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Long Time Forum Fan wants to answer your Mexico questions


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Posted (edited)

Driving here is super-considerate. Much better than the USA.  Mex City is lightyears ahead of Bangkok.

Edited by LaosLover
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3 minutes ago, LaosLover said:

If it's a kill it thing, even tho it's a thai/Mex comparison, do your duty and blast this post into oblivion.

No that aint happening.

 

Thanks for the insight and sharing your experience.

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That was a classic Farang Pub welcome -being called an idiot and then followed with an idle and impotent threat to cancel my post.  That was great.

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As a forever fan, it was def great to get the full Farang Pub Tourettes experience, but I'm really here to add to the general mass of info about alternative retirement destinations, not shoot the breeze with angry drunks.

 

Like I said, this forum has taught me a ton, and I'm happy to return the favor if I can.

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If we could, we'd be living in Ubon or Luang Prubang (I can get a cultural visa there).

 

It's just a truly happy accident that we landed in this great place, and now we will probably be staying. I was gagging to go to Thailand this winter and AsiaNow really helped me make this better decision.

 

Medical Tourism prices seem on par with Bangkok Hospital/Bumrungrad prices. Expats can join the government medical plan which is said to be reasonably good for low dollars.

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1 hour ago, LaosLover said:

I'm in Guanajuato, a small mountain town that feels like a vertical Florence. Lots of classic old buildings, twisty streets, and steep climbs.

Lovely place, can remember having a short stop there in 1981 on our way to a Sierra Madre trek. Five days in the Copper Canyon; a bit adventurous in those days, no road to get there only the railway.

 

Anyhow, lucky you, stay there, Thailand doesn't even get close. 

 

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Copper Canyon is a mega tourist attraction now -says Lonely Planet. There's def a road there now. I've been talking to plenty of people who say the northern part of Mexico is safe now compared to the past.

 

The LP Mexico book has been pretty helpful since it seems to get updated more frequently than others. As usual, really helpful maps. Their Mexican Spanish phrase book is worth the add on cost, because it's a fair bit more idiomatic than Euro-Spanish. 

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A good friend of mine, originally from Wisconsin, moved from Chiang Mai to Ajijic about 5 years ago. He seems pretty happy there, a big factor for him was medical costs and the ability to be back in Wisconsin in just a few short hours, just in case. Happy new year!

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What about tax exemption on foreign pensions and foreign capital gains in Mexico? Any retirement visa with a tax package? These are the questions I start the day with when I'm prospecting about new countries to settle in.

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48 minutes ago, LaosLover said:

If we could, we'd be living in Ubon or Luang Prubang (I can get a cultural visa there).

...

What is a 'cultural' visa?  I just left Luang Prabang after 2.5 years living there.  The fear of Covid and closure of Laos to tourists has destroyed the local economy - most bars, hotels and restaurants have closed down and are for sale.  I left after the local police started $ extortion to boost their income.... $200 cash a time is too much to accept.

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Simon43 -Have followed your posts like yes, a fanboy (I mean boi?).

 

People who do stuff like study The Plain Of Jars or work in the National Museum can get cultural visas. Due to some good deed doing for the culture of Laos, I am entitled to one too. I am surprised that you have not encountered this, since a fair few people in Luang Prubang have cultural visas.

 

I'll talk about my Laos studies another day. There's even an academic term called Lao-ology. Grant Evans (now dead) was the most famous Lao-ologist, and someone who helped me. It's a much studied place due to the confluence of Buddhism and Communism. My project touched on that.

 

 

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Posted (edited)

Tax-wise, you can apply for a temporary resident visa and be tax exempt on non-Mex based income. That visa is renewable for 4 years. After that, its proper socialist tax rates. Partic if you buy a house.

 

Depending on your income, that may or may not be a factor. There is a tax treaty with the USA, so Americans can deduct their Fed taxes from their Mex tax bill. Obv, you pay no USA state taxes while living in Mex. Local tax rates in Mex are between 2 and 3%.

 

US retiree's will want to opt out of Medicare part b and their supplemental health insurance since it's not applicable overseas. Still researching long term health insurance. Currently on a travel insurance plan that costs about $8 a day at age 69.

Edited by LaosLover
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what does a 69 year old american do all day in a small town in mexico ( i could of course ask that question about anywhere  ) 

 

besides sit at the computer for x number of hours a day   (also done everywehre) 

 

like your post,  but if you have learned a lot from the person you mentioned......   hahahahah

 

 

Edited by rumak
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I do what I was doing in Thailand or back in my Deep South American home: Go to the gym, raise a few plants, pursue my various esoteric interests, tap my wife like every three days.

 

But to actually answer the question, there are all the educational and sports options here that anyone could want at very discounted prices.

 

I am a mountain, not a beach person, but beach wise, if you're getting off the tourist trail, you're not too far off of Krabi prices.

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What's your experience with Grant Evans? Wicked sense of humor and he made the dense intra Lao commie infighting comprehensible. He signed my copy of Lao Socialism, so yeah, I am a fan boy (or do I mean boi?).

 

Did you know Robert Cooper who wrote Lao Culture Shock? Another astonishing personality.

 

I gotta say, I never met a Lao-ologist I didn't like. It's just such a compellingly obscure place to obsess about. I'm not really fit to call myself a Lao-ologist, but I would if I could.

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Jingthing has taught me enough about Thai Culture to fill a book.

 

I love your post and as you might know I'm very interested in Mexico and also Colombia.

 

However, are you certain that you aren't confusing me with someone else? I consider that I know diddly squat about Thai culture. It doesn't particularly interest me. Unless you're counting knowledge of Pattaya baht busses and tips and tricks for using Grab food delivery. I'm more of an expat bubble kind of "bad" expat.

 

Anyway, welcome amigo.

 

Have you checked out Queretaro or Aguascaliente?

 

Outside of central Mexico, Mazatlan and Merida are on my radar.

 

If the weather wasn't hell hot in Merida it would be near irrestible but alas if it had good weather it would be much more expensive.

Edited by Jingthing
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Great op. Your paragraph on dating very welcomed. 

If a 54 year old guy who hasn't gone to seed and was a bit like the local architecture; had a bit of fading charm, rocked up looking for a wife, what would you predict he would get?

 

Socially where does a US1500 a month place you?

 

How easy is a vegetarian lifestyle?

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5 minutes ago, Grecian said:

Great op. Your paragraph on dating very welcomed. 

If a 54 year old guy who hasn't gone to seed and was a bit like the local architecture; had a bit of fading charm, rocked up looking for a wife, what would you predict he would get?

 

Socially where does a US1500 a month place you?

 

How easy is a vegetarian lifestyle?

I think 1500 is the lower end of upper middle class outside wealth islands like parts of Mexico City, Monterrey, etc. 

Edited by Jingthing
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9 hours ago, LaosLover said:

Simon43 -Have followed your posts like yes, a fanboy (I mean boi?).

 

People who do stuff like study The Plain Of Jars or work in the National Museum can get cultural visas. Due to some good deed doing for the culture of Laos, I am entitled to one too. I am surprised that you have not encountered this, since a fair few people in Luang Prubang have cultural visas.

...

Ah, I understand now 🙂  .

 

I never encountered this cultural visa because while living in Luang Prabang, (as Principal and Director of Kiettisak in 2013, and then more recently teaching online from 2018- late 2021), I did my very best to avoid socialising with most expats.

 

This is not a policy that I apply only to Laos.  I have found in many years of living overseas from my home country, that my peace of mind is maintained by always applying this policy wherever I live.  I'm in Turkey right now, and that policy is working again.... 🙂

 

Of course, YMMV

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Posted (edited)

Jingting, you may not know your way around the symbology of an Issan temple mural, but your writing about Thai social interactions (face and all that stuff) has been great to read.

 

I flew into Queretaro and spent three days there. Central Mexico seems a bit mono, as in Queretaro is a smaller Mexico City and a bigger Guanajuarato.  You have your nicely gardened town square, off of which lovely painted colonial building abound with some good restaurants and stores, and then it's all very residential.

 

Even in Mexico City, staying Zona Roma and Polanco, which are upscale as it gets (but you can still get a decent hotel room for $35, just like on Sukhamivit), this pattern maintains. Couldn't believe how green and park-laden these areas are, like a slightly dirty Paris.

 

I'd want to have $2K a month here, but you could edge by on $1.5K, particularly in Ajijic. I'd want the same amount in Thailand. As a couple, we do well on $2.5K a month, and spend another $500 on gym, maid, and Spanish lessons.

 

My wife is a chicken-only vegetarian and in Mexico, a lot of salty cheese is as veg. as it gets. Every town has what they call a wok restaurant, where you pick 6 vegetables and they toss them with rice or noodles for about $2.50. Oddly, guacamole is hard to come by. If you're buying veg for yourself, it's crazy cheap. A dollar for a kilo of limes. $5 buys us a plastic shopping bag of produce.

 

My Tinder addict friend in Mexico City can go out with a modern-minded Mexican woman every other day if he wants. But that's in Mexico City. That's where you'll find the bohemian, educated, free-thinking women that Thailand lacks, even in Bangkok. Like in Thailand, you have to dress nicely and be a little bit elaborately polite to get a good girl.

 

In bed, the verdict I'm hearing is liberal at New York City levels. For girlfriend experience sex lifestyling, Brazil is considered the gold standard, Columbia is next, Panama third (gotta like 'em dark), and Mexico is a reasonable 4th  and the most Yank-compatible.

 

Simon, my couple of months in Luang Prubang finishing my book were some of the best days of my life, eating at the Hotel Apsara or at Louie's on the Mekong for dinner. The social scene is def run by some snooty Frenchies, but once you crack that nut -harder for an American- they are very welcoming. Luang Prubang wouldn't have ever been preserved (even imperfectly) as the magical Unesco site it is without them.  

 

To me, it is the most ga-ga, gorgeous, plush at every price level place in SEA. And the access to Lao culture and arts via the super friendly people is unparalleled. It's like if New Orleans was tripled in charm and funkiness and then dropped in tropical Provance. But with the new Chinese train up and running, I gotta believe the thrill is soon gone.

Edited by LaosLover
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If you are I interested in Mexico, but not the night life of Mexico City or Acapulco, try Lake Chapala above Guadalajara  - has been a good retirement location for North American for over 30 years........ 

 

https://internationalliving.com/countries/mexico/lake-chapala-mexico/

 

I had a friend that worked in Merida at the US Consulate as a Security Officer while they were building the new office spaces........they came to work one Monday morning to find a pickyup truck parked in front of the Consulate with nine headless bodies of Policemen in it, with a note written in blood. -  "Yanqui go Home   Death to DEA".  ruined their whole day with that one.  Of course the local hired Security   Officers 'knew nothing'.     😏 😏 😏 😏 

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Lake Chalupa is also favored because you can get to the very nice beach town of Puerto Vallarta on the bus in 4 hours. Lake Chalupa/Ajijic appears to be the cheapest on the map expat ghetto, which means prices are rising fast there.

 

We're going to check it out and will report back, but one downer there is the very roughly cobblestoned streets; an ankle injury waiting to happen. San Miguel has this problem too, but not nearly as bad. Our current destination (maybe not our final one) has very reasonable pavement and as I get older, sadly that is going to be an issue.

 

PV is also the gay Mecca of Mex and has all the good bars and restaurants that usually come with that. We're mountain people and just not interested in paying the beach premium when we won't really use it. But it's a great town with solid sidewalks and a very evolved expat social scene.As long as I am digressing, the little beach towns just outside PV look very nice too if you could be happy with 6 restaurants and 4 bars.

 

Mazatlan has a lot of army and ex-cop retirees. Thank you for your service etc.,  but I really don't want to hear any more Trumpy bs. as long as I live. Coming from one of the more Trumpy parts of America, not hearing about him and White person-Jesus on a daily basis has been great. Catholic, not bothering us Jesus is now our preferred Jesus flavor.

 

'Can't really understand why a rightie would move to Mexico. These people are leftward at French levels. They avoid political discussions, but if prompted, basically fall down laughing at the Build The Wall thing.

 

I used to live in The Bronx. No way is Mexico as dangerous as that. Talking to multiple expats, I've heard of one incident where they took a guy to an ATM and made him take out $500. That's a strictly Mex City thing. In a town where they might have a sushi bar, that sushi bar is paying protection to not have his customers bothered.

 

What exactly would be a gang's motivation to kill the the tourism they skim protection money off of? And if that happens, it would be in Cancun, not the tiny fly specks like San Miguel (a whopping 20K expats, and that's the biggest community).

 

A lot of the fear is racism-based. When I think of crime-ridden areas of America, they're not typically Latin American areas. I've lived in three Latin parts of the New York City area and never had a problem. These are church-going, super family-oriented people.

 

Never even had a problem here in a cab getting the meter turned on, Whereas in Bangkok, it's a problem at least one in four times.

 

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

I am in Brazil at the moment with a Thai lady, and we have a little time at the end of our trip, so I am thinking of a side trip to Mexico before we go back to Thailand. My planned itinerary:

 

Arrive at MEX via overnight flight from Manaus on Copa Airlines. We will be very tired, so probably stay at the Camino Real at the airport.

 

Next day, rent a car and drive up to the Paso de Cortes to see the volcanoes. Then drive down to Cholula. Spend some time looking at the Grand Pyramid.

 

Next day, go to Puebla, maybe stay at an AirBnB for a few days. Not really much to see in Puebla, but it’s pleasant.

 

Go back to the DF, return the rental, and stay in a hotel for a few days. Lots to see and do in the DF.

 

Fly to Guadalajara, rent a car, and go visit a Tequila factory in TequIla.

 

Fly to Tijuana, and spend some time there. She can see the US from a tall building. Shop for stuff imported from America that I can take back to Thailand.


Fly to Cancun, stay for a couple of days, get a PCR test, and fly back to Thailand.

 

Anything I left out?

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Gotta say, not a Puebla fan, bit of a dump. Anthoney Bourdain had a good ep about the place worth a look tho.

Tijuana likewise, but great for medical tourism.

 

Guadalajara is the best second city I have visited so far, but I'd extend my time in Mex City and just enjoy the plush parts. Can't fault it, tho. Prob the best high end Mexico restaurants packed into the least amount of space in Mexico.

 

Three good Mex City hotels in the $50 range: Hotel Stanza, right at the top of Zona Roma, is good for a wander through nice restaurants and leafy streets. Suites San Marino gives you a kitchenette, a OK-ish gym and a central downtown location. In between, the Hotel Century has a rooftop pool and access to lots of restaurants, but Zona Rosa is not quite as nice an area as Roma Norte. All of these places are 5 minutes away from each other in a cab.

 

Have found internal flights here to be expensive. The bus is very comfy and the landscape is desert-pretty. They're very big on the overnight bus her for long distances. Those days are gone for me, but it looks very doable.

 

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.......And def include Oaxaca on your route. It's really the most attractive and culturally alive (means: not very) town in Mexico. Most creative high end restaurants too.

 

Maybe Mex City -Guadalajara - Taxco (for a pretty mountain town) -Puerto Villarta -down the beachy coast- great mountainous bus ride to Oxaca- and then either back to Mex City or on to Cancun. 

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