What's the real story with living in Mexico?

Hi Everyone
Don't really know where to start...Lived in Montreal my entire life. went to school here, got married to my high school sweetheart at 22 yrs old...(way too young)...managed to stay married for 46 difficult years,,and its time to move on.
I've been considering moving to a warmer climate where I could live off my measly pension...and I'm definitely considering Mexico..and as soon as possible...but I need help and advise...What's the real story with living in Mexico? What are safe expat areas? What's the chance of finding someplace to share with some one  (a room mate)? I know there are many things I need to learn and do before |I can even consider the I welcome what ever advise you can offer .

Hello Normoldguy,

Welcome on board  :)

A new thread has been created from your post on the Mexico forum so that you may get feedbacks.

All the best,

For a resident Visa you'll need around 1500 US minimum and you apply at a Mexican Consulate.

Other than that pick a climate, size of town and proximity to US border

You can go to Ajijic, Jalisco, near of Chapala Lake, is warm, beautiful and many American an Canadian people live there so happy.

Thanks you. Hope to get lot of feedback. Norm

Queretaro has one of the most modern infrastructures in Mexico but the old center of the city has a certain amount of Colonial charm.  Crime is lower than many places American Tourists go for vacation.  Weather is quite pleasant for most people.

The city of Zacatecas is almost a museum of the 1500's in Mexico.  It has a reputation for many cultural events and bringing top talent from Mexico and around the world.  It is definitely not an English speaking expat mecca but it is pretty easy to find people who speak English.  Crime is also low.

Coatepec where I am is semi tropical, small, low crime and easygoing but is 20 minutes from the state capital Xalapa, a city of about half a million that has all the conveniences of a city of that size.  It is said there are about 200 Americans in the area.

If you're on a budget, you can live without hardship on $500/mo.  $1500 allows for quite a few luxuries.  $2000 for a couple.

I find these kinds olf queries a bit trying not to rain on anyone's parade,, apologizing in advance if that is how this is viewed.   Why not just do it!  Come as a tourist and check it out on a short visit or better yet, just come.  Get a 6 month tourist visa and give it a chance.

If you want to go back on the forum's earlier posts  you can read my story...........I got up one morning in Southern California where the          prices were skyrocketing, still are,  decided I wanted to give it a try, put computer, coffee pot, toothbrush, folding cot, chair and computer, et al  in the car and headed to the border in a rental car.   Before I left I found some on another  blog who would meet me at the rental car place and take me across.  Rented an apartment and never looked back.  I do not speak Spanish, still don't.....maybe 100 words, I had been across the border 3 times on one day trips,  the last time in the 70s.  I was 75 at the tine i decided to do this. . That was nine years ago.  Don't sweat the small stuff, just do it.  If a little old lady can do it,
what are you waiting for?

I suggest that you do a lot of looking on line, and reading about places in Mexico. That way you will have an idea where you want to visit.  You need to know what you are looking for.. How hot?, beach or no beach?, Mountains?, big town?, little town ?.Too many questions to be answered, and only you have those answers.

There are many pretty safe areas, just like many countries, and of course areas to avoid which Would be many of the border towns , especially the Texas border towns.

right on just do it and stop asking questions wheh you will get a million answers and none to your liking i have been going to mex for along time and lived in all of the rough spots with no problems like living in ciudad juarez through all the cartel problems and still living to tell about it .. no problems   JUST leave your american thoughts at home and bring a open mind and you can get along just fine..spanish maybe a little can help but get a book of phrases and dont look bac if  a older single lady can do it  like she has posted anybody with a sound mind can get along just fine ciao

i LOVE THE border towns lots of excitment to get into FUUUNNNN   happy trails good luck pardner

You still have to pick a climate, size of town and proximity to US border among other things before your questions will make any sense. If you need to visit to figure that out ..... then visit

when people say leave your american mind behind that is great advice.  you have to accept mexican culture which I cant do, way too minnesota german.  ypu will pay mordida at times. pemex may pump less than what you paid for.  used cars may be katrina cars.  there just arent the real estate protections and building codes so shoddy construction and fraud happens more often.

My view is my own, colored by my own experiences.  I lived in Saltillo, Coahuila 1982-1985.
I lived in Zacatecas, Zacatecas 2008-2015.
Now I'm in Coatepec, Veracruz.

82-85, I paid a maybe 4 mordidas.  One was to get sleeping car tickets on the train to Mexico City.  Another was a small pay off to the driver of a pickup accidentally rear-ended by a recently arrived coworker.  Two were curbside "fines" for traffic infractions.

08-15, Only one mordida.  In a rental car with my US license, a cop stopped me for turning left on a red light, which I had done.  It was pay a curbside "fine" or have the plates taken and come back in a week to see the judge.  After checking to be sure there was no security or traffic in the area, the officer accepted 200 pesos.

Contrary to what it was years ago, you almost have to go out of your way to pay a mordida anymore.

For the rest, yes it's a much more buyer beware economy than the US so you have to get to know people and be able to rely on their recommendations for doctors, real estate agents, architects and skilled trades.  You do have to be prepared to take some things in stride you may never encounter in the US.

Hi,  I have wanted to move to  Mexico for 10 yrs.  I have a small business in Colorado and won't have alot of income if I sell it.  I have considered Lake Chapala, Merida, and several other places , and can't decide.  I am leary to go alone as a single, senior woman. I  don't have the time to travel to Mexico and look because I would have to close my business and lose that income.  I don't want alot of humidity but want to explore the Yucatan and the Mayan ruins and was wondering if I could find a town where it is drier in that region. Any Ideas for me. Jillamon

I agree our experiences do color our opinions. Mexico rates 84 out of 149 countries so corruption is high.  The Yucatan does involve mordida by cops and is needed to register a deed in a timely thanks.

Hi, I was also in the same position while I was working and living in Vancouver, Canada and felt trapped. The cost of living in Vancouver is so high that I had to use my savings some month even though I was working for full time.  Specially living in the city life there's no time for what I wanted to do beside catching up with mundane daily life. All of my friends at my age feels the same and they were praised and envied me when I finally made decision to pack up and leave. I am in San Miguel de Allende Mexico now with my daughter. I did all my research by online and "" and booked an accommodation temporally and get rid of my life time cumulated things, material things, include a car and left Vancouver. We've arrived in Leon airport last Wednesday and the private car from transportation company picked us up and drove us to San Miguel. Let me tell you! This has been the best things I've ever done in my life. It's so beautiful and safe here. not to mentioned the money i brought is much more valued here.  We go out to a local restaurant with a live musician and had five star dishes and it was only $15.  The food they have here are locally farmed and organic and it cost almost nothing. I feel like I have hit in jack pot and land in here. Oh? We went to a fundraising fashion show yesterday organized by local Expat ladies. There's big population of Expat, Americans and Canadians lives here and they are involved in local charity, helping the girl's education and distributing the books..  So! Don't be afraid or don't wait more. The time goes by so quickly. You have been thinking about to move to Mexico last 10 years and guess what? You d be surprised to find your self still waiting next 5-10 years.... I haven't begin to talk about the weather here. Maybe next time. Good luck. Kimberly

Jillamon, I suggest you visit here and see if Mexico fits for you. the Yucatan will be humid period. It's especially humid in Merida and Tulum.
I agree with this quote from goodgrief "you almost have to go out of your way to pay a mordida anymore". The only area I have encountered this is the Belize area. I have also never had Pemex pump less than I paid for, and I have driven all over Mexico. They are so scrupulous about that , they show you the totals on the pump and insist you look. As for corruption, yes it's here, but then it's everywhere in the U.S. big time. Plus of course the constant worry about getting shot, which I'm glad to say isn't a big concern here. People are very friendly if you are friendly, and they often are very willing to help you.

I have never had a problem finding help when I needed it.

Travelight,          Thank you for your words of wisdom.  I have been to the Carribean coast and Matzatland.  I don't want to live in either of them.  I haven't traveled there since the mid 90s .  I am considering WWoolfing to cut back on expences while I look around .   I am think somewhere near Lake Chapala .  I wanted the Yucatan because of the Mayan history and the coast. I can move around according to the climate and explore MX and other countries south eventually .  I am trying to find someone to travel with but am having a hard time finding a kindered soul with the time and means.  Jillamon

ou must be a real estate agent.  Mexico is highly corrupt and the US is not.  constant worry about getting shot in the US is just plain not true.  You in all likelyhood did get pumped short by Pemex, the list is available from Profeco and there is no way you could know one way or the other.  You forget this stuff is easy to research with google.  Here is Profecos list of short liter stations. … rt-liters/

Whoa, you really do hate Mexico. No I am not a real  estate agent. I live in Mexico. I am also an American native and know full well that the risk of getting shot is there. I'm sure you must have heard about the schools, malls, stores, and restaurants  with mass killings in the U.S.The last mass shooting was recent, and in Oregon just a state away, so how you can say shootings "are just plain not true" I don't know. I also know the U.S. is swimming in corruption. Three of the banskers in Mexico went to prison, non went to prison in the U.S. Nestle gets to steal water with an expired permit while California has the worst drought.  There are numerous other examples of U.S corruption, but I know you wouldn't be interested . I will let you google mass killings and the killings with guns, as well as corruption in the U.S. by yourself.

I strongly advise you to never , ever consider visiting anywhere in Latin America, you are right, it is not for you at all.

no i do not hate mexico but people need to understand what they are getting into.  switching the demon to me is the oldest third grade trick in the book so stop it. Mexico had 26,037 homicides and the US had 14,827 homicides in 2012.  mexico has roughly a third the population of the US.  facts are facts are facts. I posted the corruption ratings above so read them this time.  I know how corrupt it is from looking into buying a business in Tulum, ridiculous corruption.  There.  Corruption is at very similar levels in either Belize or Mexico.

travellight can look past it apparently. for reasons of his own.
I can look past it for reasons of my own.
I lived in a very safe place in Mexico.
I recently moved to another very safe place in Mexico.
My being here benefits more people than it ever did in the US.

No, I wouldn't try to open a business here and it's not that much easier in the US except the rules are well known.

I agreed early on in this thread to what you just said.  renting a house or condo is pretty safe compared to actually owning real estate and homicide in both countries is generally easily avoided as it tends to be drug related. I can assure starting a business legally in Mexico is pretty complicated which is why many businesses just arent legal.  I think you are naive about the relativity of opening businesses.  There are areas of mexico safe to retire to which allow limited exposure to ones assets.  How do you handle health care?

I had competent doctors in Zacatecas and I will find competent ones here.
I go up to the states twice as a double check against misunderstanding something life threatening.
I did go to the emergency room in Zacatecas and was impressed with the professionalism and the thoroughness of triage.
The treatment I got was exactly what it should have been.

The only disadvantage is finding a doctor or hospital that takes credit cards, for which I have Seguro Popular.  If seeing a specialist is going to take too long, and I can't find a private doc that will take my credit card, I'll go to the states where they will.

It has been working well for 7+ years.

How is it that so many people have bought condos and homes without a problem?  I'm guessing they did it with caution, made contacts, found out who was reliable and did it through a trust even if it wasn't in a place where it was required.

Isn't it still true 90% of new businesses fail in the first year in the US?  At least the same here.
I already have reliable contacts for medical care here in Coatepec.

Cool I was able to find a competent English speaking doctor on the south end Tulum

Doctors that speak English can be found most places.  Whether their English is accurate or correct is another question.  My Spanish and Spanish vocabulary are pretty good but I can detect where understanding on my part or the doctor's is not quite what it should be; that's what's behind my going to the states periodically.

That's a lot of my concerns about moving down there I know there are areas in Mexico where you can live very nicely on $1,000 a month but my heart isn't very good especially after the bypass

That's where my two country routine really started.  I went up to the states to see a cardiologist after getting two conflicting opinions from docs in Mexico.  A CABG was indicated without delay.  I came out of the surgery with atrial fibrillation.  Over two years with the cardiologist, I came to respect his advice, and the treatment weened me off the expensive meds as soon as made sense.  I'm on a blood thinner now that is nowhere near as risky as coumadin or warfarin.  Between the two sets, I'm comfortable I'm doing the best that I can expect.

my understanding is there are no intern programs in mexico so young doctors only have book learning.

katzgar :

my understanding is there are no intern programs in mexico so young doctors only have book learning.

My friend's daughter not only interned but did a residency on Mexico.  I don't know all the details.

Did you talk to an MD?


I'll check with her then.

Just for drill, I did a little Googling.
I think you have been misinformed.

If you don't like Wikipedia, I'm sure the references can be checked.

My landlady's husband is an MD.  I'll ask him if I see him.

Still waiting for my friend's MD daughter to ge tback to me

I do hope I was misinformed, residencies are a good thing. LOL

katzgar :

I do hope I was misinformed, residencies are a good thing. LOL

Definitely, it gives doctors required experience in their chosen specialties.  I wouldn't even want to have a cut stitched up if I didn't know that the resident doing it hadn't done them hundreds of times before.  Same with internships.

gudgrief :
katzgar :

I do hope I was misinformed, residencies are a good thing. LOL

Definitely, it gives doctors required experience in their chosen specialties.  I wouldn't even want to have a cut stitched up if I didn't know that the resident doing it hadn't done them hundreds of times before.  Same with internships.

The skill level is as good as or often better than the U.S. I was very impressed with the bedside manner  and expanded education of the doctor at Star medical in Merida.

I think I meant internships didn't I

travellight :
gudgrief :
katzgar :

I do hope I was misinformed, residencies are a good thing. LOL

Definitely, it gives doctors required experience in their chosen specialties.  I wouldn't even want to have a cut stitched up if I didn't know that the resident doing it hadn't done them hundreds of times before.  Same with internships.

The skill level is as good as or often better than the U.S. I was very impressed with the bedside manner  and expanded education of the doctor at Star medical in Merida.

I have never had a session with a Mexican doctor, private or Seguro Popular, that seemed rushed or less than what was needed to completely understand what I thought I needed.

katzgar :

I think I meant internships didn't I

The thread started with what you heard about internships.
I included the residency point with my post about my friend's daughter.

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