≡ Menu

From Puerto Vallarta to San Diego

We arrived at the Puerto Vallarta Airport the afternoon of June 4, 2020, ready for our Volaris flight to Tijuana where we would then walk across the CBX bridge into the US.

In our eight years of living as Permanent Residents of Mexico and flying in and out of Puerto Vallarta numerous times, we had never seen the airport so empty as it was on this surreal, COVID-reality day.

Traveling from Puerto Vallarta to San Diego during COVID-19 (with Kids)!

Our temperatures were taken at various points prior to boarding and once again after landing in Tijuana–via both contactless forehead thermometers and thermal body scanners. At the check-in counter, ID’s and documents were placed up against plexiglass dividers to avoid hand-to-hand contact between agents and passengers. 

All employees were masked and gloved (the majority with face shields as well) and there were disinfecting mats and hand sanitizer stations throughout.

Once aboard, we were happy to see that the plane was not full, that there was spacing between seats and that according to this sign, the plane had been”sanitized”. Nonetheless, I got out our personal hand wipes  to give each of my kid’s and my area a good wipe down. 

All stewards and stewardesses wore face shields, masks and gloves. Drink and food service was limited to a small selection of bagged snacks and ice was not available. The flight was smooth, service was excellent and I can highly recommend flying with Volaris. Crossing the CBX bridge was a breeze, lines were practically non-existent and both Mexico and US agents were cordial and professional.

Return Flight to Puerto Vallarta

We returned to Puerto Vallarta from San Diego on an early morning flight (the only one that day) on June 20, 2020. The lines to cross the CBX bridge were long and the Volaris flight was packed. With reduced air travel and the domino economic impact, the airlines are clearly needing to limit the number of flights per day and fill the planes that do fly to capacity. At least that was the situation with Volaris on this particular day. 

Our return to Mexico was more stressful than the outbound flight due to the crowds. Most passengers were good about keeping their masks on, although several did have to be reminded by the stewardesses to please pull them up and over both the mouth and the nose. 

Traveling during COVID-19

Home Sweet Mexico Home

After a bit of a bumpy landing coming in over the Sierra Madre Mountain range, we were grateful to have wheels on the tarmac and see that not just The Reds’ Daddy was waiting for us at the arrival area, but our fabulous fluff ball Luna Love as well!

Traveling during COVID-19

We made it home safe and sound, showered off the travel and sat down to enjoy this view! 

Tips for Traveling during COVID-19

1. Check with the airline several times before your travel day to make sure your flight has not been canceled. 

2. Wear a mask (and be prepared with backups).

3. Wear a face shield if that is your preference/comfort level.

4. Bring your own anti-bacterial gel & hand wipes.

5. Eat & hydrate well before you board as food/drink options are limited–or bring your own aboard.

6. Breathe, remain patient and lead with a sense of humor and gratitude

While traveling during COVID-19 brings with it some new challenges and changes, for the most part it was a relatively easy experience.

For those of you that have also flown during these surreal times, what travel tips could you add to this list? 

Please feel free to share in the comments section below.

In Health & Peace,

Katie

Subscribe to Stay Up-To-Date:

Facebook

YouTube

Instagram

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

{ 4 comments }
Anclote, Punta Mita: A Perfect Mexico Weekend Getaway!

**First Edition Written as a Guest Post for: A Traveling Broad’s Favorite Romantic & Affordable Destinations Around the World

With the dollar to peso exchange rate currently at around 20 to 1, Mexico is an ideal destination for affordable adventure travel! 

Situated on the Pacific Coast of The Riviera Nayarit, Punta Mita is a favorite of both locals and visitors alike.

Fresh seafood, chilled drinks and toes in the sand await your arrival!

Accommodations in Punta Mita range in price & amenities and the options are many depending on your budget and preferences. Take for example Meson de Mita located at Anclote Beach and only steps away from the coral sand and turquoise-colored ocean or the luxurious 5-star Four Seasons Resort with its lavish grounds and villas.

Rent a SUP (stand up paddle board), take a panga to the nearby Marieta Islands or simply sit yourself down under one of the many beach umbrellas with a good book in one hand and a cold drink in the other. 

Hungry? There is no shortage of local culinary delights. One of our favorites is the Original Anclote with its ocean views, fresh seafood options, excellent service and reasonable prices. 

If you are looking for a weekend (or longer!) escape, a visit to Punta Mita is sure to satisfy and leave you with memories to cherish for a lifetime!

Saludos & Enjoy!

~Katie

For information on Vacationing in/Moving to Mexico and one-on-one, personalized, customized boutique Relocation Services, feel free to email Katie at [email protected]

Subscribe to Stay Up-To-Date:

Facebook

YouTube

Instagram

*Protect yourself and your loved ones with an Expat Travel Insurance Policy (ask me for a referral) & Carbon Monoxide Detectors *

 

 

{ 0 comments }
Mexico Tourism Tax Refund

Mexico Tourism Tax Refund

If you are a Permanent Resident of Mexico and travel by air to, from and through Mexico, you are eligible for a refund of the Mexican Tourism Tax included in the price of your ticket–usually in the $25.00 to $30.00 USD range-within 12 months of the ticket issuance.

Each airline has their own procedural requirements for applying for the refund so you will want to check with your carrier for their specifications, but whether traveling as an individual, a couple or a family, those total amounts can really add up and it is absolutely worth taking the time to apply for!

I recently went through the process with both Alaska & Delta Airlines and will walk you through my experience with each. I hope the information is helpful and paves the way for you to get your refund(s)!

Alaska Airline

With Alaska Airline we used to simply request a tourism tax refund form the ticket agent when checking in, fill it out right then and there and then receive the refund within a couple of weeks. But the last few times we have flown Alaska, we were instructed to apply online.

I got onto Alaska’s online chat and the agent instructed me to do one of the following (I did both for good measure):

1. Fax to #206-392-7587:

  • Passenger’s Name as Appears on Ticket
  • Confirmation Number
  • Ticket number
  • Copy of Both Front and Back of Mexico Permanent Resident Card 

or

2. Mail All of The Above Documentation to:

Alaska Airline
Refunds Department
P.O Box 68900
Seattle, WA
98168

I was told to expect the refund in 7 to 10 business days and did in fact receive it within this timeframe. 

Last Summer’s Alaska Airline Round Trip from Puerto Vallarta to San Diego (times 4!) 

(Airline) Mexico Tourism Tax Refund Due to Permanent Residents

Total Refund: $116.08 USD

Delta Airline

For Delta Airline, I was first directed to fill out a online form but the system wouldn’t accept my ticket number and prompted me to call their 1-800-847-0578 number. The agent took all of my information (full name, ticket number) and then, while still on the line, sent me an email asking me to reply with attached copies of the front and back of our Mexican Permanent Resident Cards.

Easy Peasy! We received the refund to the credit card used for the purchase within seven business days.

Our Recent Delta Airline Round Trip from Puerto Vallarta to Salt Lake City (times 4!) 

(Airline) Mexico Tourism Tax Refund Due to Permanent Residents

Total Refund: $115.60 USD

According to both Alaska and Delta, there are also other circumstances (citizens, diplomats, infants under age of two, transit/transfer passengers) in which a Mexican Tourism Tax Refund is given.

Again, please check directly with your own individual carrier for their specifications. 

I hope this information has been useful and puts a few dollars back into your pocket to be used for more fun, tacos, tequila and adventures!

Do you have any experience in getting your Mexican Tourism Tax Refund?

If so, I would love to hear about it in the comments section below.

Thank you! ¡Gracias!

Saludos,

Katie O’Grady 

Others articles on this topic:

How to Get a Refund of The Mexico Tourism Tax by TEX MEX EXPATS 

How to request Mexico Tourism Tax refunds for airline flights by citizens and residents by Yucatan Times

*Please protect yourself and your loved ones with an Expat Travel Insurance Policy & Carbon Monoxide Detectors

 

Subscribe to Stay Up-To-Date:

Facebook

YouTube

Instagram

For information on Moving to Mexico with Kids and my Relocation Services, feel free to email me at [email protected]

 

 

{ 4 comments }
The Roof Is on Fire! 7 Tips for House Maintenance in Mexico

The Roof Is on Fire! 

It was our first big summer storm since our return to the jungle from San Miguel de Allende that acutely reminded us of the importance of house maintenance in Mexico. The lightning came cracking down over our house like an arrow landing a bullseye, resulting in my jumping at least a foot into the air and one of our rooftop AC compressors catching on fire! 

Fortunately for me, I am married to a firefighter and knew that our family (and my nerves) were in good hands. Although it was a powerful lightning bolt from the storm that caused the fire, the downpour is what extinguished it. Glass half full, no?

Thanks to ingenuity and the reuse and repurpose culture of Mexico, the wires were changed out and the AC unit spared! 

House Maintenance in Mexico in 101~Tried & True Tips!

The Power of Lightning!

Jungle storms can be powerful, messy and destructive. They are equally exciting, cleansing and replenishing—popping out dense, lush, canopies of green and a multitude of ecosystems that thrive inside of them—reminding one of the absolute  magnificence of Mother Nature.

The rainstorms also provide an opportunity to identify where exactly more silicone is needed inside the house, such as around the collection of leaking windows at the base of a 20-foot high boveda ceiling! Tall ladder anyone? Those first few falls on our slick marble floors were not so fun (especially after back surgery!) and made us delay not in tending to this issue ASAP.

House Maintenance in Mexico in 101~Tried & True Tips!

Keep a tall ladder and supply of silicone on hand!

The jungle wasted no time in welcoming us back and reminding us of the fortitude, sense of humor and determination one needs to both survive and thrive here. Yes, there are prices to pay for living in paradise folks!

The following House Maintenance in Mexico 101 Tips~Tried and True are based upon our own personal experiences from our eight years in country. I hope you find them useful and that they help you to maximize your enjoyment and minimize your frustrations while living in paradise!

1. High-Quality Roof Sealant

Ensuring that the roof of your home has been properly sealed and therefore protected against leaks and moisture intrusion should be a top priority. We learned the necessity of this the hard way when our San Pancho rental grew large circular mold spores from the outside in after our first rainy season there. A disgusting and unsafe “inconvenience” to say the least and one that a layer of paint would not remedy! Needless to say, the roof had never been sealed. 

Hire a reputable company to assess the roof’s condition and if needed, to powerwash it prior to putting on a quality sealant that has not been watered down.

House Maintenance in Mexico in 101~Tried & True Tips!

What a difference a powerwash can make! The Before and After in Progress!

There are various types of impermeabilizantes (sealants) available. Spending a bit more to ensure a quality result is well worth it. We went with this one, considering the amount of rain we receive here on the coast of Nayarit. 

2. Air Conditioners Serviced

Have all AC’s serviced at least once every six months. The filters should be cleaned of mold/dust/debris and the electrical panels checked for any unwanted critters that can wreak havoc. Apparently electrical wires are a delicacy to geckos—ridding your AC’s of them is far easier than having to replace the entire unit, trust me.

3. Over-The-Bed Mosquito Nets

Screens on all doors and windows are not just a luxury but an absolute necessity lest you want to share your home with mosquitos, spiders, geckos, scorpions, iguanas and stray animals. Additionally, these-over-the-bed mosquito nets  are must-haves and will allow for peaceful, uninterrupted sleep ( ie. no annoying buzzing in your ear!)

7 Tips for House Maintenance in Mexico

Mosquito-Free Sleeping

4. Drain Covers

If you want to avoid golf ball-sized cockroaches and sewer smells, you’ll want to get some of these

The Roof Is on Fire! 7 Tips for House Maintenance in Mexico

5. Moisture Absorbing Bags & Room Dehumidifier

Jungle equals hot and humid for at least 6 months out of the year! Ventilate your home as much as possible unless you want fur to grow on your clothes, shoes and other household items. Using these moisture absorbing bags inside closets and other closed spaces helps to absorb excess humidity and to protect your items from musty odors and mold. 

7 Helpful Tips for House Maintenance in Mexico

These room dehumidifiers work really well too and you’ll be amazed when you go to empty the little water collection tank how much moisture it removed from the room!

6. Polarity Tester for Electrical Outlets

Make sure your outlets are grounded and wired correctly with a polarity tester or hire a qualified electrician to do so.

 7 Tips for House Maintenance in Mexico

Just Say No To Electrical Fires!

7. Carbon Monoxide Detectors

If you’ve been following us for any time, you know why we recommend carbon monoxide detectors for both home and travel safety. We recommend placing one in every bedroom and next to any gas-fueled appliances such as a stove, clothes dryer, hot water heater, fireplace and any freestanding gas heater.

 7 Tips for House Maintenance in Mexico

Carbon Monoxide Detectors Save Lives

These are our House Maintenance in Mexico 101~Tried & True Tips.

Do you have any that you could add? If so, please feel free to share them in the comments section below. 

Saludos,

~Katie O’Grady

House Maintenance in Mexico 101 Tried & True Reader’s Tips:

Arturo: For the summer months it is highly recommended to put your clothes in airtight/vacuum sealed bags so that mold doesn’t grow in them especially if you skip town. I highly recommend doing this process with your shoes because if you don’t, the soles will disintegrate completely from the salty air and humidity.

Margaret: Keep all your food in the refrigerator, even if you wouldn’t normally, especially fruit. Clean up your kitchen messes as soon as possible to deter unwanted scavengers and never ever ever let your kids eat in the bed unless you want… ANTS ANTS EVERYWHERE! (and they bite)! Even with screens and drain covers, if you leave food out they will find you.

 

Subscribe to Our Website:

 

Follow Us on Instagram

Join Us On Facebook

 

*Protect yourself and your loved ones with an Expat/Travel Insurance Policy (ask me for a trustworthy referral) & Carbon Monoxide Detectors *

 

*This article contains some affiliate links for products we use. If we haven’t spent our own money on it and loved it, you won’t see an affiliate link for it on Los O’Gradys in Mexico. It doesn’t change the price of your purchase it just helps support our platform. Thank you. 

{ 8 comments }
Shoulder Pain

While I am not particularly thrilled that I find myself with a torn rotator cuff in my right shoulder–something about 50 years of miles on my body, I guess–I am eternally grateful for the Mexican Medical System that has once again proven itself easy-to-access and affordable.

After both a spinal and abdominal surgery here in Mexico, amongst a host of other medical situations one experiences when  raising a family, I feel somewhat seasoned as it pertains to “the system” on this side of the border.

On Friday of last week, I called to make an appointment with an orthopedic specialist here in Puerto Vallarta after months of a nagging shoulder pain that has evolved into something that keeps me up at night with increasing pain and limited mobility. I phoned the office directly–no having to go through a primary, no frustrating pre-authorization phone tree web or an on-average 6 week appointment wait.

I got in to see Dr. Ricardo Vázquez at Imagenología y Centro de Diagnóstico across from Plaza Caracol, just 2 days after having placed the call.

After about a 5 minute wait, I was greeted and walked back to the consultation room by the doctor himself. After a thorough evaluation, Dr. Ricardo wrote me an order to radiology for two x-rays, which conveniently was located just downstairs in the same building. Here my wait time was also around 5 minutes, if that.

Cost

800 pesos later (about $41.00 USD) and with x-rays in hand, back up to Dr. Ricardo’s office I went where he was waiting for me without having crammed several patients in during the time I was gone. Thank you.

After a thorough explanation of my x-rays, more clinical assessments, a 3-ingredient infiltration injection into the back of my shoulder (fun, fun!), a booklet of at-home exercises and a prescription for anti-inflammatories, I was on my way with instructions to return in a month for a possible MRI based on how I progress. I will progress!

The doctor and his assistant spent nearly two hours with me, never once looking at their watch or rushing me out the door. Thank you.

The total cost of this appointment was 2,300 pesos (about $120.00 USD). While that is not the “usual” 600 to 800 peso consult fee that we have experienced for other situations (dental cleanings, ENT consult, pulmonology, etc.) nor was it a routine appointment.

I am so grateful that we don’t have to jump through hoops, spend hours on the phone, wait for weeks or months on end to access top-notch medical care here in Mexico.

Yes, this is private care and we are grateful that we have made choices to have access to it.

So How Do We Pay?

Now onto the million dollar question…how do we finance our medical care in Mexico? IMSS? Seguro Popular? Expat Insurance? Cash?

As part of my husband’s firefighter retirement benefits, we have an HRA whereby we can submit for reimbursement for substantiated medical appointments/procedures/medications up to a specific amount in the fiscal year. We simply need the physician’s prescription, diagnosis and lab reports translated into English and the Peso to Dollar exchange rate for that date. We do need to front the money and it usually takes about a week to get reimbursed. Not all of our expenses are covered because there is a cap, but many are.

Since our HRA is not a “typical” Insurance Plan, when we travel to the States, we use Bethany Neuman of Expat Health Insurance for our north of the border coverage.

Bethany is also who we refer all of our friends, family, followers and clients to for Long-Term Expat Health Insurance in Mexico & Short-Term Travel Policies to and from Mexico and the States.

Click here if you would like a free quote.

GOOD NEWS!

This morning, after that gorgeous horse-sized injection I received yesterday at Dr. Ricardo’s office, my pain level is significantly diminished and I am oh-so grateful! Here’s to NO SURGERY! That is the only energy I will entertain with this current challenge.

Thank you all for your care and concern. It is warmly received and truly appreciated.

Off to do my 40 minutes of in-home physical therapy!

Saludos,

~Katie

P.S. For those of you that live full or part time South of the Border (or travel back and forth frequently), how do you manage the financial side of your Medical Care? Please feel free to share in the Comments Section below…

JOIN US ON FACEBOOK:

SUBSCRIBE & STAY UP-TO-DATE:

*For information on my Relocation Consulting, please email me at [email protected]

*Please protect yourselves and your loved ones with carbon monoxide detectors for both home and travel safety.

{ 3 comments }
error

Enjoy this blog? Please spread the word :)