Fairy-tale Mexico

Fairy-tale Mexico

Morelia, Mexico, is, simply, spectacular,” writes Correspondent Siri Lise Doub in the July issue of Overseas Retirement Letter, to be published this week.

“Built in the 16th century, Morelia was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1991. Once you’ve see it, you wonder what took them so long. This city is breathtaking. Adding to its architectural charm, its beautiful buildings of Mexican heritage and Spanish Renaissance are all colored the region’s trademark warm pink. It’s the locall quarried cantera stone that gives the buildings their lovely hue. Entering Morelia is like stepping into a fairy tale.

“Here, in this special city, horses are a regular means of travel, and vendors sell freshly killed chickens, orchids, even dirt from the backs of donkeys. At the same time, Morelia is also firmly established in the 21st century, with Internet cafés, even a Wal-Mart.

“Lonely Planet calls Morelia the ‘coolest place you’ve ever been.’ It’s definitely the coolest place in Mexico you’ve never heard of. This picturesque town in the hills of Mexico sees hardly any American tourists. Mexican visitors, sure–many Mexicans say this is their favorite part of their country–but few Americans. If you know anything about expat life in Mexico, you understand how unusual this is. Most livable and lovely hill towns in Mexico are overrun with gringos. Not here.

“Morelia thrives in its anonymity, without the interest and money of the hordes of tourists found in other parts of Mexico, and Morelia’s 750,000 inhabitants prefer it this way. You can tell by their carriage, even the way they talk to each other. The few expats who have discovered Morelia tend to keep to themselves, savoring a truly special way of life outside their home country, embracing the mellow quality of Morelia. They have chosen Morelia because they don’t want to mingle with expats every weekend. They want to live in Mexico.

“That said, it’s not hard to find a slice of home if you need it. The American Society, the DAR, the International Friendship Club, and Rotary International all have presences here.

“Right now is the best time in more than a decade to think about buying in this country. Mexico is suffering along with the rest of the world through the current global recession, of course, but Mexico has other problems, too, and has been receiving serious negative spin in the United States for some time. The border and immigration issues, the War on Drugs, and, most recently, the Swine Flu…these things have all conspired to keep the tourists and the investors at bay.

“While others are steering clear of this country, you have your pick of top property purchase options all over Mexico, including in lovely Morelia. An added bonus: The exchange rate is currently 13.2 pesos to US$1, meaning Americans have almost 22% more buying power right now than they did a year ago.

What could your stronger Greenbacks buy you? In her full Morelia Retirement Report, Sire Lise details a new two-story home, with three bedrooms and three-and-a-half bathrooms, on the market right now for 1.12 million pesos (US$85,000)…and a pretty colonial two-bedroom in a historic area, near a colonial church, a small plaza, and a market, currently listed for 1.516 million pesos (US$115,000).

Siri Lise’s report also includes full cost-of-living details, health insurance options and costs, many other buyer’s market property listings, as well as firsthand reports from expats who have already discovered this off-the-radar retirement option in Mexico’s highlands.

If you’re an Overseas Retirement Letter subscriber, watch your e-mailbox. We’re finalizing production now and will be sending this special issue to you soon. If you’re not an ORL subscriber, this is your opportunity to become one in time to receive our full Morelia, Mexico, report.

Kathleen Peddicord