Home Cost of Living in Mexico Best Destination: Huatulco vs. California

Best Destination: Huatulco vs. California

by Brent May

Huatulco vs. California

 So many visitors and expats ask us about Huatulco vs. California. Which is better for short- or long-term living? Which offers more bang for the buck? Which location creates “must-experience” opportunities? We love these questions because they give us a chance to help others determine the ideal destination for their needs.

For us, Huatulco is our heart. We moved here in 2011 and never looked back. There are so many pluses to being in this part of the world, and we knew that our personal and professional prospects would bloom here. But we also love California, and can see why so many flock to the Sunshine State. The SoCal vibe, cultural diversity, tasty flavors, high-end fashion, tourist attractions, and natural wonders are never-ending. It’s hard to beat Disneyland, Coachella, the Getty Museum and Joshua Tree, especially when they are within driving distance of each other. Then there is the Central Coast with its majestic coastline and cliff-lined beaches, and the northern part of the state with its striking redwood forests and peaceful lakes. If we lived in the United States, California would be the state of choice.

But like we mentioned, Huatulco is our heart and here is why:

Freedom to Live

Huatulco has a population of 50,000 and its community has a total area of about 50,000 acres. Its Fondo Nacional de Fomento al Turismo, the Mexican government’s tourism investment branch, invested heavily in tourism development and infrastructure during its development. Since 1985, projects have included new hotels and other tourism-related businesses to support the current and future populations. Master-planned communities include a residential section for permanent residents, with schools, shopping, hospitals and medical centers, golf courses. And yet, Huatulco is still a quaint community. You can move freely, without getting stuck on the freeway or in line for hours at a time. Residents have room to breathe, to relax without neighbors impeding on your space, and children can get the attention they need to succeed in schools. Huatulco also has more of a small town feel than other tourist places in Mexico and big cities in California. This vibe is particularly appealing for expats in search of a more authentic experience. They blend with friendly locals, often sitting in the town square or on the beach.

On the other hand, California is bursting at the seams. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, its population has nearly doubled within the last four decades. There are approximately 40 million people who live in the Sunshine State, which is more than the entire population of Canada or the populations of Portugal, Sweden, Greece and Belgium combined! The state expands at a rate of one person per minute, and it’s expected to reach 60 million people by 2050. With so many people, housing is at a premium, schools and freeways are crowded, and taxes can’t keep up with the demand to maintain resources and services — and there’s no relief in sight!

Warm Weather

Huatulco offers all the warm weather one could want with a normal high averaging at 28.9-31.1 degrees Celsius (84-88 degrees Fahrenheit). It does not have rain in the winter, and residents need not wear anymore than short sleeves at night. California, too, offers warm weather and limited rain showers in its southern regions.

Investment Opportunities

Thanks to Mexico’s foresight of investment in Huatulco, tourism is on the rise. This means that an increase in demand for rental units and vacation homes could lead to profitable outcomes. Since property prices have not yet spiked, purchasing property is still very enticing for nationals and expats. You can still buy a home in Huatulco for as little as $150,000. This is not the case in more popular areas of California, especially beachside communities. Add another zero to that figure, and you might be closer to the standard asking price.

Lower Cost of Living

The proof is in the pudding with this category. Take a look at these Huatulco prices below, and keep in mind that they are doubled or tripled in California.
















Personal expenses, entertainment and clothing costs are also at reduced rates.

The Green Lifestyle

Huatulco is an extremely eco-friendly community and is situated at the foothills of the Sierra Madre del Sur Mountains. It features a series of natural bays, small coves and 36 white-sand beaches that span 20 miles of Mexico’s Pacific coastline. Huatulco’s energy is wind-driven, and all the hotels, restaurants and nightclubs operate on renewable energy. The area is served by a state-of-the-art water and sewage plant that minimizes ocean waste and pollutants. Protected, development-free zones were created for ecological conservation. In fact, 90 percent of Huatulco’s 50,000 acres is set aside for ecological conservation. As a result of these efforts, the city has been awarded the Green Globe certification as a sustainable tourist area, the first location in the Americas to receive this recognition.

Surfing and Water Sports

Surfing, jet skiing, boating, snorkeling — you can find them (and more) in Huatulco. We love paddle boarding, boating to boat accessible-only beaches and snorkeling in the pristine waters. When we want to entertain clients, we hop aboard a boat. Those who want to take a 3-hour boating tour of Huatulco Bay will pay about 785 MXN ($40 USD). It’s quite a deal when compared to the inflated costs in California’s coastal locations.

Let us know what you think about Huatulco vs. California. We’d love to hear your thoughts, and welcome any questions you may have about visiting or living in our favourite place in Mexico!

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1 comment

Marshall Wattel April 2, 2021 - 8:58 pm

We live in Stockton,CA and looking to move as the state is rapidly going down hill both in Southern and Northern CA. Hard to believe what has happened in the past 6 years! One third of the nation’s welfare folks live in California and guess who pays the bill? My state income tax alone is 10% and EVERYTHING is expensive. As an example, buy a piece of wood from Home Depot and pay 10 cents to the state as a wood tax…….this is on each piece of wood!


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