Wednesday, May 16, 2012

"Retirement on the Mexican Riviera"

"Retirement on the Mexican Riviera"," By definition, Riviera is an Italian term originally from the Middle Ages for the coast of Liguria. Retirement on either Riviera would be wonderful if you have seriously deep pockets, don't mind the 10 hour transatlantic flight, and the possible language barrier when you're there! Today, the term is more generally applied worldwide to about a dozen warm coastal regions popular with tourists. The Riviera Maya consists of 80 miles of carribbean coastline wrapping along the eastern side of the Yucatan Peninsula in the Mexican state of Quintana Roo. This region is a terrific area for visiting with its warm weather, sandy beaches, and historic archaeological sites; it may be a different matter when it comes to retirement. Also, the Yucatan area is threatened by hurricanes off the Caribbean Sea almost every year with Playa del Carmen and Chetumal being virtually wiped out a few years ago and Cancun devastated in 2005. This flat topography results in the beautiful large beaches and shallow water that attract the younger generation for spring break vacations and other holidays with a very active night life. With the Sierra Madre Mountains running virtually the entire distance, this shoreline has to be considered one of the most scenic on the planet. The problem is that approximately 90% of this magnificent terrain is classified as ejido land and is not available for purchase by foreigners. The small fraction of land that has been privatized lies in and around the resort destinations along the Mexican Riviera where foreigners can purchase property and hold the title, as an escritura, in a 50 year bank trust. For retirement consideration, let's take a closer look at the resorts along this Riviera. Ensenada now has a population of 450,000 inhabitants of which approximately 20,000 are North American retirees. Along with the wine industry, Ensenada has a thriving fishing industry, agricultural business, a substantial gravel mining industry, six major maquiladora parks, and of course tourism. The greater Ensenada area is quite large and basically flat with mountains generally in the background surrounding the city. Because the region is more industrial than tourist based, the cost of living is quite attractive in the Ensenada area. Fishing, agriculture, cotton textile spinning and weaving, sugar refining, breweries, coffee roasting plants, etc. Approximately 300 miles south of Mazatlan is Manzanillo, the ""Sailfish Capital of the World"". Both Mazatlan and Manzanillo rely heavily on industry and much less on tourism. Acapulco is by far the largest city on the Mexican Riviera with a population exceeding 700,000 people. This popular resort destination offers scenic terrain, beautiful beaches, warm climate, and all the amenities that any tourist would desire. Ixtapa/Zihuatanejo (Ixtapa is actually the resort area where the retirees are located), Cabo San Lucas, Puerto Escondido, and Huatulco are much smaller cities, each having populations of less than 70,000 people; Puerto Escondido and Huatulco, much less. They each have beautiful golf courses and other tourist related activities. Being strictly resort areas, there are virtually no other industries and therefore most of the local citizens speak some degree of English. Having small North American communities may offer benefits to some and drawbacks to others. The last and probably the most popular resort destination, located in the center of the Mexican Riviera, is Puerto Vallarta; home of nearly 50,000 North Americans. Puerto Vallarta is situated on the shoreline of the 25 mile diameter Banderas Bay which is surrounded by the Sierra Madre Mountains. Retirement property ranges from beachfront condominium towers to mountainside villas, all of which have panoramic views of the city, the Pacific Ocean, and the Sierra Madres with their native fauna and flora. as well as many other mega modern supermarkets. Four new modern hospitals with sophisticated equipment and highly trained doctors are now in Vallarta as are a number of modern dental clinics. Since Vallarta's only industry is tourism, communications are never a barrier. After all, not only is it a short 2-4 hours away but it's probably the only Riviera you'll ever be able to afford, except perhaps your dad's old Buick! . IS THIS EVEN POSSible