Hello all, So this might be a long post but want to give as much info to receive the best answers. Thanks in advance for any and all help. I am retiring at the end of 2022 and hope to have everything in place to be able to leave than. We are a married couple (together since 1977) and live a very simple life. Have a family owned business that my brothers will be buying me out, Been open since 1989. We both like the outdoors. We are from northeast Ohio. She wants to be close to the beach but I want closer to the mountains. I just don't think she realize how hot and humid it can get there. Anyway we are not city people or into the party scene. Would like to find something that is couple hours or so to the coast and have mild temperature. We are both learning Spanish now and hope to have some basic skills by time we move. So would like to make a trip this year if everything settles down and at least 2 or 3 times each of the following years. Would like to rent and have somewhere around 3 grand a month budget. We are both in good health but would like to have the option to have good local care. Thanks again for any suggestions.
This may or may not be to your liking, but I will tell you a little about Colima, the area where my wife and I live. Colima is located about two hours south of Guadalajara, more specifically the airport in Guadalajara. And it is about one hour east of the port city of Manzaillo. We are in the northern part of the city, where the elevation is a little higher. It can still get a little hot and humid in the afternoons during the summer months, but even then usually cools off nicely at night. But November through March (give a take a few weeks) the weather is just about perfect.
Colima is not a huge city. Together with Villa de Alvarez (the two are so close as to be essentially one metropolitan area) the total population is somewhere around 300,000. So it is big enough to have a variety of restaurants, shopping centers and cultural events, but not so big as to be difficult to navigate or have a lot of pollution. It is also not a major expat enclave like Ajijic or San Miguel de Allende, but there are a few other expats living here.
Because it is smaller, and not overrun with expats, the cost of living here is very affordable. You can rent a small house in a decent but older neighborhood for $4,000 to $5,000 MXN; about $200 to $250 USD. A larger, better appointed house in a newer neighborhood might rent for as much as $14,000 MXN or about $700 USD. And of course, you can find anything in between.
Colima itself is surrounded by mountains, but we are also only about 30 miles from the nearest beach. And as mentioned above, about a one hour drive to Manzanillo where there are several nice beach resorts. Given your budget of $3,000 monthly (USD I am assuming), unless you have some other extravagances, you could easily spend a long weekend, or even an entire week, at a very nice resort in Manzanillo every other month or so.
I am mentioning this because, with you wanting the mountains and your wife wanting the beach, Colima, or some other similar place, might be a really good compromise. Near both mountains and beaches with a little taste of the weather from both. Let me know if you would like any more info.
(Silly question) But how do you get to Colima (from the US)? Sure I could fly into Guadalajara and rent an auto for a few days while I looked around but could I drive down with a (small) load of household goods if I wanted to stay for a few months?
I made the drive just once, starting from Dallas, Texas. We (my wife and I) drove from Dallas to Laredo the first day and stayed at a hotel on the U.S. side. The next morning we crossed the border and drove all the way to Aguascalientes to spend the night. If you don't want to drive that far in one day, Zacatecas is another option. Day three we drove through Guadalajara (looped around it actually) and then on to Colima.
If you're starting from somewhere in the western part of the U.S., obviously the route would be different. And as I said, I have only made the drive one time. But I have friends here who actually make the drive from Colima to Texas and back on a somewhat regular basis.
I should add also that, if you do fly into Guadalajara, you don't necessarily have to rent a car and drive to Colima. You can take a bus from the Tlaquepaque station in Guadalajara that goes non-stop to Colima.
Intercity bus service in Mexico is actually great. The buses, generally speaking, are very nice, new and clean with air conditioning and large, comfortable seats. In fact, when we fly back to the U.S. we, more often than not, take the bus from Colima to Guadalajara airport (it goes non-stop directly to the airport) and then take the bus back from Tlaquepaque station.
Thanks DWWhiteside for the interesting and informative info on Colima and it's proximity to Manzanillo. I'd really like to learn more of the area. My wife and I are waiting for the Mexican Consulate to reopen in Kansas City for our interview to receive our Temporary Residency Visa's. May I ask if you and your wife feel safe there?
We have learned to rely on Expats living in MX far more than the news but both Canadian and US State Dept sites (and CA seems less politically motivated) advise to just visit Manzanillo as the rest is too dangerous? What's your feeling for new expats? Thanks!
Generally speaking, I do feel safe here. No doubt that the news can be concerning. But for the most part, the people in danger from the cartels are those working with, or against them. The vast majority of people who are not involved in any way with the cartels are not being targeted.
A separate consideration is property crimes. We have lived here for almost eight years now and have not had any direct issues with property crime. However, we do take precautions. We have security wires and cameras covering all of the exterior walls. We also have a dog. And we don't really live ostentatiously. My wife and I have asked ourselves, "If someone did break into our house, what would they steal?" We have a couple of old TVs, and a couple of old laptops, but I cannot think of anything else that would have any "street value."
Having said that, I want to acknowledge that Mexico does have both a crime and a corruption problem. The cartels are real, and they really do fight with each other and with the authorities. But the way Mexico is portrayed by the U.S. State Department, and by U.S. media, is about 90% hype and fear-mongering.
I will leave you with this; when I first started telling friends and family in the U.S. that I was moving to Mexico, almost all said the same thing, "Be careful because Mexico is very dangerous." Now that I am living here, whenever we mention to friends and family here that we are going to visit the U.S., they all tell us the same thing, "Be careful because the U.S. is very dangerous."