Things to know before Moving To Rio Rico Az [2023]

Are you ready to trade in the hustle and bustle of city life for a serene and picturesque town? Look no further than Rio Rico, Arizona.

Nestled near the Santa Cruz River, this charming town offers year-round sunshine, breathtaking natural beauty, and a close-knit community. Whether you’re a retiree seeking a warm climate or an outdoor enthusiast craving adventure, Rio Rico has it all.

However, with proposed mixed-use development on the horizon, the future of this idyllic town hangs in the balance.

Discover why moving to Rio Rico is a decision you won’t regret.

Key Takeaways

  • Rio Rico is a town in Arizona with a population of 19,948 residents.
  • It is a retirement attraction, with retirees moving to Rio Rico to escape hurricanes and humidity.
  • The town offers beautiful natural features, including the Santa Cruz River and nearby lakes like Pena Blanca and Patagonia.
  • Rio Rico residents have voiced concerns over mixed-use development proposals, and the outcome of the vote on these proposals will impact the town’s future development.


If you’re considering moving to Rio Rico, AZ, you’ll be interested to know about the demographics of the town.

Rio Rico is located in Santa Cruz County, Arizona, and has a land area of 62.3 square miles. The population density is 335.90 people per square mile.

While no information is provided for the 2023 population, as of the latest data, there were a total of 14,549 adults in Rio Rico, including 2,269 seniors.

The average family size is 3.5, and the average household size is 3.16.

In terms of racial composition, 61.61% of the population is White, 23.05% is of Two or more races, and 14.92% is of Other race.

Spanish is the most spoken language, with 82.5% of the population speaking it.

Cost of Living

When you move to Rio Rico, you’ll find that the cost of living is lower than the state and national averages.

The cost of living for a single adult in Rio Rico is $33,960 per year, which is lower than the annual cost of living in Arizona ($37,091) and the national figure ($38,433). This means that you can save more money and stretch your budget further in Rio Rico.

Additionally, the median home value in Rio Rico is $138,900, which is lower than the national median. This makes homeownership more affordable and accessible for you.

Lastly, transportation costs in Rio Rico are also lower than the national average, allowing you to save on commuting expenses.

Crime Rate

The crime rate in Rio Rico, AZ is lower than the state and national averages, making it a safer place to live.

With a crime rate of 5 per 1,000 residents, Rio Rico has one of the lower rates in America among communities of all sizes.

Your chance of becoming a victim of crime in Rio Rico is one in 210, which is better than 78% of communities in the country.

While it’s important to be cautious and aware of your surroundings, residents generally consider the southeast part of the city to be the safest. In this area, your chance of being a victim of crime is as low as 1 in 47.

Overall, Rio Rico offers a relatively safe environment for its residents.


The economy in Rio Rico, AZ is diverse and offers opportunities for various industries. According to Data USA, the median household income in Rio Rico grew by 0.435% from 2019 to 2020, reaching $51,699. However, the unemployment rate in the area is relatively high at 10.3%, according to Best Places. Despite this, Rio Rico has a thriving business community, as evidenced by the local business directory, which includes companies such as Calixtro Distributing Co Distribution and Alfa Y Omega Concrete. The town’s rural feel and beautiful scenery make it an attractive place for starting a family and establishing a business. It is worth noting that Arizona does not require a general business license, but local licenses and permits may be necessary depending on the county or municipality.


Industries Opportunities
Agriculture Farming and ranching
Tourism Outdoor activities, scenic tours
Retail Local shops, boutiques
Construction Residential and commercial projects
Healthcare Medical facilities, clinics
Education Schools, tutoring services
Hospitality Restaurants, hotels
Transportation Trucking, logistics
Manufacturing Production and assembly
Professional Services Legal, accounting, consulting


If you’re interested in education options, Rio Rico, AZ offers a variety of public and private schools for students of all ages. According to, there are 6 Public District Schools and 2 Private Schools in Rio Rico.

Some of the top-rated public schools in Rio Rico based on a variety of measures, including academic performance and equity, are San Cayetano Elementary School, Calabasas Middle School, and Mountain View School. Rio Rico High School is also highly ranked within Arizona and has an AP® participation rate of 29%.

However, I couldn’t find any universities located directly in Rio Rico. You may need to consider universities in nearby cities such as Tucson and Phoenix, which include The University of Arizona and Arizona State University.


For healthcare options in Rio Rico, you can consider visiting Mariposa Community Health Center or DEPENDABLE HOME HEALTH, INC. These healthcare facilities offer a range of services to meet your needs.

Here are four options to consider:

  1. Mariposa Community Health Center: This non-profit healthcare facility has received positive reviews and offers comprehensive care for the community. They provide a variety of services, including primary care, dental care, behavioral health, and pharmacy services.
  2. DEPENDABLE HOME HEALTH, INC: If you are in need of healthcare recruiting and staffing services, DEPENDABLE HOME HEALTH, INC can assist you. They specialize in connecting medical facilities and home caregivers to ensure quality care for patients.
  3. Holy Cross Hospital: Located in nearby Nogales, Holy Cross Hospital is another option for healthcare services. They provide a wide range of medical services, including emergency care, surgical procedures, and specialized treatments.
  4. NextCare Urgent Care: This urgent care clinic, located in Nogales, offers convenient access to healthcare services for non-life-threatening conditions. They provide prompt and efficient care, including treatment for minor injuries, illnesses, and vaccinations.

These healthcare options in Rio Rico and nearby areas ensure that residents have access to quality medical care.

Housing Market

Looking for a new place to live? Check out the housing market in Rio Rico, AZ, and discover affordable neighborhoods and options for your budget. In Rio Rico, some of the most affordable neighborhoods by home value include Desert Hills 4, with a median listing home price of $150K, Canyon View, with a median listing home price of $175K, and The Springs at Santa Rita, with a median listing home price of $200K. On the other hand, if you’re looking for more upscale neighborhoods, consider Paradise Valley, with a median listing home price of $3.2M, Pinnacle Peak, with a median listing home price of $1.4M, and Desert Hills, with a median listing home price of $1.1M. The housing market in Rio Rico offers a range of options to suit different budgets and preferences.

Job Market

Now that you have learned about the housing market in Rio Rico, let’s dive into the job market.

Rio Rico has experienced employment growth, with a 6.91% increase in the number of employees from 2019 to 2020. The town has a diverse range of industries, including educational services, transportation, and retail trade.

The highest paying industries in Rio Rico are utilities, mining, quarrying, oil, gas extraction, and manufacturing. There are various job opportunities available, such as retail store managers, delivery drivers, customer service representatives, and CT techs. Additionally, Rio Rico offers some high-paying positions like therapists, retail store managers, and optometrists.

Some of the top employers in the area include Rio Rico High School, Pilot Flying J, and Santa Cruz Valley Unified School District.

Take advantage of the growing job market in Rio Rico and explore the opportunities that await you.

  • Explore the diverse range of industries in Rio Rico, including educational services, transportation, and retail trade.
  • Discover the highest paying industries, such as utilities, mining, quarrying, oil, gas extraction, and manufacturing.
  • Learn about the various job opportunities available, from retail store managers to delivery drivers and customer service representatives.
  • Explore high-paying positions like therapists, retail store managers, and optometrists.
  • Discover the top employers in Rio Rico, including Rio Rico High School, Pilot Flying J, and Santa Cruz Valley Unified School District.

Public Transportation

To navigate around Rio Rico, there are a few options available. Public transportation options such as buses, as well as transportation services like Uber and Lyft, can be utilized. If you’re coming from Phoenix, you can take a bus to Nogales and then drive to Rio Rico. The journey takes approximately 4 hours and 44 minutes and costs between $38 and $551.

If you prefer not to drive, you can take a taxi from Green Valley to Rio Rico. The taxi ride takes about 35 minutes and costs $80 to $95. It’s important to note that there are no public transportation options available within Rio Rico itself. However, Uber and Lyft are both available in the area. You can also use Up Hail to get fare estimates and rates. Keep in mind that the actual rates will depend on the time of day, traffic conditions, and demand.

Tax Rates

If you’re considering purchasing property in Rio Rico, you should be aware that the sales tax rate in the area is 8.6%. This includes a 5.6% Arizona state sales tax, a 1% Santa Cruz County sales tax, and a 2% Rio Rico tax. The property tax in Rio Rico, AZ is administered by the Santa Cruz County Assessor’s Office. They value all locally assessed properties in the county for ad valorem tax purposes. These properties include commercial property, owner-occupied property, rental property, residential property, and vacant land. For more information on tax amounts, payment methods, and deadlines, you can visit the Santa Cruz County Treasurer’s Office website. The table below provides a breakdown of the tax rates in Rio Rico.

Tax Type Rate
State Sales 5.6%
County Sales 1%
Rio Rico Tax 2%

Please note that property tax rates may vary depending on the specific property and its assessed value.

Weather and Climate

When you visit Rio Rico, you’ll experience a warm and dry climate that attracts residents and outdoor enthusiasts alike.

The summers in Rio Rico are hot, with average high temperatures reaching 96°F (35.6°C) and average low temperatures of 68°F (20°C).

Winters are mild, with average high temperatures of 64°F (17.8°C) and average low temperatures of 36°F (2.2°C). The coldest month is December, with an average high temperature of 64°F (17.8°C) and an average low temperature of 36°F (2.2°C).

While it does snow in Rio Rico, it is usually in small amounts from November through April.

The pleasant climate and nearly year-round sunshine make Rio Rico a great place for outdoor activities and a popular choice for retirees seeking to escape harsher weather conditions.

Pros and Cons

Consider weighing the pros and cons of living in Rio Rico, Arizona, to make an informed decision about this town.

One of the major advantages of living in Rio Rico is its warm and dry climate, with nearly year-round sunshine. This pleasant weather allows for a wide range of outdoor activities, such as mountain biking and kayaking, which are loved by residents. Additionally, Rio Rico’s natural features, including the Santa Cruz River and nearby lakes, provide beautiful scenery and opportunities for outdoor exploration.

On the other hand, there are some concerns over mixed-use development proposals in the town, which residents have voiced. The outcome of the upcoming vote by the Santa Cruz Board of Supervisors will impact the town’s future development.

Considering these factors, it is important to carefully evaluate the pros and cons before making a decision about moving to Rio Rico.

Bars and Restaurants

There are several bars and restaurants in Rio Rico, offering a variety of cuisines and dining options.

One popular option is La Bocanita, located at 1185 Circulo Mercado. This restaurant specializes in Mexican, seafood, Latin, and Spanish cuisine. They offer takeout, reservations, and have seating available with waitstaff. Customers have praised their fantastic seafood, outstanding fish tacos, and amazing guacamole.

Another option is Calabasas Station, situated at 1123 Pendleton Dr. This restaurant is known for its stir fry night and salad bar. It is housed in a beautiful building with awesome views.

For authentic Mexican food, you can visit My Michoacana at 1197 W Frontage Rd. Customers have praised the quick and friendly service and variety of homemade treats. However, there have been negative reviews for My Michoacana, citing heavy sauces and deep-fried foods.

Overall, Rio Rico offers a range of dining experiences to cater to different tastes and preferences.

Things to Do

Now that you’ve explored the vibrant bar and restaurant scene in Rio Rico, let’s dive into the exciting array of things to do in this Arizona town.

From historical sites to outdoor adventures, Rio Rico has something for everyone. Immerse yourself in the rich history of the region by visiting the Tumacacori National Historical Park, where you can explore the ruins of Spanish mission communities.

For nature enthusiasts, Patagonia Lake State Park offers camping and water activities, while the Titan Missile Museum provides a fascinating look into the Cold War era. Birdwatching tours, golfing at the Rio Rico Country Club, and browsing unique shops like Santa Cruz Chili & Spice are also popular activities.

Don’t miss the Santa Cruz County Wall of Honor, which showcases local points of interest and landmarks. Whether you’re seeking relaxation or adventure, Rio Rico has it all.

Best Neighborhoods

Looking for the best neighborhoods in Rio Rico, Arizona? Let’s explore some popular areas that offer great amenities and a family-friendly atmosphere.

One top neighborhood is Rio Rico Ranchettes & Calabasas, known for its good schools, high home ownership, and above-average safety from crime. It’s perfect for families looking for a safe and welcoming community.

Another great option is the Rio Rico neighborhood itself, which is a small town near the Mexican border. Here, you’ll find plenty of outdoor activities like hiking, biking, and fishing spots, making it ideal for nature enthusiasts.

Lastly, Nanny Creek is a landmark with peaceful gardens, providing a tranquil and serene environment. Whether you’re looking for a family-oriented neighborhood or a place close to nature, Rio Rico has something for everyone.


So, you’re thinking about moving to Rio Rico, AZ, huh? Well, let me tell you, it’s quite the place.

With its stunning natural beauty and tight-knit community, you’ll feel like you’ve stumbled upon a hidden paradise. And don’t even get me started on the climate – sunshine all year round? Yes, please!

But hey, before you pack your bags, there’s one little thing you should know. There’s some proposed mixed-use development in the works, and the outcome of a vote by the Santa Cruz Board of Supervisors will determine the town’s future.

But hey, who needs progress when you’ve got sunshine and kayaking, am I right?

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