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San Miguel de Allende street market

Pros and Cons of Living in Mexico 

Common Questions About Living in Mexico

Is Mexico Safe?

Yes. Are some parts safer than others? Yes. Ask any of the nearly 1,000,000 expats if they feel safer in Mexico than in the USA. They will respond with a deafening YES.

Pros

The old days when you could live like royalty on Social Security are distant dreams. You can live less expensively than in the States, but that's not universally true. There are some areas of the USA where it costs less to live than it would in a gringo haven in Mexico.

Most people live comfortably in well-known gringo destinations on about $28,000 to $35,000, single, or $35,000 to $45,000, for a couple, per year in most places.

If that's too rich for your blood (as it is for mine), I know people who live on $800 - $1,200 a month. If you are not living under a bridge in the USA you can live better in Mexico. Actually even if you live under a bridge you'd be happier in Mexico. Don't get all hung up on why you CAN'T do it. Just go and keep your eyes open and it will work out. Somebody may need a roommate or someone to watch their McMansion while they're in Europe.

In many ways medical care is superior to the US system. You actually see a real doctor and he/she takes time to listen to you. Most medicines cost from 1/4 to 1/2 USA prices.

Medicare and USA health insurance policies are generally not accepted. That's why I allied with 7 Corner's Insurance to offer a decent health insurance policy for expats. See middle of page for link.

Hospitals can be excellent to mediocre. Some are world-class. So the answer to this is - ask your neighbors.
Absolutely! Just becasue other towns are popular with foreigners doesn't mean the rest of the country isn't safe or interesting. The popular places have built their "brand" since the 1960s. People follow the herd. Be independent.

If you take the effort to escape the Gringo Trail, you'll be richly rewarded in cultural awareness and save money to boot! Mexico is a big country with a variety of experiences to sample at its cultural buffet.

Spend time in less well-known towns like Guanajuato, Campeche, Durango, Patzcuaro, San Cristobal de las Casas etc. You'll get a better feel for what you do and don't like about living in Mexico. You'll get a much better idea of what a fair price for housing is. Regardless, you will at least have seen more of Mexico than most expats. All too many of them settle in a town and never go out and explore Mexico. The didn't move to Mexico. They moved to a gringo enclave. Then they die. Live! Explore!

San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato
Lake Chapala area. Jalisco
Pto. Vallarta, Jalisco
Merida, Yucatan
Cancun, Quintana Roo
Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo
Mazatlan, Sinaloa
San Carlos, Sonora

 How I can help you

I lived in Mexico in the 80's. Worked there in the 90's - for the Mexican government and private industry, including Hollywood. I was set to move back in the 2000's with my wife. Her pet birds could not be imported so we settled on the border. Today I still keep my fingers on the pulse of the expat community.

I won't help you with how to get visas or buy real estate, lots of people can do that. I will help you decide if Mexico is right for you and give you some unvarnished opinions about different expat communities. 

Moving to Mexico could be the joyous fulfilment of your life's dream. Or it could be as much a disappointment as your first failed love. I'll help you achieve the former.

Be Safe, Not Sorry

Insurance For You & Your Stuff

Coverage For Travelers & Expats - Health + Accident + Air Evac / Homeowners / All Vehicles

Want a Stress Less Trip?

"Mexico" Mike's roadlogs (mile-by-mile guides)  cover you like a warm security blanket.  First time? Don't know where to go? Get a Mikey Trip-Plan. His directions are real landmarks, not GPS gibberish. He'll tell you what to avoid & what not to miss. Whether you want to get where you're going or want to stop and smell the roses, Mikey's got you covered.  

Sample Map

Card image cap

Sample Road Log

Save & Sleep

Save 30-50%. No prepay. 

Booking.com

Are There Downsides to Moving to Mexico? 

Many a man has fallen in love with a girl in a light so dim he would not have chosen a suit by it. - Maurice Chevalier. Many men and women choose Mexico in a Margarita haze.  Follow your heart, but bring your brain on the ride. 

Cons 

People will make you the greatest promises with the greatest intentions. They may follow through. Workers will make solemn promises, sealed by making the sign of the cross and kissing their fist that they will arrive at "9 AM - en punto." Maybe they will. Maybe it will be noon.

It's not that people are dishonest. It's that whatever is in front of them at the time is the most important. When they leave you, someone else takes your place. Be patient. If you are the type to blow up, maybe Mexico is not for you.
Yes, there is a gringo price for goods and services and a Mexican price. When it's not onerous, let it go. When it is outrageous, get another contractor. It's not that the contractors are cheating you (in their minds). It's like they believe gringos have some kind of money tree in their backyards. Happy gringos don't mind paying a little bit extra or tipping extra. But don't be a patsy either. It will take time to learn the difference.
One person's noise is another's sounds of a joyous life. Mexicans generally go for the joyous option. When you walk into an empty restaurant, they will crank up the music so you won't feel sad. Barking dogs are tuned out. Music from a radio is not music unless all the neighbors on the block can share it. Vendors selling propane, vegetables etc. or advertising for anything have to be heard blocks away. There's always a confused rooster who crows all night. Either you adapt or invest in noise cancelling earphones, earplugs or white noise machines. Mexico is not going to change.
When something illogical happens, once you determine that it is not fixable, let it go. If you spend your life trying to make sense of things, you will live a frustrated existance. Sometimes it works in your favor - something you've been trying to get done (a government document, a permit, an item fixed) miraculously appears. Other times it just doesn't happen. Go with the flow. Try again tomorrow. This will make much more sense to you when you are there.

Look at moving to Mexico like choosing a life partner. See how he or she is in different circumstances. Honeymoons with places or people only last so long. You buy or marry and you're stuck.

Follow These Suggestions

  • Drive around the country living in several areas for a few months before you buy somewhere. 
  •  Spend some time in smaller towns for a few days, just to get a feel for what "real" Mexican life is like.
  •  Make a list of the things and activities you think you will miss. Then see if they are available wherever you want to settle. Be reasonable though - you aren't going to get a good bagel, except in Mexico City. 
  •  Moving your stuff is a royal PITA and $$$. While you are investigating places to live, see what's available locally and what you can let go of back home.