By S.A. Marshal from the May 2011 Edition
Lately family and friends have been quite concerned about the trips my husband and I were taking to Mexico.
“Haven’t you been following the news about drug gang violence there and crime in resort areas?” Yes I’d say, but I’ve done my research. Where we’re headed, we have no concerns.
Our winter destination is the state of Colima, with one of the richest and most robust economies in Mexico. Situated amidst lush tropical hills on an expansive Pacific Ocean bay, the spell bindingly beautiful port city of Manzanillo is a popular vacation spot for Mexicans without the typical hustle of areas that rely upon American and Canadian tourists. A vacation experience here is far more authentic. Furthermore, Manzanillo is said to be the safest destination in Mexico and the seventh safest destination in the world.1
Manzanillo offers all the amenities necessary for a successful Mexican vacation. You can languish on the sandy beaches, stroll while the surf crashes at your feet, breathing moist tropical air and enjoying a climate that averages 320 sunshine days per year. In the evenings you can watch some of the locals throw loops of fishing line into the retreating surf while pelicans dive like torpedoes after nearby schools of fish. If you’re hungry, wander through the boulevards and side streets where Mexican shops, local markets, open air cafes, ‘taquerias’ and restaurants beckon with brightly coloured motifs, minstrels and mouth-watering aromas. On other days, try hopping on a local bus (filled with smiling moms, workers and children) to explore other markets and new areas along the bay.
Manzanillo affords all-inclusive resorts and Mexican hotels; condo and home vacation rentals; and sightseeing tours to the capital of Colima City. You can also tour fascinating sites like the El Chanal ruins or an active volcano called the ‘Volcan de Colima’. For those that yearn to fish and snorkel, Manzanillo is known as the “Sailfish Capital of the World” offering various charters.
For most Canadians good health care service is important. Manzanillo has numerous hospitals, clinics and dental offices. The prices of service there are very reasonable compared to North American standards. You can pay by cash or credit card but it’s always good to have health care travel insurance. If you choose to be winter ‘snowbirds’ in future, Mexico offers registration for long-term visitor status as retirees, allowing access to public health insurance at a cost of roughly 600.00 U.S. per year per coupleii.
Recently, my husband and I purchased a lovely condominium right on the beach. If you are thinking about Mexican property for winter getaways or a rental investment, here is more great news. Compared to coastal resort properties in Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan and Ixtapa, those in Manzanillo can be found for at least half the cost. Beach front property can be purchased via a ‘Bank Trust’ arrangement wherein your property deed is held by a Mexican bank. You can resell, renovate or rent depending on the property. A number of reliable English speaking realtors can provide more details about this.
By Mexican law, coastal property is protected within 30 miles of the coast. This ensures that coastal property is not overrun with foreign development and ownership. In addition the cost of living in Manzanillo is considerably less for property taxes, utilities, groceries, gasoline and merchandiseiv. Considering the Canadian cost of living, we found this quite enticing.
Although we will forever be proud Canadians, Manzanillo has become our second home. It’s incredible beauty, tropical climate, friendly community and ‘laid back’ lifestyle welcome us back each winter like great old friends. And no less importantly, we feel safe there.vi
1 Is Manzanillo Safe– Susan Dearing, Manzanillo, Colima, www.gomanzanillo.com http://www.gomanzanillo.com/features/survey/index.htm
2 Tourist Guide – Facts, Tips and Day Trips; www.gomanzanillo.com Susan Dearing
3 www.gotomanzanillo.com/manzanillo_health_care.php (includes Katie Couric news video)
4 www.gomanzanillo.com/real_estate/investing.htm article Investing in Manzanillo
5 Personal experience of the author