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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We are a young(ish) couple in our early 40's with 2 children, looking to relocate somewhere, sometime in the next 5 yrs. Only one of our children will be coming with us, as the oldest is 19 and in university. Our second is 9.

We are currently throwing ideas around and looking for somewhere we both want to be that is affordable, pretty, has a beach or is near a beach and has employment opportunities for us both. (I know this last one will be a bit of a stickler.)

I am a French/English teacher here in Canada, and my husband would be happy doing any number of things, although he has no Spanish. Mine is basic, but slowly getting better.

One of the places we're very interested in is Mexico, but don't want to be in any of the northern states. I think Mazatlan would be the furthest north we'd want to go on that side of Mexico. We've been to Quintana Roo a couple of times and loved it, but aren't thinking that that's the only option. I would prefer an older city because of the history and architecture. My husband wants a city that will has modern conveniences, a big enough ex-pat community, and we both want good education opportunities for our daughter. I think a good place would have a bilingual or international school, and perhaps real estate employment opportunities for my husband to work in. For myself, I'm hoping to get a teaching position with a good school.

So - you guys are the experts. Do you have any suggestions on where a good place would be?

Thanks! Feel free to throw any and all ideas into the pot!

Beth
 

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One of the larger cities, like Guadalajara, will offer you an excellent year round climate and most of what you seek, plus access to the Pacific beaches within half a day. The hardest part will be finding work; especially work that will pay enough for you to live very well. As you know, you must have government approval on your visas to work in Mexico and getting that is not always easy.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks! What about places like Mazatlan, Manzanillo or Puerto Vallarto? I'd even be interested in Merida or Progresso area. At this stage, we wouldn't go anywhere without one of us having a job. That would be fairly irresponsible (although fun for awhile)!!!
 

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Only if you like unbearably hot & humid weather for half the year and can afford to air condition a home at CFE's very high rates for electricity. The alternative would be a second home in the mountains. Some folks have tried it and moved inland after a year or two of suffering the heat. I think you have to be born there, or somewhere similar, to tolerate it.
 

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Hey now .... I was on the beach in Melaque for 5 years and got used to the climate without AIR. Still lots of gringos there so it can be done. Getting used to the cold here in the Lake Chapala area now and just bought my first heater
 

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That's true, Sparks. By the way, how are you enjoying your new residence here at Lake Chapala? You must feel the 'freshness' more than most, but you will adapt as you did to the heat and humidity. OK, I admit it! I hooked up our propane heater yesterday & we do use it in the winter just to knock off the morning chill in the living room and occasionally in the evening, when we're just too lazy to run to the closet for a sweatshirt and a pair of socks. Some have said that we old folks just don't pump blood like we used to. Now, you've reminded me to confirm our reservation for our usual week at the beach. Current noontime temperature, inside and out with doors and windows open: 67F and climbing with a clear sky and bright sunshine; our true winter weather. Next month it can even get ten degrees colder & might require dressing in layers. Glad to have you in the neighborhood.
 

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I live in Manzanillo, actually Santiago. Despite what some will tell you, there are hundreds of thousands of people that live on the west coast of Mexico without air conditioning. This is my 5th year in Mexico, 3rd in Manzanillo and like Scott haven't had a/c yet.

I like Manzanillo because it is a lot less touristy. If you have to have contact with a foreign community, it exists a little here (though nothing like Lakeside). I can't tell you much about it as I don't interact with them.

I moved to Mexico to enjoy Mexico, not to hang out with a bunch of gringos.

Sorry back to the thread. Manzanillo's beaches are great lots of mexican tourists throughout the year but it is the busiest port in Mexico so it can be a little gritty for some folk's tastes. If you have specific questions about Manzanillo, drop me a note.
 

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Stanburn and Sparks make some good points about living 'at the beach' and we do enjoy going to both Manzanillo and Melaque, as well as other places in the winter. If close enough to the beach and the ocean breezes, I could possibly tolerate the hot months, but a few blocks inland can be tough. I did stay in Mazatlan in June once and tended to stay inside with A/C after 11:00 AM and didn't venture out again until after dusk to go to a restaurant. I am, admittedly, one who was brought up in the 'frozen north'. This winter, we'll spend some time at Las Peñitas de Jaltembe and Rincon de Guayabitos, for a change.
 

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I'm with you, RVGringo. I grew up in Virginia with its sweltering summer heat, and escaped as soon as I could, living most of the rest of my life on the West Coast. Living at the beach in Mexico is definitely for "beachies" who are willing to put up with the heat, humidity, and bugs. Mexico's Western Highlands, where Lake Chapala is located is reputed to have the 2nd best climate in the world (not sure where the 1st is, but it's not in Mexico). Since climate is something you live with 24/7 and generally 12 months a year, it's pretty important, not only for comfort but also for expense (i.e. air conditioning, clothing, etc.). If you really want to know whether you can live with the climate at the beach, go there at the worst time of the year--summer. That will tell you everything you need to know.
 

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I love the beach, Manzanillo and to repeat don't have a/c so that expense isn't there. I agree about visiting areas at their worst time. Therefore I would recommend visiting Lakeside in the winter and you can decide if you want to live amongst the foreigners (in this case english speaking types) or if you want to live in Mexico.

Mexico is a big place, there are plenty of places to satisfy everyone's desires. Not everyone has the same ideas on moving to a foreign country.
 

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Hey Stanburn, you're being a bit harsh on Ajijic/Chapala. My daughter (now 14) and I have wintered there a few times. She went to Kinder Don Boscoe and Colegio Octavio Paz, both essentially 100 % Spanish-speaking schools, with maybe one or two other non-Mexicans. She made great friends at Octavio - Mexican one's. She now speaks Spanish well and I have spoken it from years back. We happily interact with the Mexican community, but it is a bonus, not a detriment, to have other English-speakers around. Chacun (chaqu'un ?) a son gout - to each his own. I am glad you enjoy the beach, we like it too, especially where Bob is headed.
 

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Beth - here's fair warning for you. If you think you will get ANYWHERE NEAR a teacher's salary like you receive in Canada, guess again. I would suggest any teaching should be done with the idea of the joy of teaching and keeping your hand in the teaching mode. No doubt you would have a good teacher's pension but it sounds like you may be too young to tap into it.
On the other hand, we - and others - have a low income but get by nicely in Mexico.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Hi guys -

Admittedly, my original post was from quite awhile ago. But thanks for the replies!

The heat doesn't bother us too much. But beaches are definitely high on the wish list.

Were thinking about Puerto Vallarta as a destination. Any comments? Anyone living there?
 

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it is a big tourist destination and is flooded with cruise ship tourists, making it expensive and crowded. We've passed through, but didn't bother getting out of the car; parking is a nightmare anywhere near the water. I would look to smaller towns, but that's just our taste.
Remember that need for government permission to work, without taking a job that a Mexican can do, and the very, very low wages. Come on vacation to explore, or come prepared to qualify for an FM3 visa and to support yourself on your own resources. Consider finding a job as a bonus. The scarcity of them is what drives so many to risk their lives to cross the deserts on foot.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
it is a big tourist destination and is flooded with cruise ship tourists, making it expensive and crowded. We've passed through, but didn't bother getting out of the car; parking is a nightmare anywhere near the water. I would look to smaller towns, but that's just our taste.
Remember that need for government permission to work, without taking a job that a Mexican can do, and the very, very low wages. Come on vacation to explore, or come prepared to qualify for an FM3 visa and to support yourself on your own resources. Consider finding a job as a bonus. The scarcity of them is what drives so many to risk their lives to cross the deserts on foot.

Thanks RV. The only way I'd go is if I had employment secured. As a teacher, I believe most schools that hire you to teach also include the Visa in the offer of employment. I do have a friend teaching in Carmen, and she has been kind enough to explain that part of the process to me.

Visiting first is also an important plan. And, of course, in order to teach, I need a school to teach in, so we need a larger community. I've never been to that side of Mexico, so I'm interested in hearing people's comments! Thanks!
 

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Are you TEFL certified? If not, you may want to do that in Guadalajara ( I think it is a one month course) and then explore the options there, as well as the nearby coastal cities. If you are teaching now, it could be a great way to spend the summer.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Are you TEFL certified? If not, you may want to do that in Guadalajara ( I think it is a one month course) and then explore the options there, as well as the nearby coastal cities. If you are teaching now, it could be a great way to spend the summer.
No, I'm not, but that's one thing on our list of "to-do's" for my husband and myself. Hmmm... Do it here in Canada, or in Guadalajara...... Tough question..... :)
 

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Mexicana used to have a direct flight from Montreal to Guadalajara, which my mother enjoyed immensely; they actually serve food and drinks! With the airline cuts in routes, I wonder if that flight still exists, or if you now have to fly through Chicago, etc. I bet you've already looked.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Mexicana used to have a direct flight from Montreal to Guadalajara, which my mother enjoyed immensely; they actually serve food and drinks! With the airline cuts in routes, I wonder if that flight still exists, or if you now have to fly through Chicago, etc. I bet you've already looked.
HAha.. No I haven't looked. We'd be flying out of Toronto, Hamilton or Buffalo. Montreal is a bit of a drive from here. Although, we've flown out of Detroit before, but had to drive 5 hours to get there! Anything is cheaper than flying out of Toronto though!
 
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