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How To Move to Mexico: 8 Things You Should Know

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Driving from Mexico City to San Miguel de Allende & Guanajuato
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In this post, you will learn how to move to Mexico and what are 8 important things you should know if you’re planning to settle down in one of beautiful Mexican cities.

This is a guest post written by Shannon Jimenez from La Vivienda Villa, make sure to check Shannon’s blog to find out more about living and travelling around Mexico!

So you’re thinking of a move to Mexico? Maybe you think the grass is greener or the sand is hotter on the other side of the border and you want to sell it all and move to the land of “manana”?  

Well good for you!…It’s definitely a big adventure and purely a personal decision but the one thing I can recommend is that you do your research before putting the FOR SALE sign up in the front yard.

But why shouldn’t you sell everything and just head down?

Here are 8 things you should consider before you make that big move to Mexico and to the country of beer, tortillas and tropical sunsets. Make sure you consider these things before packing your bag in order to make the transition as smooth as possible.

How to move to Mexico: 8 things you should know

Where Should I Live in Mexico?

I hear that question a lot and there’s something missing when people ask it. Perspective. Most people from Canada and the US don’t really realize how large Mexico is. There isn’t just one choice to make. There are so many factors to consider.

Mexico isn’t all tropical beaches and margaritas (well ok, there are Margaritas!). There are colonial cities, mountain towns, tropical and subtropical areas. Simply put, a lot of choice.

So when making the move to Mexico, firstly you need to decide what kind of atmosphere you want to live in. Almost everyone dreams of sitting on a tropical beach sipping a beer, and while that can be a reality if you choose it, there are some things to consider.

Can you deal with intense heat every day and maybe a lot of humidity? Tropical storms and possibly some small earthquakes? Tropical bugs, scorpions? Those things can all be a part of tropical beach life.

If not, You might want to think about colonial cities or cities with more of a temperate climate like Cuernavaca or Lake Chapala. Not to say they won’t have bugs…bugs are everywhere!

Do you want to live in a smaller place in the mountains? You may want to consider higher altitude cities like Puebla. Still close to Mexico City and a year round temperate climate. This makes it a pleasure to be outdoors all through the year.

If you want a large ex-pat community you might want to think about the lakeside towns of Chapala and Ajiji. The largest foreign residents live there.

Guadalajara is a large city that offers culture, color and has all the amenities and benefits of living in a large city, much as you would live back in the US or Canada.

How to move to Mexico | Do You Want To Live By the Beach?

Okay so maybe colonial cities aren’t what you’re looking for. And that old fantasy of living by the beach when you move to Mexico or living in the tropics keeps coming back to you.

Living by the beach definitely does have its perks. Playa Del Carmen, Huatulco, Puerto Vallarta, …they all have a lot to offer for beachside living.

how to move to mexico - 8 things to know before moving to Mexico
Playa del Carmen

All of these places are large enough that they have all the major amenities needed to live comfortably. Internet services, grocery stores, doctors and pharmacists and most other services you use in Canada or the US.

Consider Renting for a While

The best piece of advice I can give anyone is to rent for a while. If you live in Canada or the US, rent your home out and don’t sell everything off until you are absolutely sure of where you want to live permanently.

If there is a certain area you have in mind, take 6 months off to go and live there. Rent a place and spend time in the area to make sure it’s a place you can picture yourself living for a very long time. You may decide after a while that it doesn’t suit you as well as you thought. In that case, it’s easy to give up your rental and move on to the next destination.

Whatever you decide and where you live, it will be a different life and there will be alot to learn. You’ll definitely be stepping outside your comfort zone and you may wonder why you decided to move.

But, on the other hand, if you’re open to change, you’ll have amazing experiences and learn a lot of different cultural things that you never would in your home country.

And that can be pretty thrilling.

Organize your Finances

Before you make that final move down south it’s really important that you make sure you spend a few months planning your financial affairs. Work with your bank before you go south in order to access your funds while you are in Mexico easily.

You want to be able to access your funds when needed for many long years in Mexico in order to live a comfortable lifestyle. The good thing is that some Canadian banks and American ones have branches in Mexico which makes things easier.

Make sure you’re aware of your bank’s policies for withdrawing money in foreign countries, exchange rates, and any additional charges. Become aware of the peso rate against your own currency so you can do some quick exchanges in your head and have an idea of how much things cost. It’s also easier to get used to the currency system in Mexico.

Get Your Health In Order

Before you leave your home country, make sure all your immunizations are up to date. Also take enough medication with you for at least 6 months.

If you have any health problems make sure you take a record of them with you. Once you arrive in Mexico you’ll want to find a local doctor in order to get established with him right away.

Rest assured though, if you do need medical care there are great healthcare options here. Most large cities or even smaller cities have some of the best doctors and healthcare facilities in the world.

You’ll receive excellent care and at a very affordable price.

I was living in Mexico when I was pregnant and had the best obstetrician ever. Although I gave birth in Canada, he treated me all the way through my pregnancy and I felt very well looked after.

In fact many people travel from Canada and the US for treatments in Mexico including surgery and dental work.  So rest assured, your medical needs in Mexico will be handled competently.                                  

Most Instagrammable places in Playa del Carmen. Playa del Carmen photo spots

Make Sure You’re Legal

When arriving in Mexico, you can arrive on a tourist visa. That will give you 6 months to live in the country. After that you’ll have to either leave the country or change your status.

To live for a longer time in Mexico, you’ll need  a temporary visa. After some time you’ll have to get a permanent visa. And working in Mexico requires a work visa.

I firmly recommend that you start the process in your home country before you leave through your Mexican consulate. Otherwise you’ll have to get an immigration lawyer once you’re in Mexico to handle your change in status.

Just realize that there are financial requirements to living in Mexico. Make sure you’re aware of all the requirements needed and file your paperwork on time.

It also helps to have all your major documents with you like the ones below if applicable to your situation:

  • Drivers License
  • Marriage certificate
  • Medical records
  • School records
  • Professional licenses
  • and of course…your passport.

Bringing your Furries

If you want to bring your dog or cat with you to Mexico (and we did, but that’s another whole story!) you need a health certificate from your local vet with proof of immunizations and proof of rabies shot. The pet certificate needs to be completed and dated within a week of your travel date.

Please make sure it shows the rabies shot. Just sayin….we had a 2 hour hassle in Mexico city and had to pay for another certificate by a local veterinarian in the airport because our certificate didn’t clearly show the rabies shot. Take it from me…get your ducks (and your dogs!) in a row before you go!

Learn Spanish

The best tip I can give you is to try and assimilate into the culture as much as possible and that includes learning some Spanish.

I don’t know how many folks I’ve seen that move to Mexico from their own country and don’t even try to learn some of the language. Maybe you won’t be fluent but the easiest way to feel comfortable in a foreign country is to make a connection with others and in Mexico that means learning Spanish.

There are so many apps, you tube videos and various ways to learn the language but speaking from personal experience, the way to start picking it up the quickest is to mimic the people around you and be completely immersed in the language

Once you get the hang of greetings, small sentences etc. and get comfortable saying them, you can move on to more words and have your conversations be more complex.

It’s also pretty thrilling when you practice and are finally understood by others. Plus it makes things a lot easier actually living in Mexico when you speak Spanish.

Learning spanish does take time though, so don’t worry if you don’t catch on right away. You can always get your point across and Mexicans are super helpful and polite..But try to say something… , don’t be shy!

Well that just about wraps up all the important stuff …of course there are always other things to consider but these are some of the most important..

So what do you think? Are you ready to take the leap and move to Mexico?

Summary of the things to know before moving to Mexico

I hope that these 8 things to know before moving to Mexico were useful for you and now you understand a bit better how to move to Mexico. Make sure to check Shannon’s blog for more stories about living in Mexico! Follow Shannon on Instagram and Facebook as well.

Some other posts you might enjoy reading:

Is Mexico city dangerous? Safety tips

Prices in Playa del Carmen – how to save money in Playa

Cancun vs Riviera Maya

Driving to San Miguel de Allende and Guanajuato

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