Dec 16, 2011, 9:09 AM
I am also interested in Xalapa's rental market. Like you I expect my social security check to be modest. I have monitored VisitXalapa.com to keep up with the local situation there, as I am concerned with the growing influence of the drug cartels in Veracruz as well as inflation, price increases, etc.
Many U.S. citizens have had their pensions and savings wiped out in the last four years and are now at retirement age and unable to continue working. Social Security is insufficient income for seniors in the U.S., which is why many retirees are moving to Mexico. This strategy allows those seniors to retire with dignity. After you are situated for awhile you might consider changing your visa so that in the January enrollment period you can pay the $300. annual payment and sign up with Mexico's national health insurance plan. Do read the exclusions, as it is not all-inclusive coverage.
Xalapa seems to be relatively safe for now. The weather is moderate but wet with 160 days of rain being the average. There are two hospitals, numerous universities, cinemas, symphony orchestras, parks, stadiums and even a planetarium. Plus the major U.S. chain stores (Costco, WalMart, Home Depot, KFC, Burger King, etc,) are also there in case one becomes lonely for the comforts of home.
One fellow posted his monthly $700. budget on Mazinfo.com He returns every six months to visit family in the U.S., so a tourist visa suits his situation quite well. Mazatlan is less expensive to live in than Xalapa, but is much less safe these days, although ex-pats and tourists have not been targeted as yet.
If you speak and read Spanish that will also help you get by for less money.
Some ex-pats can be very helpful and informative. It is unlikely you will find that many snobs among the ex-pat community. Mostly that element stays in gated enclaves or at private golf courses.
With a bit of help and some luck I have heard you can still find nice apartments for $200. a month. Xico would most likely be cheaper and is only minutes away by bus.
Good luck with your search.