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Longstanding images and stereotypes of Mexico fall hard. They are often perpetuated by today’s vacationers. Many lack a point of reference (other international travel experiences), jumping to some incredible conclusions about why Mexico is the way it is.

It’s hard sometimes for Americans/Canadians to grasp why anyone would want to live in an “undeveloped” country known for “corrupt politicians, graft-greedy police, panhandling, and rip-off artists around every corner”! And then there’s the whole language issue, public security shortcomings, narco violence, and on and on…

In fact, about 1 million Americans and Canadians live full or part time in Mexico. People choose Mexico for a host of reasons, which may or may not resonate with your expectations:

Why Choose Mexico?

# 1. Climate (sun year-round) for healthier outdoor activity: spend 12 months enjoying the outdoors, with opportunities to move from coastal to highland (cooler) climates with ease.

# 2. Reasonable cost of living including healthcare: while Mexico is not “cheap”, everyday living expenses can be often dramatically lower than what you’re used to. Health care for doctor’s visits, prescriptions, labs, and tests are a fraction of US costs.

# 3. Proximity to return to the U.S. for visits: most U.S. cities are within a 2–4-hour flight home and Mexico has an outstanding network of “autopistas” for quick, safe driving over long distances.

# 4. Mexicans welcome Americans and Canadians; our culture is based on similar values. Despite some disgraceful “Mexican-bashing” in the U.S. media, Mexicans treat ALL foreigners with respect – especially Americans and Canadians with whom they share similar aspirations and beliefs.

# 5. Variety of activities in a culturally diverse country: Name a hobby, and there are likely Mexican neighbors with a similar interest. Move around the country and you’ll enjoy striking cultural differences: languages, crafts, cuisine, festivals and more.

# 6. Relaxed pace of life, lower stress, less consumer-centric fast lane: while urban traffic and government bureaucracy can be nagging, most expat residents enjoy the relaxed tempo of everyday life, and a focus on family and friends.

# 7. Economic/political stability built upon existing infrastructure: Many parts of Mexico are strikingly modern and familiar to North Americans. Modern roads, airports, and marinas abound. The economy enjoys low inflation and a stable exchange rate. Politically, Mexico is Latin America’s most stable democracy.

# 8. Quality of services: wide availability of products: Mexico’s retail world is infused with familiar American stores and products. Your favorite brands are often available, sometimes at a nearby Costco, Sam’s Club, Home Depot, or Starbucks.

# 9. Bilingual English/Spanish speakers throughout country: not only is Spanish a relatively easy language to learn, in Mexico you’ll find English speakers just about everywhere these days. Many have lived in the States and have vast cross-cultural backgrounds.

# 10. Opportunities to volunteer, localized philanthropy that makes a real difference: many North Americans may write a donation check but never interact with actual beneficiaries. In Mexico opportunities abound for rewarding volunteer experiences.