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Wintering in Mexico
Old 02-25-2014, 10:33 AM   #1
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Wintering in Mexico

Looking for suggestions for places to spend 2-4 winter months somewhere in Mexico. Safety would be the biggest issue, so any info would be appreciated.
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Old 02-25-2014, 11:08 AM   #2
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I have always enjoyed my trips to Cozumel. Never had that feeling of unease and if you are a diver, that's a bonus.
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Old 02-25-2014, 11:59 AM   #3
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Consider Baja California Sur--La Paz and further south. Something for everyone.

There are a lot of other places I would consider, but it looks like the safest part of Mexico today.
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Old 02-25-2014, 01:59 PM   #4
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San Miguel Allende - a beautiful colonial city with lots of Americans and Canadians both visiting and living there
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Old 02-25-2014, 03:22 PM   #5
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A lot depends on what you're looking for in addition to safety. Mexico is a big country. Do you speak Spanish at all? Do you want a sizeable ex-pat English-speaking community nearby? Do you want to be near a beach? Are cultural activities and attractions important to you? Do you want lots of other worthwhile nearby sights to visit?

If I personally were to spend part of the winter in Mexico, I would be inclined to go to Oaxaca. If I wanted to be near a beach, I would seriously consider Puerto Vallarta. Elsewhere in the country, I would even consider Mexico City because of its wealth of attractions and central location for visiting other nearby places. (Yes, I felt safe in Mexico City.)
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Old 02-25-2014, 04:22 PM   #6
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My family has had a place in Los Cabos since 1989. Best climate in Mexico, safest part of Mexico. Will be spending most Canadian winters there once I ER... not as cheap as it used to be, but a wonderful place overall.
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Old 02-25-2014, 06:18 PM   #7
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Quote:
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A lot depends on what you're looking for in addition to safety. Mexico is a big country. Do you speak Spanish at all? Do you want a sizeable ex-pat English-speaking community nearby? Do you want to be near a beach? Are cultural activities and attractions important to you? Do you want lots of other worthwhile nearby sights to visit?

If I personally were to spend part of the winter in Mexico, I would be inclined to go to Oaxaca. If I wanted to be near a beach, I would seriously consider Puerto Vallarta. Elsewhere in the country, I would even consider Mexico City because of its wealth of attractions and central location for visiting other nearby places. (Yes, I felt safe in Mexico City.)
I probably should clarify...
I don't speak Spanish, so yes, I would prefer to be near a sizable ex-par community. We are golfers, but I havn't found Mexico to be a good golf destination at all.

We have been to Cancun a couple of times, but wouldn't really want to spend the winter is a tourist zone. I was just wondering where ER types could go and live comfortably, and inexpensively, ideally around other gringos.
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Old 02-26-2014, 09:54 AM   #8
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I think there are folks on this board who have either ER'd in Mexico or who have spent the winter in Mexico and who would be more knowledgeable than me. Having said that, I've visited much of the country as a tourist and like it a lot.

AFAIK, the two places in Mexico which have the largest concentrations of ex-pats are San Miguel de Allende (north of Mexico City) and the Lake Chapala area (which is near Guadalajara). I've been to the former but not the latter. Puerto Vallarta (Pacific coast) has a fair number of ex-pats in the winter, too.

A friend of mine rented an apartment during the winter months in PV a few years ago and invited me to visit. He lived in the older part of PV, i.e. outside of the tourist zone. (In lots of Mexican towns which attract tourists, you only have to walk 3 or 4 blocks to get out of the tourist zone and back in a fairly authentic Mexican town with better food and lower prices.) Anyway, I liked PV even though I spent almost no time on the beach.

San Miguel is a fairly pretty colonial town with a significant number of Americans and Canadians. Like a lot of Mexico's colonial towns, it's at altitude, about 1900m/6,200ft, which means it has very comfortable temperatures. Also, winter is the dry season in most of Mexico. I liked San Miguel, but there are other colonial towns in Mexico that I like more, including the nearby town of Guanajuato.
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Old 02-26-2014, 10:35 AM   #9
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How come no one is "springing" or "falling"?
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Old 02-26-2014, 12:16 PM   #10
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My mother used to live in the Lake Chapala area (which is near Guadalajara). Lots of ex-pats, they even have an American Legion with an American flag.

It seemed safe to me the several times I visited it. Decent weather too, it's a higher elevation. Lots of English spoken, but like anywhere in Mexico, knowing Spanish is best.

They have a mail bin for people to put their mail in at the Legion. Every few days someone is going to the US, and the mail gets brought with them to deposit in a US Mail box. It was much faster and safer than the mail in Mexico, but every time I received a letter from her, it would be postmarked from a different place. Texas and Florida mainly.

You cannot drink the water there, until you get used to it.

But why not just vacation in FL, where it is helping the US and is safer.
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Old 02-26-2014, 12:30 PM   #11
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Choose your climate carefully. Many of the places mentioned here have average daily lows well down into the 40s all winter. In that case, you will really be "wintering" in Mexico. Thanks but no thanks.

I "wintered" in Mazatlan in 2011 and my American friend and I couldn't believe how cold it regularly got. I remember that during one late afternoon - early evening baseball game I attended with other expats, I was asking them, as I was freezing my ass off, why they consider this as a proper winter destination if they are seeking out warm weather. To which the universal reply from all Canadians is always: Yeah, but it's really freezing in Canada!!
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Old 02-26-2014, 12:31 PM   #12
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My mother used to live in the Lake Chapala area (which is near Guadalajara). Lots of ex-pats, they even have an American Legion with an American flag.

It seemed safe to me the several times I visited it. Decent weather too, it's a higher elevation. Lots of English spoken, but like anywhere in Mexico, knowing Spanish is best.

They have a mail bin for people to put their mail in at the Legion. Every few days someone is going to the US, and the mail gets brought with them to deposit in a US Mail box. It was much faster and safer than the mail in Mexico, but every time I received a letter from her, it would be postmarked from a different place. Texas and Florida mainly.

You cannot drink the water there, until you get used to it.

But why not just vacation in FL, where it is helping the US and is safer.
The OP is a Canadian so US patriotism and the current exchange rate would probably not be major incentives to follow your advice.
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Old 02-26-2014, 01:39 PM   #13
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I like PV, especially in the 'old town' part. You will definitely find other expats living there for extended periods of time. There are even sports bars dedicated to various US baseball and football teams. (I was lucky enough to find a SF Giants-themed bar to watch the Giants win the 2012 world series.) I and many of my friends are big fans of PV. As for safety -- which I agree is a BIG issue in Mexico -- I think PV is somewhat safer than other regions.
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Old 03-06-2014, 10:08 AM   #14
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I live full-time at Lake Chapala and have traveled extensively in México.

This area would probably suit your needs better than any other, and this time of year this is where you'll find, seemingly, about three-quarters of your fellow Canadians

There is a golf course here and it's quite popular, though not cheap by U.S. standards. Lots of tennis as well, some challenging (bring trekking poles) hiking, plenty of nice walks.

Average daytime highs in the winter are in the high 70's, lows around 50. We usually do get a week or so omewhere in late December through February where it's cloudy, rainy and can feel cold (since houses here generally don't have heating, other than maybe a space heater, or cooling, other than fans). That can be a good time to go to the beach, which is 4 hours away.

Regarding safety, this area like pretty much all of México has levels of property crime (petty theft, break-ins, etc.) on par with major U.S. and Canadian cities but far lower violent crime rates. There's no way I'd say you'd be (or feel) safer in Florida or anyplace else in the U.S.

It's quite easy to find furnished rentals here. High season starts in November and peaks in January through March, so if you show up in January your choices will be more limited. I'd say plan a short visit - a week or two - and check the area out to see if it suits. There are two active expat web boards here and more clubs and activities for expats than I can count.
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Old 03-09-2014, 09:44 AM   #15
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Can you recommend where to find info on longer term rentals in Lake Chapala. I've googled but got such a varied mix that it is somewhat confusing to decipher. Living there I figure you might have good first hand knowledge. Thanks for any help. Tom
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Old 03-09-2014, 10:00 AM   #16
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Try Homeaway or VRBO online vacation rentals. For some reason this site will not let me post a URL. We use both sites for vacation rentals we own and have used them for rentals in France and the Caribbean. They are vacation rental sites (owned by the same company) but many people will entertain longer rentals (1-3 months). We have rented to over 100 people (in PA and LBI New Jersey) and have never had a problem. Conversely, we have rented as renters (although much less) and have been equally impressed. Very important for you to directly communicate with the owners.
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Old 03-09-2014, 10:40 AM   #17
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Thanks philben1
I have been to VRBO site but had not looked at Homeaway.
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Old 03-15-2014, 07:44 PM   #18
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Kevink
Can you recommend where to find info on longer term rentals in Lake Chapala. I've googled but got such a varied mix that it is somewhat confusing to decipher. Living there I figure you might have good first hand knowledge. Thanks for any help. Tom
By far the best way to find long-term rentals here is to come down, stay at a B & B or hotel, and peruse the local (physical) bulletin boards, at Lake Chapala Society, local supermarkets and Wal Mart. The best listings are found either this way or by word of mouth. You can also place an ad on the local web boards for housing wanted: Google Chapala.com web board and Inside Lakeside. That said, NEVER take a rental sight unseen here or anywhere else in the developing world. You need to see the place to make sure everything works, that a machine shop or disco isn't two doors down, etc.

You can look at popular local property management agencies as well. Google Ajijic Rentals and Roma Property Management Ajijic to get a rough idea.

The worst option would be VRBO, which charges high fees that are reflected in te asking prices and specializes in luxury properties, or Airbnb.

Good luck with your search!
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Old 03-16-2014, 12:26 PM   #19
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Going back to the 'safe' bit, after reviewing my notes it seems that the Yucatan Peninsula is also pretty safe. Check out Merida. Safe but HOT.

After you go where-ever and come back, please give us a trip report.
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