Moving to Mexico and wondering where do you start?
Listed below are some of the criteria you might want to consider before moving. Each listing is personified by using the place I am living now as an example. I have owned land In La Manzanilla since 1994 and have been living here full time for almost two years.
There is a lot of information on moving to Mexico spread all over the Internet, many of the articles deal with the process of getting to Mexico, staying in Mexico or the good and the bad of moving to specific places like Puerto Vallarta. There are many subjects not covered but in this article, by using the links (at the bottom) you can find out just about anything that you want to know.
Of note are some articles which were so relevant to the theme covered here they received their own link under the heading of "RELEVANT LINKS".
MOVING TO MEXICO
Do you have any idea of where you would like to live? This is not referring to which State or which City but a general idea of the characteristics you would like to have in the place you live, for instance:
Do you want to live in the mountains, in the country, in a city or at the Beach?
Do you like isolation or lots of company and neighbors?
Do you speak Spanish?
Do you want others who are like you around?
If your choice were the city would you like a small City or big city?
Do you have to find a job to support your self?
Do you like a lot of rain or just some rain?
Do you like the temperature to be warm all the time or just part of the time?
How much humidity can you tolerate?
Do you plan on renting or buying?
Do you have children who need schools?
Is there legal assistance available if you should need it?
Are Hospitals, doctors and medicine close by?
Are there any recreational activities that MUST be close by?
How much is in the monthly budget for housing, and food?
Will you have a car to use?
Some of these criteria you already have an answer to, the answer to others may be more vague. If you have no idea what you want then you will have to do more work than those who already have an idea of what they are looking for. Make a list including the criteria above and those listed below and see if you can come up with some answers of what (in general) you want. It will not do you any good to study up on Morelia if you do not want to live in the high elevations and want warm weather all the time.
After you have an idea of the basic characteristics of what you are looking for then start doing the research for places that fit that criteria. First check on some of the Mexico Internet sites to see what they have on file, some are searchable. Read different travel books. Pick one or two of the good Internet search engines and run some of the search criteria words. For instance, lets say part of your search criteria is that you want to live by the coast in a small town and you want it to be warm most of the time.
I went to www.Google.com and did a search using only the word MEXICO and got over 12 million hits, Yikes! I added more words to my search and entered MEXICO SOUTHERN PACIFIC COAST and got 256,200 hits, still to many. Next I entered MEXICO SOUTHERN PACIFIC COAST WARM WEATHER SMALL TOWN which returned 14,200 results. This was still too many but on the third entry of the first page of results I saw:
The Pacific Coast of Jalisco, Mexico
... are comfortably warm during most of ... on the weather. ... is a small community located on ... accommodations.
The town is pretty ... The Pacific Coast of Mexico www.tomzap ...
Description: Descriptions of the region and local areas.
www.tomzap.com/jalisco.html - 9k -
This looked promising, I clicked on it and a page came up with a map of Mexico showing where the state of Jalisco is located and a list of cities and towns on the right side. I clicked on the fifth one down titled La Manzanilla and bingo I got my town!
You might try a geographical map of Mexico and look along the central and southern coast for names of towns to enter into the search engine.
Do a lot of research on the Internet, read the forums, use the link pages. Talk to others and find out where they have been and what they did and did not like about those places. Most of all plan on taking your time, the closer you get to your ideal location while sitting at home the more time you will be able to spend exploring places that fit your criteria.
A friend of mine and I went to Costa Rica a few years back because we were thinking of moving there. We only had a week with which we attempted to cover the entire West Coast. First, we did not realize it was the dry season and so we were disappointed in the amount of vegetation we saw. Second we saw plenty but experienced nothing! Is it really possible to know what a place is like just by driving through it quickly? We would have been a lot better off if we spent two or three days in two or three places that fit our search criteria.
I am currently living in La Manzanilla, a small fishing village on the West Coast of the state of Jalisco in Mexico, this is a great place to live but most do not take the time to experience it. I see some tourist come into town for a few hours or part of the day and head out before they have had a chance to get to know La Manzanilla, the people who live here, the beach etc.
This can not be stressed enough, do the research, try to answer as many questions as possible to eliminate places that do not fit your search criteria, and then spend at least a few days in each of your choices that do. Last, spend an even longer period of time in your final choice. You will have much more of an idea if you do or do not like your final choice by spending some time living there, explore the area thoroughly and get to know the people. You may love the town but dislike certain spots within that town. Try renting as close as possible to your final choice to reveal as many of the surprises (especially during the holidays) as you can. Location is important, tolerance is important, balance is important.
Below are some other criteria you may or may not have on your list.
Airports are nice to have close by for those trips back home and for friends who come to see your new place.
Here in La Manzanilla Puerto Vallarta used to be the closest airport. That was a 3-hour drive each way. Every time someone came to visit and again when he or she left almost the whole day had gone by the time you went to the airport and got back. Even though it is a beautiful traffic free drive it can get old very quickly. Yes, the visitors could have taken the bus to the closest town (Melaque), and on their second visit it was more likely that they would do so. But on their first visit everything is very new to them and it is common courtesy to personally go to get them and escort them to the place they would be staying.
Recently they started doing flights in and out of Manzanillo airport, which is about a 45-minute drive south of here. It is now a 2-3 hour event to go to the airport and back and is much more manageable, with second or third time visitors taking a taxi to our doorstep if we did not choose to go get them.
Airports are noisy. Yes, you do want to live close but not so close that your peace and quiet are disturbed. Some of the points to consider are.
How busy is the airport?
How many flights a day are arriving and leaving?
What size are the planes?
If there are just a few flights in and out per day this item is not so important, if there are a lot of flights this one criterion could mean the difference between enjoying your new location and wishing you never moved there.
Which way do the planes normally take off and land?
Here in La Manzanilla we are on the arrival side of the airport. There are very few flights in and out of the airport to begin with (although it is getting to be more all the time) and the planes are all the smaller ones that hold around 150 passengers (no big planes come here). The airport is far enough away that the planes are still quite high in the air as they pass over head. We hardly hear them at all and if we do hear them it is the engines backing off for a landing not under power taking off, there is a big difference!
Once in a great while the wind will change and the airplanes will take off toward us. Even though the noise is nothing, in comparison to living in LA for example, it is still audible and I am glad I do not have to experience that disturbance in the tranquility very often.
Of course living on either side of the airport out of the take off or landing pattern would be desirable as well as long as it is far enough away that the noise does not bother you.
SAFETY AND SECURITY
Is the area safe? What is the crime rate? What types of crimes are being committed if any?
Here in La Manzanilla the crime rate is practically zero. Once in a while some stealing will occur but it is when someone from out of town comes here with the sole purpose of stealing. They take advantage of people who are used to leaving their keys in the ignition and the house unlocked. The small town atmosphere can also be a deterrent because the people who do not live here are easily recognized as outsiders.
There is an army base within 16 kilometers of La Manzanilla; this seems to help a lot in keeping the crime rate low. We do not have police in town but the Federal police come in once in a while and the police presence in the surrounding area is high. I would consider La Manzanilla a very safe place to live. I have never felt fear here in the two years I have lived here, and I live up on the mountain in the jungle alone. There is not even a problem when walking the darkest back streets at night. I know a few young single women who live here alone and have had little or no problems. Of course this is still planet earth and normal precautions always apply.
MOSQUITOES AND OTHER INSECTS
This is a major consideration, for me parts of down town La Manzanilla (due to the Lagoon) has to many Mosquitoes and flies at dusk. The beach is normally bug free but at dusk the noseems can be a bitch!
Up on the hill where I live it is a whole different world! There are practically no flies; I can leave the door open all-day and just use a fly swatter on the ones who do not heed my first and only warning to leave me alone. As far as the mosquitoes go, very few, they just do not seem to come up here even though it is only 300 feet in elevation.
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