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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My wife and I are looking into the possibility of moving to Mexico for 6 months to a year. We would like some suggestions as to where to look for a place based upon these criteria:

2+ bedrooms, 1.5+ baths
walking distance or a short drive to a beach
pet friendly
furnished
<$750 a month
high speed internet available
Easy to return to the US via car (we plan on driving down)
SAFE - EXTREMELY important
Movie theater or someplace that has English films available (nice to have)
Aquarium or zoo would be nice (nice to have)
English speaking - we have limited Spanish but are willing to learn

What cities would you recommend looking into as possible places to live?
 

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I agree with Sparks either Maz or PV.
Also the area around the Bahia de Banderas in states of Jalisco and Nayarit would also check off most if not all of your needs.
Lots of Expats and things to do and close to the Beach!
 

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Well, I must say, flyboy, that you have laid out some contradictory criteria but I presume those criteria are flexible. You also do not, as I read it, point out here you live in the United States. I suggest Merida or Progreso, Yucatán. Perhaps Playa Del Carmen or vicinity, Quintana Roo.
 

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My wife and I are looking into the possibility of moving to Mexico for 6 months to a year. We would like some suggestions as to where to look for a place based upon these criteria:

2+ bedrooms, 1.5+ baths
walking distance or a short drive to a beach
pet friendly
furnished
<$750 a month
high speed internet available
Easy to return to the US via car (we plan on driving down)
SAFE - EXTREMELY important
Movie theater or someplace that has English films available (nice to have)
Aquarium or zoo would be nice (nice to have)
English speaking - we have limited Spanish but are willing to learn

What cities would you recommend looking into as possible places to live?
The "easy to return to the US via car" probably cancels-out a lot of possibilities. Is this a seasonal relocation, or are you exploring the option/planning for a change of residency to Mexico? How often do you expect to be driving back to the USA?

The high rates of crime in Mazatlan and the state of Sinaloa would cause me not to list the city on a "top ten" list of mine, personally. Puerto Vallarta is very expat-centric/friendly but it's not a quick drive to return to the USA. PV does meet much of the rest of your criteria.

I'm supposing you should list the most important things to you (and maybe what you've done is just that). Maybe you can clarify it for us. What's most important. What's least important, etc.

Safety is a relative consideration and you can ask 50 people for their opinion and few will probably agree totally. There are war zones in Mexico and flare-ups without notice in places you don't expect it. Expats aren't typically targets of the narco-terrorists but many have been caught-up in violent environments which break-out and such an experience can be very unsettling. But, generally, I think the principal concern of yours should be locating yourself in a colonia/neighborhood not known to be a center of criminal activity/crime.

And the community which will be right for you will depend upon environmental factors, also. How do you do with high temperatures and high humidity? Do you have mobility issues/concerns that the many hole-pocket sidewalks (missing manhole covers) or roadways might present to you if you walk a lot (not in all cities, but in enough to pay attention to).

There are a lot of considerations.

A first-thought of mine was one of the expat-popular communities at Lake Chapala, outside Guadalajara. GDL presents many opportunities you look for, as do the Lakeside communities ... but the drive to the beach will be more for at least an overnight visit than just a day-trip. San Miguel de Allende is another possibility I thought of. Mexico City, also. The latter two are some hours away from a beach though, but they offer a lot of attractiveness and check some of the boxes on your list.

Then again, maybe you want to try to live close to San Diego and the USA border, by locating in one of the coastal communities south of Tijuana. And, there's San Carlos and Guaymas both of which are reasonably close to Hermosillo for big market center and not a bad ride to Tucson or Phoenix in Arizona.
 

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That "extremely important" SAFE rules out a few otherwise desirable locations.

Baja California is probably your best bet. Beaches and easy return to the U.S. You can mouse over to get visuals of what the different places look like by checking out the real estate sites for the different towns that interest you.

Climate is a big consideration. Cooler weather in the higher inland locations like San Miguel, Lake Chapala area and others, but no quick trips from there to the beach where it gets mighty hot and humid. November-February are good beach months.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
My wife and I are non-traditional college students - I am a 42 yr old graduate student (IT Management) and she is a 37 yr old undergraduate(Sociology). Our classes are all online. (which is why HSI is a must). We do not drink so a "party" scene is not necessary. We just like to go out and do things from time to time such as go to a movie, out to eat, site see, etc.

The reason for return via car is because it is a lot cheaper to drive across the border with 5 cats (my wife refuses to move without them) than it is to fly into a locale with them. (We have been quoted a min. $250 airfare per cat.) I don't mind driving with the constant meows and having to stop to clean their carriers to avoid that huge expense.

Easy to return via car means that it isn't a terrible road or really complicated to get there - that there is a major roadway of some type that is traveled by many and the directions are not "at the 3rd anthill, take a left, go to the 2nd cow and make a right and then look for the bird with a feather in its bill...." Basically, is there a safe, uncomplicated way to get there? If it takes 2 days of driving to get back to the US, so be it. I don't want to be forced to travel down a 50 mile goat path to get to and from the city. Please, no zip lines across a raging river either! ;)

I will be taking a lot of good computer equipment with me so I am worried about crime. These systems are required because school. Is there many options when it come to personal property insurance? I know that I should make it so that the property I have is protected in some way or another. Maybe buy a safe to put our laptops in while we are out for dinner? *ponders*

Musts:

Rent needs to be <$750 USD for a furnished house/condo/townhome/apartment
Able to bring my cats (wife would rather kill me than move without her cats)
Safety (I don't want to feel like I am in Newark after dark!)
High Speed Internet
English Speaking - a must because my wife doesn't speak any Spanish

Would like:

2+ Bedrooms/1.5+ baths
Beaches close - no more than 30 minute drive

Nice to have:
Zoo
Movie theaters

It would be nice to be somewhere that I can make a little extra doing odd computer repair/consulting jobs but it isn't a requirement. Any money I would make doing that would go into the "play" fund - monies that do not need to be watched carefully.

The plan is to be there for 6 months, travel back to the US to "reset" the tourist visa, return to Mexico, stay 6 months (wash and reuse however many times needed) and continue to do that until we are done with our studies or decide to make Mexico a permanent home.
 

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We drove here with 4 cats about 3 years ago.

We rented here in Cuernavaca for the first year. I believe the 3/3 house we rented was 17000 pesos per month for a year lease.

Cuernavaca has excellent schools.

You won't fair well if you don't speak Spanish.

It is no-where near a short trek to the beach. Definitely an over-night affair.

There is/are pet friendly walking paths.

Mexico City is about 1-1.5 hour bus trip where you can find incredible museums/restaurants/almost anything - but there is traffic.

We have never for a moment lived here in fear of violence - but our community does have 24x7 security.

When we rented we had fiber for internet. It screamed. Now we have very decent Telmex DSL - perfectly adequate for my wife's business.
 

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It would be nice to be somewhere that I can make a little extra doing odd computer repair/consulting jobs but it isn't a requirement. Any money I would make doing that would go into the "play" fund - monies that do not need to be watched carefully.

The plan is to be there for 6 months, travel back to the US to "reset" the tourist visa, return to Mexico, stay 6 months (wash and reuse however many times needed) and continue to do that until we are done with our studies or decide to make Mexico a permanent home.
Please be advised that if you're planning to stay here on tourist visas, then you won't be able to work legally, even doing occasional part-time work.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
That is perfectly fine. I am not worried about making any extra monies while there - it would be nice but isn't required.

As for environmental factors - I am allergic to snow and ice. I prefer weather where I can walk around in shorts and a t-shirt. Air conditioning or swamp cooler would probably be needed if the weather gets up above 80.
 

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Lake Chapala area has a nice, mild climate. No snow or ice. Good internet access. I'd say, from your words, that the beaches are so often over 80 that you'd be uncomfortable.

Since you haven't said where you're living now, I can't say how long it would take to get here, but there is an excellent toll road system for getting around Mexico. Wide highways, well maintained.
No need to take the donkey trails.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I am in New Mexico. My Spanish knowledge has been built up listening to it here over the last 10 years - so I know enough to get my face slapped. ;)

My wife and I would "prefer" to be near the beaches but will live elsewhere if we can get to the beaches sooner or later.

Yes, I know that I cannot legally work. I didn't plan on actually working. If I fixed your computer, I would only charge for the hardware cost - no labor. If you give me more, what can I say? ;) (Yes, I am not being serious.)
 

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Longford writes:" Puerto Vallarta is very expat-centric/friendly but it's not a quick drive to return to the USA. PV does meet much of the rest of your criteria."

PV is a 2 day drive from the USA, each year I cross at Nogales AZ and spend the 1st. night in Navojoa and the 2nd night in PV...Have you driven to PV longford?
 

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I repeat my previous comment. The great thing about Highland Chiapas is that you are living in a splendid cool high mountan atmosphere with alpine forests and crystal clear skies but within relatively short drives you can be on the Caribbean Sea, the Gulf of Mexico or the Pacific Ocean - all about equadistant. The best place that Mexico has to offer but you´ll need some Spanish language skills.
 

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I repeat my previous comment. The great thing about Highland Chiapas is that you are living in a splendid cool high mountan atmosphere with alpine forests and crystal clear skies but within relatively short drives you can be on the Caribbean Sea, the Gulf of Mexico or the Pacific Ocean - all about equadistant. The best place that Mexico has to offer but you´ll need some Spanish language skills.
You just might want to mention something about the season where the weather there causes you to drive back to the unbeautiful sump. Only fair.
 
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