Playa del Carmen, Quintana RooCredit: W Fonseca

If you turn on the news then you cannot help but to worry about retirement. All you hear is about the cuts that some politicians are planning to make to safety net programs like Medicare and Social Security and retirement can seem like a very scary possibility. The good news is that the place you choose for your retirement will greatly influence how much you can enjoy the later stages in your life. That means that you need to look for a place that is beautiful and affordable; that is where Mexico comes in.

Isn’t It Dangerous?

The main question people ask about Mexico is about its safety. Some areas in Mexico are very dangerous, but to say that the entire country is dangerous is to not know the situation in the country or its geography. The border towns are mainly the place where the dangers are found. Some other places like the state of Michoacán and Guerrero in the central Pacific coast line have also seen an increase in violence. If you head south of the country, then you are likely to find entire states which rank safer than most of the United States. For example it is statistically safer to live in the state of Yucatán, Mexico than it is to live in Kentucky, Texas and Florida.

You Will Live Better

The problem with social security is that it simply is not enough to live comfortable. According to the Social Security Administration, the average retired worker receives only $1230.00 a month. The fact is that such an amount is not enough to pay rent and utilities in most places. You will also have some bills for medicine and medical expenses and then the food. As you can see, no matter where you live, that money is not enough for anyone to live on. Even if you were able to make ends meet you would still probably live in a bad area where you won't enjoy your retirement years.

If you were to retire in Mexico then you would be able to get a lot more for your money. In some areas in the states of Yucatán, Tabasco, Oaxaca, and Quintana Roo you would be able to get an apartment or home rental within walking distance to the beach in a nice residential area for anywhere between 200 to 450 dollars a month. In some cases those rentals already include utilities or at least some of them. A couple could really be able to get all the groceries they need a week for way under a hundred dollars. Medication and doctor visits are also a lot cheaper. Doctor visits in budget locations start at around 3 dollars a visit, and the medications are made by the same companies that you get your medications from today.

Great Food For Less

If you are only getting Social Security money or that is all you will have access to upon retirement, then you know that going out to eat even fast food is almost a luxury. Besides the great savings on rent, utilities, medical expenses and groceries you can also go out to eat for a lot less. You can go to a regular comida corrida restaurant which serves traditional Mexican food and spend 3.50 per person for the entire meal. The average comida corrida restaurant will give you soup, rice, main course, tortillas on the side and a drink. You can also forget about small portions at these places, you will be full at the end of your meal. If you wanted a better option then you could head out to a decent restaurant and spend 25 dollars for a couple including food and drinks; that is the same amount of money that you would spend for one person at a chain restaurant in the US. If you wanted to save even more money then you could go to a food stand and get traditional Mexican food like tacos, quesadillas or a gordita for anywhere between 1 dollar to 3 dollars.

Where To Look

Most of the south of Mexico is very safe and though some areas are expensive, other areas are as cheap as you could want. The main states in Mexico where you will want to look are Yucatán, Campeche, Tabasco, Quintana Roo, Oaxaca and some of Chiapas. The following is a list of the cheap alternatives that you have to retire in Mexico.

Yucatán – Yucatán is one of the safest areas in Mexico and one of the cheapest. The best places to look for housing include Mérida and El Progreso. Mérida is the biggest city in Yucatán and it is less than an hour away from the beach. El Progreso is a port city with a lot of cruise ships going there.

Quintana Roo

Quintana Roo is the state where Cancun is found, but Cancun is expensive so better alternatives that would place you close to the beach include Playa del Carmen, Tulum, Mahahual, and Puerto Morelos.


The beaches in Oaxaca are some of the best in the pacific coast line, and some of the best and more affordable options include Mazunte, Puerto Escondido, Huatulco and Puerto Angel.

Puerto Escondido, OaxacaCredit: Sarah Friedman


Chiapas is the state that is furthest south in Mexico. If you are looking in Chiapas then head to San Cristobal de las Casas, Tuxtla Gutierrez, or Puerto Arista. Puerto Arista is the one beach town of the three and it does not have a lot of the amenities you would want, but it is extremely affordable and quiet, which is perfect for retirement.

Tabasco and Campeche

Tabasco and Campeche are nearly as safe as Yucatán, but they do not have big cities except for Villahermosa in Tabasco and San Francisco in Campeche. San Francisco is very close to the beautiful Gulf of Mexico beaches so if a beach is what you want, then that is where you would need to go. Ciudad del Carmen is another great choice for beach lovers in Campeche.