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An Expat Talks about Living in Coatepec, Veracruz, Mexico

Aug 24, 2020


Coatepec, Mexico

An expat, who decided to move Coatepec, Mexico, talks about the realities of living there. She chose Coatepec for its climate, because it is in the foothills of the Sierra Madre mountains.

What is the name of the city or town that you are reporting on?

Coatepec, Veracruz

Describe how you "dreamed" expat life would be before you moved overseas. Please provide as much detail as possible.

I had read enough on expat websites about Mexico that "dream" doesn't fit. I had decided to move to the Pacific coast and live in a wooded birding paradise along the sea, but my concerns about bugs and weather caused me to ask the next question: What's the weather like in summer? "It's so hot and buggy that I go to the mountains for 4 months," said the owner of the oceanfront birding paradise where I hoped to live. I switched to my second choice, the mountains of Veracruz state.

How has your expat experience met the expectations you dreamed about before you moved abroad?

I would not move back to the US because I have lived a great life at 1/4 the cost and 10 times the peace and community in Coatepec, 4 miles from "the Athens of Mexico," Xalapa. I boarded a plane in Memphis, TN, on Sept. 11, 2017, for Mexico City with 4 suitcases. A US expat who loved the "city of flowers," the capital of Veracruz state, Xalapa, gave me a step-by-step route to a 5-hour bus ride. I have a 1-acre garden and a 2 bedroom, 2 bath house that I rent for $300 a month in a middle-class development with security 24/7. I buy spinach, avocados, tomatoes, a full range of vegetables that I don't grow, for $5 a week. Beyond cost, I can't believe how friendly, even loving, Mexicans are toward the handful of expat Americans who live here. My best Mexican friends have "given" me their two children as nietos. I am working with 2 students on their undergraduate theses, My Spanish isn't as good as it needs to be, but I speak well enough to do what I need to do.

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Expats in Mexico may get a free expat health insurance quote from our partner Allianz Care, a leader in international insurance for expatriates. Allianz's plans ensure that you have access to quality healthcare whenever you need it. Their flexible solutions allow you to tailor your cover to meet your needs and budget..

How has your expat experience NOT met the expectations you dreamed about before you moved abroad?

I have had some problems putting aside my "this is how things are done" carry-over from living mainly in the US. I have relaxed my focus on time somewhat, but people who work for me know that when I say 8 am, it is American time. I still can't eat much chile, but I use it as much as I can for health reasons. Doctors in my government health plan, to my chagrin, follow the US "cut and drug" philosophy, so I go to my garden shop and find out how to use Mexican plants to achieve my goals. My low knowledge of Spanish causes me to protest the lack of precision in the language as used in Mexico, which unfortunately also shows up in the way workers cut a piece of wood.

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If you're not involved in our Mexico Forum, it's a great place to meet others in your area, get answers to questions about moving to Mexico or offer advice to a newcomer.

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