Should I Stay or Should I Go?
The definitive guide to moving abroad and whether it's right for you


This is a preview to the chapter Mexico from the book Should I Stay or Should I Go? by Paul Allen.
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While the most popular destinations for American and British expatriates are nearly all developed countries (with the exception of the Philippines, which has some 100,000 Americans living there), Mexico is the big anomaly.

It’s proximity to the United States is, no doubt, one reason.

As a large, free market emerging economy – with a population of more than 100 million and a relatively low cost base – Mexico holds out the possibility of exciting entrepreneurial opportunities for expatriates too.

And while it may not be a wealthy nation in economic terms, Mexico has other riches that are proving a potent lure for the million-plus Americans that are thought to have settled there.

For one, it is a large country of abundant geographic diversity, featuring four mountain ranges, high plateaus, deserts and low coastal plains.

And according to the Mexican government’s Secretaría de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales (SEMARNAT), Mexico is one of the most biodiverse countries in the world, home to between 10 percent and 12 percent of the planet’s known species, thanks to its varied topography and climate1.

Indeed, such is its ecological importance that the United Nations Environment Programme’s World Conservation Monitoring Centre has recognised Mexico as one of just 18 “megadiverse” countries in the world.

For American migrants, Baja California has proved particularly popular. Wikipedia (so take this information as you will) says an estimated 200,000 or more American expatriates live in the state, especially in the border town of Tijuana, and resorts such as Playas de Rosarito on the Pacific coast just south of San Diego, and San Felipe on the opposite Gulf of California2.

Blessed with a sunny, warm climate, and moderating Pacific breezes particularly along the north-western coast, plus miles of pristine beaches and evident cost of living advantages compared to the US side of the border, it is easy to see why.

Its neighbour, Baja California Sur – home to the tourist centres of Cabo San Lucas and San José del Cabo at its southernmost tip, plus state capital La Paz – offers similar attractions.

La Paz, for instance, is said to average over 300 days of sunshine per year. It is also a mecca for eco-tourism, thanks to the marine biodiversity to be found in the Gulf of California, which boasts such spectacular migratory species as humpback whales, manta rays and leatherback turtles. 
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