Top 7 FAQs
1. Is Mexico Safe?
This is without a doubt one of the top FAQs we receive as Expat Permanent Residents of Mexico–safety as it pertains to moving to Mexico, traveling in Mexico, raising kids in Mexico, medical care in Mexico, even eating at street taco carts in Mexico!
So, here is my answer:
There is no magic wand, elixir or perfect answer to this question of “safety in Mexico”–or anywhere in this dynamic and diverse world. My suggestions based on personal experience are the following:
- Use common sense and situational awareness everywhere you go–stateside and in Mexico.
- Limit night driving, know where you are going, map out your travels.
- Do not be flamboyant, rude, pompous, loud or inebriated in public.
- Learn/speak the language and be respectful in your communications.
- Learn about the culture and customs of the country you are lucky enough to be a welcomed guest in and appreciate and respect them.
- Be of service, volunteer, give back to your community.
I too see the alarming posts on Facebook and various media outlets and while I don’t have my head in the sand, I also limit my exposure to the news while staying as informed as prudent and necessary.
The following has been making its rounds on the internet and beautifully summarizes an answer this million dollar question of “Safety in Mexico”.
Gringo: Hi, where are you from?
Mexican: Hi, I’m from Mexico.
Gringo: Ah! The land of Chapo Guzmán, narcos, marihuana, crime and extortion.
Mexican: I’m sorry, are you a drug addict or a TV junkie?
Gringo: No!!! Why?
Mexican: Because if you were an athlete or sports fan, you would have identified Mexico with Ana Guevara, Hugo Sanchez, Julio Cesar Chavez, Finito, Chicharito Hernandez, Canelo Alvarez, Rafael Marquez, etc. If you were an educated person, you would have asked about the Aztec empire, the Mayan culture, the Olmecs or any other of the great mesoamerican cultures. If you were a well traveled person you would have talked about our majestic archaeological sites, our tourist-friendly colonial cities, our megalopolis or our exotic beaches…the astonishing biodiversity of our rainforests, mountain ranges, deserts, conifer forests.
You could have identified Mexico with our great painters, Diego Rivera, Rufino Tamayo, Frida Kahlo, José Clemente Orozco; our composers: Agustín Lara, Consuelo Velázquez, Armando Manzanero, Juan Gabriel Jose Alfredo Jimenez, our writers and poets: Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, Juan Rulfo, Octavio Paz, Juan José Arreola, Elena Poniatowska, Amado Nervo, Jaime Sabines; our inventors or scientists: Manuel Mondragón, Guillermo González Camarena, Luis Ernesto Miramontes; our cinematographers: Ismael Rodríguez, Emilio Fernández, Alfonso Cuaron, Guillermo del Toro, Alejandro González Iñárritu, Emmanuel Lubezki, and even Luis Buñuel, who, being originally from Spain, chose to adopt the Mexican nationality.
If you were a gourmand, you would have asked about Tamales, Cochinita Pibil, Mole, Adobo, Chilaquiles, Chiles en nogada, Guacamole, Pan de Muerto, etc. Or our traditional beverages: Tequila, Mezcal, wines and beers.
However, I can see, the only thing you can relate to Mexico is the provider to American drug addicts.
I just want you to realize that México is a lot more than what ignorant people and fear-mongering media knows or chooses to propagate. There are millions of honest Mexicans, who even without knowing you, will open the door to our homes, and that if you care to visit, you will love to get to know us and to visit us. Mexico is even more than I can possibly tell you!
2. Do You Feel Safe Raising Your Children in Mexico?
Yes and yes again. Eight years into our immigrated, reinvented, reinspired lives, we continue to be happily and safely at home.
Mexico is such a family/community-centric culture that truly operates by the adage of “it takes a village to raise a child”.
I don’t fear letting my children use public restrooms nor them moving about independently in crowded areas like movie theaters, public parks, restaurants, plazas, beaches, schools. They have the freedom to roam and explore and therefore feel empowered as they establish their own sense of identity in this great, big world. Shouldn’t this be the norm?
For more on raising kids in Mexico, please see Immigrating to Mexico with Children~ A Mother’s Perspective and Moving to Mexico with Children, A Father’s Perspective. You are also welcome to reach out to me for the details on my one-on-one, personalized and private Relocation Services at [email protected]
FAQs #3. How is The Education in Mexico?
Our experiences with the now four different schools our twins have attended in the last eight years as Permanent Residents of Mexico have been varied and for the most part, all excellent–of course each with its own set of pros and cons.
From a Montessori and International Surfing School in the jungle of Nayarit to a Bilingual Educative Institution in the heart of colonial San Miguel to a prestigious an academically rigorous school in Puerto Vallarta, our children have been challenged and supported intellectually, socially and athletically. They are bilingual/bicultural citizens of this world, developing life skills that go beyond the brick and mortar of a physical school.
*For more information on education in Mexico and, in particular, any of the schools we have personally experienced along with a comprehensive region-specific list of schools, please contact me regarding my customized Relocation Services.
4. Do You Prefer Coastal or Central Living?
Having lived both on the coast and inland back and forth twice now, there are of course pros & cons to each area relative to topography, culture, weather, proximity to international airports, medical care, and day-to-day living.
While it is clearly a personal choice, it is important to do as much research as possible–via the internet, in person and with the assistance of a Relocation Consultant to see what is (and isn’t) a fit for you. There are so many options, one could very easily be happy in any number of places or even do half a year in one area and the other half in another, depending on your own personal goals and circumstances.
5. Is The Water Safe to Drink?
Unless you have a reverse osmosis system, it is best to use the garrafones of purified water (with dispenser). We installed both the reverse osmosis and a whole house water filtration system to filter out heavy metals, chlorine, sand, dirt, pesticides and fungi (amongst other contaminants) for healthier showers, teeth brushing, laundry and the disinfecting of our produce and dishes.
6. What is The Immigration Process?
You must begin the Visa process in your country of residence and at your local Mexican Consulate. I highly recommend that you partner with a reputable legal liaison to assist you in the details of your own particular circumstances—i.e. do you want to go for Temporary or Permanent Residency or even citizenship?
As part of my Relocation Services, I connect my clients with an Immigration Specialist in addition to providing multiple Resource Lists and Contact Information for Medical Care, Housing, Education and Day-to-Day Living in México that we have personally lived and/or curated.
7. How is The Medical Care?
The best way for me to answer this question is via my own family’s first-hand accounts:
*If you would like to contact me about these Frequently Asked Questions and more, please email me at [email protected]
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*A few of the links on this FAQs post are Amazon affiliate links for products we have personally used and can confidently recommend.