The Top 3 Factors to Consider About Moving Overseas

I got this email today from International Living, a magazine and website that touts different places around the world for expats to retire or live.

I remember reading the International Living website around 2002, and at that time they were pushing Costa Rica and Belize as the next great place for expats from the USA. Now they are pushing Ecuador, Panama, and still Belize, as great places for expats to live or retire. Never once in the hundreds of emails and updates over the years they have sent me, have they ever mentioned the Mexican Caribbean or Mahahaul.

So when I got the email below this morning, and read it, it kind of got me thinking, Mahahual meets all of the criteria listed in this article.

So here is my breakdown and take on these three factors that International Living lists and how they relate to Mahahual and Costa Maya.

I will share the article and then after article, I will state Mahahual’s case, and how it meets each factor listed.

Mahahual ligbhthouse and crusie ship pier in background.

International Living Postcards
International Living Postcards—your daily escape
Thursday, October 30, 2014

Dear International Living Reader,

No matter what your dream retirement looks like…or how it differs from anyone else’s… there are certain questions that all potential expats need to ask themselves.

IL Editor Suzan Haskins tells you what you need to ask yourself before you make your move overseas…

Erica Mills
Managing Editor, IL Postcards

The Top 3 Factors to Consider About Moving Overseas
By Suzan Haskins

To get to the point where you shut the door on your current life and embrace a new, very different culture and language takes a little doing. You need to weigh the pros and cons and make some wise decisions about where you’ll go and what you’ll do once you get there. For some people, doing all that is a piece of cake. For others, it can be a nerve-racking experience.

Sifting through all of the info you need to consider to make a move overseas can be kind of intimidating. There are so many decisions to be made that it’s easy to go into information overload. It’s kind of like the way you feel when you go into a restaurant with a five-page menu…and discover you can’t make a decision about what you want. Too many choices can paralyze you.

There’s a way to avoid that: The best favor you can do for yourself, in our experience, is to have a very specific idea of what you’re really looking for. Before you go, you need to profile yourself ruthlessly.

There are eight factors that are critically important to your success, in our opinion. These are things that can make or break a place for you. By considering those eight factors, and deciding which are the most important for you, you’ll be in a much better position to decide on the location that’s right for you.

So what do those factors look like? Well, there are too many for me to explain in detail here…but there are three factors, out of those eight, that seem to be top of the list in importance for many expats. They are:

1) Affordability

How does the cost of living stack up with your income and budget?

2) Health care

Will you be comfortable with the health care options available to you in a certain retirement destination? Are good health insurance or hospital plans available to you? Will the costs be in line with what you can afford?

3) Climate

Are you hoping for four seasons or year-round warm weather? It’s best to plan your exploratory visit during the worst weather season so you’ll know exactly what to expect.

Caribbean waters 1 mile from Mahahual downtown.

Caribbean waters 1 mile from Mahahual downtown.

Now I will examine each factor.

1) Affordability

How does the cost of living stack up with your income and budget?

As I have written past posts, Mahahual is very affordable for USA and Canada expats or retirees. Housing costs are still inexpensive compared to the USA, Canada, and other Caribbean locations.

At the moment you can buy a 2br house in Mahahual for around $42,000 USD, and you can find nice places to rent for around $500 USD a month, much cheaper than a lot of Caribbean destinations.

2br house in New Mahahual.

2br house in New Mahahual.

Also there is plenty of land, beachfront and commercial that can be bought at very reasonable prices.

Services like cable tv, internet, electricity, and other services are much cheaper in Mahahual, compared to the USA and Canada. In fact cable tv and wifi internet will run you $399 pesos a month, around $34 USD.

Also food, eating out, and groceries are much cheaper in Mahahual, than other places on the Caribbean.

As I have written before, it costs me about $1,000 a month to live in Mahahual, and I eat out all the time because I don’t have a kitchen, and being single, it is almost as cheap to eat out in Mahahual as it is to prepare your own food. That $1,000 a month also includes my diabetic medicine, which is about $12 USD a month here versus $200-300 USD in the USA.

I have read lately that the average Social Security check in the USA now is around $1,250 USD a month. That does not go very far in the USA, but you can live real good on that in Mahahual.

2) Health care

Will you be comfortable with the health care options available to you in a certain retirement destination? Are good health insurance or hospital plans available to you? Will the costs be in line with what you can afford?

I have written a whole series of articles on here about the health and medical care in Mahahual and Mexico. In Mahahual there is the CostaMed clinic and another clinic in the village. CostaMed takes a lot of insurance from the USA, and is a totally modern facility. I myself have nothing but positive things to say about the medical care here. There are free clinics several times a year in Mahahual, and last year there was a free eye clinic where I got a free pair of glasses.

In fact I have seen more doctors in my three years in Mahahual, than I ever saw in the USA. One day I was riding my bike back home from the port, and I passed the CostaMed clinic. I was having problem with my ankle and left leg being sore, so I stopped in to see my doctor. She saw me right then, and took care of me, and I was on my way in about 30 minutes. For more on medical care in Mahahual, read past posts on here concerning medical care, I go more in-depth in those posts, and give more details.

Free dental clinic in Mahahual.

Free dental clinic in Mahahual.

My doctor at CostaMed in Mahahual. Dr. Karla Velasco, speaks English well, and not bad on the eyes either.

My doctor at CostaMed in Mahahual. Dr. Karla Velasco, speaks English well, and not bad on the eyes either.

Doctors 028

CostaMed clinic, near port in Mahahual.

CostaMed clinic, near port in Mahahual.

3) Climate

Are you hoping for four seasons or year-round warm weather? It’s best to plan your exploratory visit during the worst weather season so you’ll know exactly what to expect.

I can honestly say this, Mahahual has one of the best climates in the world. It is always sunny, cool tropical Caribbean breezes, and calm seas. Mahahual is Mexican Caribbean paradise full of nature and fauna. The water temperature in Mahahual is always around 80 degrees, which means year round water activities, and diving and fishing. It is cooler in the summer in Mahahual than it is in my hometown of Greenville, South Carolina. In the winter the average temperature is in the low 80s and every now and then it will get down to 70 degrees in Jan. or Feb. In Mahahual you can wear you summer clothes all year round, shorts and tshirts.

Mexican Caribbean. Mahahual

Mexican Caribbean. Mahahual

So in closing, in my opinion Mahahual meets and exceeds all the factors listed in the International Living email that was sent to me.

Thanks for reading,
Stewart Rogers USA-South Carolina

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