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Green Valley, Arizona: A Great Place to Retire on the Border

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Retirement and Travel Opportunities

Green Valley is a family-oriented area and retirement community located on Arizona's Interstate 19. The highway is called an Intrastate Highway because it lies completely inside Arizona. This one is part of the CANAMEX Corridor, a trade route that connects Canada, the USA, and Mexico. It is convenient for travel to a number of sightseeing locations as well as excellent for trade.

On the southern end, highway I-19 begins at Nogales AZ, just 1,500 feet from the Mexican border. There is another Nogales in Mexico, on the other side of the border; and, I-19 changes to Mexican Federal highway 15 south of the border. It continues all the way to Mexico City.

Where Is Green Valley?

I-19 runs up to Tucson, all the way to I-10, and is just 63 miles long. I-10 is much longer, running east and west from Florida to California.

Green Valley sits about halfway between Nogales and Tuscon, making trips either way on I-19 fast. Along I-10 in either direction, visitors can find airports, Davis Monthan United States Air Force Base, and many large parks.

Through the center of Green Valley, which is an unincorporated community, are planned housing communities, a country club, eight golf courses, and recreational lakes.

Historical Context of Green Valley

The community is within the original San Ignacio de la Canoa Land Grant from the King of Spain. This part of Arizona offers the history of Native Americans, conquistadors, missionaries, cowboys, miners, ranchers, and criminals like the Baron of Arizona. The place has been under four different flags: Spanish, Mexican, Confederate, and American.

Interesting Attractions

  • America's Titan II Missile Museum in Sahuarita, AZ—with an underground bunker, museum, and above ground missile sites.
  • Green Valley Recreation is a nonprofit that runs a dozen recreation centers that offer woodworking shops, computer labs, tennis courts, racquetball, art galleries, catering kitchens, and well-equipped fitness centers, along with 12 heated swimming pools. Besides all the recreation and exercise activities available, this area of Arizona is filled with historic locations and outdoor activities in forests, parks, and wildlife refuges.
  • Kitt Peak National Observatory, 950 N Cherry Ave, Tucson AZ 85634. World's largest collection of telescopes.
  • Madera Canyon, AZ 85614. This is a birdwatcher's paradise.
  • Mount Hopkins Observatory and Whipple Observatory Visitor Center, Coronado National Forest, 670 Mt Hopkins Rd, Amado AZ 85645.

US-Mexico Pedestrian and Vehicle Crossing

This mural presented below is located on the Nogales, Sonora side of the border. It portrays the harsh realities of illegal immigration from Mexico to the United States of America.

In the 1940s, Hollywood cowboys went to Nogales, Sonora often to film their movies and explore the town. For years, the two Nogaleses shared a parade and springtime celebration, but the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Towers in NYC changed that and tourism declined.

In 2011, a stockade-like wall was constructed on the US-Mexican border here, but visitors from both sides can talk to border officials and walk through turnstiles to easily visit the other side.

Traveling to Nogales

Visitors over 60 years old are said to be able to pass to the head of any line waiting to enter. Automobiles require special insurance valid in Mexico, so many American visitors park at one of the lots stateside ($4 to $6 a day is usual) and walk a few feet into Nogales, Mexico.

Medical and dental fees are often cheaper in Mexico than in America, so many people travel to Nogales, Sonora in order to have their teeth cleaned and repaired in this city of expanding dental clinics and health spas. While there, visitors shop for Mexican goods in numerous small shops and sometimes purchase Mexican Coca-Cola, which is made with cane sugar instead of corn syrup.

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Visitors often enjoy landmark restaurants like family-owned La Roca, built into the side of a cliff. As people walk along the streets, they enjoy the murals in the area as well. La Roca is located at Calle Elias 91, Nogales 84066, Mexico.

Mariposa and Nogales Border Crossings

Active Senior Living

Zillow and Trulia list over 1,000 single-family and similar dwellings for sale in the Green Valley Area, largely clustered around I-19.

  • Price Range: $34,000 to $899,999
  • Median Price: $159,000

Many of the homes are located in communities overseen by one of 70 or more Homeowners Associations that restrict residents to ages 55+ and family members that are over 18.

Independent and Assisted Living Centers

  1. La Posada at Park Centre: Prices start at $2,100/month. This site has numerous activities and amenities available to residents. They need never leave, but transportation is provided to shopping as well.
  2. Silver Springs Retirement: 500 W. Camino Encanto, Green Valley, AZ 85614. Many amenities are provided, including transportation. Located near a golf course and the mountains.

Local Hospitals Are Scarce

Green Valley Hospital was proposed in November 2012 and completed a few years later at 4455 I-19 Frontage Rd, Green Valley AZ 85614. It also emerged from bankruptcy in 2018. The only additional large medical center is 25 miles to the north at Tuscon Medical Center, 5301 East Grant Road, Tucson AZ.

Medical Centers Closer to Green Valley

  • Centro Medico de Especialidades, Sonors Mexico
  • IMSS UMF 64, Sonora, Mexico
  • Mariposa Community Health Center, south of Nogales
  • Medical Center Nogales
  • Medical Center Sonora

Medical Tourism

Medical tourism is growing quickly in Nogales, Sonora, on the Mexican side of the border about 30 miles south of Green Valley. Dental clinics are expanding, with cheaper prices than most US dentists, and health spas and other clinics are opening near the dental clinics in their own type of medical district. Reporters who have visited this area and reported back have found the dental services high quality and the people friendly.

Many Nogales, Sonora pharmacies sell medicines that are not sold over the counter in America, at cheaper prices than in the US, but US citizens should have a prescription with them anyway so that they can bring any medications purchased back to the US safely.

Cyber defense is a growing career field in Arizona and Mexico, involving both public and private companies.

Cyber defense is a growing career field in Arizona and Mexico, involving both public and private companies.

Major Employers in Green Valley

Green Valley is a good place for senior citizens to find continuing employment, especially if they are military veterans.

Nearly 50% of the families in Green Valley have children under the age of 18, suggesting that these are working families. The major employers of the city are listed below, and some retirees do continue to work or secure part-time jobs once retired to Green Valley.

  • SAVA Solutions (advertised as Veteran-Friendly): Security solutions, largely used by the government. Includes cyber-defense work. Jobs are available in Sonora, Mexico as well as Arizona.
  • Pima County Government Center and Library
  • Continental School District
  • Sahuarita Unified School District
  • Tohono O’odham Nation Resort hotel, restaurants, and gift shops
  • Continental Shopping Mall
  • Whipple Observatory, affiliated with The Smithsonian Institution
  • Farmers Investment Co. (Pecan growers)
  • La Posada at Park Centre (Retirement center)
  • Caterpillar, Inc. Training Center
  • Safeway Supermarkets

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

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