Snowbirds who winter in Mexico or CA/SA: how did you start?

We are Canadian. My grandparents wintered in Florida but I am not sure I want to do this or not. My husband is turning 49 soon and I am 51. We will retire in the next 10 years at most. Financially we are okay but can’t afford super luxury.

Community is important to both of us as we are both very social although I can be quite shy. I like the idea of a retirement community where there are lots of activities.

Being Canadian out dollars don’t go as far, so we are considering Belize, which we have visited and loved but would need to explore more. And I would like to consider parts of Mexico but unsure where to start.

Those who winter in (or have retired to) warm climates outside the US, where did you start looking for a place to retire? Or did you just happen upon the place you decided on?
 

Manatee

Well-known Member
Location
Florida
About 15 years ago we stayed in an RV park in Mazatlan. Looking around at the license plates on the rigs, we wondered if anyone was still at home in British Columbia. We enjoyed our 1 week stay, but that was 15 years ago. I even have a picture of myself getting a haircut while sitting in a chair under a tree.

Our next trip was to Cabo San Lucas which was also good. We went with caravans from our then local Arizona RV club. Both places were about 1000 miles below the border. They would be a long ride from Kingston.

Our Canadian snowbird neighbors have been missed this year with the border closed.
 

MrPants

Member
Location
Tuktoyaktuk
There are a lot of American's living in Belize last I was there which was some time ago. As I understand it, Belize is one of the cheapest places in the Caribbean for long stays or permanent living. I've heard through friends that Lake Chapala in Mexico is a nice area for retirees. Many Canadians there and it's relatively safe. Some other areas of Mexico concern me due to drug cartel activity. Another area in Mexico I would be interested in checking out is somewhere along the Baja Peninsula. This is an up and coming retirement area as I understand it. A number of towns along there have potential beginning with Ensenada in the north.
Above all, knowing what's available at what cost for medical & dental services is a key consideration I think no matter where you decide to winter. As retirees we rely on those services more and more as we age.
You might want to speak to a travel agent about some of these areas. I'm sure they have plenty of time on their hands lately with Covid and could do some of the research for you on amenities available in some of these locations. The other thing you could do when travel opens up again is book an extended trip to a place of interest and poke around yourselves to see what's bets suited to your lifestyle. Nothing like local knowledge! Good luck in your search.
 

Does anyone here winter in Belize? I would love to chat! My husband and I spent two weeks in Belize a few winters ago and loved it. I’m a very light traveller and only took a small backpack with me. We had such a great time.

I’m also very interested in the Baja peninsula. We would likely pack light and fly (from Canada) and stay a few weeks at first while my husband is still working. Then if we like it we would return a few times. I would also love to chat with anyone who winters along the Baja.

I’m also quite interested in central and South America. We have a good friend who lives in Chile but the problem is we only know English and a bit of French.
 

Jondalar7

Member
Location
Reno, NV
I looked for places with low air fare. I found Puerta Viejo de Talamanca, Costa Rica on the Caribbean side, to be welcoming and beautiful. A little out of the way but an easy bus ride after landing in San Jose took us to a wonderland with few tourist. I can hook you up with my tour guide.
 
I looked for places with low air fare. I found Puerta Viejo de Talamanca, Costa Rica on the Caribbean side, to be welcoming and beautiful. A little out of the way but an easy bus ride after landing in San Jose took us to a wonderland with few tourist. I can hook you up with my tour guide.
Jon Dakar do you know if there’s any/many Canadians in the area?
 

Gaer

"Boldness has genius, power and magic."
If you go to Baja, Mulege is a good place.
What about Puerto Rico?
I've been hearing Mexico, even deep in Mexico is overrun with banditos. It might not be safe.
 

Myquest55

Member
Location
Happily in MAINE
I would suggest that, while you have the time now, check out a different place every year until you find the one you can settle on for a more permanent plan. A cousin of mine keeps a house in Panama and loves it there. You just need to find the right place for you! I would avoid Florida for now, seems a little politically unstable and expensive.
 

Lara

Member since 2015
Location
Emerald Isle NC
San Miguel de Allende seems to be the safest place to live in Mexico...with a good city plan to protect tourists. The population is 10% Expats. It's a beautiful, colorful city. If I were to live in Mexico, I would heavily consider San Miguel de Allende.

If you are interested in Belize the most popular place for Expats is an island off Belize called Ambergris Caye. But I don't know how expensive it is to live there. My daughter's 2 year experience with the Peace Corps in Belize was not good but she said the many islands right offshore from Belize are better and I specifically remember her speaking very fondly of Ambergris Caye.

While on the mainland of Belize it took a toll on my daughter's health that put her in the hospital for awhile. At one point, her life was in danger when the Peace Corps picked her up in the night, told her there was no time to pack, "just leave everything and get in the car". A local had overheard 3 men in a bar plotting "to hurt her" and reported it. She said stray dogs were everywhere and every morning she would go running and have to dodge all the dog poo.

Tangerine Travels is a series of over 300 youtube videos by a young couple packed with very helpful tips and warnings for traveling in Mexico.
 
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Packerjohn

Packerjohn
Location
Canada
My, now deceased, wife & I spent a whole winter in Lake Chapala. It is rather crowded these days but a great place to winter. They have an American Legion & the Lake Chapala Club with a great library/DVD lending service for members. The area is totally safe. We also spent a winter at Puerto Progresso on the Gulf of Mexico near Merida, in the Yucatan. Very safe, lots of expats & cheap fast bus into Merida. Been to Belize but found Belize City rather dangerous for "white people." Perhaps the islands are better. I love the USA but the health insurance is a real killer. I have been to doctors in Europe, Africa & Mexico where I never had insurance but paid out of pocket. $50 - $80 Canadian will give you tests & a doctor's complete attention for 30 - 40 minutes. Try that in the USA? Nada! Last point is about the heat. You will do well in December to about the middle of February but places like the Yucatan & Lake Chapala can get pretty hot by the middle of February. Lake Chapala has the altitude but Puerto Progresso is right on the Gulf & it gets pretty hot.
 

Lara

Member since 2015
Location
Emerald Isle NC
My daughter arrived safely yesterday at her destination via United in the middle of Mexico...after I bathed her in prayer:giggle: at the airport.
Previously I mentioned that I tried to talk her out of it, to no avail.

She got a furnished one bedroom apartment for 600 a month. It's got a garden patio that smells like flowers, a rooftop patio with cactus gardens, and an amazing panoramic view as far as the eye can see. Very colorful and tasteful but she giggled about the lime green bathroom in the video she sent me.

She will be working as a life coach and motivational speaker on zoom (in english so its mostly for Americans and others who speak english). She's good and changing lives according to lots of feedback. She plans to live there 2 months and then reassess whether to stay or go.

She's given all her contact info to my other daughter and her friend in Australia because she says she knows I'll call the US Embassy & Consulates if I don't hear from her everyday. She's right about that.

Message me @BlissfullyUnawareCanadian if you want any updates.
 
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garyt1957

Member
I looked for places with low air fare. I found Puerta Viejo de Talamanca, Costa Rica on the Caribbean side, to be welcoming and beautiful. A little out of the way but an easy bus ride after landing in San Jose took us to a wonderland with few tourist. I can hook you up with my tour guide.
Spent a week there in a house on the ocean. Great place for a vacation but I personally don't think I could live there
 


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