Winter in Mexico – personal experience.
Web designer, blogger and traveler Danil Fimushkin told about how to survive the winter in Mexico.
I liked Cancun better than Miami, and originally I had a preconceived notion of Mexico. That’s because there are a lot of Mexicans in Los Angeles, and they’re mostly laborers who come to work. And I was sure that Mexico was a total bottom, but it wasn’t. I was pleasantly surprised.
Housing is cheap in Mexico, and it’s cool for long-term rentals. I rented an apartment on Airbnb for 40,000 rubles. Compared to the apartment in Miami, which cost 107 thousand, it’s a real fairy tale. I had a cozy one-bedroom apartment with a hammock in which I worked all the time.
I planned the trip in advance and booked accommodation through a service, but if you travel around the city, you can see ads for apartments for rent and for 25-30 thousand rubles.
By the way, there is such a cheat-code: if you rent an apartment for more than a month, you can negotiate with the host for a subsequent lease not through Airbnb, but directly through the owner. This way you could save about 17,000 rubles on the site’s service fee. This method can be used in any city. For example, I did it in Miami, and I saved about 20 thousand rubles.
It is possible to find a very good apartment close to the beach: it is possible to get there by public transport. In Mexico, the infrastructure is developed: there are regular city buses. They are comfortable, and to get to the beach or anywhere else is very convenient.
Here, as everywhere else in the world (except Russia) there is a Walmart (wholesale store). One trip to buy groceries cost me 3,000 rubles. In Miami, it was 15 thousand rubles. In Mexico, everything is much cheaper. The prices are comparable not even to those in Moscow, but to those in St. Petersburg, which are known to be lower. This, of course, made me very happy.
Fruit is insanely cheap. A coconut was about 20 rubles, tomatoes were also very cheap, their price was almost half what it was in Russia in winter. In Mexico in general, there is a strange “tomato” feature: for example, ketchup “Heinz”, which in Russia costs about 80 rubles, here – about 17 rubles.
There are inexpensive chain stores in Cancun. Those who have been to Thailand know about the “7-Eleven” store; in Mexico, its counterpart, the “Ohho” market, is widespread. Such stores sell everything, and they are on every corner.
On the first floor of such a one-storey store there is a parking lot, and in front of it they sell coffee, hot dogs, and many other things. It’s like Magnit in Russia, only smaller, more interesting, and with hot goodies. I always had a cup of their delicious coffee in the car, which on top of everything else was about 30-35 rubles (much cheaper than at Stabucks). Also in Mexico I fell in love with the margarita cocktail. In Russia I couldn’t stand it, but there it was very tasty.
Before coming to Mexico, I thought and told everyone that I hated Mexican food. But I was wrong. It turned out to be insanely tasty and varied: the dishes contain meat, beans, which are characteristic of Mexicans, and much more.
Every day I woke up around 6:30 in the morning. It would dawn at 7:30. I would come to the beach and go kiteboarding. It was unforgettable. The beaches in Mexico are inexpressibly beautiful: clear and warm water and curling waves, almost like Bali (and there are beaches with and without waves), comfortable air temperature.
My beach was visited by a large number of Hispanic girls with adorable shapes, and this, of course, can also be attributed to the great plus of Mexico.
The beaches in Cancun are even better than those in Miami. Therefore, beach vacation is very popular here. There are hotel areas where hotels are located.
Parking is common near the beaches and in tourist areas. I saw a man in a public free parking lot stretching a rope and collecting tips from everyone. Of course you don’t have to pay him, but if you do, he won’t let you into the parking lot the next day.
It’s the same story with the restrooms. Public toilets in Mexico are free. The beaches have both showers and toilets, but no toilet paper. Taking advantage of this, a man came in with a chair, put toilet paper there and collected a donation. It’s that kind of business. So be aware of this trick and don’t fall for it.
Mexicans are very nice people. They look, especially the men, belligerent and they are big. But in fact, they are very friendly and helpful.
Are there a lot of English speakers? Yes, Cancun and the neighboring town specialize mostly in tourists from the United States. The stores even make special promotions for U.S. citizens. What’s more, the States have a so-called “sprint break” at the end of March and beginning of April, when young people come to Mexico for spring break. The students have a great time here.
There are a lot of Russians here, too, and they meet regularly, much more often than in the U.S. – package tours to Mexico are very popular among Russians.
When we moved into the apartment, we had a little problem with the Internet, related to the settings of the router. The landlord fixed it, and we got a good Internet at about ten megabits per second, which is convenient for work.
Compared to Thailand, Mexico has a better infrastructure and faster internet.
Mexico has a lot of unique attractions. For example, it was home to the Mayan tribe, and there are a lot of pyramids from that time.
We went on a special tour: they do video mapping on the pyramids. That is, they project a film about the history of the place and the Mayan tribe.
Also very popular are the lakes in the caves – about 30 meters deep, and you are allowed to swim there. I haven’t seen anything like that yet.
About safety in Mexico, the question arises very often. I’ve seen too many westerns where everyone wears hats and carries pistols among the cacti. But it was actually very safe in Mexico. I left my phone and keys in my backpack many times while kiteboarding, but not once was anything missing.
During our trip we drove around seven cities and crossed half of Mexico by car – all went without incident as well. Of course, there are areas that are very far away and seem dangerous. But there are also those in Russia.
One of the main disadvantages – the Spanish language. All the locals speak it. If you don’t know it, it can be difficult to communicate. In tourist places, of course, many people know English. But to make your Mexican life easier, it would be a good idea to learn Spanish.
The second disadvantage is renting a car. It’s very expensive in Mexico. It cost me about 80,000 rubles a month to rent a car. I had no other option – I had to take my kitesurfing equipment with me. But, as I wrote above, you can rent an apartment near the beach, take public transportation, and do without renting a car.
To summarize, the main pros of wintering in Mexico:
Mexico has gorgeous beaches where you can surf and kitesurf. The waves make it possible. There is a lot to see in Mexico: you can see sights which are uncharacteristic for most countries. Also in Mexico you can practice English, because many Americans come there. Also, do not forget that in Mexico are very friendly people.
Moreover, Mexico is a developed nightlife. There are a lot of clubs there. The most famous one is Coco Bongo. Admission costs $70 – a bit expensive. But there are concert and circus shows.
Thank you for your report Daniel, as someone who also wintered in Cancun I will add my 5 pesos:
1) much cheaper to rent an apartment on your own, we rented a two room apartment in an area Batalion, about 7k with internet, to the hotel area is a 45 minute ride on the bass
2) Bongo Bongo is purely for tourists entertainment, the most traffic in the Cruzeiro area.
3) Do not think that there are no cartels in Cancun and in some RF cities is more dangerous, it is certainly not so. In January, the cartel war intensified and people were shot at the disco in Playa de Carmen, including tourists, and then banners were hung around the city with greetings from one drug cartel to another in the network, and the police pulled up armored vehicles in Cancun, anyone interested can google the photo. But if you do not go out of the hotel area, yes, security is higher than in many Russian cities)))
4) A big plus back you can fly super cheap charter through Cuba.
Yes strange these gringos, first they buy coke from cab drivers, and then surprised that the cartels are mad with fat.
3) – hell. I couldn’t believe it when I read something like that by Cruz about Mexico, I thought it was artistic whizz, aka cranberry about the exotic.
Daniel, how much money do you need for a comfortable vacation? For an entire winter spent there.
As a permanent resident in the south of Mexico, also put 5 pesos Mexico is not the Russian Federation but it’s a big country and I would call what Daniel describes as “winter in Cancun” because Mexico is full of contrasts, and Cancun in general stands out of the country. Where I live (Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca), the average rent is 12-13 thousand rubles per month. I don’t have a Walmart, but there are other hypermarkets and local markets, and food is also very cheap – including cafes and restaurants (although the city is touristy). At 40tr a month, you can feel quite comfortable. If you rent a car, the amount certainly will increase – but if you spend the winter, it’s easier to buy some scooter, new for 30 rubles, and at the end of the winter for 20-25 it’s sold. Puerto is a local surfing capital, so the situation with waves is better than on the Atlantic coast of Cancun. But here is the opposite situation with the kite and unfortunately it doesn’t wind here – I miss the wind sometimes (and that’s the time to buy a ticket to Cancun) To sum it up – Danil summed it up correctly: cheap, beautiful, cool. And even contrasting and diverse: someone will like “American” Cancun, someone will like “urban” Mexico City, someone will like “cultural-colorful” Oaxaca, etc.
Danil, thank you for the article, I’ve never lived in Cancun, but very well described! Saludos!
P.S. Anton, the visa is obtained almost instantly through the web form and for 6 months, and if you have a valid in the U.S. – and it is not necessary, you enter and all
I met some Russian guys there on the beach, who rented an apartment for two for 10,000 rubles, and they were vegetarians. I think they were getting somewhere between 15 and 20,000 rubles a month because fruit and vegetables are cheap there. Multiply this figure by the number of months in winter (for me, it’s 6 months and get how much money you need at least.
If you do not rent a car, and find a place to live on the spot, then 40,000 a month will be comfortable. In general, if you combine with freelancing and take 2 sites a month, will suffice for more margaritas in the bar, and travel to neighboring cities
Oh, my gosh! Thought I’d be the first to write about Mexico.) I have been living here for 4.5 years. Travelled the entire country (about 90,000 km per year). I would not say that Mexico is cheap (Cancun and surroundings), but outside the touristy places, especially in Chiapas, Oaxaca, Puebla, Mexico City is very inexpensive to live.
Someone was asking about Tulum. The guys who live there complain about the difficulty of renting. Very expensive even at the prices of Cancun.
I disagree a little bit about the internet speed. I’ve tried three companies and I’ve given up. Claim 10, give out 4.
Mexican food – to your liking. I like one thing and I can’t stand the other. There is also regional cuisine – and it is different in each region.
About OHHO stores – the equivalent of 7/11. Everything is modest. I know firsthand – preparing to introduce products and know the whole assortment.
Safety. This is on the lucky guy. I had my apartment burglarized 3 times in broad daylight (downtown area, ADO). Several times witnessed gopstop on the roads and parking lots. Or its mild form (based on “committee decided” principles in Chiapas, when the roads are blocked by locals.))
Once on the Escondido-Acapulco highway they threatened me with a gun from a car and clearly suggested I slow down.)) Took off on my feet in all 250 hp.
I agree with the author about the friendly Mexicans. I would add – responsive. Here’s if you slow a man down on the street with a question, 9 out of 10 will help(or try to help )
Prices out of my head: Apartment 7000 or more pesos Electricity 500-600 pesos (Condor at night) Water 150 pesos Internet 499 pesos Taxi (around town) 35 pesos Bus 7-11 pesos Potatoes 17-32 pesos Tomatoes 18-28 pesos Milk 16 pesos Beef 80-120 pesos Chicken 50-80 pesos Gas 92 – 15.8 pesos Gasoline 95 – 18 pesos
Winter in Mexico instead of Thailand, what’s it like?
I remember in a post about where else to go instead of Thailand, we were asked if we would consider Mexico as a winter destination and Latin America in general. Although we have not thought about it, but it would be interesting to know for general development. And here our readers, decided to write a useful and succinct guest post on how to winter in this country, how much money you need, etc. The only thing I want to note that still visa difficulties in Thailand, has not yet had any effect on those who have decided to go there for the winter.
Many people now go to Asia for a long time. Until recently, the favorite country was Thailand, until the visa problems began. Now a lot of people are wondering where to spend six months or even more. How about Mexico, which more and more travelers are looking at?
At one time we thought about it ourselves. We had already been to Thailand, spent several months there, and fell in love with the country, so much so that we even wanted to fly there for a second winter. However, curiosity and apprehension over the problems prevailed, so we opted for Mexico. Now, after seven months, we can say with certainty that it is not worse and we made the right choice.
So as not to be unfounded, I suggest considering the main points that are taken into account when choosing a country for a winter vacation and travel.
Flight costs from Russia to Mexico
This is the very first and not unimportant issue. On average, if you buy tickets more or less in advance and monitor prices, you can fly to Mexico from Moscow for about 20,000 rubles per person. You will save on flights with a connecting flight in New York (you will need an American visa). That’s exactly how we flew: in January 2014 one-way tickets for two people cost 37,000 rubles. They were bought in advance, in August. If you buy tickets a month or less in advance, the price for a flight with a connecting flight or even more can go up to 30,000 rubles per person.
A direct flight would cost much more. As far as I know, direct flights are available only on the Moscow-Kankun route and the ticket will cost about 40-50 thousand rubles.
So what do we have? In the best case scenario roundtrip tickets for one person with an interval of, say, six months will cost plus or minus 40,000 rubles.
Perhaps the cost of the flight – one of the main disadvantages of Mexico, compared with Thailand.
In terms of getting and staying Mexico is almost an ideal country. Here it is a hundred points ahead of Thailand and the rest of Asia! Firstly, all wishing to go to the country of cacti, can get there by electronic permit. It is literally within five minutes online, and completely free. This permit allows you to stay on the territory of Mexico to 180 days.
Secondly, you can easily get a Mexican visa. It costs $36, takes about a week to process, there are almost no refusals. Visas can be issued for six months or 10 years (depends on how much income will be specified by you). It also allows up to 180 days uninterrupted stay in Mexico.
Thirdly, the Mexican border can be crossed on a U.S. visa. This is especially convenient for those who want to visit both countries in one trip.
The number of days a tourist can stay in the country is indicated in the migration card. When you fill out this document, you indicate how long you want to stay in Mexico. But the border guard will still ask you personally how many days you need. You can say 180 without any fear. If they write less (which almost never happens), you can extend up to six months in the migration service.
In order to extend your stay after the end of the first term, you have to go to any other country. This can be the neighboring States, Guatemala, Honduras, South American countries, etc. The minimum period after which you can return to Mexico is not stipulated anywhere, that is, even on the same day.
The only thing to keep in mind: if you are planning to enter Mexico with an electronic permit, you can only do it by air, by ground crossing you will not let.
What the country is famous for – the main attractions
We can talk about the attractions of Mexico for a long time! The country is diverse and will not be bored for sure, just Mexicans are worth a lot))
Among the main attractions are:
And that’s not all!
Winter in Mexico
Mexico is very diverse and everyone will find a place to his liking. Lovers of big water can settle on the shores of the Caribbean Sea (Cancun, Playa del Carmen, Tulum, Acumal) or the Pacific Ocean (Puerto Escondido, Acapulco, Puerto Angel). Who does not have a great love for the sea-oceans, will find many cozy towns that are very comfortable to live in (San Miguel, Guanajuato, Cuernavaca, Oaxaca, Morelia and many others). Fans of megacities can settle in the capital city of Mexico City or in the second largest city, Guadalajara.
Housing options and prices
There are almost every possible accommodation option in Mexico. In each city, you can find many hostels and hotels for all tastes and wallets. On average, prices for normal rooms start at 250-300 pesos (750-900 rubles). However, for those who are going to live in Mexico for a long time, hotels are not the best option. Much more suitable apartments or houses, which can be found on the well-known website Airbnb. In coastal cities are higher prices and the simple apartment will cost from 5000-6000 pesos (15 000-18 000 rubles), and it is unlikely it will be at the sea. Houses are even more expensive.
In other smaller towns, you can rent an apartment from 4,500-5,000 pesos. For example, we are currently renting an apartment in Oaxaca with a bedroom, living room and kitchen for 4300 pesos/13000 rubles (with a discount from the owner on old friendship).
As you know, the upper limit in the prices is difficult to indicate, for example, in Mexico City, the prices of steep apartments run into thousands of dollars.
On average, budget travelers who have the appropriate requirements, can focus on 13,000 – 18,000 rubles per month for long-term accommodation.
Quality of the Internet
In general, the Internet in Mexico is so-so. Often the speed is lagging, which makes web pages load slowly in the browser, movies are downloaded with crunch, etc., etc. But from place to place the situation can change dramatically. So before you rent a place for a long time, do your best to check how the Internet works.
Food: general characteristics and prices
The food in Mexico is quite varied, however, the basis of most dishes are beans, vegetables, meat and corn tortillas. Mexicans manage to prepare dozens of different dishes based on this simple set. Vegetarians will have trouble eating in Mexican cafes and restaurants because meat is present almost everywhere.
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Mexican food is not as spicy as you might think. Most of the dishes are not spicy at all but you can always find sauces on the table for those who like to “turn the heat up”.
Fruits and vegetables are plentiful, especially in winter, though the choice is not as exotic as in Asia. You can buy them at any market or supermarket.
About the prices. The average bill for lunch at a “local cafe for Mexicans” is 40-50 pesos per person (120-150 rubles). These local cafes offer “comida corrida” – something like our business lunch with first, second, drink and dessert. In a simple restaurant you will have to pay about 70-80 pesos for a dish, in a cool restaurant – 150-200 pesos. In general, prices are the same all over the country except for the coolest tourist areas in Mexican resorts.
Street food: tacos (corn tortilla with stuffing) cost 5 to 10 pesos, corn (cob) 10-20 pesos, quesadilla (tortilla with cheese) 10-15 pesos.
Transportation and prices for moving around the country
Transportation in Mexico is well developed. You can take a bus to almost anywhere in the country, even to the most remote village. The only thing that embarrasses – travel is quite expensive. For example, an overnight trip by first class bus will cost about 400-550 pesos (1200-1650 rubles) per person. On average an hour by first class bus costs 70-100 pesos, by second class buses – cheaper, sometimes twice, or even more.
The only disadvantage is that you can’t rent a bike in Thailand. No one rides them, with very few exceptions. Bicycles are not available at every corner either. Everyone takes buses and cabs. A city bus fare is 18-24 rubles, a cab around the city – 90-150 rubles.
In principle, you can live in Mexico all year round without much discomfort. The winter months are dry and hot, the spring is also nice weather, only from May the rains start to arrive (however it may not rain any more – you can do without them). Summer is officially the rainy season in Mexico, but that doesn’t mean it rains all day and night. There may be no rain for weeks, with only foggy skies as a reminder of the “off-season”. The weather is changeable in the fall – it may rain a lot, but by November it stabilizes. As you can see, the weather is not bad.
In terms of infrastructure in Mexico, I haven’t seen any problems. In every more or less major city, and even more so in those in which tourists visit, there is a market (often more than one), supermarkets with a good selection of products and household items (Chedraui, MEGA, Soriana), small stores (7-eleven, OXXO).
Walking distance from your place of residence you will always find cafes with comida corridas, tarias (cafes specializing in tacos), simple restaurants. Food in Mexico is everywhere, with a few exceptions, such as on the outskirts of the city and in low-traffic neighborhoods.
People in Mexico – what are they like?
Mexicans, like any nation, are different. But for the most part they are kind, helpful, friendly, sociable, smiling, lazy and chubby.
In terms of people, Mexico is a very comfortable country: there is no negativity or sense of danger, which is very important. I should add that I haven’t seen a single drunk Mexican in more than six months.
One of the big pluses is that tourists are not cheated. Going to the market, for example, you can be sure that you will be charged the same price as the locals.
How widespread the English language
There is a problem with the English language. Without a knowledge of Spanish in Mexico, nothing to do, unless of course, you’re not going to sit around the hotel in Cancun. At resorts, people still speak some English, and even that is reluctant.
Hence the conclusion: before traveling to Mexico, you have to master at least a basic level of Mexican Spanish (it is slightly different from pure Spanish).
Situations are different, and bad luck can happen in any country, even on the doorstep of your own home in your homeland. During the seven months we have been in Mexico, we have not encountered anything that could be classified as dangerous. We walk peacefully at night (not in back alleys, of course), we move between cities without fear, and we have not heard of any murders in the places we have visited. The same is said by our acquaintances who have been to Mexico.
In any case, observing minimum precautions is necessary in any unfamiliar country.
Sanitary Conditions in the Country, Vaccinations Required
No special vaccinations are required for Mexico. However, if you are very worried, you can get vaccinated against hepatitis A and typhoid.
Sanitary conditions vary from place to place: somewhere it’s spotlessly clean, somewhere there’s trash lying in the streets (Mexico has a problem with trash cans, so often paper, cups, wrappers are placed on windowsills, plugged into fences, etc.). Overall, Indian country is cleaner than many places in Asia.
In terms of food: who cooks and how, I don’t peek, but the dishes are usually clean and stomach upsets don’t bother me. Well, the fact that you have to wash fruits and vegetables all know))
Average monthly budget.
I will make a conclusion about the monthly budget based on personal experience.
We traveled together (Sheboldasik and Andrewsiks) from January to July 2014. As always, we stuck to a prudent economy mode. We traveled around the country exclusively by bus. The first six months we were actively getting to know the country, so we moved from city to city about once or twice a week. Had lunch in a cafe (comida corrida), had breakfast and dinner at home. We visited attractions, but not all in a row (about two, maximum three times a week – pyramids, museums, city walks, cenotes or something like that). In this mode, we spent 40,000 to 45,000 rubles a month (give or take 5,000).
Now we live in one city (Oaxaca), without moving and travel to remote attractions, and spend about 30,000 rubles per month.
In my opinion, Mexico – more than suitable for the winter and long-term residence. It can be an excellent alternative to the Asian destination. Yes, life in Mexico is a little more expensive, but not critical. The higher flight costs are offset by the lack of having to pay for visa problems, making departures or outings to neighboring countries. We have lived in both Thailand and Mexico, and I can confidently assure you that both countries are good! However, you have to understand that they are very different.
Mexico is kind people, delicious food, a gorgeous list of attractions, great weather – isn’t that enough?
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