Here are Mexico’s Best Colonial-Era Cities to Retire Early for Cheap.
Here are the pictures I took as I conducted 6 months of on-the-ground research to identify Mexico’s Best Colonial-Era Cities to Retire Early for Cheap.
In my twenties, I didn’t even know about the colonial-era cities. I was just going to the best beaches in Mexico.
Then in 2013, one of my traveling buddies posted a bunch of beautiful pictures of a colonial-era city in Mexico during the month of August. What are they doing in Mexico in August, I thought?
So I Googled the town and started reading about it. It was high in the mountains so the day time temperature was only 86F (30C) that day. You see, the Spanish invaded and built these towns well before air conditioning. That is why 90% of the most beautiful architecture in Mexico is in the mountains. The weather is perfect year-round there and you rarely need air conditioning, so its cheaper to live there year-round.
So, we spent 6 months finding our favorites. I am going to show them to you now. I will start with my least favorite and move my way up to most favorite. After I complete my top 10 favorite colonial-era cities in the mountains, I will tell you my top three favorite colonial-era cities on the beach in Mexico.
Cuernavaca Mexico Retire Cheap Report (number 10): Aztec Emperors, Spanish Conquistadors, foreigners, movie stars, international gangsters, designers, artists, writers, and the wealthy citizens of Mexico City have all maintained satellite homes here over the centuries. Cuernavaca is located in a tropical region but maintains a cooler temperature of 70-79 F, 21-26C, year-round. Cuernavaca became a jet setter place to relax once gambling became legal at Casino de la Selva. Rita Hayworth, Bugsy Siegel, and Al Capone put Cuernavaca on the map for Americans in the first few decades of the 20th century. Cuernavaca would be higher on my colonial-era favorites if it had a higher walkability rating and the social epicenter was the main square. But things are more spread out here so you need to jump in taxis or on buses more often or own a car. I consider walkability one of the most important things about a colonial-era city.
There is no need to take notes, at the end of this video I will tell you how to get this list in writing.
Patzcuaro Mexico Retire Cheap Report (Number 9): Patzcuaro was founded in about 1324 by a pre-Hispanic culture in Mexico that have inhabited this area since 700 BC. One of the largest most beautiful temples in Mexico is nearby. Patzcuaro is well known for the Day of the Dead Celebrations and the Day of the Dead figurines you see all over the world now. Patzcuaro is the smallest colonial-era town I am recommending to retire early. There are a nearby lake and beautiful mountains for nature lovers. The city center is beautiful and walkable. Make sure to enjoy the videos of our walking tour, our island tour, and the ancient temple ruins. Patzcuaro Mexico sits at an elevation of 2140 meters (7200 feet) above sea level. This holds the temperatures down in the summer months. The warmest month of the year is May. The average high for the day in May is 79F or 26C. If you prefer a larger city, stay in nearby Morelia, and do day trips here.
Morelia Mexico Retire Cheap Report (Number 8): This area of Mexico has been inhabited by humans since 700 BC. Spanish Conquistadors and priests showed up here 1525 AD. Most of the colonial-era structures were built between 1630 and 1790. Morelia was named a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1991. There are about 600k people living here today. The historical old town center is imminently walkable. If we retired early here, we would live in the old town center and walk everywhere. Morelia Mexico sits at an elevation of 1920 meters (6300 feet). This holds the temperatures down in the summer months.
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Puebla Mexico Retire Cheap Report (Number 7): Puebla was classified as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1987 because of its colonial-era architecture and history. The historic center contains 2619 monuments distributed across 391 blocks. That makes Puebla the largest classified World Heritage site in all of the Americas. Puebla metro is the fourth largest in Mexico at 3.2 million people, with 2.5 million of those people inside the city proper. Puebla is a highly respected intellectual mecca with six prestigious Universities. VW’s largest automobile manufacturing plant outside of Germany is here in Puebla. 2500 units roll off the floor each day manufactured by 14,000 people. Puebla is totally walkable. I would not need to buy a car if I lived here. I may get an Uber for $2 USD a few times per month to get my groceries home, but otherwise, I would walk or ride a bike. At an elevation of 2200 meters or (7200 feet), the weather remains cooler here. May is the warmest month with an average high of 82F 28C, but it cools down quickly at night to 53F or 12C. Make sure to watch the three walking tours we do of Puebla in the retire cheap report.
Mexico City Retire Cheap Report (Number 6): My three favorite areas of Mexico City are La Condesa, Roma Norte, and Polanco. All three of these are extremely beautiful and walkable. Everything you need is nearby. It would not be an exaggeration to say that all three are as walkable as East or West Village in New York City. They are just cheaper. Make sure to watch our walking tours. Mexico City is situated at 2250 meters above sea level (7,380 feet), so it is almost never really as hot as Mexican beaches. The month of May has the warmest average high for the day of 81 F (27 C). The month of January has the lowest average high for the day of 72 F (22 C). It last snowed in Mexico City in 1967.
Okay, it is time to talk about the top 5 of Mexico’s Best Colonial-Era Cities to Retire Early for Cheap. But first, if you are enjoying this video could you please subscribe, share, comment, or like it? That would help our business grow.
San Cristobal Retore Cheap Report (Number 5): The indigenous people still call it Jovel, which means “the place in the clouds.” San Cristobal is at 2200 meters (7200 feet) above sea level, and it actually seems to be in the clouds for parts of each day. It is a misty mountain hippie paradise. The culture of San Cristobal is defined by the indigenous population including their colorful textiles, amber and filigree jewelry, local foods, colorful markets, and ceramics. Make sure to watch all four videos in the retire cheap report we made, three of this beautiful city, and one of nearby Chamula. San Cristobal is one of the favored colonial-era cities in Mexico by Europeans. So you will probably hear all of Europe’s languages as you walk about town.
San Miguel Retire Cheap Report (Number 4) San Miguel de Allende has one of the highest walkability factors I have ever seen. The only time I order an Uber is when I have too many groceries to carry home from the supermarket. The weather is amazing in San Miguel de Allende. You are unlikely to ever turn on the heat or air conditioning here, even if you have them. It has snowed three times in the last 50 years. The colonial town center is full of things to do. Restaurants, bars, live music, theatre, painting classes, writing classes, yoga, and spirituality groups of all sorts. If you enjoy the outdoors and hiking, there are endless things to do around San Miguel de Allende. Plus, you are just a few hours away from other tourist destinations and beaches. This would probably be on top of my list but it feels a little too Americanized for my taste. I prefer being in America when I am in America and in Mexico when I am in Mexico. So if I lived here, I would probably live in one of the Mexican neighborhoods.
Guanajuato Mexico Retire Cheap Report (Number 3) Guanajuato is amazingly walkable. Many of the streets are even too skinny for cars. Some streets are underground to maintain the character of the village feel. The Valenciana silver mine produced two-thirds of the world’s silver for 200 years. Because of the city’s colonial-era wealth, the best colonial architecture is here.
While the silver flowed, it was the richest city in Mexico. Guanajuato is where Mexico won the first battle of Independence from Spain. The International Cervantino Festival is held here annually in October. Guanajuato was named a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1988. The University of Guanajuato can trace its root all the way back to 1732. There are 33,000 students. The influence of the university on the intellectual discourse in Guanajuato is one reason it is such a lovely place to live. The festival atmosphere in this University town makes this colonial-era unforgettable. You may never want to leave.
Queretaro Mexico Retire Cheap Report (Number 2) Querétaro, the silicon valley of Mexico, has the second-highest average per capita income in Mexico ($20k USD) behind only Monterey. Querétaro region has the second-highest wine production after the Baja California region. Constitution Plaza and Jardín Zenea Plaza are filled with people every night and all day Sunday to listen to bands that play dance music from the 1940s to the 1960s. The historical old town center of Querétaro is completely walkable. I would not buy a car if I lived here. There are two million people living within 6 miles of here. There is a huge international demand for food choices here because of all the foreigners living here from home offices of the tech industry. Querétaro Mexico sits at an elevation of 1820 meters (5970 feet) above sea level. This holds the temperatures down in the summer months. The warmest month of the year is May. The average high for the day in May is 85F or 29C.
Next up is rated as my number 1 of Mexico’s Best Colonial-Era Cities to Retire Early for Cheap. Each of these Retire Cheap Reports includes cost of living information, livability factors, things to do, best area to stay, where we stayed, history of the city, transportation tips, and our videos showing you the colonial-era city center and other points of interest.
Oaxaca Mexico Retire Cheap Report (Number 1): Oaxaca is my number one favorite colonial-era city in Mexico. After Oaxaca, I will share my three favorite colonial-era beach towns. So with such stiff competition, why is Oaxaca my favorite? We visited about 20 cities in 2018 and Oaxaca was our favorite overall. It seemed to have a more relaxed in-tune with nature feeling to it. Maybe because it is the home of the largest concentration of indigenous people in all of Mexico. Everywhere you turned there were colorful indigenous arts and clothing and foods to try out. There seemed to be a real pride in the local origins of the clothing, foods, and crafts. That makes sense because Oaxaca is where the indigenous people of Mexico gather once a year for the largest cultural festival in the world. We also noticed that the streets in the city center seemed a little cleaner and manicured. The local markets seemed a little cleaner and organized than other parts of Mexico. Oaxaca is also home to some of the most preserved archeological sites in Mexico such as nearby Mitla and Monte Alban. The elevation of Oaxaca is also perfect for growing crops in the rolling foothills around the city. So the cit just has a feeling of abundance in the air as you walkabout. The locals even seem happy and healthy here.
Oaxaca is totally walkable. I would not need to buy a car if I lived here. Normally I go to the supermarket once a week to get fresh vegetables, but the local markets are so clean and fresh here, I would shop there instead. Oaxaca is only 1500 meters (5100 feet) above sea level. It is warmer as you approach sea level. May is the warmest month with an average high of 92F 33C, but it cools down quickly at night to 59F or 15C. January is the coldest month with an average low of 48F or 9C at night, but it warms quickly in the day to 82F or 28C. The fact that it warms up so nicely during the day in January, is nice. Make sure to watch all the videos in the retire cheap report. There is live music everywhere in the old town, day and night. We really felt safe walking around the old town, day and night. Oaxaca has the most famous indigenous festival in Mexico, if not the world. The festival is held each year on the last two Mondays of July. Indigenous communities from all over Oaxaca gather at the Guelaguetza festival to celebrate their native culture of music, costumes, dances, and food. More specific data and several videos are provided in the retire early cheap reports).
Yes, the colonial Spanish needed a few beach towns also to load up all the gold they were stealing from the original people of Mexico. So Mexico’s Best Colonial-Era Cities to Retire Early for Cheap includes three on the beach for you to choose from. Like before, my favorite of the three is shared at the end.
Merida Mexico Retire Cheap Report: I first visited here in the winter and it was my favorite place in Mexico. But then I learned how hot it could be in the summer. May is the warmest month with an average high of 97F, 36C, and it only cools down at night to 71F, 22C. This means your house is too warm to sleep without AC. January is the coldest month with an average low of 63F or 17C at night, but it warms quickly in the day to 87F or 31C, so no heat is needed. Merida is 40 KM from a white sand beach (25 minutes), there are cenotes everywhere, and you are just a few hours from Cancun, Playa del Carmen, and Tulum. There is classical music, jazz, rock, hip-hop, theatre, movies, malls, museums, diversity in restaurants, and a decent nightlife with a diverse set of live music. There are world-class archaeological sites within an hour or two.
Campeche Mexico Retire Cheap Report; This is a smaller simpler version of Merida but right on the water. The colonial town center of Campeche City was awarded the UNESCO world heritage status in 1999. If you are interested in a more Mexican experience in Mexico, Campeche is for you. But is still too hot for many people being at sea level on the Caribbean side of Mexico, like Merida. The Spanish built castle walls surrounding Campeche in the 17th century to help stop pirates from looting Campeche, like the Sack of Campeche in 1663, when 1000 Pirates with 14 Ships plundered everything of value from Campeche. Its fun living in a castle walled city on the water. Our report includes videos of everything fun to do in and around Campeche including pre-Hispanic archeological tours.
Puerto Vallarta Mexico Retire Cheap Report: There wasn’t really that much going on in Purto Vallarta during the colonial-era. But I still love it because it has a real Mediterranean feel too it. The main reason I pick it over the other two colonial-era beach cities is because, although it gets hot here in the summer, it is not as hot or humid as Campeche or Merida. The average high for the day in August is 93F or 34C. The average low at night in August is 73 F or 23C. It cools down at a little bit at night in the summer from the Pacific Ocean breeze, but some people need air conditioning at night to sleep comfortably. We are here in August and a fan is enough for us at night. The coolest month of the year is February. The average low at night in February is 61F or 16C.
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