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Hello,

Now that I've found this excellent website, I am very eager to do more research about my intended move to Guadalajara. Feedback on any of the following questions greatly appreciated.

1) I am a redhaired pale skinned 'gringa' of a certain age - not quite ready for full retirement but way past the spring chicken stage. Basically fit, active. What should I know about living, alone, in Guadalajara or Zapopan?

2) Costs: I would want to find a furnished apartment in the Zapopan or northwest GDL area, rentable by the month. I will not be bringing a car. Security of course is a major consideration. I would want a small two bedroom, 1 bath apt. w/shower and full bathtub, full kitchen (I mean stove, oven, refrigerator, cooking equipment, etc.) Beds, linens, towels - what one would generally find in a decent, not luxurious hotel. Access to safe laundry facilities. Television, highspeed internet most important. A more or less quiet residential neighborhood would be nice. How much should I expect to pay for that, and how would I find it?

3) Is the public transport system reasonable to get around on? Radio/licensed taxis generally available, reasonable, safe? Are there 2 prices for taxis? i.e., ****** price and local price? Do you negotiate in advance?

4) My initial plan is to take a TEFL course at the ITTO school, and look for work, perhaps part-time as a Teacher of Business English (I have a BA in Economics and and an MBA). Has anyone any information about working for US companies whose Mexican employees get English instruction on-site? Or Mexican companies, for that matter?

5) Living inexpensively is important - I like to cook and don't need much in the way of American brand name products. Is a budget of USD1200/mo. a reasonabe expectation? I hope to be able to make $400-$500 of that by teaching.

6) Moving permanently. I have read, somewhere, that one may bring all of one's personal possessions into Mexico without duty - but only within 90 days of 'going' to Mexico. Can anyone elaborate on this, or recommend links?

7) Are there good Mexican Chardonnays? How much for a decent bottle - not something to impress the guests, but just a good daily quaffing wine?

8) I speak a bit of beginner level Spanish and intend to continue to work on and improve my fluency - but that will take time. How essential is fluent Spanish in GDL?

9) Should I have broken this up into 8 different topics?

Looking forward to hearing from you. I've been perusing the topics and will be doing more - looks like a great bunch of folks here. Thanks.
 

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Your only real problem will be finding a rental with a bath tub. Most will have showers. Here, in Chapala, we have a 1BR fully equipped rental that goes for $500 USD per month, for example, and I am sure you can find similar situations in Zapopan, but it will take some serious footwork and will give you a chance to practice your spanish. Online, you can start by using Google to find the local classifieds and zero in on Zapopan listings. Try, "Bienes raices en Guadalajara" and "Bienes raices en Zapopan", etc.
I think you can bring a car full of stuff, something like $1000 USD worth at garage sale prices, without having to use a broker. You will enter on an FMM and visit INM to apply for an FM3 as soon as you get an address. Of course, if you are flying, that won't be a concern, as it is much cheaper to buy new stuff in Mexico than to ship it from abroad.
Your budget is doable, with care.
The wines of much of the world are available; no problem there.
 

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Your only real problem will be finding a rental with a bath tub. Most will have showers. Here, in Chapala, we have a 1BR fully equipped rental that goes for $500 USD per month, for example, and I am sure you can find similar situations in Zapopan, but it will take some serious footwork and will give you a chance to practice your spanish. Online, you can start by using Google to find the local classifieds and zero in on Zapopan listings. Try, "Bienes raices en Guadalajara" and "Bienes raices en Zapopan", etc.
I think you can bring a car full of stuff, something like $1000 USD worth at garage sale prices, without having to use a broker. You will enter on an FMM and visit INM to apply for an FM3 as soon as you get an address. Of course, if you are flying, that won't be a concern, as it is much cheaper to buy new stuff in Mexico than to ship it from abroad.
Your budget is doable, with care.
The wines of much of the world are available; no problem there.
I do see a problem in that the OP says part of her budget will come from teaching. This means she does not have enough income at this point to qualify for an FM3 and there are no guarantees that she will be able to earn the amount she mentions.
 

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1. I do not know if this is still true but in the old days Mexicans would walk my my mom (a redhead) and touch her hair, supposedly for good luck...
2. There will be furnished apartments but probably not with towels and linens, TV or high speed Internet( extra charge)....
3. They probably have no ****** price list in Zapopan, Chapala probably
4. It just seems with all the U.S. and Canadian expats in the Guadalajara/ Chapala area is one more English teacher needed?
5.I believe she needs a job offered by a company in Mexico, they would help with the FM3
6. You will have to Google that question
7. not a wine drinker
8. English spoken mostly in tourist areas....hope this helps
 

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Bournemouth makes a good point. The lady will have to show immigration proof of about $1200 USD per month foreign income or significant resources (investments, savings, etc.) to qualify for a visa. If that is not possible, the FMM will require that she leave Mexico before it expires in 180 days.
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
Bournemouth makes a good point. The lady will have to show immigration proof of about $1200 USD per month foreign income or significant resources (investments, savings, etc.) to qualify for a visa. If that is not possible, the FMM will require that she leave Mexico before it expires in 180 days.
Yes, thank you, I was just thinking about this. Of course there is no way of knowing just how much I will be able to make by teaching, and I may even find that teaching is not for me. I don't have any regular income other than a small amount of monthly alimony which will end in May 2011. I do, however, have some money invested, mostly in retirement savings which I want to leave to grow as much as possible, but still will have to use some of. How much of a "nest egg" will I have to show evidence of to Immigration? Anyone know? Thanks. Eventually Social Security should come to the rescue, but that is still a number of years away.
 

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I'm going to assume that, since the monthly income requirement is something like $1200 USD, that you would have to prove, at renewal every year, that you had about $14,400 on hand and probably show that you were withdrawing some $1200 per month for at least the three months prior to renewal. What they really want to see is deposits from Social Security and/or investments and retirement funds. The FM3 that you will need is 'visitante rentista', which means visiting retiree. There are other categories, but they require special talents or qualifications, being hired by a Mexican company, etc.
 

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1) Nothing substantially different from living anywhere else. Don't do foolish things, be a tad more careful since you would be obviously conspicuous, but in general just apply common sense.

2) Security: you will know if a neighbourhood is OK or not as soon as you are there, unfortunately in Mexico the divide between well off areas and poor ones is easy to recognize in general terms. You can't relocate toa less affluent area as a foreigner until you are really acquainted with daily life in Mexico, after that it could be done.

Bathtub: forget about it. It is not the Mexican way. If you find one, good for you, in general terms it is considered an unnecessary, luxury item.

Bed, linens and towels are not normally part of a flat menagerie, but you can buy all what you need at very reasonable prices if you need to save money.

Kitchen should have stove and fridge. You may have also an oven and/or microwave. You would be very lucky if you have a dish washer.

Many flats should have a washing machine, and you will have either an area to do your washing in the flat or inside the building, you rarely have to look for a laundrette.

TV: free to air is only in Spanish, then you have Cablevision, Telmex and Sky selling you integrated packages (TV-Broadband-Phone), all very expensive, be prepared to be shocked. You would get US TV, but I wonder how useful that is with the Internet (to check for news) and with many US TV shows available on DVD locally...

3) There are never ****** prices and local prices, there are tourist prices and local prices. If you are a tourist, irrespective of your nationality or appearance, Mexican cabbies will try to pull your leg. Information is power. Check with the Taxi companies for their prices, ask always fares in advance, become a regular of one or two taxi companies, once you build a relationship they will tend to take care of you.

Guadalajara public transport is not really good. The metro lines are restricted, slow, and overcrowded, buses should preferably be avoided. In as much as possible you should take taxis in a "sitio" (a kind of base on the street where only taxis belonging there can pick up passengers, there should be a person working there that can vouch for the security of boarding a vehicle there) or radiotaxis. You can flag down a taxi on the street, but then you should make a point of looking at the ID of the cabbie (which should be displayed prominently) and discretely take a note of the plates, but this method is best avoided if possible.

4) Not much to say here, sorry.

5) You can live very cheaply in Mexico if needed. $1200 is in the tight side of things, but it should be OK.

6) ---

7) Mexican wine is not very good in general terms, there are some passable ones but they are not reliable from year to year. You will find wines from all around the world in big wine shops, supermarkets, etc, but you will find that they are expensive as compared to the local purchase power of most people. Wine in Mexico is considered a real luxury, not what you need if you are trying to live cheaply.

8) Fluent Spanish is fundamental. It is funny how many US people don't think about this, many back in the US rightly expect people to learn English in order to integrate to society in a full and productive manner, it should go without saying that it is the same the other way around. There are people that survive speaking very bad Spanish, but then they are at the mercy of locals taking advantage of them, or even other foreigners, who would know they need help.

Learn Spanish. Fast. It is the biggest favour you could do to yourself (that would widen your job horizons. With your expertise in Economics and Business you could teach other subjects apart from English or even get a job doing something entirely different to teaching).

9) Perhaps, but this is a free world ;-)
 

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I don't have any regular income other than a small amount of monthly alimony which will end in May 2011. I do, however, have some money invested, mostly in retirement savings which I want to leave to grow as much as possible, but still will have to use some of. How much of a "nest egg" will I have to show evidence of to Immigration? Anyone know? Thanks. Eventually Social Security should come to the rescue, but that is still a number of years away.
Depends on where that money is invested ... I assume not a saving account next to your checking account. If you had $15-20k in savings on your statement that's more than enough. I don't know if they will look at a brokerage account or IRA.

What I did before my SS started was transfer enough to satisfy from a PayPal account every month. You only need to show records for three months before applying/renewing. You can receive money from anywhere. They don't check where it comes from. Using a trick like PayPal the deposits probably should be the same amount every month
 

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A lot of good points. I think most critical is to not move to Mexico till you have financials set. I think that it is very risky to assume that you will make any funds in Mexico and should treat as a plus. It is still key to try to get a commitment and help from a company whether foreign or Mexican in terms of the paperwork but doubtful that salary will be much and probably tenuous. If you have assets that you can employ to get to $1200 a month then great, if not you could get into a very tough position.
Second is a minor point but if you want a tub, not a problem. Problem is how to connect in rental house. A number of folk here have gone to Santa Clara del Cobre near Patzcuaro and basically got a custom copper tub made very reasonably
 

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I don't know if this has been anyone else's situation, but I personally didn't have to show proof of income when applying for my FM3. I was offered a job, and I applied for it from there, with the help of the company (it was a university). I didn't have to get my degrees translated or anything either, since the guy at the visa place said "obviously you can teach English, you're Canadian!" I don't really think that's an obvious conclusion, but hey, it was one less thing to do...!
 

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I have just recently moved to Guadalajara with my son, we are living in a 4 bedroom house that has 3 bathrooms, no bathtubs. We would be willing to rent one of the bedrooms out for a couple of months to let you get settled and find your way around. We live in a very nice and safe neighborhood and the house is funished, with towels and anything else you would need.
 

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Guadalajara public transport is not really good. The metro lines are restricted, slow, and overcrowded, buses should preferably be avoided. In as much as possible you should take taxis in a "sitio" (a kind of base on the street where only taxis belonging there can pick up passengers, there should be a person working there that can vouch for the security of boarding a vehicle there) or radiotaxis. You can flag down a taxi on the street, but then you should make a point of looking at the ID of the cabbie (which should be displayed prominently) and discretely take a note of the plates, but this method is best avoided if possible.
There is a lot of good advice in the responses here generally. However, I have to disagree with this comment on public transit in Guadalajara.

I have lived here for 2-1/2 years and take the buses all the time. They have positives and negatives, listed below, but the bottom line is that it is a great system for doing what bus systems should do: making it convenient and cheap to get around without a car.

Positives:
They run everywhere, particularly in and out of the center of Guadalajara.
Most routes run very often, every few minutes. I rarely wait more than 5 minutes. At off hours or in outlying areas the wait can be longer.
They are cheap. The full fare is 6 pesos (45 cents). For seniors with "credencial" it is half that.
They are clean in the sense that you can sit on the seats without worrying about it (see negatives).

Negatives:
They are old and beat up.
The shocks/springs often are terrible.
Many drivers like to stop and start abruptly so it usually is a jerky ride.
They can be crowded during rush hour. (Worst example: 380 on Perferico)
It can be a challenge to figure out which one you want. The best is to ask someone at a bus stop if you speak enough spanish.
They stop running at about 10:30 or 11 in evening, so they can truncate socializing late at night.

Finally, a comment on taxis. The recommendation for only getting taxis in the sitios is overly conservative. You can usually negotiate a better price with a taxi on the street. I have never heard of anyone having any problems stopping a taxi on the street. You do want to discuss the price and agree on the fare before you get in. And it helps to know what the fare should be.
 

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Hola Jane,
I recently lived alone as a woman in Mexico in my mid fifties and feel it's very different from living alone in central Florida (with lots of Hispanics). I recommend that you learn more Spanish, so you can at least carry on a basic conversation if you plan to go alone... it's best, though, if you can get to intermediate level before going it on your own. Do you have any friends in GDL? You do need to be significantly more careful in Mexico than you would in the States. I made friends with Mexican women when I lived in SMA by offering 'intercambio' - free conversation - half and hour of English for half an hour of Spanish. This was a great way to make friends with Mexicans and learn Spanish.

I'm concerned that you might not get work with one course in TEFL and little knowledge of Spanish - even though you have the MBA. Maybe you could put together workshops for Americans on developing entrepreneurial skills? So many of us are going to Mexico hoping for a little income with a small business...I'm hoping that my art workshops and my paintings of Mexican Conchero dancers may be of interest to Americans in the GDL area when I retire - hopefully, to Mexico.
Catalina

Hello,

Now that I've found this excellent website, I am very eager to do more research about my intended move to Guadalajara. Feedback on any of the following questions greatly appreciated.

1) I am a redhaired pale skinned 'gringa' of a certain age - not quite ready for full retirement but way past the spring chicken stage. Basically fit, active. What should I know about living, alone, in Guadalajara or Zapopan?

2) Costs: I would want to find a furnished apartment in the Zapopan or northwest GDL area, rentable by the month. I will not be bringing a car. Security of course is a major consideration. I would want a small two bedroom, 1 bath apt. w/shower and full bathtub, full kitchen (I mean stove, oven, refrigerator, cooking equipment, etc.) Beds, linens, towels - what one would generally find in a decent, not luxurious hotel. Access to safe laundry facilities. Television, highspeed internet most important. A more or less quiet residential neighborhood would be nice. How much should I expect to pay for that, and how would I find it?

3) Is the public transport system reasonable to get around on? Radio/licensed taxis generally available, reasonable, safe? Are there 2 prices for taxis? i.e., ****** price and local price? Do you negotiate in advance?

4) My initial plan is to take a TEFL course at the ITTO school, and look for work, perhaps part-time as a Teacher of Business English (I have a BA in Economics and and an MBA). Has anyone any information about working for US companies whose Mexican employees get English instruction on-site? Or Mexican companies, for that matter?

5) Living inexpensively is important - I like to cook and don't need much in the way of American brand name products. Is a budget of USD1200/mo. a reasonabe expectation? I hope to be able to make $400-$500 of that by teaching.

6) Moving permanently. I have read, somewhere, that one may bring all of one's personal possessions into Mexico without duty - but only within 90 days of 'going' to Mexico. Can anyone elaborate on this, or recommend links?

7) Are there good Mexican Chardonnays? How much for a decent bottle - not something to impress the guests, but just a good daily quaffing wine?

8) I speak a bit of beginner level Spanish and intend to continue to work on and improve my fluency - but that will take time. How essential is fluent Spanish in GDL?

9) Should I have broken this up into 8 different topics?

Looking forward to hearing from you. I've been perusing the topics and will be doing more - looks like a great bunch of folks here. Thanks.
 

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I'm only going to toucb on the financial part here. My family of 3 live off os $1040/mos and it's fine. We have to be careful, that'sall. Of course, I will be getting a raise this year, so it will increase. I doubt you will be able to make the sort of money you need to live off as a single person though. Maybe it could happen. Do you have any degrees? It might be easier to try to secure a job first before making the move.
 

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I was originally interested in Lake Chapala, because I want to retire to an area that is still authentically Mexican that also offers lots of activities with expats....but I'm increasingly interested in retiring to GDL - and particularly in the area of Zapopan. I also think it's great advice to rent for awhile in each location to know where to buy a "casita".

If your family can live on $1000 a month, I'm thinking the rentals may be even cheaper than I thought. I'll just need a one bedroom place for myself (and my dog:). I'm wondering if you could give me a ball park minimum - maximum $ range to think in terms of for rent and utilities... I'm frugal:)...

Thanks!
Catalina

I'm only going to toucb on the financial part here. My family of 3 live off os $1040/mos and it's fine. We have to be careful, that'sall. Of course, I will be getting a raise this year, so it will increase. I doubt you will be able to make the sort of money you need to live off as a single person though. Maybe it could happen. Do you have any degrees? It might be easier to try to secure a job first before making the move.
 

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I'm wondering if you could give me a ball park minimum - maximum $ range to think in terms of for rent and utilities... I'm frugal:)...
You can rent a one bedroom apartment in Guadalajara in decent neighborhoods for $2500 pesos/month. Utilities (for one person) per month in pesos:
Water $33
Electricity $60
Gas $100
Internet $499

The gas estimate may be low, I only turn the water heater on once a day for a shower. I use the stove a lot, but the water heater is the real consumer of gas.

The internet bill includes cable TV which I don't use but have to pay for anyway.

Food costs depend on the individual but if you eat at home and stay out of bars, food is pretty cheap. Fruits and vegetables tend to be a lot less than the US.

Cheers,
Will
 

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My best guess is that you can expect to find places from US$250-500 per month but finding one that will accept a dog and have gardens to accommodate it, at that price, may be a problem.
 

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As another way to look at it, Peace Corps gives volunteers in Guadalajara $9600 pesos/month ($750/month) to live on. Some live on less and save money. A very few supplement it with other resources. Most just spend it. Many Peace Corps people keep or adopt dogs while they are here.

Will
 
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