Hi, my wife and 2 sons are thinking about relocating to the Playa de Carmen area . Can you recommend and know costs of a private school for 3rd and 7th grader ? Will it be hard to find a 3 bedroom, pool home in that area , costs? What have you found for a good resource to find long term home rentals?
Thanks for any info,
Regarding Playa Del Carmen, my best advice is to do a short-term rental at first. There are lots of scammers who prey on expats online, so I only recommend renting long-term if you can see the property in PERSON first. This is especially important in downtown Playa, because there are bars and clubs that make noise all night. While this might be fine for some people, we have a family and we need our sleep!
The strategy that we have used all over Mexico with great success is to rent using Airbnb first, (use a credit card, not a debit card, so you have purchase protection and can reverse the charges if there are problems with the unit.). The best option is to rent a 2-bedroom condo with a full kitchen and a laundry room, nice 2 bedrooms are relatively easy to find on Airbnb and most of the time you can get a nice discount for renting the entire month. Then go with your family, and search for your "forever" home in person, at a leisurely, unstressful pace. Once you find a neighborhood that you like, I suggest renting for at least a year before purchasing property in the area.
You can find long-term rentals in person, or use a rental agent from a reputable real estate company like Remax Mexico. We've had some luck using Vivanuncios, that is a Mexican classified site similar to Craigslist, but I wouldn't rent anything using these methods sight-unseen.
And who knows? Once you are living there full time, you might like Isla Mujeres or Tulum more. The entire region of Quintana Roo is beautiful beyond belief, especially once you leave the tourist zones you may have a difficult time deciding which part of this paradise you like more.
Now, for private schools, we have found that they are excellent in Mexico, and extremely affordable compared to US or Canadian private schools. This is true even for children who have special educational needs.
Our eldest is currently in a prestigious bilingual private school for about $250 USD a month, after an initial fee of about $600 (remember the peso is at an unbelieveable exchange rate of 21 right now so that price won't last--but you can expect to pay about $400 per month approximately, assuming the peso settles down at some point and goes back to about 10-12).
That price included materials and books. The class sizes are small and they have a modern computer lab. They even offer a robotics class! This has been a wonderful experience for us, after not being able to afford private schools in the US and pulling our children out of an awful, underfunded public school.
There are lots of private schools in the Mayan Riviera to choose from (literally dozens). I suggest visiting a few and checking their class sizes, as well as how many teachers they have that speak both English and Spanish.
Be free! Expatriate!
Today, we received an email from a reader who is looking for a nice furnished rental in Guanajuato.
Reader Question: Hi - do you have any good sources for finding inexpensive rental apartments in Mexico, especially in the colonial areas such as Guanajuato or Queretaro? I'm looking for something for a few months, for a single person (me). Thank you!
Answer: We are currently in Guanajuato exploring the San Miguel de Allende region, and we found our apartment on Airbnb. That's the best option if you only plan to stay a few months. Airbnb allows you to pay with a credit card, which gives you purchase protection, and it's the best way to get a place to stay in Mexico that ISN'T a hotel.
Use a credit card, not a debit card to reserve, that way you can reverse the charges if there's a problem. Stay away from Craigslist there are tons of scammers that prey on Americans and Canadians looking for places to stay.
That's my advice. The peso is at 20 (glorious!) so we are currently paying about $700 for a fully furnished 3-bedroom home in a gated, secure community with all utilities paid as well as internet (which is 100% required for us so we can work). It's luxurious and quiet with 24-hour security, (and we would never be able to afford something like this for anywhere NEAR this price in California).
If you are a single person, there are plenty of furnished rooms that are an option, too, for much less (like, say $300 a month). Celaya, Leon, and San Miguel de Allede are all full of expats and have plenty of modern amenities will make your stay enjoyable.
The only hassle I've had so far is difficulty finding my favorite brand of medicated shampoo. Things like that you should bring with you.
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 family with three young kids, looking to escape the rat race. This is our journey!
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