There is a variety of reasons people choose to relocate to Mexico. Some do it for a cheaper cost of living, some want better weather, and some have fallen in love with the culture here. That’s just a small list of reasons but regardless, there are a few things you need to keep in mind before making the big move.
Cost of Living
The cost of living in Mexico is by far a large reason for most people’s decision to move here. The “mighty dollar” doesn’t go as far as it used to in the U.S. and down here, people can retire and live a modest life for much less. One key to shopping here and really stretch your dollar is the amazing local shopping and farmers markets that happen several times a week in almost every town. I’m always surprised by how much produce I get for so little money.
Safety is usually one of the first things brought up when people hear you are thinking of heading South of the border. You can ask anyone who lives here full time if they feel safe, and you would probably hear a resounding “YES” by all who are asked. The news on TV does an amazing job over-exaggerating what goes on in Mexico, just like they do almost everything else they report on. This is not to say there isn’t violence in Mexico. There absolutely is…just like everywhere else. Almost all of the violence you do hear of has to do with drugs or some kind of illegal activity. Yes, once in a while someone not related to the activity may get caught as a bystander, but the bottom line is, if you stay out of trouble and use your head, Mexico is perfectly safe. If you lived in Los Angeles, CA, there are places you know not to be caught dead in at night. The same goes for some areas in Mexico.
Healthcare options in Mexico are actually very good. For short-term medical coverage of up to two years, you can purchase travel medical insurance. It works really well for most people and its a fraction of what it costs to get healthcare in the United States. Most doctors and dentists in Mexico have received some training in the U.S. and most larger cities have at least one excellent hospital. Smaller towns usually have hospitals or clinics. One thing that is important to do though is review the doctor’s credentials. Sometimes someone says they are a dentist but only have gone through training to be a dental hygienist. You don’t want them doing your root canal. Make sure the doctor you are seeing is credentialed in what you need help with.
Prescription drugs are also much less expensive in Mexico. On average, you may pay 50% less than you would in the U.S., and only a few things require a prescription so you can walk into a pharmacy and get what you need. Often times if something does require a prescription, the pharmacy has a doctor on site who will see you for about 50 pesos and give you the prescription.
Culture Shock – You’re not in Kansas Anymore
One of the biggest things I tell people when discussing what it’s like living in Mexico is that being here is an exercise in patience. If you are the type of person that expects things to happen immediately, you are not going to be happy. If you are a me-me-me kind of person, this is not the place for you. There is a joke here about the word “manana” which means tomorrow in Spanish. When someone tells you “manana,” it doesn’t necessarily mean tomorrow, just not today. Be prepared for things to take longer and to learn to go with the flow. Being here is an experience and nothing is ever rushed.
Mexico actually has a very strong and proud culture and they are very family oriented and incredibly proud of their heritage. Almost everyone you meet is friendly and will offer assistance if you need it.
Is Mexico Right for Me?
It’s a hard question to answer as everyone is different but you need to experience Mexico for more than a vacation to decide it. Try spending two weeks in Mexico and learn the town. See how you would feel on a day to day basis when it doesn’t just feel like a vacation. If you do make the choice to go, start brushing up on your Spanish so you can have basic conversations when you are out and about. Mexperience has a great guide to planning your move so check that out.