Climate. Most who live here love the warm, breezy, not-too-humid weather during the autumn through spring season, as well as the beautiful beach that spans miles and juts out into the Pacific Ocean at both ends of the bay. Many extranjeros prefer such colonial locations as San Miguel de Allende, Ajijic and Chapala for their cooler, drier weather at high altitude. Ajijic and Chapala offer the lovely Lake Chapala as a backdrop for time spent there. Just as most expats don’t stay here during the summer, many don’t stay in the mountains of colonial Mexico during the winter. It’s largely about the desired mix of climates in Mexico and our other country.
Culture. Retirees want more than a comfortable climate. We want the right size community; opportunities to belong to expat organizations that contribute to the local community; and such cultural resources as live theater, concerts, local artists and artisans, galleries, music venues, and a mix of very good restaurants. Also, many who contemplate living in Mexico part- or full-time include what will best suit likely visitors as well as themselves. For example, one couple, after living part-time in a colonial Mexico community for many years, moved to the Bay of Banderas where they knew their grandchildren would enjoy the many outdoor physical activities available here, compared to options more suited to grown ups in their previous Mexican community.
Convenience. For many Americans and Canadians, travel to and from the Bay of Banderas is quicker than to colonial Mexico and other regions. While in Mexico, travel to distant regions usually is time-consuming. For example, it can take more than ten hours between Bucerias and San Miguel either by bus alone or by a combination of plane and bus. Driving one’s own car can save a bit of time, but not everyone wants to be behind their wheel for so many hours. Many expats choose to live in a small, friendly community with day-to-day resources and activities, but within range of a larger metropolitan city for more extensive medical and cultural resources as well as visitor attractions.
Infrastructure. Streets and garbage collection illustrate differences in living conditions in different regions. The UNESCO section of San Miguel’s Centro abides by strict requirements, for example, that household garbage, which is collected six days a week, never be put outside one’s home, but only carried to the garbage truck as it reaches one’s block. Their cobblestone streets are stable in a cement base. Although their Internet access is very good, they do experience brief power outages.
Bi-location. Many extranjeros are attracted by distinct aspects of different towns and regions. They either divide their time during “the season” or they spend most of the season in one location and visit one or more favorites. It doesn’t have to be absolutely “either/or,” but, rather, “both/and” and “more or less.” We can break up the season by visits to other Mexican regions, and sometimes by formal tours in Mexico or neighboring countries. We can enjoy visiting with friends and discovering attractions and different ways of life, and when we return to our base in Mexico, we are happy to reconnect with friends, and to resume day-to-day living with familiar activities.