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San Miguel de Allende or Merida???

Hello and thanks for answering my question.  I want to make the move to Mexico very soon. I have been there a ton and now ready to make it my full-time home!  I have been to San Miguel de Allende many times and I am thinking of moving there. However, I have heard so many good things about Merida. I have done my reseach and I am now more confused LOL!  Any thoughts of which of the two cities you think would be the better place to live? I would like to open up my own HR consultating firm in Mexico, so also from a business side which might also be the best move?  Thank you all so much!!!

adrianikon616 :

Hello and thanks for answering my question.  I want to make the move to Mexico very soon. I have been there a ton and now ready to make it my full-time home!  I have been to San Miguel de Allende many times and I am thinking of moving there. However, I have heard so many good things about Merida. I have done my reseach and I am now more confused LOL!  Any thoughts of which of the two cities you think would be the better place to live? I would like to open up my own HR consultating firm in Mexico, so also from a business side which might also be the best move?  Thank you all so much!!!

I have also visited both places. I currently live in the Lake Chapala area, south of Guadalajara. It all comes down to what you are looking for. Merida is a big city, and SMA is a small one. Merida has a small expat community, and SMA has quite a large one. SMA is located in the Central Highlands of Mexico, and therefore it is easy to visit a variety of other really great places (i.e. Guanajuato, Queretaro, Morelia, Patzcuaro, Guadalajara, Lake Chapala, Mexico City, etc. etc.), while Merida is at the northern tip of the Yucatan Peninsula with only Cancun and Campeche in easy reach. SMA has a very nice climate year-round (a bit cooler than I prefer in winter), while Merida is boiling hot and humid for much of the year. SMA is fairly expensive, as Mexican cities go, while Merida is still relatively cheap.

So what are you looking for in a place to live?

Thanks for much for the info! I am in my mid 30's and I am currently a consultant here in the US. I am going to keep my job and just work remotely from Mexico as my location does not matter. Been to SMA many times and I do like it, but it is expensive. For example, the homes! I have seen many homes online in Merida that start from 50K, 60K, and 70K for example that are very nice...needs a little TLC but very nice. SMA, on the other hand, homes are quite high and the vauvle is not there. I could not find good colonial style homes in SMA for the prices I found in Merida. Just wondering is perhaps SMA is too over saturated due to all the expats living.

adrianikon616 :

Thanks for much for the info! I am in my mid 30's and I am currently a consultant here in the US. I am going to keep my job and just work remotely from Mexico as my location does not matter. Been to SMA many times and I do like it, but it is expensive. For example, the homes! I have seen many homes online in Merida that start from 50K, 60K, and 70K for example that are very nice...needs a little TLC but very nice. SMA, on the other hand, homes are quite high and the vauvle is not there. I could not find good colonial style homes in SMA for the prices I found in Merida. Just wondering is perhaps SMA is too over saturated due to all the expats living.

I think the prices are higher In SMA not only because of the expats, but because Mexico City is not all that far away, certainly close enough for wealthy Mexicans to have second homes.

That said, I think you might also consider climate as a factor. The climate in SMA is very mild year-round, with low humidity, as you know if you have visited there a lot. The climate in Merida is very hot for most of the year, with high humidity. This is not only a matter of comfort, but of expense. Electricity is very expensive in Mexico, and gets more expensive per kilowatt as you use more. An air conditioner (a virtual necessity in Merida most of the year) will significantly run up your expenses.

In any case, I strongly recommend that you rent for at least a year, preferably for two, when you move down. That way, whichever city you pick, you won't be stuck there if you decide it's not right for you, or for that matter, if you decide that living full time in Mexico is not right for you. While I love living here, it doesn't turn out to be everyone's cup of tea.

Housing is moving very slowly in most areas of Mexico, especially the nice areas where people have run up the prices. There is no mortgage system you would recognize, and there are no disclosure laws to protect you if you later find out your foundation is cracked, or roof leaks, or that someone else has a lien on your home, etc. You need to take it very slowly in getting into the real estate market down here, until you thoroughly understand how very differently things work, and have talked to a wide variety of people who have bought or who rent. You don't want to be stuck with an expensive piece of real estate that you can't sell, perhaps for several years. Don't let your north-of-the-border sense that you've just gotta buy a house push you into a premature bad decision. Talk to other expats who already live in the areas where you want to settle. I have no doubt they will tell you exactly the same thing.

We relocated to Merida about 18 months ago and I think one important comparison to SMA is that the local Mexicans are much different than the Yucatan natives. Remember, Merida and the Yucatan was cut off from the rest of Mexico for 100s of years and the lifestyle and people are extremely different. Merida is more like Cuba and the Carribean along with Lebonese people that settled here over 100 years ago. SMA is in my opinion too Gringoized. Merida has a large rich Mexican population and a higher standard of lifing for natives. With fewer NorthAmericanso you will be challenged to learn Spanish quickly and the local festivals, culture, art etc is top of the line. Yes it is hot in the Summer but we have a beach only 20 miles from the city. Merida airport is within the city limits while you have to drive a great distance to get to a major airport serving the USA in SMA. Also, perhaps the best Medical and Dental Care in Mexico is offered in Merida. In addition, the city has HomeDePot, Sams, Costco, Office Max, WalMart, McDonalds, Burger King and Starbucks as well as several shopping malls that rival anything in the USA. There is even a mall with an ice skating ring in its center. With the internet, you can easily live and work in the city and get back to the States with ease. However, working in Mexico is difficult and requires you to be bilingual.

posting 7/11/11 ...  What's the average temperature in Merida and how far are the beaches?

[Moderated: off-topic]

Merida is a wonderful city but oppressively hot - that is the  only thing that keeps my husband and I  from planning our retirement there, although we continue to wonder if we could get used to it.  The truth is probably "no".  It  appears to be the  safest place in Mexico and if crime ratings I've read are correct, the Yucatan is  safer than the states.  People are friendly and the food is great - a different cuisine than the rest of the country. The beach is about 20 miles away and a $2 RT ticket takes you there. It's a city of approx 1 million people with everything you need.  If you can stand the heat, I would highly recommend Merida.

Merida is also close to Tulum, Playa del Carmen, the whole of the Mexican Carribean and in other directions- other towns.
I wouldn't call it boiling hot.I would call it hot, but it may get hotter or cooler some seasons, not too sure. Yeh, San Miguel gets too cool, I agree with that.

HI - lots of sensible things have been said here - I think it is a great idea to rent first and check it out - you know San Miguel, so why not check out Merida? there are also a number of other beautiful places to live in Mexico - I think climate is an important factor; I could not take the heat of Merida, myself, although the Yucatan is wonderful to explore - that is personal. However a positive point is that by far the cheapest air flights to the US are to Cancun - they must be subsidized! it is just a few hours by bus through the jungle to Merida - if you fly back and forth a lot, that could be a factor. If you can, explore....Another wonderful place is San Cristobal de las Casas, beautiful, enough gringos for services but not San Miguelized - probably because of the chilly humid climate - it depends on your body temps! you would be spending more on firewood than ac! but Chiapas is wonderful and it is close to Guatemala, Oaxaca, etc - and quite an elegant place - However flying in and out can be a bit costly - I have just falled in love with Patzcuaro in Michoacan, a wonderful state with special energy - it is my kind of place, lovely with an indigenous cultural life, vast spaces in the surrounding nature, beautiful squares, good markets....and only 300 gringos, enough for a great English library but not enough to feel like you have not left the States! you can fly into Guadalajara or Mexico City - And I am sure while visiting San MIguel you have visited the cities like Queretaro in the area - Central Mexico does have that drier climate - well, there are some ideas - For business you need good communications I guess and services close by; Morelia probably has that - So there are a lot of options -  A lot of people like Oaxaca too but it I think would be a less sophisticated place - good luck whatever youd

By the way, I just heard that Michoacan has been beset by a cartel war and is no longer very safe, so Patzcuaro - to my great grief - is perhaps not recommendable - however there still remain many lovely places in Central Mexico outside of San Miguel....

I have been graphing the temperatures in Sarasota, FL and Merida, Mexico for about a year, as I live in Sarasota. The yearly average temperatures are almost identical. To me, the weather in Sarasota is near perfect except for July and August, which is very hot.

Belinda28597 :

I have been graphing the temperatures in Sarasota, FL and Merida, Mexico for about a year, as I live in Sarasota. The yearly average temperatures are almost identical. To me, the weather in Sarasota is near perfect except for July and August, which is very hot.

Hi Belinda.

So, It sounds like your interest is primarily Merida. What are your questions?

What is the cost of electricity when using A/C?

That Belinda. depends on you, and the house or apartment. I live in a city 2 hours north of Merida, in a very old large house My last bimonthly bill was just slightly more than 800 pesos. I have fans which I use most of the time. My regular bill is somewhere between 1000 and 1,400 pesos. I have a pool with a pump. That should give you an idea.

If it's an apt. or small house and you don't pay for a pool it would be considerably less.

Thx for the reply. However, I asked about electricity cost with A/C. You stated you have fans, I think.

Belinda28597 :

Thx for the reply. However, I asked about electricity cost with A/C. You stated you have fans, I think.

Sorry for the confusion, the house has 4 A/C's I use the one in the bedroom for the most part. My intent was to let you know what the cost was with a pool, fans and the a/c. using the ceiling fans most of the time cuts down on a/c use. So, those numbers include a/c.

Belinda28597 :

Thx for the reply. However, I asked about electricity cost with A/C. You stated you have fans, I think.

Hi, here are the rates based on usage so, you can compare your summer bills and convert the same usage and have the mexican cost  (note the rate change during summer and winter). I presume that Merida would have the 1a rate in summer (0,697$ first 100kw, 0,822$ next 50kw and 2,802$ after the first 150kw) if it's warmer then rates go down. 150kw usage per month costs 111$ pesos 300kw would cost 431$ pesos or about 25$ USD. Be carefull if you rent or own within a complex then the rate could be comercial so cost would be 2,802$pesos from the 1st kw.

http://app.cfe.gob.mx/Aplicaciones/CCFE … p;imprime=

For your information, we have a two bedroom apartment with fans and spilt A/C, we are located on the west coast Nayarit which is warmer than Mérida, I believe, we arrived on August 26th and used the A/C once only. The fans we have are 56" commercial 3 palms 4 speeds at speed 2 they do a great job and no noise. Also the ceilings are curved  (mexican way) which are keeping cooler versus flat ceilings.

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