Pros and cons of retiring early in Cabo

< Back To Blog Home

Mr and Mrs CouchFI are in Cabo this week and as usual my mind wonders to imagine retiring here.


Pros of retiring early in Cabo

Relatively cheap cost of living compared to major US cities like San Francisco

The cost of living in Cabo San Lucas is 76% lower than San Francisco. Looking at it another way, if it costs a family $100k per year to live in San Francisco, then the same family could live in Cabo for $24k. I can get a 3 bedroom condo with an ocean view for $300k. Wow!

Health care is also relatively cheap, and high quality (see medical tourism in mexico). While I would have to send my kids to private international school, the reduction in other costs will more than make up for it.

Sunny and warm all year round

I rest my case.

Plenty of water activities to stay healthy

Health is one of the many benefits of retiring early. No more stressful job and being stuck in traffic tends to free you up for more things in life including getting more exercise and staying healthy. It's also a great way to keep health insurance costs low. With the low cost of living, I could afford to have my family stay in a 3 - 4 bedroom condo with gym and pool access.

Lively downtown with great restaurants and night life

Many night clubs in Cabo stay open until 5am, and some restaurants stay open until 4am. In San Francisco, the most streets busy streets are dead after 1am, good luck finding restaurants open after 10pm. Nights out in Cabo will keep us feeling young. Plus dancing is good for your health, as long as you don't have too many drinks. ;)

Cons of retiring early in Cabo

No major airports nearby

We're 4 hours from SFO, the closest major international airport. While the idea of retiring here sounds great, I wouldn't want to limit myself to one place when there are so many places in the world to visit.

A lot of poverty outside of main tourist areas

We took a walk downtown and wondered further north, and you can tell as soon as you leave the tourist areas that Mexico is a developing country. In a few decades, things might be different, but I don't want to bet rest of my good years on it waiting.

We don't speak spanish

This is the biggest initial draw back of living here long term. We'll have a harder time fitting in with the locals, and will lean on the expat community more than anything until we learn enough to get by.

On the other hand, raising my kids bi-lingual while learning a new language as adults can be a exciting new experience!

Still a small town

There's only so many places to visit, activities to do and restaurants to dine. Compared to a major metro with over a million people, Cabo feels small and I can imagine getting bored here after a couple years or even months.


At just 3 hours flight away from San Francisco, Cabo is my new favorite beach destination, especially if I have to travel with kids. I can come here all year round, and expect great weather to be in the pool for half the price of a similar stay in Hawaii. As a long term place to stay? I love affordable water views near the beach and being in constant warm weather, but it's far from a large international airport, and too small for the diversity I'm looking for, so I'll keep looking.

< Back To Blog Home