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.
Colegio El Camino is a bilingual, Private K-12, nonsectarian, nonprofit organization governed by a permanent board of governors. There are over 400 students from all different countries and backgrounds.
El Camino offers education in Los Cabos to students from all nationalities, religions, cultures and socio-economic standing. In addition to their bilingual curriculum they offer support services including licensed psychologists, a mentoring program, career and college counseling, a nutrition program recognized by AdvancED as an outstanding practice, afternoon academic academies, afternoon sports program, the Camino Language Acquisition Support Program (C.L.A.S.P), para-academic workshops and the IB Diploma CAS (Creativity, Action and Service) program.
Communication is a key component in any successful institution and to guarantee that parents are informed and the lines of communication are open and easily accessible we are equipped with their bilingual website www.elcamino.edu.mx.
Heath Sparrow is the Headmaster at Colegio El Camino, and you can contact him through the school's official website.
Hi! I just found your blog. Love it! We are moving to Tulum! I have an 8 year old and a 12 year old. Its difficult to find any information on schools in Tulum. I'm not sure that there are even any expat kids living in Tulum as a result. Do you have any sites/info on where kids in Tulum go to school?
Tulum is a beautiful place. There are lots of expats in Tulum, as well as several active "expat communities". We have found that there are many private schools that you can choose from, it's been a while since we went back to Tulum but I would suggest asking other expats that live in the area. We've had very good luck with Mexican private schools and two of our children are currently enrolled in bilingual private schools. You can also choose to teach them using an online K-12 program that is U.S. based.
We didn't opt to do that, because we really wanted our kids to have a bilingual experience. You can try Tulum International School and go from there. I have noticed that many of the private schools in Mexico will have a Facebook page rather than a regular webpage, Facebook is very widely used in Mexico for communication so if you don't have an account it's a good idea to create one (even just a "dummy" account) in order to research and ask questions. A lot of expat groups exist on Facebook as well, including groups for every city in Quintana Roo.
Reader Question: I have been looking to several international schools online, their fees are so different then what you mention in your blog.
Manny's Answer: The main problem is that you can't really search online. There is some limited information available online, but I would never advise anyone to pick out their children's school in Mexico without actually visiting the city and going to the schools in person. It's not a decision to be made lightly.
But I can tell you that our eldest son's tuition is currently 2,900 pesos per month, and that includes a private tutor 3 days a week. That is approximately $150 American dollars at the current exchange rate (current exchange rate is 19 pesos per U.S. dollar). I will say that we spent a lot of time researching "on the ground" so to speak, because many of the private schools in Mexico advertise locally and do not have regular webpages. For example, our son's school only has a Facebook page, and even that page is not frequently updated.
People advertise by word of mouth and (sometimes) Facebook, so many of the best schools are not even online. You really have to go to the city in person and research when you get there. We researched many schools, all over Mexico, and although the prices and the quality of the schools seemed to vary wildly, we found several excellent private (bilingual) schools in every major city that we visited.
We have had great luck so far, and we could never have afforded this quality of private education in the US. Our son's private school offers lots of individual attention, the class sizes are small (12-13 students per class, versus 30 in the U.S.). The school even offers robotics and Japanese! Our son struggled with writing, language and math, but he has thrived in Mexico. Even his speech and vocabulary has improved.
For this alone, we should have made our move sooner. We do not regret our decision to expatriate one bit.
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!
One of the major decisions that parents must make when they expatriate is the choice of schools. Thankfully, tourist regions like Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo have a wide variety of private and public schools to choose from. Private schools are affordable in Mexico, and most expats choose to enroll their children in private schools, rather than the public school system.
Note that the Spanish term “Colegio” does not necessarily translate into the word “college” the way you might understand it in the US and Canada. Often, this term just denotes that it is a school.
We hope that this makes your Google search a little easier. Please note that this is not an exhaustive list.
Schools in Cabo San Lucas
Colegio Amaranto International School
Address: Km. 6.7 Carretera Transpeninsular s/n Col. El Tezal C.P. 23454 Cabo San Lucas, B.C.S México
Phone: +52 (624) 145-8700
Contact Page: http://amaranto.edu.mx/en/contact-us/
Education Levels: Smart Start (nursery school), Preschool, Elementary
General Info: Founded in 1996, Colegio Amaranto is a bilingual international school committed to recognizing and building the individual talents of their students as well as strengthening their interpersonal skills.
Amaranto was the first school in Mexico to use a SMART Board in all of their interactive classrooms. This technology gives students a more interactive learning experience and develops their digital skills. The “Infoteca” builds students’ research skills while promoting personal responsibility in the learning process. The institution also believes in promoting student’s physical health through nutritious food and physical education classes.
Amaranto’s English specialists use various teaching methods supported by the Common Core standards and the Common European Framework of Reference to make sure students gain the confidence to speak and write in a second language on a variety of subjects. Sixth graders also have the opportunity to participate in an international exchange by visiting the sister school “Charlotte Country Day School” in North Carolina.
Colegio El Camino
Address: Callejón del Jorongo 210, Col. El Pedregal, Cabo San Lucas, B.C.S. Mexico
Phone: +52 (624) 143-2100
Contact Page: http://elcamino.edu.mx/contact-us/
Education Levels: Nursery, Preschool, Elementary, Middle School, High School
General Info: Colegio El Camino is a Private K-12, nonsectarian, nonprofit organization civil association. There are currently 350 students. Most of the students are Mexican nationals but there are also many international families. El Camino enjoys international accreditation with both AdvancED and the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program. They are registered with the Secretaría de Educación Pública and they are currently a candidate school with the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Program.
El Camino’s goal is to develop students’ ability to think critically instead of memorizing and reciting facts. Their bilingual program begins at the nursery stage. El Camino also provides counseling and career planning. They also have agreements with several Mexican universities for high performing students.
Colegio LICEO / Colegio Papalotl
Address: Campus Centro: 5 de Febrero e/I Zaragoza y M. Ocampo Col Ejidal Cabo San Lucas, BCS
Campus Tezal: Fracc. 1A Y1B acceso Ppal, del Tezal Col Tezal, Cabo San Lucas, BCS
Phone: (624) 143-1636 Campus Centro; (624) 105-9000 Campus Tezal
Contact Page: http://www.liceoloscabos.edu.mx/contacto/
General info: Education Levels: Nursery, Elementary, Middle School, High School
Intro Paragraph: Colegio LICEO is a bilingual educational institution committed to developing future leaders capable of improving their own communities and society at large. Educational programs offered at LICEO include constructive mathematics, music, art, physical education, extracurricular activities, and an after school program. LICEO hires highly qualified staff and uses cutting-edge technology on its campus. There are also security cameras and nursing facilities on campus to keep students safe and healthy.
Address: Vista al Mar S/N Fracc. Brisas del Pacífico, Cabo San Lucas, BCS
Phone: (624) 105-0565 / (624) 146-4117 / (624) 143-3088
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org / email@example.com
Education Levels: Preschool, Elementary, Middle School
General Info: Colegio Peninsula is equipped with a highly trained staff and adequate facilities for different educational levels, including laboratories, library, recreation areas, cafeteria and more. Colegio Peninsula has joined with the UNO International system, a program based on developing thinking skills. In partnership with Animal Planet, Colegio Peninsula usues educational software to improve students’ knowledge in both Spanish and English and the school uses Ipads for technical support. Colegio Peninsula also has an English certification from the University of Cambridge.
Delmar International School
Address: Paseo del Sol, El Tezal, Cabo San Lucas, Baja California Sur. CP: 23454
Phone: (624) 131 5002 / (624) 105 9357
General info: Education Levels: Preschool, Elementary, Middle School, High School
Delmar International School is a bilingual institution that focuses on academic excellence and creating future leaders to make a better society. According to Delmar’s website, the institution is inspired by a “Christian vision of life, aimed at promoting personal growth through the practice of moral virtues.” The campus also has many modern facilities including smart classrooms, a robotics workshop, and an Olympic pool.
Address: Carretera Transpeninsular KM.7.7 Cabo San Lucas, B.C.S.
Phone: (624) 104-3700
General Info: Education Levels: Elementary, Middle School, High School
Intro Paragraph: Founded in 2004, Instituto Baldor is committed to developing the intellectual and social skills of its students so that they will grow up to be leaders in creating a better future. Students are taught to respect one another regardless of social status or religious beliefs. Baldor has a diverse student body and the school honors this diversity by celebrating various holidays. Baldor was one of the first schools in the area to offer an MBA tourism management program because Los Cabos is a favorite for tourists visiting Mexico. Students have also won first place in Science, Physics, Chemistry, and Mathematics competitions.
Address: Carretera Transpeninsular Km. 6.5 S/N. Col. El Tezal Cabo San Lucas 23410
Phone: (624) 104-3454
Facebook Message: https://www.facebook.com/InstitutoPeninsularOficial/home
Education Levels: Middle School, High School
General Info: Instituto Peninsular’s goal is help shape young people into becoming spiritually strong, technical, and scientific adults that will have a positive impact locally and globally. Peninsular provides tutoring, a library with tech consultations, and science labs. Instituto Peninsular is sponsored by the Letty Coppel Foundation and associated with the Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education.
Address: Narciso Mendoza No. 2708 esq. Álvaro Obregón Col. Juárez C.P. 23469
Phone: (624) 143-3169 / (624) 143-2017
Education Levels: Nursery, Preschool, Elementary
General Info: Instituto Samarin supports the academic and personal development of its students through highly qualified instructors, bilingual education, a positive school community, modern technology, and cultural and artistic activities. With about ten years of experience, Instituto Samarin is committed to helping students develop into people who will challenge the status quo to create a more inclusive and fair society. Instead of making all students uniform, they believe that each student must be allowed to follow their own path and it is the school’s job to support them.
Schools in San Jose del Cabo
Centro Escolar Picacho (Colegio McGregor)
Address: Colegios en Los Cabos. Carretera Transpeninsular km 24.8 col Cerro Colorado, San José del Cabo, Baja California Sur. Código Postal 23400.
Phone: +52 (624) 144-5595
Education Levels: Preschool, Elementary, Middle School, High School
General info: With over twenty years of experience, Centro Escolar Picacho is an educational institution that prides itself on the bilingual and multicultural education it provides to its students. Picacho has foreign and Mexican national instructors committed to providing a high level of academic training, promoting human, social, intellectual and transcendent values, and developing critical thinking skills. Centro Escolar Picacho thinks locally and globally by educating students with the hopes of building a better country and having a positive impact on the world in general.
Address: Guadalupe Victoria s/n (entre Vicente Guerrero y Francisco I. Madero) Col. San José Viejo, San José del Cabo, Baja California Sur, Mexico C.P. 23437
Phone: (624) 146-0252
Education Levels: Nursery, Preschool, Elementary, Middle School
General info: Colegio Alebrije is a bilingual institution committed to the intellectual, cultural, technological, and moral growth of its students. Programs offered at Colegio Alebrije include English, physical education, music, art, ecology, and human development.
Uniforms are required for all student but can be bought on campus along with books and supplies. Alebrije also has a lot of green areas and modern facilities, and every classroom is spacious and air conditioned.
Colegio Ugarte de Los Cabos
Address: Calle Julia Navarrete y Guerrero No. 1430 Colonia Mauricio Castro, San José del Cabo C.P.23400 B.C.S.
Phone: (624) 142-6235 / (624) 142-0935
Contact Page: http://www.colegiougarte.net/contacto.html
Education Levels: Elementary, Middle School, High School
General info: Colegio Ugarte de Los Cabos is an educational community that promotes Christian humanist ideals forging leaders with high academic standards and social conscience to respond to current and future challenges through transforming their environment in a positive way. On their shield are the words “order, work, joy” and they use these values in their facilities and the way they educate children.
Address: Nicolas Tamaral, Lote 5. Mza. 8, 3 blocks from Kinesis Gym, Col. Chamizal || San José del Cabo, B.C.S.
Phone: (624) 146-9401
Education Levels: Preschool, Bilingual Elementary
General info: Montessori Regina is the first Montessori preschool/elementary school established in the city of San Jose del Cabo. Montessori education is an educational approach developed by Italian physician and educator Maria Montessori characterized by an emphasis on independence, freedom within limits, and respect for a child’s natural psychological, physical, and social development.
Montessori Regina works with children aged 1.5 to 6 years old.
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