After a lifetime in the U.S. advertising business and years of vacationing in Mexico, this marketing pro finally makes her move to Cabo San Lucas in the far south of Baja California.
Kristin Bloomquist, 57, and her husband Bill, arrived as full-time expats in Cabo just a few months ago after vacationing in the area for over a decade and falling head-over-heels in love with this popular Mexico playground. She also had vacationed in Cancún and Isla Mujeres before discovering the Los Cabos area.
“We’ve had so many great trips here and just love the people, the pace of life and the environment,” Bloomquist said. “I call it my happy place.”
Bloomquist was born in Des Moines, Iowa and raised in a suburb of Toledo, Ohio before heading to Massachusetts to attend Williams College, a highly regarded private liberal arts school. She graduated with an art history degree and landed in New York to begin a life-long career in the advertising business.
“I never wanted to do what my parents did,” she said, “but that’s exactly what I ended up doing for the next 35 years. I started my career in New York City at the legendary ad agency DDB (Doyle Dane Bernbach) in the ‘80s as an account executive, with stops at major agencies in Chicago, Los Angeles and Phoenix.”
She was managing the Phoenix office of Cramer-Krasselt, a Chicago-based ad agency, when the siren song from Los Cabos lured her south of the border to start a new life with her husband Bill, a former CEO who now sits on the board of a major U.S. corporation.
“I wanted to start something new and was actually going to start a consulting business,” she said. “I’m a trained coach and was going to work with young women while we were in Phoenix, but then we started wondering what our next chapter in life would be. We just looked at each other and said we’re ready for another adventure. There was no other place we would even consider but Cabo.”
So they packed their bags and their beloved cocker spaniel Cabo and began a four-day journey by car to the southernmost tip of the Baja Peninsula.
“We didn’t push ourselves and stayed at dog-friendly hotels along the way,” Bloomquist said. “We were told not to drive at night, which turned out to be very good advice. The hardest part of the trip actually was figuring out how to get out of Tijuana!”
The couple moved into a 2,400 sq. ft. home with three bedrooms and three baths high on a hill overlooking Cabo San Lucas on Father’s Day, June 18, 2017.
“We have a view of the famous Los Arcos, the city and the harbor,” she said. “At night, the view truly is magical. It’s a reversed house, so the guest bedroom and office are downstairs with the laundry and two baths. Upstairs, there is a living room, kitchen and master bedroom with bath.”
The home is in an affluent development where prices range from US$450,000 to well over US$1 million. Bloomquist and her husband purchased a lower end model but did some customization work, including a courtyard fountain and a fireplace.
Cabo San Lucas, however, was not their first choice. San José del Cabo, which lies about 20 miles east of Cabo San Lucas on the other side of the tourist corridor, was their first choice.
“We loved the older feel of San José del Cabo and its more family-oriented feeling,” Bloomquist said, “but we couldn’t find a home we liked. There is always competition between the two areas. The folks in Cabo brag about how it’s cooler than San José and the people in San José think their city is the best place on earth.”
The couple has found the cost of living in Los Cabos to be pretty much what they expected. Their cable bill is about one-third of what they paid in the Phoenix suburb of Scottsdale and Bloomquist’s cell phone is just US$35 a month, much less than the US$100 she had been paying in the U.S.
“Property taxes are also much lower,” she said, “and food is very inexpensive, especially if you stay away from tourist restaurants. We have a Costco and Wal-Mart shopping center just five minutes away from our house, so we can get just about everything we need.”
The transition to living as an expat in Mexico generally has been easy for them, although, like most expats from the U.S. and Canada, adjusting to the Mexican sense of time will take awhile.
“We have found that the people in Cabo don’t seem to be as conscious of time in terms of appointments or being some place when they say they are going to be,” she said. “The local people also drive like bats out of hell, which is somewhat ironic because the culture in Mexico is so laid back.”
Bloomquist has joined a local expat community group called the “Tomatoes,” an expat organization that has been around since the 1950s, offering support and networking for those living in Los Cabos.
“I’ve been to two meetings,” Bloomquist said, “and have met some great women. The group has about 600 people during high season and some of them have been here for over 30 years, although many are more recent arrivals, like me.”
She and her husband also are working hard to expand their network of local Mexican friends. They invited many to attend her husband’s recent birthday party.
“We’re hoping to have many more Mexican friends,” she said. “To that end, we’ve hired a tutor to help us learn Spanish. We are on a mission to learn the language so we can communicate better and fully integrate into the Mexican culture.”
Learning Spanish will be a big plus for Bloomquist as she trades her fast-paced advertising career for a new job she just started at a Los Cabos real estate firm.
“I am taking a left turn and utilizing my marketing capabilities in my new job with Engel & Völkers Snell Real Estate in Cabo. I got my real estate license in Arizona before we moved, but it’s not necessary to have a license to work here. The knowledge base you have from getting a license, though, is very helpful.”
Bloomquist told us the top things she loves about living In Mexico are the adventure of living in their new home, the people they have met, the wonderful Mexican culture and the beauty of Los Cabos. She also offered these words of advice to aspiring expats who want to call Los Cabos their home.
“I would tell them to talk to as many people as possible, read as many articles as you can and get counsel from people who have become expats. We talked to the right people along the way and were lucky that the dominoes fell into place for us. Look to folks who have done this and pick their brains. Most importantly, don’t be afraid. Just do it.”