Expat Advice: Moving to
An expat from Vancouver provides a detailed report on moving to Manzanillo, Mexico. Having already lived in Lake Chapala, this is some well-informed insight into what is available in Mexico.
What is the name of the city or town that you are reporting on?
Name three things that you wish you had brought and three you wish you had left at home.
Cranberry sauce, other food stuffs that are common north of the border, but not common in a Mexican diet --- bring some;
leave the coats and blankets, except one light jacket in good condition and one light blanket for winter. If you travel to San Miguel de Allende, Mazamitla or Tapalpa, the high elevations there will require more warmth so you might take one extra for travel --- these you will not need and in Manzanillo, mildew will ruin them.
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What advice would you give someone preparing to move to your area about the actual move, choosing a neighborhood and finding a home?
Choosing a neighborhood depends on vehicular freedom. The bus services are excellent but let's face it, we expats prefer to come and go when it pleases us. Needing a car isn't really the issue, however. Maintaining it is. Choose a vehicle that offers dealerships in Manzanillo unless you happen to know a skilled mechanic or your neighbor does. As to the "actual move", including a neighborhood and a specific home, finding a good realtor is probably the best of alternatives. Ask other expats who they trust and talk to a couple of them before jumping in. A good realtor lives across the street from me, but I'm not buying, am I? So if you want a rental, go into the neighborhood and see whether there is a good mix of Mexicans and expats. If it appears to be 99% Mexican with many children, is that where you would feel safe? I live with Mexicans all around me, but as I said about expats buying property on the water side of this peninsula, there are also lots of expats and we help each other find sources for government requirements and services, for locating offices and public services, e.g. supermarkets and other good shopping or movies. We have a very good life here and the expat community extends a helping hand without batting an eye.
What type of housing do you live in? Is this typical for most expats in your area?
The rental I enjoy is not typical for most expats. Expats prefer being across the street, right on the sand where storms batter the walls and often break in. I chose across the main drag where I can cross the street any time but don't often need to since the hotel offers a swimming pool and laundry services, more of a concern for me than the splashy homes that cost a fortune to maintain if a storm breaks through.
How did you choose your neighborhood and find your home or apartment?
Neighborhood --- I had visited at a hotel at the bottom of the peninsula in front of the port so I knew that the Las Brisas area was safe, moderated by nearly daily breezes in summer. To my everlasting joy, I discovered that there are no scorpions in Las Brisas, a pest we had dealt with at Lake Chapala. As to a specific home here, all we needed was a 2B2B and there is a hotel with rentals for long term, including electricity in the rent. It has worked out very well.
Are your housing costs higher or lower than they were in your home country? What is the average cost of housing there?
Coming from Vancouver, BC, Canada, I was paying high rentals and when I owned, it was even higher for common facilities. Add utilities to that and Mexico seems very reasonable, indeed. My rent here is just over $6000 pesos and includes utilities. My only additional expense is for telecommunications with cable TV included, which is very reasonable since there is NO long distance charge anywhere in North America. Average costs vary widely, but most are significantly more than what I pay although there are some of us here on limited budgets who manage quite well with Mexican rental fees. I could not begin to live in either Canada or the USA on my pension, but here I have enough to save for "extraordinary expenses". And Mexican medical services cost zero, and the doctors and technical people are trained just like those in expensive hospitals. I've been quite well cared for.
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