Top Home Buying Destinations in the Americas


   Point2 Homes News - Real Estate News by Point2 Homes





Let’s face it, we all dream of owning a vacation home in some exotic location where the sun shines brighter and the weather is warm all year round. Or how about a remote place for retirement where tranquility is the natural order of the day?

We wanted to see exactly what locations people in the United States look up online the most when they think about buying a second home. To do this, we checked out U.S. users’ Google searches from January 2017 to January 2018, using keywords regarding homes for sale abroad, in countries located in the Americas, and we then ranked these countries based on average monthly search volume. The findings are quite surprising.

Here are the 30 most popular destinations in which to buy a second property in the Americas today:

Let’s check out the top 5 most looked-up locations in more detail. If you want to jump directly to one specific market, click on its corresponding button below:


#1 Mexico – 63,890 monthly searches from the U.S.

Mexico is the number one choice for American residents. In the United States, there were almost 64,000 monthly searches for homes for sale here during the course of the last year. Compared to 2015, when we launched a similar report and Mexico ranked fourth, the country managed to climb up the rankings quite a lot. And who wouldn’t want to live in a place that combines charming cities with sandy beaches? Here are the top five Mexican destinations on Americans’ wish lists:

Puerto Vallarta stands out as the most sought-after location in Mexico by U.S. residents, with the most Google searches (10,230). Its international airport announced that they received over 3 million foreign passengers in 2017, out of which half were visitors from the U.S. alone.

San Miguel de Allende is the second favorite, with 6,990 monthly searches and the guarantee of an alluring cultural scene. The city was named the world’s top urban destination in 2017 by Travel + Leisure magazine, an award based on their readers’ travel experiences.

The real estate market in Playa del Carmen is the fastest growing in Latin America with more and more investors showing interest in purchasing exotic homes here. It is also the third most looked-up Mexican destination by U.S. residents, accounting for 6,510 searches on Google.

Places with turquoise waters and pristine beaches continue to be among the most tempting locations, such as Cabo San Lucas, which is the fourth most tracked-down destination for buying a second property (6,000 monthly searches).

Cancún ranks fifth in Americans’ preferences, with 5,380 searches, even though it stands out as the most expensive of any area in the country.

While still recovering from the severe earthquake which struck in September 2017, capital Mexico City accounts for 2,660 monthly searches on Google.

Overall, Mexico is considerably more affordable in terms of housing than the U.S. The average home selling price here (40,275 USD) is more than five times less than in the States (median price of 240,500 USD). 240,000 USD in Mexico will get you:


#2 Canada – 55,290 monthly searches from the U.S.

U.S. residents aren’t only interested in moving south anymore. They’re also considering going north, with Canada emerging as the second most attractive destination for buying another home. Compared to 2015, when it held the seventh spot in the ranking, the Great White North managed to spark Americans’ interest quite a lot this past year, showcasing over 55,000 Google searches per month on average.

Although temperatures here are not as nice as they are in tropical countries, rest assured that Canada has a lot to offer. Maple syrup, lengthy ski seasons, the northern lights and the unyielding politeness of people are just a few of its attractions. And for those who like nature, the country impresses with its wildlife and beautiful landscape.

Even though Canada recently stood out as the least affordable nation in North America, with its biggest urban centers Vancouver and Toronto taking most of the heat for expensive housing, it has plenty of other attractive options, such as Ottawa, Calgary, Edmonton, and Winnipeg.

For those looking specifically for millennial hot spots in Canada this 2018, the top 5 destinations to keep in mind are Quebec City, Victoria, Guelph, Halifax, and Ottawa.

For the median home price in the U.S. today of ~240,000 USD one can buy:


#3 Puerto Rico – 46,600 monthly searches from the U.S.

Puerto Rico ranks third on Americans’ wish list, the same position that it had three years ago. As one might expect, the interest in homes for sale here saw a downward trend after the devastating Hurricane Maria struck in September 2017. Even so, five months after the disaster, things are looking up for the island.

Electricity has been restored almost everywhere in the country, mobile reception is available in most places and hotels have started receiving guests. Many establishments took advantage of the situation and renovated their properties or upgraded them. Puerto Rico welcomes tourism and real estate investments as they help with the country’s rehabilitation.

For the median price of a U.S. home (~240,000 USD), in Puerto Rico you can buy:


#4 Costa Rica – 39,620 monthly searches from the U.S.

Living in a tropical paradise such as Costa Rica would be a dream come true for many of us. The country’s motto ‘Pura Vida,’ meaning ‘Pure Life,’ captures its sense of peace and tranquility perfectly. The country ranks fourth in Americans’ preferences for buying a second home, falling two spots compared to 2015 when it was second.

Costa Rica is still recovering from the disaster caused by Tropical Storm Nate last October, but it has much to offer. Here are the top 5 most looked-up Costa Rican destinations by Americans:

Tamarindo is U.S. residents’ favorite spot, with 1,920 searches per month this past year. A long-time surfer’s haven, this beach is perfect for both beginner and advanced wave masters.

The second most sought-after location in Costa Rica is Jacó, accounting for 1,380 searches. Jacó Beach is known for catering to those who want to live a life of luxury.

The province of Guanacaste comes in third (790 monthly searches), and is already famous to U.S. retirees who seem to be fueling local development.

The fourth place is held by Santa Teresa, or ‘the Next Tulum’ as it is also called, with 610 searches, and the fifth by none other than capital San José (560 searches), which has recently been named a top destination on the rise by TripAdvisor.

For the median price of a U.S. home (~240,000 USD), in Costa Rica you can buy:


with access to private swimming pools for each.


#5 Belize – 30,910 monthly searches from the U.S.

Home to the second largest coral reef in the world and comprising no less than 450 islands, Belize is most certainly a tropical paradise. The country is the fifth most looked-up destination by Americans (with an average of 31,000 Google searches per month), dropping four spots since 2015 when it was the top-ranked destination.

The country was recently included by CNBC in its top seven picture-perfect locations for retirement. Several places here have been attracting attention, according to financial website The Street, so if you’re looking to buy a second home, you might want to consider the Ambergris Caye island, the inland Cayo District, and the coastal communities of Corozal and Placencia as locations to settle down.

Foreigners enjoy the same rights as locals when it comes to home ownership in Belize. With a low cost of living and low real estate taxes, this English-speaking country has a lot going for it. For the median price of a U.S. home (~240,000 USD), in Belize you can buy:

4 Reasons Why Americans Retire In Mexico


Posted on

By: Justin Walton | Investopedia

Retirees living in Mexico enjoy a low cost of living, warm climate, natural beauty, modern infrastructure and one of the world’s most intriguing cultures. Many airports throughout Mexico offer short, direct flights to the United States, making it easy to return home or to have visitors. And, of course, it’s just over the border from the U.S..

The low cost and high quality of Mexico’s healthcare system also attract many retiring Americans. With more than one million Americans living in Mexico, it is clearly not a fad.

Retiree Real Estate Developments

Many real estate developments have been built throughout Mexico specifically for American retirees. Oceanfront developments in Baja California, 30 minutes from the California border, offer luxurious amenities at a fraction of the cost of the same in the U.S.. As of 2015, a three-bedroom oceanfront condo in the San Diego area cost around $3.5 million with $35,000 in annual property taxes. A comparable property just south of the border in a specially designed retirement community could be had for as little as $350,000 with only $1,000 in annual property taxes.

Thriving Expat Communities

Many traditional tourist destinations in Mexico not only welcome travelers but also cater to American retirees. Puerto Vallarta, Lake Chapala, San Miguel de Allende, Baja California and Cancun are among the most popular with Americans. These areas provide a wide range of real estate options, from modest housing in good neighborhoods to high-end gated communities with 24-hour security.

The economies in these areas are driven by North American tourists and retirees. Most businesses have English-speaking employees, and restaurants usually have menus printed in English. Adding more familiarity, most Mexican cities have stores found in the U.S. such as Walmart and Costco.

Affordable Quality Healthcare

Certainly one of the largest factors for retirees to consider when moving abroad is the availability of quality healthcare. Many are surprised to find the healthcare system in Mexico is not only very good, it is actually world class and very affordable. Costs for common surgeries and procedures can be 25% to 50% of what is paid in the U.S. Doctors and dentists are commonly educated and trained in America and Europe, and their facilities are usually supplied with the latest equipment and technologies. Many foreigners travel to Mexico from all over the world for medical treatments or procedures. Medical tourism has boomed in Mexico because many procedures and treatments, which have proven to be successful, are either extremely expensive or not yet approved in other countries.

As of 2014 (more recent specific data not available), an office visit with a doctor or specialist cost approximately $35 to $50. House calls were around the same price. Lab tests clocked in at about a third of the price paid in the United States, and a CT scan cost 25% of what is paid for the procedure north of the border. An overnight stay in a private hospital room is under $100 on average, and a visit to a dentist for teeth cleaning costs around $30. Prices have risen in Mexico, but also in the U.S., so the general difference seems to be about the same.

Infrastructure and Communications

While not as advanced as in the U.S., Mexican infrastructure and communications systems are improving. Most populated areas of the country have good cellular coverage and widely available high-speed Internet. These factors help make Mexico a popular choice for those looking to semi-retire by managing their business while sitting on a beach with a laptop.

In 2013, Mexico announced plans to invest $320 billion through 2018 to improve its infrastructure and communications in an effort to establish the country as a true emerging economic leader in the 21st century. Improvements to highways, rail lines, airports and shipping ports will only improve the nation’s economy and quality of life.

What Makes Mexico So Special?



By Jason Holland |  International Living

It’s easy to think of the countries of Latin America as being pretty much the same.

Thanks to a shared history as part of Spain’s empire until the 19th century, many of the countries of Latin America (excluding Brazil, Guyana, Suriname, and French Guiana), share a common language (Spanish with regional accents), religion (Catholicism, although other denominations have flourished), and many cultural hallmarks.

But you will find many differences among the different Latin countries. Mexico for example has many unique features that set it apart.

After moving to Mexico a year ago from my previous home in Costa Rica, and having traveled extensively through Panama, Nicaragua, and Peru, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed discovering all the ways Mexico is special.

First, consider just how big Mexico is. At 758,400 square miles, it’s a bit less than three time the size of Texas. In that vast territory, stretching from the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico to the Pacific, you have a wide variety of climates, cuisines, cultures, landscapes, and lifestyles.

Head to the white-sand beaches and warm aquamarine Caribbean waters of the Riviera Maya and you’re likely to dine in beach restaurants on ceviche (seafood marinated in citrus) and fish tacos in the shade of a palapa (open-sided structure thatched with palm leaves). That’s world’s away from the narrow cobblestoned streets and restored colonial homes, grand cathedrals and churches, and immaculately manicured plazas of San Miguel de Allende’s UNESCO World Heritage centro, where you can enjoy a café con leche (coffee with cream) in a courtyard built 300 years ago.

In Pacific coast resort towns like Puerto Vallarta and Mazatlan you’ll find plenty of dining and entertainment options…and seaside fun. Sayulita just to the north is a bohemian surfer paradise. And in Mexico City you have, of course, one of the world’s major metropolises, sprawling across 573 square miles with a population of 21.2 million in the greater metro area.

So too is the weather different. You have it all in Mexico. From warm and humid on the coasts (cooling down to pleasant temperatures in the winter), to the eternal spring-like climate of the Colonial Highlands and Lake Chapala, to the dry heat of the desert climate of Baja California, which only receives 15 or so days of rain per year. There’s a climate for everybody.

Mexico is also the Latin American country most familiar to Americans and Canadians. They come here for affordable dental work. They vacation at the resorts of Cancún, Cabo San Lucas, and Puerto Vallarta, and elsewhere. They drive RVs down to snowbird communities all over the Pacific coast and Baja Peninsula. And they settle all over the country in retirement or to start businesses. There are said to be 1 million Americans living in Mexico, either full- or part-time.

So Mexico feels familiar, which helps the transition if you decide to move down. On top of that, as a modern country Mexico has plenty of products and services that you know from home. High-speed internet is widely available. Cellphone service, including 4G and LTE, is widespread. Medical care is top notch and affordable. You can find large shopping malls with Cineplex’s showing movies in English. And there are stores like Walmart and Home Depot that have brands you know on the shelves.

It definitely has made my family’s life here easier having all that. But that’s not to say that Mexico is like the U.S. but cheaper. Far from it.

Along with all these modern conveniences, you have the rich Mexican culture. When you live in Mexico it seems like there is always some sort of fiesta or parade, whether it’s a religious festival, civic celebration, neighborhood gathering, or just friends getting together. Fireworks, music, and dancing…costumes, masks, and traditional dress…sometimes the party goes well into the night. I’ve certainly enjoyed getting in on the action.

There are countrywide celebrations and holidays but also events specific to certain regions or towns, often for a patron saint’s birthday, or based on centuries old traditions of the local indigenous groups.

For example, in Mérida, locals feel strongly Yucateco (from the Yucatán peninsula) and take pride in the local dances, music, and tradition of poetry. Along with those aspects of local culture, you’ll also find unique cuisines around Mexico.

Back to Mérida, as well as elsewhere on the Yucatán Peninsula, you have dishes not found elsewhere in the country like cochinita pibil, which is roast pork marinated in citrus juice and achiote, a recipe that has its origins in the ancient Maya culture. That’s one of my favorites. Oaxaca, inland from the southern Pacific coast, is where mole, the rich chocolate based sauce, is from—it’s just one of the culinary traditions fostered by the intense mix of indigenous populations there. I must say trying new dishes is one of my favorite parts of being in Mexico.

No matter where you go in Mexico, you’ll find friendly and welcoming people. As an expat you’re spoiled for choice about where to settle down—there’s climate, lifestyle, and landscape for everybody. But no matter where you go, you’ll enjoy modern conveniences and the rich Mexican culture.

Mexico travel warning in perspective

By Tomas

Updated January 23, 2017, The latest Travel Warning for Mexico was updated by the US Department of State on December 8, 2016. 

In addition to the State Department warnings, the Center for Disease control has also released a Travel advisory for Mexico, regarding the Zika Virus for pregnant women. I'll take a look at the reality of that too. (Click here to read the most recent statistics on the Zika Virus in Mexico updated every Tuesday)

The year 2016 was a banner year for tourism in Baja California Sur and all of Mexico. Mexico remains one of the top 10 worldwide tourist destinations. All major airports on the Baja peninsula reported increased international travel. Cabo San Lucas remains the #1 tourist destination on the west coast of Mexico and La Paz and Cabo San Lucas were the only Mexican ports to have an increase in cruise ship passenger traffic. More than 11 times more people will visit Mexico this year than visit London. Baja California Sur has 10 of the best beaches in Mexico on the Pacific side and Sea of Cortez side. You will find all of these beaches not only amazing places but safe as well.

Excepts from the Official US State Department Warning for Mexico - December 8, 2016
The U.S. Department of State warns U.S. citizens about the risk of traveling to certain parts of Mexico due to the activities of criminal organizations in those areas. U.S. citizens have been the victims of violent crimes, including homicide, kidnapping, carjacking, and robbery in various Mexican states. This Travel Warning replaces the Travel Warning for Mexico, issued April 15, 2016.
Gun battles between rival criminal organizations or with Mexican authorities have taken place on streets and in public places during broad daylight. The Mexican government dedicates substantial resources to protect visitors to major tourist destinations and has engaged in an extensive effort to counter criminal organizations that engage in narcotics trafficking and other unlawful activities throughout Mexico. There is no evidence that criminal organizations have targeted U.S. citizens based on their nationality. Resort areas and tourist destinations in Mexico generally do not see the level of drug-related violence and crime that are reported in the border region or in areas along major trafficking routes.
U.S. government personnel are prohibited from patronizing casinos, sports books, or other gambling establishments in the states of Coahuila, Durango, Zacatecas, Aguascalientes, San Luis Potosi, Nuevo Leon, Tamaulipas, Jalisco, Colima and Nayarit.  
Kidnappings in Mexico take the following forms:
Traditional: victim is physically abducted and held captive until a ransom is paid for release.
Express: victim is abducted for a short time and commonly forced to withdraw money, usually from an ATM, then released.
Virtual: an extortion-by-deception scheme where a victim is contacted by phone and coerced by threats of violence to provide phone numbers of family and friends, and then isolated until the ransom is paid. Recently, hotel guests have been targets of such "virtual" kidnapping schemes.
U.S. citizens have been murdered in carjacking and highway robberies, most frequently at night and on isolated roads. Carjackers use a variety of techniques, including roadblocks, bumping/moving vehicles to force them to stop, and running vehicles off the road at high speeds. There are indications that criminals target newer and larger vehicles, but drivers of old sedans and buses coming from the United States are also targeted. U.S. government personnel are prohibited from intercity travel after dark in many areas of Mexico. U.S. citizens should use toll roads (cuotas) whenever possible. In remote areas, cell phone coverage is limited or non-existent.
The Mexican government has deployed federal police and military personnel throughout the country as part of its efforts to combat organized criminal groups. U.S. citizens traveling on Mexican roads and highways by car or bus may encounter government checkpoints, staffed by military or law enforcement personnel. In some places, criminal organizations have erected their own unauthorized checkpoints, at times wearing police and military uniforms, and have killed or abducted motorists who have failed to stop at them. You should cooperate at all checkpoints.

Putting the Warning in Perspective

What is living on the edge dangerous to one person is the daily mundane to another, so we'll just look at the statistics and put them in perspective with daily life

In the first half of 2016 one American was murdered in Baja California Sur (Los Cabos) and 8 Americans were the victims of homicide in the northern state of Baja California. That is statisically just on pace with 2015.

The final 2016 numbers are not yet available but it looks like ninety-seven US Citizens were murdered in all of Mexico.  For those 97 families that is tragic. But an estimated more than 26 million Us tourists visited Mexico last year and the vast majority of them had an uneventful, safe and enjoyable vacation in Mexico. When you look at the statistics, your chance of being murdered in Mexico on vacations is about five times LESS than being murdered by a family member in your own home. (that's a little scary, no?)

There are parts of Mexico I will not travel to at the current time. None of those ugly places are in Baja. There are not highway roaming bandits looking to feed wayward tourists to their Doberman, I have yet to see a pirate in the Sea of Cortez, nor is Mexico on the verge of revolution. There is perhaps no country in the world that welcomes North Americans with such open arms. 

For Baja California the current travel warning reads:

"Baja California (includes Tijuana, Rosarito, Ensenada, Tecate, and Mexicali): Exercise caution in the northern state of Baja California, particularly at night. According to the Baja State Secretariat for Public Security, the state of Baja California experienced an increase in homicide rates from January to July 2016 compared to the same period in the previous year. While most of these homicides appeared to be targeted criminal organization assassinations, turf battles between criminal groups have resulted in violent crime in areas frequented by U.S. citizens. Shooting incidents, in which innocent bystanders have been injured, have occurred during daylight hours."

The violence referred to in the warning is again, almost entirely crime on crime and virtually transparent to the foreign population. But remember, Tijuana is now a city of 1.6 million people and the fourth largest metro area in Mexico. Huge efforts have been made in the Rosarito Beach areas and the confidence in North American travelers is returning. Like locations in Baja California Sur, there appeared to be a territorial struggle between cartels with the violence peaking in the summer of 2015. But the northern state of Baja California remains not only the most popular US destination but the second most dangerous destination for US tourists with 17 Americans killed there in 2015. But all of Mexico is not like the border areas. If you haven't been more than 100 miles south into Mexico, you don't know Mexico.

The travel warning for Baja California Sur reads as follows:

"Baja California Sur (includes Cabo San Lucas and La Paz): Exercise caution in the state capital of La Paz. Baja California Sur continues to experience a high rate of homicides. Many of these homicides have occurred in La Paz, where there have been ongoing public acts of violence between rival criminal organizations."

We saw diminishedviolence in the capital city of La Paz in 2016, but a number of drug related incidents spread out the violence out over the southern half of Baja California Sur. There were are a number of body drops and homicides in Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo. One attack on the residence in San Jose del Cabo used a 50mm grenade launcher. There was one public incident of gunfire in Cabo San Lucas last spring. There were also drug related incidents in Guerrero Negro, Todos Santos, and the remote community of Comondu. But only a handful of incidents across the state were even witnessed, and I could not find any reports of collateral damage victims in 2016. 

There has been an increase of 'kidnappings" in Baja California Sur. Most of the incidents that I could find reports of were of the virtual type. A cell phone is stolen and family information is gleaned from the phone and connected social media accounts. A demand for ransom is made with urgency before it is discovered the person really isn't missing. AS far as I could find Norther Americans have not been the victim of this crime.

 As a La Paz resident of 16 years, this really has not affected my daily life or that of other of residents or visitors.

Political Fallout

Despite the poor treatment by the US over the last 160 years, the Mexican people remain generally open and friendly to North American visitors. Opening trade with the US has provided economic opportunity for Mexico that the current administration threatens to renege. Campaign insults, separatism, walls, and threats of trade changes have left a bitter taste in the mouth of the vast majority of Mexicans for the new US president. The US overproduction of oil has left many country's economies in peril, including Mexico's. Since the threats of a campaigning Trump began to weigh heavily on the Mexican peso in September the value of the currency has dropped 18% against the US dollar and fuel prices have risen more than 18% and threaten to rise even higher in February. This is in whole and in part respectively, blamed on Trump. Should trade deals be negated, mass deportation begins and a wall actually is constructed look for the American welcome in Mexico to diminish. It would usually be unwise to express support for these policies and the new president too loudly while in Mexico. A Trump T-Shirt would be an invitation to violence. 

The Zika Virus

The first reported cases of the Zika Virus in Baja California Sur came in the third week of October 2016. Two known cases are being observed in the southern state, there are no reported cases of Zika in the northern state of Baja California. Mexico's statistics do not differentiate between cases locally acquired or cases contracted during travel. In 2016 there were only 23 confirmed cases of Zika in Baja California Sur and none in the northern state of Baja California. 

Since the Zika virus has become as much a concern for our readers as the US Travel Warning we have a separate dedicated page for information on the Zika Virus in Mexico updated weekly with the latest statistics from the Mexico Secretary of Health.

This is the same breed of mosquito that carries dengue and malaria, BTW.

Much of Mexico never gets a 'killing frost' so we almost always have live mosquitoes, but much of Central Mexico is at too high an altitude to be threatened by this species of mosquito. Here in Baja, we also need rain for a 'bug season' and that won't happen again in the tropical reaches until early July. With tropical diseases ranging from good old Malaria to dengue, you should always avoid insect bites. 

"Bully up America", as Teddy Roosevelt would say.

When on vacation anywhere you should take extra steps to avoid being the victim of petty crime. Americans are notoriously unaware of their surroundings when traveling. (rate high as both unaware, worst dressed and only exceeded by the French as the rudest in a  recent traveler's survey) The more adventurous you get, off the beaten path or exploring sketchy neighborhoods the more you put yourself at risk. There are three kinds of people, those that like to scare, those that like to be scared and those that want to make the decision on their own. Be informed with real information when making your own risk assessment.

Come visit us in Baja and don't miss out. 

Mexico: More Than Borders and Beaches
Posted: 08/14/2013 By Mark R. Kennedy Professor of political management and director of the Graduate School of Political Management, George Washington University
The biggest surprise from my recent visit to Mexico was how wide the gap is en how most Americans perceive our neighbor to the south and the reality of what it is today.
The view of Mexico from the United States seems to either fixate on the struggles we have along the border or the attractiveness of their seemingly endless number of magnificent beaches. The truth is that in between that challenging border and inviting beaches lies a country of 116 million enterprising people on the move. The United States ignores that reality to its detriment.
Five experiences from my trip highlight aspects of Mexico that most Americans ignore:
Political Maturation: With the landmark election of Vicente Fox as president in 2000, Mexico's democracy has matured into a multi-party competition where the peaceful handover of power is commonplace. While dining with former President Fox, it was clear he is following the path of past American presidents by contributing to political discourse through educating future leaders, advancing ideas, and being available to support, not undermine, the current opposition party president.
Political Cohesion: Meetings with both Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) President César Camacho Quiroz and the National Action Party (PAN) President Gustavo Madero reinforced the sense of political maturation in Mexico through collaboration that is missing in current American politics.
After the 2012 Mexican presidential election of PRI candidate Enrique Peña Nieto, PRI, PAN, and the leftist PRD party agreed on an alliance, known as the Pact for Mexico, to work together to tackle seemingly intractable challenges that have vexed Mexico for decades. The trio has taken action to increase the effectiveness of education, streamline labor restrictions, and to facilitate competition in the telecommunications, media and banking industries. Freeing up the energy sector is next on the docket.
Sound Economics: Solid economic goals have buttressed political gains. While the Brazilian government has preoccupied itself with state-directed capitalism and intervention in currency markets, Mexican politics has largely been driven by efforts to free the economy from the inefficiencies caused by state control or private monopolies. The success Mexico has achieved has attracted reverse migration from the United States. During my meeting with Bank of Mexico Governor Agustin Carstens, I was struck by his focus on the benefits of providing the private sector long-term certainty, the kind of enlightened policy guidance that has greatly benefited Mexico.
Young, Industrious Workforce: The rise in Chinese manufacturing has received great attention. However, the "Hecho en Mexico" brand is prepared to take on all competitors. According to the latest census statistics, half of Mexico's population is age 26 or younger. While many other nations, including China, are facing demographic challenges, such a young, vibrant workforce is a real strength.
The Mexican economy is adept at designing and building products up and down the supply chain, unlike other emerging markets that only provide labor stock. Mexico excels at making large complex products, holding the titles of largest flat screen television exporter, the third largest computer manufacturer, and fourth largest vehicle exporter in the world. It is no slouch in white-collar occupations either, graduating more than 115 thousand young engineers every year, more than Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany, or emerging market rival Brazil. Its IT services industry is one of the five largest in the world. The United States' technological prowess and highly productive laborers collaborating with such a young and talented workforce creates a highly competitive duo.
Affinity with the United States: Canadians tend to bristle when reminded of how similar they are to Americans. Mexicans, however, have an amazingly warm view of the United States. Despite the heated rhetoric involving stereotypes and caricatures of Mexican society from some American politicians, Mexicans generally retain a positive spirit about their association with their northern neighbor. Many Mexican business and political leaders are pleased that their country's economic future is hitched to diversified integration with the United States' economy rather than simply providing resources to Asia, as is the situation for much of South America. Rather than despising Mexico's affinity towards the United States, we should embrace it.
While Mexico still has work to do to secure its border, free up its economy, and provide ample opportunities for its citizens, one must recognize that it is well on its way to joining the ranks of the world's great powers.
Rather than fixate only on its border and beaches, it is essential that Americans see the bigger picture: a cohesive, democratic, economically vibrant, and friendly neighbor that would be the envy of any great power.
Much ink has been spilled talking about how China might overtake the United States economically. Yet there have been no articles about China overtaking a North American economy. Indeed, the complementarity of the United States and Mexican economies make us a far more formidable competitor together than we are apart.
A core American strength has always been its alliances. Mexico was pulled into World War II when ships providing supplies to the United States were attacked. Its fighter pilots fought alongside America in the Philippines. A tighter embrace of Mexico could lead to a cornucopia of benefits for both nations.

Medicine - the healthy side of Baja tourism - Surgeries and office visits up 20 percent
By Bob McPhail, Aug. 23, 2013
Oasis of Hope clinic in Playas de Tijuana
About 750,000 Americans a year visit Baja California for medical care, according to Karim Chalita Rodríguez, president of a medical trade group that goes by the name of Clúster Médico Dental y Hospitalario de Baja California. Chalita Rodríguez is also president of the Tijuana Chamber of Commerce.
While medical tourism has grown by about 20 percent in the last year, he said in an interview published August 22 in El Sol de Tijuana, data available to the medical industry in Baja do not specify which areas of practice are responsible for the increase.
 "Many times the patient who comes for an office visit is not counted and only surgeries like plastic surgery or bariatric surgery are counted," he said. "We have failed to quantify well the patient who comes just for an office visit, even though they represent a major economic flow into our state. And he who comes for an office visit, when done, looks for other attractions in the city."
Those coming to Baja just for an office visit account for an influx of about $80 million annually into the Baja economy, and about 85 percent of that is spent in Tijuana, he said.
Should the US Congress approve immigration reform, medical tourism to Baja would spike even higher, said Chalita Rodríguez, because there are many Mexicans living in the US who would prefer to obtain medical care in Mexico for cultural reasons but fear problems returning to the US should they cross the international border.

Be aware that the temporary boat importation laws have changed for Baja and now every boat that will be going down to Baja needs to have a temporary boat import permit. Inflatable boats that can collapse and fit into a bag are the only boats that are exempt from this law.
To get your temporary boat importation you will need to stop at the border on your way into Baja and have your paperwork in order. You can go into the Aduanas (customs) building at the border and they will direct you to the Banjercito where you will pay and get your permit.
You will need to cross at the Otay Mesa or Tecate border crossings (you are NOT able to get your permit at the San Ysidro, El Chaparral, port of entry).
You will need to have the following paperwork with you:
-Boat registration
-Motor serial number
-Copy of the title
-If there is a lienholder on the boat, you will need to have a letter from the lienholder granting permission to take the vessel to Mexico
The fee is about $50 and can be paid in pesos, dollars or by Visa or Mastercard. The permit is good for 10 years.
If your boat is already in Baja, you will need to go to Pichilingue in La Paz to complete this process. Only the owner of the boat can complete this process for the boat at Pichilingue (they will not allow a power of attorney).
Most marinas also require on-the-water boat liability insurance, which Discover Baja can provide.
If you are getting a prepaid FMM, tourist permit, from Discover Baja, please be aware that it is now mandatory for us to know the border crossing you will be using to drive into Baja (If crossing at Mexicali, you must specify east or west). The price for prepaid FMMs is $35.

Baja California Medical Tourism


Baja California is one of the Mexican states spearheading medical tourism, insofar as it directly impacts activities carried out in 20 local economic sectors.
Judith Santiago, Mexican Business Web
Annually, foreign exchange from tourists coming to Baja California looking for medical services totals US$89 million.
The Mexican border state annually averages 450,000 tourists, mainly from the United States.
Juan Benjamin Tintos Funcke, Secretary of Tourism of Baja California, told Mexican Business Web that this is a very sensitive activity that is constantly monitored, [and being] promoted among the Latino population of the United States.
The Mexican border state is even preparing a strategy in order to promote medical tourism in the United States. The plan involves ten hospitals, 600 medical specialists, and twelve pharmaceutical chains.
The prospect is to invest $15 million pesos to attract 15 million tourists, who will bring in an estimated US$8 million in additional resources to this sector annually.
Another issue that will spark development and business opportunities in Baja California in this tourism sector is health reform in the United States.
The Baja California head of tourism said that, if approved, the installed capacity in border states is insufficient to meet the demand, thus the arrival of more tourists seeking medical treatment in the cities of Mexicali and Tijuana is foreseen.
Another advantage the Mexican state offers, for medical tourism from the U.S., is  border crossings with an exclusive medical lane so that travelers can come to Tijuana and Mexicali more accessibly.
It is predominantly the Latino population in California who visit Tijuana and Mexicali in search of specialties in dentistry, optometry, sports medicine, [and] surgery.
They also come to purchase medications and to undergo cosmetic surgeries, such as liposuction, Botox application, and gastric banding, as well as for spa services at Rancho La Puerta, considered one of the greatest in the world.
Tintos Funcke said tourists are resorting to the state's medical services because they are between 40% and 60% cheaper than in their country.
He added that they also seek services based on quality and the treatment that they will receive at the various health institutions, plus the clinics and physicians are certified by the Secretariat of Health, which is a trust factor for the tourist.
The increase of medical tourism in Baja California arises because there is a decline in health services in the United States, which represents a competitive advantage for the Mexican entity, along with the development of new business opportunities.
Mexican Business Web, July 26, 2013, Mexico, DF; edited translation by


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