In 1991 Billy and Akaisha Kaderli retired at the age
of 38. Now, into their 3rd decade of this
financially independent lifestyle, they invite you
to take advantage of their wisdom and experience.
Billy and Akaisha Kaderli
Fifty-six miles from the
Guatemala lies the clean, family-focused tourist town of Comitan. Most
Gringos never come here, but rather journey on to the more famous and
international city of
San Cristobal de las
Very little English is
spoken here in Comitan, but if you know some basics, you should definitely make
Take a look.
Comitan has been given the
"Pueblo Magico" title which means Magic Village
Launched in 2001, the Magical
Villages Program sought to find villages in Mexico which had "magic"
in its society and culture with great opportunities for tourism. The
towns had to have symbolism, legends, history, important events and
interesting day-to-day life which would appeal to tourists.
By 2012 a total of 83 towns and
villages in all 31 States of Mexico had been awarded the title of
Pueblo Magico, and Comitan is one of them!
Every plaza has a fountain
An ice cream vendor wheels his cart in front
of the Plaza's fountain. People stroll about or sit in the shade on benches.
Notice the beautifully laid stone surface of the Plaza and the gorgeous stone
arches of the
building on the left in the photo.
One of Comitan's several banks is the white
building on the corner of the Plaza, in the center of the photo.
Activity on the Plaza!
Most Plazas in Mexico are places where people
gather to chat, eat, or shop. You can rest on the stone benches, grab a very
affordable meal or a cappuccino in one of the restaurants and let your mind
drift while you people-watch.
The red flowers on the Plaza are nocha buenas
or the poinsettia plant.
A "corner restaurant"
We watched people gather every day to enjoy
these corner style moveable restaurants. Food is prepared at home and brought to
the Plaza to sell. Fresh water in the galafon (the large blue bottle) is
for drinking alone or for making agua frescas, a fruit water drink that
is very popular in Latin American countries.
Father and son having
You can't really see the
lunch special here in the photo, but every order was made of 4 small crispy
tortillas, with refried beans, shredded cabbage, a dash of grated cheese and
salsa. This plate of 4 sold for 10Pesos, or about $0.55 cents. It was definitely
a favorite of the locals and they could have a fulfilling meal for very little
Yes, I'm holding that table down so it
doesn't blow away!
Our first days here we each sipped a
cappuccino at 500
Noches, a restaurant/bar with indoor and outdoor seating.
Cappuccinos were delicious and cost 50Pesos each, about $2.75 USD.
Weather was gorgeous and we enjoyed the
bustle of the Plaza.
A bag of diamonds?
While savoring our coffees, this young boy
came up to us holding 2 bags of "rocks." We asked him, "What kind of rocks?"
"What are they used for?"
This young boy from Costa Rica said
Curious, I asked if these were crystals, and
the 12 year old boy said, "No, just rocks."
He said he was here alone, no family with
him, and he kept looking skittishly over his shoulder.
This made us nervous for him, not knowing the
boy's full story or why he was here alone. Where was he staying? How was he
eating? Who had befriended him and why?
I said a silent prayer for his safety, and
agreed to purchase one bag of rocks. For 10 Mexican Pesos I bought 25 crystals
with some of the dirt still on them. They were beautiful.
After receiving our 10Pesos, he nearly ran
away from our table.
We do meet up with street kids from time to
time and we wonder about how they live.
My 55cent crystals
I have no idea what I'll do with my bag of
"rocks" but I love crystals. So maybe I'll give some to my grand niece and her
friends, and keep a few for myself to enjoy their beauty.
Men having their morning coffee
Several friends are having their morning
coffees together, chatting about daily events.
If you look to the left you will see the
planter box that separates 500 Noches from Sanfer's coffee shop. Hereat Sanfer's you can
get the same cappuccino for 30Pesos, about $1.65USD instead of 50Pesos right
The government building
The gardens on the Plaza
are all manicured and well kept. Wrought iron benches and fencing decorate the
area and are very pleasing to the eye. Tropical plants, palms and deciduous
trees are all side by side.
The white and maroon
painted government building houses the offices of the government employees and
the Mayor. There is a courtyard inside along with bronze statues of political
heroes and a beautiful mural depicting local history.
Another look at the
municipal building and colorful COMITAN sign
A couple of the things we
appreciate about Comitan are its cleanliness and peacefulness. There's no trash
strewn about, no graffiti, and people seem open and friendly.
One day, while having some
lunch at the Plaza, there was a political demonstration complete with
microphones and the ripping down of banners from the opposing party. We know
better than to get involved in anything such as this, and normally - had we not
been sitting down at a restaurant, eating - we would have removed ourselves from
Graffiti on the municipal building and
The political demonstration, for the most
part, was peaceful, except for those who were ripping down signs and spraying
graffiti on buildings.
The beautiful, clean government building and
the colorful COMITAN sign were covered in propaganda.
"Death to Capitalism!" "Long live Communism!"
"We demand the immediate release of these prisoners!"
Seeing the defacing of these gorgeous,
well-maintained buildings made our hearts sink.
The very next day
We spoke with each other
wondering how long it would take for the graffiti to be cleaned up. We have
lived in cities and towns where there has been meeting after meeting, fund
raisers, more meetings, and then months, perhaps a year later, something
happens. We were happy to have taken photos of the Plaza before all the
But the very next day, the
government building, including the COMITAN sign had been painted over! No more
graffiti! No meetings, no more additional meetings, no fund raising or
permission to obtain funds -- just the clean up.
The defacing was a
We were stunned, joyful,
This is the area where we had been eating our
lunch, and these are the banners that were ripped down. The paved street you see
in the foreground of the photo is where the procession passed.
Again, as you can see, the weather was
Macharnudas Wings & Pub menu
When we visited Comitan this time, the
Mexican Peso was a little over 18 to $1USD. Here you see pricing is reasonable
for meals and bar food snacks.
The wings have 11 different sauces to choose
from, including atomic, a little spicy, BBQ and teriyaki.
We chose wings that were "a little spicy" and they were
some of the best wings ever!! We had a bowl of chips and here you see the green
spicy salsa for them and the lime and salt is for the beer.
The Macharnudas drink
At one point we ask our waiter what the
meaning of Macharnudas is, and he tells us to wait a moment. He comes back with
two of these shot glasses filled with a pink, fruity, alcohol liquid.
Here you see our bill with two orders of
wings, a glass of grape juice, two beers and the tip is included. 185Pesos which
is just over $10USD.
Restaurants line the Plaza
On two sides of the Plaza there are
restaurants with indoor and outdoor seating. One side of the Plaza has the
church and the 4th side has stores, a theater, pharmacies and clinics.
It's a very pleasant place to eat or have a
coffee or beer.
Comitan Plaza Gazebo
Every traditional Mexican Plaza has a church,
a fountain and a gazebo. Here you see the beautiful gazebo of Comitan's Plaza.
Stylized trees and plants, wrought iron benches, fences, and street lights all
make for a relaxing, attractive place to sit and pass the time.
Comitan's church with
fountain in front
The sun is beginning to set
and the colors are coming out in the sky. The Church makes a striking contrast
to the sunset and dominates this side of the Plaza.
awaits the night life yet to come
Daytime at the Plaza is a
whole different scene than what goes on at night. Live acoustic music plays from
500 Noches, or sometimes there will be a
Marimba band and dancing. Night vendors
set up along side neighboring streets and families come out to participate in
the goings on.
If you were to continue up
this pathway further and outside the Plaza area, there is a nice large grocery
store and further yet, is one of our favorite family restaurant/bars called
If you ever get to Chiapas,
Mexico, you must certainly stop by and visit Comitan.
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About the Authors
Billy and Akaisha Kaderli are
recognized retirement experts and internationally published authors on
topics of finance, medical tourism and world travel. With the wealth of
information they share on their award winning website RetireEarlyLifestyle.com,
they have been helping people achieve their own retirement dreams since
1991. They wrote the popular books, The
Adventurer’s Guide to Early Retirement and Your
Retirement Dream IS Possible available on their website
Early Lifestyle appeals to a different
kind of person – the person who prizes their
independence, values their time, and who doesn’t
want to mindlessly follow the crowd.
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About Billy & Akaisha