Best Places to Retire in Mexico

Updated on April 14, 2020
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Sarah is an expat living in Mexico and getting to know the entire country.

By Brodie Vissers
By Brodie Vissers

Retirement has become a big worry for most people who are not financially stable. Unfortunately, that segment of the population has grown by a significant margin in the last couple of decades. Retiring with what Social Security provides has become nearly impossible if you want to do so with peace of mind. In rural areas in the United States, you can get an apartment for about $500 for a one-bedroom, and if you want to live in a metropolitan area the cost goes a lot higher. Then you have to take into consideration utilities, medicine, groceries, etc.

Those costs are the reason many senior citizens are now having to work for the rest of their lives. Keep in mind that, according to US News, the average social security payment is $1461 a month. That leaves no room for the enjoyment of the years when you are supposed to rest. $1461 a month does not go far in the United States, and a lot of people get less than that; in Mexico, however, that amount can give you a very comfortable way of living. Many senior citizens are now wisely looking at places south of the border as an option.

4 Cities in Mexico for Retirees

  1. Ajijic, Jalisco
  2. Merida, Yucatan
  3. San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato
  4. Tulum, Quintana Roo

Lake Chapala, Ajijic
Lake Chapala, Ajijic

1. Ajijic, Jalisco

Several cities in Mexico have become a retirement dream for Americans that do not have much money. Ajijic in the western state of Jalisco is the best example. It is located in a beautiful, mountainous area with Lake Chapala views right from town. Ajijic is a small town; it is very safe, and you will not have trouble with the language as there is a large American community. Here you will find anything that you could want in a small town.

Cost of Living

There are different housing options, and while the prices are not as low as they would be in other places in Mexico, they are still very affordable. For $500, you could easily get a 2 BR house with 1 and a half bathrooms, and if you have time to look you can get one for less.


While Ajijic is a small town, it is close to Guadalajara, and that is the airport you would use if you wanted to travel back and forth from the United States.

Monumento a la Patria, Merida
Monumento a la Patria, Merida

2. Merida, Yucatan

Merida in the southern state of Yucatan is another retirement option, and it offers several advantages. Merida is a gorgeous city with a lot more things to do. It is a 30-minute drive or a 45-minute bus ride to the beach. Merida is also one of the top culinary destinations in Mexico, so you will be experiencing some of the best Mexican food that you've ever had. The climate is warm most of the year, with a few chilly nights in between.

Prices are very affordable for everything, and while the English-speaking population is not as large at the moment, it is starting to grow. As far as safety, Merida has consistently ranked number 1 in safety in Mexico, and it is considered a lot safer than most places in the United States.

Cost of Living

If you speak some Spanish and have little money saved up for retirement, then Merida may be your best choice. For as little as $250, you can find a nice 2 BR house. If you went to $400 a month, you would be getting a house you could only dream of for that amount anywhere else.

A meal at a nice restaurant can be had for less than 10 dollars per person, and if you want to save money while eating out, then 3 dollars is more than what you need at smaller “comida corrida” restaurants.


The airport in Merida is small, but it does have international travel to some airports in the United States.

A place to relax in San Miguel de Allende
A place to relax in San Miguel de Allende

3. San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato

Another small city that is perfect for those looking to retire is San Miguel de Allende. San Miguel de Allende is located in the state of Guanajuato. While safety in the state has gone in the wrong direction, San Miguel de Allende remains very safe.

This small colonial city will make you fall in love with it as soon as you see it. Because of its beauty, prices, and great weather, the city has become one of the top destinations for retirees from the United States. The expat community in San Miguel de Allende is now 10,000, so you will not have trouble finding people that speak English, and the locals are also very fluent as well.

Cost of Living

A small house in San Miguel de Allende can go for as little as $250 in a safe neighborhood; for $400, you can live in a very nice house that will make you wonder why you did not move to this city earlier. The prices are generally somewhere in between Ajijic and Merida.


Your airport would be Guanajuato (otherwise known as Del Bajio) International Airport, which has flights to Atlanta, Los Angeles, Detroit, Houston, Chicago, and other cities in the U.S.

Tulum: Paradise in Mexico
Tulum: Paradise in Mexico

4. Tulum, Quintana Roo

Tulum is not the most affordable choice for retirement in Mexico, but it still ranks a lot better than most places in the United States. What makes Tulum so attractive when compared to the choices above? For starters, Tulum puts you in one of the most beautiful beach towns on this side of the world. The Mayan Riviera has turquoise water beaches, and Tulum is right in the middle of it.

Tulum is full of history. It is a lot quieter than Cancun and Playa del Carmen to the north, and it is safe. If you are looking for great views, how about a Mayan pyramid right next to the beach?

Cost of Living

As far as costs go, you can get a 2-bedroom house in Tulum for $600 a month. If you could afford $800 a month, you would be in one of the best places in town. Compare that to a small apartment in an urban area in the United States, and you start to see why retirement in Mexico is very affordable.

You should keep in mind, however, that shopping in Tulum tends to be a little more than in most places in Mexico, but you could get fresh fruits and vegetables in street markets, and that will let you save a lot more than you would if you did your shopping at supermarkets.


It is easy to get to Tulum from the Cancun airport.

Consider Mexico When You're Planning Your Retirement

Whether you are ready to retire or getting close to it, you should keep Mexico in mind. The prices quoted are averages, and you could realistically find even lower prices. There are a lot of ways to save in your retirement when you head to Mexico, so read up. If you think it is for you, then you may have just found the next place where you will spend your life.

© 2019 Sarah Friedman


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