Located on the southern border of the US it’s a popular destination for Americans. With 32 million Americans visiting the country in 2017, it’s one of America’s top international tourist destinations. It’s easy to understand why. With the Gulf of Mexico at one end and the Pacific Ocean at the other, there is a wealth of culture, history, and fun to be found on the ground. The food is also a big draw for Americans. They are drawn to the beaches and sun of Cancun and Acapulco.
There are a myriad amount of questions when it comes to living in Mexico: What is it like to live in Mexico as an American expat? What’s the difference? What’s unexpected? What is it like to live in certain areas of Mexico? How is the culture in Cabo San Lucas vs. Mexico City? How is the healthcare in Cabo San Lucas? This article will inform those who are interested in moving to Mexico!
The following topics will be discussed:
- Why Americans want to move to Mexico
- Mexican lifestyle — Things you may need to adapt to
- Mexico: Basic Living Conditions
Why Americans Want to Move to Mexico
Mexico is a country that attracts many American expats. It is one of the best options for those looking to live on a warm, sunny coast. There are many options available for Americans to live near beaches and waves. It’s also relatively close to the tropics and the Mediterranean coast. People love to live in bright, sunny areas near water. Mexico is a great example of this. It has almost 6,000 miles of coastline, and approximately 500 beaches. It’s more than just the beautiful coastline; Mexico has a welcoming climate that is warmer than average.
Mexico’s climate is split between:
- Desert climate to the north a humid,
- Temperate climate to the central mountains
- Tropical climates on the coasts.
This is why the areas around Acapulco, Puerto Vallarta and Cancun on the west coast, and the Yucatan Peninsula on the east coast are very popular tourist destinations.
Mexico has a much lower cost of living than that in the United States. One US dollar is worth about 20 pesos in Mexico over the last few years. It is possible to hire maids, gardeners, or even cooks in Mexico if you are moving from the US. Your dollar can go a long way so it is a lot easier to save for your first home in Mexico.
There are so many things to do with your dollar. There are amazing Mesoamerican sites like Teotihuacan and Chichen Itza, which offer delicious food.
People are friendly, helpful, and polite. Mexico City is home to many world-class museums. Many areas also have a vibrant nightlife scene.
What to Know About Mexican Lifestyle
Renting Can Pose a Challenge
Many new arrivals to Mexico will be looking to rent an apartment, but it can be complicated bureaucratic work. Most tenants must seek the support of an Aval (or fiador) when applying for an apartment in Mexico. This person acts as a guarantor.
These people are usually property owners and act as an insurance agent for the property manager in the event that the renter causes property damage or misses paying rent. Potential renters must research a trustworthy Aval before they can search for a place to call home.
Mexico’s bureaucracy is quite complicated; however, you can get whatever information you need from Mexican government offices. Just make sure you have multiple copies of all required paperwork, allow enough time for approvals from agencies, and be patient.
Be prepared to deal with conflicting information from different agencies and officials.
Prepare to Pay in Cash
Direct debits of rent and mortgage checks are available at many US financial institutions. It is convenient to have your rent taken from your bank account each month. Many Mexican tenants do not allow direct debit, so you will likely need to pay your rent with cash.
Other aspects of Mexican life are just a few steps behind cutting-edge modernity. For example, most banking needs to be done in person. You may need to visit the bank in person to set up an online account, or transfer money.
Basic Living Conditions in Mexico
Healthcare in Mexico
Healthcare is one of the biggest factors that cause homebuyers to question whether to move or not to move. Mexico’s healthcare system is well-respected and often more affordable than the US. However, one must have private insurance. There are two options for expats. If you’re a foreign citizen with a job in Mexico, you can get healthcare through the Instituto Mexicano de Seguro Social (IMSS).
Private clinics and hospitals can be used for faster and more personalized care, but at a greater cost. This extra level of care can be added to the care provided by an expat with IMSS.
Cost of Living
Moving to Mexico from the US is often cheaper than moving to Europe from the US. It is much easier and does not require you to cross the ocean. Shipping costs will be also be lower if you ship your belongings home. You can take advantage of Mexico’s low prices on goods and services if you decide to purchase most of your belongings back in your country.
A couple living comfortably in Mexico can expect to pay approximately $2,500 per month, although the cost of living will vary by region. This means that they will have enough money to pay rent or mortgage and enough for entertainment, dining out, and travel.