Editor’s Note: This story originally appeared on Live and Invest Overseas.
Over the past four decades, Americans have voted Mexico the world’s No. 1 place to enjoy expat life in the way that really counts … by packing up and moving there.
This country is home to more American expats and retirees than any other, at least 1 million and as many as 2 million, depending on the survey.
This shouldn’t surprise anyone. It’s easier for an American to get to Mexico than to any other country other than Canada.
What Americans Seek in Mexico
Why do Americans choose to go south of the Rio Grande rather than to the Great White North? The weather!
Americans looking to start a new life in a new country primarily seek three things: warm weather, beautiful beaches, and a low cost of living. Mexico competes handily in all three categories.
This big, diverse country offers dozens of great living options, from colorful and historic colonial cities like San Miguel de Allende, Cuernavaca, Guanajuato, and Oaxaca to beach towns like Playa del Carmen and Tulum (on the Caribbean coast) and Puerto Vallarta and Mazatlán (on the Pacific).
While the cost of living is not as cheap as it was in the 1970s when Americans began migrating here in volume, it’s still a global bargain.
Here’s why a move to Mexico makes sense.
1. The Country Is Familiar
From its administrative set-up (the Mexican government is a stable democracy, with executive, legislative, and judicial branches functioning in a similar way to those in the United States) to its big-footprint shopping.
If you’re itching for an adventure in a foreign land that’s not too foreign, Mexico could be the experience you seek.
2. It’s Easy To Go Back and Forth, Making It a Top Choice for Part-Time Living
Drive down as often as you like without worrying about plane fare or any of the associated hassle of plane travel.
3. English Is Widely Spoken
All the North American attention from both expats and tourists means that many Mexicans, especially in the service industry, speak English.
As a result, this can make things like navigating the residency process at the immigration office and managing the real estate purchase process with your attorney much easier.
4. Undervalued Property Markets
While some property markets, especially in the second-home markets most popular among Americans, have seen appreciation over the past couple of years, others remain undervalued, handing you a nice buyer’s advantage.
5. Easy and Fast Immigration
Automatic six-month tourist stays and easy and fast immigration make it possible to come and go and spend as much time in the country as you’d like.
Let’s say you’re considering retiring to Mexico. You can maintain a second home here (a place you rent out when you’re not using it yourself, say) without having to bother with the expense of obtaining formal resident status.
6. Retirement in Mexico Is Hassle-Free
Moving to Mexico can be as hassle-free as an international move gets.
Nothing’s as easy as loading up a truck and driving south. Your entire moving budget could be gas and tolls.
7. You Can Go Back to the States To Use Medicare
If you’re considering this move as a retiree, nearing or over the age of 65, the fact you can return easily to the United States to use Medicare can be the most compelling advantage.
Mexico offers excellent health care, but Medicare won’t pay for it — with limited exceptions, Medicare doesn’t cross any border. However, if you retire in Mexico, you’d be only a drive or quick flight away from accessing your benefits.
This means keeping and continuing to pay for Medicare coverage in addition to any other health insurance you might opt for. This can be a good strategy for a Medicare-eligible retiree moving to any foreign country, a safety net.