Moving to Mexico: Chapter 18
A Reader Wants to Move to Tulum!
At this time, my site has been viewed almost 3,000 times. *Not bad for a site with no SEO. ☺
Many readers reach out to me to ask questions or make comments on my articles. I answer every question and reply to all comments.
Some are quick:
“I’m sorry…but Tom Collins is my favorite drink!”
Others are complimentary:
“Your articles make me believe that I can do this too! We have been dreaming of getting out of the rat-race for years. Let’s stay in touch! We would love to visit you and Betty, buy you a drink, and possibly stay at your place to try out the area.”
Others go much deeper. I recently received a very detailed email from a man living and working on the east coast who had also lived and worked in the SF Bay Area not far from me. He has reevaluated his life a bit by the recent passing of a loved one. And the day-to-day emptiness that is our reward for working so hard has really made him decide to make the move, get out, and start living. He’s ready to say U.S.Adios.
Take a look at our recent email exchange here:
Hola.. just wanted to let you know that your blog is appreciated! Stumbled upon your site from, I believe, one of the expat sites on FB. Great stories about your Carib living, SF living and Tulum. I read all of your blogs in one sitting as there is a lot that interests me. I too lived in Northern CA when I worked for ***** years ago. And now Northern VA working for *****.
Never married, no kids except some mastiffs and bulldogs, always invested 50% of my income and turning 50 next year – I am ready for a change. Been focusing on Tulum for some time. I have been toying with Aldea Zama – I like the location and prices but will need more intel when I get back down again – as early as November.
Anyway, I am done with the rat-race in Northern VA (which is very similar to Northern CA) and continue to dwell on making the move next year.
Your blog sets a loose plan of things I need to think of and some of the very things I look forward to. I have plenty of questions that would take a 6-pack to get to, but curious as to why you settled on Tulum out of all the places that you have been… and more importantly, why Bahia Principe vs. say, Aldea Zama?
I am curious as to your decision(s) and would love to hear them here or in your blog. Hope you guys enjoy your time down there and it’s free of seaweed..
Thank you for your reply. I really appreciate your kind words about my story and only ask two things: subscribe and tell at least 5 people to check it out.
Now, to your question about Aldea Zama, Tulum and Bahia Principe, Tulum:
I first visited the area on a business junket with a group of wanna-be businessmen and global hustlers, none of whom turned out to be legit. The one thing I got out of that trip: I liked the Mayan Riviera, a lot.
I have traveled to a lot of places and many are nice. Nicaragua, Belize, The Bahamas, Honduras, The Virgin Islands, The Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Costa Rica, etc. I was in search of that magical place that had the following:
- GREAT beaches. That means white sand and clear, warm ocean.
- Low cost of living.
- Modern conveniences (shopping, WIFI, good roads, etc.)
- Safe environment/friendly people
- Good food!
As I traveled, I began to eliminate places.
- The Bahamas was wonderful but it’s nearly impossible to get a job or start a business. Their infrastructure is horrible, government is 100% corrupt. Cost of living sky-high, hurricanes devastate the place regularly, the food is awful (all fried fish and chicken, rice), the shopping sucks, roads suck, too much crime, traffic…I could go on. Why did I live there? Their beaches and water are incredible. The people are magical. It was my first foray into the Caribbean and I was enamored. I started there, lived there and ultimately, I left.
- Nicaragua, Belize, Honduras, The Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico are similar: beaches are ok (except the DR, some of the best in places), cost of living is not low, few modern conveniences, some places are downright dangerous, lots of bugs/mozzies and the food is average to poor; very bland in most places.
- The Virgin Islands came in close. The USVI make it easy as it’s part of the USA. But many people in St. Thomas are some of the most hostile I’ve ever encountered. Guys blasting car stereos at full volume on public beaches; menacing dudes that if you ask them to turn it down, they show you a knife. Another guy almost snatched my camera because he thought I was taking photos of him selling drugs on St. John. The Charlotte Amalie cruise ship port is now fenced off, but years ago it wasn’t, and purse snatchings were common. No one wanted to chase the robber into the nearby ghetto where they escaped. Not for me. Awesome beaches, cost of living is ok, modern conveniences…not so much as it’s an island far from anything. Food? I can’t remember because the rum was $4/bottle! Terrible headache to say the least.
- Costa Rica, I only saw a small part of it, but it was beautiful. I stayed in town and in the hillside farm areas of San Jose. People were nice, conveniences were ok, didn’t see the beaches because the cost of living was just too high. I did not want to become enamored with another Bahamian situation.
Why Mexico? I’m from Cali so I love the food and speak Spanish pretty well already (college and self-study). Mexican people are some of the kindest I have ever met. There are a LOT of things to do in Mexico as opposed to the Bahamas where you can only go to the beach 100 times and you’re begging for a change. It’s not far from the USA (5-hour direct flight from SFO on United). The beaches in Tulum rock! Some of the best I’ve seen. It’s easy to get around (private buses are $1.80 USD from my place to downtown Tulum.) The shopping is incredible, even in Tulum, but in Playa…please. They have it all. It’s super cheap, modern roads, conveniences, WIFI, etc. I love it.
Now, why Bahia Principe as opposed to another place? I looked all over the Mayan Riviera, even at Aldea Zama (back around 2015). AZ was crumbling when I viewed it. Sparse homes with little in between, like a 1/2 built project that didn’t look like it was going to be finished. Local experts I knew told me to avoid the place, so I did. Perhaps, it’s different now, I’m not sure. I hope so, it looked like a great idea and it’s in a pretty ideal place.
I settled on BP for a few reasons:
- It’s in Tulum, but not downtown. I don’t really go downtown too much. I’m 53 years old, done all the partying and “hanging out” I need to in this lifetime and I grew up in Santa Cruz, CA, so the whole hippy scene is nothing new to me. I’m glad the 20-somethings are having fun, but I’ve already done all of that. Tulum is also crowded, a little dirty and a bit ragged. I would have LOVED it 25 years ago. Now, I’m seeking a little more comfort, safety, peace, and luxury.
- BP is like Disneyland, and I don’t even like Disneyland. I like how Disneyland works. We ride trams all over the place, we wear wristbands that allow us to eat or drink anywhere we want (over 40 restaurants and bars…no, I did not count, and I have not been to all of them…yet.)
- Our beaches are safe and clean. The resort keeps them very tidy. Even the sargassum can’t get us at BP as the boys net and rake it all day long. *A job I would have loved when I was 20…work in the ocean, checking out the girls on the beach all day. Sure, no problem.
- We did NOT want another condo. We bought land and built a home, our way. It’s not perfect, but it’s nice, it works and it’s ours. No noisy neighbors stamping on the ceiling or blasting the music through our walls. No annoying association meetings and no co-owners not paying their monthly dues.
- There is ALWAYS something going on at BP. The festivities and entertainment never stop. Sure, some of the shows are cheesy, but who cares? It’s free and it’s fun. Who doesn’t want to see a Mexican guy sing Michael Jackson tunes? Who doesn’t want to watch a group of Mexican dancers lip-sync “Love Rollercoaster” while sipping a cool Modelo? And if you don’t want to hang with the visitors, just stay at home and write or watch some YouTube, Netflix or Prime. I can relax in the resort pools and eat swim-up-bar sushi at Tao, or I can relax in my own pool with my iPad and some music. My buddy and I sat in our rooftop spa for two hours a week ago while the ladies played music, danced and brought us beer. The sunset was incredible, and we saw a flock of what looked like blue parrots fly by. *I think they are called Mexican Blue Jays.
Here is what you should do: visit BP. I’ll show you around. Heck, if you want I’ll even rent one of my units to you cheap, $80/night. If you want to eat and drink like a rockstar, as my guest, that’s another $50/day (paid to the resort; my guests get a discount) for all you can swallow. Trust me, it’s the best deal going. Then, while you’re there I can show you around to the places I like; taco bars, cantinas, shops, beaches, B&Bs on the beach that are so nice you won’t want to leave.
What do I get out of this? Not much. But if you’ll let me film part of our trips around and interview you for my site (and a few others), we can help show the world why Tulum is so great. And if you really like it, I can introduce you to some of the best builders and agents in the area and you can take it from there.
That’s it. I hope I was able to answer your questions. If I can help you along your journey, that’s my goal. And just maybe, if we’re successful, I’ll have a new neighbor someday soon.
All the best,
Please, feel free to use our conversation.
Thank you for all the information. Your response was fantastic and so relevant. Interestingly enough, I was just looking at the Bahia Principe as an option for November (close enough to Tulum to do intel and a resort with a pool in case the sargassum is still an issue). If you still have availability, I would definitely take you up on the offer to rent your place. I will go online and check your availability – most likely the week prior to, or the week of T-Day as my girlfriend works in the public schools here. She has younger kids, so she doesn’t have the ability to move to Mexico in the near future.
My original plan was to retire early at 55. With the death of my mother (Parkinson’s) earlier this year – and a few other eye-opening recent events, I am just starting to understand how short life is and when enough is enough. Oddly enough, it was on a trip where I ran away on my own to check out Tulum when I received the news about my mother’s passing. Good a place as any to digest that I guess. This, coming off a night drinking tainted mezcal with an old buddy/co-worker from who made millions since I saw him last 20 years ago and now he is just bouncing around the world. He ended up falling face-first and opened his forehead and I stumbled off in another direction – barely getting to the hotel without my wallet. We are not junior varsity drinkers (he’s English), so it wasn’t us. He is friends with many of the staff at the pop-up bar Mulberry Project at La Zebra who confirmed that there was a rash of the same from that bar (I-scream Bar) after us. Every place has its dangers. But yeah, interesting couple of days.
Happy Anniversary and again, thanks for all the information and inside commentary… Not sure what your schedule is like over the next few months but hope we can meet up down there…
Now, I can already hear the cries of “foul” from those who live, work or invest in any of the areas I mentioned above. Keep your emails to yourselves. The comments I made are from my REAL experiences and are just my opinion. If any of my comments offend or upset you, it’s probably because there is some truth to them.
We were flying back from Arizona yesterday, after a couple of days touring colleges with our son, and I was bored on the plane, so I made a big mistake: I turned on the news. The President was rallying people in Indiana, acting crazy as usual. Hillary Clinton won’t go away. She and Bill are going on a road tour to help the Dems take the House and Senate, so they can impeach Trump, tickets cost almost $800.00. I’m sure Soros can afford to send some folks.
“Democrats cannot be civil with Republicans anymore.” She said.
As if any of them are ever civil with each other. They’re all liars. If you trust any of them, good luck to you. I’m tired of the whole thing. I’m sick of each side telling me the exact opposite of the other. Smart, educated people…someone is lying. Or they all are. Who can tell?
I switched channels and saw a show called Below Deck, a stupid “reality” show about hard-working and hard-partying young, single people working on bazillion-dollar mega-yacht charters for drunk and demanding rich people. The show was unbearably scripted, so I turned the volume down and just stared at the water that surrounded the yacht. It looked like Tulum.
I have only been home a week and I already need to go back.
Click here to read the previous installment!