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apucko

Jan 11, 2006, 12:33 PM

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Exploring various areas of Mexico for retirement

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Would anyone have information about the Chetumal or Laguna Guerrero near Laguna Bacalar areas in the state of Quintana Roo. We are looking for a long term stay of 3 to 6 months for fall of 06. We are exploring various areas of Mexico for retirement, away from the hussel and bussel of big cities. Also, is the ferry service from Tampa Bay to Progresso still on line to start operations in April 06 for cars and passenger service.Any information about other areas will be greatly appreciated.

DT



Bloviator

Jan 11, 2006, 12:50 PM

Post #2 of 15 (13172 views)

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Re: [apucko] Exploring various areas of Mexico for retirement

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Chetumal, based on others postings and a brief drive through, is not a particularly interesting place, though the surrounding countryside would provide endless adventures. Bacalar, which was my dream until I saw it a couple of weeks ago, is a beautiful clear, fresh water lake. Unfortunately, there is lots of trash all around the inhabited parts of the lake and according to some with whom I have spoken or who gave me information elsewhere, the price of houses in way out of line with the value. Further, while the weather this time of year is very pleasant, it is, after all, the Yucatan and is hot and humid a lot of the year.

Further, the whole area is somewhat isolated, though only about 300 miles from Playa del Carmen to the north (a little further to Cancun and Cozumel), Villa Hermosa to the southwest, and Campeche to the northwest.


raferguson


Jan 11, 2006, 2:17 PM

Post #3 of 15 (13165 views)

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Re: [apucko] Exploring various areas of Mexico for retirement

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You should be a little skeptical about the ferry between Florida and the Yucatan. It has been proposed and planned for years, but never seems to actually happen. Even if it did start running, there is no guarantee that it would continue to operate or be commercially successful. Don't count on the ferry.

I would note the Chetumal is pretty far off the gringo track, so I would not recommend it unless you speak Spanish.

The key question about recommending other areas is whether or not you prefer to have lots of Americans around. You could be pretty isolated in some places unless you spoke Spanish. Another question is how you feel about desert vs. jungle. Climate is another issue, as parts of Mexico can be less than desirable during certain months of the year. For example, I recall someone in the Yucatan talking to me about 43 C (110 F) in April, presumably with high humidity.

If you outline what you are looking for, I am sure that you will get some specific suggestions.

Richard


http://www.fergusonsculpture.com


Bubba

Jan 11, 2006, 2:49 PM

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Re: [dlyman6500] Exploring various areas of Mexico for retirement

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Dlyman is misleading you. While we have no love for the Lake Bacalar area, it is completely incorrect to infer that the shores of the lake are trashy. The shores of the lake are clean and there are many beautiful homes there. The lake itself is extraordinary and crystal clear. The town of Bacalar is a trash dump but the lake itself is a treasure. Anyone claiming anything else is an idiot.

Mexico is filled with imbeciles who lack knowledge of the country but do not hesitate to pretend to be informed about that with which they are unfamiliar.


Bloviator

Jan 11, 2006, 3:13 PM

Post #5 of 15 (13162 views)

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Re: [Bubba] Exploring various areas of Mexico for retirement

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Bubba. You still need to take my reading class. I mentioned that the lake is beautiful, though the "inhabited parts - a stupid euphimism on my part (for which I apologize) for the town and the lakeshore around the town is trashy. Seems to me you said the same thing.

As I mentioned, the lake failed to live up to my extremely high expectations, though that does not mean that it is not beautiful. We can agree on that.

If you are referring to yourself with the imbecile comment, I'll accept it as I believe that you are the one who told me that the houses there are overpriced. I may have missed the part where the beautiful homes are located. Those that I saw seemed to me to be quite rundown.

If you are referring to me, so be it. I try to comment on only those things with which I am familiar and try to present the information in as accurate a manner as I can. If I do present incorrect information, I apologize to anyone who is hurt by my postings.

I have only been here less than a year and am learning new things every day. In my defense, being new, I bring a fresh perspective that may have some minor usefullness.

Is an idiot and an imbecile the same or is that a double whammy?


apucko

Jan 12, 2006, 6:47 AM

Post #6 of 15 (13138 views)

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Re: [apucko] Exploring various areas of Mexico for retirement

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Thanks for the comments. My wife and I are new at this type of exploration, so please bear with us with some of the questions we might ask at times.
We are uncertain at were we would like to spent time in Mexiso. We previously spent time at language schools in Playa del Carmen last years and Quarnavaca a few years ago for a total period of six weeks and courses are on going at our local school. Our basic Spanish is not the best but with the few words we know I believe we could get along, maybe not enough to get us out of jail if we were arrested but enough to get us into trouble.
We originally explored the Lakeside area but reading the comments about Lake Chapala kind of through me for a loop as I was under the impression we could fish and swim there. Thanks to Babba’s comments on the fishing thread I started looking around for another area. Babba’s comments seams to be straight to the point and precise.

I read up on Chatumal as being a place with all the commodities of a big city on the Mar Caribe where the atmosphere is quite relaxing with quite a bit of country side to explore. However, I am unsure about the safety of the area. The coast along the Progresso area and Merida was another point of interest. I have been told that along the coast of the Golfo de Mexico from Brownsville until you reach the Campeche area is not favorable. The cost of living in the city of Campeche appears to be quite steep for what it has to offer. The Cancun/Tulum corridor is too much of a tourist area for us. Therefore, the Progresso area and Merida appears to be our option on the east coast.

The Morelia area or was it Patzguard described by Miguel Palomares was very interesting as we had looked at CD Hidalgo for our initial stay. However, having leaved in Quebec and Ontario with its harsh dry winters and having to live in an area with the cold, dampness and chilly mountain air kind of scared us away. Is it really that cold up in those mountains? I understand the fishing is great.

The west coast appears to be over run by tourist from the US border to Puerto Escondido. So we looked at Puerto Madera near Tapachula but someone mentioned that safety was a concern by some, being so close to the Guatemala border.

So as you can see our dilemma is quite confusing. We are only 55 years of age and both will be retiring in April of this year, I from the military and my wife from an IT consultant job. Maybe our option would be to just pack up and drive down to one of the areas mentioned above, live the experience for six months in each and make up or mind along the way.
I will continue to read in depth the threads in this and other forums to enlighten us with this giant step. Thank you to all. Don’t be shy to fill us in on any detail you might find informative for us. Muchos gracias todos.

Before I leave I must say that this is the most informative and complete forum I have ever encountered, so much information and advice. Even reading Babba’s colourful comments is uplifting. One more reason for Babba not to leave this forum. Have a great day.


Don Moore


Jan 12, 2006, 9:32 AM

Post #7 of 15 (13130 views)

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Re: [apucko] Exploring various areas of Mexico for retirement

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Merida is a nice city with many cultural amenities and enough gringos to have some English-speaking, culturally compatible companship without being overrun. It is also pretty inexpensive compared to lots of places that are overrun with grintos. I am sure many more gringos would choose Merida if it were not for the heat and humidity. Progresso is nice. Both are hot. To give you an idea how hot Merida is, it's citizens escape to Progresso in the late summer to get away from the heat. Progresso is hot, too, but there is the gulf and some breezes. Any place on the Yucatan peninsula (even cities) can seem pretty isolated because of the driving distance to other parts of Mexico.

Everything depends on what you like and what you are willing to trade off.
Don Moore


Ed and Fran

Jan 12, 2006, 4:27 PM

Post #8 of 15 (13115 views)

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Re: [apucko] Exploring various areas of Mexico for retirement

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I have been told that along the coast of the Golfo de Mexico from Brownsville until you reach the Campeche area is not favorable.


The usual knock against that stretch is the hot/humid weather. Depends on what you like or are looking for. Safety is not a major issue along that stretch of coast. There are only a couple of larger cities but numerous smaller ones and real small towns. Lots of stretches of beach, which are not the white sand/crystal clear water of the Riviera Maya, but are fine for relaxing. Not a big area for international tourism, but we get (more than) our share of nationals at holiday time.

Give us some hints, what are you looking for in a place?

Regards

Ed & Fran


raferguson


Jan 13, 2006, 3:38 PM

Post #9 of 15 (13096 views)

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Re: [apucko] Exploring various areas of Mexico for retirement

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If you are concerned about security, I don't think that you should consider Chiapas near the Guatemala border. Chiapas has some issues. If the natives were happy there, the Zapatistas would not have tried to start a civil war. Guatemala has serious security problems.

I would not characterize the state of Campeche as particularly safe, it occasionally is mentioned in various travel warnings. The Yucatan is probably relatively safe. Cancun showed up on a recent list of high crime cities.

For those planning to live in Mexico, one of the best sources for
information, especially on the cost of living, is the AIM
(Adventures in Mexico) newsletter. It has a practical focus,
with each issue covering a different town or area. Look at the
back issue list. A few issues include houshold budgets by
readers and residents, to give one a better view of actual
living costs. The newsletter has a new owner/editor, and a new website.
The cost is $24/year, and the new mailing address is AIM, POB 434,
New Boston, NH 03070.

http://www.mexico-newsletter.com (for some reason I could not get the link to work automatically, but the URL itself is good)

You really need to define a little more what you want, what your priorities are. Maybe you could make a list of the top 5 things that you want, or something like that, or list a bunch of items in order of importance to you..

Richard


http://www.fergusonsculpture.com


jacpowell

Jan 14, 2006, 10:45 AM

Post #10 of 15 (13070 views)

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Re: [apucko] Exploring various areas of Mexico for retirement

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I haven't taken the time to read your posts carefully, but I do have an opinion about Progreso. We were there a few years back and although the houses were lovely, the Gulf was like a big puddle. At that time, there had been a seaweed die-off, so it was also quite rank. However, it seemed to be popular with Canadians, but I don't know if they were there all year.

Merida has a lot going for it. Perhaps it isn't on the water, but it is easy to reach some of the places you mentioned. I don't know what amenities are available in cities and towns along the "Maya Riviera" but you can bet on having everything you need in Merida.

Once when we were there in February or March, there was a cold snap. It was rainy and cool, and we weren't prepared at all, so we shivered a lot. However, it soon switched back to hot and sunny but humid.

We like Centro in Merida a lot, but we haven't explored outside that part very much. Spending a block of time in the area will give you a chance to observe for yourself and make up your own mind. Don't burn any bridges yet!


sfmacaws


Jan 15, 2006, 12:18 AM

Post #11 of 15 (13048 views)

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Re: [apucko] Exploring various areas of Mexico for retirement

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I'm sitting on Chetumal Bay in Calderitas (a suburb of Chetumal) right now. Strangely enough, although I just spent 2 weeks in the cold highlands of San Cristóbal, I am in sweatpants and my feet are freezing in my Crocs. According to friends, it was muggy and without a breeze 2 nights ago but it rained last night. It was warm enough this afternoon when we got here that we decided to stay here on the bay instead of out on their land which is surrounded by jungle and doesn't get a breeze. So, while you can say that on average it will be warm and humid here, it can sometimes get chilly when a norte blows in like tonight. Our thermometer says it is 56°F outside, it is 1:30am.

Coincidentally, our friends were over tonight showing us pictures of houses built on Laguna Bacalar by an architect they are considering hiring for their project here. They had just been up there to view his work and gave us a slide show. It's true that there seem to be numerous high end houses and restaurants already built or in progress. I was a bit amazed, these are some really nice houses. I understand prices are over $300k US and rising. I still don't know what the people in them do for entertainment although we were told there is a growing expat community.

Chetumal is a pretty nice, midsize Mexican city. It has nice areas and not so nice ones and there is every kind of shop and business you'd need. It would be difficult to live here without speaking some spanish. There are a lot of water related activities - fishing, kayaking, sailing and floating around in warm, shallow water with a beer. Another plus is that it is on the border of Belize and access to the islands there for diving is easy. There are numerous mayan sites to visit in the area, the zoo is reputed to be very good, the Maya museum here is excellent. There is still waterfront land available without selling a house in Calif to afford it although it is not the caribbean really but a huge, shallow bay. They truck in sand if they want a beach and do it again after every hurricane - and hurricanes hit here pretty regularly.

I'd say the weather is not much different from Mérida except that it is on the water and benefits from cooler breezes most of the time. There is no comparison between the two though in terms of cultural events, history, architecture, food, or any of the things that most of us are looking for in a city - Mérida is an intensly alive, vibrant, beautiful city. Chetumal is sort of a backwater place by comparison. I think Chetumal compares favorably to places on the gulf like Progresso, the bay is much nicer than the Gulf in my opinion and the Caribbean is a short boat ride away. So, if you want a city then Mérida is a great choice but if you want a less urban environment with great options for outdoor activities Chetumal might be perfect for you. Both of them will be hot and humid most of the time and both of them will be really damn hot and humid for several months of the year. If you live either place you will want to consider leaving for the summer or holing up in a room with AC and praying the electricity doesn't go out or a hurricane hit and knock it out for weeks. A lot of that depends on how you experience heat, I think I could adjust pretty well to living here year round but I like heat.


Jonna - Mérida, Yucatán




apucko

Jan 16, 2006, 7:22 AM

Post #12 of 15 (13017 views)

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Re: [apucko] Exploring various areas of Mexico for retirement

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Bonjour todos amigos

The information by all parties is much appreciated and has influenced our decision in relocating to the Yucantan area. The most important thing for us is safety and affordability. The draw back from this area appears to be the extreme heat of the summer. My wife is not bothered much by the heat, even when driving or staying in hotels during our trips it is not recommended to turn on the A/C unit or I will feel the wrath of the Gods. I also survived seven months in the Kuwaiti desert in the middle of summer therefore, cannot imagine heat to be any worst than that. So heat is not an issue. From the feed back received my wife and I will most likely plan to seek a home rental in the Merida Centro as a base camp and fan out from there to explore the peninsula. Would anyone have any information on the type and availability of long term (six months) accommodations available in the Merida or Chetumal area? It would also be feasible along the beach town area, Chelem, Yucatecpeten Chicxulub etc… We would like to secure a small two-bathroom, two-bedroom house with a closed in yard to secure the vehicle with a garden area. We are still planning to begin this move in the fall if everything goes according to plan. Thus far we are on track. We are anxiously waiting to receive the AIM documentations and back issues to further assist us with decision making. I was amazed at the prices of homes in the Laguna Bacalar area. I hope this does not reflect the prices of real estate or rentals in the Chetumal area. I assume that this is due to the invasion of the Baby Boomers, from what I read it is only the beginning. I don’t think I am wrong to imagine that this will be the case all over Mexico for the next fifteen years. Gracias todos.

Dan & Suzanne


sfmacaws


Jan 16, 2006, 9:52 AM

Post #13 of 15 (13008 views)

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Re: [apucko] Exploring various areas of Mexico for retirement

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Here's the address of a free forum for ex-pats in Mérida http://www.meridainsider.com/ They are great folks, very helpful and there is a ton of information there on living in and moving to Mérida.

Quotes I gave on houses on Lake Bacalar include a good chunk of land and lakefront and they are houses built for foreigners, significantly different than local designs. Still, you are right, it is almost unbelievably high. They can be rented when not occupied but again, I'm not sure who is renting them without access to the ocean.

Houses and land here in Chetumal are still cheaper than elsewhere on this coast. I'm sure they have gone up in the last few years as well but not as quickly. It's very pleasant here on the open bay, we're enjoying it a lot. The full moon these last few nights has risen right over the water, really beautiful. There is a manatee sanctuary just up the coast and we are looking into hiring a boat to take us up there. It would be great to see them, plus then I wouldn't ever have to go to Florida ;)


Jonna - Mérida, Yucatán




apucko

Jan 16, 2006, 11:18 AM

Post #14 of 15 (12993 views)

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Re: [apucko] Exploring various areas of Mexico for retirement

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Bonjour Jonna

Thank you for the info and site address, this will surely help us out. My primary choice was to head for Chetumal because of its tranquility and the various locations to explore, also, the chance to sit in warm waters with a beer tickles my fancy. Especially when I awoke this morning and looked outside at a temp of -15C, extremely cold to say the least. I envy you at this time. However, my wife prefers to initially start in a location where she can intermingle with ex-pats until she reaches her level of comfort. I understand that, therefore I will abide by her rules and soldier on. It’s not really that bad, just pulling her leg a little. Have a great day. How are the mosquitos in that area?

Dan & Suzanne


sfmacaws


Jan 16, 2006, 2:18 PM

Post #15 of 15 (12979 views)

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Re: [apucko] Exploring various areas of Mexico for retirement

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It's been cool and breezy so they aren't bad at all. They are here though, as everywhere in the Yucatan, and it is always a good idea to either DEET up or stay inside at dusk and to DEET up before going into the jungle or to a restaurant. Don't know why but I don't think I've ever been in a restaurant in these 3 states that didn't have mosquitos, it's habit now to put on the repellent as you get out of the car to go to eat. I used to joke that I had no idea what the food tasted like here as it all tasted like DEET to me.


Jonna - Mérida, Yucatán


 
 
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