When my wife and I retired in 2015, we wanted an active lifestyle but the problem was that our monthly retirement benefit was only about 1/3 of what we used to make when we were both working. After subtracting the monthly expenses, we realized that our ‘active lifestyle’ would probably be limited to eating out a couple of times a week.
Neither of us were happy with that prospect so we decided to move to the Riviera Maya in 2015 in search of an affordable retirement destination. Our gamble paid off and we found exactly what we were looking for. Inadvertently, we also discovered that the Riviera Maya is the ideal home base for retirees who love to travel.
Before I give you the reasons why, I’d like to answer a question that some of you might have right now:
Where’s the Riviera Maya?
The Riviera Maya is a popular tourist destination on the eastern side of Mexico that borders the Caribbean Sea. It runs from the area of Puerto Morelos down to an area south of Tulum.
The map below is interactive, so you can zoom out to see where the Riviera Maya is in relation to other areas that you might be more familiar with.
Now that we have the geography lesson out of the way, let’s move on to the reasons why the Riviera Maya is an ideal location for retirees who love to travel.
Low cost of living
The cost of living is significantly lower in Mexico than it is in the United States or Canada. You can save money on everything from property taxes to healthcare. For example, we live in a modern condo inside a resort community that butts up against the Caribbean Sea and our property taxes are less than $200 USD a year.
The more disposable income you have, the more traveling you can do.
If you would like to see a detailed breakdown of our expenses, check out Retired in a Mexican Paradise: A Detailed Look at Our Expenses.
Proximity to a major international airport
The Riviera Maya is located near the Cancun International Airport, which is the second busiest airport in Mexico after Mexico City. In 2017 alone, the Cancun International Airport handled 23,601,509 passengers.
With so many flights coming and going, it’s never difficult to find economical flights to destinations all over the world.
If you enjoy cruising, you can take the less than two hour flight to Florida and visit any one of the three busiest cruise ports in the world: Port of Miami, Port Canaveral and Port Everglades.
Ideal location for home exchange
We have several friends who love to travel the world and they do it on a tight budget though home exchange sites. They all say that living in the Riviera Maya has made it even easier to travel because it is a well-known tourist destination and everyone seems to want to come here.
One friend in particular commented that he never has trouble finding amazing places to stay around the world; however, he doubts that it would have been this easy if he was still living in a small town in the middle of nowhere in Texas.
Even when you’re not traveling, you’re in paradise
Traveling is great but after being away from the Riviera Maya for a few days, we both start to miss it. This place really checks all the boxes for us: beautiful Caribbean beaches, great food, friendly people, and plenty of things to do (e.g. ziplining, cave exploring etc.).
The best part is that since we are residents, we can qualify for locals-only discounts at restaurants and attractions. This allows us to lead an active lifestyle and save up for our next trip at the same time.
Let’s Wrap This Up
When we moved to Mexico, we never expected to be able to travel as much as we do now — but we sure aren’t complaining.
We take at least one major trip a year and about a dozen mini-trips around this part of Mexico. In fact, we have two mini-trips planned for this month alone.