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cupcake45
2/21/2011 15:31 EST

Would like to try living in Mexico in a couple of years, but I have lots of questions. The most important one lately is where are the safer places to visit to scout out places to live?

We see stories about drug related violence in places along the US/Mexico border as well as Acapulco and recently Santiago near Monterey. We (my wife and I) had thought of places like San Miguelle de Allende, Lake Chapala or Coastal areas.

In terms of safety only, what recommendations do you have? I will probably pester you all with more questions later, but thought we should put safety first.

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tequistom
2/21/2011 19:25 EST

Hola Cupcake......Mexico is like any other country when it comes to safety. The larger cities have more people thus more crime. The violence you hear about is mostly drug related; the average person doesn't even know it's going on.

I live in a small colonial town called Tequisquiapan, in the state of Queretaro. There is virtually no crime here. One thing one ought to remember...this is a poor country, with many unemployed men looking for ways to make a peso or two. If you have beautiful, expensive jewelry leave it in you home. If you flaunt your wealth someone will feel entitles to a portion of it. Use common sense...

Most homes in my area are the old fashioned walled compounds with iron gates and windows..a throwback from the Spanish rule days. I live in a very simple second floor walkup with iron gate on the street and massive deadbolt lock on the apartment door. All balconies (four in all) have iron barred doors that would keep out any intruder who might scale the wall to our floor. We feel very safe here. You would love this little town I feel sure.

TEQUISTOM

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Mac539
3/9/2011 17:01 EST

Mexico is changing rapidly in regards to safety. I would live in larger cities where it is easy to blend in. In small towns you stick out like a sore thumb.
I built a store in Poblado 20, Cardenas, in the state of Tabasco. Everything was fine the first year. Now the cartel is moving in. It has become very dangerous from a kidnapping standpoint and we are leaving. I am going to Ciudad del Carmen.

In the small poblados and countryside, there are no police. There is no one to report a crime to. And if there are police, no one to solve it. And the Mexican government is there own worst enemies. By preventing their citizens from having firearms, they insure that there is crime. No one can defend themselves.
Tim

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Mirto
3/28/2011 15:58 EST

Hello. I am living in a small pueblo on Lake Zirahuen in Michoacan. It is near Patzcuaro. I find the US more violent than Mexico. The people are charming and I do stand out being Nordic looking and tall. However, I am an artist and this is the most beautiful place I've lived. People know me and know that I am not rich. In my 2 years in Mexico have not witnessed any violence, and always rent from locals. Families are most important here. There are other English here, but I never see them. I ride the local bus and it is rare to find an English speaker, my Spanish used to be fluent, not anymore.

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20andOut
3/30/2011 23:09 EST

Cupcake45......

I have considered moving to Mexico as well. I have done some extensive research and found that Merida, Mexico is apparently a safe place to consider. I will be visiting late may. One caution though....if your looking to rent, I have experienced they charge foreigners more than locals. If you are with someone that speaks spanish that would be a plus in case your not familiar with spanish.

Hope this helps.

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ziggyzoo123
3/25/2018 19:01 EST

Hi Mirto. Saw you message and wondering if you are still living in Zirahuen and if so, are you still liking it and is it safe? Thinking of moving there but safety is a HUGE concern.

Thanks for a reply

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RVGRINGO
3/26/2018 11:01 EST

So many seem to depend upon website information for help in deciding where to move in Mexico, without first studying the geography, climate zones, and other details of Mexico, as a first step in planning an exploratory trip to actually experience the places that look most inviting to them. Naturally, they should do that at least twice, in the winter and summer seasons, and probably try to avoid the major tourist centers, as they are very expensive and, well, full of tourists in season, and rather vacant off season, with many of the tourist traps actually closing for half the year. Another suggestion, before exploring, would be to spend enough time on Duolingo.com to be capable enough in Spanish to ask simple questions and understand the answers, and to be able to read a Mexican newspaper and have a fair idea of the content. Then, you will be ready to explore, choose a place, and move to Mexico, IF you can qualify for a residence visa at the nearest Mexican consulate in your home country.
Buena suerte y feliz viaje.

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RVGRINGO
3/26/2018 11:02 EST

So many seem to depend upon website information for help in deciding where to move in Mexico, without first studying the geography, climate zones, and other details of Mexico, as a first step in planning an exploratory trip to actually experience the places that look most inviting to them. Naturally, they should do that at least twice, in the winter and summer seasons, and probably try to avoid the major tourist centers, as they are very expensive and, well, full of tourists in season, and rather vacant off season, with many of the tourist traps actually closing for half the year. Another suggestion, before exploring, would be to spend enough time on Duolingo.com to be capable enough in Spanish to ask simple questions and understand the answers, and to be able to read a Mexican newspaper and have a fair idea of the content. Then, you will be ready to explore, choose a place, and move to Mexico, IF you can qualify for a residence visa at the nearest Mexican consulate in your home country.
Buena suerte y feliz viaje.

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inky313
3/26/2018 12:39 EST

Good advice. The one issue I have is saying that you have to go to the consulate nearest your home in US. I hear that occasionally but in my experience any consulate will do anywhere in world.
After living a year in MX i decided to apply, rather than go home to Michigan, where the nearest consulate was in Chicago, I visited a friend in Seattle and got it there. Before that I visited Immigration in Progreso, MX and they told me it would be fine to apply i Belize.
Is this a real rule that does not get enforced or just a term that is floated around.?

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RVGRINGO
3/26/2018 14:25 EST

Closest usually equals most convenient. However, it may not always be the most helpful.

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YellowTail
3/26/2018 15:04 EST

As I recall - as part of the dance we performed for the consulate to get our RP pre-approval we needed to get a letter from our local police that we were good citizens. Not sure how that works if you are walking into a 'distant' consulate. Perhaps you would need to request a letter from your 'home' police and submit it to the consulate. No idea - just thinking.

Not really related to Mexico - but at one point we were 'inches' away from buying a beautiful house in Florida (actually within 5 miles of Parkland). It bordered on a huge woody area - almost a forest. So one evening we drove to the house we were interested in and parked the car and waited. Soon there were dozens of kids playing in the street. Although we have never had kids - we are not naturally opposed to them - but what we watched going on was enough to sour us on the area. Turns out within a couple years they leveled that woody area to put in a major east-west expressway,

In Mexico - most times we live in a very peaceful place - but there are times when it is anything but. To get a real feel - you would need to pick a major holiday and plan a stay...

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kikipt
3/26/2018 15:43 EST

Closest does not always equal most amenable. We used the Miami Consulate because it was closest, but they would not process a permanent residency, even though we qualified. That would not be the case in Orlando, and it would have saved us time, money and hassle to have just made the trip to use their services if we had only known in advance. Each Consulate sets their own policy, and they really could not care less what the Mexican law says. In Miami we even showed them a copy of the law and they just shrugged! Having to renew the temporary residency is a needless inconvenience and expense. As for the person who said they needed a report from the local police, we did not have to obtain any such document.

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YellowTail
3/26/2018 16:09 EST

We used the consulate in Miami. We actually completed the paperwork leaving the RP vs RT option up to them. When we submitted all our financials I submitted only half what I could have. We visited the consulate - said to the guy at the window we wanted to spend the rest of our days in Mexico. He smiled - came back an hour or so later and said 'go have lunch and we we will have you all set when you get back'. When we returned - he smiled and said 'you have been given RP'.

That very same day we submitted our manaje and they contacted Aduana Mexico and had it approved which obviated our need to return to the US to retrieve our stuff.

Sometimes ignorance is bliss. (Luck - and a smile- helps).

btw - I'm the person who had to get a letter of good conduct from our local police.

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kikipt
3/26/2018 22:03 EST

Interesting! How long ago were you there - just wondering. Ours was the Fall of 2016 and January of 2017. Perhaps you had a different agent, or he was just having a bad day when we were there. He was very nice, but not really helpful, and we had to make several return trips for the menaje (which was VERY detailed). And we already owned our house here, and he wouldn't consider that either. Maybe we did too much research and presented too much paper work! LOL But it sure would have been easier to get RP upfront!

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JaimeC
3/29/2018 16:48 EST

Pick your large cities carefully. Cuernavaca was on the list of 50 most dangerous cities. I can attest to the pretty horrific news reports.

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YellowTail
3/29/2018 17:07 EST

"Cuernavaca was on the list of 50 most dangerous cities."

In the WORLD ? I would find that a little hard to believe. Cuernavaca is a city which is built on the side of an extinct volcano. The elevation range is something like 3000 ft to 6000 ft. Just as broad a range is the economic conditions. At the lower, hotter elevations (with lower economics) there is a lot more crime than in the more affluent areas,

But - everyone needs to be aware that at any moment they can be the target of a restaurant armed robbery - where patrons need to hand over their valuables. Or - people walking out of the bank with a bundle of cash. The bad guys (a lot of times of motorcycles) will follow them home...

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YellowTail
3/29/2018 17:09 EST

"Cuernavaca was on the list of 50 most dangerous cities."

In the WORLD ? I would find that a little hard to believe. Cuernavaca is a city which is built on the side of an extinct volcano. The elevation range is something like 3000 ft to 6000 ft. Just as broad a range is the economic conditions. At the lower, hotter elevations (with lower economics) there is a lot more crime than in the more affluent areas,

But - everyone needs to be aware that at any moment they can be the target of a restaurant armed robbery - where patrons need to hand over their valuables. Or - people walking out of the bank with a bundle of cash. The bad guys (a lot of times of motorcycles) will follow them home...

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MonicaRixPaxson
3/29/2018 17:52 EST

I have lived in Cuernavaca for 4 years and in the state of Morelos for 11. I have to wonder what the people who wrote that it was a dangerous city were smoking. :) Like many cities in Mexico (and most of the rest of the world), there are violent encounters between gangs, but rarely. The worst crime I was witness to was a team of pickpockets who nabbed my moneyless billfold in a grocery store at Christmas. I didn't even notice until I went to pay. When they were unable to use my debit card (it has a signature) they threw it to the ground in a parking lot along with my resident's card. A nice lady found them, looked me up on Facebook and arranged to meet to return the cards, so no real damage was done. She has become a friend and I learned to keep my purse zipped. I find that in my day-to-day life here the nice lady is far more representative of the people who live here than the pickpockets. But then I'm from Chicago, so if you want to discuss dangerous cities, we'd have to start there.

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YellowTail
3/29/2018 18:59 EST

Sure - you should not live in fear - but you should use common sense. We are up by 5AM every morning and to bed most nights by 7PM. The few times we have gone out later at night we have found a totally different world than what we are used to - kind of like that scene in Apocalypse Now.

There are places we avoid : Civac, Temixco, Juitepec, and points south. - particularly at night. Sure - most of the problems there are probably gang related - but stuff can still happen.

I do not dwell on it - but from time to time I take a peek at the 'police' page for el sol de cuernavaca...

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JaimeC
3/30/2018 16:26 EST

Ok, I lived in Cuernavaca too. I heard a gun battle for an hour and a half from less than a km away. First time in my life I heard automatic gunfire, grenades, etc. that killed multiple people. Google marinas vs beltran (jefe de jefes) I was caught up in 2 military operations that resulted in major abuse to the citizenry. Also google "El Negro", and the Temixco massacres. Surely you read about those. There is so much much more. At the time (2010) Cuernavaca was in the 50 most dangerous cities in the world, it has been pushed out of that ranking.

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YellowTail
3/30/2018 16:54 EST

Today - you probably want to exercise caution in the area south of Cuernavaca (Temixco, Juitepec etc) down into Guerrero state. Particularly at night, But I believe for the most part whatever troubles there are are gang related - they are not targeting expats. As I understand the history - all the big wig drug lords had their weekend/vacation homes in Cuernavaca. They all lived in peace and kept order. Then the government cracked down and the power fell to the lower echelon gangsters who battled it out.

I do not think it is fair to label the whole of Cuernavaca as an unsafe place - just as you can't label all of NYC as unsafe if there are problems in - say - the Bronx. Over the years there have been a handful of times when I was in a funky place and the hairs on the back of my neck stood up. I backed away. We have never had an ounce of personal trouble.

And - although our house is not on the market - in our very small community - real estate sales truly seem too be popping - after a rather long stale period.

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RVGRINGO
3/30/2018 17:16 EST

Boo!
POP! POP! PoP!
Bang!

There: If you jumped, Mexico is not the place for you.

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TWalker
3/30/2018 17:57 EST

Hmmm...Americans are safer in Mexico than the U.S. This includes the areas which may be considered dangerous at any point in time.

Texans are twice as safe in Mexico, and three times safer than in Houston.

The areas which are most safe are areas like Mexico City, Puebla, Ajijic, Chapala or anywhere U.S. citizens congregate.
Source: https://www.huffingtonpost.com/lonely-planet/are-tourists-safe-in-mexico_b_1503288.html
https://www.usatoday.com/story/travel/destinations/2018/03/29/mexico-safest-places/466766002/

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nelsonokelmgmailcom
3/30/2018 19:37 EST

Puerto Vallarta has been named the safest city in Mexico on a number of occasions. Have a police force to protect the ex-pats. Always open to interpretation. I've been here 5 years and feel totally safe.

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Elexpatriado
4/2/2018 11:36 EST

I was just in Mexico in Cancun, and was a but shocked to hear that there were 2 murders on the "strip"

There is concerns it is going to pass the same way is Aculpulco.

BTW I live in Colombia and travelall over, so Iwouldnt have any problem living ibn Mexico.

But I have noticed that while Colombian crime rate is (supposedly) decreasing every year,Mexicos is increasing, and they are about the same now.

When a place gets close to being like Venezuela, Honduras or El Salvador, time to think about leaving..

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