I am wondering if you might be able to answer one question for me or lead me in the right direction. I am planning on moving to Playa del Carmen in the next few months. Is it possible to take with me or have transported, my 2 jetskis that I own on a double trailer? A transporter company told me that I might only be able to take 1 of them to Mexico with me. Also, how does it work to legalize vehicles in Mexico? Is it a similar process to a car?
Manny's Answer: Hi Efren,
The process of legalization for a car in Mexico is rather complicated. Some American cars (especially newer cars that are less than 10 years old) cannot be legalized. Also, by law you must hire the services of an authorized customs agent if you officially want to "import" your cars.
Because of the hassle as well as the costs involved, We didn't take our cars with us when we moved to Mexico. We sold our two American cars and purchased two vehicles in Mexico with existing Mexican plates.
Now, there are attorneys that specialize in this sort of thing, but in our research, we quickly realized that the transport costs, the shipping, and the costs for the attorney to "legalize" our cars would have exceeded the actual value of the vehicles. It was thousands and thousands of dollars. We just didn't bother to take them with us for that reason. Nissan, Ford, and Chevy, etc, all of those car companies exist here, and you can also buy used cars, boats, and jet skis fairly easily. We used Mercado Libre Mexico to find one of our cars (a website similar to Craigslist where you can search by state). The dollar is very strong against the peso right now so we got a screamin' deal on a used minivan that would have easily cost us 10K in the U.S. (it only cost $3,500 down here, based on the currency conversion right now is 20:1!)
If you are going to do this, consider watching the peso closely and converting your dollars when it drops. Our dollars have been stretching very far down here, we now own our house outright as well as two cars that are completely paid for in less than 3 years. This was an impossible dream for us when we were living in CA.
And to give you some more honest advice about shipping cars: having American plates and an American trailer in Quintana Roo is going to make you a target for the police. You might end up getting pulled over very frequently.
You don't have to make this decision right away. We held on to our American cars for about 6 months before we "pulled the trigger" and sold them, but we never actually brought them into Mexico. We just kept the cars at my brother's house in Nevada and eventually sold them when we decided to remain as expats permanently.
I suggest contacting an attorney if you decide that you really want to transfer your cars to Quintana Roo.
Be free! Expatriate!
Hi, I’m a mom with two kids (ages 10,12), I just decided to go la Paz BCS, and spent 5 weeks involving kids in learning activities and water activities, too. I'm looking for a place to rent or live in La Paz, central, but if possible, close to ocean.
I ask desperately if you can recommend us a site, or tips of how to find it. Leaving in a week so no much time to look for places. Search in Airbnb no luck with space available and other sites are way far for my economy.
Thanks for any advice.
I suggest renting through Airbnb and getting a very cheap place for only a few days, then searching the waterfront (El Malecon) by foot. We were there less than 12 months ago and saw tons of signs for cheap rental homes (full homes) that were vacant just a few blocks (just 3-4 blocks from the Malecon it's a lot cheaper to rent than right on the waterfront) from the water. None of these "local rentals" are going to be available online, but you really have to go down there in person and look.
I saw several homes that were for rent for less than a few hundred dollars. The way the exchange rate is right now, you should have no trouble finding something quickly.
I just searched Airbnb and found several small rentals for about $20 per night near the Malecon. Some were small studios with two beds that could easily fit one adult and two children. You can rent for a week or so and then go look for rentals by searching in person. I just did a quick search and as you can see, there are over 100 rentals in La Paz for less than $20 per night (see screenshot).
Now, I'm not affiliated with Airbnb in any way, I just think they are a good way to find an affordable, safe place to rent that's NOT a hotel. We have used them for years for our own travels, and have even been lucky enough to find long-term rentals that way, too. Many times, a landlord will happily accept an existing tenant for a long-term rental that they found through Airbnb. We've done that several times, too.
Many of these are room rentals or studios, but it is an affordable option for you to get down there and start your search. It's very doable, I know because I was just there.
As for fun activities in La Paz, we spent almost all the time at Balandra beach and Playa El Tecolote. We went there pretty much every single day. At night, we would walk the Malecon and let our kids play in the small park there. (There is a small park with a slide and swings and things). That is what we did, but I'm sure there are other activities too.
For news of more fun Baja events, we subscribe to the free newsletter from Baja Insider, a Baja newspaper. I would check their website and also sign up for alerts from them, they always publicise things to do in Baja and all the events.
La Paz has the most beautiful seaside waterfront in all of Baja. I know you and your kids will love it there.
Hi! We are planning a move to Tulum next year. We would like to find a nice home not too far from school as the girls are still young and we don’t feel like travelling. Also we don’t find it easy to get information on long time renting houses ? Would you have sites to recommend or a group especially devoted to that? Thank you so much. Have a great day.
Manny's Answer: Tulum is a great place for families with children. It's also very expat-friendly without being as touristy as Cancun. There are several private schools that cater to Americans and Canadians.
When we arrive in a new area, we typically rent a temporary home using Airbnb with a credit card, so our purchase is secure. We will typically rent for one month or so as we explore the region. You can rent and contact the owners of the homes to see if they will rent long-term. There are many rental options all over the Mayan Riviera. I do not recommend renting sight-unseen, no matter where you are! Don't use Craigslist or any other site where you may have to wire money without actually seeing the property first. Many people rent for a year or so before making a long-term commitment. I suggest renting an inexpensive apartment for a month or two (using Airbnb or a similar site where you can pay with a credit card and protect your purchase). Once you are in Tulum, you can search locally for larger homes or homes closer to specific areas or the beach if that's what you want.
If you want to purchase property, be VERY CAREFUL in Tulum, there are a lot of real estate scams in the area. You will want to use an attorney, a notary, and a licensed real estate agent to cover your legal bases as much as possible.
It's too difficult (in my opinion) to pick a school without being here in person. Most of the schools do not have websites, although most of them have Facebook pages. In Tulum or Playa Del Carmen you can explore on bikes, but if you want to explore the entire region (recommended) you will need a car. We DO NOT recommend Hertz Mexico, which has a reputation for being very shady. We did not have a good experience with them at the Cancun airport, and they allow time share scammers to act like employees within the business premises. Their reviews on Yelp are HORRIBLE!
Good luck on your move, Tulum is a very beautiful place.
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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