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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all,

I'm brand new to the forum, so let me introduce myself. I'm a 25 year old female from Boston, Massachusetts. Right now, I work teaching ESL to adults in an adult learning center just outside of the city.

I was just offered a teaching position in Cancun. The contract is for one year.

  • After taxes, the base pay is approximately $18000 mxn/month.
  • A Christmas bonus of an unspecified amount is included.
  • There is a housing stipend of $3000 mxn/year.
  • There is a foreign living stipend of $10,000 mxn/year split into two payments of $5000 that happen once in the fall and once in the spring.
  • Mexican social security/medical is included with $1,500 to be spent on medication and doctor appointments.
  • There are 4 weeks of vacation total - 2 for Christmas and 2 in the spring.
  • A relocation allowance of $6,000 is paid out at the end of the year.

If I'm doing my math correctly, that's a rough $236,500 for the year.

Could I live comfortably on this salary?
My only expense outside of the day-to-day obvious (food, rent, etc.) would be around $2,400 mxn/month in loan payments.

What other advice do you have for me regarding moving to Cancun or Mexico in general?

I'm most worried about what to do with all my stuff. I'd obviously need to either sell, get rid of, or store the majority of my things. (I've been living on my own since 18, so I've obviously accumulated a good amount of stuff.)

Can I come down with a couple of suitcases full of essentials and be fine?
What's hard to find / abnormally expensive in Mexico that I'd be well advised to pack and bring with me into the country?

Also - as far as prescription medications go, I'm not sure how my situation would work. Would I need to find a doctor here in Mexico and obtain prescriptions from him or her? Are all the medications that are available in the US generally available in Mexican pharmacies?

I know I've asked a lot, but I appreciate any information you can pass along to me.

Thanks so much in advance!
 

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I assume that your employer has provided you with a written, firm offer of employment that you can use at the nearest Mexican Consulate to apply for your Residente Temporal Lucrativa visa approval. They must be registered with INM and support you in getting the visa approval.
You can survive on that salary, but not in high style. Finding inexpensive rental may be your biggest challenge on that salary. Yes, bring whatever essentials you feel you need. You will find necessities readily available in Mexico; not a problem. Medications are all over the counter except for antibiotics and narcotics, in either familiar brands or the equivalent generics, which are a lot less expensive. Shop around.
Enjoy!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I assume that your employer has provided you with a written, firm offer of employment that you can use at the nearest Mexican Consulate to apply for your Residente Temporal Lucrativa visa approval. They must be registered with INM and support you in getting the visa approval.
You can survive on that salary, but not in high style. Finding inexpensive rental may be your biggest challenge on that salary. Yes, bring whatever essentials you feel you need. You will find necessities readily available in Mexico; not a problem. Medications are all over the counter except for antibiotics and narcotics, in either familiar brands or the equivalent generics, which are a lot less expensive. Shop around.
Enjoy!
Yes, I've been given a solid contract that even outlines the visa process. They have a designated woman employed at the school who helps new teachers through the entire thing.

I live very modestly now, so I'm not expecting a very high style of living, but I just want to make sure the salary is livable in general. The school helps teachers with the rental process as well, so hopefully they will provide options that are within the budget of the salary they pay.

Thank you!
 

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Yes, I've been given a solid contract that even outlines the visa process. They have a designated woman employed at the school who helps new teachers through the entire thing.

I live very modestly now, so I'm not expecting a very high style of living, but I just want to make sure the salary is livable in general. The school helps teachers with the rental process as well, so hopefully they will provide options that are within the budget of the salary they pay.

Thank you!
A "high style of living" is very much a personal thing. Many people, including me, could live in very high style on that salary.
 

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You can find plenty of rentals for the 2000-3000 peso range. These are in new homes in new Mexican neighborhoods. You won't be living on the beach but you will be within 3-5 miles away.
 

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I'll say! I live on about half of that budget in Mexico City, where the cost-of-living is a bit on the high side for Mexico.
I believe that Cancun and the Riviera Maya has one of the highest costs of living in all of Mexico. I sure see the differences between low cost Chapala and the higher costs here in PDC.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I believe that Cancun and the Riviera Maya has one of the highest costs of living in all of Mexico. I sure see the differences between low cost Chapala and the higher costs here in PDC.
That's what I'm worried about - I've heard that Cancun has a pretty high cocst of living relative to a lot of other parts of Mexico.

I just want to be sure that, between my loan payments, and everything I'll need to afford a basic standard of living, I'll be alright.

I'd be moving in 4 weeks, and I just got the news yesterday, so this all very sudden!
 

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That's what I'm worried about - I've heard that Cancun has a pretty high cocst of living relative to a lot of other parts of Mexico.
Of course it will, in Cancun, since this is ******-travel land. Prices often are set by what gringos are willing to pay in GringoLand.

I just want to be sure that, between my loan payments, and everything I'll need to afford a basic standard of living, I'll be alright.
If you can downsize your ideas of what is necessary vs. what is convenient or usual, you'll be fine.

I'd be moving in 4 weeks, and I just got the news yesterday, so this all very sudden!
Exciting, congratulations, enjoy your challenge!;)
 

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That's what I'm worried about - I've heard that Cancun has a pretty high cocst of living relative to a lot of other parts of Mexico.

I just want to be sure that, between my loan payments, and everything I'll need to afford a basic standard of living, I'll be alright.

I'd be moving in 4 weeks, and I just got the news yesterday, so this all very sudden!
Regarding rent prices: If you want to live in a condo on the beach with a heated swimming pool and all the trimmings, then rents will probably be high.

On the other hand, if you are interested in saving money, look for a rental away from the beach in a Mexican neighborhood. I haven't spent much time near Cancun, but I once took a wrong bus in Puerta Vallarta. I ended up in a dusty neighborhood with unpaved streets. I am sure I could have found a rental there that was reasonable. And it would have been right on the bus route, so no car would be needed to get to work. I have seen similar situations in Manzanillo and Mazatlan. I suspect it is also possible in Cancun.
 

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On the other hand, if you are interested in saving money, look for a rental away from the beach in a Mexican neighborhood. I haven't spent much time near Cancun, but I once took a wrong bus in Puerta Vallarta. I ended up in a dusty neighborhood with unpaved streets. I am sure I could have found a rental there that was reasonable. And it would have been right on the bus route, so no car would be needed to get to work. I have seen similar situations in Manzanillo and Mazatlan. I suspect it is also possible in Cancun.
Somehow, I don't think it would be a good idea for a 25-year-old female newcomer to Mexico (possibly with little or no Spanish) to live in a neighborhood in Cancún like the one you found in Puerto Vallarta. Just my opinion, of course.
 

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Trundra, there is a big difference between the Riviera Maya and the other places you mentioned. This area is flush with money.

There are a lot of newly built Mexican neighborhoods sprouting up all over the Cancun area. These new neighborhoods have new homes, new schools, new hospitals, new fire stations, new asphalt on the roads, new bike paths, new garbage trucks, everything is new.

I have a friend living in Puerto Maya, 3 miles from the beach, and pays 2000 pesos a month for a new 2bd, 1ba home. She has a car but tells me that all the necessities of life are within walking distance.
 

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There are apartments and houses in Cancun where the people working for the hotels live and I am sure you can find various levels of good and bad accomodations, it is a question of loking around, like everywhere else.
The school should be able to direct her on the right path and area. Other teachers will have resommendations as well. Maybe some of them are llooking for roommates as well.
 

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Somehow, I don't think it would be a good idea for a 25-year-old female newcomer to Mexico (possibly with little or no Spanish) to live in a neighborhood in Cancún like the one you found in Puerto Vallarta. Just my opinion, of course.
Why not? Do you think it would be dangerous? Or lonely? Or something else?

It was a nice neighborhood. There were lots of young Mexican women walking the streets in white uniforms on their way to a job in one of the hotels or restaurants. I was amazed at how clean they were able to keep their uniforms in a neighborhood that was pretty dusty.
 

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Why not? Do you think it would be dangerous? Or lonely? Or something else?

It was a nice neighborhood. There were lots of young Mexican women walking the streets in white uniforms on their way to a job in one of the hotels or restaurants. I was amazed at how clean they were able to keep their uniforms in a neighborhood that was pretty dusty.
I have always been amazed at how Mexicans can get their white clothes so white, even some people I know when they were living in an adobe house with dirt floors! My whites looked dingy next to theirs.

Then some friends - who own a clothing store selling clothes made with white cotton cloth and traditional embroidery, including white on white embroidery - showed me their secret for getting that exceptional white. Soak the clothes for a few hours or overnight in a bucket of water with Blanca Nieves laundry detergent, wash, then hang in the sun to dry. My whites got whiter than they had been in a long time!
 

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Ojos- there's a pure soap which you can buy in the supermarket that is awesome. It has worked on almost every stain I've tried to get out. Every time I return to MX, the first I do is go to the market to buy a bar. It only costs about a buck (sorry, but I don't remember what it's called but it's yellow and has an image of a woman doing the wash). Greatest thing about Mexico.

OP - As a-now ex ESL teacher (albeit private one), I have a quite difficult time believing that any school in this country would offer you that kind of package! Forgetting the fact that you're asking if a quarter of a million dollars is liveable in a poverty-stricken country, have you actually spoken to any of the references they provided? Have you spoken to them via Skype (WITH visuals)? Do you know how many hours a day/week you'll be working? Even if it's a private school, everything they're throwing in doesn't sound right for this country. Yes, salaries are increasing for native ESL teachers, but in Mexico City, not the rest of the country, I'm sure. Hope this isn't a scam or joke.

Also, taking the pay in pesos is a big mistake - require it in dollars. The peso has been dropping since the beginning of November of last year. Used to be $1=12.7, now $1=15.7. I just lost about $300 due to this drop. And no, it's not going to return to its old value - it's been too long.
 

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Ojos- there's a pure soap which you can buy in the supermarket that is awesome. It has worked on almost every stain I've tried to get out. Every time I return to MX, the first I do is go to the market to buy a bar. It only costs about a buck (sorry, but I don't remember what it's called but it's yellow and has an image of a woman doing the wash). Greatest thing about Mexico.

OP - As a-now ex ESL teacher (albeit private one), I have a quite difficult time believing that any school in this country would offer you that kind of package! Forgetting the fact that you're asking if a quarter of a million dollars is liveable in a poverty-stricken country, have you actually spoken to any of the references they provided? Have you spoken to them via Skype (WITH visuals)? Do you know how many hours a day/week you'll be working? Even if it's a private school, everything they're throwing in doesn't sound right for this country. Yes, salaries are increasing for native ESL teachers, but in Mexico City, not the rest of the country, I'm sure. Hope this isn't a scam or joke.

Also, taking the pay in pesos is a big mistake - require it in dollars. The peso has been dropping since the beginning of November of last year. Used to be $1=12.7, now $1=15.7. I just lost about $300 due to this drop. And no, it's not going to return to its old value - it's been too long.
I missed where she said they offered her a quarter of a million dollars. I thought it was $18,000 mxn/month which is $216,000 pesos/year. Nearly a quarter million pesos, not dollars.

But otherwise, I agree with your skepticism. The complete benefits package sounded pretty generous.
 

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I might of missed something but where were references mentioned? I think it is really important that the school be vetted independently. Talking to current teachers would be great.
 

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Why not? Do you think it would be dangerous? Or lonely? Or something else?

It was a nice neighborhood. There were lots of young Mexican women walking the streets in white uniforms on their way to a job in one of the hotels or restaurants. I was amazed at how clean they were able to keep their uniforms in a neighborhood that was pretty dusty.
I think it would be easier for a young newcomer to Mexico to adjust to life in an area with more amenities and perhaps a few neighbors who spoke English. On the other hand, if the OP has an adventurous spirit and an outgoing personality, and some ability to communicate in Spanish, moving to a working-class neighborhood might be a good idea.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I missed where she said they offered her a quarter of a million dollars. I thought it was $18,000 mxn/month which is $216,000 pesos/year. Nearly a quarter million pesos, not dollars.

But otherwise, I agree with your skepticism. The complete benefits package sounded pretty generous.
@TundraGreen Right, the salary is in pesos.

@travelinhobo I'm sorry if I offended, but I'm simply brand new to the country and I know nothing of how far a peso or a USD will get you in a resort city such as Cancun. I live in Boston where it is normal to pay $2,000 USD/month in rent alone. I did Skype at length with an administrator of the school, and I have been in touch with various contacts throughout the application and acceptance process. Also, while I teach ESL here in the US, in Mexico I'll be teaching Language Arts classes to students who already have a good grasp of the English language itself.

I do speak a very good amount of Spanish - I'm nearing fluency as I minored in Spanish and spent time studying the language abroad. I don't want to live in a beach-side resort-like apartment. That's not what I expect (or, frankly, want) from Cancun. I'd prefer living in el centro, in a modest 1 bedroom, in a neighborhood where I can make friends and interact with native Spanish speakers.

I'm just a young teacher looking for some advice from expats such as yourselves who have experience relocating to Mexico.
 
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