Moving to Baja Norte!

Hello all!
We are a young couple with a baby and two small dogs. We currently live in Montreal, Canada but are planning on moving to Playas de Rosarito in October 2019. Ultimately, we will be moving to San Diego when our son gets a bit older but for now, we are liking the idea of slowing down for a few years and enjoying our son growing up on the beaches of Mexico.

I am a French Canadian and I am learning Spanish and my husband is Mexican, he grew up in Playas de Tijuana till his teens. Although he is accustomed to the place, everything is changed and we both feel like we are going to a completely new country. We were both born in California and we have dual citizenship American/Canadian.
We are both artists and we can work from anywhere but one of the reasons for staying so close to the border is to start developing a network in San Diego. We will be doing a lot of back and forth and we are comfortable with it.

We are liquidating almost everything we own in Montreal, buying a small RV and making the trek to Baja next year. We traveled all over the world and we always really enjoy the simplicity of having only a suitcase. We are hoping for a simpler, less cluttered life. Fewer things, more time.

As you can imagine, we have A LOT of questions. We have been researching already quite a lot but we would love to get in touch with Canadians expats, Baja Norte residents with kids and pets and people that commute and do business cross-border at San Ysidro.

If you are interested in helping us directly you can add me in your contacts :)
Have a fantastic day!

Welcome to Baja.

I can't offer to much detail other than get a SENTRI pass for crossing the border.  It will save you many hours of waiting in line.

How is the crossing otherwise? What if I buy some grocery in San Diego and cross over? Should I keep it to a minimum (not look like I have a full trunk?

And the other way around, how is the crossing to the states if I am carrying luggage or such?

Just a thought. You can now communicate effectively with the U.S. and Europe  as  well as the rest of most of the world from almost anywhere in Mexico and make your living on the internet trouble-free.  We live in Chiapas -  Mexico’s poorest state and do business freely and without disruption with France And the U.S as well as most places on Earth. No need to limit yourself to - for God’s sake - Southern California’s Rosarita Beach.

By the way, we moved to Mexico from California with three dogs and two cats. 17 years ago.  No problem.

The SENTRI pass is issued by US Customs and Border Protection.  It allows you to use a dedicated SENTRI lane northbound into the US.  The normal wait can by from 45 - 90 minutes or more on weekends.  The SENTRI pass is around 10 - 15 mins or less. 

Southbound we have never taken more than 15 minutes.  But have never been stopped for secondary inspection.  There are plenty of www sites with detailed information on crossing in both directions.  I like   Don't forget you will need MX car insurance (cheap by US standards) and a FMM or apply for a residence visa.  It's all explained on the Discover Baja www site. 

There is no reason to grocery shop in SD.  There are plenty of great grocery stores in the area; including WalMart.

How do you manage small wildlife and small animals? Example: scorpion vs cat?

Thank you! Thats a great ressource!
Any organic stores (for baby food)? Also, i am a painter, i need to purchase large canvases which would probably be in San Diego (i havent found an art store carrying them around TJ-Ensenada.)
Do you know how to deal with that at the custom? How much they would charge me?

Once again, we moved from San Francisco to Chiapas with three dogs and two cats. We also live at Lake Chapala in Jalisco State- a region infamous for scorpions to say nothing of Black Widows many of whom  have invaded our home in Jalisco  (at 5000 feet) but not in Chiapas at 7000 feet which seems to be a bit too cold for  the nasty little buggers. At 7000 feet in San Cristobal de Las Casas, Chiapas, the climate appears to be a bit uninviting for poisonous little jerks.  However, even in Jalisco  at Lake Chapala we have never had any problem with our dogs or cats - (]Never.[/b] Of course, I was born and raised in South Alabama which is famous for its nasty creatures running freely  about the woods to say nothing of your house and I never had a problem there either with numerous pets in many years.  We lived in San Francisco for some 40 years with no problem and moved to the Mexican Highland Semi-Tropics in 2001.  The single best move we ever made. You could not get us back in the U.S. or France on a bet.

Good to hear. Thanks for the cues, the most dangerous things we have in Montreal are roaming beavers. Kidding. There is nothing remotely scary here which is why venomous critters are uncharted territory for us.

Well, Inanna, be comfortable with the thought of moving from Canada to anywhere in Mexico. We live in the Mexican highlands  in both Jalisco and Chiapas where almost every day year around it is 70F.  Sunshine and crystal days are normal weather patterns.  We thought of retiring to splendid Highland Kenya or  Highland India  but we also considered  the Alabama or Northwest Florida  coasts.  Judging by yesterday´s storm on the coast there, Mexico Beach would have been an unfortunate chosen spot for us. Highland East Africa or Highland India would have been nice choices and, at least in India and, to a lesser extent, in East Africa also due to supurb climate and  , mighty fine food   We decided on the area near Guadalajara, Mexico because of direct flights to the U.S. and Europe from Mexico City but Nairobi and  Mumbai or Kolkatta would have  proven adequate.  I think, now after 17 years as a retiree in Mexico, I slightly regret not having chosen the Indian Highlands near the border with China but then I think, at this age that ambisexuality would have been more fun overall when I was younger and if that thought represents my thinking, why the hell would I leave San Francisco?

Inanna23 :

How is the crossing otherwise? What if I buy some grocery in San Diego and cross over? Should I keep it to a minimum (not look like I have a full trunk?

And the other way around, how is the crossing to the states if I am carrying luggage or such?

Whatever you may have need of in San Diego you can bring back to Mexico. You are limited to like $400 per adult worth of items. There are some things you cannot bring in such as tires,gasoline and the extra large bag of dog food.Other than that you will have no problems.

Inanna23 :

How do you manage small wildlife and small animals? Example: scorpion vs cat?

The biggest nuisance are ticks and fleas.Collars usually take care of that.

For your initial move there is a list of household items you can bring duty free.  You still have to stop and declare them.  It might be helpful if you have the receipts.

I've never been stopped with groceries. It's the obvious new in box stuff.
There are many grocery stores in Rosarito. I only buy in US a few brands
that I want.
Best Wishes

Just a minor note.   I can´t speak for Tijuana´s fleas and ticks and  I when  used to go (often enough) to Tijuana I was a young man having moved from South Alabama to close-by San Diego. On those excursions to TJ I was normally too looped to see ticks and fleas but not bartenders and their solicitous employees. As I stated earlier, my wife and I have lived with small pets for just over 17 years in both San Cristobal de Las Casas, Chiapas at 7,000 feet and Lake Chapala at 5,000 feet. There are some unpleasant and dangerous small creatures  at Lake Chapala  (but nothing compared to South Alabama) including huge  cockroaches   but in Highland Chiapas it´s a bit too high with a bracing climate for these little monsters to proliferate - even large cockroaches.  We brought down three dogs and two cats  from California and have since adopted a number of local dogs at Lake Chapala and that is where they all live in a large rustic, enclosed garden. Neither the dogs nor cats have ever worn tick or flea collars in those 17 years and we have had no problem.  Don´t worry about it.  Now, the giant cockroaches at Lake Chapala (never observed  in San  Cristobal) are superior pests to the mammoth cockroaches experienced in  Coastal Alabama for one reason. They do not fly into your hair during the night as do the Alabama cockroaches  and Alabama cockroaches  are accomplished  flyers who love nothing more than buzzing and crawling around in human hair during the night and that is an annoying trait.

Well Bubba ,

Fleas and ticks have evolved to become very resilient and if I were you I would keep a lookout. A friend here has treated his dogs for both twice now. The ticks were very resistant.
Frequent travel and pests are one of the reasons I don't have pets.  I will take a cockroach over fleas ticks or chiquistas any day. Then there is the Lyme disease as well as many others, yes cockroaches are definitely better.

By the way, if you have a beloved pet and decide to move to Mexico for work or retirement - by all means bring them with you and if you have accomplished the necessary pet health-related paperwork you should have no problem at the border and no problem with your pets living down here whereever you settle in this fine and extraordinarily beautiful  country.  One thing, as we have lived here for 17 years, the dog pets we brought with us are now deceased from normal aging but, boy, what a great place the Lake Chapala community is for new pet adoptions. We have three splendid dogs we adopted in Ajijic   at the dog pound chosen from numerous candidates and that is an  important thing for  foreigners moving here to bear in mind. Now San Cristobal de Las Casas is another story in that poorest of all Mexican states.  The widespread motto there is " a dog loose in the street is a dead dog".  Said repeatedly in Spanish so you may not find as many  adoptable dogs at the local pound. I´m not sure as I have never tried   to even visit a pound in Highland Chiapas. If you actually move to Highland Chiapas - a hell of a nice place otherwise - do not let your dog run freely in the street or about the countryside.  Of course, you shouldn´t allow that in the U.S. either.

You are right if it is unused looking or in its original box, that is an issue. Multiples of one item are a problem also.  I had problems with a dental cleaner I used to clean jewelry. They saw it as a drug and wanted a script. I couldn't change their minds.  Currently, I am having trouble getting a toothpaste shipped. They don't always see things the way you do.

Well, thanks, for the advice Travellight, I see you live in Campeche and I presume by that that you mean Campeche City but there are lots of good places to live in that state from the beach to the approaching highlands. When we are in San Cristobal we love to drive between Oaxaca State and The Yucatan/Veracruz and think you live in a nice area.   I do believe that people in Campeche State  can enjoy what we used to say in the 50s in Alabama. "Thank God for Mississippi"  because it was the single U.S. state poorer than we were in those days.   Just substitute ¨"Chiapas" and you have it nailed.  Despite many years of good fortune living at Lake Chapala with a number of pets with no serious problems , we will remain observant and take any necessary resolute action if problems occur since these little blood-suckers are, indeed. dangerous.

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