Monday, December 8, 2008

Things to consider if you are thinking about moving to Mexico.... The good The bad and The ugly - Part 2

I realized tossing in bed last night that there are so many things that I have learned since I moved here. I know my experiences can't speak for everyone or everywhere in Mexico but they can be a general initial point of view for people who really have no idea where to start. Here are some additional ideas that I wanted to include:

Touristy or Not Touristy area?

  • Radio: Radio stations that play American Music are often available in touristy areas (at least here in Puerto Vallarta there are 2 stations that play American Music). In El Rancho it may not be available (it wasn't available in my husband's town). I think a non-touristy big city may have an English Speaking radio station if it is close to the border, or if there is a large settlement of Americans.
  • Earning potential and job market: I think I mentioned in my blog yesterday that if you plan to work as an American in Mexico your chances of gaining employment in a Touristy area are probably much higher than in El Rancho or a non-touristy area. The reason is because 100% fluent English is much more in demand.
  • Doctors: I am not certain but I think the chances of finding an English-speaking doctor are much greater in a touristy area. I have seen a few here in Puerto Vallarta.
  • Also the quality of care may be better in a touristy area because now Mexico has this new thing called "Medical Tourism" which enables people to get a dental, cosmetic, or other surgery done in Mexico and have a vacation for less money than it takes to just have the surgery. This puts a whole new demand on the technology and quality.
    The prices of medical care are about the same here as in Enrique's town and in Morelia. But the quality is better. In fact in one instance the cost of a foot surgery for my mother in law was actually less in Puerto Vallarta than in Morelia Michoacan.
  • Wages: In a touristy area the general expected wages may be higher than more rural areas. Back in 2003, my sister in law made around 37 dollars a week or 370 pesos as a waitress in the Morelia Michoacan Airport. I am not sure how much the same job would pay this year, but I do know that the general wage here in Puerto Vallarta is 4000 to 6000 pesos per month or around 400 to 500 dollars a month. If you were a waitress here you would get 100x more tips than you would in a non-touristy area.
  • Rents and real estate: Rent in a Rural area or non-touristy area will general be very low. From $75 to $200 dollars a month. Depending on many factors. In a touristy area it can be from $200 dollars a month upwards to thousands of dollars per month. However, you cannot assume that the prices of real estate in El Rancho or a rural area are always a good deal. For example, I looked at small houses in a housing project outside of my husband’s town, and it was ranging from 370,000 pesos to 490,000 pesos. You could find the exact same thing available in the Vallarta Metropolitan area. Which do you think will appreciate at a higher rate? I believe that the Vallarta property will appreciate at a higher rate, making the Vallarta property a better investment. Additionally, properties in Touristy areas will move at a much faster speed than properties in rural areas.
The road system:
  • In Mexico there are Cuotas. Cuotas are toll roads. There are usually always an option to take a road that is free, but the non-cuotas are full of topes, and confusing signs, if you don't know an area and you are on your way through, it is much better to stay on the cuotas. You will certain items available to you by going on the Cuotas - bathrooms that usually have toilet paper, convenience stores, rest areas, and long stretches of road without interruption. The free roads can often lead you to nowhere, or to where the person who put up the sign wants you to go, which coincidentally is way out of the way.
  • Topes are speed bumps, such as Americans have in residential neighborhoods. And the signs for the topes come in all sorts of different forms. Or there are no signs at all. Some times these Topes are very large, and there is no sign. You have to sort of follow what the other traffic is doing if they are slowing down for no apparent reason. There are probably topes.
  • Police Checkpoints. There are military and police checkpoints all throughout Mexico. The best thing is to NOT be flashy. The flashier you are, the more chances you may have to pay a mordida. Also they may be checking for smugglers. You may be asked to step out of your vehicle. There are also agricultural checkpoints. One note: on these check points if they don't say anything when you are driving through and everyone is driving through, you should drive through. Sometimes you feel like you don't know what you are supposed to do. You probably should not stop and ask a question. That will bring more attention to you. Sometimes they will just wave you through as if "For god sakes why are you taking so long." You have to feel these situations out.
  • Clothes do not seem cheaper here in Mexico. You can go to places that the main export is fabrics and clothes and I think in the US you can still find the same clothes for the same price or even cheaper. We went to Moreleon and the prices were ok. But being that I've always been a thrifty shopper I was not impressed. With all the stories of how I thought things were cheaper in Mexico it was a disappointment.
  • Sizes - Finding cute clothes for the full figured woman... this is very difficult and very expensive.
  • The quality of the clothes are not the same unless you go to a department store in the big malls and you end up paying ridiculous prices for something that is imported from the US and you could have gotten it in the US for a fraction of the price.
Electronics and other merchandise:

  • If it was imported you can count on the fact that you are going to pay a much higher price here in Mexico than you would have paid in the US.
  • If it is made in Mexico you will be able to get a good deal. For Example you can get a 100% agave bottle of tequila for 50 pesos. You can buy Kalua here in Puerto Vallarta for 100 pesos. You can buy many hand made artifacts and items for 20% of the price you might pay in the US.

Well, that is all for today.
Stay tuned.