Merida is already a popular Retirement Location for many expats from the USA and Canada. There are an estimated 10,000 here already.
“For those wishing to retire in the Yucatan region of Mexico, the capital city of Merida offers colonial-era charm, urban vibrancy, and ease of access to the best the region has to offer including art, cultural events, secluded beaches, nature reserves and archaeological treasures”.
I will not try and duplicate what I have already written about Merida …
For more detail, please read Merida – Mexico – Information. And, for the cost of a short visit (to ‘suss’ the place out before you commit to a longer term stay) read Merida – Mexico – GRANDPAcking Costs.
You will also find some good information at Mexperience.
The attraction seems to be the low cost of living coupled with the fact that there are always plenty of things to do.
STANDARD TOURIST VISA:
Most ‘westerners’ should get a free 180 day Tourist Visa on entry into Mexico.
If you plan to stay for up to 180 days, all is hunky dory.
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.
Merida is on the northern tip of the Yucatan Peninsular. The easiest Visa Run is to Belize which can be reached in about 8 hours on a comfortable, long distance bus.
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.
The current price for a 1 year Temporary Resident Visa is MXP3,596 (about US$200). But, it will save you the cost of a Visa Run.
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:
Merida’s climate is tropical; hot in the dry season and hot and humid in the rainy season.
In May through August, Merida can get uncomfortably hot and humid with torrential downpours of rain in the afternoons or evenings.
Merida is the capital of the Yucatan and has a major airport.
Otherwise, Merida is easily accessed on comfortable long distance buses.
WHERE TO LIVE:
You want to be in or near to the Centro Historica.
Don’t be fooled by the outside of these colonial homes. The outside looks bland and uninteresting … but you can step inside to some very comfortable living … some with central courtyards … some with plunge pools.
I suggest that you get online and book a cheap hotel for your immediate arrival.
LONG TERM RENTAL:
You can find long term rentals listed online.
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.
The expats that I met told me that ‘western quality’ 2-3 bedroom furnished homes (sometimes with a pool) can be had for as little as US$400 / month including utilities (excluding electric). Electricity is always on top of that at your own expense … electric is expensive and you need to manage your aircon usage accordingly. Using aircon is expensive.
TAKE YOUR TIME:
I strongly suggest that you Take Your Time. Once you are in Merida, you can find the best deals. You should be able to find a nicely furnished, western standard, 2 Bedroom rental within 5 blocks of the Centro Historica for US$400-500 / month.
Extend your short-term hotel room or Vacation Rental if you need to. You will be very comfortable. There is no best time to rent in Merida … it’s not like a beach town (e.g. Progreso) that has a Peak Season to work around.
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 Merida – 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 find that all Utilities, Internet, and Cable TV are included in your rental price. Especially if you are renting for a full year.
You should be able to get a local cleaner in each week for MXP30-40 / hour if you want one.
RENT OR BUY:
GRANDPAckers, by definition, cannot afford to buy.
I have found no reason to suggest that it is ‘unwise’ to purchase property in Mexico.
Many expats in Merida have purchased.
You should be able to walk everywhere.
You can legally drive in Mexico on a USA Driving License.
IS MERIDA A GRANDPACKING RETIREMENT LOCATION? YES.
Is Merida somewhere that you can retire to full-time? YES.
Is Merida somewhere to stay for several months as you alternate between home and / or other Retirement Location(s)? YES.
A single expat told me that she lived a very nice lifestyle in Merida for under US$1,000 / month. A retired couple should easily be able to do the same on a GRANDPAcking Budget.
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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