A Postcard-Perfect Life in Playa del Carmen, Mexico

Name: Lori Gold
From: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Living in: Playa del Carmen, Mexico
Renting a: Luxury condo on the Caribbean

From the rooftop terrace of her luxury condo, Lori Gold, 29, gazes toward the Caribbean Sea before sliding into the warm water of her rooftop pool.

“Honestly, it’s like I live in a postcard,” she says. “A place like this would cost way more than I could afford in Toronto. Plus, you can’t get a place on the Caribbean in Canada!

“I live in an amazing, brand-new condo. It has two bedrooms and three bathrooms. I have two Jacuzzis and a beautiful rooftop pool. It came fully furnished, everything included. I even have access to a first-class gym. My rent is 30,000 pesos monthly. That’s less than $1,500 dollars at today’s exchange.”

From the sound of things, you might think that Lori spends a fortune to live in such a place. Guess again.

“My total monthly expenses run about $2,000—and that includes my rent. Food is really cheap, and I enjoy cooking at home. I go out to restaurants with friends maybe once per week.”

Lori lives in the heart of the Riviera Maya, Mexico’s Caribbean coast, in the city of Playa del Carmen. Playa is home to around 200,000 people and has large shopping malls, modern theaters, and several good hospitals, along with world-class beaches and an established expat community.

“I came down back in 2010. I stayed in an all-inclusive resort and it was an amazing experience. I fell in love with Playa (as the locals call it) right then and there, and I vowed I’d come back to live one day. But to be honest, I never imagined I’d have it this good.”

Lori made good on her promise to herself: In March 2016, she arranged her affairs and moved to Mexico.

“This city is the perfect size for me,” she says. “I can walk anywhere I want to go. My condo is only a few blocks from the beach. And I’m surrounded by restaurants, no matter which way I walk. I’m a vegetarian, so it’s great to have wonderful veggie restaurants around. I love the quinoa meatballs with rice and salad at Bio Orgánico for about 110 pesos ($5.50).”

With average temperatures in the 80s F and ample sunshine, Playa affords Lori plenty of chances to indulge in the Caribbean beach lifestyle.

“The sand literally looks like sugar,” she says. “Honestly, you’d think you could just spoon some into your coffee. And the water is spectacular shades of turquoise and light greens. It’s always so clear; you can see schools of colorful tropical fish swimming around your feet.”

Lori says she’s thrilled with her decision to move to Mexico. She has visited over 20 countries, but for her, Mexico’s Riviera Maya just can’t be beat.

“I used to work in an office in Toronto, but I can now work from anywhere if I have a good internet connection, and I picked the Riviera Maya. I’m sure many of my clients still imagine me sitting in some small cubicle office in Toronto, when I might well be sitting next to the pool.

“The Riviera Maya is my happy place. Why shouldn’t I love the place where I live?”