Thursday, September 5, 2013

Retire to San Miguel de Allende

In the early 1970's, my husband and I took a trip throughout most of Mexico in a Volkswagen Camper.  Yes, we were a lot more adventurous back in those days!  The investment company where my husband was working at the time went bankrupt and I hated my job as a legal secretary.  We sold our surburban home outside of San Franciso, bought the camper and took off for the open road.  It was a fun and illuminating trip.  Although we were in our early 20's at the time, one of the things we noticed was the fact that even four decades ago many Americans were retiring to Mexico. 

Life in San Miguel de Allende

During our trip, one of the places where we stayed was San Miguel de Allende.  We were charmed by this historic town.  If there were American ex-patriots living in the area at the time, however, we didn't meet any.

Today, however, San Miguel de Allende has become a mecca for thousands of retiring Americans.  Located in the state of Guanajuato, it is considered a colonial city with such charming architecture that it was nominated as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.  It is located about a three hour drive from Mexico City.

Activities in San Miguel

There is something for everyone in this lovely town, including boutique hotels, spas, and a main square that is a hub of lively activity with its carefully trimmed trees and an abundance of benches.  Live music is frequently performed in the town square.  The town also has art galleries, a museum, restaurants, nightclubs, boutiques, and craft shops.  Some of the local products that are for sale include furniture, stained glass, pottery, and metalwork.  In other words, most of the things you will need to furnish your retirement home can be purchased locally.

High temperatures range from about 60 degrees to 68 degrees the year around.  Expect rain in the summer.  

Retirement Info for Mexico

Currently, there are an estimated one million American retirees living in Mexico.  About 15% of them have purchased their residence and the remainder have found inexpensive places to rent.  San Miguel has attracted approximately 12,000 of those retirees with housing available in a variety of price ranges.

Unfortunately, many Americans have begun to feel uncomfortable in recent years about retiring in Mexico because of the increase in violence.   As always, I highly recommend that people who consider moving to another country check the State Department website for advisories and warnings.  In addition, if you do choose to move to another country, it is always wise to move to an area where there are many other Americans.  You are much more likely to feel safe and comfortable in such a location. Even in San Miguel de Allende, however, you should be alert, especially when you are traveling outside the town.

Housing Options

There are a variety of retirement housing options available in San Miguel de Allende.  Many of the developments have  facilities similar to what you would find in U.S. retirement communities, including fitness facilties, swimming pools, play rooms, movie theaters, beauty parlors and more. There are a number of real estate agencies in San Miguel that can help you rent or purchase an appropriate residence in the town.

Another housing option is the Complete Assisted Life Service, which offers specialized health care for those who need it, even if they have a terminal or degenerative disease like Alzheimers.  This is very appealing to those who cannot afford assisted living in the United States and has proven to be a viable option for many seriously ill Americans.  The facilities in San Miguel are built to meet the standards of Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC) standards.  In these communities, residents can start out living an active lifestyle that includes golf, swimming and tennis; as their health worsens they will be moved to assisted housing where they can receive specialized care for their illness.  Complete Assisted Life Service facilities in San Miguel have proven to be a life saver for families that cannot afford expensive nursing care for their loved ones in the United States.

Real Estate in San Miguel

It was interesting to me to check out the real estate companies in San Miguel.  Although I cannot suggest a particular one, I highly recommend that people check out several on the internet before choosing one to deal with.  According to the website of the San Miguel Real Estate Agency, not only are retirees moving to their city, but younger American and Canadian adults are also moving there, especially since many of them are now able to work for businesses in their home country via the internet.  I found their website particularly helpful because it was written in English as well as Spanish, and home prices were advertised in dollars.  You will find their website listed in the resources section, below.  Featured homes that they advertised on their website ranged from $139,000 to several million dollars in 2013.  Obviously, buyers get a lot for their money when they are spending millions.  However, even the less expensive homes will give retirees the opportunity to enjoy the pleasant San Miguel lifestyle.

In addition, the various real estate websites advertised an abundant supply of homes and apartments for rent.  To show you the range in choices, I found a one bedroom apartment listed for rent at $500 a month and a number of homes in the $2000 to $2500 a month range.

If you are considering a move to San Miguel de Allende, you will want to check out the resources shown below:

In addition to the websites listed below, if you are going to be traveling to this area, you may also want to order travel guides about San Miguel de Allende from

Information about the community came from the following websites:

If you are considering retiring soon, check out the index articles below.  They contain links to additional information about those topics:

Gifts, Travel and Family Relationships

Great Places for Boomers to Retire Overseas

Great Places to Retire in the United States

Health and Medical Topics for Baby Boomers

Money and Financial Planning for Retirement

You are reading from the blog:

Photo of San Miguel de Allende courtesy of

1 comment:

  1. My book on this subject has 20 conversations with expats who’ve retired in San Miguel an dgives an insider’s perspective on the process. It’s like getting inside the heads of people who are living their dream. The book is called San Miguel de Allende: A Place in the Heart.


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