likes to solve puzzles, like the wire rompecabeza (headbuster) he is
working on here, but he hates doing the same ones over and over, so check
out the FAQ's below before asking your questions.
Table of Contents (revised November 2011)
article and the one on car insurance, the Migración changes, and others
appropriated from time to time, relies on information first published on Oaxaca
Streets. Oscar Padilla Ins, Inc provided the following information to
them. Remember that the details may change from time to time, and check with whatever carrier you decide upon to make sure your information is current.]
like in the U.S, if you own a home or a condo in Mexico it is wise to
obtain insurance.Homeowners insurance in Mexico is virtually the same as
homeowners insurance in the states. A basic policy will afford you
financial protection in case of damage to your home and belongings and
liability coverage in case someone is injured on your property or if you
cause damages to someone else's property. It's important to make sure the
policy provides you adequate coverage, particularly in cases of natural
disaster, such as hurricane and earthquake. Many "attractive",
low cost homeowner insurance policies in Mexico do not.
homeowners policies are underwritten by Seguros Atlas who automatically
include Earthquake and Hurricane coverage in every policy we sell (unless a
weather-related moratorium is imposed – more on this later.*)
following policy highlights apply to our Seguros Atlas policy. It's
important you check with your agent for a profile of your policy's
highlights.) Hurricane Coverage Earthquake Insurance Fire and Extended
Coverage Fire and Extended Coverage for Contents Theft and/or Breaking
& Entering Volcanic Eruption, Lightning, and Explosion Smoke Damage and
Soot Damage Natural Flood and Water Damage Caused By Pipelines Accidental
Glass Breakage Civil Liability Electronic Equipment and Appliances Debris
Removal Extraordinary Expenses Legal Assistance Rental Liability
Some coverages on new business are subject to underwriting moratorium at
the discretion of the program's Mexico insurance carrier, Seguros Atlas,
S.A.. Advisories to this effect will be posted on the policy enrollment
page in advance of acquiring coverage. More clearly stated, from time to
time, for example, the "Hurricane" clause is suspended on new
business if a weather forecast is cause for concern. Not to be confused,
for example, with existing policies that carry Hurricane coverage. The
moratorium does not suspend those policy's Hurricane insurance coverage.
every claim due to physical damage caused by the covered risks, the Insured
will always be liable for certain amount as deductible. Our Seguros Atlas
policy carries a deductible equal to 1% of the covered risks. There is no
deductible for fire, lightning, or explosion.
can be a maze of information, often times overwhelming. I hope this has
pass along a response from an artist friend of mine:
are art stores here--among others, Frieda Khalo--where one can buy
canvases, papers, turpentine, brushes, paints, etc. However, they do not
sell top brands of paint, such as Winsor&Newton.
paints, as well as Rembrandt brushes, can be ordered at a small store,
Grana y Añil, on Colon. Linen canvases are not available, but linen can be
stretched here. How long does the person anticipate staying??
would suggest that she bring with her a supply of her preferred brands of
oil paint or watercolors and sable brushes if she uses them. There is a
Sera art supply store in Mexico City, which carries some but not all
W&N colors and perhaps some colors in U.S. brands. Having paints, etc.,
sent from the U.S. by Fed-Ex is extremely expensive and not to be
The National Immigration Institute (INM) has issued new laws covering requirements for various types of immigration status. As of this writing (September, 2014), it has become simpler and more difficult to become a temporary or permanent resident. For instance, you can't switch from a tourist visa to a temporary residence visa while in Mexico. You must apply for temporary residency at a consulate *in your home country*; and while the forms are much clearer and the INM offices are much more helpful, the minimum amount of income you must have has increased significantly.
Applying for permanent residency follows pretty much the same guidelines as does temporary residency. Check with your nearest Mexican consular office for details.
WHAT ABOUT REGISTERING MY
VEHICLE IN MEXICO?
[The following is exerpted from a longer series of articles posted
to Mexico Connect in the spring of 2004.]
foreigner is allowed to enter Mexico with a vehicle, which is not Mexican
plated (e.g. US or Canadian), as long as you have the following: Mexican
Insurance, a valid Mexican visa, registration/ownership in your name, and a credit
card or cash to cover a bond for the vehicle. The Mexican government will
charge your credit card for $25, or you have to put up the cash for a
percentage of what the car is worth, depending on the type of vehicle it
government will then provide you with a temporary importation permit, and a
sticker for the windshield. Remember to turn this registration and sticker
in to customs when leaving Mexico with your vehicle. If you enter Mexico by
vehicle on a Tourist Visa (FMT), you must drive out in the vehicle you came in
with. It is illegal to leave your vehicle here
in Mexico after your tourist visa expires. If
the vehicle is undrivable, it is possible to give it up and obtain papers
from Hacienda (the Mexican equivalent of the Treasury department).
Anyone can drive your car as long as you are in it. If you let a Mexican citizen drive it by themselves, your vehicle is subject to possible confiscation.
major concern with the foreign community is what papers are necessary to
carry in the vehicle. Aduana (customs) said to carry only copies of all
pertinent papers concerning your migratory status and the vehicle. For
example, have a copy of your passport, your migratory status with the
current renewal date, the car importation permit, your title, registration,
and insurance papers. Never leave originals in the car in case the car is
stolen, in which case you will need the originals to get the vehicle removed from your name.
to Customs, you are not allowed to have more than one foreign plated car
registered in Mexico. You may have heard that some people do, but normally
Customs does not allow it. Also, it is illegal to sell your foreign plated
vehicle in Mexico. The only legal way to do this is officially "import" it into
Mexico (e.g. get Mexican plates for it), which is complex. If you do sell your vehicle here illegally, you will not be
allowed to enter Mexico with another vehicle. The data on
importations is fully computerized and will be checked before you are
issued a new sticker. Also, if the vehicle you've sold here is in an
accident two years down the road, and the person you sold it to walks away,
you can be held liable for that accident. Do not be fooled by "I have a cousin in the DMV, and he can handle it". If the cousin can't get the Hacienda to remove your name from the permit, nothing has changed.
topic that goes along with what we've been discussing is theft of your
vehicle while you're here. If your car is stolen, and reported to the
police, and to your insurance company, and even if you have received a
return from your insurance company, you may still be refused once you
return to Mexico with another vehicle. If this happens, you can't have too
much paperwork, so be sure to get something from Hacienda testifying to the
theft BEFORE you leave.
number of imported vehicles have been fraudulently reported stolen in the
States and Canada. People were driving their cars down, and flew back to
the States, reported them stolen, claimed insurance, and now use them down
here and never bring them north of the border again. If you do this
and are caught, you could be reported under agreements between the U.S. and
Mexican governments, and prosecuted for fraud in the U.S.
Reprinted from "Mexican
Auto Insurance-Know Before You Go" by P.J. Padilla, Owner-Oscar Padilla Ins,
it accounts for how I support my family and, dating back to 1951, how my
father supported us, I'm also the first to admit that a blog about
insurance might be as riveting as paint drying! That said, though, the
importance of insurance can't be overlooked, particularly when in a foreign
country, which is where this begins………
* Why is
Mexican insurance necessary? Mexico has traffic laws very similar to the
United States. The application of their laws is what accounts for the
differences, and the reasons for needing Mexican insurance. The law in
Mexico is based on the Napoleonic Code where guilt prevails over the
assumption of innocence. In the U.S., the law is based on the English
Common Law where innocence prevails over the assumption of guilt. Mexico
does not have compulsory automobile insurance. The basic difference between
Mexico's and United States financial responsibility law is that anyone
involved in an accident in Mexico must have the means to respond to damages
or injuries for which they may be responsible....which in Mexico would be
in the form of either cash or a Mexican insurance policy.
* Can my
U.S. insurance help me? Before leaving home, you should inquire if your
U.S. insurance policy will cover damage suffered by your vehicle in Mexico.
If so, ask if the policy has restrictions or limitations in this regard,
such as miles from the border, or number of days in Mexico. Once you've
familiarized yourself with your own auto policy and the extent of it's
coverage in Mexico, you can then proceed to make a more qualified decision towards
your Mexican insurance needs. IMPORTANT NOTE: Whether or not U.S. insurance
policy extends coverage into Mexico, you should always, at least, buy
LIABILITY insurance. The Liability coverage on your U.S., or any other
non-Mexican insurance policy, is not recognized by authorities in Mexico.
Only a Mexican automobile liability policy is acceptable evidence of
does Mexican insurance cost? It varies slightly throughout the industry.
First rule of thumb, which represents a significant savings, is get a 6
Month or One Year policy if you spend more than three weeks a year in
Mexico. Second rule of thumb is don't jump at the lowest priced one….a
lesson we learned all too well ten years ago when we agreed to market a
Mexican insurance company's Auto program that offered very competitive
rates. A year later the CEO of the Mexican insurance company was missing,
along with premiums we had been remitting to the company. There are fine
companies in Mexico with many years of credibility. We, as an example,
continue to be proudly associated with two companies for several years,
Seguros Atlas and Qualitas Seguros, who represent a combined 86 years in
*Will I go
to jail if I have an accident? If serious injury has not occurred, a
Mexican insurance policy might help reduce red tape and allow the motorist
to be on his way sooner rather than later, but the policy should not be
construed as your "ticket out of jail". Some visitors to Mexico
are unable to understand why motorists are temporarily incarcerated in
Mexico following an automobile accident where injuries or deaths occurred.
In the first place, serious injuries or deaths have been committed against
innocent persons due to someone's negligence. It is up to Mexican authorities
to determine who is the negligent person. While that investigation is in
motion, all drivers involved in the accident must be detained. Any person
involved in the commission of a crime (and, as previously stated, an
automobile accident in Mexico is considered, in principle, to be a penal
offense) must be detained in a secure place to prevent their escape. The
only secure place is the police station and, therefore, the motorist finds
himself detained awaiting the investigation of his involvement. A visitor,
if allowed to remain free, may likely flee for the border.
* This `n
that….... The policy only covers foreign-plated vehicles. It does not cover
a vehicle with a Mexico license plate. The policy is null and void if
driver responsible for the accident was under the influence of alcohol or
drugs. Policy is null and void if driver does not have a valid drivers
license. A towed vehicle must be described on the policy, otherwise it
voids all coverage in case of an accident. Should a claim be presented, the
insured must declare the existence of any other insurance with another
company covering the same risk. All claims must be reported in Mexico
before insured returns to U.S. Failing to do so subjects the claim to a
denial by the Mexican insurance company.
Padilla, of good repute, is one of many companies supplying Mexican travel
insurance for foreign-plated vehicles. Another is Lewis and Lewis.
you insurance in the U.S. before you enter Mexico. Insurance, once you have
entered the country, is a good deal more expensive.]
resident friend who raised four marvelous children here, contributes the
are many schools in Oaxaca now, many more options than when my children
were growing up, a growing population in general, and higher expectations,
especially from the Mexico City professional influx. I am sure that all of
them can be accessed on the internet. The ones I know about and recommend
are: Vista del Valle (bilingual and in Xoxocotlán), Lasalle, Instituto San
Felipe, and Instituto Carlos Gracida (where my kids studied). All of these
go from K through 9th grade, and the Carlos Gracida through 12th. Another
good high school is the Blaise Pascal.
are also Montessori and more “creative” schools for younger children, such
as the Teizcalli, but I don´t know that much about them. By the way, all
the schools I have mentioned are private. The fees are modest by US
standards. I can´t recommend any pulbic schools unless you are intent on a
HOW DO I GET FROM THE MEXICO CITY AIRPORT TO OAXACA BY
Some folks opt
for the "Estrella Roja" bus to Puebla, in order to avoid the
cross-town taxi ride. These buses leave every half hour, alternating
between the main bus terminal (CAPU), which is on the outskirts of Puebla,
and a terminal much closer to the center of town. Which you choose will
probably depend on whether or not you want to overnight in Puebla: all the
buses for Oaxaca from Puebla leave from the CAPU.
There are only a few Puebla / Oaxaca buses, so plan your trip by consulting the bus schedules on www.ticketbus.com.mx
those of you that choose to go "directly" to Oaxaca: There is a
new international arrivals building at Benito Juarez airport. When you exit
the customs area and enter the main hall, look around, and you will see
signs directing you to "Official" taxi kiosks where you buy your ticket.. Tell the ticket seller
you want to go to TAPO (pronounced TAH-po). Follow the arrows for the
When you get to the taxi stand, a
"starter" will ask you where you are going, and point to the taxi
you must take. Don't accept offers from unofficial taxi
drivers. The official taxi fares are low, so consider a tip, espcially if
you have a lot of luggage.
you exit the taxi, take the ramp to the interior of the building. Look for
the waiting room labeled ADO. ADO are the initials for the bus line that
has the most frequent deartures for Oaxaca. Inside the waiting room, you
will find a row of ticket booths. Tell the ticket seller you want a ticket
to Oaxaca, "por cuota", on the next bus. (buses run pretty much
every hour, between about 5 a.m. and midnight, and take about 6 hours; all
"cuota" buses are first class).
more luxurious "GL" bus has its own window, furthest to the left.
The super deluxe UNO has been bought by ADO, and relabeled "Platino". Platino tickets are sold at the GL window.
There is also the "Plus" bus, with tickets available inside the
"Cristobal Colon" waiting room, to the right as you exit the ADO
terminals (there are many) in Mexico City host buses to different
destinations: for example, for Taxco you go to the Tasqueño terminal. For
more information on this, click here
If you are looking for transportation from Mexico City proper, and prefer to take a van, consider the Wyak van
A LAWYER IN OAXACA?
Osorio Girón is our attorney. He is not a Notorio Publico (Mexico's highest
level of attorney), but he knows which are good, and will refer you to one
if one is needed (for example, you can't buy or sell land without one). We
use him when things get a little too complicated for us. For example, he
helped us buy (and then later sell) a used car. While I don't use anyone
for dealing with Migracion, many of our fellow expatriates who are less
comfortable dealing with the bureaucracy do, and are glad they did. To contact him, click HERE
this moment, there is no "official translator" in Oaxaca.
However, there are people who do translations for a living, including
German Osorio, and the secretary at the office of the U.S. special consul. Depending on the document, and the purpose it serves, you may
have to get the translation notarized by a Notario Publico. The consulate
no longer issues a statement saying you are "known to be competent"
to translate your own documents. Some years, the INM will not accept your
un-notarized translations, and some years they will. The INM can't seem to make up its mind, so ask before you
commit to an expensive official translation, you may not need one
There are many private translators, including Kurt Hackbarth.
A COMPUTER PERSON
"Chucho" Morales Gutierrez has been servicing our computers - and
mastering our web pages - for years. He's a friend and, often, a savior.
Email him by clicking HERE.
WHAT CAN I BRING WITH ME?
following list, posted to the Mexico Connect (www.mexconnect.com) forum on
September 11, 1999, was composed by Jennifer Rose, an attorney in Morelia
and the Forum moderator. As with all "rules" in Mexico, it is
subject to change and the capricious interpretation of whatever official
you run into in real life.]
Under the FMT
(tourist visa) you may bring in:
for your personal use, such as clothing, footwear, grooming and toiletry
articles in reasonable amounts.
movie or video camera including its power source, and 12 rolls of film.
equipment for one person, provided it can be carried by one person.
to 20 books and/or magazines.
suitcases etc. to carry the goods.
of legal age, 20 packs of cigarettes, 20 cigars or 200 grams of tobacco, 3
liters of alcoholic beverage.
objects worth up to $300 USD.
set of binoculars.
T.V., screen size up to 12".
portable radio apparatus for recording or playing, or both.
to 20 Laser disks, Compact disks or cassette tapes.
typewriter or laptop/portable/notebook computer and power source.
musical instrument that is easily portable.
tent and camping equipment.
maximum of 5 childrens' toys.
set of fishing tackle, one pair of skis, 2 tennis racquets.
water glider, with or without sail.
video recorder/playback machine.
you may possess $300 USD in one or various articles, if by air, and $50 USD
if by land.
The general rule for importation of articles by temporary or permanent residents is "one of everything", brought in within so many days of receiving your visa. These articles do not have to be in your possession: some folks ship their goods to one of the gulf ports, and either pick it up or arrange to have it shipped to them.
more specific information, contact the nearest Mexican Consulate.
IS MEXICAN NATIONAL HEALTH INSURANCE A GOOD DEAL?
national health insurance is available through Instituto Mexicana del
Seguro Sociál (IMSS). You do not have to be a Mexican national to join. In
fact, anyone with a temporary or permanent visa is eligible. People over 70 are excluded, as they are from most private insurance schemes.
order to join, you must apply in either January/February or July/August.
There is no physical examination, and no application fee. You must go
personally to an IMSS office and fill out an application form, which
includes a complete health history. Bring three "juventil" size
photos with you. The last time I applied, the paper work was processed on
the spot, and I paid the cashier immediately. The whole process took half
there may be a few days' delay, depending on how busy they are. There may
be a little more running around, for example to get your personal
identification and record booklet registered at your clinic, but really the
process is pretty simple and pretty transparent.
you have been accepted, you must pay a one year premium. The 2008 premium
was about NP$13,000 for an individual or a couple. The coverage commences
immediately. All examinations, lab work, drugs and prostheses are free.
However, the clinic to which you are assigned may not be supplied with
certain drugs, lab chemicals, etc., and if so you may be required to obtain
those drugs or analyses privately or you may be provided with a chit to
take to an "authorized" lab or drugstore.
you do not speak Spanish, it may be very difficult to get appropriate
treatment, as the system -- by its nature, not by design -- is difficult to
maneuver through. I used to be a member of IMSS, but dropped it in 2002.
are some comments by readers.
what I know about IMSS here in Guadalajara, I'd spend a little more money
and get a private insurance policy -- they are still a lot cheaper than
what you'd pay for health insurance in the U.S.
roommate of three to four years worked in IMSS and I have a friend who is a
surgical resident so I'm fairly familiar with the system. Why bother with
it when private doctors and labs are so cheap? I can make a same day
appointment with most any specialist here in Guadalajara for $20 to $25
you mention in your article [see Is There A
Doctor In the House? ], the quality of doctors varies, and with IMSS
you have no choice of doctors, you have long waits to see your GP, you need
his permission to see a specialist or get lab tests done or get drugs, all
of which can be got on a walk-in basis without a doctor's order at private
facilities. IMSS also tends to run out of a lot of drugs, reagents for lab
tests, etc. If you have any kind of an income in dollars from the U.S.
you're much better off buying private insurance and paying for routine
are several private insurance companies in Mexico, including Seguros
Comercial America, Seguros Tepeyac, Seguros Monterrey Aetna (which Aetna in
the U.S. has a part interest in), and the largest, Grupo Nacional
Provincial. There are also several others. The quotes I got for a male age
42 all were around $400/year for a policy with coverage in Mexico only (but
including emergency coverage if you're travelling outside the country when
you get sick). The one exception was Seguros Tepeyac, which cost a little over
$200/year. Seguros Monterrey Aetna and Nacional Provincial also sell
policies that allow you to go anywhere in the world for treatment, which
cost around $1,000/year with a deductible of around $500 per illness (not
per year) if I remember right. The deductibles on the Mexico-only policies
are much lower.
most companies, after two years they can't cancel the policy; with Nacional
Provincial it's after one year. I think with all the companies you have to
be under 65 to take out a policy but once you have it they'll cover you
until you're at least 75 or older, depending on the company.
for whether private care in general is better than IMSS, that's a hard
question to answer because there all sorts of doctors in private practice
and much variability throughout the country, but the issue is can you find
private care that is better than IMSS, and at least here in Guadalajara the
answer is definitely yes, and at much lower cost than in the U.S. Because
my roommate worked at IMSS, he had coverage there, and during a prolonged
illness he had we saw his doctor both at IMSS and in his private practice,
and the quality of attention was much better when we saw him privately, and
at the time he charged $20 for a consultation (150 pesos) which is a lot if
your income's in pesos but very inexpensive if you're income's in dollars;
and as I said earlier, you can get into see almost any doctor with a same
day or at most next day appointment.
family doctor here charges 150 pesos and even with minor problems I rarely
spend less than half an hour with him; from my experience with IMSS you'd
be lucky to get five minutes. Just as an example of the cost compared with
the U.S., I consulted a doctor in Wisconsin in the same specialty as my
roommate's doctor here in Guadalajara and the clinic's fee was $200 for a
fifteen minute appointment (it was a clinic associated with a medical
college). To put in a good word for U.S. doctors, when he realized I had
come to consult about my friend's case he didn't charge me anything and spent
more like half an hour with me, but the normal fee at that clinic was $200
per fifteen minute appointment.
can now report views of private health-care facilities in Mexico as mixed,
too. Case in point: my brother-in-law (a citizen of Mexico) recently had a
run-in with one of the ritzier private hospitals in the Polanco neighborhood of Mexico City. He had a skin sample taken at one of Mexico's
public hospitals, and rather than wait the probable two weeks for results,
we decided to get the results done at a private hospital. So the day after
the doctor gave us the skin sample preserved in a baby-food jar of formol,
my wife, her sister, and I went downtown to drop off the sample at the
had to stay outside while they went into the hospital to drop off the skin
sample and pay for the analysis (blond hair and fair skin often causes
prices to go through the roof at some private medical centers). Meanwhile,
my wife and her sister leave the sample, get a receipt and go to pay the
N$750 bill. Turns out the cashiers want to charge them N$1000 pesos for the
service (we believe N$750 for the analysis and N$250 for the cashiers), and
they have to protest to bring the bill down to the level shown on the
receipt - the cashiers leave for a few minutes to talk to their supervisors
and finally return to accept the correct payment.
payment is rendered, we are told to return in two days for the results (the
tests being run typically take this amount of time to complete - anything
extra is bureaucracy). Two days later, we return and are told that we have
to wait another day for the results. After two more days, we
return and are told that the doctor went on vacation and was not available
to do the work, so we had to wait another week. In the end, it took us the
same two weeks to get service from the private hospital that it would have
taken us to get service from the public hospital, and the price was not
cheap, particularly since my wife's family doesn't earn their money in
dollars (as some overly-pretentious folks do).
know its bad to generalize from a single experience, but adding my own
several years of experience in Mexico to the mix, I can only conclude the
following: private services exist only for people who have the money to pay
for them, and in Mexico, private health services are outrageously expensive.
Unless of course, you are wealthy enough that you cash your paychecks in
Stan: There you have it: two widely differing opinions each of which almost
certainly has some of the truth. As in all things Mexican, you will have to
discover your own truth for yourself. ]
brief answer is "yes", but that comes with a lot of
qualifications. So-called "restricted" drugs, ranging from
opiates to amphetamines to tranquilizers, generally require a prescription.
My druggist maintains a register, and casts a jaundiced eye on addictive
substances. However, prescription drugs such as tranquilizers, diet pills,
and feel-good pills like Prozac, are easily obtainable from doctors with
only the briefest examination; and many anti-depressives are dispensed over
the counter.. This is due to the way many Mexican doctors practice
medicine: chemically; not because they are more venal or corrupt than US
available are drugs that are "prohibited" in the U.S.,
particularly those that have not (and some that have) been examined by the
FDA. Alleged palliatives for AIDS, arthritis, and other fatal and chronic
deseases, if approved in other countries, are generally deemed to have been
adequately tested, and therefore are available for purchase here. Also
available over the counter: blood pressure medicines, anti-inflamatories,
and some antihistamines (although currently, both Seudafed and Actifed are
restricted due to a clampdown on the "speed" industry).
the summer of 2010, a law was passed prohibiting over-the-counter
dispensing of anti-biotics without a doctor's prescription.
US citizens, looking for lower prices and/or impatient with FDA procedures,
come to Mexico to buy pharmaceuticals and smuggle them back into the US. A
cottage industry has sprung up along the border to service their desires:
runners, doctors, druggists. Starting in mid-1998, there have been some
arrests of foreigners purchasing large amounts of drugs, although the vast
majority of buyers seem to go unchallenged. In early 2002, U.S. customs
agents began confiscating drugs bought at specific pharmacies thought to be
laundering drug money for bigshots in the Tijuana cartel.
have chosen not to get involved. I don't answer questions about specific
drugs or offer any contact services.
There is no IRA-type terrorism in Mexico. Both the Zapatista Army of
National Liberation (EZLN) and the Popular Revolutionary Army (EPR) are
publicly committed to recognizing the rights and lives of foreign
nationals, a committment they have adhered to until now (September, 2014). The
EZLN is currently in a "holding pattern" militarily, while peace
talks with the government remain suspended, and is not attacking anyone,
period. The EPR has split into many groups, some of which are active,
targeting military and police units only. They rob banks and kidnap -- but
very rich Mexicans only.
(with the possible exception of Mexico City ) is much safer than any medium
or large US city. As long as you follow the minimum precautions like not
wearing a lot of expensive jewelry or flashing money or walking in areas
where no-one else seems to want to stroll, you should be fine. Mugging -
particularly of tourists - is rare in Oaxaca.
depends. Our first apartment (we left it in 1997), one of the nicer ones in
the center of Oaxaca, cost us about $200/mo. US dollars -- but it was in an
old building, with an old fashioned bathroom (the shower stuck out of the
wall next to the toilet: no stall at all), and we rented by the year. Most
of the furnishings (with the exception of the stove, fridge, and large
pieces of furniture) were ours. We had to buy our own phone. Diana had
lived in this building for four years, in much less desirable apartments,
before that one opened up.
we moved to a small semi-detached house, in the center of town, with two
bedrooms, a private patio and telephone. It took us a year to find it and
move in (we got it through friends), and as of August, 2003, it cost us
about $400 u.s.d. a month, plus utilities, on a yearly lease. We have since
heard that the present tenant (March 2010) is paying about $700.
September, 2003, we moved into a house with a garden and a place to park a
car, just north of the center. It costs us another $100/mo on a yearly
lease. Still, compared to what other friends were paying in similar
accommodations, $500 a month was not too bad, and while we had to pay our
own utilities, the additional cost was minimal.
June, 2006, we moved into our present dwelling. In the center of town, our
"lower duplex" 3-bedroom apartment rents unfurnished (there was a
hot water heater, bathroom fixtures, and a kitchen sink/counter) for about
$400 a month. It is, by everyone's testimony, a bargain. We ended up putting
a bit of money into the place to have it to our liking (screens, electric
outlets, etc.), but we think it was worth it. Our complex includes a
pleasant mix of apartments and semi-detached houses rented by a combination
of Oaxacans and foreigners.
rent a two-bedroom bungalow in a complex about 20 minutes' walk further
out. Their place is modern and the phone is furnished. They pay about
$600/mo on a yearly lease. Some folks who only want to be here for a month
or less pay from $550/mo. to as much as $1,100/mo. It is possible to drop
$3,800 for a month on a colonial hacienda complete with servants and four
the more frugal visitor, there are some unfurnished and semi-furnished
studio and one-bedroom apartments available in the $300 to $350 range.
is even trickier. The hacienda just went for eight hundred thousand (US).
Someone we know is dickering on a one-bedroom box for $17,000. Land (and
therefore housing) is cheaper the further out you go. But you may have to
drill a well (which is expensive), or get electricity brought in (which in
addition to being expensive can drive you nuts).
The question is, do you want to? While there are a few good jobs available
for English teachers, the people who have them tend to hang on. The highest
paying positions tend to be in Mexico City (where I wouldn't live on a bet,
never mind that 22 million people seem to prefer it). In Oaxaca, there are
a few decently-paid openings in the public secondary schools, but the hours
are long and the pay is often delayed.
college-level schools and the private academies pay very poorly for the
most part, ranging from the University language school ($2.75/hr in 2002)
to the private "American" schools ($6/hr -- but often with only
two or three hours a day). Berlitz (see Language Schools, below) also pays
comparatively well. In August, 2003, we met a couple who were earning
almost $400/mo. each, teaching 6 hrs/day at Cambridge - definitely top
dollar for Oaxaca.
of the yonquis that I know that teach English are either starving or
tutoring on the side. Since everyone wants to get tutoring gigs (they pay
more), the competition is heavy for the few students that are out there.
There are five major schools, and many others equally good, each with
slightly different philosophies and course compositions. They also vary in
price and number of hours offered. I list them here without further
comment: it is simply too complex to explain all the options. You may
contact them directly.
Editor's note: If you have properly configured your browser for
email, simply click on the email address.
Cultural Oaxaca: email@example.com
/ fax 515-3728;
de Comunicación y Cultura: firstname.lastname@example.org
/ fax 516-3443
Language School: email@example.com
/ fax 514-6076;
are also tutors available at reasonable rates. Check the bulletin board at
the English language Circulating Library when you arrive.
is a cybercafé on just about every block in the center, and rates are incredibly low
(from 8 pesos an hour). Some come equipped with webcams and headsets, and
many have wireless connections.
High-speed DSL (available from phone monopoly TELMEX and CableMas) is available, for about $30/mo.
"Infinitum", the phone company's service, appears as an item on your bill if you have a phone. "Cablemas",
the cable monopoly, will gladly sign you up for a month-to-month contract,
but you will have to go to a bank or their offices every month to pay your
bill: they are very quick to shut off service.
Oaxaca Lending Library offers wireless on the premises to their members.
Guests pay 10 pesos per hour.
up-to-the-minute accounts of the Mexican political scene, search for
"Zapatista", "El Barzon", or "Popular
Revolutionary Army" in your favorite search engine. There are also
many fine resources available from the Institute
For Global Communication (IGC), a low cost internet service provider
that only allows newsgroup access to its members, but does post (free)
headline news regularly. You can also subscribe to the Profmexis group of
newsletters, among which are Mexico94 and Chiapas-L. One word of
warning: these sites are not for the "sound bite" oriented. They
produce a ton of information.
rely a lot on Narco News, and read Noticias (Oaxaca, daily) and La Jornada (National, daily).
those who want the real inside story, delivered to your computer
once a month, more or less, there is also the "Oaxaca / Mexico Newsletter", a
sample of which can be seen Here .
May, 2008, the online publication SF Gate published a list of
"no-frills" domestic Mexican airlines. While neither
complete nor completely accurate, it is a good place to start looking.
Remember that many of these carriers serve very limited markets, and some
may not even exist anymore, while others not on the list may have sprung up
since then. To view the list, just click HERE
by: Mexico Insight
Monday, August 24, 2009
February of this year, Mexican law-makers rushed a bill through Congress
that requires mobile phone operators in Mexico to track and store all
customer details, calls, voicemails and text messages. The new law also
requires people acquiring a new pre pay mobile phone to provide official
identification at the point of purchase. The purchase of a "pre pay"
mobile phone in Mexico required no proof of identification before this law
was passed. Law-makers, citing criminal's use of mobile phones for
extortion and other illicit activities, insisted that this law needed to be
ratified in short order.
response to the new legislation, mobile phone operators have been sending
text messages to their customers over the last few weeks, asking them to
register their phone by visiting a web site, or using a special number to
text their name, date of birth, and the state in which they born. These
details are matched against the country's existing resident and citizen
databases, known as CURP (Clave Unica de Registro de Poblacion), to match
the registration of the cell phone number with a specific individual. The procedure
takes a few minutes and, if successful, the system returns a text message
confirming the registration.
cell phones not registered by April 1, 2010 will be automatically
de-activated from the network. If you are a foreigner visiting Mexico and don't
have a CURP, but currently use a local Mexican mobile phone, you cannot
register your existing cell phone online or by text message. Instead, you
need to visit your mobile operator's customer service center and present
your passport as identification. The attendant will take your personal
details and you will also be fingerprinted as part of the procedure.
Mexicans and foreign residents are routinely fingerprinted here: for
example, finger prints are already on file for all Mexican citizens under
the CURP scheme, and all foreign residents are fingerprinted as part of their visa application procedure..
the exercise will serve to `register' all of Mexico's cell phone numbers to
an individual, the assertion that this law and its stipulations will serve
to reduce crime, trace criminals, or deter criminals from using mobile
phones for illicit purposes is moot. For example, as more than one phone
may be registered to single indivudual, a person with criminal intent can
register a mobile phone in someone else's name by text message if they know
their name, date of birth and the Mexican state they were born in. It's
also unclear whether a deceased or missing person's details may be employed
to register a cell phone.
international mobile phones work on Mexico's networks as part of global
roaming agreements, so cell phones purchased outside of Mexico, in
countries where formal registration is not required, as well as phones
stolen outside of Mexico, may be used here without the authorities being
able to trace its usage to a specific person (or the correct person).
Notwithstanding these issues, if your Mexican mobile phone is lost or
stolen, it's important that you report this to your phone distributor and the
local police at once, as any subsequent criminal use of a phone registered
in your name may be traced back to your person; this reporting procedure
prevents any potential legal proceedings being brought against you.
A reader responds:
"I bought my first and only cell phone here in Oaxaca in Feb of 2009. I used it
in my research of apartment rental options here in Oaxaca and then, having had
the phone 'unlocked', in Quetzaltenango,in Guatemala and Costa Rica.
When I arrived back here in Oaxaca just now, I reinstalled the Telcel sim card,
but when I turned it on, I got a message that said something like 'Registration
Failed'. Having read your FAQ regarding the new registration requirement, I
assumed that that was what was my problem. So, I stopped by a cell phone shop
but they apparently couldn't do it there. They pulled out a big map of Oaxaca,
and directed me to one of two places that I would be able to register the phone.
One was at Plaza del Valle, and the other was on Caldaza Porfirio Diaz. They
were busy, and they didn't speak any english, and my spanish skills are pretty
rudimentary, so I just jotted down those general location names, then went
to the internet to better zero in on just where these places were.
Here's the link to the Telcel webpage with the full address of the Telcel
customer service center on Porfirio Diaz:
Calzada Porfirio Díaz No. 241, Col. Reforma, C.P. 68050, Oaxaca, Oax.
As it turned out, part of my problem was that since my Telcel sim card had had
no unused pre-paid time on it for a couple of years, that card had been
deactivated, and the phone number associated with it had been reassigned. So, I
bought a new sim card, (140 MP), and got a new phone number. The customer
service clerk did make a photocopy of my passport in the process, but they
didn't do any fingerprinting.
Apparently, the whole insanity about registering cell phones under the excuse that it will prevent organized criminals from using them is now clearly debunked. It is not clear to me why the passport was copied. As personal testimony, I offer in evidence my own recent cellphone purchase, in which - while my name was asked - no identification was required, either written or physical.
[Stan: as far as I can tell, the whole issue has been thrown into the bit bucket...]
A recent visitor wrote an interesting article in which he named several progressive ngo's operating in the area. It's a good start. Remember, that most such organizations require a few-month commitment, and reasonable fluency in Spanish.
To read the article, click here.
I stole a list of English translations for cooking terms and food names from the "Oaxaca Streets and Shops" Yahoo user group, added a few items of my own, and made it available to you. To see it, just click here.
DO I KEEP UP WITH THE PESO, AND OTHER ECONOMIC NEWS?
your up-to-date Peso quotations from Xenon
Labs' Currency Converter.
[Read a selection of "Letters
From Oaxaca, Mexico"]
[Read a sample "Oaxaca
/ Mexico Newsletter"]