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Old 12-04-2009, 11:15 AM   #21
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Does anyone have experience with the area around Veracruz in Mexico? If so, I'd appreciate any thoughts, commentary, etc. as well as any links with reliable information (inexpensive accommodations, food, etc.) about the area.
I spent a few days (or a week??) there in 2000 while on a summer backpacking trip around Mexico. Nice place, lots of history. IIRC the Spanish used it as a port to access the interior of Mexico starting in the early 1500's. Nice colonial feel to the downtown. Not too busy, fairly laid back. Beaches are decent and they were deserted during the week in the summertime, so we had them all to ourselves.

Temperate climate. Probably not too expensive today based on hotel rooms and meal prices at the time. No clue on living there as an expat though.
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Old 12-13-2009, 01:40 PM   #22
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Negatives: vs. Mexico: the food is bland
Seriously dude Panama food is really weak, especially after you've had enough of the ubiquitous corvina.

It's kinda funny how happy we were when we'd run across a Mexican restaurant. Worlds better.
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Old 12-13-2009, 09:51 PM   #23
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Could be worse. Consider Costa Rica: beans and rice for breakfast, rice and beans for dinner.

For food, outside of Mexico, I am hearing that Peru has really good stuff. Mucho flavour. Good spices.

Keep us updated, pro favor.
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Old 12-14-2009, 09:21 AM   #24
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Yeah I think for food Panama and Costa Rica are same crap, different toilet.

I've been to some really good Peruvian seafood places.
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Old 12-14-2009, 03:41 PM   #25
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Could be worse. Consider Costa Rica: beans and rice for breakfast, rice and beans for dinner.

For food, outside of Mexico, I am hearing that Peru has really good stuff. Mucho flavour. Good spices.

Keep us updated, pro favor.
I had high expectations of Peruvian food and was a little disappointed. It's a little bland. Some of the stuff like quinoa soup and guinea pig were interesting, but that's it. The seafood is very good, but that's more a function of freshness than anything else. I agree that nothing I've tasted in Central/South America matches Mexican food for variety and taste.

Costa Rica food definitely seems bland too, but mix it with seafood and add in some maduros and you got yourself a winner!
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Old 12-14-2009, 10:10 PM   #26
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We know someone who had the most difficult time in Costa Rica. He wanted a steak. All he could get was chicken (but many ways).

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...nothing I've tasted in Central/South America matches Mexican food for variety and taste.
I have heard that, too.

Well, there goes Peru.
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Old 12-15-2009, 08:46 AM   #27
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I'm hoping Argentina/Uruguay make me sick of eating steak! Anyone have an opinion on AR or UY food?
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Old 12-15-2009, 08:56 PM   #28
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Fuego,

Ask Andy R, the owner of this board. He lived there for a while.

Suerte
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Old 12-28-2009, 04:22 PM   #29
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I am seriously considering Panama or Mexico for my next residence. And, I am hoping to draw on the experience of this group to help me make the decision.

I know there are many places to find information about either country as well as specific regions within each country. And, I have read a great deal as well as doing some vacationing in both countries. But, I am hoping someone (or several people) here have spent extended periods in both countries and would not mind comparing and contrasting the experience for me.

Initially, I would be looking for a place that I could rent fairly inexpensively within walking distance to a decent beach, easy access to an international airport, ideally within easy reach of a nice snorkeling/diving area (ideally, with some coral and diverse, plentiful, colorful fish). I do not need many of the common US amenities (air conditioning, washers/driers, etc.); but, I do need easy access to reliable high speed data.

I give anywhere bonus points for having all of the above as well as being on a bit of a hill, cliff, etc. rather than being at sea level. (Storm surges scare me; and, I love nice views of the water, area, etc.)

Basically, I am just looking for some assistance shortening my short list of potential towns/areas to something manageable. And, I will be very appreciative of an assistance, guidance, etc.

Thank you in advance,
CC
CC,
I live in Mexico so I can probably offer advice about that country - although a lot of it has already been dispensed. I have visited Panama but visiting and living there are very different.
First - I'm not a snorkeler, I'm a diver but a lot of it holds true for snorkeling.

If you're looking for CORAL and colorful fish - you are looking for the Yucatan. There is some good diving/snorkeling on the pacific coast but it is unreliable - one day you might have 50 feet of visibility or 5. Also on the pacific side there is not so much coral as rocks.

Unfortunately the Yucatan is FLAT – and HOT – a lot like Florida – although the people are nicerJ. In the Yucatan you will not get Cliffside views of the ocean.

On the pacific coast – you will – it is absolutely beautiful. I have travelled the Southern pacific coast from Salina Cruz to Manzanillo and it is absolutely stunning – Zihuatanejo is probably my favorite but only by degrees – it’s all good. Unfortunately, as stated, it’s not the warm tropical waters of the Caribbean/Yucatan.

Another possibility is around Veracruz. But I would not classify Veracruz as temperate (as another poster did) - I would say its tropical hot! There is an area inland of Veracruz called Huastecas (roughly draw a line from the city of Veracruz to San Luis Potosi and then back east to the coast) that is absolutely stunning – verdant, mountainous, almost all the way to the sea – one of my favorite areas in all of Mexico. The diving/snorkeling on the gulf coast around Veracruz is probably better than the pacific but not as good as the Yucatan.

I will echo others – rent for a year and make sure you go thru a rainy/wet season before committing.


So there doesn’t seem to be one area in Mexico that meets your criteria but…

If I were you (and remember, my advice is free – you get what you pay for), I’d look into these areas:
Cozumel
Southern Yucatan Atlantic coast (say from Akumal to Xcalak)
Progresso- on the horn of the Yucatan
Zihuatanejo


I hope that helps – happy hunting
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Old 12-29-2009, 08:56 AM   #30
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Another possibility is around Veracruz. But I would not classify Veracruz as temperate (as another poster did) - I would say its tropical hot! There is an area inland of Veracruz called Huastecas (roughly draw a line from the city of Veracruz to San Luis Potosi and then back east to the coast) that is absolutely stunning – verdant, mountainous, almost all the way to the sea – one of my favorite areas in all of Mexico. The diving/snorkeling on the gulf coast around Veracruz is probably better than the pacific but not as good as the Yucatan.
I claimed it was temperate. I guess I meant temperate in the sense that there is not a lot of seasonal variation in temperatures throughout the year and not a lot of diurnal temperature variation. Average monthly highs range from 75 to 88 with average monthly lows ranging from 64 to 76. The average diurnal temperature variation is around 10 degrees (from hottest part of day to coolest part of night).

I guess that is tropical in a way. Just that it gets hotter and more humid in the summer where I live in the SE United States, so relative to where I am now, it isn't noticeably hotter (except the heat lasts much longer in Veracruz). Hence the reason I think of Veracruz as temperate (more moderate year round). Veracruz basically has year round summer temps. Not sure about water temps in the winter though...

But Veracruz is definitely "tropical" vs inland locations like DF or Guanajuato which are temperate in the "mild" sense of the the word.
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Old 12-29-2009, 09:41 AM   #31
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TeeRar,

Thank you for the ideas.

I have actually considered Cozumel; but, my impression was that it would be too expensive as a retirement destination since everything seems to be oriented towards divers and cruise ship passengers. I have definitely enjoyed all of my trips to Cozumel; but, it has been several years since I have been there. So, I may have to include it on my next tour of Mexico.

I used to vacation quite a bit in the Yucatan (flying into Cancun or Cozumel); but, I have not been as far south as Xcalak nor as far north as Progresso. I have been toying with the idea of flying into Cancun or Veracruz City and then taking a bus trip to the other (bus from Cancun to Veracruz or from Veracruz to Cancun). If I do this, I am definitely planning to see Progresso (assuming it is an easy local bus trip or taxi ride from Mérida). My other thought is to just fly into Veracruz City and spend some time exploring that area.

I haven't found an easy way to get farther south than Tulum
along the coast by bus. Is my best option to just rent a Jeep to see that part of the Yucatan?

I would appreciate any specific pointers you might have picked up regarding cheap places to stay for a few days up to a couple of weeks in the destinations you have mentioned. I am not terribly picky on these kinds of trips; I basically just need a clean bed and hot shower to be happy. (A private bathroom is nice but definitely not a necessity.) Please feel free to PM me if you do not want to post email addresses, etc. on a public forum.

Thank you again; and, welcome to the board.

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Old 12-30-2009, 09:51 AM   #32
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Well you are spot on about Cozumel catering to divers and cruisers. Now if we could just get rid of the cruisers J
Add to that – it’s an island and most thinks come by ferry – that’s an added expense. Having said that, I do not find Coz expensive at all – as long as you walk 2 blocks off the waterfront.

You can rent a 1 bedroom/1 bath apt for 600USD/month
A very nice dinner costs 10 USD
There are very large grocery stores where produce is cheap, other food stuffs are moderate and U.S. type products are fairly expensive.
A beer at a beachside palapa bar is 2.5 USD, inland its 1.5USD (well worth the extra buck for the view and the breeze)
I could (I try not to speak for others) live on that island with just a bicycle.
There is excellent snorkeling
If you’re willing to live off the waterfront, I expect you could live cheaper there than anything close to comparable in the USA – even factoring in 2 roundtrip tickets back to the USA for visitation.
Lots of folks do it! And I might just be one of them in a few yearsJ
But I probably won’t be buying anything in Mexico. A day of reckoning is coming – they get 40% of federal revenue from oil and oil production is declining. Right now they are very hands off the tourist places (including Coz) but that will change as they look for additional revenue.

As far as tips where to stay my advice (pretty much anywhere in Mexico) is DO NOT make long term reservations over the web. Maybe book a day at a mid level hotel and then scout places once you arrive. For every place you see on the web there are two nicer cheaper places that don’t advertise. I find Mexicans to be almost obsessively clean and you’d be hard pressed to find a place that wasn’t clean whatever your budget. A comfortable bed is a different matter – I find most beds in Mexico to be HARD.

Best of Luck,

teeRar
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