Thinking of Relocating to Los Cabos With Your Family? Two Longtime Residents Share Their Experiences

We caught up with Susanna Powell and Eduardo Vazquez, real estate professionals at Los Cabos Sotheby’s International Realty who relocated to Los Cabos three decades ago and counting. Our conversation circled around why this is one of the best places in the world for families seeking to relocate to a healthy, laid back, beautiful setting. We discussed the ins and outs of making such a move, including everything from school options and health services to the incredible lifestyle that makes Los Cabos coveted around the world. Read on to join the conversation!

enter image description here Sportfishing among stunning seascapes is a key part of the Los Cabos lifestyle. Image: One of Pisces Sportfishing's state-of-the-art Viking vessels

Q: When did you move to Los Cabos, why, and from where?

SP: I first moved to Los Cabos in 1989 from Massachusetts. I first visited here in 1987 with my sister, and we got a week in the summer and a week at Christmas at Club Cascadas, and we both said, "We want to move there." We both loved it. There were just four hotels on the beach at the time. I was 22 years old and my sister was 25. We opened a restaurant bar, The Rio Bar and Grill. My kids were born here in 1990 and 1992.

EV: First time I came to Los Cabos was in 1988. A friend invited me to come over and visit in 1988 for two weeks' vacation. I just loved it. When I went back home to Mexico City, I told my dad, "You need to put me in a school where I can learn English because I want to move to Cabo and I need to speak English so I can get a job." And he did! After studying relentlessly, in 1990 I moved over here. My first impression of Cabo San Lucas was like, "Wow.” It was very safe compared to Mexico City, and I simply fell in love with the lifestyle. I worked at Terrasol from 1990 to 1997. Among the people I met there, Sammy Haggar, the guys from Metallica and Guns N Roses, and Alice Cooper stand out! That's around the time when they opened the Cabo Wabo.

Q: What were some of the main features of Los Cabos that made you decide to start your own families here?

EV: I came here from Mexico City, which in the 1990’s was experiencing a crime wave. In comparison, and in its own right, Los Cabos was a security haven. You could park your car anywhere, not lock it, leave the keys under the mat, and nothing would happen to it. Right now, as the town has grown and population increased, you cannot leave your car open anymore. But you can certainly walk calmly at night time and be safe. Recently, I went back to Mexico City, and I was right across from the Lebanese Embassy in Polanco. I was wearing an Omega watch, and this guy came out of the embassy and said, "Excuse me, sir, you're wearing an Omega? That might not be the best idea here.” It totally caught me off guard, as here in Los Cabos that’s not an issue at all. Nobody cares what car you drive or what watch you wear. My kids are 22 and 29 and I am not concerned about them going out and living their lives in peace.

Q: What about education? What was it like when your children were little compared to now?

SP: We had an amazing experience in that regard. My kids went to El Camino School through sixth grade. During the whole time they were there, I had an English tutor for them, but they learnt school strictly in Spanish. They were studying all the subjects in Spanish. Today, that school is bilingual, but that was not the case back then. The tutor was Miss Sham Williams, who is famous around here for being an amazing English tutor. She's impeccable. I took my kids back to the US for a period of time, and we went back and forth at regular intervals. The year before we left, I had my daughter do a full year of fifth grade in English with Ms. Williams. They used a curriculum from school in Maryland and she actually got credit, but my son stayed at El Camino through sixth grade. The education they got here is so great, that they went right into sixth and seventh grade in a private school in the US with zero issues. All the mothers in the US had to sit down and do homework with their kids. But El Camino was so disciplined, that I never once through all the years had to sit down and actually do homework with my kids. They are very independent and responsible.

EV: My children also went to El Camino School all the way to junior high. My oldest then moved to Guadalajara to finish highschool and start college over there because he's a football player. He plays safety and got a scholarship to the Tec de Monterrey campus Guadalajara. He started playing for a local team in Los Cabos called The Marlins and became very good and disciplined at football. The principal at El Camino, Ms. Cecilia, was great. My two sons got a really good education under her. My youngest switched from El Camino to the Instituto Peninsular. Their system is even more disciplined, but he liked it as it was a good fit with his personality. He graduated and moved to Guadalajara for college, to a really good Jesuit university called ITESO. I'll say that through the years as a parent I've seen that the schools here have evolved impressively. You have some good schools here with strong international projection and even scholarship options.

enter image description here Sunset at Don Koll stadium in Cabo San Lucas. Image credit Grafico Sports

Q: A great thing about education in Los Cabos is that, given the area’s strong American influence, children can grow up bicultural. What is your experience regarding that?

SP: There are many great schools here that teach half the curriculum in Spanish and half in English. Amaranto is an example. That's an advantage for the foreigners that come over here that don't speak Spanish. Their children will learn Spanish at school, while Mexican children learn English. They become bilingual – and also bicultural. They really understand American and Mexican cultures. There are a lot of children that move down here and integrate into the school, so Mexican kids get to share their cultural experience and vice versa. I loved that my kids at El Camino engaged in projects for the Day of the Dead, for instance, where they would pick a famous figure and build an altar and understand this tradition. Also, Mexican families tend to be very united, and I think that Americans living here begin to be like that, too. If you go around anywhere in town, families are so together, they're out together. You don't just see the parents alone, leaving the kids at home. You can see the whole family out and about together, either in restaurants, or walking the marina, or the beach. That’s a good thing about Mexican culture that benefits families living here, whether local or American.

Q: Can you tell us about health services in Los Cabos? How do they compare with those in the US and how have they evolved in the last few decades?

EV: A couple of decades ago the infrastructure was more limited than today, when we have an array of world class hospitals and clinics. However, even when I first moved here, excellent doctors were available. When my first child was going to be born, I didn't know any doctors and a friend of ours told us, "Go with Dr. N. He’s a gastroenterologist, but he gets the job done." I went to him and asked, "Dr. N. will you deliver my kid?" "Sure. No problem." He delivered my first son, seven years later he delivered the second one and became the family doctor. Just like the school system has evolved, the health sector is very sophisticated now. There’s lots of specialists and they have the technology available to carry out their jobs perfectly well. Due to football, my oldest kid’s got a plate on his ankle with seven screws. My younger kid had surgery done on his knee. We didn’t have to travel to Guadalajara or Mexico City. They got attention here. Back when I was working at Pisces fishing fleet, a person had an accident and broke his ankle. We took him to the doctor here, who performed surgery. He went back to the US and a month later, we got an email from him saying, "The doctor over here in the US says that they did a great job on my ankle in Cabo. Thank you for all your help.” That's not the first time that I heard that medical services here compared to the US are amazing.

SP: My daughter was born in La Paz. A great doctor delivered her. There were some complications – the cord was wrapped around her – and they avoided a c-section, unwrapped her and delivered her just fine. In 2016 my stepfather was here with my mother, and he had a terrible incident and had to have emergency surgery. When he got back to the States they said that the surgery they did here was impeccable. Not only did they save his life but they did a really good job on the surgery for him, at a fraction of the price than in the US, too. He had that emergency surgery at BlueNet, which was fantastic, and I've had a lot of friends here who’ve had emergency type surgeries at H+ hospital. Both of them are excellent hospitals. I feel really good about medical services here. I got an expat insurance policy so I'd be 100% covered at H+ or BlueNet. I've also kept my US insurance and I have Med Jet insurance. In case anything ever happens that couldn't be fixed here, then I have insurance to get somewhere else, and that's only US$300 a year.

enter image description here Koral Center, which houses Hospital H+ and Hampton Inn & Suites, among others. Image credit Visit Los Cabos

Q: Given that Los Cabos, especially Cabo San Lucas, is known as a destination with an amazing nightlife, how do you keep your adolescent sons and daughters at a healthy distance from all that fun?

EV: The answer to that is family grounds. You need to be with your kid, you need to be there when he needs you, you need to be there when he doesn't need you. I mean, basically you need to be around him. You need to be present. When my kids started going out at night at age 16 or 17, they had strong family foundations. Like Susanna says, Mexican families are very close. As a parent, I'm not overprotective, I am confident that my kids are able to discern between good and bad. When they went away to college in Guadalajara, I was totally calm. And that’s another great thing about raising a family in Los Cabos. The lifestyle here allows you to be a part of the life of your children.

Q: Can you expand on the topic of work-life balance in Los Cabos and how that’s favorable to building a strong family?

SP: I'm the queen of work-life balance – and that brings us to how Eduardo and I met 30 years ago. We met at the karate dojo. I've practiced sports and different activities in my life. I love that. I started training karate in 1989. When my daughter was a newborn, I would take her in the little carrier to class. The martial arts are ideal for me because it's not just, “Oh, I'm going to the gym.” Rather, you’re learning a path of life. It has all the things that Eduardo and I use in our life, like honor and being of service. That's another thing that gets us back to family values. Los Cabos offers a wealth of healthy activities that you can practice with your whole family. I also walk the mountain or the marina daily, and do yoga. I am serious about taking care of myself and doing something that's fulfilling spiritually, which I can find both in karate and in yoga, and just in walking the mountain and being in this beautiful place. The lifestyle here lets you work and be productive and all of that, which is important, but it also allows you to take care of yourself, to be there for your family. There are many cultural activities and healthy restaurant options. The offer of organic and farm-to-table food in Los Cabos is world-class.

EV: The lifestyle that you can get here in Los Cabos cannot compare to living in Mexico City or another major city. You get off the plane in Mexico City and it's going to be at least two hours to get home. Then, you get there and you live in an apartment building. You have to go up three floors, and then you're there, in a cramped apartment. Here in Los Cabos, you get off the airport, you go straight to eat tacos in San Jose, and get home quickly and relaxed. If you’re going to Cabo San Lucas and you're driving on the corridor, you see the ocean, and it's like, “Wow, this is home. This is great.” Susanna and I are real estate professionals, so we’re always working. But that doesn't mean we're not taking care of our family. My kids go to the open houses with me. Monica, my wife, she's working with a lawyer and they're taking care of all the paperwork for the closings. We combine work, family, and quality time. My clients who have relocated to Los Cabos from other places in Mexico or from the US or Canada consistently remark that they feel they have more time for their families and hobbies here, even when they do the same job as before remotely. It’s just the general atmosphere of relaxation and slowness here that’s so appealing.

enter image description here Farm to table delicacies are a staple of the Los Cabos culinary offer. Image credit El Huerto Restaurant

Q. What are other top questions people thinking about relocating here ask you and how do you help them navigate these questions?

EV: Number one is: How is it living here? We answer: “How long have you been here?” They say, “Three days.” “Do you like it?” “Yes.” Then I share my experience. I moved here from Mexico City because of the lifestyle. I like Los Cabos. I go swimming in the ocean, I go mountain biking, I enjoy being at home with my family. Things that are not so easy to do in big cities. Here, you get in your car and within five minutes you are at a stunning beach or desert landscape. Then come the technical questions. Electricity, Wi-Fi, etc. Because we are locals, we can explain that easily. I have one client who’s relocated from California. Retired. We meet like twice a month, and he still has questions, which I answer to the best of my abilities and always try to help him adapt to his new life in Los Cabos. Relocation works in a different way for everyone. But as your real estate agents, we are your relocation partners and are more than happy to assist you every step of the way.

SP: I agree 100 percent with Eduardo. We're so blessed to be in the relationship business. Our goal is to be of service and share with other families that are coming here our own experience. I recently took a client on a tour of Amaranto School and El Camino School, and explained to them the lifestyle for the children down here. I emphasize things like being able to swim in the ocean. There's so much peace and serenity in the water. We have the most beautiful beaches here. It's very easy to go and swim at Medano but I also love going to Chileno or Palmilla. I raised a family here in the ‘90s, when infrastructure was more limited, and it was a successful endeavor. It's much easier now compared to then, in terms of services and infrastructure. There are so many more options for schools or doctors now. My kids are 100 percent bilingual. Spanish is widely spoken in the US today. Both of my children use it at their jobs today. Being bilingual in these two languages is an amazing advantage.

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Susanna Powell and Eduardo Vazquez are real estate professionals at Los Cabos Sotheby's International Realty. Longtime Los Cabos residents who raised their families here, they are exceptionally qualified to assist their clients navigate all aspects of relocating to this world-class destination.


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