Retire and Relax. Have you ever been a hippie, or kind of like one? Would you like to be one again? Maybe retirement in Mexico – especially in the retiring in the Mayan Riviera – is a good chance to back in touch …
While you may not want to tie on a headband and put on a tie-dyed shirt again, many soon-to-be retirees would love to get back into contact with values like respect for nature and close community. In the large market of Mexico real estate, one little town on the Caribbean coast of the Mayan Riviera, Tulum, is a near-perfect opportunity for this. Besides being a small town with a very green focus, it is also a booming tourist area with a growing number of services which has developed a plan to manage new growth in a way that respects the natural surroundings, and allows retirees and other expats to continue enjoying close contact with this same nature. With all of this going on Tulum is becoming a hot spot for retirement in Mexico.
Lush, green sub-tropical forests, long, wide beaches, it’s own important piece of the mystical history of the Mayan civilization, and close, small town atmosphere make Tulum real estate the Mexico retirement choices that will allow you to live the way you’ve always wanted to.
Retirement in Mexico Lifestyle
Mexico retirement is defined by relaxation – and Tulum provides one of the best combinations of relaxation and close contact with nature. While some of Tulum’s beachfront areas have become famous, it is still not difficult to find a long, sandy beach, where you can walk for miles, virtually alone, without seeing anyone else, absorbing the views of the turquoise Caribbean sea to one side, and the very green jungle on the other. Relaxation at its best can be also be found sunbathing on the beach, enjoying a massage, or going on a weekend outing.
There are many ways to enjoy the surrounding nature in the Mayan Riviera. The Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve is a pocket of protected nature which is one of the world’s most biologically diverse areas. There is access by means of a rustic beach road, which is not the most convenient, but provides access in a way befitting to the raw nature you
are about to enter. If you are an avid biker, riding your bike in is well worth the experience.
Inside, you are likely to see spider monkeys, thousands of birds, and good deal of other wildlife. In the waterways and lagoons you may see dolphins, or many kinds of fish which live undisturbed. Sian Ka’an is 2,040 square miles in size; it is home to a handful of residents, but construction is very limited and confined to environment-friendly designs. One of the only settlements is a Mayan fishing village, where many aspects of a traditional way of life are preserved.
Other ways to enjoy nature include the numerous “eco-parks,” such as Xcaret and Xel-ha, which are theme parks dedicated to providing interactive contact with the area’s culture, history and nature. A few hours south is the Bacalar lagoon, famous for its seven colors. Retirees will also enjoy visits to the “cenotes,” pools of cool, fresh water ideal for swimming. These pools are located at the entrance ways to an underground cave and river system – the largest in the world. Some parks give guided tours of portions of these caves (which have colorful lights installed, making the views of the stalactites and stalagmites incredible!).
The Riviera Maya, the area stretching from just south of Cancun to Tulum, offers close access to many activities such as 8 golf courses, including the host of the first PGA tournament in Latin America, and several marinas, which provide access for activities such as deep sea fishing and sailing.
For those who love history and culture, Tulum is home to the only Mayan pyramid site overlooking the beachfront; it is a walled site and its main pyramid is up on a cliff, with stairs leading down to a beautiful beach that visitors usually come prepared to enjoy. The view is truly spectacular. The Yucatan peninsula also has over 80 pyramid sites, including Chichen Itza, which was named one of the new Seven Wonders of the World.
Stepping a century or two ahead in history, one hour away is the colonial city of Valladolid; it will be rare to find anyone who speaks English, but if you can meet a bilingual friend (which you are sure to do living as a retiree in Tulum), it is well worth the trip to this city of very authentic Yucatan culture, where you are as likely to hear Mayan spoken in the streets as Spanish. The shops of traditional crafts and the authentic regional restaurants – one is at the side of a “cenote” – are excellent and well priced.
Merida, another colonial city, which is much better known internationally, and frequented by many visitors who speak English (as well as residents), is about 2 hours away. The downtown is an excellent example of a well preserved colonial city, making the area’s rich culture more accessible to expats. If you love colonial towns then Merida could be the place you would pick for your retirement in Mexico.
Tulum itself has a variety of delicious restaurants, including traditional Mayan food, authentic taco stands, and international-class dining overlooking the beach.
Services for Your Retirement in Mexico
Tulum can be reached easily by means of the Cancun International Airport, about an hour and a half away. Shuttle services, official taxis and the more affordable, but no less secure, “collective” taxis which are vans that will take passengers right to their doorstep, make travel to and from the airport convenient.
The near future also has plans for an international airport in Tulum. While the project was put on hold several times during the lowest times of the recession, it is now moving ahead, with the president of Mexico having officially announced the location, and the bidding for private development and operation beginning. The bidding is scheduled to be completed in November 2010, and the company to hold the contract will be announced in December. The airport will be about 8 miles north of the city, and once it reaches completion, it will bring a many new tourists and expats to add to the already growing numbers, as well as services ideal for retirement.
In the mean time, the most outstanding disadvantage of retiring in Tulum is the lack of healthcare services. For high-quality hospitals or even clinics, retirees will need to travel to Playa del Carmen in most cases, and sometimes to Cancun. Shopping is also missing in any significant form – local craft shops, grocery stores and the basics are definitely there (a new Walmart is on the way), but those who love malls and trendy shopping areas, will have to head out of town. The two good points are that Playa del Carmen is not far away, and, as just mentioned, with the upcoming airport, new clinics and better shopping options will arrive.
This points to an ideal situation for those planning ahead for retirement in Mexico, or for those who wish to start their Tulum retirement within a year or two, and know they can live with the distances for another short time. This is, in fact, what’s happening.
Mayan Riviera and Tulum Real Estate
Most retirees or soon-to-be retirees are buying Tulum land, both raw land and development land. Raw land is better choice for those planning ahead for their retirement, and have the time to wait for the specific infrastructure to arrive to make their lot more liveable. Most developers are fairly upfront about how long this is expected to take, helping buyers consider if this time-line fits into their plans. An experienced agent will be able to advise on the reputation and reliability of the developer. This option is usually less expensive and allows buyers to accumulate funds to build in the future.
The other option is development land, which includes many benefits such as installed infrastructure for electricity, water, telephones, etc. – in some cases underground with high-tech features such as fibre optics.
In town there are large lots in developments available for around $300,000 USD. Within town there are both developments which have been gaining a good deal of attention from international buyers looking for retirement in Mexico, as well as some excellent deals which have been somewhat overlooked.
Some new land options a little further away from town are just down the Tulum-Coba highway – about 7 miles away, not far from the entrance to the future airport. These lots will provide both convenient access to the airport, close contact with a beautiful natural setting, and a short drive to town and the beachfront. In one development promising high quality lifestyle and community offers 5 acre lots for only $100,000 USD.
While the major focus has been on land, there are also very good Tulum condos beginning to appear on the market. One example is Akalan, which provides an excellent location, and good rental potential, providing the opportunity for income for those planning ahead or retirees who are only spending part of the year in Tulum. A 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom unit is available for only $115,000 USD. Vacation rental demand is already on the rise, and the location of only a short walk from from the town square and the new Walmart, makes these condos ideal. Of course, the beach is nearby – only 10 minutes on a bike!
One word of caution: “When buying beachfront,” says Hector Moreno, an experienced Tulum real estate agent, “take all precautions.” Buying beachfront in Tulum can be a good option, but because of the town’s layout and zoning, buyers should have a professional review these possibilities on their behalf.
Community and Nature
Of course, we all know of places that were paradise – until just too many people arrived trying to get a little piece of it; this will not be the case in Tulum. To guide the impulse of large-scale new investment and growth, the recently created municipality of Tulum has drawn up an Urban Development Plan. The purpose of the plan is to preserve both the small town, close community feeling, and the nature that draws so many people here, while promoting low-density, sustainable development along the new network of wide easy-to-use access roads.
The idea is called “development for conservation.”
Right now, Tulum will make you feel as thought there is “no time to hurry.” The atmosphere is that of a village where you get to know your neighbors – many from back home, as well as some from various parts of Mexico and places like Europe – and where life is relaxing. New developments include village center areas, which will allow the original town center to retain its small feeling, and still give those who live in Tulum more options. Tulum’s community atmosphere is here to stay.
If you choose to make Tulum for your retirement in Mexico, enjoying these relaxing years in a slow-paced community that respects its natural surroundings, you will want to take your time in finding and buying the property ideal for you. This is especially true for finding the agent you choose to work with. If you choose an agent carefully, asking for qualifications, checking references and investigating community reputation, the right agent will help you take other precaution necessary to ensure that this purchase is the great experience it should be.
Consider retirement Mexico – in a place where you can enjoy nature and community. Consider retirement in Tulum.
Alex Martinez is our Tulum real estate agent. Alex can guide you through finding your Tulum real estate for your retirement in Mexico.
Please contact us here for more information on retiring in Mexico.