Do you dream of moving to Yucatan?

Every day, readers like you tell us their secret... so many dream of living in Yucatán. Our friends at the Mérida English Library and the authors of blogs about life in Merida, such as writingfrommerida.com tell us that they too receive many heartfelt enquiries. The real estate listings are oh-so-enticing, but what is it really like to live in Merida or on the Gulf of Mexico? A very common question is: "Should we live at the beach or in the city?"

Do you enjoy natural surroundings and a laid back lifestyle or are you craving cultural activities and the stimulation of urban life – a la mexicana?

Of course, the only person that can really make that call is you.

The cost of living, prices of gas, food, utilities, the availability of English speaking doctors and good quality hospitals are other topics you need information about. You want to know how insurance companies and immigration function, how to get a household help and how much these services cost. All this and hundreds of other things are very much a concern when you are contemplating such a HUGE change.

A surprising number of people hear or read about Yucatan on the internet; they conclude that Mérida is a well appointed, safe, and reasonably priced place to live. Furthermore they discover there is a good sized international community, made up of retired Americans and Canadians, business people, students and that it’s gay friendly. They are bewitched and proceed to up and sell everything in the US or Canada, and move here WITHOUT visiting first! Others come and spend a winter season along the coast and also make a hasty decision to re-locate. We see this as just a tad rash...

If you are considering moving to Mérida or the surrounding area, we suggest you first come on an exploratory trip. Rent a furnished house on a month-to-month basis and look at everything with eyes wide open. Stay a minimum of six months and make sure to include the month of May. This way you will definitely experience the heat everyone talks about. Coming to this corner of the world between October and March, you’ll enjoy “the greatest weather in the world.” And compared to the freezing cold up north, it is just that! But stick around through the summer so that you are able to honestly judge your ability to “take the heat” It’s often a deal breaker... not everyone can tolerate a daily dose of 100 degrees Fahrenheit and 100% humidity.

Many people love the idea of a “mañana lifestyle”, a more relaxed pace and every day siestas. It sounds charming, but after living in Yucatan for a while, you’ll see there’s a flip side. The plumbers, electricians and delivery people from the department store (who have your beds, fridge, living room furniture or whatever) also have a “flexible hours philosophy.” Sometimes, they won't show up at the hour, or even on the day, they said they would. And the same is true for the phone, power, gas and water providers, and especially the Cable guy! Here, things happen when they happen.

In Mérida and the coastal area, many ex-pat organizations such as the Merida English Language Library, the International Women’s Club and The Mérida Men’s Club are welcoming to newcomers. English is widely spoken, there is an international airport, crime is not a daily concern, and many US consumer products are available. Wal-Mart, Sam's Club, Costco, Sears, and many familiar restaurants will give you “a taste of home.” But obviously, if you make the decision to live here, you have to keep in mind that the one to make adjustments will be you. Adapting to the Mexican people, their language and their way of life is not without its challenges.

Prices are not as low as they once were. It is possible to move to Mexico and live on a reduced income, but if this is your plan, keep in mind that it will be difficult not to be able to take advantage of everything this place offers and you can’t expect the services to always be up to US standards, although sometimes they exceed them.

Many people are happy living here full-time, year round. Others live here from October to April and then head north for the hotter months of spring and summer. If you are in the process of deciding what’s best for you... get all the info you can! A book written by a Canadian woman with 35 years experience living in Merida has recently been released. MAGIC MADE IN MEXICO will provide you with amusing anecdotes and much insight. It’s available on Amazon.

Check out the Merida blogs and internet sites like yolisto.com, see what’s available and then make that exploratory trip! The Mérida English Library should be one of your first stops once you arrive. Taking Spanish classes is also a great way to start...

Will you be happy living in Mexico? A lot depends on what your expectations are and how you’ll manage the inevitable challenges. Can you be flexible and do you truly want to enjoy a different lifestyle and cultural opportunities? If so, you’ll feel like a kid set loose in the candy store. Good luck to you!

For help getting price quotes on moving to Yucatán, click here.

 

01.

Great article

The article presents a very accurate 'snap shot' of living in or around Merida. Mexico is still a developing country, despite pockets of affluance and high tech, many places and systems remain in a different era. That can be part of its charm, but I think people need to experience Merida- 'warts and all' before making a decision if they are going to live in Merida full time. In the five years we have been in Merida, prices have escalated in many areas. Your article is correct when you point out that things are not always up to US standards. Sometimes, things are better, but usually that is not the case. That is something one needs to accept if you want to live here happily. Talk to many residents, ex-pats; ask numerous questions to get a clear and objective picture.

02.

Try 103 degrees

I lived through the summer in Merida and in May it almost never went below 100 degrees during the day. April, June and July weren't much different.
Also, I worked there and lived off of about $400.00 a month for a year. You just have to dramatically change your lifestyle. Just what you need and nothing more. Which is good for us Americans every once in awhile I say.

03.

love your articles

My soon to be husband is from Tabasco and I am a American. For years now we have talked about moving to Mexico for a couple of years and the more we find out about Merida the more we want to make that our home away from home. We are planning on relocating to Mexico by the end of this year and are weighing options on where we would like to live. My only concern is employment opportunities. I know being American and my only real trade is Cosmetology I dont know if I will be able to find work in Merida. Any advice or comments would be greatly appreciated.

04.

re. love your articles

Hola, with the size of Merida at 800,000 people, emplyment options should be OK. From the legal perspective, your only 2 options are to find employment with a company which can get you a work visa (such as a department store or dermatology pharmacy), or form a little company and start your own business. We also have Mary Kay and Avon in Mexico. This website may be able to help you: http://www.yucatanexpatriateservices.com/

05.

coming to Merida

Does anyone know if there is an olympic or at least large size pool in merida..??? daily swimmers here considering a move to merida.....

thanks

06.

re. coming to merida

There are many pools here, needless to say! :) And several excellent sports clubs, including Sports Center and Bancarios. Bancarios is the only one, as far as I know, with an Olympic size pool. It is located on Ave. Correa Rachó at the corner of Calle 17, Colonia Vista Alegre.

07.

Schools

My family and I will be visiting for 3 weeks. I found plenty of tourist information, but very little about the schools. Does anyone know of any good bilingual or American/English schools for my first grade daughter who does not know Spanish yet? I would like find more school information before we go.

08.

re. schools

Do you mean a school for the 3-week period or for a future move here? Here is an article about full-time schools.

09.

air conditioning cost per month

I have a dream of living in Merida but I have M S and dont tolerate heat all that well. Comments please

10.

It is very hot in Merida. I

It is very hot in Merida. I love the heat and it is a bit much for me.

11.

Dreaming of living in Merida....Not!

I live in Merida and would not call it a dream. Air pollution is significant; traffic is bad; many of the streets and sidewalks are in disrepair and/or downright dangerous; street flooding during the rainy season is challenging; the list could go on. But, living here has its 'pleasantudes' and many of the Yucatecos are very friendly and helpful. The art and music programs abound. The area is rich in history, architecture and so much more. The heat can be pretty overwhelming, but this is the tropics.

12.

re. air conditioning cost per month

The two comments posted so far have not answered your question about AC cost per month. During the summer months, electricity is subsidized by the government. I have AC in my bedroom only, and use it from 4 to 8 hours daily. My monthly electricity cost is around $20 USD. During the non-subsidized winter months the cost would be much higher, but of course it is much cooler so you would rarely need to turn on the AC. The weather in Merida is hot and dry in April and May, slightly less hot with afternoon thunderstorms from June through September, and very pleasant from October to March, with some chilly nights (with occasional grey drizzle) in December and January.

Regarding the comment about air pollution: If you are standing on a street in centro when a bus goes by you might notice bus fumes, as you would in any city. But we don't have smog here...it is a flat, open peninsula and there are breezes most of the time. The skies are clear.

There are also streets and sidewalks which are not in disrepair. I am assuming you have visited Merida, or would plan to do so before deciding to live here.

13.

want to live in merida

I want to move to Merida i have seen so much in the internet.I would like to rent. i will be retireing next,year my sister and i will be also.Hopefully some one can tell me where to rent. longterm rent.I live in the state of kentucky, move from Chicago over to KY, so i know what cold is. Im really tire of this weather.Here in KY we get alot of ice,storm during Jan Feb march

14.

re. want to live in merida

15.

moving to Merida

Thanks for this blog. Am checking out moving to Merida.

16.

high schools in Merida

My company is moving me to Merida next year. My daughters will be 13 and 15 years old and do not speak Spanish. Are there any good schools that will accommodate them? Most websites don't say too much about the high schools.

17.

re. high schools

There are many excellent private schools here, but most do not offer curriculums in English. FYI: "Primaria" is grades 1-6, "Secundaria" is grades 7-9, and "Preparatoria" is grades 10-12. This article about private schools here may help you, although written a few years ago. I would strongly suggest that you make a preliminary trip before the school year begins (during class time, not summer vacation) and see some schools in person. This is an important decision and should not be left to the last minute. I used to be a teacher at Centro Educativo Renacimiento (included in the article), and the info in the article is not up to date. They no longer offer high school, but your daughters may both fall into the junior high category. The courses are all in Spanish--math, history, science etc.--but they have 2 hours per day for the English class (reading, writing, grammar spelling), and students are divided according to their level of knowledge of English; obviously your girls would be in the advanced group. While I was teaching there, we did have a few North American students like your daughters. It is going to be hard for them at first, but they will pick up Spanish fairly quickly. I also strongly suggest a private Spanish tutor for after school to help them with their homework, etc.

18.

Beach or Town

I will have around $225K usd to buy house, car, golf membership, well just about everything.I am worried about buying a house on the beach, and lossing everything due to hurricans etc. What's the risk percentage wise? Can you get Acts of God insurance?

19.

re. beach or town

Hello Philip! You should probably do some research on hurricanes, here is a good place to start:

http://yucatantoday.com/en/topics/hurricanes-yucatan

We don't have frequent hurricanes here, but it can happen. I own a beach house and was able to get insurance for hurricane damage, although it is not easy. This coverage was granted because we built our house with a proper foundation and protection from sea water surge. The most damage comes from the surge of water which can undermine your foundation because of erosion, causing the walls to fall down. So your foundation has to be properly constructed to a specific depth. These are the things you will want to ask if you buy an existing beach house...or with the help of a good architect, buy a lot and build from scratch, to be absolutely certain it is done correctly.

If you decide to buy an existing house, find out BEFORE you make the purchase if it can be insured for hurricane damage. You can read about my house here...my husband was the architect and supervised the construction, that's how I KNOW it's solid :) It is for sale but may not be exactly in your budget:

http://yucatantoday.com/en/topics/beach-house-sale-telchac-puerto

Don't worry too much! The most important thing is to be informed and ask lots of questions before you make your purchase.

Juanita Stein, Yucatan Today Editor

20.

Merida is HOT

People Merida is nice city but it is HOT HOT HOT ....you can not even go out during the day and there is no breeze coming from the ocean like Cancun or Playa del Carmen...keep in mind temperatures are over 100 F or more

21.

Living in Merida

I visited in July and yes it was hot. It still never caused me to use the A/C because I grew up in Southern Italy where it is less humid but can be even hotter in the summer and we hadn't even heard of A/C back then.
I have lived in England, Canada and the US for half my life now, but always bringing my Italian life-style with me. I don't own a car (of course that has severely limited my choice of places to live and work in the US); I would never use a dryer again if I could hang my laundry outside as I used to do in Italy (and even in London I lived 15 years without a dryer, just using a clothes airer inside my flat near the heaters).
I shop daily for food, I don't need a gigantic fridge like American are used to.
I have been growing my own veggies here in the US and intend to do that when I move to Merida. The city reminded me so much of where I originally come from, so I guess I'm a little luckier than some US or Canadian expats who have more of a culture shock in adapting to the culture (and language).
Yes, you require more tolerance and patience, but I wonder all those who complain, when was the last time you used services in the US? Standards have become very low here too. I half-renovated a house here, was screwed by a contractor for money, tried to sue him and realized I had no legal redress and ended up paying his bills when he went bankrupt, and have spent the last 2 years waiting hours and days for contractors, workers, delivery people and others who don't show up on time and often don't even call.
The US is NOT a paradise of convenience and efficiency, and even if it were it's a very expensive one.

22.

SEWERS

Is it true Merida has no sewers, and that all the house waste goes into a CISTERNA that each house has underneath it?

23.

re. sewers

Yes, it is true that there are no sewers. The peninsula is a limestone shelf with underground rivers, and it is very difficult to create sewer lines. But each house has a septic tank, not a cistern, for sewage, and it is usually located under the garden, not under the house. An underground cistern is used for the storage of city water for your household needs.

24.

merida

thanks for your comments I also grew up in heat and humidity south florida sans air cond i live in ohio economically depressed and my house has lost value It is 38 degrees now and Iam freezing looking folward to roasting again in merida soon as I sell this house It is my dream and I cannot deny it. Thanks again lizzy

25.

merida a/c

Thanks for the info very helpful loved merida when Ivisited years ago do plan on renting must say merida is much improved from 1970 tx again lizzy

26.

how much per month?

Hi,
I got a job offer to go and live in Merida...and this would be 1500 to 2000 USD per month...do you think it is enough for a family of 4?
Thanks

27.

re. how much for month

The cost of living is lower here but that might be tight...of course it depends on your lifestyle. You can rent a 3 br house for $400 per month unfurnished. Obviously the $2000 salary would be the better one :)

28.

Personal experience shipping goods to Merida

We received this comment from a family who shipped their possessions with Linea Peninsular shipping line from Panama City, Florida, to Progreso:

When we decided to move from Maine to Merida last year, we also decided to significantly pare down the amount of household goods we would bring with us. We gave basically all our furniture away to our children and were left with books, clothing, artwork, stereo equipment and a fairly large amount of kitchen equipment (no large appliances, but everything else). I guess since I am retired Navy, I liked the idea of our goods traveling across the Gulf of Mexico on a ship, so we researched Linea extensively. People shipping household goods with Linea can purchase an entire container or can have their goods loaded with other general freight in a shared container. Given the fact that we had gotten ourselves down to five shrink-wrapped pallets, we opted for the shared container option. We had the five pallets picked up at our home in Maine by a common carrier trucking company who took them to Panama City, Florida where we stored them at a place called Paulk's Moving and Storage, and our contact there was a wonderfully nice and professional gentleman named Ron Danzey. He stored our five pallets for six months... this was the maximum amount of time we could wait to bring our Menaje de Casa into Mexico on our visa. We had contacted Linea Peninsular from Maine and our contact there was another great help to us... her name was Brenda Pomes. When the time came to ship, Ron Danzey's people took the five pallets down to the pier in Panama City and Brenda's people loaded them into a container. Linea charged us $1800 USD to bring our goods to Progreso, and that charge also included trucking the pallets to Merida and unloading them. Anyone using this option will need to contract with a customs broker who will inspect the shipment and clear it through Mexican customs. We used Hiram Cervera. He was ALSO very professional and helpful and, to the best of my recollection, charged about $1200 USD for his services. In our entire shipment... that went through a truck ride from Maine to Florida, and then got loaded onto a boat and sailed to Progreso where every box was opened and inspected and closed back up again, and then went on another truck to Merida, the ONLY thing that was damaged was one single wine glass. Other people may have different outcomes, opinions and experiences, but our experience with Linea Peninsular was certainly a positive one from OUR perspective.

29.

Moving to Merida

Hi,
We are a family of 4, one kid of 10 and the other 13. We live in Toronto and we are thinking to move to Merida, but we don't know much about Merida. We went once and we love it. I would like to register my kids in a private school and also register them in different activities as swimming, soccer, music, etc. Are these activities expensive? how much money do we need to live OK there? It is safe to live there? What are the employment opportunities or business opportunities? We are planning to open a restaurant or sports bar. I would appreciate any information.
Thanks

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Welcome to Yucatan Today
Yucatan Today is the leading tourist guide of Merida, Mexico and the Yucatan Peninsula and was recently voted the best tourism website in all of Mexico! In our companion monthly magazine, we bring you the information you need to enjoy your experience while you are here. Read more