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!