If you’re thinking about or have already taken the plunge into Renting in Mexico, you’ve already proven yourself an unusual person. Let’s face it - moving to Baja California Norte, Mexico, is not at all the same thing as moving to, say, Florida or Arizona to retire. Both those places have plenty of sunshine, and Florida has beautiful beaches (and humidity and bugs, but that’s another article).
No, if you come here you’re looking for something more exciting than a quiet home on a golf course. Although, of course, you can find that here too.
You’re not looking for a smaller life - you’re hoping to find a more interesting, different kind of life. And that we definitely can Offer!
Rosarito Beach is only 30 minutes from the U.S. border. Take the toll (scenic) road and you’re at any number of communities in no time. Going back the other direction, if you get a SENTRI pass from Customs and Border Patrol you can cross in a couple of minutes and be in San Diego, a great American city, with museums, shops, restaurants and an international airport.
But we’re definitely NOT America here. Living in Mexico is deliciously different, and it’s been our experience that the longer we’re here, the less we’re drawn to San Diego. Mexico is a place with its own pace of life, its own culture, customs, language and beautiful, warm people. Even the other Americans you’ll meet here are different. They’ve got some pioneer in their blood, some desire for experiences they’ll learn from, and grow with. They see themselves (you’ll see yourself) as open to the delight of morning sunlight sparkling on the water outside your patio and the sound of romantic Mexican ballads drifting in from a radio somewhere nearby. Hummingbirds drop out of the sky to sample a flower. A neighbor or friend stops by to visit and share the magnificent view. You congratulate each other on your brilliance - and great luck - in finding a way to enjoy this lifestyle on a non-millionaire’s income. Just think what they pay for this up in Malibu - and it’s the same blue Pacific!
It’s very easy to meet people here - pioneers tend to be outgoing. You move and before you even have time for that anxious, what-have-I-done reality check (yes, it happens to us all) there’s a new neighbor at your door with a welcoming smile and a pitcher of margaritas. When I arrived in Calafia with a suitcase full of clothes, an air bed, a cooking pot, a laptop, some DVDs and a lamp, my new neighbors came over, saw what I lacked, and brought warm blankets and a small TV. I was very grateful!
Through one person you meet another, and another, discovering shared interests and passions- golf, theater, bridge, poetry, volunteering, writing, dance, painting, you name it. And if the group you want doesn’t exist yet, you’ll find it very easy to create it yourself - another great way to meet people and make friends. Just put a notice in the Baja Times (English newspaper) and see who shows up. Many newcomers have left a long-time church home, and are happy to find another one here eager to welcome them - in English.
There are established communities in Baja from Rosarito Beach on south to Ensenada, and new developments just coming online. As they fill up with new pioneers there will be even more people with shared interests. We’ve met new friends just walking our dog on the beach and talking to people.
Another advantage of our reverse migration to live in Mexico is that the local stores recognize their new customer base by stocking more and more familiar food items, so when you want to make the birthday cake or Thanksgiving meal you’ve been making for the last thirty years, you can find the ingredients right here. There’s a lot to be said for comfort food - but you’ll be amazed at how quickly your palate begins to long for a truly great fish taco - that you can find on any street corner in Rosarito. And for a special occasion - or just because you don’t feel like cooking - there are restaurants with every type of cuisine throughout Rosarito and down the coast. Our little Rosarito town is growing and growing, transforming itself from a funky, dusty spring-break destination to an attractive small city that appeals to families with children as well as older folks looking for the next interesting destination in life. Come join us and see for yourself!
Melinda Bates is a former Special Assistant to President Clinton who made history at the White House for eight years, came to Baja on a whim two years ago and hasn’t left. She is one of thousands of Americans who have, retired in Mexico.