Reader Question: Hi, your site is very informative, thanks , I have been living a few years in San Pedro, Belize. The wife and I like San Pedro but have a lot of concerns: medical, lack of most necessities, etc. It's a very small town.
We know Cancun a bit, but Playa del Carmen feels it could be the right place for us to move. It seems like everything you might need you can find in playa: Shopping Malls, home depot and of course, 5th ave. This is for retirement, we love the beach! What area can you recommend a bit away from 5th?
Answer: Hi Fred,
Playa Del Carmen is beautiful and full of expats. Cancun in nice, too, but very touristy. Playa is a good mix of tourists, expat living, and beachfront life. You can rent in Playa for all different prices, but the closer you get to the beach, the more you will pay, like anywhere else. 5th avenue is busy and fun, but also loud sometimes. Younger folks seem to prefer living right on 5th but we suggest looking a little further away if you want peace and quiet.
That being said, we are currently exploring Baja California and Cabo San Lucas, so I suggest you contact Gabi Waldert of Playa Rentals. She's a great person to talk to if you want to find a rental in the area, and she speaks English, Spanish and fluent German. Good luck!
Question: My family and I are currently living in Roatan. We love it, but are considering Tulum. What can we expect, and how much does it cost to live there?
Answer: Our family strongly considered the move to Tulum, and we visited and stayed for an extended period. Tulum is a very laid back coastal (yoga, hippie-vibe) town. Tons of backpackers and such. There are a lot of expats living there, too.
The area itself is lush and the water is fantastic. But there are some issues that made us reconsider a move there. .
We decided against Tulum because of two things: the utilities are spotty the closer you get to the beach, and reliable utility service is hard to get (at least it was in 2015). Almost no one seemed to have internet service there--we ended up having to drive to an internet cafe and pay by the hour.
Most of the beaches are monopolized by private hotels that will not allow you to access the beaches, or try to chase you away if you are not a hotel guest.
We ended up liking Playa Del Carmen a lot more. We just heard so many great things about Tulum and then when we actually got there it was a bit of a let-down. I also wish we had explored Cozumel, which also looks extremely promising.
It's relatively cheap to live in Tulum (comparatively with other beachside towns), but ONLY if you live away from the beach. While the beaches are lovely, the main town of Tulum is very rustic. Also, there's not a lot of "middle" ground with regards to rentals in Tulum. You will pay thousands to live on the beach, or you can pay a few hundred and live in town, far away from the beaches.
But you might love it. I strongly suggest an extended visit to see if Tulum is for you.
Since we work online, a reliable internet connection in Mexico is an absolute necessity. We have had mixed results with several carriers, and public wi-fi spots and internet cafes can work in a pinch, but none of those solutions is ideal. We want a hotspot that will fit in our pocket and travel WITH us, and that will work all over Mexico and Central America. Thankfully, technology has caught up with demand, and now a few providers have decided to fill in the gap.
Here are a few solutions that work:
International Hotspots That Work in Mexico
As we become more dependent on reliable wi-fi and internet service, we looked for options that would allow us to connect anywhere we travelled in Mexico. There are two major options right now:
TEP Wireless: Unlimited useage for $8 per day under the frequent traveler program. You can rent or purchase the device. We thought it was cheap enough to buy it, since the device itself only costs $124. The data is unlimited, and you can connect up to 5 devices. The hotspot also works in other countries, but we plan to use it primarily in Mexico.
The other option is the Keepgo, which is a metered hotspot similar to the Karma hotspot device (which we also own). The Keepgo works all over Europe as well as the Americas, but the data rate is rather pricey at $39 per Gig. This device also costs $129. There is also a sim-only option. The benefit of this device is that you can travel practically anywhere and never have to change the Sim card. The drawback is that the data is expensive if you plan to use it for more than just checking emails and surfing the web.
U.S. Cellular Plans that Work in Mexico
Cellular Service in Mexico without Roaming: T-Mobile and Cricket Wireless (a regional carrier owned by At&T) both offer affordable plans that work in Mexico without additional roaming charges. We can't comment on T-Mobile's coverage, but we recently did switch our cellular plans from Verizon to Cricket in order to get a cheaper plan that would also allow us to use the phone in Mexico with no added roaming charges. There are a few caveats:
The Cricket plans that include Mexico include calling to both mobile and landline numbers in Mexico. The plans starts at $50/mo, and allow you to take your Cricket phone with you to Mexico and use it like for calls and texts. However, primary usage must be in U.S. And calls and texts while in Mexico cannot exceed 50% of total usage, or service may be terminated. The coverage in Mexico is provided by Telcel or iUsaCell.
Next Stop: Cabo!
We head to Cabo San Lucas and beautiful San Jose del Cabo in July, so we'll update everyone on how well our devices work down there.
All my best,
Reader Question: I saw an interview you guys did with an English teacher that relocated to Playa Del Carmen to work. Would love to know more about ESL jobs in Playa. Thank you for any help. -Douglas
Thanks for contacting Expat Fever. I suggest contacting the language school, IHRM to get more information about language-related jobs in the region. Here's their website: http://www.ihrivieramaya.com/. They are a well-known school in the area that caters to expats as well as locals wishing to improve their language skills.
There are many opportunities all over the Caribbean for expats who are fluent in English and who have the patience to teach others basic grammar and conversational English. Of course, you must have a good command of the language yourself in order to teach. There are also jobs in the area for companies like goFluent, which is an English tutoring service that allows you to work online.
There is plenty of work in call centers, as well--companies that look for fluent English speakers for foreign-based call centers. A quick look on Craigslist Yucatan brings up dozens of jobs like this in the area as well as Merida, Tulum, and other nearby cities. You just have to look.
Our next stop is Cabo San Lucas and San Jose de Los Cabos! We will be going down to Baja California from July-August this year to explore and talk to other expats for an extended period. If you are an expat living in Cabo San Lucas or the surrounding area, we would love to chat with you.
We hopped over to Tripadvisor and found reviews on rental car companies, and decided to skip Hertz Mexico after a disastrous rental experience in Cancun. We decided to rent with BBB Rent a Car and have already had excellent service and responses from the owner, who seems very attentive and does not try to scam with "add-ons" and hidden pricing like is common in Mexico rental car agencies. We will do a complete write-up once we arrive in Cabo but so far the experience has been good.
Stay tuned! We promise to post a lot of pictures and tell you all about our experiences!
We had a great time at the Hawaii Book and Music Festival this year. The weather was great and there were great speakers, great food, and great promotional and networking opportunities for us this year. We hope to return next year for the next festival!
We met several authors and left our book series in the Book Swap tent for other authors/readers to find and enjoy. Mahalo!
Just a middle-class dad and mom with three young kids, looking to escape the rat race. This is our journey!
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