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Moving to Mexico with Kids~A Mother’s Perspective

Immigrating to Mexico with Children, A Mother's Perspective

 ⇑This is definitely not normal–or at least not my kind of normal. 

I can remember being stuck in that kind of mind-numbing traffic in our former Southern California lives–anxiously and impatiently tapping my fingers on the steering wheel trying to get from point A to B, moving along inch by inch, so fed up with that being the “norm”–knowing in my heart that it didn’t have to be and feeling so ready for a change.  

Breathing in toxic exhaust fumes and missing out on more meaningful engagement in life–on hold in hours of bottleneck traffic–was not how my husband and I wanted to spend our precious, once-in-a-lifetime lives together with our children.

Being married to a firefighter who witnessed up close the extreme fragility of life was without a doubt a significant contributing factor to our decision to recreate our lives anew in Mexico–a land that embraces community, connection, conversation and a quality of life having nothing to do with the numbers in your bank account. 

After several years of research, planning and downsizing, on November 30th of 2012, our eight-year-old twins and I boarded a one-way flight to Puerto Vallarta while Frank and our 90-pound chocolate lab, Seamus, made the 4-day trip down South by car.

We said adiós to the frenetic paradigm of our north of the border lives. No more disconnection, traffic rush, hurry scurry, worry flurry…no more concrete jungle and burning candles on both ends.

Moving to Mexico with Kids

Since moving to Mexico 10 years ago, we have gone from chaotic 5-lane freeway madness to driving on  coconut-tree lined roads and 16th-century cobblestone streets where pedestrian safety and right of way is a real thing. We have traded in mind-numbing, lost hours in the car to purposeful engagement in soul-enriching, meaningful activities of our choice.

Time is precious. Spend it well.

Daughter Horseback riding in San Pancho

Baja California, Our First Mexico Home

Our twins were seasoned little travelers prior to our move to mainland Mexico, having spent the first eight years of their lives adventuring back and forth between San Diego and Baja California. Frank’s firefighter schedule and my school teacher’s allowed us blocks of time off together as a family and we took full advantage of them to head South!

Mairead and Liam fondly referred to their Baja home as their “other home” and Mexico forever became ingrained in my children’s hearts as a place of fun, discovery and family connection. 

Departure Day

Aside from the inevitable emotion of parting ways with our loved ones, the move itself and the preparations leading up to our departure from San Diego were relatively easy and something we were so ready for

Immigrating to Mexico with Children, A Mother's Perspective

We made the move when Liam and Mairead were eight years old, during the middle of their third-grade year. Patience, planning and having the right legal Visa liaison at our side paid off and within three months of our arrival, we became Permanent Residents of Mexico. We arrived in San Pancho, Nayarit on a Friday, and that following Monday our previously homeschooled twins began their first ever five-day-a-week program at the former Escuela del Mundo. Surrounded by tropical trees and open green space, they experienced freedom and discovery like never before.

Immigrating to Mexico with Children, A Mother's Perspective

While the Spanish immersion of their new school was a bit of an initial challenge for The Reds, they acclimated rather quickly, having been exposed to Spanish in a border city and by their Spanish-Teacher Mama for the first eight years of their life in San Diego. Even without that advantage, children’s sponge-like brains, when given the opportunity, are able to assimilate and adapt with great ease.

Immigrating to Mexico with Children, A Mother's Perspective

I do believe they were the only Mairead and Liam their classmates had ever met, and their new friends and teachers warmly accepted them and made great efforts at learning and pronouncing their unique, Celtic names.

Schooling, From San Pancho to Sayulita

From Escuela del Mundo, Mairead and Liam transferred to Costa Verde International in Sayulita, Nayarit—a neighboring village just 10 minutes down the jungle road, famous for its bohemian, surf culture. Moving to another school was indeed another change and adjustment for our children, but one that they embraced wholeheartedly with the trusting, positive attitudes that they approach life with.

Immigrating to Mexico with Children, A Mother's Perspective

Located a few blocks from the beach, Costa Verde is a bilingual, multi-cultural school that focuses on environmental sustainability and the advancement of ecological responsibility…and surfing! In fact, surfing was part of their PE program!

Now in the 4th grade, Mairead and Liam continued to explore, discover and develop their own sense of community and connection within the larger context of our family’s move to Mexico. Their language skills progressed and improved to where at this point, a year or so into our relocation, they could easily flip back and forth between English and Spanish.

From Coastal Mexico to Central Mexico

After a year and a half of living in San Pancho, we were ready to experience another part of Mexico and set our compasses on something completely different. Sight unseen but with lots of research, we moved to San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato in the interior of the country.

San Miguel de Allende was the first municipality to be declared independent from Spanish rule and life here is steeped in history, culture, national pride with one festivity after another

Immigrating to Mexico with Children, A Mother's Perspective

A Life Without Limits

Our children see a life without limits, that anything is possible, that dreams do come true and that carving one’s way in this diverse world is achievable. They have witnessed their parents reinvent themselves from Firefighter and Teacher to Solar Designer and Freelance Writer/Relocation Specialist. They have gone from being monolingual homeschoolers to bilingual life learners.

Moving to Mexico with Children

If one of my jobs as a Mother is to facilitate and nurture the emotional well-being and development of my children, then moving to Mexico with our kids has been one great step towards that endeavor.

We O’Gradys embrace our re-invented, re-inspired lives south of the border and give daily thanks for Mexico’s warmth, hospitality, graciousness, and generosity…for welcoming, adopting and inviting us to feel truly at home. Moving to Mexico has been an undeniable adventure that continues to shape the trajectory of our individual and collective lives. 


Moving to Mexico With Kids, A Father’s Perspective

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About the author: Together with my Retired Firefighter Husband and our now 19-year-old twins who were just 8 when we immigrated to Mexico in 2012, we have created a joyful life of design and freedom South of The Border. Welcome to Los O’Gradys in Mexico! Saludos, Katie 🇲🇽 ☘️

{ 99 comments… add one }
  • Daniel Reveles January 25, 2015, 8:01 pm

    You have the makings of a book here. A great book. Anyone who has ever fantasized about moving to another country will gobble it up! Even better is that you can share an experience on a page and allow your husband his page – and yes, the kids. It’s got winner written all over it!

    • Katie O'Grady January 25, 2015, 8:26 pm

      Thank you so much Daniel!

      Thank you for the encouragement and support!


      Katie 🙂

    • The Educational Tourist October 7, 2015, 8:03 am

      I couldn’t agree more…think Under The Tuscan Sun. The flavor would be wonderful!! Can’t help wondering what you guys do for work? Love the post!

      • Katie O'Grady October 7, 2015, 8:49 am

        Greetings The Educational Tourist!

        We are retired from firefighting and teaching and now enjoy our passions for solar design and installation and relocation consulting/freelance writing. 😉

        Your site looks so interesting as well, going to check it out!



  • crystal January 25, 2015, 8:28 pm

    I love it!! We are only partially as Adventurous as you but it is so freeing to be able to travel with your family! My family a 3yo and 6 yo plan on going saulita for 1-2 months this summer!!
    Great read!

    • Katie O'Grady January 25, 2015, 8:33 pm

      Hi Crystal,
      Adventure is adventure and I think it is wonderful that you will travel with your children for a month or two—go for it! The only regret would be not doing it.
      Thank you for the kind feedback.

  • Lourdes January 26, 2015, 8:24 am

    Another very well written post. Thank you for being so honest in your writing. Looking forward to the next entry…and the interview. Can’t wait to show it to my girls!

    • Katie O'Grady January 26, 2015, 10:22 am

      Thank you Lourdes!

      It is the only place I can write from, transparency and honesty.

      Thank you for following along with the adventures of Los O’Gradys in Mexico!


  • Shayna March 23, 2015, 5:52 pm

    Love your post. I hope this isn’t too nosy. What do you do for work in Mexico? Are you planning on remaining in Mexico?

    I ask because I really think my husband would like to move back to Mexico (he is Mexican). I have always been an adventurer but I’m afraid that once we get there we’d be stuck there (I have the rest of the world I’d like to see! lol). My other concern (bigger concern) is my 5 year old. In the states college is easy to get to (easy enough any way). What do you think about opportunities for kids growing up and living in Mexico?

    • Katie O'Grady March 23, 2015, 7:42 pm

      Hi Shayna!

      Not nosy at all…ask away! 🙂

      My husband is a retired firefighter and myself a retired Spanish teacher.

      Additionally, my husband has a solar business and I do Relocation Consulting & Freelance Writing.

      Regarding the raising of children here, I encourage you to also take a look at the post by my husband titled “Moving to Mexico With Children~A Husband & Father’s Perspective”.

      Together with this one I wrote from a mother and wife’s perspective pretty much summarize our collective outlook on living in Mexico and raising our children here.



  • Kathryn Ferguson March 29, 2015, 6:33 am

    What a great blog and a great life decision your family made to move to Mexico. I agree that you should put this in book form. We will all read it!

    I live in Tucson, Arizona, and have crossed the border all my life. It is nice to see someone thinks about Mexico, not as either beer and beaches or cartels and violence, but as a day to day adventure filled life.

    Much happiness to you and your family.

    • Katie O'Grady April 22, 2015, 8:56 am

      Hi Kathryn,

      Thank you for the compliments on my blog. I do intend on writing a book as well.

      Yes, Mexico is so much more than what mainstream media presents. It just takes a bit of breaking out of our comfort zone to experience it for ourselves. Don’t get me wrong, I do love beer and beaches, but this country is so dynamic and diverse.

      I am lucky that I get to call her ‘home’ and so grateful that I get to raise my children in a country that values family, culture and history to where it is weaved into the fabric of everyday life and permeates all interactions.


      Katie 🙂

  • Mildred May 18, 2015, 6:16 am

    The photos are so wonderful! Mexico seems really beautiful! Congratulations! Moving there is definitely a great adventure! 🙂

    • Katie O'Grady May 18, 2015, 7:32 am

      Hi Mildred,

      Thank you for the nice words about the photos. I so enjoy taking them and it has turned into a creative passion for me!

      Moving to Mexico has been a life-enhancing experience for our whole family.

      We are proud to call Mexico home..


      Katie 🙂

  • Jason king May 23, 2015, 1:32 pm

    I’m actually on my way to the area now for a visit and would love to move there. Could you tell me how much the cost of schooling is? I have 3 in elementary school.

    • Katie O'Grady May 24, 2015, 12:36 pm

      Hi Jason,

      San Miguel de Allende and has a lot of different educational options: Academia, Victoria Robbins, Vasconcelos, Naciones… to name a few.
      Are you familiar with any of the programs?
      If you would like to pm me, I am happy to offer you the help I can.



  • Kate August 21, 2015, 7:18 am

    I have been looking into schools for my younger two (9 and 12). We are homeschoolers but open to trying Montessori/Waldorf/democratic experiences. Prices in Mexico though seem really high for expat kids coming in. I looked at the one near you and it’s same as US prices. Have you found that in the others and your exploration? Just wondering if I’m not searching well. That plus the horrible “safety” issue is holding us back (would be mom on her own with two kids so no fire fighter to help:) Of course after living in the Middle East for 5 plus years and hearing how scary that sounds to outsiders, I wonder if Mexico is the same — fine once you know it.
    Thanks for a great blog. It’s hard work.

    • Katie O'Grady August 22, 2015, 11:59 pm

      Hi Kate,
      We homeschooled our children in the States as well, so in all honesty, I wouldn’t be able to compare U.S. prices to the ones we have paid here in Mexico for private schools. I will say though that is is very do-able for us, especially with the strength of the dollar right now.
      As for safety, we have felt very safe in the two areas we have lived in—San Pancho, Nayarit and now San Miguel—and of course practice common sense in our comings and goings just like one would anywhere.
      Thank you for the kind words about my blog.

  • Ulises October 6, 2015, 3:44 pm

    Beautifully written…as usual! : )

  • Magali Peña October 6, 2015, 8:45 pm

    I’m soo happy to hear everything is great down there my parent 5 yrs ago moved to La peñita after 21 yrs of living here in the states, its been soo hard for them specially my little sister and brother. They’re really struggling now do to not having a job. My father was a fishermen down there and my mom has been a housewife. I wish there were more opportunity down there for the kids. After reading your story I just wonder if maybe if they moved city it would maybe help out a bit. Im glad you love it down there its a beautiful culture and of course the peoplewhat can i say they are wonderful.May God Bless you and your family.

    • Katie O'Grady October 6, 2015, 9:02 pm

      Hola Magali,
      Thank you so much for sharing part of your family’s story and trails with me. I wish your parents and of course your whole family the absolute best. I know that times can be hard for anyone, anywhere, and I do hope that the right opportunities will present themselves for your family.
      Qué Dios les bendiga…

  • Cheryl Mcintyre October 7, 2015, 2:48 pm

    I also live in Mexico now. I have a 5 year old son that has an absolutely wonderful life here. We moved to Nuevo Vallarta in 2010 with his father, who is Mexican. That didn’t turn out to be a healthy relationship so we split up but continue to co-parent our son successfully. We moved to San Pancho in 2013 and stayed there for a year. My son also attended escuela de mundo which I personally did not care for. Growing up in Illinois, I was not familiar with Spanish language and found it difficult to adjust to the school since it was Spanish only, amount other things. We loved San Pancho and made wonderful, lifelong friends there, so overall was a great experience. We now live in Marina Vallarta and my son attends the American school of PV and we love it!
    Mexico is a great place to raise a child and although is an adjustment with somethings being rather difficult at times, we too are happy and much healthier living here. Good luck with your family journey and keep writing about your interesting lives. Salud! ?


    • Katie O'Grady October 7, 2015, 4:22 pm

      Hi Cher,

      Thank you for popping in to say ‘hi’ and share some of your story.

      Wow, so if you were in San Pancho in 2013 we were there at the same time! We didn’t move to San Miguel until March of 2014. We also connected with some amazing people…

      We have heard great things about The American School in PV. In fact, our legal liaison that helped us with our immigration process is the assistant to the Director of the program.

      Wishing you and your son the absolute best.


  • Barbara October 9, 2015, 8:04 pm

    Oh my. I’ve just found your blog and LOVE it! First of all – what a gorgeous family you are! So dynamic and joyous. : ) Thank you for sharing your journey. I will be moving to San Miguel in late 2016 after planning it for many years. I’ve had to wait until I can retire, and that will come next year. So close and SO exciting! While I intend to go back and read your blog from the first post, I’ve not yet done that. You may well address my question in an early post and if so I apologize for bothering you with it. If you do and can link me to it I’d appreciate it. My question is, if you would be so kind as to share the information – and I know you didn’t move directly to San Miguel from San Diego, what moving company did you use to move you to Mexico, were you happy with them, and what did it cost for the amount of goods/weight you moved? I am desperately trying to get a feel for what I’ll be facing financially in the physical move. I won’t be taking any furniture, yet there are still many things that will go, and the weight quickly adds up.

    Thank you so much for any light you can shine. Oh I think it’s absolutely wonderful what you’re doing – and what a life you’re giving your children! So, so rich. Bless you all.

    • Katie O'Grady October 12, 2015, 9:53 am

      Hi Barbara!

      Welcome to Los O’Gradys in Mexico! Thank you for popping in to say hello and for the kind words you have about my blog and family.

      And CONGRATULATIONS on your upcoming move to SMA–how grand and exciting! 🙂

      I wish I could help you with the questions relative to a moving company, but in fact, we did all of the moving ourselves in our car and attached small aluminum boat with trailer–it was quite the sight indeed! I do speak a bit about the experience my husband had crossing the border twice with our items in my iTunes interview which you can find here: Episode 9. I hope that will be of some help to you.

      Best of luck to you in your upcoming move and all of the preparations that go into it!



  • Kelley November 6, 2015, 8:55 am

    Yay!!! We are a family that moved from Seattle to Mexico about 4 months ago. We live in Nuevo Vallarta with our 3 children ages 4,8,16. It has been the most amazing move ever! Love heribg stories of other famines doing the same!! Keep writing!

    • Katie O'Grady November 6, 2015, 9:03 am

      Hi Kelley!

      We are in La Cruz.

      Are y’all still in the area?



  • Nancy July 5, 2016, 9:12 pm

    What schools are there in San Miguel de Allende? We have considered moving here and the educational part is key since our kids are 12 and 16. They will need it to make friends and learn the language. Thank you 🙂

    • Katie O'Grady July 5, 2016, 11:45 pm

      Hi Nancy,

      There are several different options in San Miguel de Allende for schooling for children your kiddo’s age.

      Feel free to email me at katieog58@gmail.com if you would like to discuss the different options in more detail.



  • Raul August 30, 2016, 10:02 am

    Greeting Katie, WOW what a story! I love reading these types of stories. My wife and I have also been thinking of leaving behind the busy streets of Los Angeles for SAn Miguel de allende, However we have stalled due to not knowing many things ie. Kids schooling, housing , and over all if it would be a positive experience for our family. We have 4 Children ages 16(Senior), 9,8 and 5 years old. If you dont mind I would like to know more about how you came to make your decision and what is involved in making the big move. Thank You in advance for the help we greatly appreciate it.

    Raul Gutierrez

    • Katie O'Grady August 31, 2016, 9:54 am

      Greetings Raul & Family and Welcome to Los O’Gradys in Mexico!

      As you might know from our blog, we lived in San Miguel de Allende for 2 and a half years as part of this now 4 year adventure!

      It is a beautiful, colonial, artsy, historic city with lots of visible and hidden treasures for both children and parents alike.

      There were many factors of course that contributed to our immigration to Mexico, many of which I share on Los O’Gradys in Mexico, but ultimately, we wanted a better life…and that we have.

      As to the particulars of schooling, housing, medical care, etc., I do consulting work in this very area, dedicating myself to the details of such a move from a feet-on-the ground perspective.

      Should you be interested in this, kindly send me an email to losogradysinmexico@gmail.com and we can discuss the particulars.

      Best Regards,


  • Shelley September 22, 2016, 10:01 am

    Hi Katie – Just happened upon your blog. Great post! I was wondering if you felt comfortable sharing feedback on the 2 schools your kids were at before you moved from San Pancho? My husband, 4 year old son and I are thinking about a move (maybe 1-2+ years out) and I was initially looking for a Montessori like escuela de mundo, but I like the look of Costa Verde as well. Any thoughts on one over the other? Do you mind sharing ballpark cost as well (i know it’s been a couple years now). Thanks!

    • Katie O'Grady September 22, 2016, 12:24 pm

      Hi Shelly,

      Our children did go to both Escuela del Mundo and Costa Verde.

      If you would like to contact me at losogradysinmexico@gmail.com we can discuss your questions in more detail.



  • Brian Johnson January 11, 2017, 10:06 pm

    Katie and Frank…you guys have been a very valuable asset to our pending move to Mexico. Our long list of questions that you so patiently answered was so helpful! It was also great that you were able to refer me to your many great contacts to assist in our move. With you and Frank having gone through the process yourselves, your information is invaluable to anyone planning a potential move to Mexico. Thank you Katie for passing on your knowledge and research of the schools, it was a big help in narrowing down the choice for a school for my daughter. I also have appreciated your follow-up calls and emails to make sure everything is going as planned. It is nice to have you “on the ground” down there and always ready to lend a hand or answer my questions. Thanks a million!

    • Katie O'Grady January 12, 2017, 4:23 pm

      Thank you so much Brian and Raquel for your kind words!
      We are so happy to be of assistance to you and your family as you plan out your own Mexico Adventure!
      Katie 🙂

  • Jennifer Pearce January 16, 2017, 12:24 pm

    Hi Katie! What an amazing life your family has created for yourselves in Mexico. Thank you for this post, I enjoyed reading it. I also want to let you know that my family is here in San Miguel de Allende for the next several weeks and we’d love to get together with you guys if you have the time.

    • Katie O'Grady January 16, 2017, 12:30 pm

      Hi Jennifer!

      Thank you for popping in to say hello!

      We lived in SMA for 2 and a half years and are now back to the coast in Nayarit as of this past Summer.

      The beach was calling to us!

      Enjoy your time in central Mexico…such a magical part of this dynamic and diverse country.


      • Jennifer Pearce January 20, 2017, 11:09 am

        Oh, wow, sounds wonderful! Yes, we are really enjoying it here in San Miguel de Allende. We haven’t made it to the coast yet, but we’ll be in Merida for the Worldschoolers event in April!

        • Katie O'Grady January 14, 2018, 10:56 pm

          Hi Jennifer,
          Hope this finds you and your family enjoying your Mexico Adventures!
          Where are y’all now?

  • Lucy Karrys February 17, 2017, 6:32 pm

    Do you have any friends in the Special Needs Special Olympics community in San Miguel ? Do you know what kind of Neurosurgeons would be available in San Miguel .

    • Katie O'Grady February 18, 2017, 5:46 pm

      Hi Lucy,
      I do not know of any people in the Special Needs Special Olympics community in San Miguel and do know of a topnotch neurosurgeon in Querėtero, about an hour outside of SMA. Feel free to pm me at losogradysinmexico@gmail.com for his contact information if you would like it.
      Best Regards,

  • SO February 27, 2017, 10:35 am

    Fantastic blog! I am curious about the cost of tuition for private schools in San Miguel. I am having a hard time finding information online. Thanks in advance.

    • Katie O'Grady February 28, 2017, 1:56 pm

      Hello SO,
      Our experience has been that there is not much information online about tuition costs of private schools in Mexico until you have shown interest, done a meet and greet/walkthrough of the program and/or are contemplating or in the process of enrolling.
      I recommend that you call the schools directly.
      Additionally, I offer concierge-level relocation services if you are interested, you may email me directly at losogradysinmexico@gmail.com

  • Melinda April 6, 2017, 1:52 am

    Now my husband is from Michigan mexico. I from California born and raised. I’m moving to mexico next year with my husband and kids. I wanted to move to Tijuana and work in San Diego. So I know we still have a good income flowing but my husband is only 36 and ready to retire in mexico. I would love to retire but not until I know I don’t have to struggle no more.
    So my question to you would be how expensive is it to live in Mexico?

    • Katie O'Grady April 8, 2017, 4:13 pm

      Hi Melinda,
      It varies of course based on your own family’s budget and lifestyle choices but for sure is more affordable than NOB living on all accounts. At least that has been our family’s experience for over 4 years now.
      Best Regards,

  • Cris June 13, 2017, 4:14 pm

    What a great blog!! My husband has been talking about moving to Mexico and live off his retirement pension from the US military. My biggest worry was our 3-year old daughter. However, after reading your blog I have him looking for real estate. I have read a few articles naming San Miguel de Allende as one of the most popular areas for foreigners, but I think the jungle area in Nayarit seemed far more adventurous. How would you compare the 2 areas?

    Also, my husband keeps talking about San Felipe. Are you familiar with that area?

    Austin, TX

    • Katie O'Grady June 14, 2017, 10:26 pm

      Hi Cris,
      Thank you!
      Having lived in both areas you ask about (and currently back to the jungle of Nayarit!) they are both beautiful and unique in their own right…one of course being central, colonial Mexico and the other being one that revolves around the beach. If I could clone myself, I would be in both!
      I recommend scouting out both areas to see which one is more of a fit for your family. Or, live a couple of years in both like we have! Really, the possibilities are endless and that is half of the fun!
      San Felipe is in Baja California versus Mainland Mexico and that is one part of the peninsula that I am not personally familiar with.
      If you would like to be in further communications, feel free to email me at losogradysinmexico@gmail.com

  • Alex June 24, 2017, 6:03 am

    Bravo! SMA is the best area for living in Mexico! Great idea to go there with kids.

    • Katie O'Grady June 27, 2017, 12:45 pm

      Hi Alex,
      We loved our 2 and a half years in SMA and are now back to the beautiful coast!
      Katie 🙂

  • Danielle Baylor July 9, 2017, 1:06 am

    Very nice! My family and I are planning to move to Mexico next year when our lease is up. We haven’t told anyone yet because we don’t want to jinx ourselves or deal with the judgment quite yet, lol! Definitely inspiring for us to continue moving forward with our plan to begin our new life!

    • Katie O'Grady August 14, 2017, 8:19 pm

      The only path and truth you have to live is your own…

      I wish you the best in your own Mexico Adventure!


      Katie 🙂

  • Stephanie September 23, 2017, 12:18 am

    I’d love if you could email me and give me some advice or information. I’m 28 and have to kids 6 & 7 years old. I just returned from Mexico as my husband is from there, Chiapas Mexico, I don’t know if you have heard of it. It is very different there but also very nice and relaxing, I miss it. We’re currently trying to decide on moving there permanently with my two children. How was the transition for you ?

    • Katie O'Grady September 23, 2017, 3:49 pm

      Hi Stephanie,
      Welcome to Los O’Gradys in Mexico!
      I will email you some information.

  • Anonymous September 23, 2017, 9:27 pm

    This is a wonderfully inspiring real life story. I am an Australian citizen living in Australia. My fiance is a Journalist from Tijuana. We met there and have managed a long distance relationship for 12 months now. Australia’s immigration laws are ridiculously difficult for people from certain nationalities (including Mexico). So for us to live as a family at the moment it needs to be Mexico or elsewhere but Australia is too difficult at the moment. We need to apply for a partner visa which costs $7k and takes 15months to process.

    So I am going to move to Mexico with my daughter and fiance for at least 12 months at the end of the year. I have been there twice myself and have fallen in love with the place. However, my concerns have been around my daughters safety and ability to learn spanish, find an appropriate school and so on. Plus she is a red head too and will stick out like a sore thumb!

    Really excited to come across this story!

    • Katie O'Grady September 25, 2017, 10:09 pm

      Greetings and Welcome to Los O’Gradys in Mexico!
      What part of Mexico will you be moving to?
      I understand your concerns and they are ones you would likely feel moving anywhere in the world where your mother tongue is not spoken. Our time in Mexico has had its ups and downs, challenges, growths, triumphs, and bittersweet lessons, but we are all—individually and collectively—the better for it.
      As to being a redhead, there are MANY of them here in Mexico.
      Shining lights always stand out in a crowd…

  • Gwendolyn Walker October 9, 2017, 5:26 pm

    Hi! I am relocating the San Miguel early 2018 and I am so grateful that I came across your post. I see that you request people to email you directly for details so I hope its ok that I do so as well…I’m going to see SMA in person in January so as this move gets closer, the more nervous I get; especially going alone with 3 kids. Still, I am determined and hopeful that this will be a great move for us.

    Again, thanks for this post!

    • Katie O'Grady October 10, 2017, 2:21 pm

      Hi Gwendolyn & Kiddos!
      Welcome to Los O’Gradys in Mexico! Sounds like y’all have an exciting new adventure on your horizon!
      I will look for your email! losogradysinmexico@gmail.com

  • Angela October 13, 2017, 11:12 am

    Hola. Glad I came across your blog. My husband and I and our 5 year old daughter just moved to Mexico too. We are from San Diego also and we have seen the change, too many people. We a down here for a year right now figuring out where we want to set up some roots. We are in Tulum now and will be moving out of here in December. We are thinking about either San cristobal de las Casas, San Miguel de Allende or Oaxaca. I am homeschooling now but would love to find a school to put her in. Are you still in San Miguel?

    • Katie O'Grady October 17, 2017, 11:05 am

      Hi Angela,
      Welcome to Los O’Gradys in Mexico!
      Congratulations on your relocation to Mexico, Tulum is a beautiful spot…as are San Cristobal, SMA and Oaxaca! There are so many gems in this magnificent country, lucky are we who get to see as many of them as possible! I could easily alternate living in several different regions for 6 months of the year, but with our children’s current schooling needs, we do need a home base at this point in our lives.
      We lived in San Miguel de Allende for 2 and a half years and are back know in the coastal region of Jalisco/Nayarit.
      I am in receipt of your email and will also respond to you there.
      Kinds Regards,

  • Tara Browne December 17, 2017, 5:17 am

    Thank you for this extremely informative article, as the mere mention of moving to Mexico with my 2 kids has people telling me about safety, murders and anything else the mainstream media seems to constantly highlight. I will be following your adventures on fb. I was online looking for some positive stories of moving there and I found it ?

    • Katie O'Grady December 17, 2017, 12:12 pm

      Hi Tara!
      Welcome to Los O’Gradys in Mexico! I am glad you found us! Yes, mainstream media likes to run with the worst of the worst, which, unfortunately, exists in any part of this world. I feel safe (and happy) raising my children in this gracious, beautiful, warm and dynamic country of Mexico. Of course common sense and situation awareness are essential and advisable anywhere. Mexico is home to my family and I wish you the best as you contemplate making it yours too. Best Regards, Katie 🙂

  • Kimberly Miles January 1, 2018, 9:28 am

    Hi Katie, first, let me say that I’ve been following your Facebook page and blog for several weeks now and am so thankful to have someone like you to share the positive stories of your move to Mexico! I am planning on making the move with my 4-year-old son in late June/early July 2017 for Spanish immersion and also just a slower pace of life. I’ve been bouncing around on ideas of where to go, and ultimately “settled” on Puebla/Cholula (I’m going to scout it out in just a couple of weeks)…however, after seeing your beautiful photos AND experiencing snow and less than 20 degree days this past week in Northern VA, my mind is back on the beach! My questions for you are, what neighborhoods in/near Puerto Vallarta would you say are best to look at to live that is close enough to the beach but not “too” touristy? Also, could you tell me more about the school scene in that area (particularly private preschools, if you have info)? Feel free to e-mail me instead!

    Thanks much,

    • Katie O'Grady January 5, 2018, 12:36 pm

      Hi Kimberly,

      Welcome to Los O’Gradys in Mexico!

      Thank you for your message.

      I will be emailing you regarding your specific questions.



  • Pamela February 21, 2018, 1:51 am

    Hi. Love your blog!! I live in Pennsylvania and am on disability. I found a blog about San Pancho and fell in love!! I’ve been doing alot of reading about Mexico and am dreaming of moving there. I am a single woman who doesn’t speak much Spanish but ready to go on an adventure and learn as I go. Best of Luck to you and your wonderful family!! Blessed Be!

    • Katie O'Grady March 1, 2018, 12:54 pm

      Hello Pamela,

      Thank you for your kind words about our blog.

      Not speaking much Spanish shouldn’t be a deterrent. Having a desire to learn it and acting upon that is more important.

      Mexico is full of adventures and I hope you get to experience one for yourself!

      Kind Regards,


  • Andy September 11, 2018, 9:25 am

    Thanks for the post! We are thinking about moving down to La Paz with our 18month and 3.5yr old. Wondering why you guys didn’t decide to move to Baja? Also wondering if you decided on the international school for a specific reason? Hope all is still going well down there! Thanks!

    • Katie O'Grady September 11, 2018, 9:53 am

      Hi Andy,

      We love La Paz as well but at the end of the day and our several years of research, we felt that mainland Mexico would provide more diverse educational and cultural opportunities for our children and family.
      As to our schooling choices, yes, we have always gone with private and international.
      Best of luck to you and your family!
      Regards, Katie

  • Manny September 11, 2018, 6:43 pm

    Does México accepts Kids with homeschooling background from the US?

    Please switch to a Mobile friwndly platform. Regards,

    • Katie O'Grady September 11, 2018, 6:58 pm

      Hi Manny,

      That is a great question and while you would want to check with the policies of the individual school(s), yes, transferring from a homeschooling background from the US to Mexican schools is absolutely doable.

      We did it. 🙂

      Best Regards,


  • Zoë September 12, 2018, 3:09 pm

    I am so happy to have stumbled upon your blog. We are exploring the idea of moving our family of 5 in or around Jalisco. We have a 14 year old and 10 year old boy/girl twins too! Would you be open to me communicating with you privately with some questions? Or refer me otherwise? Thank you

    • Katie O'Grady September 12, 2018, 7:03 pm

      Hi Zoe!

      When I first read your email, I thought it said “bordergal” 😉

      Welcome to Los O’Gradys in Mexico!

      I will email you right now about the details of my Relocation Consulting Services.

      I am currently running a September Special and will share that with you.

      Kind Regards,


  • rosie mayo October 9, 2018, 6:32 pm

    Hi Katie,
    I’d love to hear more about your Relocation Consulting Services.

    I have 2 girls (5 years and 10 months) and would love to relocate to Mexico next year. I’ve thought a lot about living abroad, but am not very keen on homeschooling (for my own sanity). Your blog has inspired me to rethink the idea, that living abroad does not necessarily mean I have to homeschool. Can you tell me how you found schools for your children and how much they cost?

    I’d love to communicate more with you about your experience and how you make it work.

    Thanks so much!

    • Katie O'Grady October 10, 2018, 1:07 pm

      Greetings Rosie,

      I would be more than happy to assist you in your relocation to Mexico, and explain to you how doing so does not have to mean homeschooling–unless you wanted to of course!

      I will send you the detailed information to your email.

      Here’s to turning your dream into a reality!

      Kind Regards,


  • Vic June 25, 2019, 2:14 am

    I might end up moving to Mexico with the family. I want to be close to the border because I plan on working in San Diego. I heard Colinas De California is a good place to live. Any other neighborhoods in TJ, Mexico you can recommend? Depending on how long we stay, I may end up renting or buying a home there. Any advice?

    • Katie O'Grady June 27, 2019, 9:12 pm

      Hi Vic,

      While I have traveled through Tijuana many a times, I unfortunately do not know much about the neighborhoods/colonias. Perhaps getting on some of the Baja Facebook Pages would be helpful.

      Best of luck to you in your research and potential relocation!

      Kind Regards,


  • Hilary July 29, 2019, 5:33 am

    Hi Katie! Really enjoyed reading your insights! We are a family of 4 considering a move to either San Miguel or Queretaro for my husband’s business. I have a lot of questions and concerns–mainly about the kids and safety. I’d appreciate any advice or recommendations you may have!

    • Katie O'Grady July 30, 2019, 8:06 am

      Hi Hilary!
      Welcome to Los O’Gradys in Mexico and Congratulations on your potential upcoming move! Having lived in San Miguel and traveled to Querétaro many times, we love both cities—each with their own unique and beautiful offerings. If you would like to email me at http://www.losogradysinmexico@gmail.com, I would be happy to provide you the details of how I can be of help to you.
      Warm Regards,

  • Nate Moon November 8, 2019, 7:49 am

    The opening of this post is so spot on. Why do we live like that? Why do we put ourselves through that every day? It’s not living; it’s being part of the machine. We’re a month into our own move to Mexico and I just discovered your site, so we’re definitely going to benefit from the information and experiences you write about. Thanks for sharing!

  • Katie O'Grady November 24, 2019, 4:39 pm

    Hi Nate Moon!

    Super cool to know that you and your family are also enjoying the many benefits of life south of the border! Whereabouts are you?

    May your adventures be many and varied!



  • Cyndi January 18, 2020, 5:11 pm

    I just teared up reading this post. We desire this so much in our lives. Our 8 year old daughter has travelled extensively and the last 4 years consistently to Mexico. While we live in a wonderful area of Oregon free from traffic, we yearn for the simple, wonderful and genuine things/people we encounter in Mexico. We have been to both Sayulita and San Pancho and are returning once again this year to San Pancho where we long to stay. I have read many stories of expats moving but few with elementary school children. Thank you for the inspiration and I would love to hear more. I will check out the additional link.

    • Katie O'Grady January 18, 2020, 6:30 pm

      Hi Cyndi,

      Thank you for your thoughtful comments to this piece I wrote.

      I think it is so wonderful that at the young age of 8 your daughter has travelled so much, and 4 of those years to Mexico! What a gift that extends so far beyond the classroom…

      Sayulita and San Pancho both have been home to us in the mosaic of these past 7 years of living as immigrants to Mexico and to many of the clients that I work with as well–the majority of them with elementary-aged children.

      Feel free to peruse my other articles on Los O’Gradys in Mexico and should you be interested in one-on-one assistance, I am happy to speak with you privately about how I can be of help.

      Kind Regards,


  • Kalie June 23, 2020, 10:54 am

    Hi Katie!
    This is Kalie from ExpatsEverywhere and I came across your blog while researching a bit about Mexico. I found it very interesting and it made me think of two things. First, I did an interview with Bob, the owner of Expats in Mexico, who is also an expat in Mexico. He is American and has retired there. I thought your readers might find this extra information helpful as he goes into detail about the process and the life there. You (and your readers) can find the interview here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T2lCDudDLj0&list=PL25TVkE0JZWkYx8rns4OTijYdbTM1pohZ&index=2&t=0s

    The second thing is I’m wondering if you would like to come on our channel and do an interview about being an expat mom in Mexico? I think it would be really interesting to collaborate. I’ll reach out elsewhere so this post isn’t too long but love what your family is doing!!


    • Katie O'Grady June 27, 2020, 12:11 am

      Hi Kalie,
      Thank you for your message here as well as the one you sent me via email.
      I will get back to you tomorrow, now that I am having a chance to catch my breath after my twins fabulous 16th Birthday Celebrations!
      Katie 🙂

  • Irene August 15, 2021, 3:28 pm

    Loved reading your story…I am a single mom with 4 kids. I’ll be bringing 3 of them if we move to Mexico. My kids have grown up overseas as expats (I’m a teacher turned self-employed digital nomad). We spent last year in Bali, Indonesia at The Green School…but we are currently stuck in Seattle due to COVID/visa restrictions for Bali. It’s such a headache being in limbo…again (same thing happened last year). My 12-year old surfs and my 8-year-old twins just love to be on the go. Would love to know more about schools in Sayulita, sports for the kids, other activities.

    • Katie O'Grady August 15, 2021, 5:40 pm

      Greetings Irene,

      Please feel free to reach out to me at losogradysinmexico@gmail.com and we can begin the conversation about how I can best be of service to you and your kiddos.

      Warm Regards,


    • DARRYL BANKS October 19, 2022, 8:31 am

      Looked at Green school, Bali and CVIS, Mex (even went there to tour the school). How was your experience with Green school?

      • Katie O'Grady October 26, 2022, 7:09 pm

        Hello Darryl,

        My apologies for the delay in responding to your comment here.

        We are only familiar with CVIS in Sayulita, is that what you are referring to?

        Our kiddos went there for 3rd and 4th grade and it was a great experience…no school is “perfect” as I’m sure you can surmise, but the overall experience was positive and additive for our children and family.

        Will your family be moving to Mexico?



  • Morgan September 27, 2021, 8:44 pm

    Hi! I love your article about moving to Mexico, like your children I started going there with my dad and family when I was 8 years old and even lived there fir a short time before college. Now, given the state of the world and my want for a slower more connected pace I want to move there (to the Baja California coastal area south of San Diego), however life looks much different than before college. I have a toddler with hopes of another kiddo on the way, I am married and my husbands family is still in San Diego (though currently our little family of 3 live in Colorado).

    So, I am familiar with the area of Mexico we’d like to be however what struck me about your blog post was particularly the part about a legal liaison.

    May I get the name and contact information of this liaison? Or any referrals in that area of expertise you could recommend?

    I’d like to ensure I am going about the legal side of things appropriately.

    Thank you for sharing your story and your families adventurous spirit! Truly inspiring.


    • Katie O'Grady September 28, 2021, 2:40 pm

      Hi Morgan,

      Thank you for your comment here and your email as well.

      I am in receipt of both and responded to your email yesterday.

      Baja Mexico and Mainland Mexico are essentially “2 different Mexicos” and I think your needs would be best served with someone that lives on the Peninsula, whereas I am in San Miguel de Allende, Central Mexico.

      I will follow up with more detail in another email to you.



      • Dona February 27, 2023, 11:30 pm

        Wow! I read this and all i can think is… you’re soooo brave! I don’t know, i would love to move but i couldn’t imagine being in a while other country and dropping my kids off. We HS now. How is the crime? You know over here (US) they have led us to believe that it’s sooooo dangerous there and i could never think of going, but it’s getting REEEEEALLY sketchy over here😬 how’s the government, do they pretty much stay out of people’s life and business? How was it during covid? Did you HAVE to get the 💉to do certain things? I’m considering……🤔

        • Katie O'Grady February 28, 2023, 8:17 am

          Hi Dona, I understand your concerns but I think the “safety” issue shouldn’t be viewed any differently than it would from a international/local/global perspective and reality. Situational awareness, common sense, and speaking the local language and culture go alongggg way. So do decency and kindness. My husband and I have raised our children in Mexico for over 10 years now, since they were 8 years old. They turn 19 this Summer and have had a grand, amazing adventure with their parents, over half of their lives lived South of The Border. We have zero regrets over our decision to move our family here. Zero. Feel free to reach out to me at losogradysinmexico@gmail.com should you like to continue the conversation. Saludos, Katie

  • Anne-Marie January 4, 2022, 2:16 am

    Hi Katie! Thanks for the awesome post. I am a single mom and am thinking of moving to Mexico so I can spend more time with my son and also be nearer to family who are in Phoenix AZ. I’m currently in NYC and would also love to unplug from the rat race for a while for my own health and well-being. Would you mind sending me the details of how I go about setting up a chat with you to talk about this further?



    • Katie O'Grady January 4, 2022, 8:04 am

      Good Morning Anne-Marie,
      Thank you for your message and welcome to Los O’Gradys in Mexico!
      Please feel free to reach out to me at losogradysinmexico@gmail.com and I can provide you with the details of my Relocation Services.

  • Anne-Marie January 4, 2022, 2:01 pm

    Thanks Katie! Just emailed you 🙂

  • Chloe Caldwell September 12, 2022, 12:35 pm

    Love the post!
    Guess im a bit late to finding it though. Lol
    My husband, 3yr old son, boxer and myself just recieved our residency visas. We will be in puerto vallarta the first week of October. Our plan is to live there for a few months and then pick another city every few months until we eventually end up in merida. After a year of traveling, we want to look back on each town and decide where we want to live permanently. So here is a question for you. We are a super, super water family. We live on the coast here in the U.S. We dont plan on living in land away from the ocean. But there are so many wonderful cities. I know you guys have done both. Do you have preferences or any suggestions to sway us to go inland?


    • Katie O'Grady September 12, 2022, 2:54 pm

      Hi Chloe,

      Your and your family’s plan sounds great!

      As to inland cities, well, we favor San Miguel de Allende being that we live here but there are so many Central Highland pueblos/cities worthy of checking out! Guanajuato, Querétaro and all of the pueblos mágicos surrounding them, Mexico City, Patzcuaro, the list goes on…

      Happy discovering!



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