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One million americans in Mexico can´t all be wrong

Reports are that approximately one million Americans live in Mexico. While it’s hard to verify that number, it’s not hard to imagine that it’s true. Some are working, of course, for U.S., Mexican, or other foreign corporations. You’ll find them in cities like Mexico City, Queretaro, and Monterrey.
And some live in Mexico just part-time…spending winter months in vacation homes where the weather is always warm and the cervezas are always cold.
Many Americans in Mexico, however, have moved there to enjoy their retirement years. They live in Mexico full-time and enjoy better weather, a more relaxed lifestyle, and a host of other benefits—including affordable top-quality health care and a much lower overall cost of living.

The most popular retirement destinations for Americans in Mexico

First, let’s get something straight. People from around the globe are retiring to Mexico…and not just folks from the U.S. It just happens to be a close destination for those from the U.S. and Canada. From Canada or the U.S. you can easily drive to Mexico.

Several locations in Mexico stand out, of course, as retirement destinations for foreign expats. Some of the most popular are:

Lake Chapala: In the little towns along the north shore of Mexico’s largest freshwater lake, you’ll find the largest community of U.S. retirees outside the U.S. This lakeside area in the country’s central highlands, just 45 minutes south of Guadalajara, is already home to about 10,000 full-time expatriates from the U.S. and Canada (and nearly twice that many during winter months). The towns on the lake—particularly those along the north shore—are comfortable enclaves with cobblestone streets, Spanish-colonial architecture, and some of the world’s best weather. The average year-round temperature is a spring-like 68° F, and a tight-knit expatriate community provides all manner of comfortable amenities and support to retirees—from garden restaurants, to dog-training services, to bridge clubs and yoga classes.
San Miguel de Allende: With its high-towered church and its cobbled streets, tidy shops selling carefully embroidered linens and hand-painted plates homes that belong in the pages of Architectural Digest, and lush courtyard gardens in bloom year-round, this city is like something out of a children’s fairytale book. San Miguel has other benefits, too—proximity to the U.S., an excellent climate, an affordable cost of living, an established expatriate community, local golf courses, and the kind of shopping (for everything from food to office supplies) that you’re used to back home.
Puerto Vallarta: When Liz Taylor and Richard Burton famously came here in the early 1960s, Puerto Vallarta wasn’t much more than a sleepy fishing village. A place where misty tropical mountains wrap arms around the crescent moon-shaped Banderas Bay.
Today, it is one of the world’s top tourist destinations, with an international airport, pro-tourney golf courses, designer shopping, world-class restaurants and beautiful people from around the world. Vallarta’s expat community is vibrant, too…you’ll find many activities to keep you busy, from outdoor activities to art galleries and charitable events to volunteer options and more.
Baja California Sur. The southern half of the long Baja Peninsula is a nature wonderland: a dry, sparsely-populated desert terrain blessed with two spectacular coasts: the Pacific to the west and the fertile Sea of Cortez, which separates it from mainland Mexico, to the east. Three easy-going destinations favored by expats are Todos Santos, Loreto, and La Paz. Artsy Todos Santos, on the Pacific side of the Peninsula, has a well-established little expat community. Loreto, on the Sea of Cortez, is the gateway to the UNESCO-designated and –protected marine park just offshore. With world-class kayaking, snorkeling, diving, fishing, and dolphin- and whale-watching available, Loreto attracts nature- and sports-lovers. Laid-back La Paz, four hours south of Loreto on the Sea of Cortez, is the capital of Baja California Sur and a low-key favorite that feels much like Southern California 60 or 70 years ago.
Mazatlan: One of Mexico’s oldest and most famous vacation and retirement destinations, Mazatlan is built on the reputation of the world-class deep-sea fishing to be found along the coast, and the 16 miles of beaches running north from town. Other fancier Mexican beach resorts may have stolen a bit of its thunder, but make no mistake…Mazatlan still has what it takes to charm the visitor’s heart and pique the interest of the potential part- or full-time resident. It’s a wonderful blend of resort beach town with a distinctly Mexican flavor…something the mega resorts have largely lost. And reasonably priced real estate is still available.
Huatulco: A resort community planned by Fonatur, the Mexican government’s national trust fund for tourism development, Huatulco is spacious, green, and well-maintained. You’ll find fabulous homes tucked away on high cliffs overlooking the picture-perfect bays. (There are nine gorgeous secluded bays to choose from here.) And even though Huatulco is a resort destination, it doesn’t feel like one. It’s quiet, laid-back and waiting to be discovered…the “Cinderella” of Mexico’s Pacific resort towns.
Puerto Escondido: Puerto Escondido is a little fishing village and a world-class surf zone—a longstanding favorite with surfers worldwide. The downtown area is small, colorful, and crowded, and the front beach is like a picture postcard, truly gorgeous. This is still a fishing village at heart, and its front beach is one of the cleanest and prettiest we’ve seen on any coast. You can still buy a whole, fresh tuna or dorado from fishermen’s children on the main street if you get there before 10 a.m. But the little town is growing, so get there quickly while you can still find the bargains.
Merida: Sidewalk cafés, tree-lined streets, and fresh paint…Yucatan’s best-kept secret is cosmopolitan Mérida. Just a half-hour from the Gulf-coast beaches, this city of 970,000 is a center of commerce and home to universities, hospitals, friendly locals, and beautiful colonial homes that would cost you twice as much in central Mexico’s discovered enclaves. The expatriate community maintains a well-equipped English-language library and hosts monthly get-togethers. The kinds of goods and services you’d expect to find in a comparably-sized city back home are available here, too–from Office Depot to Sam’s Club, Costco, Sears, all the familiar fast-food chains, and several high-end shopping malls.
The Riviera Maya: The stretch of Caribbean coastline that runs from Cancún to Tulum is known as the Riviera Maya. Arguably, this area is home to some of the world’s most beautiful beaches. There are several intriguing towns along this coast, including Puerto Morelos, Playa del Carmen, Akumal, and Tulum. Playa del Carmen is one of the fastest-growing cities in Mexico. Cruise ships dock here regularly and the beachfront is wall-to-wall hotels and restaurants. Fifth Avenue is just a block or so off the beach. This pedestrian walkway is flanked by sidewalk restaurants and small boutiques selling a myriad of exotic items. This is a fun place with a relaxed, bohemian ambience. If Playa is too “busy” for you, check out laid-back Tulum, an up-and-coming destination that attracts fashionistas and movers-and-shakers while still paying homage to its backpacker roots. And Tulum’s beach regularly figures among the 10 most beautiful beaches in the world.

Which one is for you?

There are many other locations in Mexico, of course, where you will find U.S., Canadian, and other foreign residents–from small towns like Pozos de Mineral in the central highlands to large cities like Cuernavaca, near Mexico City, and the Pacific Coast resorts of Manzanillo and Ixtapa/Zihuatanejo.
So be assured…no matter what kind of lifestyle or climate you are looking for, you’ll find it in Mexico.
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10 Things about México you need to know

1. You’re pretty certain the drug lords are just waiting in the bushes to rob/rape/kidnap/kill you.

Get over yourself. They aren’t. Yes, that sort of horrific violence still exists in very few, very particular parts of Mexico, none of which your tourist ass is probably going within hundreds of miles of. After visiting Mexico, you realize that it is an overall safe country to visit, filled with warm and friendly people who will go out of their way to make you feel welcome.

2. You think everyone is going to be sitting around eating tacos.

Tacos are a thing in Mexico, don’t get me wrong. But so are about a zillion other mouth-watering dishes. Mexico is nothing if not full of diverse flavor, each distinct from one region to the next. Try mole poblano, sopes, chicharrón, elote, even toasted grasshoppers for those feeling adventurous. And the best food Mexico has to offer is never found in a restaurant listed in a guidebook. It’s in private homes or sold by street vendors.

3. You think it couldn’t possibly get any better than Cancun.

Seriously, you are so much more creative than this. Unless you’re trying to relive your high school spring break or really have a thing for large, nondescript chain hotels, open your mind to an endless array of mind-blowingly cool possibilities that Mexico has to offer.

Go waterfall jumping in the surreally gorgeous San Luis Potosí. On a coffee tour in Chiapas. Board the Tequila Train in Guadalajara. Surf massive waves in Oaxaca. Explore Copper Canyon in Chihuahua — even larger and deeper than the Grand Canyon.

4. You only packed flip flops and a bathing suit.

News flash: Mexico is huge. Diverse. And not all tropical and beachy. There are mountains, deserts, canyons, and forests. Some places are at very high altitude (Pico de Orizaba tops out at 18,491 feet, and Mexico has 25 summits that reach almost 10,000 feet). Do your homework before you go and pack appropriately.

5. You assume everyone parties on Cinco de Mayo as much as people from the US do.

Most parts of Mexico don’t even celebrate Cinco de Mayo. Traditionally, it’s a local celebration in the city of Puebla, where in 1862 the Mexican army temporarily deterred French invaders. In the US many of us look for any excuse to drink Coronas and eat Mexican food and wear a sombrero…Mexicans don’t. They get to rock that vibe all year long.

6. You think because it’s in pesos that everything will be cheap.

Mexico is not all inexpensive. While there are definitely deals to be had, in places all throughout the country luxury accommodations, high-end shopping, and gourmet restaurants can break the bank.

7. You expect everyone to speak English to you.

Get this: they speak Spanish. Or one of over 68 government recognized indigenous languages. Outside of big cities or well-run tourist establishments, good luck with the English.

8. You assume most all Mexicans are clamoring at the border desperately trying to get to the US.

Many Mexicans are very proud, and have a lot of love for, and loyalty to, their country. There is no other place in the world that they would want to be.

9. You drink the tap water.

Ever hear of Montezuma’s Revenge? The water in Mexico is purified at the source, but the distribution system may allow the water to be contaminated en route to the tap. A lot of locals buy water in five gallon jugs called garrafones which are delivered to their homes (and recycled). Do as most Mexicans do, and stick to purified water.

The water and ice in tourist resorts and hotels should be fine to drink (it’s not in their best interest to have a bunch of sick tourists on their hands), and any ice that you see in the form of a cylinder with a hole in the center is purchased from a purified ice factory and is safe. When brushing your teeth with tap water or when showering, just be careful not to swallow the water.

10. You think you can road trip Mexico in a week.

Mexico isn’t Belize or El Salvador — it’s roughly the same size of Spain, the United Kingdom, France, Italy, and Germany all put together, or three times the size of Texas. Mexico is vast and diverse — to see even a small portion of the country and feel like you actually experienced it takes time. [mn-post-ender]

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Chapala es…

 Chapala significa “lugar de búcaros u ollas pequeñas” (náhuatl); “lugar muy mojado o empapado” (coca), o el “lugar de chapulines sobre el agua” (náhuatl).

En sus orígenes Chapalac o Chapallan fue un asentamiento prehispánico cuya antigüedad más remota es encontrada en el siglo XII de nuestra era, cuando una migración de tribus (origen náhuatl provenientes del noroeste del país) alcanzaron estas latitudes, encontrando la ribera norte del lago sumamente poblada, como lo refiere Fray Antonio Tello, fraile y cronista franciscano.

A finales del siglo XIX con la llegada de extranjeros que atraídos por la belleza de la ribera y las bondades de su clima, construyeron las primeras fincas “veraniegas” que poco a poco fueron transformando el paisaje de esta “aldea de pescadores”.

Entre las dos primeras décadas del siglo XX se construyen el Palacio Municipal y la antigua estación del primer y único servicio de ferrocarril que operó y comunicó a Chapala a través de la ciudad de Guadalajara hacia el norte del país, y a través de la ciudad de México con el resto del mundo. El edificio de la Antigua Estación de Ferrocarril además de ser considerado el baluarte de la ciudad, representa el despegue de la Gran Época de la Ribera Chapálica.

Entre los atractivos arquitectónicos podrá visitar el Palacio Municipal, la Antigua Estación de Ferrocarril, el Hotel Nido (Lugar de las oficinas municipales); las fincas ubicadas en el Paseo Ramón Corona: todos de estilo renacentista. También se puede apreciar la arquitectura del Restaurante Cazadores de estilo victoriano. En cuanto a los inmuebles de carácter religioso se cuentan las Parroquias de San Francisco de Asís en Chapala y la de San Andrés en Ajijic, ambas de estilo renacentista.

Por supuesto no se puede ir sin visitar su mayor atractivo, es decir El lago de Chapala, donde es posible realizar distintas excursiones y paseos en lancha por el lago, y visitas a las islas. La visita a la Isla de los Alacranes la cual toma dos horas, para descansar en restaurantes de comida regional, o a la Isla del Presidio, que toma 4 horas, visitando el monumento nacional de las ruinas del fuerte que alguna vez presenció la histórica Batalla de Mezcala.

Uno de los atractivos más conocidos de la zona, son sus SPA, que proporcionan un estado de relajación y de terapia natural.

Cuenta también con dos campos de golf, canchas de tenis, parques y centros de entretenimiento, etc.

La oferta gastronómica de tan variados países y de reconocidos chefs, hacen que comer en la ribera de Chapala sea una delicia.

El encuentro con la naturaleza es casi un paso obligado pues las caminatas para ver las cascadas del tepalo, o las aguas termales en San Juan Cosalá, marcan la diferencia de este tan variado y singular destino jalisciense, importante llevar GPS o un muy buen guía.

También podrá admirar vestigios de pinturas rupestres que se encuentran en el lado oriente de la barranca.

En artesanía destaca la elaboración de piezas de cantera, madera tallada, vestidos típicos, hilados, tejidos de seda y artículos de alfarería, cerámica, bordados, tallados de madera y de hueso.

También le recomendamos probar su comida típica como son:Caldo michi, charales, bagre, pescado blanco, caviar y birria de carpa, cebiche y una amplia diversidad de alimentos preparados con las especies del lago; dulces de leche quemada, tamarindo, guayaba, jamaica y arrayán y rompope, ponche, tequila y sangrita.

Los visitantes a la Ribera pueden encontrar en toda la zona, una gran diversidad de lugares para su estancia, como lo son bungalows, casitas, hoteles, B&B, hoteles desde 5 estrellas con piscinas cristalinas y vistas panorámicas extraordinarias, hasta la sencillez y comodidad de los hostales, en callecillas empedradas y sencillas. Los servicios e instalaciones son muy variables, pero es seguro decir que habrá un sitio ideal y a la medida de cada persona y su presupuesto.