Moving to Mexico
Relocating to Mexico can be a daunting but rewarding move. Renowned for its welcoming people, rich cultural identity and low cost of living, the country is a perfect choice for those wanting new experiences and a place that will benefit them financially, culturally and socially.
Mexico sits between the United States and Central America. Rainforests, deserts, mountains and deep canyons make up a country that is rich in natural beauty, as well as ancient history. One of the main reasons people are attracted to Mexico is because of its climate.
Divided by the Tropic of Cancer, average yearly temperatures in the south (24°C to 28°C) are higher than in the north (20 to 24 °C). However, this doesn't stop temperatures reaching 40°C or more in Mexico during the summer season.
As well as the landscape and climate, Mexico is a country of culture. Picture yourself on a warm evening, smelling the aromas of local spices while you sit in an historic plaza listening to the exhilarating sounds of a Mariachi band. It's hard not to smile at such an image, and those who decide to relocate are rewarded with much more. From the historic Mayan ruins and ancient architecture to the dramatic arts, dance and cuisine, Mexico has an abundance of cultural thrills waiting to be discovered.
However, Mexico is not all burritos and sombreros, speaking Spanish and spending pesos. Relocating and adjusting to a new country with a different language, customs and cultural identity can be difficult, and you should weigh up all aspects before deciding to relocate.
One of the most common professions of expatriates living in Mexico is teaching. Even with limited Spanish, you can find roles in private tutoring companies and schools. You can look into TEFL courses if you decide to go down this route.
The major industries e.g. tobacco, food and drink, steel, iron and tourism can also open up opportunities if you are a skilled worker or have experience in the service industry. Those looking for business opportunities can register with their local chamber of commerce, as well as their embassy, to learn more about business-related roles in Mexico.
Global companies, such as Manpower and Avis, have offices in Mexico. It's worth checking the websites of international companies for job opportunities where speaking English may put you at an advantage.
Online searches, local newspapers and word of mouth are the most common ways to search for a job in Mexico. Whether you decide to look before you go, or wait until you arrive, there are many opportunities available.
Choosing where to live
When moving to Mexico, many people search for the places that will be the safest and most secure to live in. There are lots of different cities and areas that welcome expatriates; it all depends on what you want from your big move.
Do you want to live in a small Mexican town or in a cosmopolitan city? Do you want to be by the sea or inland? Do you want to experience Mexican culture and customs or be part of an expatriate community? These are all questions that need to be deliberated over when choosing where to move. Here are a few choices to consider:
Mexico City and Merida are great places for those who enjoy fast-paced city life. Merida is located close to the stunning Yucatán Gulf Coast, in one of Mexico's safest states. Cities like these fuse together Mexican culture with the modern needs of expats.
San Miguel de Allende is a picturesque town in central Mexico. Although 20% of its population are expatriates, the town still retains its traditional feel. With a plethora of arts and crafts shops, vibrant marketplaces and historic buildings lacing the streets, San Miguel more than makes up for not being close to the coastline.
San Cristobal de Las Casas is surrounded by mystical ruins on a mountainous backdrop. Located in the centre of many smaller villages, this traditional town has a limited expat community and is ideal for those wanting to immerse themselves into 'real' Mexico.
Other notable places include Tulum, with its Mayan ruins and heavenly coastline, the cities of Oaxaca and Guadalajara, and the truly magical setting of Lake Chapala.
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Political, economic and social concerns
It's important to be aware of Mexico's political and economic situation. Although rich in natural resources, Mexico has struggled economically and a high percentage of the population find themselves in poverty. The border between the United States and Mexico is the biggest economic divide on Earth, and many native Mexicans relocate to the United States for a chance to prosper.
Crime, violence and drug trafficking are all major concerns in Mexico and it isn't uncommon to hear reported stories of these. However, it is important to note that many Mexican areas do not have high levels of serious crime.
Most people in Mexico choose to rent their properties, and costs are very low. The majority of properties come unfurnished so paying to move your belongings from your home country can be extremely beneficial.
Three bedroom properties, in good condition, can be rented for under £500 a month in the larger cities. In smaller towns, the price of rent can be halved. However, there is no upper limit on rentals. If you want a world-class apartment in the heart of Mexico City, you can expect to pay high prices.
Many houses and apartments in Mexico are found in gated communities, which are protected with private security companies. This can be advantageous for families and those looking for a home with extra security measures in place.
It's perfectly legal for people moving to Mexico to buy land and property there and, compared to other countries, costs are very low. An apartment in the centre of Mexico City would cost approximately £1,050 per square metre. Buying a property in the country can also be a solid investment as, although slow, house prices are continually rising.
As with any country, it's important to understand your contract and the payments you make to the landlord, agency or owner. If you find documents are in Spanish, you can hire a translator or lawyer to ensure you and your money are protected.
Schools and education
Most expatriates choose private schools when relocating to Mexico, and these are commonly found in the major cities. Bilingual and bi-cultural schools offer students the chance to learn in an environment that combines Mexican education with British or American systems. It's worth choosing a school that offers the International Baccalaureate course, as this is an internationally recognised qualification.
Popular schools include the American School Foundation, Greengates British School, The Peterson Schools (American) and The Edron Academy (British), which are all found in Mexico City. Fees vary depending on each school, however, it's easy to find them on school websites or by contacting the schools via telephone or email. Fees for private schools can be expensive and most charge an admission fee.
In terms of higher education, the most popular university is the National Autonomous University (UNAM), which offers popular courses focusing on language and culture.
Although the cost of living in Mexico is cheap, moving your possessions can be costly. Based on an average move of the contents of a three bedroom house, moving costs to Mexico City (in GBP) are as follows:
|£3361 to £3593
|£2141 to £2289
|£3683 to £3937
|£8036 to £8590
|£5880 to £6286
|£5436 to £5810
|£2787 to £2979
|£2685 to £2870
|£5436 to £5810