Unless stated otherwise, all prices are High Season prices.
I will not try and duplicate what I have already written about Progreso.
For more detail, please read Progreso – Mexico – (Secret) Information. And, for the cost of a short visit (to ‘suss’ the place out before you commit to a longer term stay) read Progreso – Mexico – GRANDPAcking Costs.
Progreso (and, Chelem perhaps more so) boasts a small but growing expat community; mainly from the USA and Canada.
The Progreso Area is usually quiet but swells in the peak of the summer as it fills up with (mainly) local tourists who come to escape the heat of the cities (like Merida) in the cooling sea breeze.
Chelem is a particular favourite with expats. Expats are starting to open bars and restaurants and it is developing its own ‘community’ within a small area. It offers more ‘closeness’ than Progreso.
English is spoken by only a few locals … you will need to learn some Spanish.
STANDARD TOURIST VISA:
Most ‘westerners’ should get a free 180 day Tourist Visa on entry into Mexico.
Make sure that you ask for the full 180 days … sometimes the customs person decides to arbitrarily write a lower number on your entry stamp.
If you want to stay longer, you will have a problem: you cannot renew this Visa whilst in Mexico … you MUST leave the country and come back in again.
Progreso is on the northern tip of the Yucatan Peninsular and not near a border … the cheapest Visa Run for 2 people is likely to cost at least US$800.
TEMPORARY RESIDENT VISA:
If you are planning on living or staying in Mexico for more than 6 months (and less than 4 years), I suggest that you get a Temporary Resident Visa before you come.
You can purchase these Visas for 1, 2, 3 or 4 years at a time.
If you obtain it for less than 4 years, it is only renewable for a total of 4 years. These Temporary Visas can have work permissions and can allow for multiple entry and exit from Mexico.
To get one, you need to meet Financial Requirements which can differ depending on your country of origin / citizenship.
In general, they are looking for retirement income of roughly US$1,500 / month or a US$25,000 balance in your bank account(s). GRANDPAckers should meet this financial requirement.
Contact your local Mexican Consulate for the details, application form, and process.
WHEN TO GO:
But, when it comes to finding accommodation at the right price, timing is everything.
The best times to come (to get affordable prices) are:
- 3 Months Stays: September – December
- 6 Month Stays: May – November
- 12 Month Stays: I would arrive in either May (as the Peak Season ends) or September (just after the July/August busy period) … as it becomes quiet with the next Busy Period several months away, you should be in the best negotiating position
The longer you rent, the cheaper the monthly rental.
Merida is the capital of the Yucatan and has a major airport.
Progreso is only about 40kms north of Merida. It is easy to catch a Bus or a Colectivo.
WHERE TO LIVE:
For a more ‘condensed’ expat community look at Chelem.
For a more secluded existence look further east or west of those two towns. But, be warned, these places are increasingly isolated and you may need transport.
I suggest that you get online and book a cheap hotel for your immediate arrival.
You should be able to find one for about MXP500 / night.
LONG TERM RENTAL:
You can find long term rentals on sites like LONGTERMLETTINGS.
Amongst many others.
I advise you NOT to rent directly from any of these sites.
In my experience, they list properties (many owned by expats) targeting ‘westerners’ at ‘premium’ prices. They are taking advantage of the fact that the price looks reasonable (compared to where you currently live) and that you don’t know what the local prices really are.
You should be able to find a nicely furnished, western standard, 1 Bedroom rental within 3 blocks of a nice beach for under US$400 / month. You should be able to find a 2 Bedroom one for under MXP500 / month. You may even be on the beach at those prices.
TAKE YOUR TIME:
I strongly suggest that you Take Your Time.
Once you are in Progreso, you can find the best deals.
Extend your short-term hotel room or Vacation Rental if you need to.
There is nothing wrong with living in a decent hotel room for 1 month so that you can find the right Long Term Rental for the next 11-12. In all likelihood, you may need to wait for your long-term rental to become free anyway.
Read my post on Progreso – GRANDPAcking Costs for more detail about the cost of a short-term stay … this is what you can expect your costs to be until you find your long-term solution.
You should seriously consider booking into the Abrazarse Life B&B at the special GRANDPAcker 4-week rental rate of MXP375 / night. This is an excellent price for Mexico:
You should find that all Utilities, Internet, and Cable TV are included in your rental price. Especially if you are renting for a full year.
Electricity is usually extra but you only need to budget about MXP100 / month. The sea breeze means that you can use your aircon economically … this will more than halve your electric bill.
You should be able to get a local cleaner in each week for MXP30-40 / hour if you want one.
RENT OR BUY:
I have found no reason to suggest that it is ‘unwise’ to purchase property in Mexico.
Many expats in Progreso have purchased.
A 900sqft 2 bedroom home can be purchased for US$100,000-150,000. Up to US$200,000 if you want to be on the beach.
You should be able to walk everywhere.
You can legally drive in Mexico on a USA Driving License.
IS PROGRESO A GRANDPACKING RETIREMENT LOCATION? YES.
Is Progreso somewhere to stay for several months as you alternate between home and / or other Retirement Location(s)? YES.
Read my other post about Progreso for more general information.
WHAT WOULD YOUR RETIREMENT BUDGET BE?
THE GRANDPAcking ACID TEST: Can a retired couple with no assets live easily, comfortably, and happily here with their only source of income being a standard NZ Married Couple’s State Pension? YES.
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