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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Greetings and Happy Holidays,
My wife and I are planning our escape from the US and are planning a trip to 4 cities this spring: Guadalajara+Chapala, Guanajuato, Queretaro, and Cuernavaca.
We've traveled before to many of the colonial cities and want to target one of them for further investigation. Are there any contacts in each of the cities that we can make prior to our arrival that can give first hand knowledge of the city including health care, cost of living and the essence of the various colonias? I'm an Architect/RE developer and my wife is a realtor so we're not interested in viewing individual properties. On a side note we are interested in perhaps acquiring property to rehab and turn and would appreciate comments on that endevour. Thanks for your time and kudos to all that supply valuable information in this forum
 

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Your questions are very broad and your major problem will be that you may become charmed by all of your destinations. As for Medical care, Guadalajara will probably offer the finest hospitals of the cities you mentioned. Chapala will offer the best selection of international groceries and micro-climate. Guanajuato may offer the most photogenic scenes, Querétaro the easier access to DF and Cuernavaca the best excercise for your legs in that 'tilted' city.
 

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Mexican Cities

I was trying to get a better feel for what you are looking for by your set of mentioned options but not really obvious, at least to me.
I'm very aware of Queretaro and Guanajuato and those hard to reconcile as very different.
I'm less aware of Guadalahara as experience really Tlacapaque & the Tonala market and know Cuernavaca only second hand.
I know people that think all of these are wonderful and others that have moved from each because not what they wanted.
It would be helpful if you can give some more likes/dislikes such as fluency in Spanish and interests in terms of expat activities.
We explored the bajio pretty extensively using San Miguel as our base since it is the easiest transition that we could imagine. Guanajuato, Queretaro as well as Morelia and Patzcuaro were all very interesting possibilities. We ended up buying/building in a small mining "ghost town" about 45 min from San Miguel, 1 hour from Queretaro and 1.5 hours from Guanajuato and San Luis Potosi. This town, Mineral de Pozos, has about 20 full time expats and a total of about 50 that own land/houses. We go to San Miguel about weekly for mail and the variety of restaurants/entertainment. We go to Queretaro about twice a month for bulk shopping at COSTCO, Home Depot, Walmart etc.. By the way, there is a wonderful hospital and associated medical facilities in Queretaro. We keep Guanajuato for special trips as truly a beautiful city. San Luis Potosi is the closest major airport in terms of US access. We also wanted to be an easy 1 day drive from Texas and highway 57 is just
west of Pozos.
To me the decision among lots of wonderful options is very personal and you really need to try places for multiple months at a time to decide what you like & don't like.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I was trying to get a better feel for what you are looking for by your set of mentioned options but not really obvious, at least to me.
I'm very aware of Queretaro and Guanajuato and those hard to reconcile as very different.
I'm less aware of Guadalahara as experience really Tlacapaque & the Tonala market and know Cuernavaca only second hand.
I know people that think all of these are wonderful and others that have moved from each because not what they wanted.
It would be helpful if you can give some more likes/dislikes such as fluency in Spanish and interests in terms of expat activities.
We explored the bajio pretty extensively using San Miguel as our base since it is the easiest transition that we could imagine. Guanajuato, Queretaro as well as Morelia and Patzcuaro were all very interesting possibilities. We ended up buying/building in a small mining "ghost town" about 45 min from San Miguel, 1 hour from Queretaro and 1.5 hours from Guanajuato and San Luis Potosi. This town, Mineral de Pozos, has about 20 full time expats and a total of about 50 that own land/houses. We go to San Miguel about weekly for mail and the variety of restaurants/entertainment. We go to Queretaro about twice a month for bulk shopping at COSTCO, Home Depot, Walmart etc.. By the way, there is a wonderful hospital and associated medical facilities in Queretaro. We keep Guanajuato for special trips as truly a beautiful city. San Luis Potosi is the closest major airport in terms of US access. We also wanted to be an easy 1 day drive from Texas and highway 57 is just
west of Pozos.
To me the decision among lots of wonderful options is very personal and you really need to try places for multiple months at a time to decide what you like & don't like.
Thanks for your honest and quick replies. I didn't think this would be an easy task. Getting back to basics: we're urban people and would like to be located in or near the centro. Although I may be fooling myself, we'd like to get along without a car. We're taking Spanish lessons and know that we would have to become proficient just to survive. We needn't be esconced in an expat enclave but wouldn't mind spending time with other expats. The question is are there newcomers clubs in any of the cities I mentioned that we could avail ourselves of or any other means of contacting expats so that we could arrange a lunch or drinks to get some first hand info about the city. OR is that what this forum is all about? Ask questions and get answers. Thanks again for your time. PS how do you not include the original post in your reply.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I was trying to get a better feel for what you are looking for by your set of mentioned options but not really obvious, at least to me.
I'm very aware of Queretaro and Guanajuato and those hard to reconcile as very different.
I'm less aware of Guadalahara as experience really Tlacapaque & the Tonala market and know Cuernavaca only second hand.
I know people that think all of these are wonderful and others that have moved from each because not what they wanted.
It would be helpful if you can give some more likes/dislikes such as fluency in Spanish and interests in terms of expat activities.
We explored the bajio pretty extensively using San Miguel as our base since it is the easiest transition that we could imagine. Guanajuato, Queretaro as well as Morelia and Patzcuaro were all very interesting possibilities. We ended up buying/building in a small mining "ghost town" about 45 min from San Miguel, 1 hour from Queretaro and 1.5 hours from Guanajuato and San Luis Potosi. This town, Mineral de Pozos, has about 20 full time expats and a total of about 50 that own land/houses. We go to San Miguel about weekly for mail and the variety of restaurants/entertainment. We go to Queretaro about twice a month for bulk shopping at COSTCO, Home Depot, Walmart etc.. By the way, there is a wonderful hospital and associated medical facilities in Queretaro. We keep Guanajuato for special trips as truly a beautiful city. San Luis Potosi is the closest major airport in terms of US access. We also wanted to be an easy 1 day drive from Texas and highway 57 is just
west of Pozos.
To me the decision among lots of wonderful options is very personal and you really need to try places for multiple months at a time to decide what you like & don't like.
Thanks for your honest and quick replies. I didn't think this would be an easy task. Getting back to basics: we're urban people and would like to be located in or near the centro. Although I may be fooling myself, we'd like to get along without a car. We're taking Spanish lessons and know that we would have to become proficient just to survive. We needn't be esconced in an expat enclave but wouldn't mind spending time with other expats. The question is are there newcomers clubs in any of the cities I mentioned that we could avail ourselves of or any other means of contacting expats so that we could arrange a lunch or drinks to get some first hand info about the city. OR is that what this forum is all about? Ask questions and get answers. Thanks again for your time. PS how do you not include the original post in your reply.
 

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The Chapala area, including Ajijic, has newcomers meetings, the Lake Chapala Society and any number of expat organizations to help you settle in. Guadalajara is so large that expats are very scattered, but there are groups that you might join, once you find them.

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I know San Miguel has very active groups with the bibliotec the center of expat activities and there are 3K+ expats. I know Guanajuato has much smaller expat population but a few really like it. Queretaro is very large, not Guadalahara but I believe over a million. Most of the expats that I meet there are with companies that have opened Mexican subsidiaries. Suspect small percentage and somewhat scattered.
A lot of people live in central San Miguel without cars and quite easy. Expect similar with Guanajuato although most folk that I know are on the outskirts but then that isn't far.
There is certainly an historical section in Queretaro that is quite walkable and you can get buses to almost everywhere. Queretaro has a lot of shopping centers.
My secquence would be San Miguel, Guanajuato, Queretaro but then anything over 100K people causes me to want out.
 

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Hi Everyone - same as many on this forum, I am a "wannabe" expat in Mexico. After reading much on this forum and several books, my partner and I are taking the first step and booked a flight to GDL in April. Due to work constraints, we will only have 8 days to check out the Lake Chapala area. We hope to retire at end of 2010. Here's some questions ...... where to stay ? don't need anything fancy and we will have a rent a car. Have checked out homes for rent by owner and several small places are available in Ajijic in the $400 week range. Is this a good way to go ?
Would it make sense to try to meet with a realtor to see what is avilable in our price range and how would we go about locating a good agent ? I know everyone says to rent for awhile first, so we'd also like to see what is available in our price range. Rent up to $1000 month - buy in the 150K range. The only thing that will make a rental more difficult for us, hopefully not impossable, is our "furry kids" - 2 medium size dogs and four cats (indoor). Also any advice on what to see/do during those eight days which would give us the best "flavor" of the area to see if it is where we will look first fir our retirement escape. Thanks to all in advance for any input !!
 
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