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Jimmy Buffet died last week, but Margaritaville lives on in Mexico

A Latitudes Margaritaville opens in Ajijic Mexico as Jimmy Buffet leaves us. His physical presence may be done but he lives on in music and physical place.

In a great loss to music lovers worldwide, Jimmy Buffet died last week surrounded by his friends, family, music, and dogs.

While his physical person is no longer with us, his spirit lives on, including in Mexico, in his music and in a physical place.

Jimmy was one of those rare musical artists who also had a head for business, and from that head came the idea for Latitudes, a branding company that has developed a chain of restaurants and retirement complexes that keep the “Margaritaville” lifestyle alive. One of those is now nearing completion in Ajijic, Mexico, about an hour from Guadalajara, near Lake Chapala.

The lifestyle Buffet sang about, a kind of “island escapism” portrayed in his hits like “Margaritaville” and “Cheeseburger in Paradise”, fits well with retirement communities. People 55 and over, the minimum age for the Latitudes/Margaritaville retirement complex, grew up with his music, bought his albums, and many became Parrotheads.

And many dream of retiring to a Margaritaville somewhere, like Lake Chapala.

But Margaritaville is for everyone, not just for Parrotheads who grew up with his music from day 1. With over 6 million followers on Spotify and other platforms, hundreds of millions of streams, and 30 albums, to his credit, his music has seeped into all of us, no matter our age. There is just something familiar about the idea of wasting away in a bar on a beach somewhere, searching for a lost shaker of salt and ordering a cheeseburger in paradise. We all want to do it sometime, even if it’s just for a boring 3-day weekend.

The bars and music venues in Ajijic have been reverberating with requests for “Margaritaville” and “My Gummy Just Kicked In” and of course “Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I die”.   Yep, he is here.

Mexico is the a change in latitude and a change in attitude Jimmy sang about. I am forever grateful that Jimmy pointed that out; I just wish he could be here to experience it. When the residents of the Latitudes Margaritaville Chapala move in, head for poolside, pop a gummy and a margarita (on the rocks, not frozen – sorry, Jimmy), they will feel young again, and Jimmy will live again in West Ajijic, as he does around the world.

Afterall, its five o’clock somewhere, especially in Mexico.

Patrick O’Heffernan



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About Patrick O'Heffernan, Music Sin Fronteras (471 Articles)
Patrick O’Heffernan, PhD., is a music journalist based in Mexico, with a global following. He focuses on music in English and Spanish that combines rock and rap, blues and jazz and pop with music from Latin America, especially Mexico like cumbia, banda, son jarocho, and mariachi. He is also edits a local news website and is a subeditor of a local Spanish language newspaper. Check out his weekly column Music Sin Frontera on Sunday nights.

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