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Monterrey, Mexico

Monterrey, Mexico

By Joshua Wood, LPC

Last updated on Sep 17, 2022

Summary: Expats, digital nomads and retirees discuss what it is like to live in Monterrey, Mexico: Cost of living, Finding a home, Meeting People and more.

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William Russell Health Insurance
William Russell Health Insurance
William Russell Health Insurance

What do I need to know before moving to Monterrey?

When we asked people what advice they would give someone preparing to move to Monterrey, they said:

"First and foremost, consider using a relocation support company. Monterrey is a vast city and bureaucracy and a lack of sources of public information mean that starting out in Mexico can be tricky, even if you know Spanish. Other than that, be patient and practical and try not to let the experience be any more stressful than it needs to be. There are ex-pat groups (Newcomers Group, ASOMO, Mexpat) in Monterrey who meet regularly and can help you feel more at home in Monterrey. For further information on relocation services in Monterrey, see: www.integra-mty.com," remarked another expat who made the move to Monterrey.

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How do I find a place to live in Monterrey?

We asked expats how they chose their neighborhood and found a place to live. They answered:

"We needed an area that was convenient to my husband's job. The plant he works at is outside the city in an area that is not very nice, so we had to strike a balance between amenities and convenience. We bought our property so we also wanted to find an area where we thought that prices may rise over the next few years. We ended up choosing a property in an undeveloped area on the outskirts of the city. It was particularly appealing as we knew the surrounding areas were earmarked for development. We also have the convenience of having the green areas of the countryside on our doorstep, with the convenience of the city just 5 minutes drive away," added another expat who made the move to Monterrey.

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What is a typical expat home or apartment like in Monterrey?

"We live in a 3 bedroom house on a new development. The style of the house is pretty typical - modern, reasonably spacious but with a small back yard - as is the street - a gated community with green areas and a communal pool. However, we don't live in a 'typical' ex-pat area. Most foreigners choose to live in San Pedro Garza Garcia, the most expensive neighbourhood in the whole country. There is a large American community here, not least because many ex-pats have their housing paid for by the company they transferred here with. San Pedro was not really an option for us as we wanted a house not an apartment (and a house in this area costs roughly the same as its equivalent in the UK or LA) and as we both speak Spanish, we didn't feel the need to settle in an ex-pat community," explained one expat living in Monterrey, Mexico.

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What is the average cost of housing in Monterrey?

If you are thinking about moving to Monterrey, cost of living in probably a key consideration. Expats commented about the cost of housing:

"Lower. However, some parts of Monterrey are seriously expensive. If we consider the 'nicer' (safe, clean, reasonably located) neighbourhoods, average prices range from MXN $7,000-MXN $16,000 per month rental on a 2 bedroom apartment and MXN $10,000-MXN $27,000 per month on a 3-bed house. Purchase prices for these same areas range from MXN $950,000-MXN $2,200,000 for a 2-bed apartment and MXN $2,000,000-MXN$5,000,000 for a 3-bed house. The above prices are averages for these areas. There are plenty properties available above and below these prices in decent areas of the city," said another expat in Monterrey.

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What should I bring when moving to Monterrey?

People living in Monterrey were asked what three things they wish they had brought and three they wish they had left behind. They wrote:

"Things I wish I had brought: * Sachets of sauce mix - Thai and Indian food are virtually non-existent here and I really miss being able to rustle a meal up in 20 minutes. Other food items such as cookies, chocolate and Bisto gravy, which you can't get here. If you can't get something in Monterrey (which is a rare occurrence in itself) you should be able to find it in Laredo or McAllen just across the Texan border. * Warm clothes for in winter. It gets quite cold here in December and January, particularly indoors, where tiled open-plan houses are not designed to stay warm. * Not something I personally missed, but something to bear in mind - you should have all relevant paperwork (marriage certificate, degree certificate, children's school certificates) validated by a solicitor and your local Mexican embassy before leaving your home country. It will speed up Visa/School applications no end once you're here Things I wish I had left at home: * Electrical equipment - personal computer and DVD player. We have had to have special 220W outlets installed so we can use them. This obviously wouldn't be a problem if you're coming from the US or Canada, etc * Medicines - they are much cheaper in Mexico and you will find the same or equivalent products as in your home country * Again, not relevant to me, but people driving over the border from the States should remember that guns are illegal in Mexico and still penalties will be enforced if you are caught trying to cross the border with one," explained one expat living in Monterrey, Mexico.

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Will I be able to find a job in Monterrey?

When we asked people about industries and career opportunities in Monterrey, they reponded:

"Monterrey is a very industrilized city, about 4 million people. it is also very Americanized. I would start with the Chamber of Commerce in Monterrey and they will give you information on avenues you may follow relative to your skills. This city is very diverse and a lot of Americans and other nationalities live and work there. One thing I would point out is that it is (my esperience) not cheap to live there," mentioned another expat in Monterrey.

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What are the schools in Monterrey like?

"This school is a properly run school in that it requires the students to comply properly with discipline - unlike most other private schools here. The teachers are excellent and the school has a good, varied curriculum strong in sciences. It offers a two-year prepa. Most importantly it is a LAY school - not religious - so there is none of the time-wasting religious ritual found at some other schools," remarked another parent with kids at St Patricks School in Monterrey.

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What are the pros and cons of living in Monterrey?

Expats, digital nomads and retirees living in Monterrey responded:

"We were lucky, after visiting dozens of properties, to find one in three days at a good price with everything we were looking for. It's 25 minutes drive from the big city, on the National Road. It's 2,000 square metres of garden with a currently unoccupied extra 3,000 square metres, contiguous. The original owner had a vision so this house is not the usual concrete block structure, it's a reinforced concrete frame, with non-load-bearing walls of adobe and double glazed windows and doors. It has a boveda roof. A new type of life: in my old age I find this the perfect project because it keeps me active and there's always something to do," commented one expat living in Monterrey, Mexico.

"I've now moved to a quinta of 2,000 sq m about 30 minutes drive from the city. Semi-rural. What neighbours we have are very friendly. Leaving Monterrey was like stopping smoking, the air here is a lot cleaner. We have more noise pollution though from the 'ambulantes' - vendors of all sorts. Not to mention roosters and the odd sheep or cow. But we have double glazing so as not to worry. It's our ideal location, great for entertainment and, in fact, I could use it commercially for that, and earn quite a lot of cash if I needed to. We have a pool, a palapa, and a wood fired oven for pizza. With 2,000m of land and a further 'wild' 3,000 adjacent, it's like living in a park," remarked another expat living in Monterrey.

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William Russell's private medical insurance will cover you and your family wherever you may be. Whether you need primary care or complex surgery, you'll have access to the best hospitals & doctors available. Unlike some insurers, we also include medical evacuation and mental health cover in our plans (except SilverLite). Get a quote from our partner, William Russell.
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What type of social life can someone expect in Monterrey?

When we asked expats and global nomads about their social experiences in Monterrey, they replied:

"Regarding the locals. They are easy to get to know on a superficial basis only. This is a very class-ridden society," remarked another expat living in Monterrey.

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"Where I live now, the local people seem incredibly kind. We don't mix with them because it's a very poor rural community but we do get on with them. We now have a quinta, with a pool, palapa, pizza oven - obviously we expect to be entertaining our friends fairly often," commented one expat living in Monterrey, Mexico.

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What advice to expats in Monterrey have about housing?

"If you are astute and willing to take on a fixer-upper you can make money in the housing market here," said one expat living in Monterrey.

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Are healthcare and health insurance expensive in Monterrey?

"Excellent. I have had open heart surgery in the national system, I was diagnosed promptly and the level of care was as good or better as that in the USA, More recently I broke a bone in my foot and was X-Rayed, diagnosed, and treated in less than 90 minutes. Level of service significantly better than in the UK. And all free of charge," said an expat in Monterrey.

"Private health insurance is unaffordable. I have paid for some procedures such as scans because they are not terribly expensive," remarked another expat in Monterrey.

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William Russell Health Insurance

William Russell's private medical insurance will cover you and your family wherever you may be. Whether you need primary care or complex surgery, you'll have access to the best hospitals & doctors available. Unlike some insurers, we also include medical evacuation and mental health cover in our plans (except SilverLite). Get a quote from our partner, William Russell.

Learn MoreGET A QUOTE

William Russell Health Insurance

William Russell's private medical insurance will cover you and your family wherever you may be. Whether you need primary care or complex surgery, you'll have access to the best hospitals & doctors available. Unlike some insurers, we also include medical evacuation and mental health cover in our plans (except SilverLite). Get a quote from our partner, William Russell.

Learn MoreGET A QUOTE

About the Author

Joshua Wood Joshua Wood, LPC joined Expat Exchange in 2000 and serves as one of its Co-Presidents. He is also one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. Prior to Expat Exchange, Joshua worked for NBC Cable (MSNBC and CNBC Primetime). Joshua has a BA from Syracuse and a Master's in Clinical and Counseling Psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Mr. Wood is also a licensed counselor and psychotherapist.

Some of Joshua's articles include Pros and Cons of Living in Portugal, 10 Best Places to Live in Ireland and Pros and Cons of Living in Uruguay. Connect with Joshua on LinkedIn.

Monterrey, Mexico

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