Juarez Park


Wintering in Mexico

Presented by Mary Dempsey


Why Mexico?

Mexico offers a broad range of tourist attractions. These include the heritage of pre-Columbian civilizations and development of archaeological sites as symbols of national identity, the incomparable beauty of its beaches, the combination of vestiges of millenary cultures with major cities, extensive areas of natural beauty with historical elements that make them unique, and world-class tourism infrastructure.

Travelocity 4/12/2013

When one lives for months in a foreign environment, mundane activities take on special notice. Mary’s talk discussed travel arrangements as well as aspects of daily living including home rentals, food shopping, money transfers, local transportation, communication (telephone and internet) and emergency medical care. In addition to the usual tourist activities, she and her husband had time to take advantage of classes, attend concerts and lectures on Mexican history, English literature, environmental issues, architecture and archaeology. “Mostly,” she says “we enjoyed interacting with our neighbors whom we found to be friendly, helpful, hard-working people. We have learned how very small our planet really is.”

The tabbed content box below lists resources and suggestions that might be useful in planning a trip of your own. Enjoy the photo galleries by enlarging them with the “magnifier” and by following the “link” icons to their posts.



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–Airfare:  ~ $800/person; Airlines consider Mexico as ‘Continental US’
–Schedule no more than two flights; Allow 3 hours for flight changes
–Plan  land travel during the day; animals on winding roads
–San Miguel de Allende
•Leon – change in Houston then private transport( 1 ½ hour)
•Mexico City – change in Atlanta/Dallas then private or bus transport (4 hours)
–La Paz
•Los Cabos (3 hours by car/bus) or La Paz airport (difficult from East Coast)


•Drive from USA / Canada


•Passport / Visa

–Passport required/Passport Card (if driving)
–Mexico 180 days w/o Visa


•San Miguel and Southern Baja

–No “travel advisories” from the US Department of State for these areas


•Many Americans/Canadians own homes

–We avoided the border areas

•Many Americans annually drive across the border

–Drive in daylight; stay overnight away from border


•Interior Mexico

–We walked everywhere, never felt threatened
–Encountered two road blocks; tourists waved on
–Women often walk home at night alone
–Buses and taxis very safe
–Ask locals whether or not they would consider an area or activity safe


•Housing Choices: Home/Apartment/Condo

–Full Price Range: Living Area (Inside/Outside), Bedrooms, Bathrooms, WIFI, Telephone, TV, Laundry, Caretaker, Cleaning, Cooking

–Good one bedroom apartment in San Miguel < $1000/ mo

•Rental adjustment for monthly or multi-month
•Plan on one ‘free’ week a month



–Supermarket shopping same as US
•Use food wash for non-cooked vegetables
–Local and/or street markets: food fresh, shopping is fun
–Restaurants: Good meal with wine $35 / two people


•Money and telephone

–ATM’s check with your bank. Some US banks have restrictions.
–Telecel Amigo phone with prepaid minutes


•Medical Care/Health Insurance

–Medicare does not cover outside the country
•Check your policy or buy travel insurance
•Usually pay up front for services and get reimbursed
–We used English speaking doctors , dentists,  physical therapist
•Many educated in USA (e.g. Mayo Clinic)
–Prescription drugs often available w/o script



–Car rental costs often equivalent to  housing
–Mexican Car liability insurance is required
–Garmin Maps for Mexico (not essential but nice)
–Mexican buses, taxis , escorted tours are very reasonable
–Walking is a great option!!!


•Overview Information

•History, Culture


•General information

Google , State Department , Trip Advisor



•Monthly normals, historical averages


•Home/Apartment Rentals

Vacation Rental by Owner (VRBO);  HomeAway
•Visualize living in the property
•Always check reviews…positive and negative give insights
Google Maps
•Map location of property, Also owner’s home location



Fodor’s Los Cabos, Fodor’s Travel Publications
On Mexican Time, Tony Cohan


The Lacuna, Barbara Kingsolver


•Travel Magazine, Newspapers

New York Times (March 7, 2013)


•Allow minimum of 3 hours for connections

–No direct flights to Boston
–Multiple security checkpoints into USA
–USA Customs, Dept of Agriculture
•Retrieve and recheck luggage
•Full security screening to reenter


•Mid-January earliest for San Miguel

–6200’ elevation impacts weather