Several people ask me how to make the dream of moving to the sun come true, so I decided to make a short article about living in Mexico.
In my case, I chose Playa del Carmen because I love this little paradise town located between Cancun and Tulum. A charming and very safe Consmopolitan city where everything is nearby, an impressive gastronomy, an incomparable night life and above all with an adorable people.
So if you are no longer able to endure winter and decide to take the plunge, the first advice would be to come to take the time to taste life here, not just a week’s vacation to beach. I suggest a minimum of one month to fully immerse yourself in the place, get to know the city, meet people and see the opportunities. I advise you to rent a small apartment / condo and a car to discover the places and do your routine things from here like, going to the grocery store, understanding basic costs, going to the gym, in shops locals, meet and chat with entrepreneurs. Remember that it is better to have your own business than to work for a salary.
There is always a way to find a job depending on the standard of living you need, you can work in sales or rent on commission or even tips but the base salary here is really very low then unless you work for large hotels on sale of time sharing on commission and being a very good seller or real estate agent with a lot of contacts, going on your own is the best option, and don’t forget that tourism is the number one economic sector . Speaking English is absolutely necessary and Spanish is a huge advantage.
Regarding the cost of living, everything always depends on your needs and the standard of living you are looking for. There is something for all budgets and life styles. If you want to be close to the beach, have a luxury condo and eat in the big restaurants then you will need a higher budget but you can also have a simpler life for much less, a small clean apartment but a little more modest, a little further from the center and the beach as well as eating like the Mexicans (a good taco at only 15 pesos ($ 1) can be very satisfactory too). In general, the cost of living is 30% cheaper than in Quebec.
Average monthly cost ;
NB For 1 $ usd you have about 17-19 pesos (look at the daily rate).
-Accommodation : The cost varies enormously, you can find at 3500 pesos as at 35000 pesos, depending on where you want to be located and what kind of housing you need. But in general I would say that normality is around 18,000 pesos per month (or +/- $ 1,000) and the majority of homes are rented furnished.
– Home bills +/-: There is gas 350 pesos, water 150 pesos, internet 500 pesos monthly. As for electricity, this can vary the most if you use air conditioning or not, it can cost you like 400-500 pesos but if you like air conditioning it can quickly go up to ” at 6000-7000 pesos per month depending on the use and size of your apartment. CFE (electricity) is still the biggest bill.
-Food : At the grocery store the cost is generally around 30% cheaper and in terms of restaurants as I told you, you can eat a taco for 15 pesos as you can also get a gourmet meal at +/- 500 pesos . The margin is large so it is up to you to make the choices according to your budget.
-Cellular : Good news! This is a very big advantage here the cellular plans are extremely affordable. Example, for an At & t package, calls, texts all over North America (Mexico, United States and Canada) plus whatsapp, facebook, unlimited twitter for only 2,500 pesos annually! Which means about $ 12 a month !! And nowadays with all the smart apps you no longer need a home line.
– Health insurance : There is international medical insurance for around $ 500 usd per year with deductible and the hospitals here are at a 5 star level, very modern and clean with professional staff.
-Car: You can drive your car so far but know that you will not be able to resell it in Mexico without it being legalized and legalizing a foreign car is not worth it it will cost you as much as the car itself! So if you plan to keep your car it is doable but it is worth thinking about. Otherwise the purchase of a car here is an option without puzzles but you must have your residence card (visa) to be able to put it in your name. The prices for a new car in dealerships are similar to those in Quebec but a little more expensive than normal in the used, you have to shop around. The annual cost for a car is around 1,500 pesos for the purchase plates and then it is around 500 pesos annually.
-Temporary and permanent residence (visa) : There are several ways to obtain your residence, employee, retiree, investor, etc. You can have more information on the website of the Mexican Embassy in Montreal. It’s a fairly long process, but like everything, you will adapt. When the process is underway, you can start working even if you don’t have your card yet. Eventually you will get your temporary residence card and a few years later your permanent residence. The cost is around 1500 $ usd.
Playa del Carmen is already home to several thousand expatriates around the world. Some people live all year and some a few months a year.
Mexico is becoming more and more popular for travelers around the world as a place of passage. Not only for retired people, but also for an increasing number of younger people.
If you are considering moving to Playa del Carmen, here are the top reasons to live in Playa del Carmen, Mexico.
-It’s beautiful! With the turquoise Caribbean Sea and palm trees, it is a paradise.
-The people, warm and respectful people. Mexicans are very welcoming.
-Lower cost of living. As people age, we all need to think about our budget. There are some things that cost much less in Mexico and some that are similar.
-Easy to come and go. Playa del Carmen has easy and inexpensive flights from the United States and Canada. This facilitates access to friends and family. So easy for people to come and visit you!
-There is great accessibility to many cultural activities and destinations in the Yucatan Peninsula.
-Playa del Carmen is a modern city in Mexico and can offer you more comfort. You can have modern conveniences, pleasant neighborhoods and still have access to small towns and quiet life.
I hope I have helped you in your efforts and I wish you good luck!
Moving to Playa is the best decision of my life !!
Others ask me about my experience, so here is a little interview that I gave on site “Living in Mexico” which tells a little bit about my story of the departure.
Elie Guay of Montreal never does things by halves. Carrying an old dream, that of living in a tropical country, she decides one day to leave everything to settle in the small seaside resort of Playa del Carmen. Seizing a business opportunity offered to her, Elie buys a car rental company and moves to Mexico without even knowing how to speak Spanish! She is now the owner of Dream Rentals, and enjoys her new life in the hot sun!
The entrepreneur kindly agreed to tell us about his adventure.
Hello Elie! How does a Quebecer find herself living in Playa del Carmen?
I love to travel, I always knew I wanted to live warm, but I didn’t know where and how until I went to Playa del Carmen, in 2011, for a vacation. I fell in love instantly with the place.
From that moment, I knew that was where I wanted to live and I did everything to make this dream come true. The planets finally aligned in 2014: I separated, I sold everything I had in Montreal, I bought the company in Playa and here I am.
How did you get the idea to start your car rental company?
I have a good friend who has lived in Mexico for about 7 years and he ran his car rental business which was going very well. Following a divorce, he had a business opportunity in Quebec, so he decided to sell his business. For my part, everything happened perfectly so that I could take the plunge. I acquired the business and I am now the owner of DREAM RENTALS.
How is Dream Rentals different from other rental agencies?
The service! I offer a unique all-inclusive service with a transport service (pick up and drop off), I also offer a local cell phone if necessary with a 24h attention service and above all the prices do not hide any surprises or additions when of the final payment. The best service in Playa del Carmen in French, English and Spanish.
Who are your customers?
My clientele is mainly made up of Quebecers and Europeans.
What do you like in the small town of Playa del Carmen?
First, I love the people. Mexicans are very respectful and friendly. Playa del Carmen is a beautiful, safe little town with the necessary amenities and almost everything can be done on foot. In addition to its unique tourist area, the famous 5th avenue and all its welcoming beach clubs on white sand and a turquoise sea, Playa is buzzing.
Well located between Cancún and Tulum, and only 4 hours flight from Quebec, Playa del Carmen is my little piece of paradise with sun 365 days a year! But the icing on the cake is that my mother decided to retire to Playa… so I have my wonderful mom as a neighbor.
“Playa del Carmen is a beautiful, safe little town with the necessary amenities.”
What are or were the obstacles you faced as an entrepreneur in Mexico?
The biggest obstacle is to adapt to the pace of the Mexicans. In Quebec, we are used to stress and that everything goes quickly, while here they do not have the same rhythm of life. The “mañana” (tomorrow) is very common, ha! Ha! Patience is important, you have to adapt to them and not the opposite.
Did you speak Spanish when you arrived?
No, I took 3 months of part-time lessons when I arrived to get the base and the rest came alone. By living here, it comes automatically and a little more every day.
What are your plans for the future with regard to Dream Rentals?
I would like to increase my fleet to 30 rental vehicles, in addition to offering a personalized concierge service. And maybe even offer a financing service for used vehicles.
Where are you located exactly?
In downtown Playa del Carmen, avenue 20 between calle 10 and 10 bis.
What advice would you give to someone looking to start a business in Mexico?