Interview with Valeria Grant
Expat Stats: 5 Years living in Playa Del Carmen
Please tell us a little bit about yourself. What do you do in Playa Del Carmen? How many years have you lived in the area, and how many years have you been an Expat?
I initially came to Mexico to teach English when I was 19 years old. I bought a one way ticket from Vancouver and stepped off the plane with an overstuffed backpack, a rudimentary knowledge of Spanish numbers, and a notebook jammed with contact information for all the local English schools.
I've now been based out of Mexico for just over five years, and I call the community of “Pueblo SacBe” home. My original plan was to come to Playa Del Carmen, stay for a few months, and then travel south towards Argentina. An unexpected series of events saw me fall in love with the people, food and culture of Playa and I’m thrilled to be a full time resident of this magical city.
I currently live in a quirky, off the grid eco-village a mere 15 minute drive from downtown Playa del Carmen, but still located within city limits.
As soon as I turn off the highway, I enter a lush green oasis that is home to a cohort of offbeat individuals from around the world. SacBe can hardly be put into words, but I like to describe it as a sustainable eco development where one drives on gravel roads lined with Dali sculptures and swims in crystalline cenotes amongst acclaimed international models and well fed fruit bats. It is a home base to people from all walks of life that happen to share common core values of respect for one another and our environment. SacBe has dozens of rustic hiking trails and we even have our own amphitheater and music festival! My home is best described as a modern treehouse, run off of solar power and guarded by two rescue pups.
Why did you choose Playa Del Carmen to live? Tell us about your decision and how you came to choose the area.
I knew that I wanted to live near the beach, but I wasn't prepared to leave the comforts of civilization. Desert islands are great in theory, but I also enjoy ice cold beers and socialization! Playa Del Carmen is the perfect compromise.
Playa is literally perched on the edge of the Caribbean Sea, surrounded by Mayan Ruins and humid jungle. However, I still have easy access to all the comforts of home – from Walmart goods to English speaking healthcare workers. It’s a balance between living in paradise on the Riviera while working and playing in a growing international city.
Quintana Roo boasts many small towns with much to offer, but for anyone looking for work or schools, Playa del Carmen is by far the best option.
Tell us your final opinion about the area and some advice you would have for someone who was thinking about moving to Playa Del Carmen as an expat.
Take the leap! My story is a bit abnormal, and I know not everyone is willing to be as extreme and commit to moving down here, sight unseen.
I recommend taking some time off and giving yourself a month or two in Playa before making any huge decisions. There are lots of short terms rentals and you can test out different colonias throughout the city. Find an area you like and explore the streets while keeping an eye out for furnished apartment rentals. You can also arrange for accommodation through trusted online websites like Airbnb.
Sometimes Playa can seem overwhelming because there are so many options. Trust your gut and think about your lifestyle goals. Maybe you are content with a beachside hut and a bicycle, or perhaps you’re looking a large house with all the amenities and a luxury vehicle with a private chauffeur.
I frequently tell people that it’s impossible to be bored in Playa! Every day, this city offers up something new and exciting. When I step out my front door in the morning, I’m never quite sure what my day will look like. My life here is liberating, thrilling and stimulating and I wouldn't trade my home in Playa Del Carmenfor any other place in the world.
Book a flight and come down to find out for yourself. Pick up a local newspaper, discover your favorite tropical fruit juice or local beer and before you know it, you too will be a part of the colorful mosaic of Playa del Carmen.
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Just a middle-class dad and mom with three young kids, looking to escape the rat race. This is our journey!
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