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JonL.

Jun 24, 2004, 8:28 AM

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Best Town for Retirement?: Zacatecas, Morelia, Xalapa etc?

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My wife and I are considering moving to Mexico for retirement or possibly as a second home to spend half the year? We'd love feedback on opinions for the best town to retire in. Our top consideration is probably climate. Ideal for us would be moderate temperatures, lots of sun and infrequent rain. This rules out any coastal towns as way too hot and humid. Other considerations include cost of purchasing a home (ideally a beautiful colonial with inside courtyard), charm, presence of at least some ex-pats as my Spanish is only fair, cultural facilities and opportunities, low crime rate, infrastructure, medical, transportation etc. Towns we have not been to yet but are considering are Xalapa, Morelia, Zacatecas and possibly Chapala (although it seems a bit small). San Miguel is another possibility although real estate prices are apparently quite high for the type of building we'd ideally like to purchase. Any opinions on the towns I've mentioned or additional towns to consider would be most appreciated. Thanks!



gpk

Jun 24, 2004, 9:54 AM

Post #2 of 25 (4021 views)

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Re: [JonL.] Best Town for Retirement?: Zacatecas, Morelia, Xalapa etc?

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What's your budget?


RickS


Jun 24, 2004, 10:39 AM

Post #3 of 25 (4011 views)

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Re: [JonL.] Best Town for Retirement?: Zacatecas, Morelia, Xalapa etc?

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.... and what "half the year" would you be thinking of spending south of the border?


JonL.

Jun 24, 2004, 11:27 AM

Post #4 of 25 (3988 views)

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Re: [gpk] Best Town for Retirement?: Zacatecas, Morelia, Xalapa etc?

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Thankfully, money is not a huge issue.....quality of life is our goal, but in hopes of getting a more specific response, I'd say we can spend up to $400,000US on the colonial house of our dreams with a monthly budget of perhaps $3,000US per month. Obviously if a great house can be found for less, we'd prefer that (as they say...duh!). Thanks.


JonL.

Jun 24, 2004, 11:28 AM

Post #5 of 25 (3987 views)

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Re: [RickS] Best Town for Retirement?: Zacatecas, Morelia, Xalapa etc?

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Time of year would probably be mid May to mid-October, but that could change.....


juan david


Jun 24, 2004, 4:19 PM

Post #6 of 25 (3926 views)

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Re: [JonL.] Best Town for Retirement?: Zacatecas, Morelia, Xalapa etc?

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Well, Lake Chapala area fits the priorities to a tee and its 45 minutes from Guadalajara with all the big city amenities whenever you want them. Housing and cost of living would fit well and the sizeable gringo community brings with it a whole range of services like English language cinema, library, restaurant selection, golf club, etc etc. It's really worth a look.
" let sleeping dogs lie"


Esteban

Jun 24, 2004, 4:54 PM

Post #7 of 25 (3910 views)

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Re: [ian] Best Town for Retirement?: Zacatecas, Morelia, Xalapa etc?

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Aren't all the cinemas in Mexico "English Language" cinemas? Except for the kids movies. The several big movie house complexes here are all in Ingles with Spanish sub titulos.


raferguson


Jun 24, 2004, 4:56 PM

Post #8 of 25 (3910 views)

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Re: [JonL.] Best Town for Retirement?: Zacatecas, Morelia, Xalapa etc?

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I don't believe that there are any significant number of expats in Zacatecas. We only saw one couple from the US in several days in Zacatecas one January, nor did we see any gringos on our flights to and from Zacatecas. Zacatecas is a nice town, but can be freezing cold in the winter. Also lacks a decent bookstore, even if you want to buy books in Spanish. With the elevation, I would expect it to be comfortable in the summer, but I have no data to support that.

You might want to add Guanajato to your list of towns to consider.

Richard


http://www.fergusonsculpture.com


gpk

Jun 25, 2004, 10:13 AM

Post #9 of 25 (3818 views)

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Re: [JonL.] Best Town for Retirement?: Zacatecas, Morelia, Xalapa etc?

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Go immediately to Patzcuaro. It's beautiful and there are still true 18th and 19th century colonial palacios in the town that should fit your budget--though they might need some work. May through October is great there--actually stay till early November and enjoy the Day of the Dead ceremonies. There are quite a few expats from all over the world--very interesting mix--and the Mexican population is equally varied, nice and definitely worth getting to know.


ziret

Jun 26, 2004, 6:04 AM

Post #10 of 25 (3752 views)

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Re: [ian] Best Town for Retirement?: Zacatecas, Morelia, Xalapa etc?

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Actually the Lake Chapala area has few, if any, large, beautiful, old, colonial houses, if that is a prime consideration of the poster. And Patzcuaro, though one of my favorite places in Mexico, is not much, though possibly slightly, better.


Bubba

Jun 26, 2004, 12:05 PM

Post #11 of 25 (3710 views)

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Re: [ziret] Best Town for Retirement?: Zacatecas, Morelia, Xalapa etc?

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San Lusi Potosi is a large city of around 1,000,000 people and a major regional commercial center. The city is surrounded by a drop-dead beautiful high desert, it has all of the amenities of a large city, housing is relatively inexpensive, it has a very pleasant high desert climate, the historical center is attractive with pedestrian friendly streets and it's a short drive to the U.S.

Zacatecas is beautiful but at a rather high elevation and subject to very cold winds according to people we know who live there. It is also rather isolated.

Patzcuaro is very charming but also at a rather high elevation and can be grey and overcast quite a bit in the winter. It is also a small city and entertainment and restaurants are limited and generally uninspiring. It is close to Morelia, however, for shoppping or when one is in need of a big city fix. The countryside around Patzcuaro can be very attractive and, if you are willing to live in relative isolation, there are some very nice country homes around there. I don't know this but with its proximity to Morelia, lakeside homes might be expensive.

Jalapa is quite attractive and green. There is a reason it is green, of course. Be prepared for incessant overcast and drizzle 'cause that what green creatures like.

Now, if you want to live in a big city with all of the amenities of same, Guadalajaramay be your best bet. Nobody knows how many people live there but estimates range from 3,000,000 to 6,000,000. The climate in Guadalajara is excellent, the city has great cultural attractions, shopping and good restaurants, you can buy a home close to all major attarctions in a beautiful neighborhood at a reasonable cost, the city is well planned for the most part with large and swift cross town expressways that will deliver you just about anywhere you may wish to go with only moderate traffic problems and public transportation is excellent except for the tendency of bus drivers to run over pedestrians.

Others may disagree with this but I have found that many old and attractive colonial cities such as Morelia, Queretaro, Zacatecas, etc. are very conservative and not particularly welcoming to strangers. This would not bother Bubba but if you are gregarious and seeking to become "accepted", these types of communities, you may be disappointed.


jardinero viejo

Jun 26, 2004, 12:45 PM

Post #12 of 25 (3701 views)

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Re: [JonL.] Best Town for Retirement?: Zacatecas, Morelia, Xalapa etc?

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We ran into some folks who were shopping for winter property in our area (North of PV). They were Norteamericanos with a full-time home in SMA, but were looking for a second home to escape the colder months there.

We thought this was great - the best of two nice worlds. Of course, this may be beyond the reach of some, but it sounds like you are OK moneywise.

So, just like those folks, you may not want to rule out the coastal areas- they can be very comfortable during certain months. Our prime months are Dec to April- lots of sun, not too hot, not too humid, very green.

One last consideration - the larger the town, the more likely there will be air pollution problems. We have a hard time in Guad if we don't time it right.

Good luck....
------------------------------------------------------------

" To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the public."
Theodore Roosevelt
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juan david


Jun 26, 2004, 2:57 PM

Post #13 of 25 (3673 views)

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Re: [ziret] Best Town for Retirement?: Zacatecas, Morelia, Xalapa etc?

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Ziret, you're absolutely right. Architecture is not one of The Chapala area's strong points. We all have had to or will have to weigh our personal priorities and visit a few of the wonderful places in Mexico before making the big decision. If all us expats had the same priorities, we'd all end up living in the same place in Mexico....and wouldn't that be a bummer!
" let sleeping dogs lie"


rockydog85251

Jun 30, 2004, 2:19 PM

Post #14 of 25 (3545 views)

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Re: [JonL.] Best Town for Retirement?: Zacatecas, Morelia, Xalapa etc?

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We just returned from a driving circle trip starting in Mazatlan to Lake Patzcuaro to SMA & on to Gunajuato,
then Zacatecas, Durango & back home. We found that most of the other comments made by previous posters to be correct for the most part but then we didn't get to spend too much time in any place to REALLY check it out. We subscribe to the AIM newsletter on retiring in Mexico & he has written several times about a place outside of Zacatecas called Jerez & claims that it is an undiscovered jewel. It rained on us every single day out of 10 days & was really cold (to us) everywhere except Guadalajara. We have also been to Cuernavaca, where we found it truly to be the "place of eternal spring". Our suggestion would be to come down, with no schedule in mind & travel around & check out places for yourselves. Good luck!

Willie
Willie


Don Moore


Jun 30, 2004, 2:31 PM

Post #15 of 25 (3538 views)

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Re: [rockydog85251] Best Town for Retirement?: Zacatecas, Morelia, Xalapa etc?

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I travelled to Jerez a couple of years ago and really liked it. But a person moving there would have to be content with a very quiet lifestyle on a day to day basis. There seems to be little entertainment except sitting on the plaza. Restaurants are Ok, but very limited and ordinary. There are some really nice Americans there -- but few in number. Zacatecas is close by. Aguascalientes is a bit farther afield. Guadalajara is about four hours at best. By all acounts, both written and in person, Jerez is quite inexpensive compared to places where there more gringos. But be prepared for a very uneventful life and making your own fun.
Don Moore


RickS


Jun 30, 2004, 3:09 PM

Post #16 of 25 (3530 views)

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Re: [Don Moore] Best Town for Retirement?: Zacatecas, Morelia, Xalapa etc?

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There is a forum member, Zerezano, who lives in Zerez de Garcia Salinas. Maybe he'll chime in and tell us about life there.....


julian3345

Jul 3, 2004, 2:37 PM

Post #17 of 25 (3403 views)

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Re: [rockydog85251] Best Town for Retirement?: Zacatecas, Morelia, Xalapa etc?

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My email is now julian3345@yahoo.com I will send you the telephone # for Elohim international customs brokers, but they operate only in Laredo as far as I know...Roadway only crosses there because they have a terminal directly south from there in San Luis Potosi and that border is known to be more efficient. You will have to find a Mexican trucking company to take your belongings from the uhaul trailer the rest of the way....I'm not sure how this works at the border. I suggest you look up a post by Karen K about crossing at Nogales. There are very reliable MX transport companies, but you will have to do that research yourself...use Mexconnect...many people have done what you are planning to do. Will you ride along with your shipment or follow it in your car? Good luck! Joan Murray

PS Jerez is at 6500 ft elevation and yes, we do have changes of season! It is rainy season here now, but this has been a relatively wet year in many parts of MX by a factor of up to 30 % more rain than normal...the mts are green and my garden is looking great without daily watering. If you want to be cossetted at 75 degrees constant with no adverse climactic conditions and lots of gringos with whom to discuss your health problems...don't move to Zacatecas...It's quiet, one has much more contact with actual Mexicans and Jerez is one of the most friendly and light-hearted places I've ever been.


julian3345

Jul 3, 2004, 2:51 PM

Post #18 of 25 (3400 views)

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Re: [raferguson] Best Town for Retirement?: Zacatecas, Morelia, Xalapa etc?

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I find it very difficult to believe that you didn't find your way into even one of the five excellent bookshops in the city of Zacatecas that I, a rank newcomer know about...yes, most of their stock is in Spanish or is bilingual like the fabulous Artes de Mexico series, but hey, this IS a Spanish speaking country! Sanborns has quite an inventory in English for a gift shop and once you settle in a community, there are many resources for books in English...Powells in Portland sends books to MX with a minimum order of, I think, $50. My family sends M Bags occasionally and I brought 53 cases of books in three languages with me! But, I don't want to talk anyone into coming to Zacatecas...I like it just the way it is. Joan Murray


raferguson


Jul 3, 2004, 4:39 PM

Post #19 of 25 (3389 views)

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Re: [julian3345] Zacatecas bookstores

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We went into about five bookstores in Zacatecas asking in Spanish for travel books, and came up dry every time. It got to be a joke after a while, but we kept looking. All the bookstores we visited seemed to be full of school textbooks. We never found a bookstore remotely equivalent to any general bookstore in our hometown in the USA, in terms of a wide selection of fiction and non-fiction. However, self-help books seem to be widely available in Mexico, usually translated from English.

I was looking for books in Spanish. I did not expect to find much in English in a town with so few gringos. Maybe I really did miss the good bookstores, or only visited bookstores near the university, or maybe the broad selection of books is in the back room, or maybe we have different standards for bookstores. The last good bookstore I was in in Mexico was a government bookstore in downtown Queretero, with a lot of government publications, as well as Artes de Mexico books. If I get back to Zacatecas, I will have to get a list of bookstores from you. ;-)

Glad that you are enjoying Zacatecas, we did.

Richard


http://www.fergusonsculpture.com


FeelinGroovy

Jul 4, 2004, 7:14 AM

Post #20 of 25 (3328 views)

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Re: [JonL.] Best Town for Retirement?: Zacatecas, Morelia, Xalapa etc?

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Note that in the summer months it rains A LOT in the Chapala area.
Libby



Bubba

Jul 4, 2004, 10:52 AM

Post #21 of 25 (3291 views)

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Re: [Libby] Best Town for Retirement?: Zacatecas, Morelia, Xalapa etc?

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Libby is right. It rains way too much here. It's also getting really crowded with extranjeros and home prices are going through the roof. These strangers keep crowding my streets and buying up my "Best Foods" Mayonnaise. I continue to urge retirees to consider San Miguel Allende, a wonderful town and one blessed with a much higher class of expats that this hole.


FeelinGroovy

Jul 4, 2004, 11:10 AM

Post #22 of 25 (3282 views)

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Re: [Bubba] Best Town for Retirement?: Zacatecas, Morelia, Xalapa etc?

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Yeah, the home prices have gotten outrageous. I thought I could buy a nice little house in Ajijic for about $85k USD but there is nothing decent left below $150k USD minimum. So I'm stuck renting. In a way it's good though because it gives me a chance to discover how noisy this neighborhood is, and not to mention the gangs down the street. Don't even get me started.
Libby



Bubba

Jul 4, 2004, 12:30 PM

Post #23 of 25 (3267 views)

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Re: [Libby] Best Town for Retirement?: Zacatecas, Morelia, Xalapa etc?

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To say nothing of the lirio (water hyacinth) choking the lake and making it impossible to swim and thereby come down with Hepatitis A or chronic diseases brought on by parasitical monsters well known hereabouts or, for that matter, the sewage the Mexicans call aqua negro that with regularly stinks up high falutin neighborhoods in La Floresta and elsewhere upon occasion and also the fact that this town looks a lot like Detroit post rust-belt and what about the incredible political corruption and the fact that gasoline is expensive and doesn't the Journey's End Trailer Park and Crematorium in Billibob, Kansas look even more attractive as a place to spend one's golden years with Dubya there to protect you from such terrible influences as ersatz Roman Catholicism which is rampant here and, what's more, the people talk funny.


(This post was edited by Bubba on Jul 4, 2004, 1:23 PM)


"El Gringo Jalapeño"


Jul 6, 2004, 1:00 AM

Post #24 of 25 (3164 views)

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Re: [JonL.] Best Town for Retirement?: Zacatecas, Morelia, Xalapa etc?

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¡Hola, amigos!
Greetings from Spokane, WA which is a beautiful area this time of year, though sometimes very hot.
Anyway, as the default voice of Xalapa, there are a lot of good things to say about my adopted home town as well as some bad, too. Please read my article Jalapa of my dreams and I will try to post more but my nieces computer is very bad.
Roy B. Dudley "El Gringo Jalapeño" See more about Xalapa at www.xalaparoy.com


julian3345

Jul 13, 2004, 7:34 PM

Post #25 of 25 (3044 views)

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Re: [raferguson] Zacatecas bookstores

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I have very high standards for bookstores as my former address was Berkeley CA. I think you must examine your preconceptions. The average number of books read per capita per year in Mexico is ONE! That is last year's statistic! This is not a reading culture yet and may never be. So to find well stocked bookstores in such great number in a city like Zacatecas is quite miraculous. I found all kinds of great stuff in the biography and history shelves and lots about anthropology, architecture, gardening, cooking. There is a well produced magazine called Mexico Desconocido for travel ideas and information...back issues available. Even the textbook section is interesting as there has been a lively political struggle recently about how the history of Mexico should be taught...I will get off my soapbox now as it is ascending rather rapidly! Joan Murray
 
 
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