Breakfast at 3KTRINAS in Marina Vallarta

Breakfast at 3KTRINAS in Marina Vallarta

Puerto Vallarta donations reach people in need in Oaxaca

Puerto Vallarta donations reach people in need in Oaxaca

September 26, 2017

The president of the DIF System, Candelaria Tovar de Dávalos, shared the experience she recently had in Oaxaca, where, accompanied by a Puerto Vallarta delegation, she personally delivered earthquake relief from Puerto Vallarta.

“We were faithful witnesses of the reality that our people of Oaxaca and Chiapas are experiencing, especially Oaxaca, a population that has been seriously damaged by the continuous earthquakes that are happening in that region of our country. More than 60 percent of the population of Juchitan, Ixtepec and Ixtaltepec, lost their homes after being destroyed, in addition to most of their belongings. They are living, those who have, under canvases; those who do not, under trees or somewhere that they have left their houses”

She explained that these families do not have a place to cook, they do it with braceros or fires; they sleep in the open, they clean themselves as they can, in addition to being constantly resisting tremors that damage their homes or end up collapsing.

“It is very shocking to see this scenario, to have lived it; we can not leave it like this,” she emphasized. She said that in Chiapas, one of the main affected populations is Cintalapa, where the help of the Vallarta people has been delivered.

“Thanks to the great heart of the people of Puerto Vallarta, they first sent 5.3 tons of food and basic necessities, and 10 tons more of the second collection, they are already alleviating the situation in those places, supporting all those families who need it so much,” said Candelaria Tovar.

“Something very important and that we could give in our visit is the spiritual food, to listen to them, to embrace them, to make them feel that they are not alone, that Puerto Vallarta being so far away we made ourselves present when arriving with them to give hope, to give them a smile and to make them feel that despite the tragedy there are people thinking of them,” she said.

The delegation that accompanied her during this visit was Gloria Carrillo, president of the Rotary South Club; Sara Cardona director of the Alas de Águila Foundation and César Sánchez, director of the Impulso de Águila association and founding member of the network of civil associations.

Red Cross delivers 386 tonnes of aid in Mexico

Red Cross delivers 386 tonnes of aid

Red Cross aid en route to earthquake victims.

Red Cross aid en route to earthquake victims.

Organization has collected 1,558 tonnes of donated food supplies

 

The Mexican Red Cross has shipped 386 tonnes of humanitarian aid to the states of México, Oaxaca, Chiapas, Morelos and Puebla as part of its relief efforts for victims of the September 7 and 19 earthquakes.

The organization has gathered 1,558 tonnes of food donations, of which 1,227 have been distributed to 307,000 people since the 8.1-magnitude quake struck on September 7.

After last Tuesday’s 7.1 quake affected central Mexico, the Red Cross provided medical assistance to 56 people in its Polanco district clinic in the Mexico City borough of Miguel Hidalgo.

Elsewhere in the country, 130 of its ambulances, along with 25 state urban rescue units from Hidalgo, Querétaro, Mexico City, Jalisco, Guanajuato, and Michoacán and 1,200 paramedical staff, have treated 238 earthquake victims.

The Polanco Red Cross facility has also been operating as a donation collection center since September 19 with the support of over 7,000 volunteers.

Another service of the Mexican Red Cross is its Restoring Family Links program, available to anyone who has lost communication with relatives in Mexico City. The service can be requested over the phone at 52 (55) 1084 4517 and 52 (55) 1084 4795, or in person at the Red Cross’s Polanco facility at 1032 Ejército Nacional Avenue.

The institution can receive monetary donations through its Bancomer account, 0404040406, or through its Multiva account, 4444, cable number 132180000000044443.

Source: Reforma (sp)

Gorditas Are One Of Mexico’s Greatest Breakfast Foods

Gorditas Are One Of Mexico’s Greatest Breakfast Foods

There might not be another breakfast in the world quite as good as Mexico’s. From staples like chilaquiles, molletes or huevos rancheros to regional specialties like machaca, tortas ahogadas or Jalisco-style barbacoa, few countries have mastered the art of breakfast so well.

And in the northern city of Torreón there is one undisputed breakfast king: the gordita. Located in Coahuila state, Torreón is a scorchingly hot industrial city surrounded by imposing hills, dry lake beds and miles of desert. Every morning, thousands of Laguneros, as locals are known, of all ages and social classes flock to their nearest gordita merchant.

They are not hard to find. On almost every street there’s someone selling gorditas, from humble vendors on bicycle carts to chain restaurants like La Pestaña.

The gordita, meaning “little fatty,” is a popular snack across Mexico, typically consisting of fried masa dough stuffed with any combination of meat, cheese, eggs, beans, or veg. In Torreón, however, the dough is made with flour. Slightly thinner than the corn variety and a little lighter on the stomach, it almost resembles pita, with a beige surface beautifully mottled with golden brown speckles.

To understand this local obsession, I visited Gordy Mania, a small, family-run establishment on a busy Torreón street, early one Friday morning. Gordy Mania is a humble place with cracked floor tiles and white and green paint flaking from the walls. Those are the colors of Santos Laguna, the local soccer team whose photos and memorabilia are plastered on almost every surface.

The owner Luis González founded Gordy Mania 24 years ago and now employs a staff of six, including three family members. Despite being busy making breakfast for his loyal clientele, he took a few minutes to explain to me what makes a good gordita joint.

You can find traditional gorditas in many restaurants around Banderas Bay. If you happen to be in Plaza Caracol, there is a ‘Gorditas Restaurant’ across from Soriana that has excellent fillings and salsas.

“On average we sell 500 to 600 gorditas every day,” he said. “The same customers come back every day. Some of them have been coming here for 15 to 20 years and they always order exactly the same thing.”

Gordy Mania has an extensive menu, including gorditas with beans and cheese, eggs and nopal(cactus), chorizo with cheese or potatoes, and an array of different meat stews, priced at 11 to 12 pesos, well under a dollar each.

“The most popular fillings are chicharrón prensado and carne con chile,” González said. Chicharrón prensado is made using pork skin or cheek cooked in salsa verde with green jalapeños, while carne con chile is made with braised pork, with a different salsa verde.

Mexicans take their salsas very seriously, he added: “We have five different salsas that we put out on every table, all different from the sauces that the meats are cooked in. We have jalapeño, tomatillo and red chile salsas, and two different salsas made with chile de árbol.”

One of the reasons their customers keep coming back is the freshness of their produce and the speed and efficiency of their service, González added. “We make the gorditas when you order them, not like the street vendors who have them pre-made and serve them out of plastic boxes,” he said. “We prepare them in front of you but we still serve you very quickly.”

Following González’s advice, I try a couple of gorditas filled with chicharrón and carne con chile. The chicharrón is soft on the tongue, complementing the slightly crunchy tortilla casing, while the salsas are every bit as fiery as you would expect. I wash them down with a mug of coffee and a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice before thanking González and moving on my way.

It’s not hard to see why Torreón’s gorditas are so revered: they’re a quick, delicious and filling breakfast that’s kind on the wallet if not the waist.

Original: munchies.vice.com

By Duncan Tucker

Vallarta-Nayarit is the best Winter Wonderland

Vallarta-Nayarit is the best Winter Wonderland

September 25, 2017

Now that summer is ending and the leaves are on the turn, people will soon start to feel the cold bite of winter. But for those who aren’t quite ready to pack away the shorts just yet, we know the ideal haven for a spot of winter sun.

The neighbouring regions of Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco and Riviera Nayarit, Nayarit have everything you could hope for in a winter sun destination. Situated on the Pacific Coast of Mexico, they enjoy more than 300 days of sunshine every year and an average annual temperature of 28 ºC.

With more than 200 miles of combined coastline, there is ample opportunity to soak up the sun this winter. Whether it’s on the blue-flag awarded Playa Nuevo Vallarta Norte and Marina Riviera Nayarit La Cruz de Huanacaxtle, or in the privacy of the uninhabited Marietas Islands and Hidden Beach, you can be sure to enjoy paradise.

Even without a white Christmas, you can still get festive in Puerto Vallarta and Riviera Nayarit. There are plenty of posadas, (that’s Christmas parties to you and me), as well as the traditional Festival of Our Lady of Guadalupe at the beginning of the month, where masses of “Vallartenses” parade through the town. Traditions like this are rife in Mexico, making for one of the most heart-warming Christmas seasons you will ever experience.

With a holiday to Mexico booked, you may have also forgotten to finish your Christmas shopping in your excitement – fear not, as it is the perfect region for everything you need. In Puerto Vallarta head to the Malecon, a half-mile promenade on the water’s edge, for unique gifts for your loved ones from local merchants and families; alternatively, if you need a gift for your travel companion, why not book one of the many food and drink tours that offer an authentic taste of Mexico? Head down to Puerto Vallarta and experience a festive Mexican feast with Vallarta Food Tours, who run some of the most popular, including the boozy ‘Mex-ology’ tour in Centro and ‘The Street’ – an evening taco adventure.

While in Riviera Nayarit, you can head to the boho-chic town of Sayulita, or celeb hotspot Punta Mita, but the must-see town would be Bucerias. Situated toward the southern end of Riviera Nayarit’s 200 miles of coastline, guests will be entranced by their incredible food culture, thriving beach scene and charming art walks. It really does have it all. We would highly recommend grabbing a Mexican pastry from Panino’s before a dreamy wander along the flower-lined streets for the perfect day in Mexico.

If you want to get really tropical with your Christmas, then Puerto Vallarta and Riviera Nayarit are also home to some of the world’s most stunning and amazing wildlife on the planet. Head out into the waters with dolphins and whales, or visit one of many nature reserves and leafy greens to discover birds, bugs and butterflies, the likes of which you won’t see elsewhere. You may even get to see an ocelot or a jaguar on your adventures! But for a memory to last a lifetime, go to Riviera Nayarit for their baby sea turtle release programs on the coast and amazing crocodile adventures in the marshy El Quelele.

There’s no denying that Puerto Vallarta and Riviera Nayarit is the perfect place to spend your winter, whether it’s for a few more days of sun, or for a tradition-fuelled Christmas in one of the most beautiful countries in the world. What are you waiting for?

Expats in Vallarta October Social Calendar.

Expats in Vallarta October Social Calendar

September 24, 2017

During the month of October, ExPats in Vallarta will be having Happy Hours on Tuesday, October 3rd at El Andariego Restaurant. Tuesday, October 17th at Pancho Villa Restaurant and on Tuesday, October 31st at Club de Golf in Marina Vallarta. All Happy Hours are from 5 to 7 pm. Reservations are requested but not necessary.

Ex Pats Special dinners are scheduled for Thursday, October 12 at Rincon de Buenos Argentinian Steak House in Marina Vallarta and Thursday October 26th at El Andariego Restaurant. Advance reservations and payment for the dinners are necessary.

To make reservations for the Happy Hour and the dinners email sarawise45@gmail.com

Want to help Mexico? Plan a Vacation!

Want to help Mexico? Plan a Vacation!

September 23, 2017

As the owner of PVDN, I do not write this column lightly. I am very sensitive about PVDN being mistaken as a tourism website and not serious news. I am red-faced with each email I receive about how PVDN accurately reporting news is bad for tourism. So before I tell you why you should plan a vacation in Puerto Vallarta (or anywhere in Mexico), let me tell you about my earthquake experience over the last two weeks in Mexico.

I was in Oaxaca on the night of September 7, 2017. It was a stormy evening with lightening and thunder for a couple of hours. Just before midnight I was preparing for bed when I felt the house shaking. Everything happens in a split second. My first thought was ‘that’s the thunder shaking the house’, but then quickly I understood the reality as the shaking intensified, this was a massive 8.1 earthquake.

I have lived in Mexico for the last decade and I travel about 8 months of the year throughout Mexico. I am no stranger to earthquakes. No matter how many times you have gone over the ‘do’s and dont’s’ of earthquakes, it all is forgotten in that moment. My first reaction was to run outside. I opened my front door and just stood in the door-frame watching the 10-foot concrete wall around my home shake. I thought about going to the street, but I would need to cross under a concrete covered carport that I was afraid would collapse on top of me.

I grew up in the U.S. in a place where tornadoes are common. They always tell you that a tornado sounds like a train coming towards you, but I never experienced that with tornadoes. I did experience it with the earthquake. It was deafening. The sound of the ground, trees, cars, houses, fences, and windows all violently shaking throughout an entire city simultaneously. Every dog in the neighborhood was barking at the trembling ground. I could hear people in the streets screaming and crying, but my large privacy wall prevented me from seeing them.

I did not sleep that night. I made coffee and stayed awake chatting with my mom on Facebook. She had just retired in Mexico in February and lives in Oaxaca. It was her first earthquake, and to be honest, she wasn’t the only one scared. In fact for the next four nights I slept on the sofa next to my front door, fully clothed with a backpack with important items and documents next to me.

Life kind of went back to normal, as much as it can. I still stopped what I was doing every time a loud truck or motorcycle went roaring by my house. My neighbor is a door slammer, so I still jumped every time she was coming or going from her house. I did finally return to sleeping in the bed, but never all night. If I heard dogs barking I woke up to see if the ground was shaking.

I decided that my energy could be better used by heading further south in Oaxaca to help some of the hardest-hit areas of the state. Three friends and I departed Oaxaca City and headed to Juchitan after Hurricane Max had passed, yet another disaster that went without notice after the earthquake.

We continued volunteer work for several days, returning to Oaxaca City with plans to travel to Mexico City on September 19 to meet my PVDN co-owner. At about 1:00 p.m. on September 19, 2017, as I was preparing my travel bags, the house started to shake violently again. This time not as strong as the previous, but it lasted much longer. Within moments my co-owner in Mexico City was sending me video of destruction and smoke filling the skies over the capital. My heart sunk, all the anxiety that I had experienced after the first earthquake had returned.

My co-owner recommended I wait one week before coming to Mexico City, so I stayed in Oaxaca City, back to being fearful of sleep and jumping at every noise.

Finally, Friday I felt safe to return to sleeping in my bedroom. Saturday morning at a few minutes before 8 a.m. I was awoken by the 6.1 earthquake in Oaxaca. The third massive earthquake in Mexico that shook my home in ways that I could not have imagined until September 7.

All of my friends and family are safe and I would never wish this experience on anyone, which leads me to the purpose of this column.

I would never put anyone’s life or health in jeopardy just to promote tourism to Puerto Vallarta. If I thought there was any risk I would scream from the top of the Mirador. If I thought for a moment that there was a risk of suffering the anxiety I have for the past two weeks, I would do everything to stop you from going though what I have been through.

More than ever, Mexico needs tourism. The tourism industry is the third largest revenue for the country, revenue that is needed to rebuild and help people recover from these tragedies.

Plan a trip to Puerto Vallarta, Guadalajara, Guanajuato, or San Miguel. Areas north of Mexico City have not been affected by the recent earthquakes, and places in the Yucatan are great choices as well. Mexico is a much larger country than many people realize. Of the 31 states of Mexico, where have the quakes caused damage? Mexico City, State of Mexico, Puebla, Morelos, Oaxaca, Chiapas. But even these states are worthy of a vacation. I am in Oaxaca City now and things are operating normally. Raspados and live music in the Zocalo.

Your tourism dollars generate federal funds for relief and help boost the economy of the country, all factors that will help the people of Mexico recover. And all you need to do is visit Mexico and have a great time.

If you are more adventurous, plan a volunteer vacation and head to places like Mexico City, Puebla, Morelos, Oaxaca, or Chiapas. These places were the hardest hit in Mexico.

By planning a relaxing vacation or volunteer vacation, not only do you contribute to the economy, but you help us move back to ‘normality’, which is something we desperately need.

The earthquakes were felt by 50 million people in Mexico, many of whom were personally affected. There is no doubt wherever you vacation in Mexico, perhaps that waiter or local shopkeeper is using the money that you spend to send back to their family members who have lost everything. We all know someone personally. So even going out to dinner and tipping your waiter can be life changing to someone in the quake zone.

So don’t cancel your Mexico vacation, and if you have been thinking about planning a vacation, consider Mexico. Your visit will be appreciated and it will show!

At least 16 nations rally to Mexico’s aid.

At least 16 nations rally to Mexico’s aid

Japanese rescue workers in Mexico City this week.

Japanese rescue workers in Mexico City this week.

From rescue specialists to dog teams, support comes from around the world
 

At least 16 countries around the world have come to Mexico’s aid in the wake of two major earthquakes that have killed more than 400 people and destroyed thousands of homes.

Here is a list of countries that have sent support, though it is probably incomplete:

• The United States has sent an initial team of 67 firefighters, paramedics, rescue specialists, structural engineers, search canine units and others from the Los Angeles Fire Department. They arrived on Thursday in Mexico City and went to work.

• Guatemala sent 47 rescue workers, a canine unit and five firefighters.

• The government of Japan sent a 72-strong team of specialized rescue workers, along with four canine units and rescue supplies.

• Switzerland has sent a team of civilian engineers that will collaborate with Mexican authorities in assessing the level of structural damage in countless buildings around the country.

• A team of 52 members of the Military Emergency Unit of Spain arrived yesterday to offer their support.

• The government of Israel sent a delegation of 70 people who will offer their support in ongoing rescue efforts, including 25 engineers to inspect and assess building damage.

• The Usar Panamá brigade also arrived yesterday with 35 specialists in search and rescue, along with two canine units.

•  The government of Chile sent 18 members of its Topos search and rescue team specializing in searching for people trapped under fallen buildings, and a United Nations-certified technical team to do collapsed building analysis.

• Colombia has pledged to send a team specializing in rescue work.

•  Mexico City Mayor Miguel Ángel Mancera reported on Thursday that the government of El Salvador had sent a 25-strong search and rescue team.

• Germany has sent a team to provide technical support.

In addition, United Nations Secretary-General António de Oliveira Guterres has offered technical support and Honduras, South Africa, Ecuador, Costa Rica and Peru have pledged to help.

Source: ADN 40 (sp), Animal Político (sp), Hoy Estado (sp)

Overpass in Mezcales and a Boulevard in Sayulita officially opened.

Overpass in Mezcales and a Boulevard in Sayulita officially opened

Transitioning into your new Mexican life.

Transitioning into your new Mexican life

September 17, 2017
moving to mexico

I can only speak about the challenges of an American moving to Mexico, each culture is different and Americans are extra ‘special’ with their needs and expectations. It took a long time for me to admit we were difficult people, but here we are.

I have lived in many places throughout Mexico since my arrival in 2009 and my mother retired in Mexico this year. With my mom being here I have been reminded about the struggles of transitioning into a new Mexican life. I see her mistakes and they remind me of mine in the early years of my transition.

While not everyone is alike and we all have different struggles when adapting to a new country and culture, here is some of my best advice based on my personal experience. Yours might be different, and that’s great!

The language:

Your first priority to settling into a new life in Mexico is to learn the language. When I first moved to Mexico, I chose to live in Puerto Vallarta. My choice for this destination was based on two things. I love the beach and I knew there was a large expat community, meaning English would be easy to come by. In all honesty, I think that is why most expats choose Puerto Vallarta. I didn’t learn Spanish for four years, it wasn’t until after I left the expat community of Vallarta and emerged myself into the Mexican culture and found friends who didn’t speak English.

Truth is, it’s harder to learn a new language fluently when you are older, that’s just a fact. I moved to Mexico at the age of 35, young for an expat. Making it more challenging is that many English speakers have little desire to learn another language, including myself at the beginning. It’s amusing to learn a few words or phrases, but to speak fluently when living in a large expat community isn’t necessary or important to most. It’s also difficult to really learn if you only use Spanish in class but the rest of your life is lived in the English language, the biggest challenge living in large expat communities. But if you really stick to it, learning the local language can open up new experiences for you.

Calm down:

I am not picking on Americans, I am an American, so it’s much easier for me to identify the shortcomings of my people, and myself. Americans are entirely too emotional and confrontational. Everything sets them off. It’s very off-putting to the Mexican people. It’s been said that there are two types of people, those who never complain, and Americans.

Mexicans have a very high tolerance for things that normally irk Americans. They are not complaining people, or at least not on trivial issues. They are masters of the ‘pick your battles wisely’ mantra. They are not going to complain about long lines, rickety bus seats, or the unavailability of their favorite brand of food. An American will spend months obsessed with finding a specific American brand of sour cream, and they will let everyone know how disappointed they are, as if this is actually a key to survival or happiness.

Ditch the watch:

Things in Mexico are much slower (don’t complain, heed previous advice). Even after eight years in Mexico I sill make sure that I am 15 minutes early to any appointment I make, whether it’s professional or personal. Americans are always early, it’s part of our culture, but if you are moving to Mexico, understand you are leaving that culture behind. People are late in Mexico. I have had people 15 minutes late, an hour late, or even not show up at all only to contact you the next day or week to ask if they can reschedule. And don’t expect an apology for lateness, it’s an expectation, it’s not their fault if your expectations of being timely are a little high.

Understand mañana:

If you took my first piece of advice to learn some Spanish, you might have noticed that ‘mañana’ means morning, but it also means tomorrow. In reality, the true meaning of mañana in Mexican culture is simply the way of saying ‘later’. A contractor might tell you he can start work ‘mañana’, that doesn’t mean tomorrow or in the morning, it simply means at a later date of his choosing. He will be there when he gets there. Again. Calm Down. Don’t complain. If someone tells me Mañana I give them my phone number and tell them to call or message me when they are arriving, this way I am not at home pacing for days wondering when they will arrive. I can go about my life and put my mañana appointment in the back of my head.

Bargaining:

We have all been told it’s expected to bargain and haggle when shopping, it’s very common in Mexican culture. However, let’s be honest, Americans are making a lot more money than Mexicans and the goods, products, and services we are paying for in Mexico are 50% – 75% cheaper than they are in the United States. Bargaining by a foreigner is just rude, it’s not cute or emerging yourself into the culture. When shopping, ask the price, if you think it’s too high, say thank you and keep walking. Many times the shopkeeper will stop you and start bargaining themselves, but if they let you walk away, they aren’t interested in bargaining with you. This will also depend on how you look. If you are walking around with an iPhone in your hand and designer clothes, no merchant is going to wheel-and-deal with you.

I do have a little trick that doesn’t come across as bargaining. Recently I went looking for a molcajete at the market. I knew I wanted a medium size and what I would be willing to pay. I put my budgeted amount in my right front pocket, separate from the rest of my money. I was close. I asked a vendor for the cost and she told me $80 pesos, I had stuffed $60 pesos in my bargaining pocket. I said ‘OK’ and pulled out my money and said, oh, I am sorry I only have $60 pesos with me. She immediately said ‘no problem, I can sell it for $60 pesos’. This works about 80% of the time and I don’t need to do the haggle thing. Most of the time there are two different prices in Mexico, which is why nothing has price tags, there is the Mexican price and the American/Tourist price. They will sell to you at the Mexican price before losing the business, you just cannot let them know you are on to them.

Noise:

Mexico is a noisy place. From Mexico City to the smallest Oaxacan village. You don’t call the police or complain to the neighbor if the party is going to long or if the dog barks all night. If silence is your thing, Mexico simply isn’t your place. You will go insane. There are not noise ordinances or ‘disturbing the peace’ laws. Dogs, car alarms, music, fireworks, you name it, it’s consistent and unforgiving.

Because of the noise I hear a lot of foreigners complain that their dogs are always nervous. I would really consider this before moving to Mexico with your pets. The pets that were born in Mexico seem to do much better with the noise, but it can be very stressful for your foreign born pet. You might really enjoy your retirement in Mexico, but it could have a negative impact on the four-legged family members.

Budgeting:

I understand that some people retire to Mexico with a nice cushion of saved money, pension, retirement and social security hitting their accounts each month, so this won’t really apply to them. But there are many middle-class people who move to Mexico on a fixed income, a budget that is hard to live on in the USA, so they get very excited about how cheap everything is in Mexico.

When I moved to Mexico it was for a better life, not retirement. I was like most Americans and lived paycheck to paycheck. When preparing to move I sold everything I owned except my clothes, computer and the car I drove to Mexico. That gave me a small padding of money in the bank. When I arrived to Puerto Vallarta it was like being on vacation every day, it’s not easy to get out of vacation mode when everyone around you is actually on vacation. You want to be at the beach with all the fun and eating on Olas Altas every night, and that is exactly what I did for a year.

Before I knew it, my bank account was negative, I had a couple of days of food in the refrigerator, and rent was due in a week. I had just been robbed and my USA debit card was stolen. I hadn’t done any work to speak about for a year. I sat in my house and looked around at all the purchases I had made in Mexico over the last year, all that stuff I didn’t need, it was a year’s worth of expenses sitting on shelves, items I hadn’t touched since I bought them. It took months for me to dig out of the mess I had made by not paying attention to my budget and acting like I was living on vacation. Thankfully that scary time of being broke in a foreign country made me really focus on creating a successful business and dedicated to saving money. One day I do want to actually retire, now I see an end to the tunnel.

These days I try to convince my mom to manage the spending. When you arrive in Mexico as a middle-class American that lived paycheck to paycheck, it is very exciting to finally be able to afford some small luxuries because the cost of living is so much less. My mom is middle-class on social security, she worked all her life in a good job and is educated. But in Mexico she is loving to spend the money, an American tradition. If an American makes $3000 USD a month, they say “I can spend $3000 USD this month”.

What I fear, after my own experience, is that there will be an emergency that my mom cannot afford to manage because she still is living the paycheck to paycheck life even though she makes plenty to live a very comfortable Mexican life AND save money. Instead, the money she saved by moving to Mexico she is spending instead of saving. I did it, I see her doing, I can only assume this is common for those who move to Mexico on a fixed income. My advice is to budget, the sooner you get off of vacation mode and reaffirm the reasons you moved to Mexico, a better life and stop struggling, the better you will truly enjoy Mexico life.

It doesn’t take a lot of money to live in Mexico. This is my budget, I brake it down into four areas. (costs in U.S. Dollars)

$300 – Total expenses for 2 bedroom house and monthly food expenses. House includes my electric, gas, water, and internet. It’s a nice sized home, nicely decorated, well built, even screens in the windows.
$300 – Entertainment each month. Going out to dinner, movie, buying clothes.
$400 – Savings for retirement.
$500 – Monthly ‘holidays’. I try to take one weekend trip every month to explore a new place in Mexico. It’s really cheap to travel throughout Mexico.

That is a monthly expense of $1500 USD per month, including my retirement savings. I often make more money than this each month, if I choose to work more than two hours each day. Any addition income I make I spend however I want. It’s found money in my budget. If for any reason I do not make $1500 USD a month (it’s been a long time since that has happened), then the first thing I cut is my monthly holiday, if I need to cut more, monthly entertainment. I never cut my savings for retirement. My absolute minimum income requirement is $700 USD a month for rent, utilities, food, and retirement savings.

Lastly:

Mexico is nothing like the United States. Vacationing in Mexico every year is a much different experience than living in Mexico full-time and year-round.

I had some very challenging moments moving and living in Mexico, and I still do today, but not once have I ever regretted my move or ever thought about returning to the United States.

I think my last advice for this moment would be to embrace the culture of your new country. Understand the history, holiday traditions, and culture. Instead of cooking the ham for Christmas, go for the tamale and pozole. Instead of exchanging gifts on Christmas day, wait until Three Kings Day. Eat 12 grapes and wear red underwear on New Year’s Eve. Go to the ‘Cry of Independence’ on Mexico’s Independence Day, it’s held in every municipality in Mexico. Participate in your town’s Patron Saint celebrations. Eat ceviche in Puerto Vallarta. Try tortas in Guadalajara. Eat grasshoppers in Oaxaca.

Embrace your new life in Mexico!