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Merida News: Moving to Yucatan

15,000 NEW Extranjero Homeowners a Year!

Its official… According to Hyrván Martínez Zapata, president of the local National Chamber of Housing (Cámara Nacional de Vivienda (Canadevi)), extranjeros (that’s us) are consistently buying approximately 15,000 houses per year (!) in the State of Yucatan. Remember – Immigration has already reported approximately 500 applications for temporary residence in Yucatan, by extranjeros, per month – and 90% of them are Americans!

This week we read that some of us retire here permanently, while some buy homes and continue to visit as "snowbirds". Some are wealthy and some are just enjoying life on ordinary retirement checks. As Yucatan Living has reported in earlier articles, and as you can tell from our latest interviews, all extranjeros are not wealthy and not all of us have one foot on a banana peel. We have many young extranjeros moving to Yucatan now, and hundreds of foreign students at UADY every year. All of us are very proud of this place we have chosen to call home. We are also grateful to Yucatan for having us, and will try to make ourselves useful as our new state continues to grow into the 21 st century.

Best Place to Retire

In its 5th Annual Global Retirement Index, International Living revealed that Mexico jumped four places to become the world’s top retirement haven, combining old-world charm with top-notch healthcare. Despues de (after) Mexico comes Ecuador, Italy, Panama, Australia, Malta, Spain, South Africa and Malaysia.

“Mexico offers the perfect mix of centuries-old traditions and contemporary lifestyles. Moving to Mexico means you can still have all of the amenities you grew accustomed to north of the border: cable TV, high-speed Internet, and modern home appliances…”

Laura Sheridan, International Living’s managing editor, said in a statement. Clinics and hospitals are staffed by expert physicians, and medical care and prescription drugs cost a fraction of what is charged in the United States, the magazine said. We just want to say that we’ve known this for a few years now… and so have a lot of others. Now the news is out officially… which probably means real estate prices are going to go up and more people will be coming here. Luckily, Mexico is a very big country and can absorb all those retiring baby boomers a lot more easily than Panama. As an aside, the United States ranks 19th in the report and gets particularly bad marks in the area of special benefits for retirees: tax breaks, discounts and freebies that various governments offer to residents, sometimes specifically to foreign residents in an effort to attract retirement dollars. However, the United States still scores well in safety and infrastructure.

Give us a few more years and all the Mexicans will be in the United States and all the gringos will be in Mexico!

$1,940,000 USD PER WEEK

Cruise Ships coming to ProgresoAfter reading an article that said we will, for sure, have 400 additional cruises (about 16 per week) stopping in Progreso over the next six months – and probably that same weekly number for the next year… I noticed that the writer had also added enough information to calculate just what that means to Yucatan – per week. I got out my handy dandy pocket calculator and started punching buttons. Assuming 16 extra cruise ships per week… with an average of 2,425 tourists getting off of each ship… and spending approximately $50 USD each… What to my wondering eyes did appear (on my calculator screen) but $1,940,000 USD per week! That’s a whole lot of money, but a great deal of it will be only a temporary windfall. Let’s hope that everyone spends (or saves) this windfall wisely.

A Mega-Complex Coming to Caucel

It is often amazing to read the papers and open the announcements and invitations we receive. Sometimes there are surprises there that make us wonder what in the world is happening to our state. There was a time when, once outside of Centro and the north side of Merida, one entered a world that was routinely spoken of as “quaint”. Well, no more! In 2009, the Hines Corporation is investing $100,000,000 USD in a mega-complex to be built in Caucel. There will be an anchor store, cinemas, a sports center, a cultural center, and doctor’s offices, as well as retirement homes for Americans and Canadians. We had to double-check that dollar amount. There’s a lot of money coming into this area!

Valladolid to Get New Shopping Center

On the east side of the peninsula, Chedraui is investing $8,000,000 USD in a new shopping center in Valladolid, and it is to be built in the first quarter of 2008. This shopping center will also be home to Italian Coffee, Burger Valladolid YucatanKing, Big Home, Coppel, Hollywood Cinemas, Taco Inn, Famsa and Cajun Grill, among others. With the naming of Chichen Itza as one of the Seven New Wonders of the World, the eastern part of our state needs as many new businesses and services as they can get. Hundreds of thousands of visitors are coming and many new residents are deciding to call the area home. It is a long way from Valladolid to Merida (or to Cancun) so this shopping center is good news for everybody who lives there or stops by to visit.

Valladolid is also reworking the areas around its central plaza, as well as the former Convent de San Bernardino de Siena and several other locations so that they will be “pedestrian only” areas during the times when cultural events are taking place. With many of the cultural events, including the Symphony, now traveling to outlying cities, it looks as if Valladolid is poised to become a bigger destination than ever. They are even going to have a light and sound show at Cenote Zací. Valladolid is definitely catching some buzz!


17 Tons of Sugar for Yucatan’s Bees

Honeybees in the Yucatan MexicoOK, enough about money. Let’s talk about something important!

In the southern part of our state, Hurricane Dean did a real number on the food sources of our Yucatecan bees and on the livelihood of the beekeepers. Nothing to worry about, the bees’ version of Meals on Wheels has arrived with 17 tons of sugar to help the bees (and their keepers) get over this little bump in the road. We know that we have more bees than almost any other place in the world, but we have to wonder just how many bees it takes to eat 17 tons of sugar! To tell you the truth, all we really care is that the Yucateco bees have what they need and we hope everybody is back on their feet – or in the air – soon. Plant a flower – Feed a bee!

Potholes and Hills

For some of you who want to go exploring, especially toward the southeastern part of the state, please drive with caution. All of Yucatan is not flat and not all of the roads are good. In some parts of the southeastern part of the state, you begin to enter hills and low mountains (The Puuc Hills), and rain has a tendency to wash away parts of the roads. It is quite possible that you could top a hill and come face to face with a hidden pothole on the other side that you will not be able to avoid. This has the potential for serious accidents and damage to your vehicle.

Success in Reforestation

Reforestation in the YucatanEveryone wants to live in a place that, when it discovers a problem, simply fixes it. About three months ago, Yucatan discovered the relatively recent, and quite significant, differences in temperature between just the north and south sides of Merida – because of the trees on the south side of town. Shortly thereafter, it was learned that we now get less rain in the eastern part of our state because of deforestation. “Swinging into action” is a mild term for what happens in Yucatan in the face of adversity. Last month alone, 50,000 cedro trees were planted in Tzucacab. These are not the cedar trees that we think of in the US, but a tree specific to this area that is deciduous and has wood that has been here used for furniture and doors for centuries.

The Villahermosa-Escárcega Highway

For you snowbirds who drive from Villahermosa to Campeche via Escárcega, the new road “makeover” is still only 65% complete and not expected to be completed until December 2008. Oh well, 65% is better than nothing, and the new parts of the road really are nice. Once you turn left at Escárcega and head for Campeche, the road is straight as an arrow and in excellent condition – so the instinct to speed will overtake you within just a few miles. Try to resist it, because the police on that road drive dark blue pickup trucks and you can’t tell they’ve caught you on radar until its too late. But they’re really awfully nice (from personal experience), so not to worry! Just trying to help you avoid the inconvenience!

Students and Sailors Cleaned the Beach

300 students from Cetmar de Yucalpetén, along with 30 sailors of the 9th Naval Zone, cleaned over 2 km of the beach at Playón Poniente. This is a project designed to get children involved in caring for the environment at an early age, in hopes that they will grow up to be responsible caretakers in the future. We remind our readers that many of our small towns and villages, along the beaches, simply cannot afford full time beach cleaning crews. If residents have the time, they have to take over these duties. Yucatecos work a six-day work week, so it is not realistic to hope that they can spend their few free hours picking up other people’s garbage. Please, when you go to the beach, bring your own garbage home… and it would help if you would pick up and dispose of any other garbage you find as well. You’ll be glad you did and will be setting an example that we can all admire.

Much Going On at UADY

If I was a betting person, my money would be on the State of Yucatan going to solar energy in the not too distant future. We have one of the stars of the field at UADY, physicist Lifter Omar Ricalde Cab, head of the Laboratory of Energy in the School of Engineering. He has a great program already underway and even European companies are showing interest in his work and the work of his students.

We hear so much about college students not getting their vaccinations and then getting sick at school. UADY is going to start vaccinating 1,200 students this coming Monday. An ounce of prevention is always worth a pound of cure, especially when the lives of our college students depend on it.Chess Club in Merida Yucatan

The Chess Club of the Independent University of Yucatan published the first issue of its new magazine Ajeuady this past Thursday. This publication will come out once a month and will, without a doubt, have a large readership because UADY, it seems, has a “remarkable number of chess players.” Miss Sara Cabrera Agüero is the current Presidenta of the Club de Ajedrez de la UADY (UADY’s Chess Club). You can read all about them at the UADY website here. I suspect they are one of the reasons we have chess at the Bici-Ruta, as well as that the championship chess competition that is going on in Yucatan right now.


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16 Responses to “Merida News: Moving to Yucatan”

  1. Re: “Luckily, Mexico is a very big country and can absorb all those retiring baby boomers” Except that they aren’t all moving to “Mexico”… feels like they’re all moving here! 500 temp. residency applications per month, 90% Americans, and 15,000 home purchases per year! If ya’ll are coming – you better come on. And if our readers know of anyone who loves country life (as opposed to city or beach living), please pass Yucatan Living along to them. There are worlds upon worlds in Yucatan – and Yucatan Living is the place to learn about them all.

  2. Sounds great! How do the native Yucatecos feel about the invasion of U.S. citizens to their land. Maybe the same way they felt when the Spainards arrived? Working Yucateca and her family have some worries about all the outsiders to Merida and the Yucatan. How does the everyday Yucateco feel? Not the Los Ricos or Buenos Economica. The Average Yucateco. I like to know.

  3. I wonder if the 15,000 “foreigners” per year include the people moving from Columbia, Venezuela, Mexico City, etc to Merida and the Yucatan.

    Also, I wonder if that really represents 15,000 home sales, (some homes being sold again to another foreigner), rather than 15,000 new foreigners.

    Some houses are bought by an American (or European or Mexican), remodeled (well or lightly or poorly) and then re-sold again ASAP. I wonder if that counts (properly) as 1 sale to 1 foreigner, or if it is 2 sales, making it look like more people are coming to town than really are.

    Just musing over the numbers. They’re huge!

  4. You’re right – the numbers are huge – especially that weekly influx of cruise ship money. I actually double checked cruise ship research before repeating that one. I had no idea some of those ships are that big or that so many people get off of them!

  5. I appreciate your article about the need to keep the beaches clean. There is a need to bring change through example. I´m in my 8th year here and I do not see many foreigners leaving a mess on the beaches or in the streets. Without being preachy, I wonder how long before the example takes hold?

  6. As a Valladolid resident, I must say I have mixed emotions about Burger King, Italian Coffee, etc, here. But guess it was bound to happen with all the Chichen Itza hype! Just hope its far from the center!

  7. Well kids I guess thats called “PROGRESS”……..Yes I’m sure the “SECRET” is out now about Merida, as it is on our Home Locale “ISLA HOLBOX”…Everybody know about “Hole-Bosh” Yet? In 2005 we hosted 9000 people who swam with Whale Sharks, 2006 was a 50% increase to 13,500, and now we’re waiting with baited breath, the 2007 #’s. Our little “Hideout” only 4hrs from Merida is like Key West in the 50′s, NO CARS, just Golf Cars & Motor Bikes etc.Life is GOOD here (Except for the schools) Thats why we’re looking to relocate to Merida for the Non WhaleShark months School for our daughter…….Anybody with a great Merida House looking to SWAP for an exquisite Beach House on Holbox from Sept to June?

  8. I am delighted there is a move to clean the beaches. I am old enough to remember when it was common to litter in the US and Canada. It wasn’t until the late 50′s and early 60′s that there was a campaign to get people to throw trash in the trash can and not on the ground. Remember “Don’t be a litterbug”? This may be the beginning of the campaign to clean up the beaches and the cities. If we can be an example, good. We will all benefit.

  9. Hi
    My brother and I and our wives are planning on moving to the Merida/Progresso area. We are planning a trip May 24-31, 2008 to look for property, and to meet with Expatraites and anyone else that can be of assistance. We expect to have completed our resettlement within the following year.
    We live in Dallas, Texas area and would like to purchase a truck that will be used to transport our property as well as being our transportation in the area. Can an Expatraite find qualified macanics to work on 2007 Dodge diesel trucks. Also what kind of tax or registration cost should we expect. We are planning on starting businesses that will cater mostly to the tourist.
    Are there sources available for wind and solar power, are there any restrictions, and if necessary would there be tariffs, etc. Does the local power grid allow individuals to sell back to them?
    Any suggestions, direct contacts, or explanations will be greatly appreciated.
    I am able to call Mexico without being charged, but I speek very little Spanish.
    Thanks Robert

  10. Robert,
    There is a Chrysler dealer in Merida, as well as every type of independent mechanic known to man. Your truck can be registered as an Ex-pat vehicle, but only the registered owners (and holders of FM3 visa) may drive it. A Mexican may drive it if you accompany them at all times. It cannot be “legalized” (i.e., converted to Mexican plates). Well, I shouldn’t say “cannot” but rather “without finding loopholes, exceptions, paying various fees, etc…” it won’t be. Yucatan Living has an article on vehicle tags in Yucatan (for Mexican vehicles – yours would remain a TX-plated vehicle with a Mexican registration sticker).

    Yucatan Living recently had an article about solar power in Merida. The electric company, CFE, is owned by the Mexican government and is not known for it’s flexibility, but it’s worth a try (to ask about selling excess power back, aka reverse metering).

    Practically everything you import into Mexico will require paying a tariff, except for your household goods if you bring them under the special conditions permitted for an FM-3 visa holder.

    For a Mexican corporation (business) you will need a Mexican accountant and attorney to handle your affairs – filing quarterly reports, reviewing your real estate paperwork, etc. There are many good firms.

    If you plan on running a business full time, you would be wise to begin learning Spanish right away. While you can ‘get by’ on English with translators, you will be much more of an outsider without Spanish. It will help you with government officials, suppliers, employees, neighbors, the police, just about everywhere.

    There are several examples of people running a business in Mexico, including Yucatan Living, Mexico International, etc. But, it isn’t for everyone Here’s a cautionary tale that gives you some ideas of the possible obstacles you could face: http://www.droppedin.com/archive/2008/01/29/gringos-restaurant-closes-doors-what-went-wrong/
    I haven’t met the folks who write that cool new blog, but I sure love the blog. They seem to be doing OK too, as a possible ‘nother source of information.

  11. I’ve written to you before. I am looking forward to moving to Yucatan some time within the next twelve months. I am waiting for a couple of my children to move on to continue their university level studies. Enjoy your Yucatanliving.com page and read it daily. Thank you very much!!

  12. Hay alguna pagina de internet para ver o comprar autos o trocas pequeñas, usadas o nuevas en Merida, Yucatan? Gracias!
    Translation: Is there an internet website to see or buy autos or small trucks, used or new, in Merida, Yucatan? Thank you!

  13. Hello Working Gringos and all,

    I’ve been lurking in the weeds for several months now, reading the articles, comments and generally doing my homework on Merida. First I’d like to say what a wonderful web site you have and how much I enjoy and appreciate the articles and the ongoing dialog with your readers. Like many people moving (from Tucson) we too are becoming enthralled with the vision everyone presents about the Yucatan and especially Merida. We’re considering a month long visit in Jan or Feb 09 to see if we would be comfortable living there full time.

    I can see the handwriting on the walls in the U.S. and at out age (64 and 66) we will run out of “runway” with the cost of health care. But that is simply the “justification” for making the move…I’m convinced the U.S. is heading into a financial collapse that will take decades to recover from, but more important, the people here have become so “entitled” that there will be no one left to create, produce, and generally maintain our personal and economic freedom. So with a great deal of regret, but with even more enthusiasm, I am excited about the prospect of living in Merida.

    Like many people before me the “elephant” in the room is “will I have enough income to live reasonably well” in Merida? We just signed up for Social Security (about $3000/month for both of us. After deciding on a home to purchase (after renting for awhile) with a budget of $275,000, we’re thinking a budget of $2400/month will let us live comfortably…any input here would be gratefully taken.
    But, the beauty, the gentle people and slower pace of life is the real benefit we see about living in the Yucatan.
    One again we are so grateful to the Working Gringos and their cadre of followers for allowing us to “peek” into their lives and here their opinions.

    Van and Gayle

  14. I recently moved to Merida and used Mexsupport to manage the move I followed their advice, saved money in my move and they also did my car importation. Call Sylvia she really knows the process and made almost painless for me. I don´t have the number with me but you can google them.

  15. I am looking for a reputable moving company in Merida. Can any please recommend someone for the job? Thanks!

  16. Heather, it depends where you are moving and what you want moved. For anything interior to the city, you would be best served by going to Parque Mejorada and contracting with one of the trucks there to work for you for the day.

    For longer distances, we suggest you check out MexPack on this page: http://www.yucatanexpatriateservices.com/affiliates (the list of English-speaking affiliates is alphabetical)

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