Follow my blog with Bloglovin Tiffany: It is absolutely mind boggling how much the cost of living is in the United States compared to other places in the world. It’s hard to believe that I’m making almost twice as much with my full time job […]
Have you ever dreamed of living in a villa overlooking the Mediterranean Sea? Or an off-the-grid ecolodge in the jungles of Costa Rica? Strolling through the vineyards of Tuscany daily? Or maybe a high-rise apartment in Penang with the best Asian food just steps away…The […]
With all the amazing towns in Mexico, why did we choose to live in Querétaro? Most people have never heard of Querétaro.
Honestly, up until 2 years ago, we hadn’t heard of it either.
Let’s look at what we wanted and what we didn’t want:
- We did not want 10 months of heat like Florida. We wanted a more temperate area.
- According to Mexican law, foreigners cannot own a house within 50 kilometers of the coastline or 100 kilometers of the border. You can buy a house, but the bank technically owns it.
- We didn’t want to be with all Americans. The purpose of moving to another country is to embrace that country’s culture and people.
- We did want to be close to an airport and modern conveniences.
- We did want to experience the culture around us.
- We wanted more of an international community with good international food options.
- We wanted a safe area.
Tom did a lot of research to find the “perfect” place. Using Numbeo.com, he compared housing costs, crime, and various other factors between many Mexican cities against Orlando. Querétaro’s cost of living and low crime came out as a top contender.
Besides the internet research, we also spent a good part of last year exploring different areas within the Colonial Highlands of Mexico.
San Miguel de Allende
A favorite community among artists, San Miguel de Allende has been advertising to Americans since the 1950s. It was beautiful, had some great restaurants and a wonderful artisan market and galleries. Unfortunately, the American population, mostly from California where housing prices are astronomical, has raised the housing prices to an amount that was not affordable to us.
Guanajuato was beautiful! We instantly fell in love with the town as soon as we drove in. Situated in a valley between mountain peaks, it was mostly a walking street city. The old silver mine tunnels are used to move traffic around below the city and just outside the mountain range. This is an old university town, but real estate was very scarce. Most of the houses were passed down from family member to family member. A realtor showed us around a bit, but most of the houses available needed serious renovations. We would be playing the waiting game to find anything available, ready to live in and for a price we could afford.
For both San Miguel de Allende and Guanajuato, the nearest airport was Leon, still a good 40 minutes to an hour and a half away.
Santiago de Querétaro
Querétaro we found out, is having exponential growth in international business. Many Asian and European companies have built or are building their Latin American headquarters in Querétaro. Samsung, Nestle and Bombardier are just a few of the big international companies headquartered here. The per capita income in Querétaro is second only to Mexico City. The city is growing fast, businesses are moving in or expanding, and has all the modern conveniences you could want including an airport. Still, there is a beautiful historic area where the city just comes alive, and many smaller towns that are great for day trips.
We decided we didn’t want to live directly in the city and deal with traffic (much the same as Orlando’s). So we chose to live north of the city in a residential area called Juriquilla. We have plenty of restaurant choices, small mom & pop stores and even a large mall. We are 5 minutes from a real Mexican town, Santa Rosa Jarengui, and less than 30 minutes from historic Querétaro. Plus, we are 45 minutes away from San Miguel de Allende with its beautiful galleries and artisan market, and just over an hour away from Tequisquipan with it’s cute little wine bars. Even with all the new growth, housing prices are still very reasonable.
In Querétaro we have great weather where it’s cool in the mornings and evenings. We are close to conveniences and historical areas. We don’t have to deal with horrible traffic. We can afford to live here on less money. And we have choices when it comes to restaurants and food because of the international influences.
What factors should you consider when moving overseas? Check out tomorrow’s post!
We completely collapsed that night in our Airbnb in Juriquilla, and didn’t notice how beautiful the location was until the morning. We arrived late last night at the Querétaro airport. Customs was actually very easy, just a small cue line. The baggage carousel was just […]
Our new journey begins today! This is us 10 minutes before we left for the airport. We look exhausted and frazzled, we know, but we were ready to celebrate! Champagne has never tasted so good! We were still cleaning, painting and vacuuming our now empty […]
You may not fall down the rabbit hole, but upon entering Le Lapin Sauté, you will find yourself in a Beatrix Potter-meets-Disney-themed establishment. A medley of flower pots are transformed into bell-like ornaments to welcome passer-byes into the warmth of this cozy restaurant.
Decorative eggs strung from old vines twist across the walls and around window panes. Antique toys are clustered in every corner and rabbits reign supreme as figurines, wooden cutouts and floppy stuffed animals. A fireplace warms the tiny room filled with small red and white checkered tables and wooden chairs. I’m sure there’s a pot of honey somewhere that Rabbit always kept just for Winnie the Pooh.
The friendly staff speak both English and French and can expertly recommend something fabulous, though I don’t think there is anything mediocre on the menu. To begin, we had one of the specials for the day, the Puff Pastry with Escargot in a light cream sauce with mushrooms and sun dried tomatoes. Delicate, but earthy flavors. This was actually my first time having escargot, and I loved it!
Our main course was the heavenly Duck and Rabbit Platter, a smorgesbord of duck leg and rabbit leg confit where the meat fell right off the bone, rabbit sausage, rich and addictive duck pate, smoke cured duck prosciutto, rabbit roulettes, pickles, salad, cheese and bread. This is the best option if you want to try a little of everything.
And for dessert, crème brûlée. We are in French Quebec after all, no?
Le Lapin Sauté is located on Rue du Petit- Champlain at the foot of Cap Diamant below the Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac in Old Quebec. Reservations are recommended. (418) 692-5325 http://www.lapinsaute.com/
Tom is the ultimate foodie, and I usually just tag along and eat everything he orders. A few years ago, Tom raved about Au Pied de Cochon and the 20 courses of foie gras, pig, and organ meat he consumed. It sounded absolutely disgusting to me, […]
Christmas markets are one of my favorite things. Remember that song, I Simply Remember My Favorite Things from the Sound of Music? This time of year, it plays over and over in my head. I spent my childhood in Europe, and though winter can be gloomy […]
Hollywood hipsters, drive-in theaters, and rock’n’roll defined the 1950s. Even before Scottsdale had a downtown of big name shops, upscale dining, and artsy galleries, Valley Ho was the private retreat for the rich and famous. Today, it’s a glimpse into the past with the modern luxury of today.
Designed by Edward L. Varney in 1956, this minimalist modern hotel welcomed the elite of Hollywood and other dignitaries. Central air conditioning allowed it to be open year round. The Valley Ho also offered a black and white television in every room, which was a big deal back then.
Robert Wagner and Natalie Wood held their wedding reception at the Valley Ho, and it was a favorite getaway of many celebrities including Cary Grant, Roy Rogers, Bette Davis, Humphrey Bogart, and Tony Curtis. Can you imagine soaking up the sun next to Marilyn Monroe? Or enjoying a classic martini while Jimmy Durante played the piano in the lounge? You can feel a vibrant energy and almost hear the music and laughter of a time gone by.
In 2005, Valley Ho received an $80 million renovation and expansion that included the VH Spa, Café ZuZu, the tiki inspired Polynesian restaurant Trader Vic’s, the new OH pool, and a 7-story addition of one and two bedroom suites. Modern day luxuries and conveniences were added while keeping with the simple clean lines of the 1950s era. Retro colors of blue, orange, sage, and brown flow throughout hotel.
Room plans differ depending on the needs of the guest. Some have kitchens and others have freestanding bathtubs in the bedroom.
Our aptly named Terrace Suite was in the corner of the main building, and featured a wraparound balcony that could easily entertain a private Oscar reception after-party.
This year, Valley Ho celebrate’s it’s 60th anniversary! Incredible events are like live music, pool parties a the OH and holiday specials. Café ZuZu’s bakes their scones fresh every day. Enjoy the make-your-own Bloody Mary bar with brunch. Valley Ho’s Magical History Tour enlightens visitors about the history, architecture, and gossip of the famous Hollywood retreat. Located at the west end of Main Street in Scottsdale, it’s within walking distance of over a hundred galleries, ritzy shops, and fine dining.
Valley Ho is more than just a place to stay. It’s a destination.
Momofuku Ssäm Bar’s Korean fusion cuisine never ceases to amaze us. The food is tremendous, and the artistic presentation and creative preparation really make you forget where you are and what’s around you. The conversational drone and blaring music fade away and you devote every […]