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The Truth About Retirement In Mexico
When we think about retirement in Mexico we consider these issues: Climate, accessibility for family and friends, affordability, safety, good medical care and a community of English speaking residents.
In a series of articles about retirement in Mexico, Northwest Retirement Magazine will look at various locations and the advantages and disadvantages of retirement in these Mexican regions.
In this issue, we will examine Baja California, Mexico and specifically Ensenada and La Paz.
Ensenada is located in the State of Baja California, Mexico about 75 miles south of the California border. It has been popular with U.S. expatriates retirees for years. The cost of living is roughly one half of the U.S. average and that is why there are nearly 20,000 expatriates living there currently. Within a protected inlet, it is a leading seaport and popular cruise ship stop. Home prices in Ensenada start around $65,000 USD but expect to pay in the low $100,000 USD for a two to three bedroom home in town and less outside of town. Buyers will find high-rise condos, condo-hotels and small condo communities as well as hillside homes, beach front homes and ranches.
Gated communities are not as prevalent as in Rosarito, 50 miles north, but there are a few in Ensenada including Chapultpec, Estero Beach and Punta Banda. There are some American developers in Ensenada and a few developers offer title insurance. Affordable financing has also become available using Mexican property as collateral, although seller financing is the most common way to purchase there. Property taxes on an average $200,000 USD residence will run about $100.00 USD per year.
Renting a home is always a popular option since many of Ensenada’s expat retirees are “snowbirds,” and split their time between Mexico and the U.S. Home rentals start around $600.00 USD per month for a 12 month lease; shorter leases are more expensive. Rental homes often come completely furnished and the services of a maid or gardener may be included.
Ensenada has a large RV “snowbird” population. The quality of RV parks varies from just a patch of land to ones with ocean views, boat ramps, full hook-ups, restaurants and more.
La Paz is located in Baja California Sur, Mexico near the Cape of Baja, a 2 hour direct flight from Los Angeles or a 2 ½ hour drive from Cabo San Lucas. It is the capital of the state of Baja California Sur. The population has swelled in the last twenty years from 36,000 in 1985 to 300,000 in 2007. It still has small town character and is not a typical tourist trap that other Mexican destinations can be. Galleries, piano concerts, shows and ballets abound. Arts, crafts and pottery are in abundance and the prices are much lower than in the US or Canada.
Many people take their RVs to La Paz and there are some good parks in town and outside of town. Many “Baby Boomers” are retiring in La Paz where Social Security goes much farther than at home. There are some permanent RV grounds 11 miles north at the inner bay of Paz (http://hacienda-sol.com/EARL) It is just a few yards to the water to launch a fishing boat or go swimming and collect clams for dinner.
The larger harbor attracts sailboats from all over the world. There are many great beaches for swimming and sunbathing northeast of the city. The weather in La Paz is excellent almost all year around. It can get hot in the summer and is affected by tropical storms generated in the warm Pacific waters in summer and fall.
The La Paz International Airport services commercial flights to Loreto and Tijuana as well as many other cities on the Mexican mainland and in the United States. Ferries leave regularly from La Paz to Mazatlan and Tompo Lobompo.
A new development, Paraiso del Mar is currently selling condos and homes near an 18 hole golf course and country club. A thousand acres have been set aside for wildlife sanctuaries and open spaces. A desalinization plant will provide ample fresh water. Within the complex will be stores, restaurants and entertainment. See www.paradiseofthesea.com for more information.