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alcuban

Mar 31, 2005, 7:01 PM

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La Paz

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Someone mentioned La Paz, I believe in Baja California, as a beautiful place with a large expat community. Has anyone been there who can offer some first-hand impressions of it as a place where Americans might want to retire? (The usual considerations: cost of living, climate, cultural amenities, physical attractiveness, anything else you can think of). Thank you for your help.



morgaine7


Apr 4, 2005, 11:29 PM

Post #2 of 15 (3577 views)

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Re: [alcuban] La Paz

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I was also hoping for first-hand reports. For some reason, La Paz tends to get sketchy coverage in "retire to Mexico" books and forums, but I'm headed there for two weeks to explore retirement possibilities. For now, best I can do is to summarize what I've read:

Cost of living depends, as always, but there's a range. Winters are mild, summers on the hot side but breezy, and rainfall is low. LP is the port capital of Baja Sur, with universities and other cultural opportunities. Views are gorgeous, the city is relatively clean with low crime, medical care is good. Ambience is friendly, primarily Mexican, with ecotourists, international yachting folks, and a few thousand foreign residents (full time and seasonal, no idea how many North Americans). Relations between locals and expats are good, and socializing happens mainly around the harbor/marina area.

I'll be happy to update you when I return in mid-May.

Kate


wendy devlin

Apr 5, 2005, 6:06 AM

Post #3 of 15 (3563 views)

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Re: [alcuban] La Paz

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Over the years there have a few people on these forums who have lived extended periods of time or 'retired' to La Paz so you might try the search feature for the forums.

Below is an URL to a language school that has operated in La Paz for the past six years.

I understand alcuban, that you don't need any Spanish language intruction:)
but it may give you a way to contact some of the local people working there and/or people who have retired there already.http://www.cicclapaz.com/welcome.html


alex .

Apr 5, 2005, 7:31 AM

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Re: [alcuban] La Paz

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large expat population + good climate = expensive.
Alex


(This post was edited by alex . on Apr 5, 2005, 7:33 AM)


Esteban

Apr 5, 2005, 9:12 AM

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Re: [alex .] La Paz

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I spent a month in La Paz, several years ago, in my quest for the perfect place. After the ferry system was sold, the price of commercial travel between the mainland and La Paz went through the roof. It used to be subsidized by the government but no more. Everything in La Paz is imported so the price of almost everything is higher. We found the town real nice. They claimed a low crime rate and a high employment numbers. Like most places in Mexico, the population doesn't reflect the "feel" of the town. Why? Because not everyone has a car. When we were there, it felt like a town of about 30,000 people when in fact they claimed a population of around 170,000. We prefer a larger town with all the amenities so we cancelled out La Paz as a retirement destination.


mrchuck


Apr 6, 2005, 6:35 AM

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Re: [Esteban] La Paz

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La Paz is a HUGE city now. It has a City Club, Office Depot, Soriana's, Ley's grocery stores, Dorian's, La Perla stores.
I expect the "true population is now 250,000. Like the true population of the Cabo San Lucas area is now 500,000 people.

La Paz has become more expensive due to it's island type remoteness. All items must be transported via truck to here. The Pemex tankers bring in the fuels to run the infastructure!!

La Paz offers a lot of things for the retiring person. From quaintness to gringo enclaves and exclusive restaurants.

It is definitely worth visiting, and only a 2 hour flight back to the USA or a 1000 mile, 2 day auto car excursion.

Saludos, mc (from Los Barriles)


morgaine7


May 26, 2005, 8:55 AM

Post #7 of 15 (3255 views)

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Re: [alcuban] La Paz

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"Someone mentioned La Paz, I believe in Baja California, as a beautiful place with a large expat community. Has anyone been there who can offer some first-hand impressions of it as a place where Americans might want to retire? (The usual considerations: cost of living, climate, cultural amenities, physical attractiveness, anything else you can think of). Thank you for your help."
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Hello, as promised, an update after my two-week visit to La Paz in late April/early May. An article is supposedly forthcoming in the AARP magazine, so those interested in the area will want to watch for it. Meanwhile, a few notes. My first attempt was book-length, so interested folks should email privately with any questions: kate@aucegypt.edu

La Paz is almost heaven to me but probably not for everyone. I've lived abroad for most of the past 30 years, in Egypt for 20+, so my expectations may differ from those of many North Americans. Esteban's remark that La Paz "feels" smaller than its population is right on target, but that's one of the main attractions in my case: goods and services without the traffic, crowds, litter, pollution, and stress that are typical of large cities.

Residents are welcoming and kind, proud of their city and delighted to help visitors enjoy it but not at all aggressive. Touristwise, Mexicans far outnumbered foreigners during my stay. Folks of all nationalities were laid back and considerate, and "ugly American" types and other undesirables were refreshingly scarce. I did a lot of walking around alone and had no problems anywhere, though I must have looked more than clueless enough to be an easy target. Two days before I left, a Mexican resident warned me to avoid the "bad areas" (which I'd somehow managed to miss).

If you love sun, wind, sea, desert, and marine wildlife, the climate and surroundings are pretty close to ideal. Sunsets and desert views are splendid. I've read that such things get old with time, but that's not been my experience, and I'm willing to take the risk. Residents say it gets very hot in August/September.

Beaches, within a 15-20 minute drive from downtown, are lovely and uncrowded. There are plenty of opportunities for water sports. Sea kayaking, which I tried for the first time, is cheap, fun, and good exercise. Snorkeling with the sea lions at Los Islotes is a delightful treat.

Expenses may be higher than on Mexico's mainland, but nothing seems truly outrageous, though housing is all over the place. Some properties seem ludicrously overpriced and others a steal (even if unaffordable by me). Rentals are hard to pin down because many aren't advertised through conventional channels. You have to ask meet people and look around, which takes more than a couple of weeks because residential areas are pretty spread out. I'd plan to spend time in temporary quarters before committing to anything long-term.

Retirees who count on frequent trips NOB should take note: "It's only a 2 hour flight back to the USA" seems to apply only if you're headed to or from LA. It took me a whole day to fly to LAP from New York and another to fly from LAP to Indianapolis (12-14 hours and 3-4 flight legs each way).

I met a couple of resident gringos but didn't run across gringo enclaves. For this short visit, I got by with minimal Spanish and no car, but to live there happily, I'd want to acquire fluent Spanish and wheels.

Somebody is going to have to work really hard to talk me out of wanting to retire there.

Kate


Gary Anderson

May 27, 2005, 9:57 AM

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Re: [morgaine7] La Paz

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I'm very sorry to learn that AARP Magazine is soon to publish an article about La Paz. Based on local experience here in Ajijic, immediately upon publication, those already in La Paz can expect the following:

(1) An infestation of baby-boomer soon-to-be-retirees
(2) Most of whom will expect to be able to live as well or better than "back home" for $1000 US a month
(3) Few of whom will ever bother to learn Spanish
(4) Some of whom will be extraordinarily rude and condescending toward local residents;
(5) Sharply escalating real estate prices;
(6) Sharply reduced rental inventories;
(7) More old farts sporting shorts, tank tops, knee-length black socks, Panama hats, and brand-new goatees;
(8) More blue-haired old ladies wearing muumuus sitting on the beach and painting with watercolors;
(9) More conversations in local watering holes about how "they" just don't understand basic economics down here;
(10) More Texans

As to (10) above, don't get me wrong, some of my best friends are Texans, but would you want your daughter to marry one?

GA
____________________________________________________________
"There was only one catch and that was Catch-22 . . . ." - Joseph Heller


Bubba

May 27, 2005, 10:34 AM

Post #9 of 15 (3177 views)

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Re: [Gary Anderson] La Paz

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Well said Gary and a ton of truth written succinctly.

The difference between us is I would never stoop to pandering to Texans - even those I like.


morgaine7


May 27, 2005, 11:28 AM

Post #10 of 15 (3163 views)

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Re: [Gary Anderson] La Paz

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---------------------------
Based on local experience here in Ajijic, immediately upon publication, those already in La Paz can expect the following:
(1) An infestation of baby-boomer soon-to-be-retirees
---------------------------
Hey Gary, I resemble that remark! ;-)
A realtor told me to watch for the AARP article, but I don't see it previewed for for July/August. Apparently La Paz already suffered a #5 (real estate price escalation) when CNNMoney published this, sketchy as it is:
http://money.cnn.com/2003/06/04/pf/yourhome/bpretire_la_paz/

Kate


Papirex


May 27, 2005, 12:15 PM

Post #11 of 15 (3145 views)

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Re: [Gary Anderson] La Paz

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I guess we are lucky here, no one has published an article about Cuernavaca lately. I donít think they know how to spell it : -)

Rex
"The supreme happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved" - Victor Hugo


Carol Schmidt


May 27, 2005, 1:53 PM

Post #12 of 15 (3117 views)

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Re: [morgaine7] La Paz

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Here's a link to the last AARP magazine article on boomers retiring to Mexico, as the author reprinted in another publication: http://www.sayulitalife.com/.../01-21-04-golson.htm

Golson was editor of Playboy and of TV Guide in his past, and he got a big advance for a book he is writing that expands the story above.

He doesn't mention La Paz in that article but I wouldn't be surprised if he is the author of the La Paz article when it comes out as well. He parlayed his explorations of Mexico into what I bet will be a best seller among travel and retirement books.

I wouldn't worry a whole lot. San Miguel gets articles written about us all the time praising us to high heaven, and the crowds started coming back in the 1950s with or without media publicity.

The changes numbered 1-10 warned about above will happen to any nice place to live, anywhere in the world, inside the U.S. and out, as word of mouth spreads the news. The real estate boom is everywhere that's desirable.

The "Today" show had a seven-minute segment recently on boomers retiring to Mexico (five minutes of the segment on San Miguel) and any mainstream TV show reaches far more millions than even an AARP article. The segment mentioned many places in Mexico, I don't recall if La Paz was one or not.

I think the economics of the U.S. for boomer retirees will cause the great hunt for nice places to retire anyplace in the world perceived as cheaper than the U.S.

Our middle son who retired after 20 years in the Navy is a beach bum up and down Baja now, living in an RV, and two other relatives he's talked to are thinking about making the move. None of them are great readers. When you're hot, you're hot, and people will come.

Carol Schmidt


Texwheel

May 27, 2005, 3:25 PM

Post #13 of 15 (3097 views)

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Re: [Bubba] La Paz

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Okay Bubba and Gary,

We Texans aren't a solidified group. A lot of "imports" here. However, we tend not to go to family reunions in search of a mate, as your two families do! Tit for tat!

Mod. If we are allowed to be attacked, we must be allowed to respond.

Neither has anything to do with Mexico.
Tom Williams
Georgetown, Texas
Texwheel@aol.com


Texwheel

May 27, 2005, 3:50 PM

Post #14 of 15 (3093 views)

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Re: [Texwheel] La Paz

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PS: :)>.
Tom Williams
Georgetown, Texas
Texwheel@aol.com


Bubba

May 28, 2005, 6:06 AM

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Re: [Texwheel] La Paz

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Tex:

Texas has (or had) everything to do with Mexico before we stole it for reasons that absolutely escape me and it is totally unfair for you to bring up my relationship with Cousin Betty Sue to say nothing of Uncle Joe Bob. We have some kids from that union who are great banjo pickers - Betty Sue and I that is.
 
 
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