Although the Yucatan state of Mexico has long been recognized as one of the best destinations for beachfront living and has recently been named one of the world’s top retirement destinations by USA Today and the Wall Street Journal,the country is still battling a number of misconceptions among travelers and would-be expats. Much of the negative misinformation travels via word-of-mouth repetition of false or grossly exaggerated US media reports,which are often focused only on sensationalistic headlines that boost ratings,instead of on convincing retirees to consider relocating south of the border.
In reality,Mexico has undergone a series of positive changes in recent years,which makes the experiences of visitors who have not been back for 10 or 20 years outdated. However,much of this old information is still regularly posted on the Internet,which perpetuates the negative stereotypes and keeps many people in the dark about the real Mexico. Much of the misinformation surrounds the existence of government corruption,dangers to personal safety and real estate laws that apply only to foreigners.
First,it is important to point out that corruption exists everywhere,including the United States. In this way,Mexico is no different than other countries and visitors can expect fair and impartial treatment when applying for visas or other permits. Local officials will not ask you for a bribe at the immigration office and you should not have to pay more than the law requires for any business transaction. In fact,if you happen to get pulled over by the local police,simply ask to be given the citation and pay it within 24 hours to receive a 50% discount,which will be less than any bribe the cop may have tried to receive.
When it comes to personal safety,keep in mind that tourists are not the primary (or secondary) targets for those who are associated with Mexico’s drug cartels. Although incidents have occurred,they are quite isolated and are no more likely to take place in Mexico’s popular tourist destinations than a similar crime would be to happen in your own hometown. In fact,Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula is one of the safest places to live in all of North America,including the US.
Despite the fact that there are a number of ways for foreigners to legally own property in Mexico,myths still abound propagating the idea that property can be confiscated by the government for no reason,or that there is no way for an “outsider” to actually own land in Mexico. Both of these stories are completely untrue – just ask the millions of expats who now call Mexico home. In fact,mortgage funding in Mexico has been made available by US and Canadian banks and many US-based title insurance companies offer policies for properties in Mexico.