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Living on a Budget in Mérida

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Home in Mérida, Mexico
Credit: Keith Paulson-Thorp

Perhaps the most frequent question we are asked living in Mexico is just how expensive it is, and if one can survive on a Social Security budget. I am happy to report that after two years we have a pretty solid understanding of costs, and living on a budget in Mérida is not a problem.

Street in Merida
Credit: RINCEN | Deviantart

The first consideration for living anywhere is housing. You can expect to pay rent between US$300 – $500 per month for a nice two- or three-bedroom house if you do a bit of research. Renting through American websites will be more expensive.

Like most foreigners we know here, we chose to purchase a house almost immediately. We do not regret that decision, as housing prices have escalated rapidly, and if we had waited, it would have been difficult to find an affordable property that met our needs. Since the cost of the purchase and renovations are a capital investment, they are not included in the costs shown. But even owning a house comes with expenses.

Since most of Mérida lies in the restricted zone, Americans can only purchase property through a Fideicomiso. This bank trust comes with annual fees, determined by the bank. Ours is through Scotiabank, is paid annually and amortizes to about US$36 per month depending on the exchange rate. Our property taxes doubled this year (because our renovations were legally permitted), but even now come to only US$208 a year, or just over US$17 per month.

We hire local assistance for maintenance and upkeep. For having our house cleaned once per week we pay about US$102 per month, which includes a nice tip – and we provide lunch. The pool service comes weekly as well, but there are additional costs for salt and chemicals, and we budget for periodic repairs to the system. Gardeners come once per month. These services combined run about US$74.

Because we installed solar panels on our roof, (something that has fallen in cost since our installation) our electric bill is not as high as many, even though we run air conditioning 24-hours-a-day in the music room to protect the instruments.

Orange building in Merida
Credit: Starmuc | Bigstock

Houses here retain a surprisingly moderate temperature due to the concrete construction, so our usage is limited to hours when we are sleeping, and rare occasions when the afternoon does not cool down so quickly.

Electric bills come every other month, and usage in the summer is subsidized by the government. The amount of subsidy is determined by zone. Mérida, with its intense summer heat, is in the zone of highest subsidies. Our electric consumption averages US$32 monthly.

We have a well from which we fill our pool and sprinkle the gardens during dry seasons. For the house we have a water softener, and for drinking water, a reverse osmosis system. Our water bill is $180 pesos every two months, or around US$9 – $10. We use gas only for cooking. A truck comes and fills the tank on the roof. We pay about US$35 for this service. After eighteen months of daily use, we still have four-fifths of a tank, so the cost is minimal.

Equally essential are communications: telephone, cable and Internet. One might divide these between competing companies, but service is not always the best in some areas, depending on the company. We use Telmex and limit our Internet speed to 50 mbps. Our service is excellent. For this we pay US$32 per month, which includes a land-line telephone we never use.

Our cellphones DO get extensive use, and our plan through AT&T includes unlimited calling in Mexico, Canada and the U.S. for US$28 per month for two phones.

Our largest expenditure is food. Mérida has many excellent restaurants, and friends who have compared the cost of eating at home and eating out claim to see no difference either way. There are restaurants where you can feed two at lunch for as little as US$6 – $7, but I like to cook at home, and when we dine out we prefer better restaurants. Still, our restaurant budget is never more than US$250 per month.

Street Market in Merida
Credit: Auero | Bigstock

Fresh fruits and vegetables at the mercado a half block from our house are ridiculously inexpensive. I can buy enough for a week for no more than US$10 – $12! There is also a Super-Aki market and numerous specialty stores nearby, so we need trek to Costco, Soriana or Chedraui (big box stores) only a couple of times per month. Our monthly cost for groceries is between US$500 – $525. We could easily decrease this amount, but this is an area where we choose to splurge.

We both carry medical insurance, Marshal through IMSS, the upper tier of Mexico’s socialized medicine, and I through a private company. The two policies combined cost US$1,558 per year, or about US$130 per month. My policy has a deductible; Marshal’s is all-inclusive. Some people forego insurance and just pay out of pocket, since costs are quite low. My policy covers me anywhere in the world except the United States. When I travel to the U.S. I buy a separate policy for those days.

There are also dental expenses. Since arriving in Mexico, I have been able to have a host of dental issues addressed. Cleanings are US$25 each, and visits for other procedures are similarly inexpensive. In total, we spend about US$80 per month on dental costs.

On first arriving in Mérida, we used Über to get around. It is inexpensive and efficient, but limits the ability to explore different areas at will. After six months we purchased a car that would accommodate my smaller harpsichord for transporting to performances.

Gas in Mexico is not cheap, and it is rising quickly. We spend about US$65 per month on gasoline, and maintenance and repairs average out to perhaps US$20 per month. Comprehensive auto insurance costs us US$45 per month.

Miscellaneous expenses would include my monthly haircut at US$6, and new clothing, for which we seldom have need, yet budget US$25 just in case. We opted not to purchase a washer or dryer, as these rust quickly in our humid climate. Laundry facilities are abundant. We use one of a dozen local laundries, chosen because they do not send the clothes out. Ours has machines on site and they wash without perfumed detergents, to which we have allergies. They fold everything and hang the shirts. We pay about US$18 – $20 per month for laundry. We occasionally have shirts ironed at a laundry around the corner for about thirty-cents per shirt.

Being retired, we attend far more concerts and lectures now than we did in the U.S., and we like to go to the cinema occasionally. Tickets are inexpensive, with good seats to a concert no more than US$10 – $15. Our INAPAM cards (Mexico’s discount card for seniors) often get us a discount, and many events are free. We both also read a lot. Books in Mexico are costly, yet our monthly expense for entertainment-related costs is never more than US$120.

Cost of Living in Mérida, MexicoThe final tally? We live on about US$1,725 per month, slightly less than one of our Social Security checks! The other we use for travel and emergencies.

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Keith Paulson-Thorp
Lifestyle blogger Keith Paulson-Thorp is a retired professor and church musician who lives in beautiful Mérida, Yucatán. He plays with local chamber music groups and with the Orquesta Sinfonica de Yucatán. “Dr. Keith” taught at Valparaiso University, the University of Louisiana, and the University of Miami’s Osher Lifelong-Learning Center. He also was music director at large churches in Houston, Palm Beach and at the famous Old Mission Santa Barbara in California. Email: KikiPT@aol.com. You can read more from Keith at https://www.meridaexpat.net.

27 COMMENTS

  1. IT all sounds great but have you factored in inflation. Right now your costs are basically well understood and managed by you. But the economy is not static at all . What will the costs be in a year or 3 or 5 or longer. If one is moving down here with very little savings and relying just on social security, where are the reserve monies for emergencies and inflation . Social security payments wont be going up much at all to keep up with inflation. How about if major issues happen with the house one may purchase. And we all know rentals are going up and when people hear how cheap it is there they will move and then the law of supply and demand kicks in. Healthcare inflation at least where we live near Guadalajara in Chapala is running about 15% a year so one better be pretty healthy. IMSS is for the workers first and expats 2nd. Talk of Seguro popular being radically changed and for the life of me I do not understand how your private medical insurance and IMSS combined is so low. IMSS does not cover everything and there may be additional costs. Do you have a reserve set aside? I have gotten quotes for my wife on health insurance with companies that are registered and authorized to sell health insurance in Mexico and the policies are very expensive and my wife isnt of social security age and not one issue. Couldn’t find one that was less than 4,000USD and the deductibles were per event and the waiting periods for some diseases like cancer were 2 years under the policy which meant you were locked in and I was told to expect 10 to 15% increases per year. While it may work for you I would be cautious and think about those who will move solely based on social security with very little buffer for the unknown, especially rent . What was rent in Merida a few years back and what will it be in 15 years. It sure won’t be going down. My wife and I were like you and bought immediately. I saw the tsunami of Americans and Canadians moving to our area and so many have had to leave here and move to places like Merida because the costs are low. Their landlords were selling their homes to gringos who watched a few videos and came down to “paradise and find its no longer paradise and are going to be moving your way. So many are posting on rental boards that they need a rent and are willing to to pay 10 to 15,000 pesos or more. That drives the market up and supply down and locks people out of the market., but 2 years ago the costs were much lower here also and they are going up and house prices are entering the bubble area IMO. One cannot rely on anything staying static. That is not how economies work especially in this day and age when the new administration takes power. One more thing, What happens if the peso goes back to where it normally was VS the US dollar at about 12 lets say. What would your buying power be? Now it’s at 19. ANother major factor. If we were just to look at what you said, both your social security checks would be needed for your monthly expenses. I am not being negative. Having a strong finance background I am a realist. We have reserves and enough monies to hopefully live a wonderful life here and are not relying on social security because we all know what they want to do with it back in the states. And when we are of retirement age, we are not going back we will take our Medicare B payments and put them in a health reserve fund and not pay the US those funds. Those funds will add up quick. I wish the both of you peace and happiness and all the best life can offer.

    • I do not disagree with much of what you say, but most of these factors are just as serious, and often worse, in the US. The article was merely an explanation of our own experience. At this point I would not be inclined to move back to the US.

      We cannot predict inflation, and the new administration and its likely relationship with Washington is a concern for us, as is the ultimate impact of the new trade agreement. This is the reason we keep most of our savings in the US, and follow the news in both countries on a daily basis. I would not recommend retiring to Mexico with no savings at all – it would be quite risky, though there are people who have done so and been successful. As for the peso, that is also not predictable, but history suggests that it is unlikely to return to the rates from a decade ago. Our SS checks are deposited into the US account. We watch the rates carefully, and move funds only when the dollar is high. While we can get CDs right now for as high as 8%, if the peso falls considerably, that high rate is seriously mitigated. In the end, it is all a crapshoot, as we learn by examining the several decades of returns on our stock accounts.

      It is true that rents have gone up in Mérida, but they are not going up as rapidly in Mexican areas of the city as they are in the gringo-popular areas. If one insists on living the lifestyle they had in the US, they are going to have to budget accordingly. We have friends who live in luxury high-rises and air condition the entire apartment constantly. Their costs are easily double ours, but they have no problem meeting those demands. But it isn’t really that difficult to get used to a more local, and less expensive, lifestyle.

      Home prices are escalating at an alarming rate here, and the number of people moving here is largely to blame, as is their willingness to pay inflated prices. If one is moving from New York City, for example, they will likely sell their US house at a very high price, so they have no problem paying higher prices here. Realtors here report that they have never seen such a rush of clients as in the last eighteen months. The results are problematic, and many locals are pushed out of the market as a result. But the wealthy locals, many of whom own inherited properties, know what is happening, and because of the low taxes or carrying costs, are disinclined to sell below the inflated market. The end product is a wider discrepancy between the haves and the have-nots, not a good scenario, but that is another discussion altogether.

      As for house repairs, they are much less expensive here than anywhere I have ever lived, which includes eight states and three foreign countries. We just had an electrician out to rewire a hot-water tank and it cost about $17. Try to get an electrician to your house in the US for less than $100!

      As for health care, the actual costs here have not risen as much lately as they have in the US, but independent insurance, most of which is controlled from abroad, is problematic. My policy went up 10% last year, but IMSS did not have much of an increase at all. I researched other policy options, but they were often as expensive as you report, and I elected not to use them. I may switch to IMSS eventually, but Marshal needed to enroll before his 75th birthday. He retains his medicare in the US, but is considering dropping it, since he has no use for it right now, and our medical care here has been superior to what we had in the US. For example, his medicare co-payments in the US were as much or more than paying out of pockets for medical services here in Mérida, and they were less effective. The doctors here have cleared up his psoriasis, which the doctors in Florida were unable to do after thousands of dollars in medications, appointments, etc., that were not covered by Medicare.

      I appreciate your concerns and your sharing them. If we had remained in the US I would never have been able to retire, and would have ended up like most in my family – working until I dropped. (Even owning our home outright, taxes and insurance costs were $1000 per month!) I feel fortunate that we have been able to move, and so far have had no regrets.

      • I love your articles. If you don’t mind me asking, what did the doctor do for your psoriasis? I suffer terribly with that too and would love to try something new. Thanks!

        • Hi Linda,
          Unfortunately, I can’t remember the pills I took that my doctor prescribed, it’s been over a year since I used them. I do occasionally use a cream called Psoria Derm that I use to control a couple of spots on my leg. I don’t know your location. But, if in Mexico you could get it over-the-counter. I will say that I didn’t have immediate success using creams. I went to two doctors. The first doctor prescribed creams and were not successful so I went to another doctor who was recommended to see in Merida. She prescribed the pills that worked for me! There are some excellent dermatologists here. Thanks for your interest.
          Marshal Portnoy

      • I enjoyed reading about your experience in Merida. My husband and I are going to be there in November for vacation and also to get a feel for the city as a retirement spot. We don’t retire for another 12 hrs, but our goal is to buy something in 5yrs from now, an sit on it for a few years before starting renovation. We both will retire on Gov pensions, Social Sec, and savings.

    • Well, just like the USA, there is inflation. However, even with the cost increase – my retirement check (which has NOT changed in almost 18 years) still goes a VERY long way. When I moved here I was ‘rich’ compared to most people here. Now, I would say I am very well off, compared to people here.

      There is inflation, but not something to really worry abut at this time (or over the past 18 years).

    • I’ve lived in Mexico for over a decade, I remember when the peso to dollar was $10 pesos, now it’s $20, so in fact my cost of living has been cut in half over the last decade and my ‘wealth’ has doubled. I have free health insurance through seguro popular in Mexico, which includes dental care. I have been very happy with that. The cost of $1700 USD is actually a very luxurious lifestyle in Mexican standards. I can easily live on $500 a month in Mexico and never feel like I am missing out, so it would take an amazing jump in inflation for anyone who bags $4000 USD a month in retirement (as this article suggests they make) to really ever worry about finding themselves in a tragic situation. No matter where you live, inflation is outpacing income, so everyone should keep that in mind, whether living overseas or in their hometown.

      • I would have to see evidence that one lives decently on $500 a month. I know many locals who do, but they are far from “comfortable”. I doubt that they feel like they are doing so without “missing out”. Of course it has much to do with the breadth of one’s interests and activities. About $1000 a month is a more typical professional income in Mérida. I agree that $1700 a month is a fairly luxurious lifestyle in Mexico, but there are many Mexicans actually doing far better than that. It is a country with enormous wealth disparity, especially here in Yucatán, where there is an entrenched wealthy class that is very large and very visible. The rosters of big donors to events here are not really filled with gringo names!

        But there are other problems with your math. The fact is that the article says nothing about $4000 a month (you may want to read more carefully). But the flux in exchange rate you cite does not equal an attendant drop in cost of living or doubling in wealth over the past ten years, especially in light of inflation. The 20/1 peso/dollar rate has only been reached a very few times in the past two years, and has not held for more than a few days each time, and the inflation rate has been pretty serious over that period of time, so it has wiped out many gains. One would need to transfer money ONLY on those days to achieve that sort of improvement. Right now it is hovering around 19/1, but it has dropped several times to 18/1 and even less – a noteworthy hit on the pocketbook.

        And then, as you point out, there is inflation. Just in the past year, many costs here in Mérida, including out-of-pocket medical expenses, have risen by more than thirty percent, a rate that is onerous for many local people as well as expats. Electrical rates have gone up alarmingly, resulting in protests in many areas. There are never guarantees wherever one lives, but I think it is very unwise for anyone to take the figure of living on $500 a month (which would not even entitle one to residency in Mexico) very seriously.

  2. Thank you so much for your blogs and articles. They are packed with great information while being very warm and engaging.
    My wife will retire in three years, and we are considering moving in that direction from the DFW area of Texas when she does. I was excited about the prospect; she decidedly less so. I explained that American media coverage of life in Mexico is designed to scare us about the people-the “very bad guys” (Where IS that sarcasm font?!”)-coming over here. Reading your blog has opened her heart and mind. Bravo, sir!

    • Thank you for your comment. I am always glad to be of help. Please do not hesitate to ask any questions you may have.
      Keith 🙂

  3. Excellent article very informative. I am planning on moving to mexico. Have heard about Merida. Wanting to know about the cost of buying a small house there. Do you have title to a home and how does that all work when buying.what about if your not in restricted area?

    • The restricted zone ends just south of Mérida. In most of the city you will need to purchase using a Fideicomiso. This is not a difficult procedure, but depending on title issues, it can be time-consuming. We closed within four months, and the final papers required only a single signature. The notario, and our realtor, with Mexico International Real Estate, took care of all the details. If you insist on living in the more gringo intense Centro, cost have escalated tremendously. You can still find property for under $100 US if you are willing to take on a major renovation. In other parts of the city, I still see nice houses between $50K to $100K US.

  4. Hi,I am an American currently residing in Jamaica,once my father died here I have been researching a place to relocate on a small budget with a young child.Mexico seems very interesting,can you give me any directive,as Jamaica is very expensive to live .

    • Please do not hesitate to ask any specific questions. Mérida is a very family friendly city with lots of things for children to see and do. You don’t mention if you speak Spanish. There are many families with young children I know here with whom I could put you in contact. There are expenses, of course, and I don’t know your budget.

  5. Thanks so much for the valuable information.

    My wife and I are investigating moving to Merida and were looking for information on how we would handle health care. I am 65 and she is 53. Can you let me know what is the name/contact info of the private company you are insured with so that we can obtain quotes?

  6. My insurance is with PA Group. My agent is Launa Brockman. You can E-mail me at kikipt@aol.com and I can send you her contact information. There are some other quite popular agents here, but I found their rates to be higher for the same coverage.

    Keith

  7. I am so excited to be on this site!! I am 56 and self-employed. I am not working much now because it’s hard to find workers. I am wanting to move to Mexico. I was there for 3 weeks and I am going back in Dec for about 3 months. I was staying with my fiance and his family in the area about 10 miles from San Juan Del Rio, Queretera in the mountains. I didn’t even have a cell signal there. I realized that I didn’t need everything I thought I did to live. And a little money goes a long way. I am in the DFW area also, and I am tired of chasing the dollar to just make it. I am trying to find out everything I can about moving there with what I have left from selling my house. I did some investigating on work when I was in Maya for a week. And I was given this website from a man that worked at the Resort who had moved there from Chicago and would never go back. I also am in a transition in my life and am researching what I could do for a living there to live minimally. I would appreciate any comments. I really loved the mountains, nature and the magical cities. But I also love Play del Carmen, even though it seems to be directed towards tourism on prices. In the 3 weeks I was there I had been to Mexico City, from Mexico city to Queretera, San Juan Del Rio, Amealco and Coronea (for the festival celebrating Santiago). I was with his family, which only spoke Spanish and he is bi-lingual. I never was in fear or scared. I think people here in the states only hear the bad. I never felt unsafe at all, even at night. But I was in safe places.

  8. Hi Keith,

    I sent you a couple of emails in regards to your private insurance agent contact info to kikipt@aol.com however as I have not heard from you yet, I wanted to inquire if they went into your spam email box.

    Thanks,
    Sam

  9. What is the requirement to be able to buy 1 year CDs at 8%?

    Can a person who has not acquired a permanent visa but is living on a temporary visa and working toward permanent status invest in 1 year CDs at that rate?

    I saw the same info on Jerry Brown Travels, a show on youtube. He said you can get up to 8.25% on 1 year CDs but gave no details.

    I have enough money in my retirement account right now to live off the interest at 7-8% in Mexico. I would start the process of moving over the next 6 months to a year if I had the info on the requirements for a non-resident to purchase the Mexican bank CDs.

    Any guidance you can give me on this is greatly appreciated. Happy Holidays!

    • You have to have at least temporary residency to open accounts at most banks here. Temporary residency converts automatically to permanent residency after four years. Without an account you will not be able to buy CDs.

      The minimum amount for a high interest CD at our bank was $500K pesos (about $25,000) We invested a little more than that, but you should know that the rates will be adjusted after New Year’s. We are not willing to transfer major sums into Mexico because of differences in account insurance, and the possibility of inflation or fluctuations in the peso affecting the totals. (FDIC does not reach here, and Mexican law on deposit insurance is quite complex – here is a link that explains it in some detail: http://www.iflr.com/Article/2324167/Mexico-Guarantees-of-bank-deposits.html) By transferring smaller amounts we can play the two economies against each other as a hedge against both inflation and currency fluctuations. We do know of people who transferred money many years ago and lost a lot when the peso was devalued, and we know several who lost money when the peso dropped from around 12 to where it is now at about 20/dollar. It is always a bit of a gamble, but by only transferring relatively smaller amounts we can hopefully avoid major financial catastrophes. The accounts in the US are not always in such great shape – especially right now with the horrendous drops in the stock market, so we feel comfortable having taken out these CDs.

  10. What a helpful article! Thank you so much. We are two New Yorkers who just got back from Merida and fell in love with it – we have been all over Mexico, and it is now one of our fave places. And yes, we are gringos thinking about moving there. We renovate homes, and we noticed TONS of fixer uppers for sale – I was surprised at how big the inventory was. At least one on every block, and often many more than that. Old houses needing work started at about 35k. Does that sound about right? We would rather live in a Mexican neighborhood than gringolandia 🙂 – If anyone can recommend a good realtor, that would be great.

    One other question if you don’t mind: Exactly how oppressive is it in the summer? I can handle heat no problem, but humidity kills. It looks like it rarely goes above 78% – is that accurate? That would be better than NYC, where it can stay well above 90% almost all summer! Thanks again

    • My partner is from New York (Bronx, actually) and we visit there periodically. He felt that summers in New York were quite oppressive. We deal with the heat here in various ways. Yucatecans avoid going outside in the hottest hours of the day, and always walk on the shady side of the street. The construction methods of the houses tend to moderate the temperature, and our house is usually 10-15 degrees (F) less than the outside temperature. We have eight air conditioners, one of which runs constantly for nine months of the year to keep the musical instruments stable. We use the AC in the bedroom at night, but during the day we rarely turn them on. September and October tend to require more AC than other months. Still, we are surprised at how little air conditioning we actually use. But electric rates have just gone up substantially, so that is a consideration – and the reason we have solar panels.

      Now for the bad news: yes, it is very humid, except in winter. 80-90% is pretty common for most of the year. Having lived so long on the Gulf coast of the US, I was not bothered by it, and when I lived in California I tired of having to put on so many moisturizers, something I don’t need here. The sun here is the most intense I have ever experienced, but, as I pointed out, we avoid it at mid-day. The mornings and evenings are lovely most of the year, with a breeze off the Gulf at most times, and you will find joggers, walkers, and families in the parks during those cooler hours. By noon the parks are deserted. There are really only a few weeks of the year that are really uncomfortable.

      Mérida is a great place for renovations. Prices in Centro have really escalated, but we have no desire to live there at any rate. In spite of the convenience of being able to walk everywhere, the problems of noise, traffic and pollution are multiplied there. You can still find nice houses outside of Centro in the $35-50K range, and if you use local realtors you are likely to get the best deal. There are several I could recommend if you E-mail me at kikipt@aol.com. Our neighborhood has a dearth of gringos, and we like it a lot. We do know a few other folks in this hood from abroad, but not that many. Few of the shopkeepers speak English. The cost of renovating is very reasonable, though the work tends to move slowly and methodically.

  11. I lived in Mexico in the mid 80’s, when inflation was out of control. All prices went up about 10% every week. It was insane. But, with every increase, there was a corresponding devaluation of the peso against the dollar. So for us, it was a wash. But I really felt bad for friends who earned pesos

    • Inflation is still a significant concern. Food prices have escalated quite a bit over the two years we have been here – more than 25-35% on many items. Nonetheless, they are still generally much less expensive than in the US, so there is a bit of wiggle room. The dollar is strong now, but it fluctuates within about a 10% range. In Mérida we have long had some of the lowest housing costs in México, but that is changing. The influx of gringos has driven housing prices up, especially in the historic Centro. Outside of Centro prices are still very moderate.

  12. Hello Keith,
    Just found your articles when surfing for Merida data and couldn’t be more appreciative of all your views and information. Thank you.
    I just retired from teaching in the US and I am at present spending 2 months in Yucatan looking for a place to move in. I travelled thru Playa del Carmen, Tulum, Cancun and Akumal, however never been on the Merida side. I speak Spanish fluently and am enjoying this culture immensely. Have been traveling around Mexico for the last 25 yrs and also felt I would settle here some day.
    Would like your knowledgeable opinion about where do you think it will be more economically advantageous for a single woman to retire: Merida or Playa?
    – Do you think I could live ok comfortable on a $1,100 monthly budget?
    – I am a retired art teacher so I paint, sculpture and do many wood art pieces. Do you think I can have some of my art sold in Merida on a consignment basis, maybe?
    I have Medicare, medigap and medicine insurance from US but luckily never have to use it yet even though I pay every month. Any suggestion on healthcare once in Merida? I am 67 yrs old with great health.
    Thank you so much!
    Ana

  13. Hello Keith,
    Thank you so much for all this great data you are sharing with us. I just retired last summer from teaching in the US, and presently spending 2 months in Yucatan checking possible places to move in. I liked Playa del Carmen a lot and found good places for future rent among the colonias (with the locals, away from the bustling fiesta crowds:) …where a small house goes for 4,500pesos a month). But not sure yet since lots of people recommended visiting Merida area before settling in. Since I love the arts PDC has not much to offer, and because I am also an avid artist maker (I paint, sculp and do wood art) I was thinking about an area where I could improve/learn and also promote my own art. I am 66 yrs old, fluent in Spanish and planning on living solo with a small happy furry friend on a 1100US$/month budget.
    What are your thoughts? I would appreciate any input on my plans. ?

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