Expat Exchange

Tijuana, Mexico

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

By Joshua Wood, LPC

Last updated on Sep 17, 2022

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

What do I need to know about living in Tijuana?

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

"Learn Basic Spanish is number one. Two be prepared for the culture shock. It is a completely different way of living from most countries and you will need to adapt to their way and not the other way around. It's best if you know some people there before going. They can help you with the adaption and suggest the safer areas as well as the areas to stay away from," remarked another expat who made the move to Tijuana.

"Make language acquistion a high priority--but not over taking care of you family's needs! If you know nothing about Mexican culture, working with a Mexican professional language tutor can really help you learn the culture at the same time. Be prepared that adjusting to a foreign environment can be very difficult--usually more so for spouses (typically SAHM) and takes up to 3 years to begin to feel a part of the community," explained one expat living in Tijuana, Mexico.

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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.

What do I need to know before moving to Tijuana?

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

"Tijuana has 1,400,000 inhabitants, has few attractions and is a dirty, ugly border town. There are few job opportunities and most jobs pay about $20 (US)/day!!! If you are an American citizen, you can cross the border (fast crossing with Sentry or Global Entry cards) and work in the U.S. We HAD to move here, (long story) or I never would have left Puerto Vallarta. This should not be a destination for families with children. It's a last resort for those down and out, trying to save a bit of money, while working in the U.S," explained one expat living in Tijuana, Mexico.

"Don't move here! I was nearly kidnapped. The cartels have made this place way too dangerous! I fled this place to save my life and the life of my husband and lost everything! You have to be insane to consider living in Mexico these days," said another expat in Tijuana.

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How do I find a place to live in Tijuana?

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

"When we still lived in PV, my Mexican husband contacted a real estate place that handled rentals. He flew there to see it and we moved there. Two years later we found a bigger/better place, closer to the border, on the recommendation from a buddy at his work," mentioned another expat in Tijuana.

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

"Our "house" is the downstairs of a 5 bedroom, 3 bath, 2 story house. We have 2 bedrooms, 1 bath, huge living room, dining room and kitchen with gated parking and back yard. It has been converted into 2 separate dwellings. It is in one of the better (upscale) areas of Tijuana. Yes, most expats would want close access to the border and a larger living space than most Mexican homes have," explained one expat living in Tijuana, Mexico.

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What is the average cost of housing in Tijuana?

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

"Oh, much lower!! We pay $400. (US)/ month for our house. In San Diego, California, the rent for such a place would be about $1500./month. You can rent a 1 bedroom apt. in TJ for as little as $80. (US)/mo. but I don't think too many Americans/Canadians would be happy with the lack of space, amenities and location. There are also lovely places here for $1000./mo. but those renters/owners are considered to be "rich" and could be a target for robbery," commented one expat who made the move to Tijuana.

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How do I meet people in Tijuana?

When we asked people living in Tijuana about club and activities where newcomers can meet others, they responded:

"Tijuana is an athletic city. They love their soccer and baseball. Joining the local leagues are a great way of meeting others. They also have outdoor clubs such as hiking clubs and rock climbing and rappelling clubs which are active and a great way to meet others. The friends I made in one of these clubs then brought me around to different festivals and events at which I met more people and expanded my new friend network," remarked another expat who made the move to Tijuana.

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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.

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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

What should I bring when moving to Tijuana?

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

"I lived in San Francisco, California area for 50 years, moved to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico in 2009, then to Tijuana in 2012. I moved to PV with nothing but collected quite a bit of stuff while living there. We rented a moving truck and carted it all to Tijuana. I can get everything I need by crossing the border to the U.S. Take what is important to you (treasured things). If you can afford to buy new/used furniture when you arrive, leave as much as you can in the U.S. Customs is a pain," commented one expat who made the move to Tijuana.

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Will I be able to find a job in Tijuana?

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

"Being a border town their are a lot of cross border related jobs. It is also an industrial town and so factory work and its associated management positions are common. The best situation would be to have a job on the American side but live in Tijuana as this would allow for higher wages and the lower cost of living," added another expat who made the move to Tijuana.

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What is life like in Tijuana?

When we asked people living in Tijuana what life is like and how people spend their time, they said:

"The locals work long hours (normally 48 hours a week) but their priority still remains to their family first. Family is everything to them and they will miss work to take care of a sick child or bring an aunt to the clinic. Outside of work and family they love music, dancing, to eat, and play and watch soccer and baseball," remarked another expat who made the move to Tijuana.

"Because we live in a border region, people's priorities generally revolve around family and work, in that order, then friends, socializing and sports," explained one expat living in Tijuana, Mexico.

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Is there a lot of diversity? Are people in Tijuana accepting of differences?

"As might be expected their is a large economic diversity in Tijuana. As long as you respect them this normally does not become an issue. They are accepting of religious differences. You can find multiple religions and places of worship. That being said it is of great help to be able to speak basic Spanish. They are accepting of other cultures but most do not speak any language other then Spanish," explained one expat living in Tijuana, Mexico.

"Tijuana is extremely diverse culturally. There are a high percentage of Catholics and many Evangelical Christians as well, in addition to an Eastern Orthodox church. Economically, the gap between the wealthy and the poor is more pronounced (vs. US) altough there is a strong middle-class, Mexico in general is much more class conscious than the US," said another expat in Tijuana.

Answer this Question

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.

Are healthcare and health insurance expensive in Tijuana?

"I only have Medicare part A. It is pretty much useless stateside or elsewhere. For a time I purchase dental insurance but gave it up because it's cost was higher than the cost of the care I received," mentioned another expat inTijuana.

Answer this Question

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.

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