“Your Nov. 20 issue of the Overseas Opportunity Letter prompted me to write with a possible solution for Jan J. from the United States, who is looking for inexpensive beach living close to the States.
“My wife and I have lived full time in Ensenada, Baja California, for 2 1/2 years. After a career in the advertising agency business, I now write and photograph for Baja Breeze magazine.
“It’s not really necessary, but we wake up in the morning to check the weather from our glass-walled bedroom on the Northern edge of Ensenada. We look across Bahia Todos Santos to the Southern rim of the bay. It’s crowned by Punta Banda. Some people call it Mexico’s answer to Hawaii’s Diamondhead. The weather is like Hawaii’s, too.
“Ensenada is some 100 miles south of San Diego, California, and in the same climate zone. Early San Diego promoters called it ‘The Land of the Short Thermometer.’ Never too hot, never too cold.
“We like Ensenada a lot, but our pocketbook loves it more. We sold our first retirement home in the U.S. and built another down here for a fraction of the cost. Investing the leftover cash gave us a whopping annual raise. Then, too, Mexico’s renowned low cost of living, while slightly higher in Ensenada, is still a great attraction.. Now that the exchange rate is hovering around 13 pesos to the U.S. dollar, we’re in greedy pig heaven.
“Northern Baja’s coastal area North of Ensenada to Rosarito Beach and Playas de Tijuana at the border has been seriously impacted by Donald Trump-style high-end developments. With the downturn in the U.S. economy, some of these developments may be in serious trouble. Not so in Ensenada, a busy but relatively quiet seaport city. Real estate prices have increased in recent years, but not to the extent our neighbors to the north have seen. It is still possible to find a modest home close the beach for US$150,000. Your chances increase the farther south of town you search.
“But, most important, if you have grandchildren back in the States–and you have the new Sentri Pass for border crossing–you’re less than two hours from San Diego by car. Bottom line: Your annual budget for living in Mexico doesn’t have to include international airfare.”