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Huatulco area mid-level accommodations, safety, transportation

Hello. Planning to go from luxury digs in Nuevo Vallarta Oct 1-Dec 31 2017 to Huatulco on Jan 1 2018 for 3 months. Maybe longer, if I decide to get a residente visa (and can you get that while on a 180 day tourist visa in Mexico, and how long is the process in-country?). My husband may or may not be with me (might part ways Jan 1 for a while). I am female, 70, and an extremely experienced traveler, semi-fluent in Spanish.

Looking for something that is basic furnishings (flat, condo or hotel) and that does not need to be on the beach but is pretty safe (by Mexican standards) and friendly and MUST have air conditioning and internet (everything else is only a plus). A cabana wouldn't suit me, as I just can't take the heat and humidity, even in winter. A good 2 to 3 star hotel would be OK with me as long as it is not Mariachi bands and filled with borachos all day and all night...you will get my drift on that, maybe.

How is transportation around the area and between villages?

I was in Huatulco last in the late 1980s when it was just getting off the ground. Love the jungle. I know I will be shocked at the development. Any advice as to towns up or down the coastline that are good alternatives, where I might find what I describe?

Muchas.

Hi white umbrella.

The residency visa has to start at the Mexican counsel in the states, so you might want to check into that before you leave. You can email them for the requirements.

I thought someone might know how to do it from within the country instead of starting the process in the home country. Sigh. Thank you very much.

I think ,it's the can you afford to live here thing. It's pretty quick, and fairly easy. Once you have a temporary , getting a permanent can be done here. Please talk with them about current rules, things change and some times they actually get easier. My information is about a year old.

Good luck and hang in there.

Thanks. I'll check the consulate site again and keep asking questions of expats, Much appreciated!

To acquire a Residente Temporal  (RT) or Residente Permanente  (RP) you have to initiate the process at a MX consulate in  the US. The RT can be issued for a max of four years (A combination of 1, 2, 3 year increments totaling four years). Renewals may be done in MX. After four years you can apply for a RP in MX at an Instituto Nacional de Migración  (INM) office. I know of one instance where an individual applying for an initial RT at a MX consulate in  the US upon presenting their financial data  the MX consular officer allowed them to immediately apply for a RP. Mind you, this is at the discretion of individual consular officers.

If your intent is to only remain in MX for less than six months increments perhaps a tourist visa is best initially.  The RT/RP allows you to have MX bank accounts, drivers license, purchase a car and if over 6o years of age an INAPAM card which will get you discounts; particularly on major over the road buses  (50%).

Thank you very much for this advice. There are a lot of advantages for me at 70 years old to get a RT/RP visa because of the medical and bank accounts and such. Appreciated!

I normally stay at the Castillo hotel. Located right by Marina Huatulco in Santa Cruz . Very clean, excellent staffs, it has AC and internet, a nice swimming pool. All the taxi rate are indicated by location in the hotel lobby. Last time I was there from Santa Cruz to La Cruciceta was 20 pesos ($2) . So no need to try to barter the price like you have to in Mazatlan or other tourist traps.

No Mariachi band there LOL, very quiet, they have free shuttle to their own beach ( Baha Chahue) 5 minutes away, or Me I walk to their beach it is only 15 to 20 minutes walk, a good healthy way to see some of the stores near by. They serve food at the beach with a descent buffet, and drinks of course.

The hotel is occupied by 85 % locals and 15 % tourist. Not sure about their monthly rate, as I normally stay there a few weeks when I get tired of being on My boat.
Hope that helps you.
Good luck.

Thank you so much! All great info, much appreciated.

Unless you plan to move household goods, serial tourist cards may work out.
You go to a biorder crossing point every 180 days, checkout and request a new tourist card.  If refused you may need to stay overnight from 1 to 3 nights or shioft change.  There has been quite a few exchanges on expat.com bewteen people who have been doing it for years.

For me, the biggest advantages of residency have been bus fares and cheap/free emergency medical care.  If you have health issues keeping medicare and a supplement covering emergency hospitalization might be worthwhile.

To "whiteumbrella" :

Just to let you know that you are looking at a long long haul on mexican road from Puerto Vallarta to Huatulco. I have travelled Mexico by RV and buses so be aware that the average speed would be around 50kmh or 30mph on the michoacan coast  (no new roads) the same from PV to Melaque it takes about 5 to 6 hours. .

A bus ride from PV to ZIHUATANEJO is 16 hours.

Buena suerte para su proyecto de viaje, GyC.

Read your post and replies with great interest. Respondents are right. RT is started at home. But the larger question is Huatulco.  I'm 74, have been in and out of Mex a lot over the years, all kinds of places, even DF, but that was before killings and kidnappings.  So, I thought Pto Escondido/Z-town, but Oaxaca and these two places are on State's "don't go there" list. I live in  Tucson, which is one of my favorite environments -- desert. I wanted to combine the other favorite -- water.  That would be Cabo, which is much safer, but also high COL.  So, there's the dilemma.  Would like to know if you found Huatulco to your liking.  I might suggest Lake Chapala towns on the north side.  Just a stone's throw from GDL, moderate to lux digs and cheap.  I rented a 2 BR furnished condo for $300 USD monthly, then make the mistake of upgrading to a furnished house for $500.00 USD -- mistake because it was a magnet for scorpions. But the towns like Ajijic are expat, not touristy.

seoulguy :

Read your post and replies with great interest. Respondents are right. RT is started at home. But the larger question is Huatulco.  I'm 74, have been in and out of Mex a lot over the years, all kinds of places, even DF, but that was before killings and kidnappings.  So, I thought Pto Escondido/Z-town, but Oaxaca and these two places are on State's "don't go there" list. I live in  Tucson, which is one of my favorite environments -- desert. I wanted to combine the other favorite -- water.  That would be Cabo, which is much safer, but also high COL.  So, there's the dilemma.  Would like to know if you found Huatulco to your liking.  I might suggest Lake Chapala towns on the north side.  Just a stone's throw from GDL, moderate to lux digs and cheap.  I rented a 2 BR furnished condo for $300 USD monthly, then make the mistake of upgrading to a furnished house for $500.00 USD -- mistake because it was a magnet for scorpions. But the towns like Ajijic are expat, not touristy.

So how is a town "expat" and yet not touristy ? Numerous people visit there as well as Lake Chapala and SMA. Cabo is definitely touristy, So, out of curiosity what is your definition of touristy?  Cabo is also showing evidence of now being a hurricane target after last year.

DF is definitely a place I would avoid. Many towns have the potential for some violence here, as well as in the U.S you just have to chose the statistically less likely areas. For that reason I have, so far avoided places like Acapulco also.  Huatulco is not far from Morelos.  Morelos is a lovely city but a year ago I noticed a change going through there, and there was the protest march regarding the deaths of the teachers. For that reason I would be careful there.
I was accompanied by a friend who is a native who has traveled a lot through there and he was shocked about some of the changes, so it wasn't just me.

I am basing my liking of Huatulco on having been there in the mid 1980s when it was first developing. At that time, I was traveling and working all over the world in third world countries and had no fear and endless stamina. I am not timid or weak, but I have a healthy concern about la revolucion and the cartels.

I would never even remotely consider a bus ride down the coast to Huatulco, especially from Acapulco, which I now hear is cartel lands. I am of an age to prefer internal puddle jumper airline flights.

I don't really care where I am, just not in an uber touristy area where it is uber expensive because I live on pensions. I am going to Lake Chapala (Jocotepec, which is at the western end of the lake) in June to a fairly pricey condo that I booked from a distance, so I'll have a chance to check out that area. Such an area of mainly American and Canadian snowbirds and expats already feels to me to be a bit too "tame" for my taste, but any place you live is what you make of it. I'm sure there are some good mountain trails and little beach towns in Jalisco and Nyarit, and Guadalajara is not really very far.

Thanks for the continued advice and conversation about good places to go and not to go.

Next question I have is how best to accomplish banking between the US and Mexico. I have heard that HSBC and Charles Schwab are two of the better banks for transfers, and also that a lot of people use Xoom that is connected to PayPal. Any feedback on those? Prefer not to carry a lot of cash around on my person at any one time, so I am thinking modest ATM withdrawals in pesos.

I appreciate the long answer. Can't help you on banking, as that and healthcare are my two biggies. With resident visa, you might be able to get a bank account in country.  When I worked in DF, a friend recommended me to the bank, and that's how I got it.  I was in Ajijic during the beginning of the Bush Iraq war.  Everybody thought he was crazy.  I was never in Jocotepec, but I brought up a map and found Super Lake where I shopped and my street called La Ribera off Hidalgo.  Coming down from GDL, you'll end up at the town of Chapala, then take a local bus to your destination, using Hidalgo and passing through Ajijic.

For the time I was there I just didn't see that many tourists or visitors, only GDL types coming down for a weekend. Mostly locals and shopped at the "farmer's market".  If price doesn't matter, some homes are spectacular.  The money changers are in Ajijic.

I'm curious how you expect to hold on to your Medicare if it's an HMO; you can't use it in Mexico.

In those days I'd take buses all over w/o blinking an eye. I start off the other side of Calexico and take a first class night bus to Hermosillo, which, by the way, at the time, was not a half bad town with a nice climate, very walkable.  So, good luck.

Just have to bite the bullet on the Medicare premiums plus the supplemental because I will eventually probably go back to the Estados Un-unidos and there are penalties and cost hikes when you drop and re-add Medicare. The supplemental insurance to Medicare also must be kept because if you drop it, you lose coverage on pre-existing conditions. Doctors are not that expensive in Mexico and the drugs are cheaper than my copays in the US plus the Medicare and supplemental prescription premiums and deductibles. For something serious, it is a trip back across the border.

Of course, with the present political rush to strip Americans of all health care and hard-earned Social Security, who knows how soon I will change my mind and get a resident visa and join in the Mexican health care system. It isn't perfect, but in a lot of ways, I understand that it has many advantages over the US mess--the primary one being cost.

So how has the mood toward expats (especially Americans) changed since Trump was elected? And what is likely to happen when there is a change of regimes in Mexico in the upcoming elections, to a much more nationalistic one?

whiteumbrella :

Next question I have is how best to accomplish banking between the US and Mexico. I have heard that HSBC and Charles Schwab are two of the better banks for transfers, and also that a lot of people use Xoom that is connected to PayPal. Any feedback on those? Prefer not to carry a lot of cash around on my person at any one time, so I am thinking modest ATM withdrawals in pesos.

I actually get a large withdrawal from an ATM as needed at HSBC. Its cheaper and easier than a little here and there. I have had no problems, but would prefer to not be seen as a frequent flyer at an ATM. I have a U.S. and a Mexican bank. I am still trying to eliminate PayPal totally. I find their interest rate and their cute little encouragement to spend disturbing, I have also found they are not that transparent, I will be totally rid of them soon. I have never trusted Charles Schwab as a broker so I wouldn't use them myself. No idea about Xoom.
My U.S. bank knows where I am and they have been wonderful. I keep things simple, pay cash and have my Mexican bank as a back up. It works well for me.

Thank you for the info. I think I will check on HSBC.

I'll say you have more grit than I ever will.  I guess a lot of Americans are looking to bolt, but this may be a case of the frying pan and the fire.  Like you say, politics in Mex can turn on a dime. I was thinking of Colombia; there's a left-leaning, highly educated president, but guess what, just heard that Trump was secretly meeting with opposition leaders at his stupid FL club. I did some research after reader your note, and it took me back to somewhere in 1992/3/4, toward the end of Salinas. These were the years of Clinton and the beginning of NAFTA. So, times were pretty good in DF. Of course, Salinas turned out to be a crook and it has been downhill since. Anyway, my two favorite places were VIPs, Reforma, and across the street, Sanborns.

Every time I say in these forums that the Republicans have been itching for decades to kill SS and Medicare, I get the same reply -- they wouldn't dare.  I say just they opposite, they will dare and having executive, judicial and legislative, they can.  So, I'd keep my eye squarely on CNN. Meanwhile, would like to know how you keep your supplemental.  My rate depends on costs in AZ. I'm not sure what would happen to it out of state much less out of the country.

Your supplemental depends upon your state of residence. Let's go private on this convo.

Talking politics here, but what is going on in the US right now is affecting a whole lot of American expats, so perhaps this will be viewed as relevant and appropriate to the forum admin and members.

Who knows if anyone on Social Security and Medicare has a bit of security these days under Trump but especially Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell, the driving conservative forces for this kleptocracy. What will be will be for future generations, but barring some really Machiavellian move, I think that my generation (baby boomers now already on Social Security retirement and Medicare) will surely be grandfathered in, though I don't expect that any of us will ever see a cost of living increase again on the pension, nor a reduction on the Medicare premiums.

We can only hope, and we can try to get organized enough to change the balance of power nationwide and in the Congress in November 2018. If you are an expat who can still vote, don't think your vote does not matter.

Thank you for the soapbox.

Yours has been one of two political opinions on this post and I think it strikes a balance, but I must remind everyone that this is not a political forum. We can not go that direction. Remember how divisive discussions about politics, and religion can get.

We need to keep the forum dedicated to expat life, and how to communicate and manage well in a foreign country.
thank you whiteumbrella for balancing and signing off on the subject.

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