Thinking of living in Mexico? Here is the lowdown
If you are considering living in Mexico, you already have your reasons for having it on your list of places to live. No doubt, after reading a lot about the life in Mexico, you are convinced it is a good option for you. But what about the things that people might not tell you? What are the possible downsides to moving to Mexico? In this article we will cover many of the things that people discover after they have been living in Mexico for a while. In this way, you can further prepare for your next steps for a move to Mexico.
Mexico attracts different groups of people looking for a better life in the country. No matter what group you fall into, there are challenges that you will face. It is not all sunshine, margaritas and beaches (well, there is a lot of that), but you also need to be prepared for the following things.
Paperwork and illogical requirements
One of your first steps to living in Mexico is starting at a Mexican consulate or embassy in your home country. Whether you are applying for a temporary visa or permanent visa, you will be required to produce a decent amount of paperwork. This is where you will be confounded at the rigidity and multiple standards that you hear from all sorts of people moving to Mexico and applying at different consulates.
Once you pass this test, you will have to continue your visa application upon your arrival in Mexico. Some attempt to do this by themselves while others hire an immigrations assistant to walk you through the paperwork. Below is a video about red tape paperwork in Spain, but it is totally applicable to Mexico and you will laugh at it once you know how honest it is.
More paperwork and hoops to jump through
Just because you got through the immigration process, don’t think that you are passed all the waiting, producing documents and making copies of everything. You will duplicate the same frustrating process over and over when setting up a bank account, getting a driver’s license, doing paperwork for an apartment or buying a house, and for buying a car. Some people get lucky sometimes and the process goes well, but there is always the renewal or paperwork or changing restrictions with added paperwork. Mexico is the land of paperwork and often there are many hurdles to pass over while trying to get anything done.
Getting set up for living in Mexico
Once you have passed all the test of doing paperwork for accounts and visas, you will want to get onto living and getting set up. This involves getting your home furnished and dealing with everyday living. Here are some things you will have to deal with.
Buying furniture and setting up your home
Almost all people that have already moved to Mexico will tell you that the best way to move is to sell most things first (see our packing list for living in Mexico). This means consolidating what you own. Since many homes in Mexico are a different style and the climate if a factor, you will need to adjust your home furnishings to fit your new surroundings. Most of us are accustomed to going into our favorite home décor store and picking out some things. This is harder to do in Mexico since it can be hard to find one stop shopping for everything you might need.
This means that unless you buy a condo with a furniture package, you will need to shop around at multiple places and become familiar with what is available. This can be fun for some people, but for others it can be a process.
Adjusting to how much things cost in Mexico
Most will agree that things in general are cheaper in Mexico compared to countries where people move from. It is however not across the board cheaper, somethings are more expensive. It can even be more expensive if you don’t assimilate more to the culture and how things are done.
For most people, they enjoy the savings of living in Mexico. For some though, it can be hard reality when things are not as affordable as they thought. To learn more, see our article that asks the question: How much cheaper is it to live in Mexico?
Dealing with the climate
For many that move to Mexico, the climate is an attraction, but it will also be something to deal with. If you have only been to Mexico on vacation, you might have come in a season of nice sunny weather and you were in an air conditioned hotel room most of the time. Living six months a year or year round in Mexico will expose you to more extreme climatic situations.
Heat and humidity not only affect your body, but your home. Hot weather can wear on you and your electric bill. Some become familiar with heat rash and almost everyone gets used to sweating a lot more. To deal with the heat, people learn a new rhythm of life and how to avoid the hottest parts of the day. Especially in Playa Del Carmen, running air conditioning all day can get pretty expensive, so balancing heat and cost is something everyone will learn to deal with.
Things you will face after a while living in Mexico
Now, once you get pasts the setting up phase, you have the small things that can be hard to deal with. You will notice these things after living in Mexico for a while. Here are a few to mention.
Creepy crawly things
As mentioned in the last segment, living in a different climate not only brings new weather, it brings insects and bugs. Most do not find this to be too bad, but you have some surprises. There are wet seasons in Mexico and this brings mosquitos. You will need to learn to live with this. This can mean not going outside in the evenings or making sure every window has a screen.
There are also new creatures that like to surprise new arrivals like large spiders and scorpions. The true is that these are not much of a danger, but rather just shock value when you see them the first dozen or so times.
You might be accustomed to living in one area or even moving around your own country. This has not brought you some of the challenges that will face you when moving to another country. Number one, you will have a language barrier to overcome, even if you have made other friends that have moved to Mexico, it is limiting your range of acquaintances. Number two is the fact that you will have less in common with many people since you come from another background. And lastly, places like Playa Del Carmen are often more transient places with people coming and going, so meeting and maintaining friends can be hard.
These difficulties can add up to mean that you might not have the range and amount of friends you have at home. It can be hard to meet people. Because of this fact, we wrote a whole article about where to meet people and develop friendships. It is true that we live in a digital world and it is easy to communicate with friends all over, but nothing really replaces the in person contact.
Some move to start a new beginning in life. We see this over and over and each outcome is pretty much the same. It might be that someone was addicted to alcohol or had lots of problems with people. Moving to a new country does clean the slate. More often than not, the problems follow you. So it is important to realize that just changing the location does not eliminate the problem. Be sure to work on issues wherever you are, so you can enjoy your new location and put past demons behind you.
This article has been a lot of the things you need to overcome for living in Mexico, but we will say that for most, your efforts are rewarded. For about 85% of people that move to Mexico, it turns into a success and happiness overtakes any difficulties. It depends in part in your attitude and openness to new things, this will also affect your success rate.
We hope that if you are looking to live in Mexico, this article has prepared you a little more and that it turns into everything you want it to be.