For more than 25 years International Living has been ranking and rating the best places in the world to retire, creating their well-read and followed Annual Global Retirement Index. And for the past 14 years, Mexico has continually ranked in the top 10, with five first place finishes. For 2017 it was #1 again, narrowly beating out Panama and Costa Rica.

The criteria followed are: ease of buying & renting, cost of living, ease of obtaining residency, entertainment opportunities, healthcare, infrastructure, and climate. Out of a possible 100, Mexico ranked 90.9.

International Living states that, "questioning and assessment ultimately leaves us with a definitive list of the best retirement havens from around the world. All of which share the values that you can expect from an International Living approved retirement destination, while also maintaining aspects that make them stand out as individuals, meaning our index has a place to suit every taste."

Those familiar with Mexico have known for years that it's a wonderful place to live and retire, but it's nice to hear it from an organization that puts its reputation on the line for being an authority as to what are the best retirement countries in the world. "Mexico has always offered arguably the easiest transition to expat life around: Low-cost, conveniently close, friendly locals and plenty of expats—Mexico offers an appealing balance of exotic foreign culture and familiar First-World lifestyle.” 

IL reports that even through crime and insecurity have been issues, it tends to be in certain areas of the country, and not the areas that are most popular with retirees. It is a big country, so what takes place in what area should be construed to take place in the whole country.

IL explains, "there’s a reason over 1 million Americans call Mexico home. The cost of living is great—expats report living well for as little as $1,200 a month—and has gotten even better with the weakening of the peso against the dollar in recent years. Your dollars now buy nearly 50% more pesos than they did just a few short years ago.”

The strong U.S. dollar has been a boon for Americans, although not as much for Canadians. And where in the past pesos prices would be quickly increased to follow the dollar, this has not occurred so that there are really some great bargains when it comes to restaurants, shopping and grocery purchases.

“The cost of living in Mexico allows me to live a fun life on my Social Security check,” says San Francisco-native Jack Bramy. Living half a block from the beach in Puerto Vallarta, Jack’s not scrimping. “There are great restaurants and tons of cool bars on the malecón (promenade). My rent is $575 a month for a two-bedroom apartment with a great modern bathroom and nice kitchen.”

IL concludes, “Mexico isn’t perfect—no place is. But its flaws pale when weighed against the vividness of life here.”