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.
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)!
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 ontoAlaska’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
Copy of Both Front and Back of Mexico Permanent Resident Card
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!)
Total Refund: $116.08 USD
For Delta Airline, I was first directed to fill out a online formbut 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!)
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.
As a horse-crazy girl growing up in Southern California, had anyone predicted that one day I would ride in The Blessing of The Horses in San Miguel de Allende, I might have fallen right off the back of the saddle! Moving to Mexico let alone participating in such a grand, once-in-a-lifetime event might have been a lot for my developing brain to digest!
Spending my weekends at the barn and my summers at Rawhide Ranch, mucking out stalls and refining my lassoing and barrel racing techniques was a grounding anchor of a dynamic childhood.
“Pigtailed Cowgirl” was my go-to Halloween costume, complete with a Western-brimmed hat, boots and the biggest belt buckle my jeans could support.
Barbies and dolls never held my interest. Showing hunter jumpers during the school year and spending my summers working hard and getting dirty at a dude ranch was my idea of a good time.
Thanks to my lucky shamrocks I had the opportunity to participate in the ultimate equine experience of my life–The Blessing of The Horses–an annual central Mexico pilgrimage that convenes at The Parroquía of San Miguel de Allende.
While my emergency spinal surgery one year later was a success and I was thankfully not sentenced to a wheelchair for the rest of my earthly existence, little did I know that this ride would be my last.
Heading out atop Guerrero (Warrior), a 17-hand black Friesian horse, into the desert plains of central Guanajuato,
traversing the trails and sometimes no trails at all, we met up with many other groups of riders from the surrounding communities on our way to El Jardín, the town center of San Miguel de Allende.
Watch Out for The Tree!
I was so mesmerized by the totality of the experience that I did not notice the low-lying tree branch just inches in front of my head. With no time to duck, it ripped my hat right off and brought it tumbling down to the muddy ground below. Fortunately, it landed to the side of the puddle, and even better than that, the spikey branch spared my face. One of the cowboys riding next to me was gracious enough to hop off his horse and retrieve it for me. Gracias, muchas gracias.
Upon rounding the corner of the train tracks, I was greeted by the sight of hundreds of riders that had all joined together, some who had made the trek from bordering cities and states, for the procession up Canal Street into the main plaza.
I was one of a very small handful of female riders in a sea of cowboys and my face hurt by the day’s end from all of the ear-to-ear smiling!
I know my Grandpa Joe was smiling down from heaven, seeing his granddaughter out there in Central Mexico, atop this extraordinary, high-stepping, magnificent horse riding into a 16th-century colonial town amidst hundreds of cowboys and spectators, living my best life, in Spanish, in Mexico!
¡Viva Santo San Martin!
The procession didn’t begin without first a cleansing downpour from the high-desert sky, adding another element of surprise and adventure to the ride. Within moments of the first drops, all of the horses did a 180-degree turn around to position their hindquarters to the rain and thus shelter their faces as much as possible. Quite a sight amongst so many horses!
One of the more senior cowboys performed the honorary task of charging up and down the cobblestone street, shouting“Viva Jesus Cristo, Viva Santo San Martin!”. The parade officially commenced and in groups of two and three, we made our way up to the Jardín, passing by hundreds of waving, smiling spectators to the base of The Parroquía where a full Catholic mass was given to bless the horses and their riders.
El Centro was filled with flower-adorned arches and papel picado strung from the buildings. Riding through this tunnel of color, celebration and tradition was an honor for this 45-year-old California Cowgirl in Mexico!
Blessing of The Horses & Riders
Arriving at The Parroquía, hats were removed and heads bowed down to receive the blessings from the high priest.
There are experiences in one’s life that have the power to change who you are—to impact you in such a profound way that you see the world around you differently, with more depth and perspective. This was one of those times for me.
Thank you, Guerrero, The Gentle Warrior, for being my grand, majestic, safe companion and guide for the day. Thank you Mario and Rodo for your protection and navigation along the ride…an experience and a day I will never ever forget!
If you would like to read about another central Mexico pilgrimage on horseback that I had the fortune to participate in, please click on this link:
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!
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 siliconeis 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.
Keep a tall ladder and supply of silicone on hand!
The jungle wasted no time in welcoming us backand 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!
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.
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.
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!)
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 bagsinside closets and other closed spaces helps to absorb excess humidity and to protect your items from musty odors and mold.
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!
If you’ve been following us for any time, you know why we recommend carbon monoxide detectorsfor 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.
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.
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.
*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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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…
“Katie tells it like it is, the good, the great and the not so good. She is very encouraging but honest and doesn’t sugarcoat. And that has helped me immensely in narrowing down my search for the perfect place to retire in Mexico. I will be making the move soon and won’t hesitate to use her services.” ~Sylvia
¡Eres como una especie de héroe para mí, cómo encajaste tú y tu familia muy rápidamente en una cultura opuesta a la estadounidense. Sigue escribiendo esos posts, hacen por menos estar allí cuando los lees y soñar!” ~José
Carbon Monoxide Alarms for Home & Travel Safety
“You are a force to be reckoned with and you lift us up with your postings. You spread a light and love that is not easy to come by these days.” ~MJ
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