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        Vol  VIII    Issue 192        Home       December 17, 2013        



Retired U.S. Expatriate Has Found a New Home in Safe, Welcoming Mexican City of Tequisquiapan

Cost of Living:  Well Below the National Average



~ Article by Peter Shuster, a U.S. expatriate retiree and resident of Tequisquiapan, Queretaro, Mexico.  All prices included below are in U.S. dollars.

Tequisquiapan is located in the Mexican state of Queretaro. Tequis, as its called by the locals, dates back to the 16th century, making it quite a colonial town. The municipality population is almost 60,000.  Tequis is only a 12 hour drive from the American border and is a very clean/beautiful Mexican town; the streets are swept daily and trash also is picked up daily. There are many beautiful hotels in town, starting at around $40 per night. Many hotels have hot thermal waters. There is an American that has an apartment building that rents apartments from $200 to $400 per month.


The mild year long climate and cleanliness of the town allow you to walk the streets in pleasure year round. There are Bougainvilleas all over town, and they drape the walls of homes. The plaza is surrounded by lovely shops and side walk cafes, and there are many gated communities in town and around the area. One has an 18-hole hole golf course.

Home prices generally range from $80,000 to $150,000, depending on new or used and naturally depending on location.  We just built a new 2,500 sq. ft. home and a 600 sq. ft. guest house(see pictures below).  The cost was $40 per square foot.  Try to find that in the States these days.

There are Americans/German/Austrians and Canadians that live here, and there is a Wal-Mart, Costco, Sam's Club, Home Depot, Office Max, etc., all close to Tequis. There are also 3 shows in town, as well as many fine restaurants and shops all over.  There is also a shopping mall.


Tequisquiapan, Mexico

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 This is an interactive map.  Click on the arrows in the upper left hand corner to move the map to the East, West, North or South, and click on the +/- signs (more than once if necessary) to zoom in and out.

The above and the cost of living are the reasons Tequis is our town. An example of cost of living in Tequis:

#1 Health insurance, or IMSS as it's called in Mexico, costs $300 a year.  That breaks down to $25 per month. The insurance covers 100% doctor visits, drugs and any hospital stays. There are no co-pays.

#2 The average electricity bill here is $20.00 per month

#3 Water is $8.00 per month

#4 Home taxes average $80.00 per year

#5 Fresh vegetables and fruit at the Tuesday market are under $40.00 per week.

#6 Our maid works for us 2 days a week and costs $30.00 per week.

#7 There are so many wonderful financial advantages to living in this still-undiscovered Paradise. A couple can live quite well for under $1,200 per month.

Our New Home. Cost: $40 per Sq. Ft.

Our Den

Our New Guest House

About the Author, Peter Shuster:

I was born in New Orleans, Louisiana and worked in law enforcement for 16 years. Then worked in the technical college system, teaching for 21 years.   Living on a boat in Slidell, Louisiana, I was talking to another boater that asked me, "When will you retire?"   My answer was that in 4 more years, I'd retire with 62% salary.   Then he asked me "What's four years of your life worth?''  I replied, "Well, if I retired now, I would have to live on 42%, not 62%."  So then thinking about those 4 years working, I did quite a bit of Internet research.   I retired and sold the boat that I was planning to travel on around the world and took off to the best country I could find: Mexico.


Why?  Mexico is driving distance from the States. No air or ship needed to arrive here.  Just my car.  I receive my retirement check direct deposit, in the United States bank, and use the ATM in Mexico to withdraw my money as needed.  I found home prices in Mexico very reasonable in many areas.  The Mexican Government lets us buy homes with titles in Mexico, 100% legal. There is only one exception, no title on land 30 miles from coastal waters. No title 50 miles from borders. That's so Mexico can protect its country, but there is a way around that law. You can get a bank trust and the property is in a Mexican bank's name.  You pay an annual fee to the bank.  Well, that I don't like.  Plus coastal property is expensive and very hot. 

Climate is very important to us. Here in Tequis it's a wonderful temperature with low humidity and is great for us and friends that visit us.  We have family and friends that come to stay with us quite often to enjoy our weather. 

My adopted dad "Papa Gene" spends 2 to 3 months a year with us to avoid the American winter freezing weather.   Regarding  health care, which is very important to us as we get older, Mexico has socialized medicine.  Even foreigners with an FM-3 can get into it, and as I said earlier, the cost is about $300 a year.   That covers doctors, drugs and hospitals stays.  We were lucky to have had it a few years ago.  My wife had two heart attacks and used the IMSS.  The care was wonderful and the doctors were more than great. They really care about you!  They don't just give you 3 minutes; they give you all the time one would want. It was one of the best experiences one could have had under the circumstances.   

Buying a home in Mexico is as safe as buying one in the states in my 13 years of experience living in Mexico. The government doesn't take houses away any more than in the States.     In the U.S. they will take your home for shopping malls, overpasses, etc. (eminent domain).   They pay fair value to you.   Same in Mexico; they have to also pay you.   They don't take homes for malls or commercial reasons as I have seen happen in the States!   

The people of Mexico are kinder to you than anywhere I have been.  Experience after experience with their kindness and respectful ways are more than one could ask for.   Mexico is nothing like what people in the U.S. think.   The movies or peoples' border experiences are not the real Mexico.     The real Mexico is the real people that live in Mexico. They share everything they have with you and have no vested interest in doing it. 


When I told my teacher friends that I was retiring and moving to Mexico without speaking Spanish they tried to talk me out of that move. My reply to that was, "The highway runs both ways," and if I didn't like it I could return.   Well, it's been 13 years and I'm still here.   Many friends from the States invite us to come and stay with them for a visit. Our answer is always NO but thanks a lot. We are afraid we'll miss something in Mexico. There's always something to do or see here.  Plus we feel so safe with the people that we know.  We watch satellite TV and see the crazy killing in the States day after day.   If I returned I would have to pack a gun again to feel safe there.   


Americans we love, but the things that happen no longer make me think it is the same country I was raised in. Mexico and the people remind us so much of how it was 50 years ago in the States.  People talking to people on the streets, children playing outside even after dark.  Women walking to the plaza to hear music and returning home without worries of being molested.  We have hosted many people from the States that wanted to see Mexico, the real Mexico. Many have moved here and many want to move here when they retire. Seeing is believing. I  would love if people in the States would experience the real Mexico and the real Mexican people.


I hope that this puts a true light on Mexico. The chance to retire and live a better life is just miles away. This is a fact that is hard to believe.   We live better on 42% retirement than on a full salary in the States.  Who ever heard of a teacher having a maid?  God loves Mexico and the wonderful Mexican friends we have made. 

P.S.   If any readers have any questions, please feel free to email me. We are always willing to help people.  My email is

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