We decided after much research, to purchase the KeepGo Hotspot, which offers the best (purported) coverage in Mexico. We will be going to Baja California and this is the current Coverage map for the KeepGo Hotspot. You can search for your own destination address here. Here is a list of KeepGo Hotspot providers by country, it's pretty extensive but coverage is best in major cities and less so in less populated areas.
The KeepGo costs a little over $129 and you do not need to replace the SIM card. The data is rather expensive so it is best to use for web browsing, email, etc. Not good for downloads or streaming unless you want to eat up your data. Don't forget to turn off data draining applications like Dropbox and Carbonite. We will update the review when we get the device and test in in Baja and Guanajuato.
A lot of people contact us because they are thinking of expatriating in order to retire and enjoy a life by the beach. But we also hear from families who are worried about the current state of affairs in their country. Europe is becoming more unstable as time goes on, and terrorist acts are becoming more frequent and violent.
The Orlando massacre is an example that hit very close to home for us. Fifty Americans died that day, because a crazed Islamic Extremist decided to take as many lives as possible. Our advice is to protect yourself and hedge your bets. This type of horrible crime can happen anywhere, but when it starts to happen more frequently, it's time to GET OUT.
What does this mean? Our advice is to PROTECT YOURSELF by giving yourself and your family OPTIONS. Sometimes this is the difference between life and death.
I'm reminded of the story of Emanuel Theodor Heilbronner (the founder of the Dr. Bronner Family of Soaps, which you have probably seen everywhere). Dr. Bronner emigrated to the United States in 1929. His family was Jewish, and he pleaded with his parents to emigrate with him for fear of the then-ascendant Nazi Party, but they refused. His last contact with his parents was in the form of a censored postcard saying, "You were right. —Your loving father." His parents were killed in the Holocaust.
Don't be afraid to prepare, and have a back-up plan. If necessary, make plans to GET OUT. Plan in advance, and that way, you can be ready if the proverbial *** "hits the fan."
Another good example to learn from is the case of Venezuela. Never, in modern history, has a country destroyed itself and its potential so quickly and spectacularly as Venezuela. I grew up reading about Venezuela--did you know that they used to call it, "The Jewel of South America?" And now, look at it. The citizens are eating rats, dogs, and cats. The people have no food. The government is broke and completely corrupt. Infants are dying in hospitals of completely preventable diseases. The country has been destroyed from within in less than 40 years. Countries can decline very quickly, especially if their governments are corrupt. Venezuela is now on the brink of collapse. The people who COULD get out, already DID get out. The rest have been left to die or starve.
So how can you plan for the safety of your future?
Save your money. Don't buy the new car your were planning to buy, or that new house. Save a nest egg and use it to show "investment potential." This is the key to getting dual citizenship. Countries love it when you show that you have an ability to invest.
For example, to apply for Permanent Mexican Residency, you only need to show proof of bank statements with a monthly income or pension greater than the equivalent of three hundred days of general minimum wage in Mexico City (73.04 MXP). This is approximately $1,300 USD for the past six months (considering a rate of exchange of 17 pesos).Many Americans have pensions, Social Security, investment income, and even self-employment income totalling this amount. There are several other ways to obtain Mexican Citizenship and Residency, but proving that you have a stable monthly income is the easiest way.
Other countries have similar rules.
Be cautious, and get dual citizenship. Mexico, Costa Rica, and Belize are all expat-friendly and have huge existing expat communities that can offer advice and support. As second choices, Ecuador, Chile, and Panama are all relatively stable and cheap. In Asia, the Philippines and Thailand are also good choices.
Learn conversational Spanish. French is also useful as a second language. Explore the purchase of property--there are beachfront lots available all over Baja California that are affordable and have good potential. You can purchase an RV and take a trip down the Baja coast and see what I mean. It's a nice drive and you can see the potential for an "escape" plan if you need it.
OUR ADVICE: Always have a BACKUP PLAN.
Many of you know that we are planning an extended research trip to Baja California this year. We have thought about driving this year, rather than flying. So, which border crossings are the safest on the Mexican-U.S. Border?
A big thank you to Jorge Luna, who has offered this incredibly useful information (this comment has been used with his explicit permission):
Jorge: I'm a regular user of the highways that connects the Texas border. The safest crossing between Mexico and Texa is Colombia Bridge Border Crossing. This is the quickest and safest highway There is a cheap toll in advance (approximately $3 or $4 USD, can't remember the exact amount). You can pay this using a major credit card.
Laredo is also a good option, but the traffic is heavy there (more during the Easter holiday), however Laredo is the shortest distance between Monterrey and Texas.
Another option is to use the toll road to Reynosa (it will cost around $15 USD) and cross into Texas using Anzalduas Bridge, using these last bridge you can avoid the Reynosa downtown area. Reynosa has a bad reputation on security issues.
If you are looking for a good stopping point, you can overnight in the McAllen/Harlingen area where you can find hotels starting at $40USD/night or she can overnight here in Monterrey that is full of affordable and comfortable hotels and drive straight to Houston the next morning without making stop on the Texas Valley area.
A final advice, never use the riverside highway that connects the Mexico's border cities such as Laredo ,Mx-Reynosa-Matamoros. If you need to move around the Rio Bravo area, it's better use the American Riverside Highway (Laredo,Tx-McAllen-Brownsville)
Thanks, Jorge for the great tip!
Cabo Travel Warning: Look out for Medical Scams at "One World by St Luke's" hospital in Cabo San Lucas
The US State Department has issued a travel warning for tourists planning to go to the Cabo region (Baja California Mexico).
Look out for potentially life threatening medical scams bordering on extortion at "One World by St Luke's" in Cabo San Lucas, Baja Mexico. We have been researching hospitals in the area and we want to warn travelers that this particular medical facility seems to have a very serious problem.
Several forum threads have identified this hospital as a source for scams, and if you want to read about other traveler's experiences you can see them here:
Horrific Cabo Trip
In another thread, a Taxi Driver takes an injured man to St. Luke's who is extorted before being allowed to leave. The man died from his injuries the following day.
If you have an emergency in Cabo, DO YOUR RESEARCH and make sure you don't get scammed. Many times the taxi drivers and hotels will have a quid-pro-quo with hospitals or private clinics to get injured tourists.
Here is another great thread about travel insurance (a great investment for peace of mind while you travel) it's an affordable way to make sure that if the worst possible scenario occurs, you will have some recourse.
We will be doing interviews and checking out the situation with local hospitals and clinics as we explore the area and we will report back.
The US State Department has given a list of other hospitals to be wary of, as well as a list of "approved" hospitals for tourists to visit if they need emergency medical care. Be sure to favorite this page and stay safe!
"On April 19, 2016, Mexican federal authorities ordered the following hospitals to suspend operations and to cease admitting new patients, following repeated reports of predatory business practices and billing:
1.- Cabo Medical Integral, S de RL de C. V y/o One World Hospital
2.- Hospital Amerimed San Jose del Cabo S. A de C. V (Cabo San Lucas)
3.- St. Josephs, S de R. L de C.y/o Saint Luke’s Medical Center
4.- Hospital Amerimed San Jose del Cabo S. A de C. V (San José del Cabo)"
Be sure to spread the word!
No website or company has paid a fee to be mentioned in this blog. Any suggestions you see are based solely on our own experiences and personal preferences.
Just a middle-class dad and mom with three young kids, looking to escape the rat race. This is our journey!
If you have a question for us, please contact us directly using our email here.