Hidden Places to Retire in Mexico

It’s exciting to think about how there are so many wonderful little “hidden” places to retire in Mexico.

Today, on our way to purchase new blades for the rototiller (there aren’t any available in Morelos) we think we found a town that may be a great place to retire. Tenancingo (pronounced Ten-an-sing-go, sometimes called Tenancingo de Degollado) in the state of Mexico really welcomed us as we drove through.

We noticed that it is orderly and tidy, with a variety of shops open. It is laid out on a grid making getting around efficient and comfortable, yet the people showed a relaxed, easy going way about them. It is a little south of Toluca and not too far from Mexico City, so would be relatively easy to access, yet avoids being too urban. It has many trees and plants, giving it a shady, green feel even in the dry season.

Surrounded by greenhouses, Tenancingo is located in a mountainous region, though is relatively flat. Surrounding areas provide plenty of lovely mountain vistas and scenic small towns. It’s high elevation would mean that temperatures would remain cool throughout the year. The main industry in Tenancingo is flower cultivation which keeps the local economy strong and you can’t get any nicer than that. It is also a good place to have horses, if you like that sort of thing. While I can’t say for sure because we were just passing through, prices are probably not as high as in other places due to it’s relatively “undiscovered” status.

Finding this lovely place reminded us that when one is planning to retire in Mexico, it would be worthwhile to spend a few months to a year, just traveling through the unbeaten paths and seeing if there are any perfect little places to retire. While in the process of retirement planning it is difficult to get good information about places to retire in Mexico unless they are already really well-known. I think that traveling the back roads of Mexico and discovering one’s own perfect place to retire is the way to go.


Today when I went to buy my tortillas, the machine was off and one of the people who runs it was just arriving with a huge sack-of-potatoes sized ball of dough. The attendant asked me if I would like to purchase the tortillas that were already made from a little earlier or wait for tortillas from the new batch. I chose to wait even though I didn’t know how long it would take. I thought it would be interesting to see how they did it and it turned out that I was right.

First, they started the belts and wheels, including a grinder mounted on the side of the machine. They put some of the dough through this grinder it a few times, adding a tiny bit of water once. Then they lit the gas oven with a sheet of newspaper rolled up to make a long “match.”

Next they began running some of the dough through the wheels that press it into a thin sheet. They had to lay the dough on the wheels and pressing and spreading it so that it would cover the entire wheels and come out as an unbroken sheet. This part took quite a bit of adjusting of the tension between the wheels using a lever. The sheet of dough had to be started over a third wheel that sent it toward the belt leading to the oven. During this process dough was cut off by hand and re-run until the sheet was coming out just right.

Next, The pulled a lever that tightened the round cutter against the dough, cutting out round tortillas. This also took some adjusting and dough was re-run through a few times. Then, suddenly out came some hot tortillas, slowly deflating after they left the heat of the ovens. We bought a kilo of tortillas so hot they burned our hands and soft, steamy, and delicious smelling.

Tortillerías usually have a salt shaker on the counter so you can shake a small amount of salt onto a fresh tortilla, roll it up using fingers and palm, and enjoy it fresh and hot. We enjoyed about three that way!

The Mexican Tangent that Wouldn’t Die: Get Mentally Prepared Before You Retire in Mexico

In my blog way back on September 20th 2007 I wrote a blog titled
“Beware all Who Retire in Mexico of Mexican Tangents” You can click here to read it, if you didn’t happen to catch it — after all it was 3 months ago!

The tangent has dragged on over these three months, but has not made itself blog worthy until today.

Here’s the background:

When we were getting our police records done the search found an open file on my husbands’ history. At the time I had no idea how that could be. In fact, no one in the series of officials I contacted in order to track down and attempt to close this “page” in his history bothered to explain it to me. It was one of my family members who remembered that 3 years ago, while he was in physical therapy recovering from a badly broken arm caused by being hit by a taxi driver while on his bike he chose not to sign some papers closing the case, just in case he would need additional support for his arm. So, no thanks to the people doing the paperwork I began to understand.

I just called the people who I was told to call and told them that I was trying to find and close a file number blah, blah, blah. Often they would ask me what I was trying to do and I had to honestly say, “I don’t know. I’m just trying to complete my duty to Mexico. A police officer told me I have to close this file.” No one bothered to explain to me, but I’ve already stated that.

Anyway, first I went from office to office in person and no one knew how to help me. Finally someone took pity on me, as I was carrying my son on my back and helped me fill out the request form to begin the process. Then I brought it home for my husband to sign. Then I took it back and turned it in. At this point I got the name and office phone number of a nice lady who told me to call in a week to see if she had found the file.

I called in a week and she told me that she had tracked it to the national hospital system and that they would find it. She told me to call back in a week. I called back in a week. She told me that they hadn’t yet found it, but would call me when they did. One day a few days later she called and left a message on my answering machine. By Murphy’s law, that’s the message that accidentally got deleted before I could listen and take notes, but at least I heard her name before my finger slipped. I tried to call. The phone was on the fritz. I didn’t get through until the next day. She complained because she had already put the file away after leaving me a message on the machine and didn’t have it on hand. She asked me to call her back in a few hours. I called back. The phone was on the fritz and that day was a Friday. I called on Monday, she complained because I hadn’t called her on Friday. I explained that I had but the phone had been on the fritz. She made no comment on that point, so I have no idea if she was aware of that reality or thought I was giving her an untruth (see my book to learn all about these and how to deal with them.) She told me that the file had been located and forwarded to the transito office in Jiutepec. I asked for the number and …. this is getting tedious to even write. I think you get the idea.

After talking to people at the new office I quickly understood that they were REALLY going to give me the run around and so turned it over to my husband. I knew that they would surely just tell me he had to do it personally since it was his case. He stalled for a couple of months because … well, obviously it’s a tedious thing to do. Who could blame him? Finally, in December I told him that he had to do it because otherwise they’d close their books for 2007 and give him the run-around even worse. So we went in as a family amid much tension. Finding the right office, finding parking, etc. etc.

Once at the office we waited for a half hour for our turn at the desk of a pencil pusher. First, the lady tried to get rid of him by saying she couldn’t remember his case. Duh! We wouldn’t expect her to. Then she played dumb by shuffling some papers and saying she couldn’t find it. He’d have to go get a photocopy of the receipt information so she could see the exact date that it was received and who had signed for it. We drove clear across town to the office of the nice lady to get that information (though I had suggested calling the nice lady because in part of the stuff I skipped above she had helped me to get around the run around by giving me key words to use on the phone with them). She couldn’t give the photo copy, but she did give my husband the name and date of the person who had signed for it.

Back we went, clear across town. I didn’t get to see the look on the lady’s face when my husband showed up a mere few hours later because I was trying to entertain our toddler. I’m sure she thought she had gotten rid of him for at least a week. She made him go stand in a line at the reception desk to confirm the info he had brought. After confirming it, he went back to her and told her, that in fact, he had confirmed the information, and she did, in fact have the paperwork. She then finally found the paperwork.

She got it out so that he could sign something, but started skimming it. It was deja vu for me. I saw the same papers we had been filling out while in the hospital (I had signed because his hand was out of service). She saw some wording that was confusing to her and told him she’d have to ask someone about it before closing the case. She told my husband to call her back on January 18th (vacation was coming up soon) and she’d tell him how they would proceed.

So, finally that brings us to January 18th. My husband just called and guess what she told him? That his case had been transferred to another person and that he’d have to call this guy after Tuesday of next week to see how he would proceed! Can you believe it??!! We are sure this was premeditated!!!!!!! ARRRRRRG! As they say in Spanish, “Me voy a morir de un coraje!” (I’m going to die of anger.)

Are you sure you want to retire in Mexico?

P.S. … after writing this, I’m starting to wonder if she was fishing for a bribe. It never occurred to me in the moment, but seeing her actions all laid out like this makes me wonder….