Why Mexico, why Chelem

Several years ago Roy’s sister-in-law told us that she was planing to retire to Belieze. She told us about the incredible low cost of living there and that for the price of a car in the US you could buy a house on the beach. That got us thinking, while we didn’t plan to retire early, if we had to it was great to know that there was a place we could do it and live comfortably.

Unfrotunately after looking into it more we found that it wasn’t so cheap, there was a lot of crime targeting expats, and the flights were expensive. But it did plant a seed in our minds and from time to time we investigated other Latin America countries as places for retirement. After Roy’s first trip to Israel he decided that is where he wanted to retire, and I would have loved it as well. So assuming that the startup I was working for would succeed, we planned to retire in Israel when it was time.

Alas, the startup didn’t succeed and by Fall 2015 it became obvious that I was about to be unemployed. A fifty something tech executive has a very hard time finding a job, especially when he let his coding skills slip (manage more, code less I was always told). In January 2016 when it was confirmed that I would soon be unemployed Roy and I decided to map out a plan “B” (well plan “A” in Roy’s mind). I would continue looking for a new job but we would explore opening a Bed & Breakfast which was Roy’s lifelong dream and semi-retire.

In our search we found that the cost of living in Latin America was indeed low, we could afford a place on the water, and we could find areas that were safe. The problem was airfare. Between us we have 7 kids and we wanted to either visit them or have them visit us on a routine basis. Thus we need to find a location that had cheap fares. We found that in Cancun. Flying into Cancun is inexpensive, and so we focused around places which were driving distance from Cancun.

We stumbled onto a group of villages along the Gulf Of Mexico which are 3.5 hours from Cancun, and 30 minutes from a city called Merida (which we knew nothing about). Looking at houses on the internet we found some nice places and inexpensive. We decided to fly down and check them out in March of 2016. We booked a room at a gay owned B&B called Flamingos Inn and became friends with the owner Stig. He has been a tremendous help in explaining life in the area. He had moved there 4 years earlier from Norway.

My first impression of the place was not positive. Most houses are used only 7 weeks a year and are closed up the rest of the time. They are more bungalows than houses. Real-estate taxes are low and labor is cheap. Families from Merida, the nearby city, buy places, then only use them in July and August. Before they get here, they have someone spruce up the place a bit, but other than that, they are cement shacks. For them its like a camping trip. In addition its a beach town, so the restaurants and shops are what you would expect on the Jersey Shore, not Manhattan. Before scaring anyone off I must say that I have since come to discover that first impressions can be deceiving. Since moving here we have found exquisit dinning and million US dollar designer homes here.

While I was less than enthused about the area, Roy was in seventh heaven. This was exactly what he was looking for. He was even happy to give up on retireing in Israel. For me everthing changed when we saw a particular house on the beach locally known as “Melody’s house”. In short it was my dream home, right out of Architectural Digest, with an exlusive resort feel to it. It was over our budget, but the realtor assured us the owners would sell for an amount that was within our budget. That house, and that house alone is what changed my mind about the whole area. I began to see it in a different light.

On our next trip down here, we explored the area more and got to know Merida a little bit better. While we lost my dream house to another buyer who was willing to overpay, I finally saw the merits of the area and we found a place that we could make into a dream house. We bought the house and here we are doing major renovations.

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