Mexico: ACA/Obamacare for Americans in Mexico:
I read this unfortunate post and decided I would ask you a question. Background:
I receive the Medicare attached to my Social Security check, I don't know what part that is but they take out $100 usd per month for it.
I have no intentions to ever go back to the states; no family, no reason, not even death.
I am afraid to opt out of Medicare for FEAR that I will be considered uninsured and they will force me to become insured or penalize me. I have not declared that I am a full time resident of MX, as my cousin in CA is collecting important mail like SS statements and Pension check stubs that are mailed monthly; I also have a CA bank; I am totally paperless down here.
Question: Should I hang onto the Medicare until ACA gets ironed out, if ever?
I sure could use that extra $100 but not if it will cause me to be penalized to obtain healthcare in a place I never intend to reside.
Mexico: moving with 2 cats:
First of all, you posted on Sept 21 and said you are moving to PV in Sept '14, meaning 2014, right? At first blush it looks like this Sept 14. That being said, here is my reply:
WOW! I JUST got back from PV 2 days ago, trying to help a friend move there permanently. She rented a condo for one week because I begged her not to commit to one (6 months or 1 year) until she saw it "boots on the ground." I visited her for 5 days with my cat and no one said a word. She ended up not liking the rental in person that she was so in love with over the internet.
However, finding a condo DURING High Season will certainly be a challenge, and a lot of the high end ones are not pet friendly. My friend was very adamant that she wanted to be on the flat and level close to the beach and walking distance to restaurants, etc. and we couldn't find a thing. Finally, the Vistalegre representative in PV finally told her all the "flat and level" rentals are 'vacation' rentals and are already spoken for. Most of the long term rentals are "up a hill." Also, there was NOTHING in her original price range of $1,000 or less on the flat and level 'vacation' rentals; everything had been rented for the season, even as early as Sept.
All this to say, secure a pet friendly condo for a few weeks or one month only, until you find the area you want to live in, "boots on the ground." Try to get a 6-month lease in case you made a bad choice; however, if the price will be lowered even more for 12 months, then do consider it. They will want to charge you separately from the rental price for electric, especially if there is at least one a/c in the home/condo. Time flies when you are having fun so a year will go fast if you have to go that route!
Hope this helps. CJ
Mexico: airport security scruntiny?:
Due to the Gringos bringing things into Mexico to sell, the scrutiny (besides security issues) is with MULTIPLES of the same item. Doesn't matter if it is pills or things in a package that have not been opened yet. My advice is to declare anything up to $300 and any other new things, take them out of the packages so it doesn't look like you might retail them. Any OTC pills that are the same, split them up into different luggage so they won't all be together.
Mexico: short term cell phone:
I bought a cell phone (LG) for $29.95 and bought minutes for calling around MX. Mostly people use it for texting b/c 2 texts = 1 call. It's way cheaper than using your American phone. Telmex provides the service and as long as you know the prefix I think you can call anywhere within Mexico.
If this last sentence is not correct I am sure someone will come along and correct me. Unfortunately, you can find out how much $$ you have left on the phone, but not minutes b/c depending on where you call it will cost more or less, thus the texting. I didn't learn how to text until I came to MX; I had a smartphone with qwerty keyboard and just emailed everyone.
Mexico: Grand experience with Mex Hospital:
My appendix burst on the way to the hospital when I was 4 or 5 years old. The poison can kill you, YES, and the Priest was there giving me my Last Rites; it was touch and go. They had to open me up, sponge me out, and I have a very ugly scar that was not properly sewn up on a little girl, but I am 66 and alive!
All that to say, I have moved here with no health insurance and I don't plan to go back to the US for anything. BUT I am afraid to cancel my Medicare because of Obamacare; I'm afraid they will think I am not insured and try to push something on me.
That being said, other than needing a credit card or a huge amount of cash UP FRONT (you settle with your insurance later, if you have any) the MX hospitals do a marvelous job of helping the sick, without having a huge amount of Accounts Receivable to worry about with all these "here today, gone tomorrow" Gringos.
There is a free Seguro Popular insurance for people with no insurance, who do not work and don't qualify for IMSS, but I have yet to apply. I hope to do so before anything vile happens to me.
Thank you for sharing your experience. Always nice to hear about the good things in Mexico.
Mexico: Scouting trip:
You're not currently from north of PV are you? Switching sides?
Hi cupcake 45,
I've seen you on this forum many times and thought you already lived in Mexico?
That being said, I don't have a W/D at the moment so I take my clothes to a wash 'n fold laundromat in town, so cheap, and there are several to choose from. Of course I don't have heavy clothes like jeans, and my landlord washes his sheets and towels for this rental.
Lots of rentals have the stack type of W/D and it is my experience from using these that the dryer takes forever because it is only on 110V and small.
TIP: Tumble dry the clothes for 5 minutes and then hang them on a clothesline to dry, electricity being so EXPENSIVE in Mexico. To iron the superfluous wrinkles when dry, I hang clothes on a hanger and spray them with a bottle and let them dry before putting them in the closet. I have not had to use an iron yet, and never did when I was living on my boat, either. I have no clothes that have to be dry cleaned, but the larger towns do have this service; not ours.
As for your second question, sorry I can't help with that.
Mexico: Can anyone help me get settled?:
And I thought I was brave!
I live in a town 45 min North of PV and have been here one year. I had made one friend on the internet before I got here and she met me at the PVR airport. I suggest you do the same. I have no vehicle or else I would volunteer.
I lived on my 180-day arrival visa (6 months) while I made contacts, and found a man that (for a fee, but well worth it) got my first 'immigrante' visa for me, doing all the paperwork. I never would have been able to do it without help. This has to be done one month before your 180-days expire. On anything you do with immigration there is always a window in which things must be completed so ASK. I didn't ask and almost missed my window to complete things. If you miss a window, you have to start all over. It is hard to get a visa if you don't live here FIRST because they want an electric or phone bill to prove you actually LIVE here before you can go through the process. I got my CFE bill from my landlord, and it has to be current.
As for stepping off the plane and looking for a welcoming committee, WELL they will be there, all sharks trying to get you to go with them for a timeshare presentation! It would be better for you to make arrangements for a taxi to take you to a hotel that you have previously arranged for. THEN you can get a more permanent place to live; walk around and ask. Ask the hotel people; there are plenty of apartments available, especially in OLD TOWN that are affordable. Don't get anything long term at first because you may not like it there. I moved 4 times in 7 months before I found a place I am comfortable in, just rent month-to-month at first. There are MANY factors that I won't go in to now for a single Gringa (as am I) that you would want to be careful where you live. It MUST be gated and locked for security. There is always petty theft to be aware of, even in PV, and try not to be on the ground floor until you become more comfortable with your surroundings.
You didn't mention work (because of your age) but then that is an entirely different matter. I wonder why PV instead of another 'village' in which you wouldn't get 'swallowed up' in your surroundings.
Mexico: When expats have to pay MX income tax:
Here's a reply from Expats In Mexico Facebook page, and it makes sense to me:
Carry Bean says: "I've never paid taxes in Mexico because I make no money here. If you have rental property you have to pay 'Hacienda'. My income is SS & that comes from the US but I don't pay Mexican taxes on it. I think the grey area is if you work online for a foreign company. Lots of people do that but I don't know if they pay. Probably not, since how would Mexico know?"
Mexico: new questions:
The first 2 paragraphs are true. I paid someone to go through all the paperwork for me for the first time.
And Paragraph #1 makes sense, since an FM3 means resident status and so you must be a resident. You also must prove you live there by providing a current electric (CFE) bill provided by your landlord. The process is complicated.
Mexico: Pacific or Gulf side?:
I'm with Kittvincent. MEXXICO! The Pacific side has less storm action, from Puerto Vallarta up northward. I am north of Punta de Mita on the coast, a point where storms don't go around very often or hit land there.
I am here to tell you that you CAN live in Margaritaville on the beach. I happen to be in a tourist town renting full time at $500 USD per month on Social Security. This town has everything you could want because of the Gringo owners who come here to their homes 6 months out of the year. Vegan, gluten free, Organic Farmers Market, and any kind of cuisine you could want, even East Indian and Falafel. American and Mexican restaurants abound, and of course the 12 peso taco also.
My town is on the same Latitude as Hawaii so it does get humid in the summer but I am from CA and I survived last summer with grace. I had an ocean breeze, floor and ceiling fans, stayed home for the HOT hours of the day and the beaches are magnificent! The winters here are PERFECT! There are several towns north of me (I am only 50 minutes north of Vallarta) on the beach that are progressive, too, where your peso would stretch further. There is one town south of me closer to Vallarta that I am thinking of moving to in the near future, which is less expensive to live than the tourist town I live in, although I think $500USD is cheap rent.
Mosquitoes? Most progressive towns spray during the mosquito season and I use mosquito netting above my bed and have a tennis-racquet type zapper for the occasional stray I encounter in the morning or evening. I hate bugs and haven't really been bothered by any, me or my cat.
So come down on vacation, explore, and have FUN because that's what retirement should be about. Stress-free fun! Remember, your life is what YOU make it!
As for buying? Of course you should come live here for at least a year so you can experience the seasons. I don't live in the mountains away from the beach because I want to get away from the winter cold and the mountains to get chilly. And even in renting, don't sign a lease because a lot of these homes have something wrong with them and the property manager must be on the ball or it can be miserable. I would rather move around and find the perfect place than be stuck somewhere, miserable.
Mexico: Costco and Sam's Club Cards:
I had a Costo card from the states that had expired. I had to renew in Mexico and the card just says "Mexico" over the star on the front. They did take a photo and give me a new number on the back. However, I think renewal in the states had gone up to over $50 USD. The one here in Mexico was 450 pesos, or the equivalent of about $37.50. So it was much cheaper for me NOT to renew online in the states!
Mexico: moving to Isla Mujeres, Mexico:
I have been waiting for someone to answer you.
I was there once, and while it is a beautiful place at the top of the island where the sand is totally like white sugar, and the condos are nice, I wonder why anyone would want to move there permanently? I guess it depends on how young you are. Living on an island that is 5 miles long and 1 mile wide would leave you wanting to get off in a very short period of time, wouldn't it?
I got salmonella poisoning from a bad fish that was blackened to disguise the fact, and had to get treatment elsewhere. Also, the ferry ride to the mainland is about 45 minutes.
Good luck on your venture.
From a Gringa resident retired on the West shore of Mexico
Mexico: LEGALIZING YOUR CAR in Nuevo Vallarta:
I am 40 minutes North of Nuevo, in Sayulita. We have a gal here that helps with things like this. She just posted this on Facebook:
"Audrey International ~
Aduana says that if you have Permanent Residency you have to go to the border and surrender your Temporary Importation sticker. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news."
It wouldn't be a bad idea to contact her for help at: email@example.com
Mexico: ordering by mail:
There is a GNC inside of Mega in Bucerias, next town over from Puerto Vallarta. I know that brand isn't what most people buy but they are a brand from the States and if I need anything I am not so picky.....
Mexico: Resident pass:
I guess I am blessed to live near Puerto Vallarta. There is a new INM office in Nuevo Vallarta that has everything you need in one place. Once you obtain the sheet of paper that tells you what you need and how much money it costs, you can choose which kind of FM3 you want (I wanted a working FM3 which has an application for a Tax ID number attached and cost more), then you can go back to INM and get the process started. This process is under the new laws, and since this was my first immigration pass after my 180-day visa was set to expire, I hired someone to do the paperwork and go to INM with me. The first process (getting approval) took 30 minutes in the new office and after approval, the second visit for thumb prints and lamination of the FM3 took 5 minutes. Having the picture taking, copies, and everything in one building next to a bank makes life easier for us in Nayarit and Jalisco. Yes, we are blessed.
Mexico: Staying in Puerto Vallarta:
I live in Sayulita, about 45 minutes North of PV. There is LOTS to do if you don't mind taking the bus (there are many and come often), mixing with the locals which is a pleasant experience, or renting a car for a day or two. There is a beautiful botanical gardens not to miss, just south of PV. You can come visit Sayulita which is a magical town you will want to stay all day in. Visit San Pancho (just above Sayulita) for the Blue Pig BBQ & Blues, the best ever ribs in the whole area (none to compare in PV), and you can spend the day on the Ally Cat Charters [on facebook] (out of La Cruz Marina just 15 minutes North of PV) for snorkeling at the Marietta Islands or whale and dolphin watching (depending on the month you are here). There are places to visit in Old Town PV or the Zona Romantica where I am told is some fabulous shopping and restaurants (gay zone) and a rather large mall with lots of stores, if shopping is your bag (pardon the pun). So, don't be afraid of spending a month as long as your pocket book will allow. You will be there long enough to find the locals hang outs that are a bit less expensive and not so "touristy." Hope this helps! CJ
Mexico: retiring in mexico:
There is nothing wrong with staying on the West Coast, only Baja is so spread out and there is only the "have's" and "have not's" no middle class to speak of.
I'm in Sayulita on the mainland, 45 minutes north of Puerto Vallarta, on the coast at the beach. The crime seems to be happening inland where the cartels are growing or making their contraband, and then of course the border towns where it is shipped to the ever-consuming USA. We have no major crime of persons here; only petty theft from homes that are unlocked during the day/night, being a tourist-driven town. PV is a little larger but the only "activity" that happens once in a while is cartel targeting cartel in a parking lot somewhere. Tourists are not being targeted except in big cities like Mexico City or Guadalajara, where once in a blue moon you hear of a kidnapping for ransome. It seems there is more crime per capita in the USA.
The weather here is fabulous, even in the summer. The rains cool things off and as long as you have a good ceiling fan, floor fan you don't need A/C unless you want it. I'm from the rather cooled-off Bay Area in CA, which seems to have less and less summer weather and I don't like the cold. I'm 65 and retired here and LOVE, LOVE, LOVE IT! Try the West Coast, you'll love it! CJ
Mexico: Any good campgrounds or sightseeing recommendations for traveling down the west coast?:
I can heartily recommend the campground on the beach at Sayulita, Nayarit south of Mazatlan and north of Punta Mita and Puerto Vallarta, off Hwy 200.
It is safe and kid/dog friendly.
Vallarta has the Malecon and Old Town and I understand the Gardens south of town are not to miss!
Mexico: FM 3 Visa vs Tourist Visa:
GOOD QUESTION, CUPCAKE! I will be going through the same thing, thinking or being told that I had to have permanent residency FIRST before I could move my household goods down ONE TIME ONLY, WITH NO HASSLES such as inspecting each box, and charging taxes on things that look new.
I will be interested in seeing some responses here!
Mexico: What to do or avoid in the Sayulita area?:
Explore: sounds NOT like a vacation. I have researched this town since Oct of 2010, visited in May of 2011 for one week. I had already decided to retire (move) there so I got on the SayulitaLife.com forum and read everything I could about the town. Now I am part of Sayulita People on Facebook, still learning. I will be moving there by the end of this year; Feb 2012 at the latest. I have made 'friends' in town already, one a 30-year resident, went to the church of my choice, have an apartment waiting for me until Feb, and have found out what electronics to bring because they are too expensive to buy in MX, and what electronics NOT to be without.
There are many Canadian ex-pats there and Northern Americans (snow country) and even a few Californians. You will see the gringo restaurants but be sure NOT to miss the little hole-in-the wall Mexican cocinas, home made food restaurants! There are lots of foods NOT to miss at the Farmers Market on Fridays, like the cake lady and the home made soup lady. Tacos on the streets and home made ice cream and ice-sicles of real fruit! The food is to die for!
If you surf, you will be in heaven. If you like fish, you will be able to get it fresh every day ~ this being a fishing village forever and surfing town (since the 1960's). If you like it quiet and not want to deal with vacationers 6 months of the year, then try San Francisco (called San Pancho) about 3 miles up the road from Sayulita. Quiet, beautiful beach town.
As a Canadian, you will fit in nicely. There are several volunteer groups to keep the town clean of trash, and Grupo Pro Sayulita helps with other issues of the town. The goal is to keep it clean for visitors and residents and keep it a Mexican town, not a 'condo' town. Puerto Vallarta is close enough (45 minutes) to visit and there is a Costco and Sam's Club if you get homesick for American-type anything!
During 'high' season there are robberies of opportunity, as there would be in any tourist town. Lock your casa before going to dinner, don't show off jewelry or money, and be aware of your surroundings. And for god sake, don't walk around town talking on your iPhone! I can't think of any other negatives. Summer is hot and humid, even though the town is on the same latitude as Hawaii. This might be because it is up against a jungle on one side with the ocean on the other.
I am a single, retire-age female, who is not afraid to move there alone, although I will have my Mexican 'family' when I get there. I have friended another lady who is following me there a year later. One of the things I like about Mexico is that they take care of their seniors and are family-oriented! No so in the States. I am sending you a Private Message with my email, as it is easier to converse there and I can send you videos of Sayulita and other things to read.
Mexico: Moving by Air Cargo:
Has anyone done this?
Specifically, from the USA to Puerto Vallarta airport. I'm thinking about it and can't find anyone who has already done this on any blogs out there......
Mexico: Moving to Merida:
Try Riviera Nayarit, north of Puerto Vallarta.
Very popular with ex-pats from Canada and Northern parts of America. Towns north of PV are Bucerias, Punta de Mita, Sayulita, San Francisco (aka San Pancho), all on the beach nestled next to the jungle, on the same Latitude as Hawaii, only higher humidity in the summer, probably because of the adjacent jungle. Very safe; short bus ride to PV if you need to go to Costco, Sams Club, Wal-Mart, etc. Otherwise, local fresh fruit and vegetables and fresh fish daily, 365 days. Tacos on the street still $1 USD. Quaint, friendly, touristy in the winter high season, sleepy in the low season.
I am a female of 65 and moving there at the end of this year by myself, with cat. I visited first, met friends that I had emailed, and secured a place to stay with deposit while I was there.