By Tony Brogdon

Is it safe to live in Baja, Mexico? Is it practical? What standard of living can I expect?

These are questions that many American baby-boomers ask themselves when planning to retire or visit in Mexico. They have been convinced by the negative media reports about the reported “violence” here and believe that it is simply not safe to cross the border. Most of these people have only been to the border towns like Tijuana or Juarez and believe that is Mexico. They are unaware that just a few miles further Souths there are literally a paradise on earth. Those of us “gringos” who have discovered it and decided to move down here can’t believe what we have found. We have decided to make Mexico our home and would never want to live anywhere else! We are apart of over 1 million Americans living in Mexico.

I live in a small community about 40 miles south of the U S border called La Mission. La Mission is on the coast just about halfway between Rosarito and Ensenada. It is nestled between two huge canyons that support a beautiful river and lagoon. The lagoon runs into the Pacific Ocean under a scenic highway bridge next to a public beach. Nearly all the homes and condos here have spectacular views of both the ocean and mountains. It reminds us of how the Del Mar area of San Diego probably looked about 50 years ago. The biggest difference, besides a lack of freeway traffic, is how affordable it is to live here! Rents and mortgages are about one-third of the cost in the US!

I started this day by going to one of the local restaurants and having our favorite heuvos rancheros, rice, and beans; a delicious breakfast for only $5.00 including coffee. Next we went to the local produce market and purchased 2 dozen fresh eggs, a bag of fresh oranges, fresh tomatoes, and fresh bananas. The total cost was $6.00. Next we filled up the car and, since the government here controls gas prices, we usually spend at least a dollar less per gallon than our friends and family in the US. Not only do we pay less, but we still receive the service gas stations used to provide when we were young, they clean our windows and check the oil! Housing costs and utilities are also much less expensive, about 1/3 of the cost for similar housing in California. The weather is almost always a beautiful 60-70 degrees and being nestled between the ocean and the mountains we will spend the rest of our day enjoying the sound of the surf and beauty of the canyon and river. Later on today there is a folk-dancing festival and rodeo in our little town; I will enjoy taking pictures of the activities and the people here!

I have been traveling to Mexico from the US for 30 years and made the decision to move here full time nearly one year ago. If I had known what a wonderful place to live in the true since of the word it is, I would have made the move long ago. Both the 30 years traveling here and the experience of living here has been amazing positive. The people are amazing, very hospitable and kind, and there are also 30,000 Americans living in the Rosarito area. These are like-minded people who are here for the same reasons we are, because of the beauty, the freedoms, and the more reasonable cost of living.

In all the time I have spent in Mexico, we have never witnessed a crime of any sort. Instead I have experienced a warm welcome from both my fellow American residents here as well as the Mexican people whose families have lived here for centuries. Tony has found that this is not only a great place to retire, but to open a new business as well. Tony has started a new business called Ground Floor Technology with his partner William Yu. They consult with foreign investors interested in opening new businesses here in Baja. There are many excellent business opportunities here but one of most promising is servicing the growing senior population in regard to health care both in the US and here in Mexico. Many people are unaware that Baja, Mexico is currently the largest center for Alternative medicine and research in the world! When people come from other countries to be treated here it is called Medical Tourism. This industry is booming worldwide due to breakthroughs in technologies such as Stem Cell and other forms of treatment and medical services, Baja is uniquely capable and strategically located to accommodate these growing industries.

Having not only adequate medical care and affordable health care is an important component of living in Baja. Both office visits and prescriptions are much less expensive here than in the US. In addition, our social life has never been so active. In addition to all the wonderful people we have met here, many community activities exist. There is such a local artist community, a local Theatre Guild presenting fantastic theatre due to the actors who have retired in the area, music concerts, golf resorts, and a constant variety of festivals and rodeos. For the sportsman Baja has some of the best fishing in the world, bicycle and off road racing, and we even have our own sand dunes for those who enjoy riding quads and motocross bikes. There are many wonderful restaurants on the ocean serving world-class food, live entertainment, and at very reasonable prices. If you miss living in the US, both north and south less than 30 minutes away are familiar places you may be surprised to see in Mexico such as Super Wall Mart, Costco, Home Depot, first run movies at local movie theatres, Applebee’s, TJ Fridays, Mc Donald’s, Burger King, KFC, Subway, 99 cent stores, and modern shopping malls..

Are you wondering about security? In the past Mexico was known for corrupt and non-professional law enforcement. Today from Tijuana south, the local police officers are highly trained, highly courteous, and very professional. Their equipment is state of the art and does not resemble the police force of even a few years ago. However, the police in Mexico are interested in catching criminals who are actually harming people in some way and are not really interested in policing people just here to enjoy themselves. Because of this if you use firecrackers, camp on the public beaches, let your dog or horse run free without leases or halters, or choose not to wear your seatbelt it is not likely that you will be ticketed. However, if you bring a gun or drugs into the country you are likely to go to jail. Even if you are speeding or have an accident where someone is injured without car insurance, you will suffer the consequences.

In many ways life in Baja is like living in the United States about 50 years ago. However, the populated areas here still provide the things we have become accustomed to such a high-speed internet, Digital TV, and state of the art cell phone technology. Marcia and I and a number of other Americans here operate their home businesses here by use of Internet phone lines. What we appreciate about living here is most of the basic freedoms are still available to people. Dogs and horses are still allowed on public beaches and it isn’t a requirement that everyone live just like everyone else. If you want to paint your home with bright colors that might not be what is pleasing to your neighbor, you are allowed to do so and the neighbor just has to get over it. That type of living is not for everyone but those of us who live here appreciate the principal of it.

Is it safe to live in Baja, Mexico? Yes in many ways safer than many cities outside Mexico. Is it practical? Yes. The quality of life here is amazing at a very affordable price. What can I expect in Mexico? To live longer and happier than anywhere else in the world. Mexico is considered the # 1 retirement Country for Americans in the world. Please check out video on GFT website: What is your definition of paradise? Ours is definitely Baja California Mexico!


Fulano de Tal June 4, 2011 @ 11:40 p.m.

If Mexico -- when south of Tijuana -- is such a "paradise on earth" as you say, please tell us why 100's of thousands of Mexicans try to enter the US illegally each year. How can it be a paradise for Americans and Hell for Mexicans? How can you say you "have never witnessed a crime of any sort", when almost every American home in La Mision has been broken into? Well, I suppose that could be true --that you have not witnessed a crime. I have never witnessed an airplane crash, although I know they crash all the time.

Even the Mexicans will not describe their police as "highly trained, highly courteous, and very professional." I hope you realize what a joke that comment is. Oh yes, one more thing. Where you live is "La Misión" with only one "s", which is the Spanish spelling.

Good luck on your new Baja business, you are going to need it.


Tony Brogdon June 5, 2011 @ 8 p.m.

Thanks for your comnent Sounds like you haven't been here in a while. I have been coming here for 30 years. I have lived here full time for a year now. I have't witnessed a crime in 30 years. Six months ago a homeless guy in downtown San Diego threatened to pull a knife on me downtown next to Horton Plaza Parking lot downtown as I was walking to my car. The International and National Crime Statistics prove that many US cities have a much higher crime rate than Mexico. Did you watch the video on GFT website.? Look at the one on the home page also. The reason for most of the border crossings aren't to escape violance in Mexico its to get a better job. The middle class is getting stronger and there are less illegal border crossings for the past few years. When the US housing market colapsed and many large finacial institutions went under casuing many to lose their homes and jobs Mexico's overall stayed much stronger. Tijuana grows over 350,000 people every year. There were 12,000 ferderal Police in Tijuana last year, there is 32,000 now better US trained and better equiped. There is many financial opportunties for anyone who wants to earn money verses make money on a regular job. Lets compare what we pay and what we get?


Fulano de Tal June 6, 2011 @ 12:04 a.m.

Rather than debate your misinformation, and then have you post even more misinformation as a rebuttal, let me just point you to a post from an American man who lives full time in Ensenada and is married to a Mexican woman. He also works in Mexico as an investigator.


fulano_de_mexico June 10, 2011 @ 10:55 a.m.

Regarding Fulano's comment about Mexican citizens wanting to leave Mexico you have a very clear and definite point Tony. It is a known and documented fact, and a constant in Mexico-US relations for the past 50 years, that wages are on average 8 times greater on the US side of the border. Pretty good incentive for risking everything to cross that imaginary line.

And by the way that's a great article in the Baja Times. You can't argue real facts! Unfortunately we're used to believing most media hype due to our own shortsightedness and mental lethargy.

And hey... if Sly Stallone is scouting locations in Baja Norte, 'nough said!!


Tony Brogdon Aug. 15, 2011 @ 5:06 p.m.

Thank you Fulano for your coment.

Our purpose is to refocus the media from the negative which involves considerbly less than 10 % of the population and focus on the postive things that most people who live here enjoy.

There is trade offs for living here for sure but the positive far outweighs the negatives.

Thanks again for your comment



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