to get a little writing done this morning while Linda and our neighbors are enjoying some beach time. I don’t have long to work on it because we plan to head down and get one-hour massages on the beach.

Just In case you’re wondering what a massage on the beach costs here, it will be $350 pesos each, or about $18 USD. I’m not sure what a one-hour massage costs back in the States, but I’m guessing it would be more expensive – just like everything else.

After our massages, our day is pretty much open. If the weather holds, we’ll enjoy some drinks on the beach and at some point, have some lobster tails.

As we were planning today’s leisurely activities, I started to imagine what my day would have been like if I had stayed in the United States. It certainly wouldn’t have involved beach massages and lobster tail lunches – of that, I’m sure.

Life Before Mexico

In August of 2015, I was eligible to retire after a 25-year career working as a deputy Sheriff in Florida. I could have elected to stay an additional 5 years to make quite a bit more in retirement; however, I chose to leave and forfeit the money.

I felt that I owed it to my wonderful wife who had spent many years of sleepless nights worrying if I would come home the next morning. Over the years, many of my friends and colleagues paid the ultimate price and never made it home. Although I loved the job, it was time to move on to the next chapter of my life and retire.

Retirement meant a significant cut to my monthly income, so there was no way Linda would be able to retire too. Besides, without an employer to help us pay for her health insurance, her premiums would go through the roof.

This only left us with two options: 1) one or both of us would continue to work to maintain our standard of living and pay for health insurance, or 2) we could get rid of everything we owned and start over in Mexico – a country with a much lower cost of living.

We chose the second option and we’ve never regretted it. We live in a beautiful condo and spend our days traveling, spending time with friends and living every day to the fullest. Mexico is a wonderful country full of wonderful people and we feel truly at home here.

Let’s Wrap This Up

I receive emails daily from readers in the United States and Canada who tell me that they’re inspired by our story. Many tell me that they would like to follow our lead; however, they’re afraid to try.

Look at it this way — if you sell your stuff and relocate to Mexico, what’s the worst thing that will happen if you don’t like it? The answer is simple: you go back to your home country and buy more stuff.

Even if that happens — which seems unlikely judging by the number of happy expats we’ve met here — you’ll still be richer for having had the experience.

So, what are you waiting for? Start planning your new life in Mexico and we’ll save you a Margarita!

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.

50 Comments on "Feeling Fortunate to Live in Mexico"

  1. You’ve really been an inspiration for us to make the leap! We’re planning on moving to Playa in June!

  2. James Fisher | March 7, 2017 at 11:42 am | Reply

    Gonna take you up on that margarita some day…:-).

  3. Susan Allard Snider McKee | March 7, 2017 at 11:50 am | Reply

    The area you are visiting seems like a quiet spot away from a lot of tourists. Not the typical trendy spot. Are there a lot of expact in the area. Have you any pictures to share. Have fun

    • There are a few expats living here but I haven’t met very many. This is a bit too isolated for many people to live on a full time basis. Over 1 hour and 45 minutes to Chetumal to find major stores. That’s a hike!

  4. “What’s the worst that could happen?” and “How important is it anyway?” are essential questions and useful guides. Thanks for sharing your journey!

  5. Roy & Linda Reyna | March 7, 2017 at 11:51 am | Reply

    First thank you for your service. Really enjoy reading your blogs and hopefully someday we will start living at least part-time in the Puerto Morelos area. I love that little beach community. Keep up the blogs.

  6. Susan Allard Snider McKee | March 7, 2017 at 11:52 am | Reply

    Oh thanks for sharing. Being Canadian I should have included that lol. But really thanks. I enjoy your blogs. Hoping to be there next winter.

  7. So ready to do this! Thanks for the encouragement Paul & Linda!

  8. STEVEN LEGER | March 7, 2017 at 12:00 pm | Reply

    Another great article. Is there a way to see your articles by date on qroo.us? So I can see say your last 5 articles.

  9. Moises Gonzalez | March 7, 2017 at 12:23 pm | Reply

    Hope you all continue to have a blast in mexico. Saludos!

  10. We are very glad to have found your blog and FB page. We have been planning a move to the Yucatan Pennisula since our first trio 11years ago. We love the Akumal area.
    Your blog provides a fount of information for which we appreciate. Have fun!
    Joan

  11. We stayed at Mayan beach gardens near Mahahual last year. Loved the town and the area, but it sure does change when the ships are in town! Thanks for sharing.

    Lori Quakenbush

  12. Living here on the other side of the peninsula, in the Merida-Progreso area, is even cheaper and less touristy than where Paul lives. Merida was just named the #1 spot in the world for retirement by CNN Money International magazine.

    • It is less expensive over there for sure. Merida is way too big for me — I don’t like cities that large. So far, my favorite city in the state of Yucatan is Valladolid. It has the colonial architecture — it’s been around since 1545 — but the population is only around 50,000. I’m still exploring though 😉

  13. Cristina Esparza | March 7, 2017 at 12:45 pm | Reply

    Love your story!!

  14. Steve Penn Gerrard | March 7, 2017 at 12:47 pm | Reply

    I enjoy the same life style at my condo in Puerto Aventuras. Last night, March 6th, my wife Harriet and I celebrated a friend’s birthday at Tulum Beach, just south of the ruins.

  15. Ginger Krueger | March 7, 2017 at 12:55 pm | Reply

    I envy you! Akumal is my favorite beach town. My husband and I have tossing the idea of moving down there for years. You guys inspire me!

  16. Our house in Playa will be finished the end of April. Can’t wait to move to PDC, have yet to go to Mahahual, but plan on visiting there and lots of other places once we are in our new home. Thanks for sharing Paul, love your blog!

  17. Forrest Veit - Tampa Bay Area. | March 7, 2017 at 1:11 pm | Reply

    Hope that you enjoyed the lobster and your mini trip.

  18. Bill Wiltsch | March 7, 2017 at 1:13 pm | Reply

    Hi Paul, Mahahual is our little slice of heaven. My wife & I have a condo and sever pieces of land south of there in Puerto Angel. It has changed a lot since we first started coming there about 10 years or so ago. Then, it was just a dirt road down through town – no nicely concreted Mahahual and most of the businesses were not there. But it is still a great little spot. If you or any of your friends want a tour – whether inland to historical sites, bird watching, diving or to some extremely cool mangrove tours, our friend Victor Rosales can hook you up. Highly recommend him, very professional.

    https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B-Q-EetfmZ4YWjZTZi1xRHo5Tms/view

  19. Bill Wiltsch | March 7, 2017 at 1:14 pm | Reply

    I can put up a google folder of pictures of Mahahual and vicinity if you would like.

  20. Great story! We can’t wait for our move down there (sometime this summer)

  21. I often meet people who are visiting San Felipe and wonder how I could retire at 48. Like you say, it is about cost cutting and being happy in your new environment. The hurdle I see the most for people who want to be in Mexico full time is that they don’t want to be so far from their grandchildren. Or, since there is so little shopping, they miss the malls and either move to a bigger city in Mexico or go back to the US. Thank goodness I hate to shop!

  22. You should try Tropicante while you are there. A fellow expat owns it, Steve. We enjoyed our day there while on a cruise and love the smallness of the town.

    • Thanks for the tip. It’s been too windy for the cruise ships to dock so the majority of the shops and restaurants have been closed.

  23. Lika Boresoff | March 7, 2017 at 2:15 pm | Reply

    Don’t miss out on Laguna Bacalar which is only an hour drive south from there. Get a boat tour. You will thank me later. 😉

  24. I like Mahahual. The beach road south of town has some fine turn offs for secluded swimming. I tell people it is Cancun in the late 70s.

  25. We leave soon for retirement in Ajijic!

  26. We retired to Ajijic 7 years ago. No regrets…absolutely NONE. BRW, when we left Seattle 7 years ago a 50 minute massage was $60-70. I’m sure it has gone up. I get a massage every week here!

  27. Nick Papageorge | March 7, 2017 at 3:57 pm | Reply

    Hi Paul,

    A friend of mine just bought a place in Puerto Aventuras last fall . We visited them in October and loved the place.
    I’ve been to the Mexican Riveria several times and always told myself…. someday I’m gonna ditch it all and move here! My wife and I are seriously looking into this now that I’m 59 and she’s 50 something….. were tired of the rat race a long for the Caribbean life syle.

    Just wondering though…….. any issues with crime and drug dealers running around down there?

    • I follow crime very closely here. In this area, crime is relatively low compared to much of the U.S. There are isolated incidents here and there of violence between drug dealers etc but they don’t usually affect the rest of the public.

  28. Anne-Marie Thibert | March 7, 2017 at 4:10 pm | Reply

    I am curious what cruise ships stop in Mahahual. We have stopped in Cozumel and this fall will stop in Costa Maya (Norwegian). Once the kids are graduated we plan on spending winters around PDC or somewhere along the Riviera Maya. We have a cottage back home in Canada with beautiful summers; and lots of friends! Love reading your blog for insight as we are trying to figure out medium term rentals and how to “manage” only being down there 4 – 6 months.

  29. Four years ago I made the decision to retire with my husband. If I worked five more years, my pension would equal my full salary which was a comfortable one. I chose happiness, away from daily stress. We had purchased our lot two years before and we’re anxious to begin living our dream. On April 1, we will celebrate our 4th anniversary in Mexico. Despite some bumps in the construction process–BIG BUMPS –we survived and have never been happier. Like you and Linda, Paul, we sold everything except my husband’s old pickup and moved to Akumal. (We shipped truck for $600. ) My family doesn’t understand how I could be so happy. I tell them to come on down and they will find out. By the way, I took a 55% pay cut and truthfully don’t miss it all. We have a much more active social life here and wonderful friends. Love your blog!

  30. Marie Starkey | March 7, 2017 at 7:03 pm | Reply

    Would truly love to be retired there. Had property in Belize for a few years, the area got too political, changed a lot. We are past the age to retire I. Mexico…74 and 80. We have a place in Texas and have rented our mobile and gone different parts of Mexico. You are very fortunate to have done this earlier in you’re life, There has always been part of me that wanted it. Take care!

  31. Retired here 2 years ago from Texas, and haven’t regretted one minute! Built a house in Tepoztlan, Morelos this past year with nearly zero drama–nothing that couldn’t be resolved. Love my village, my new friends, the culture, food, climate & history. Best decision I ever made.

  32. My husband and I have had the dream of moving to Akumal since our first visit in 2006. I am currently 41 and he is 47. The jobs we have do not offer pension, but we are trying to build our 401K in order to make this dream a reality. We are inspired by your story and would love any advice you may have. We dream of opening a beach bar for income once we are there. Would this be doable for expats to own a business? Love your blog!

  33. Finally made it today to Cozumel. Been planing this for 10 years. Your blog has been so helpful. Seeing it thru your eyes has been so informative. My old deputy sherrif and I truly looking forward to a slow placed life. Lol.

  34. Donna Norstadt | March 7, 2017 at 10:28 pm | Reply

    So glad you made it to a Mahahual. This is my Heaven.

  35. TAMMY CRABTREE | March 8, 2017 at 9:51 am | Reply

    You mentioned health insurance would be unaffordable if you stayed so now what do you do for doctors visits, pretty cheap I’m sure but what about surgery or or heart attack?

  36. Bradford T. Arnsparger - Marquette, Michigan | March 8, 2017 at 7:04 pm | Reply

    Paul — Regretfully agree…

    Watching those in our endeavor not go home, it’s certainly not at all a
    pleasantry via our chosen living. It has to be much better to listen to those waves crashing and experiencing that beach breeze… At the end of the decision day…I guess we have to be bold in wanting to explore new and uncharted paths.

    Hold down the fort and keep one cold Brother…

    Regards, Brad

    …btw. Has it occurred to you and Linda that you’re undoubtedly, by way of your Posts, bringing droves of U.S. northern-tier friends, and likely, ‘half of Canada’ your way? You guys will soon require a hired Social Coordinator to keep up with your new found Fans:)

  37. Lynnmarie Clark | March 9, 2017 at 3:29 pm | Reply

    Great blog post today. You both continue to inspire us to follow our dreams!

  38. Connie Chris | April 5, 2017 at 11:53 am | Reply

    Glad that I ran into your blog. Since y’all have been traveling around the area, would like to know if you’ve come upon a location on or near Beach that isn’t real touristy. No cruise ships would be a start. Beginning in 80s, scubaed in CZM for many years. Diving was excellent. We finally quit going because it became tooooo touristy. Lived in CR for 2 years. Returned to states. Would like to come to Mexico permanently. CZM seems to be very low crime, but pretty sure that it has much more concrete than years ago. Comments on CZM or any little town around? Thanks. Sounds like y’all are entrenched & loving the life.

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