News / Americas

Mexico Attracts US Retirees Despite Crime Wave

A Mexican beach
A Mexican beach


Some 40,000 people have been killed in Mexico over the past five years as the Latin American country's police and military battle powerful drug cartels that are also fighting with each other over smuggling routes. In spite of the dire headlines, hundreds of thousands of U.S. citizens vacation in Mexico every year and many of them, especially those who are retired, have opted to buy property and live there. The warm weather and the lower cost of living are big draws.

News from Mexico these days tends to be bad.

Shootouts and grisly murders dominate media reports.

But some Americans are moving to Mexico looking for peace and relaxation.

Michael Baldwin and Stephanie Villareal spoke to VOA via Skype from their home near the tip of Mexico's Baja peninsula.

“We have been here almost a year now. We came from Houston, Texas. We came down temporarily last summer and made the decision to make it permanent and we actually drove from Houston to Cabo San Lucas,” Baldwin said.

Baldwin says they love the natural beauty and mild climate and that their improved lifestyle has also saved them money.

“Houston versus Cabo, our expenses have been reduced by about 30 percent,” he said.

Villareal says they also enjoy interacting with local people in a place where they have noticed very little crime.

“We have lots of friends, they are very welcoming and that is one of our favorite parts of living here is the people,” she said.

While resort areas have generally remained peaceful. other parts of Mexico have turned into war zones.

The U.S. State Department notes violent incidents in 14 of Mexico's 31 states.

But Rodolfo Lopez-Negrete, chief operating officer of Mexico's Tourism Board, says the report does not take into account the vast areas untouched by major crime.

“Out of the 2,500 municipalities we have in Mexico, the equivalent of your counties in America, 80 of those have witnessed episodes of violence,” Lopez-Negrete said.

He says U.S. citizens living in the principal resort areas provide their own vote of confidence. "In the major time-share developments, the major fractional developments or full ownership, more than half of those purchases are from Americans," Lopez-Negrete said.

In Houston, Chris Hill works with the Mexico Real Estate Coalition to help promote property purchases south of the border.

He says activity has slowed in the past few years, partly because of the recession, but also because of news reports about violence that is generally not near tourist zones.

“All of these crime-related stories that we are hearing, drug-related, they have very little impact on a tourist or someone going to live in Mexico," Hill said.

Another concern for many home buyers from the United States is the legal process and the security of their investment in a foreign country.

Hill says new procedures and legal guarantees make real estate investment in Mexico safer and easier. “If you use the tools, there is very little risk, just as purchasing a property here in the U.S," Hill said.

The Mexican constitution prohibits foreigners from owning property within 50 kilometers from the coast.

But foreigners can enjoy ownership privileges of a beachside home by purchasing part of a Mexican "real estate trust" through which they own a home indirectly.

Chris Hill says Mexico provides a great opportunity for aging baby boomers in the United States to live better on their retirement funds.

“We believe that, long term, Mexico is going to be a wonderful opportunity for retirees to live the cost of medical services and health-related issues, but also the overall cost of living in Mexico is far lower,” Hill said.

And many Americans now living full time or even just part of the year in Mexico have found that to be true.

You May Like

Multimedia Brussels Schools, Metro Reopen Under Heavy Guard

City remains under the highest threat alert level due to what authorities have described as a 'serious and imminent' threat of attack

Video Debt-ridden Refugees Await Onslaught of Lebanese Winter

Aid agencies are attempting to reduce potentially devastating consequences of freezing conditions and snowstorms that killed eight last year, including three Syrian refugees

UN Warns Air Pollution in Asia Pacific Has Rising Cost

Globally some seven million people a year die prematurely due to indoor and outdoor pollution with about 70 per cent of those deaths in region

This forum has been closed.
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against ISi
November 24, 2015 3:04 AM
The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against IS

The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Americans Sharpen Focus on Terrorism

Washington will be quieter than usual this week due to the Thanksgiving holiday, even as Americans across the nation register heightened concerns over possible terrorist threats. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports new polling data from ABC News and the Washington Post newspaper show an electorate increasingly focused on security issues after the deadly Islamic State attacks in Paris.

Video World Leaders Head to Paris for Climate Deal

Heads of state from nearly 80 countries are heading to Paris (November 30-December 11) to craft a global climate change agreement. The new accord will replace the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change that expired in 2012.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

Video Creating Physical Virtual Reality With Tiny Drones

As many computer gamers know, virtual reality is a three-dimensional picture, projected inside special googles. It can fool your brain into thinking the computer world is the real world. But If you try to touch it, it’s not there. Now Canadian researchers say it may be possible to create a physical virtual reality using tiny drones. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video New American Indian Village Takes Visitors Back in Time

There is precious little opportunity to experience what life was like in the United States before its colonization by European settlers. Now, an American Indian village built in a park outside Washington is taking visitors back in time to experience the way of life of America's indigenous people. Carol Pearson narrates this report from VOA's June Soh.

Video Even With Hometown Liberated, Yazidi Refugees Fear Return

While the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar has been liberated from Islamic State forces, it's not clear whether Yazidi residents who fled the militants will now return home. VOA’s Mahmut Bozarslan talked with Yazidis, a religious and ethnic minority, at a Turkish refugee camp in Diyarbakır. Robert Raffaele narrates his report.

Video Nairobi Tailors Make Pope Francis’ Vestments

To ensure the pope is properly attired during his visit, the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops asked the Dolly Craft Sewing Project in the Nairobi slum of Kangemi to make the pope's vestments, the garments he will wear during the various ceremonies. Jill Craig reports.

Video Cross-Border Terrorism Puts Europe’s Passport-Free Travel in Doubt

The fallout from the Islamic State terror attacks in Paris has put the future of Europe’s passport-free travel area, known as the "Schengen Zone," in doubt. Several of the perpetrators were known to intelligence agencies, but were not intercepted. Henry Ridgwell reports from London European ministers are to hold an emergency meeting Friday in Brussels to look at ways of improving security.

Video El Niño Brings Unexpected Fish From Mexico to California

Fish in an unexpected spectrum of sizes, shapes and colors are moving north, through El Niño's warm currents from Mexican waters to the Pacific Ocean off California’s coast. El Nino is the periodic warming of the eastern and central Pacific Ocean. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this phenomenon thrills scientists and gives anglers the chance of a once-in-a-lifetime big catch. Faith Lapidus narrates.

Video Terrorism in Many Forms Continues to Plague Africa

While the world's attention is on Paris in the wake of Friday night's deadly attacks, terrorism from various sides remains a looming threat in many African countries. Nigerian cities have been targeted this week by attacks many believe were staged by the violent Islamist group Boko Haram. In addition, residents in many regions are forced to flee their homes as they are terrorized by armed militias. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Study: Underage Marriage Rate Higher for Females in Pakistan

While attitudes about the societal role of females in Pakistan are evolving, research by child advocacy group Plan International suggests that underage marriage of girls remains a particularly big issue in the country. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports how such marriages leads to further social problems.

VOA Blogs

More Americas News

UN Focuses on Global Effort to End Violence Against Women

Sixteen-day UN campaign will attempt to raise awareness about violent realities faced by many of world's women and girls

Canada Extends Deadline to Bring in 25,000 Syrian Refugees

Humanitarian workers across Middle East have been gearing up for massive airlift of Syrian refugees to Canada

Canada Refugee Plan Revives Concerns Over Porous US Border

Border agents, some residents say they are concerned about Ottawa's plan to bring in 25,000 Syrians by year-end, even though the government there insists its screening will be thorough

Quake in Mexico Shakes Capital, No Reported Damage or Injuries

USGS says 5.5. magnitude quake had its epicenter 257 km (160 miles) south of Mexico City in the southwestern state of Guerrero

Venezuela Opposition Delighted at Macri's Argentina Presidential Win

Activists see election result in Argentina as blow for leftists in Latin America, good omen for their parliamentary vote next month

Climate Change Sends Chile's Wine Industry Southward

Vintners in the world's fourth largest wine exporter are watching some of their promising vines wither with climate change