While no city has it all, Merida comes pretty close. For expats leaving the first world comforts of the USA, Merida will provide an easy transition when compared to many other options.

First, high speed internet is readily available throughout most of the city and offered by several providers. Coming and going from Merida is a snap with freeways and highways connecting to the Riviera Maya on the Caribbean coast as well as connecting to a good highway system throughout Mexico. And of course, there is a modern International Airport which makes airline travel readily accessible.

Shopping is an essential part of life as we all need food, clothing, and having a good wine in the refrigerator is always a good thing. Merida offers a plethora of shopping options from large open markets to small shops, strip malls, street vendors, and big box stores. It’s all here.

Mexico offers an easily obtainable retirement visa, providing for quick, permanent residency for those meeting the simple qualifications. The straight-forward process begins at the Mexican consulate in your home state. There, the consulate officer will verify your income based on the documents you provide, review a nominal number of other documents and your completed application. After a short interview, if approved, you’ll likely depart with your permanent residency visa affixed to the inside of your passport.

All legal residents over the age of 60 qualify for a discount card from INAPAM (Instituto Nacional para las Personas Adultas Mayores) facilitating discounts on a wide variety of goods and services.

Public transportation is available throughout the city by utilizing a combination of taxis, buses, and small vans called colectivos. Prices are geared toward the local population and are more than reasonable—cheap in fact. Bus and colectivo fares run from 25 cents to 60 cents.

Medical care is some of the best in the world with many doctors speaking English and modern hospitals to provide for any surgery needs. And it’s affordable by participating in one of two national health care programs; either Seguro Popular or the IMSS program. In fact, it is cheap enough to simply pay for routine doctor visits and prescriptions out-of-pocket with hardly a bump to your budget. Nearly all medications can be purchased directly from the pharmacy without a prescription (narcotics and strong antibiotics are obvious exceptions) and cost only a fraction of prices north of the border.
Merida has a significant population of expats. Both the U.S. and Canada are well represented as well as many countries from Europe and Asia. Facebook hosts a number of expat groups for Merida.

By Don Murray
International Living