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Live Well in Mexico

A Mexico book by Ken Luboff

Reviewed by Allan Cogan

I would have liked having this useful volume available when my wife and I moved to Mexico six years ago. We probably wouldn’t have done things a whole lot differently, but it would have shortened the learning curve. Judging by our e-mail – and the e-mail of other Mexico Connect writers - it would seem there are still a lot of people thinking of coming here for a ‘look-see’ or who have questions about living in this country. And here’s a book that sets out to provide most of the answers. Author Ken Luboff has done an excellent job of putting just about all of the necessary information into some 240 well-organized pages.

With all the movement to this country from the U.S. and Canada and elsewhere, there’s a great need for this kind of document. The wonder is – especially with all the writers living here – that it wasn’t done years ago.

Having said that, I should admit to mixed feelings about the book. It will only attract more gringos here and, in some places, such as the Lake Chapala area, I’m not sure that’s a good thing. There are enough of us here already and it would be nice if some other parts of Mexico were explored as potential retirement sites. However, that may be just the caveat of someone who has already found his ideal spot to settle.

What Luboff has set out here is all the basic information one needs on a host of topics relevant to moving to Mexico. You'll find details on acquiring residency documents, whether or not to buy or rent a house, working in Mexico, how to bring your car here, how to move your furniture here and so on. You’ll also find hints and tips on staying healthy, dining out, hiring help, what to bring on your first trip, road safety, the best ways to get from one place to another and much, much more. Good heavens!….Luboff even has a couple of pages on how to deal with a traffic cop when una mordida (a bribe) is the customary way of avoiding a fine or a court visit.

Indeed, there is hardly a page that doesn’t have some useful hint or tip on living here successfully.

The latter half of Luboff’s book is taken up with close examinations of several key destinations for people who contemplate settling here. The major places are Lake Chapala, San Miguel de Allende, Cuernavaca, Puerto Vallarta and Mazatlan. Other centers, which receive slightly lesser examinations, are Guanajuato, Oaxaca, Cabo San Lucas and Pátzcuaro. Indeed, after reading his book, I‘d like to take a closer look at a couple of those places.

In each, the author gives fairly comprehensive descriptions of the existing foreign communities, real estate, community organizations, shopping, dining and nightlife, medical services, arts and recreation and so on. If I have a minor quibble about these detailed descriptions it would be that San Miguel de Allende comes in for the more glowing coverage. But that might be because the author lives there. And if you want to go there, then that’s okay with us folks in the Lake Chapala area.

Another small point of contention is that I think Luboff has the dimensions of Lake Chapala wrong. He says it is 75 miles long and 18 miles wide. I feel quite certain that those “miles” should really be kilometers.

In his introduction, Luboff calls Mexico “one of the unknown wonders of the world.” He obviously loves the country and its people. But, as he also points out: “Retirement in Mexico is not for everyone. Mexico is a different country and takes some getting used to. But if you’re adventurous and have a good sense of humor and a lot of patience, living in Mexico can seem like the next best thing to paradise.”

His positive attitude to the country and its people shines through on every page of this useful, practical volume.

In my humble O: If you’re contemplating coming here someday, consider this an essential item for your travel kit.


Book Cover

Live Well in Mexico
- How to relocate, retire and increase your standard of living
By Ken Luboff

John Muir Publications, 1999

Available from Amazon Books: Paperback


Published or Updated on: May 1, 2000 by Allan Cogan © 2000
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