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Hello everyone!

I am new to the forum and I welcome all the help I can get:)

I am looking for a "cultural map" of Mexico. I don't want to move to an "expat" community, a "beach community", but would like to move to an area in Mexico with decent weather, access to universities, some public transportation, and a middle class life style. The less "Americanized" the better. I have to started to take intensive Spanish classes.

Think of it this way.....if I was to introduce a foreigner to the USA (I myself came here from Scandinavia) it would have been helpful to go thru the following (non-politically correct) exercise.

East coast: -Especially NY, MA, and so forth folks are direct, it's all business, weather is hot in summer and cold in winter. Great public transportation - high % of college educated population, first rate art, museums, technology, fast pace.

LA, AL, GA,MS, (SC and NC) "deep south" friendly, somewhat racist, much more more laid back than the east coast. Hot and humid.

WA,OR,CA much more liberal, into healthy lifestyles, expensive real estate, not much public transportation, etc.

Midwest.....you get the point.....

Clearly all generalizations and one can argue the finer points of liberals living in Austin even though it's Texas, conservatives in rural Oregon while Portland is liberal, and so forth.

However, all I am looking for are the general trends if that's even possible...

Then there's the issue of "machismo".....how bad is it really?

Thank you!

Mrs. Larsen[/COLOR
:ranger:
 

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Mrs. Larsen:

You sound like something of a formal person and your description of what you think of certain areas of the United States indicates to me you tend to categorize places somewhat and somewhat naively in my opinion but that´s OK. No disrespect intended but it is simply hard to make prejudgments about Mexico which takes years to understand. Here is Dawg´s personal suggested places best suited to you in Mexico although there are doubtless many others. We have spent the better part of a decade traveling about seeking our favorite place to settle since moving to Lake Chapala in 2001. These are our favorites all in pleasant highland environmentts between 4,000 and 7,000 feet in altitude. No particular order here:
* Cuernavaca, Morelos and the surrounding area
* San Luis Pótosi, SLP
* Guadalajara, Jalisco
* Jalapa, Veracruz
* Oaxaca City, Oaxaca or the surrounding area
* Puebla City, Puebla
* Orizaba, Veracruz and the surrounding region
* San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas and the surrounding highlands
* Mexico City or its suburbs such as Santa Fe. This is a special place requiring nerves of steel but providing immense rewards if that fits the quality of your nerves and you love big, frenetic cities
* Chiapa de Corzo, Chiapas

These places have some things in common and many things not in common. You need to do your homework and look around. We live in San Cristóbal and at Lake Chapala. Lake Chapala did not make my list even though it has a splendid climate because it has a large foreign colony.

That´s all I can think of at present.
 

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Hound Dog, Please Expand With A Comparison Between Chapala and San Christobal

Perhaps Mrs. Larsen as well as myself and others would enjoy reading how you have come to reside in one favorite place from your list and a second place that is not even on your favorites list. Many of us "newbies" might benefit from your Mexico travel experiences. Thank you.
 

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I double the Puebla suggestion.
and really expensive real estate and not much public transportation in Oregon? I've lived in portland almost my whole life. I bought a dirt cheap house and buses run all over the place like every 15 minutes, and there's a light rail train that runs all over the whole city. Where did you get your information from?
 

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Welcome, Mrs. Larsen.
There really isn't any 'zoning' in Mexico and you may find a hovel next to a mansion. However, there is public transportation everywhere, even the remote villages. In fact, the long distance buses are the best the world has to offer.
Access to major universities will require a major city, like D.F., Guadalajara, Monterrey, etc. Smaller cities will have branches or smaller universities.
Avoiding coastal areas or extreme altitudes, above 5000-7000 feet, will give you 'decent weather'.
"General trends" is very vague and Mexico is what it is; it isn't to be defined as you attempted for the USA in much too general strokes, I think, but not too far off.
 

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Perhaps Mrs. Larsen as well as myself and others would enjoy reading how you have come to reside in one favorite place from your list and a second place that is not even on your favorites list. Many of us "newbies" might benefit from your Mexico travel experiences. Thank you.
Southbound, you have hit upon an important subject.
I was speaking to the original poster´s goals. That is why I suggested highland places as places of residence not bacchanalian **** rubs, my wife and I tend to disagree on where the best highland place to reside is located. whether in Mexico or South Africa or Colombia or Malaysia or India For instance, if I picked my favorite cities in Mexico they would certainly include Mérida and Veracruz and Puerto Morelos but I ain´t leaving my wife for no sandy beach or tropical urban decadence and abundant no-see-ums attacking your feet . Actually, if it weren´t for her I might be living in Veracruz City and drinking too much booze nightly and by now be dead in a gutter if you get my drift. Tropical touristy places, and that includes New Orleans and Key West and San Juan and Santo Domingo and numerous places in the Greek and Spanish islands and the Floribama Lounge on the beach on the Florida/ Alabama border and countless places in Manhattan Beach, CA and on and on , are only enchanting inversely with the amount of time you have spent there and slipped on vomit in their streets or watched out-of-control teenage rubes from Fond Du Lac who spent too much time in the pews at that Methodist Church there worshipping gods they could not wait to pretend to escape by crossing some tropical border of no consequence spititually or for that matter physically.

My sister-in-law from Paris just got back from the Dominican Republic after one month on beaches there and she told me the young American were disgraceful out-of-control drunk morons day-after-day. Some example for the Taliban, no?
 

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Hello everyone!

I am new to the forum and I welcome all the help I can get:)

I am looking for a "cultural map" of Mexico. I don't want to move to an "expat" community, a "beach community", but would like to move to an area in Mexico with decent weather, access to universities, some public transportation, and a middle class life style. The less "Americanized" the better. I have to started to take intensive Spanish classes.

<snip>

Then there's the issue of "machismo".....how bad is it really?

Thank you!

Mrs. Larsen
Hello,

There are a few helpful subdivisions of Mexico that may inform your decision.

The first one is clearly between North and South. The North is populated by more conservative and religious people, in a majority with more Spanish than Indian blood, and that quite often s****** at the Indian South as backwards, in pretty racist rants at times, although as all things in Mexico, this is very fluid, specially given the drip drip of Mexicans from the South making their way to the US.

The South of Mexico is most definitively more Indian, more akin to Central and South America.

Then you have Urban Mexico (most of it) which is more tolerant and open minded and rural or smaller city Mexico, where you have the opposite, but again, this is not as clear cut, Mexico City is certainly liberal, but Guadalajara and Monterrey, in spite of being big towns, have a double personality syndrome when it comes to many political issues.

And then you have Mexico City and its surrounding areas versus the rest of the country. Mexico City has been ruled by left wing politicians since its inhabitants have been allowed to vote for a local government, they have introduced progressive legislation as gay marriage and more liberal (for a Catholic country) abortion provisions.


Now, in regards to your specific questions, expat communities are rare in Mexico, save a few enclaves (which you will see mentioned quite often in this forum) most foreigners living in Mexico just get on with life as any local person would do, so in that regard, unless you go out of your way to live in an expat community you will not fall in one by accident.

Your request about decent weather is nonsensical. What do you mean by that? In any case, height above sea level should be your guide. Places 1000m and above will to be cooler, in all cases Mexico tends to be sunny, has a lively rainy season and in very few places you will ever have snow. Most Mexicans run for their warm clothes when the temperatures go below 14 degrees, in other countries people wear their normal clothes in similar conditions.

If you need access to Universities (student or teacher?) then you narrow your search severely. Big towns will have plenty, both public and private. Mexico City for example has UNAM, IPN, UAM, ITAM, Ibero and a plethora of others not as prestigious. In the other hand, smaller or poorer states may have only one or two universities, all in the capital city of the state, so lets say that you would need to live at the very least in a state capital in order to thick that box.

I will not even try to delve in what a "middle class" lifestyle is. If you have the means, you will lead the lifestyle that you want to lead, irrespective of place.
 

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Very well put, Jims. Unusually insightful for web forums in my opinion. A good start for the OP to begin seriously considering the decision as to where to settle in Mexico.
 

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Well, Jims, now I get it. You are a native of Mexico living in the UK. I thought the depth of knowledge you have, concisely expressed, was unusual for an expat having moved to a foreign country as complex as Mexico but now I think I get it.

My posts were aimed at giving the original poster some superficial insights into where to move in Mexico to find a pleasant climate while living in an urban zone with sufficient amenities to help make one´s every day life pleasant and rewarding and I stress "urban zone" since living in any foreign country in isolation in the country is not for most people.

When my wife and I, who were living in San Francisco at the time, were trying to decide where to retire in (my native) U.S., (her native) France or Mexico back in 2000, we finally decided on Mexico (at that time) because of the very reasonable cost of living compared to the other places but primarily because of the splendid highland climate in parts of the country and the attractive opportunity in retirement to learn a new culture. We had singled out Oaxaca City, Cuernavaca, Guadalajara, Ajijic, San Miguel d´Allende and, despite their tropical heat and humidity, possibly Mérida or Veracruz City. My wife had already retired and so commenced a journey to Mexico to visit each place on our list. We were leaning towrd Oaxaca City at that time but liked a number of things about Guadalajara´s metropolitan zone which abuts Lake Chapala so, because of that and the fact that Guadalajara was an easy flight destination from San Francisco, the first place she visited was Ajijic on Lake Chapala. When she got to Ajijic she almost immediately found a beautiful retirement home with a large mature garden and Lake Chapala is a scenic area with a wonderful climate at 5,000 feet and close to Guadalajara so, well, there went the ambitious plans for rationally choosing a place to retire and she bought before visiting any of those other places. I might add that in those days houses at that part of Lake Chapala were being snapped up fast and at very low prices compared to San Francisco so she was not about to pass up an opportunity to live one block off of the lake with a tropical garden where we could pick her own grapefruit, oranges and limes in the morning for the day.

I bring this up because within two years of moving down here we were on the road visiting those other places and trying to escape the somewhat overwhelming expat community in the Ajijic area for one of those other places we originally had in mind. We finally settled on San Cristóbal de Las Casas in the Chiapas Highlands which could hardly be different than Metro Guadalajara, a place not even on our original list and my point is that you can only really discover the best place for you in any foreign country in which you settle in retirement or to work by being there although through research you can certainly narrow your choices.

One other thing. We could have bought a very nice home in France´s Loire Valley in those days for about the same price as that we paid here. The problems with France were twofold. First, the ongoing cost of living looking beyond the initial cost of the house and that was before the dollar nosedived to the euro. Secondly, and hugely importantly because we had no idea in those days the euro would one day cost $1.60 more or less, we had lived in Alabama or coastal California all of our married lives and were not about to put up with the harsh climate (in our views) of France. Another factor is that small town life in France can be a bit stuffy and we couldn´t afford that fancy apartment we wanted on Paris´ Left Bank (sigh).
 
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