Dedicated to providing you with credible information about living overseas
Best Places In The World To Retire Community Questions and Answers about living and retiring abroad

Questions & Answers

Q & A Menu Q & A BY TOPIC
To navigate, use menu bar to the left
SONIA DIAZ of Sonia Diaz – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Aerial view of parroquia and gardens in San Miguel de Allende – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingGoing to Mexico for the first time will be a culture shock for some who have not travelled much. Government bureaucracy and banking processes take some adjusting. Paperwork abounds, practices that are outdated and time consuming may be an irritant but at the same time the cost-of-living, weather, vibrant colors, the Mexican joy for life, exquisite food, art and blue skies quickly make these minor issues seem irrelevant. The greatest consistency of Mexico is inconsistency.
 
For example, when people move here after getting their pre-approved temporary or permanent resident stamped in their passport in the United States or Canada, they think they’re done; they have nothing else to do. It’s not the case. There is a second step that you have to do when you arrive in Mexico like having your fingerprints taken (again!), bank payment, trips to Immigration, etc. even though you’ve done some of this before leaving your home country. Temporary resident renewals require a similar process but totally within Mexico.
 
Another difference is waiting in line, such as in buying tortillas; pricing buns, donuts, baked goods at the bakery counter before going to the cahier; paying utility bills and usually banking.
 

 
Also, in the smaller cities and towns Mexicans timeliness may be not a priority. For example, if a plumber starts a job at your house and does not finish on the same day, he may tell you that he will come back “manana” to finish the job. But “tomorrow” means “any day,” not “tomorrow” in a literal sense, as it would mean in the States or Canada. In the larger cities the general population is more sophisticated, more experienced, more traveled and their expectations are similar to expats.
 
So, initially it’s a challenge to come and live in Mexico. But there is also the good challenge to learn, live and experiment on how to become a Mexican.
 
(Pictured: Aerial view of parroquia and gardens in San Miguel de Allende.)
Andy James – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Chuck Bolotin of Best Places in the World to Retire talking with a friend while moving out of the Haciena San Pedro Nohpat, near Merida, Mexico – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingMoving to Mexico means you need to have a tremendous amount of patience for nonsense. The red tape in Mexico is ridiculous and extraordinary, and you’ll find the red tape in areas that you wouldn’t expect it to be. For example, it is more difficult to buy a car here in Mexico than it is to buy a house. Finding a used car in the state of Yucatan is extraordinarily difficult; we ended up hiring a lawyer to do it. Buying a used car is difficult- there’s a lot of paperwork, and you have to have a huge amount of patience for things that you consider to be completely and utterly redundant and ridiculous. 
 
I moved to Mexico from a Caribbean Island, so my move was a lot less jarring as it would have been, because I’d already had a cultural adjustment when I moved to the Caribbean from Canada. Moving from a Caribbean island to Mexico was less of an adjustment because there’s also nonsense in terms of administration in the Caribbean islands. When I came here, it was more of the same. 
 
If you move straight to Mexico from other places, there’s going to be a lot to get used to. There are a lot of difficulties. For example, residency is something that is not easy to navigate, and it requires a huge amount of patience and some expense and help. Then of course, there’s the language barrier, which can make things difficult. 
 
On the good side of moving to Mexico, the weather is nice, and certain things cost less compared to other places. I’ve lived in the United Kingdom, Canada, and in the Caribbean before moving here, so I’ve quite a few things to compare. It’s very nice here in Mexico, the people are lovely, and it’s just tremendously safe.  
 
(Chuck Bolotin of Best Places in the World to Retire talking with a friend while moving out of the Hacienda San Pedro Nohpat, near Merida, Mexico, pictured.)
Chris Gruenwald of Biencom Real Estate – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Martin Medina, real estate agent,  Lake Chapala, Mexico – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingMoving to Mexico is the best decision I’ve made in my life!
 
Moving anywhere has its ups and downs, its challenges and adventures. Certainly for me, it was a very positive experience learning the culture, and learning the people.
 
The people here in Mexico are extremely welcoming compared to other nationalities. They are very welcoming to foreigners and pretty much accept people from anywhere with open arms, but there are certain things that take getting used to. In San Diego, for example, I didn’t experience power outages and if there were any, they were programmed. Here in Mexico, every time the wind picks up in the rainy season, you can have a power outage or the Internet can go out and these problems can be frustrating. Also, in general, people are on a much more relaxed schedule so a certain time of day when you are supposed to meet up, you “can” meet at that time of day but it can also be just a general suggestion as to meeting time. And tomorrow or “mañana” could not literally mean “tomorrow.” That also takes some getting used to because more often than not it just means “not today” but not necessarily “tomorrow,” either. People who are used to a very strict schedule and strict rules and everything going within the lines will have a harder time becoming accustomed to the more relaxed lifestyle here than people who are living more relaxed beforehand.
 
Living in Mexico City is different compared to living in Chapala and Ajijic. In Mexico City, people are always in a hurry. There is a lot of pollution, a lot of noise, a lot of people, and a lot of cars. If you live in an apartment building, it would probably take 6 months before you meet your neighbor. Here in Chapala, it is very different. In my opinion, people from Ajijic are even friendlier than the people from Chapala and even friendlier than the people from Mexico City. People from the villages are in general, a lot friendlier than people from the big cities.
 
(Friendly real estate agent, Martin Medina, Lake Chapala, Mexico, pictured.)
Brenda de Groot of AvensaTravel – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Feather Dance, Mexico – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingMoving to Mexico is great and nice! It is also challenging when coming from a very structured country! It is very different where in Mexico you’re going. Mexico City is an international city, while Oaxaca is a very traditional city. In both cities you will have different experiences of adjusting. Before moving to Mexico, you should know a little bit about Mexico’s culture and not expect that it would be the same as what you have at home. It may not have the same commodities that you have at home but moving to Mexico does give you other kind of life experiences that makes your life richer, I think.
 
I really like living in Oaxaca. You should always expect the unexpected. In Holland, everything is very structured and organized. For example, on Monday in Holland, I would know exactly how my whole week would go. I have appointments and activities in the evening and I know exactly what I will do. In Mexico, everything that you think that is going to happen does not happen and what you don’t expect to happen happens! Days are never the same, as people can call you up in the morning to invite you for a wedding the same afternoon! I think it makes life challenging. I like it. Sometimes it can be a bit difficult, especially if you come from an organized country, like me! 
 
The second thing that I like about Mexico is that there are lots of things to discover and to do. There are a lot of activities in and outside the city: Oaxaca is cultural very rich and has many great things to do. Oaxaca is also surrounded by chains of mountains, so if you love nature like me, you can go hiking and enjoy amazing views. Also there are lots of opportunities like opening a new business or helping local communities. There are various volunteering activities to do. 
 
I never had much of interest in history, so I didn’t expect to get very involved in Mexico’s culture and history. But here people have lots of traditions and customs and it´s beautiful to get to know them. I have learned a lot and it is very nice to be part of such a rich culture!
 
What I also really enjoy is the climate. In my country the sun doesn’t shine so often and we have many dark winter months. Oaxaca has a perfect climate, it is almost always sunny, warm during the day, and fresh during the nights and mornings. 
 
Moving to Mexico does also mean that you will be around people that have different ways of thinking and thus behave different than you. For example in Oaxaca, life is slower than in Holland and people don´t always do what they say! Life is slower as people don’t take deadlines so seriously, the mentality is often if you can´t do it today, you do it tomorrow…and so sometimes it takes a bit longer. To arrange things quickly you need to be lucky, on the other hand you also do not feel so pressured yourself to finish your work! Here people do not like to say no. So in order to avoid saying no people say often yes even though they know they will not be able to do what they are promising! I have had many moments of being happy of getting a confirmable answer while the next day I realized I reacted too early!
 
(Feather dance in a parade in Oaxaca, Mexico, pictured.)
he feather dance, Guelaguetza festival (july), Oax
aca de
Juárez, Mexico

Go Here Next

 
Best Places In The World To Retire Expat Stories contains text, video, and photos by people just like you who are already living abroadUse the menu on this page to go to categories of Stories.
Best Places In The World To Retire Community Questions and Answers about living and retiring abroadUse the menu on this page to go to other categories of questions.
The Best Places In The World To Retire Location Advisor makes personalized recommendations for where to live and retire overseasGet matched to your ideal location to live abroad.
Best Places In The World To Retire Community Questions and Answers about living and retiring abroadAnswers about living, working or visiting abroad.
Best Places In The World To Retire Expat Stories contains text, video, and photos by people just like you who are already living abroadStories by expats & others about their life aborad.
Best Places In The World To Retire - MarketplaceFind for profit, non-profit and religious organizations.
 

Our Pledge To You

Best Places will present information from the Community in a transparent way, unedited, except to conform with our Conditions of Use.

You can trust that Best Places does not manipulate content to sell you anything. All opinions in the Community Q & A and Expat Stories are those of its authors, not Best Places.

Get Known To The Community

Those who contribute to the Best Places Community are our heroes! And being a Best Places hero is fast, fun, and easy. Just go to Questions & Answers, find your first question to answer, click on it, and then click the Contribute Your Answer To This Question Button. If you’d rather enter a Story, go to Expat Stories and click the Contribute Your Story Button".

Contact/Support

Please contact us. We would love to hear from you! Customer Service
Technical Support
Business Development
Suggestions
Press
Phone: (US) 520-940-0481