Exploring Options

Some time in the next few years I will be retiring, and am considering moving to Mexico.  My undergraduate degree is in Classical & Romance Languages, so I don't expect language to be a problem.

I don't want to be on the coast, and I want somewhere that has an expat community, but hasn't been over-run with gringos, someplace with a good artistic/cultural life; someplace large enough to have amenities, but small enough for a sense of community.

I had been thinking San Miguel de Allende, but I have heard that it has become over-run with gringos, and is very pricy.  Can anyone suggest somewhere similar to SMA, but less pricy and less of a gringolandia?

I am sure I will be lambasted for suggesting this but undoubtedly you have heard of Lake Chapala. Many will say that Lake Chapala is overrun with gringos and if you came here during the winter and only stayed in Ajijic, you would probably come to that conclusion. However, it is very easy to live just outside of Ajijic (within 15-45 minutes) and be totally immersed in Mexico. There is a lot going on here, culturally and artistic wise, and there is much more in Guadalajara ( only 1 hour away). We recently had Cirque de Sole here and Andre Bocelli is coming to Guadalajara in December. PM me if you want more info on the area. My favorite saying is "There is much more to Ajijic than just Ajijic."

Thank you.  What are some good towns in the area other than Ajijic?

So much depends on you. What you like and don't like and how big or small of a place you want to live in. The town of Chapala is popular with those who want to integrate more into Mexican living and culture yet it is only 15 minutes from Ajijic. It's a decent sized town and because it is the municipal seat, holds the biggest fiestas.
I always suggest that you visit both San Miguel and Lake Chapala and maybe a few others like Guanajato, Leon, Aqua Calientes, etc.
There are simply too many and varied places in Mexico so use Google to make a short list of 6 or so and spend a couple weeks to a month in each.
I'll be happy to be your tour guide if you ever make it to Lake Chapala

I think it would have to be a city with at least one university.  And at least one church with a good pipe organ.

Elkhound :

I think it would have to be a city with at least one university.  And at least one church with a good pipe organ.

After you screen for environmental wants, there will be a number of places that have Universities and churches. So I suggest thinking about what else is important to you to narrow down the list.

Away from the coast, cultural life, a small expat community (but not a place that has been overrun with Yanquis and other Gringos), low cost of living.

Elkhound :

Away from the coast, cultural life, a small expat community (but not a place that has been overrun with Yanquis and other Gringos), low cost of living.

So it looks like you will have to search for some small town near Guadalajara, SMA or  Mexico city. You might want to look at Coatepec or some other small cities close to Veracruz. Not coastal, but small and not hot tourist spots. You might have to travel a bit to avoid the coast and still have universities.
It also depends on what you mean by the coast. Are you talking about beach areas or just anywhere with a hint of the ocean.
For instance, I live in the capital of the state which is a small city on a bay, not a hot tourist spot, lots of natives most of which do not speak English, and several Universities.

Thanks.  Away from the coast means that.  Humidity is not my friend.

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