Chapters for Mérida Guides

The Move to Mérida Guide 

TABLE OF CONTENTS and Chapter Overview

INTRODUCTION and INSTRUCTIONS
After you arrive, you’ll learn that information changes frequently in Mérida. The Move to Mérida Guide is updated as information changes so that you always have the latest knowledge of what’s happening.
CHAPTER 1CONSIDERING MÉRIDA?WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW FIRST
From Forbes to Conde Nast to Travel+Leisure to bloggers worldwide, Mérida is touted as a destination for people looking to move to Mexico. Experience culture, history, music, gastronomy, and hospitality in the Yucatán Peninsula.  This introductory chapter gives you a birds-eye view of what you need to know if Mérida is on your radar. I’ll go into more detail in the corresponding chapters.
CHAPTER 2MOVING TO MÉRIDAIS IT RIGHT FOR YOU? 
Many people become enamored with Mérida before they move. It’s easy to romanticize a location from photos and videos. However, using common sense and having a clear plan of action on the how, what, when, where, etc., to get you from where you are to here is critical. If you’ve never lived in another country or only visited resorts, you may need to plan a longer research trip or even live here for a few months to try it out. Nothing says you have to move permanently.
CHAPTER 3EXPAT LIFE14 SIGNS YOU ARE READY
Almost everything has the potential to change once you move to Mérida. Your commitment to wanting change is critical. Remember that old saying, “The only constant in life is change?” Well, get ready . . .  Moving to a new country with a new culture and a new language can either be a source of frustration, or it can be an adventure. Everything is new – learning, exploring, and creating a new life with new friends. So, be honest with yourself before committing to moving to Mérida.
CHAPTER 4ABOUT MÉRIDAHISTORY, CULTURE, DEMOGRAPHICS, and MORE
Considered one of the most conservative cities in Mexico, Mérida is the biggest city in the state of Yucatán and the capital. CEOWORLD reports Mérida as the second safest city in the American continent. Moreover, it ranked #21 as the safest city worldwide. Mérida has twice received the prestigious “Cultural Capital of the Americas” award, making it the only city to receive it twice. Rich in culture, history, and folklore, Mérida is called The White City.
CHAPTER 5RESEARCH TRIPBROADEN YOUR PERSPECTIVE
Before you get on the super-excited emotional roller coaster, it’s best to be practical first. Being practical means coming to Mérida on a research trip armed with all the information you need beforehand for due diligence while you are here. I recommend keeping a journal, notebook, or notes on your phone for your research trip.                                            
CHAPTER 6CULTURAL SENSITIVITYRESPECTING LOCAL ETIQUETTE
Recognizing the distinction between different cultures is critical to being culturally sensitive. It’s essential to acknowledge that cultures differ in terms of the ways people communicate and interact with each other without placing any judgment. Being sensitive to a different culture means knowing not everyone is the same and recognizing your culture is not inherently superior.
CHAPTER 7CITY LAYOUTEXPLORE THE STREETS
Whether you are a history buff, foodie, lover of the arts, hand-made crafts collector, or looking for a relaxing vacation experience, Mérida has it all. As the capital of the state of Yucatán, it serves as an important city attracting a wide variety of people from all walks of life. Yes, at first, Mérida will seem complicated to navigate. However, once you understand how the streets run and the layout of the diverse and different neighborhoods called colonias, you’ll gain more confidence over time.
CHAPTER 8CENTROTHE HEARTBEAT OF THE CITY
Ultimately, neighborhoods in Mérida radiate from Plaza Grande in the center of the city. This historic center, with its UNESCO* makeover, features an elegant park and breathtaking Cathedral San Ildefonso. Plaza Grande is a beautiful place to experience the heartbeat of Mérida. Newsstands, coffee shops, restaurants, and various retail establishments exist. It’s a great place to people-watch and immerse yourself in the culture.  *The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) is a dedicated branch of the United Nations, with a focus on fostering global peace and security by promoting international collaboration in the realms of education, arts, science, and culture.
CHAPTER 9THE NORTH and SUBURBSLOCAL CHARM and LUXURY LIVING
North Mérida is a vibrant and dynamic area with many distinct neighborhoods offering various lifestyle options. These neighborhoods have something for everyone, from bustling plazas to quiet residential streets. Because most people moving to Mérida are interested in Centro, there’s little information about the northern part of the city. So, let’s look at The North, as locals call it, with its unique qualities and a different look and feel. While you’ll find some areas modern and sleek, others feel more local, characteristic of what comes to mind when people think about Mérida.
CHAPTER 10TRANSPORTATIONPUBLIC and PRIVATE
Mérida offers many ways to get from here to there: ride platforms, public transportation, and private drivers, to name a few. However, the public transportation system can be confusing. It can be frustrating when trying to find routes, fares, and times. Don’t worry! It takes time to learn to navigate in and around the neighborhoods. But it’s well worth your time, energy, and effort for budgeting purposes.
CHAPTER 11RENT A CAR or HIRE A DRIVERWHICH IS BETTER?

Renting a car is an excellent way to see the sights and experience the city’s unique culture. It also allows you to explore independently, navigate the streets, and learn the layout of Mérida and the surrounding areas. Renting a car is helpful for exploring areas outside the city center or venture into neighboring states. However, it is essential to carefully consider the details of the rental process, rules, and guidelines.

If you are new to Mérida, you may not be familiar with the roads, traffic rules, and driving conditions. Hiring a private driver is better if driving around the city feels stressful. They know how to navigate the city’s streets, have knowledge of traffic patterns, and are familiar with the laws. This a very popular choice with numerous private driving services available.

CHAPTER 12GASTRONOMYRESTAURANTS, GROCERY STORES, and MORE
Mérida is one of the most gastronomically diverse cities you will ever visit. Limitless variety can be found, from traditional Yucatecan dishes to ancient Mayan recipes and from regional to cosmopolitan cuisine. Therefore, it’s beneficial to experience all the distinct kinds of food in Mérida. Wikipedia states: “The food of the Yucatán peninsula is distinct from the rest of the country. It is based primarily on Mayan food with influences from the Caribbean, Central Mexican, European (especially French), and Middle Eastern cultures.”
CHAPTER 13MARKETSA LIST OF FAVORITES
There’s no doubt about it. Local markets are part of the charm of Mérida. Notably, they offer a unique perspective and an authentic experience of this enchanting city. Markets and tianguis, open-air flea markets or bazaars, offer a variety of handmade items, food, flowers, artisanal products, and more. They are also a place to socialize, integrate, and experience culture.
CHAPTER 14TIPPINGHOW? WHERE? WHAT? WHEN?
How, where, what, and when to tip is such a confusing subject that it gets a whole chapter. The task of tipping in Mérida is complicated, at best. Ask ten people about tipping, and you’ll get ten different answers. This is another situation where understanding cultural differences and economic aspects provides insight and respect for hard-working locals.
CHAPTER 15NEWSINFORMATION SOURCES
Excellent sources of information for both locals and visitors are found in Mérida. The Yucatán Peninsula is rich in history and tradition. Learning about this beautiful culture is just part of the wonder of discovering Mérida.
CHAPTER 16COST OF LIVINGUNDERSTANDING BUDGETS
Budgets are VERY difficult to calculate until you live here. Your particular lifestyle dictates expenses, fixed costs, and flexible costs. Does affordability for you depend upon a good exchange rate? When it takes a nose dive, can you bridge the gap? Run through different scenarios to determine the cost of living in Mérida. Yes, there is something for everyone. But the question is, “How do YOU want to live?” Most people are hard-pressed to change their lifestyle and living preferences.
CHAPTER 17MEDICINE and SUPPLEMENTSPHARMACIES and NUTRITIONAL STORES
While the FDA oversees the U.S. drug industry, prescription drugs in Mexico are not as heavily regulated. Only purchase medication from a legitimate pharmacy. Be sure to inspect the packaging thoroughly. Don’t accept it if you have second thoughts. You may also wonder if supplement and vitamin stores are in Mérida. Yes, they are, but you’ll have to research if they carry what you are looking for.
CHAPTER 18DOCTORS and DENTISTSTIPS and RECOMMENDATIONS
Mérida boasts some of the finest medical services and physicians in the region. The city is home to an array of hospitals, clinics, and healthcare providers dedicated to delivering exceptional medical care to patients worldwide. With a wealth of experience and a commitment to excellence, Mérida’s doctors are renowned for their skills, compassion, and commitment to patient-centered care. Whether you’re looking for routine check-ups, specialist consultations, or emergency care, Mérida has a wealth of resources.
CHAPTER 19HOSPITALS and CLINICSTOP THINGS TO KNOW
Mérida offers world-class medical services because of its superior infrastructure of facilities and professionals. Hospitals and clinics provide a range of specialties where you’ll find affordable doctors, consultants, highly trained staff, surgery facilities, recovery rooms, and clinical analysis laboratories. More and more people are finding it increasingly difficult to afford healthcare due to rising costs, decreased insurance coverage, and economic factors. Mexican Nationals and foreigners travel to Mérida for medical tourism due to the quality of service and state-of-the-art equipment to treat various health issues.
CHAPTER 20SPANISHKEY PHRASES and RESOURCES
Learning a few words and phrases in countries where English is not the first language is respectful. Therefore, it’s essential to take the time to learn a few key terms in Spanish. Yes, learning a new language IS challenging. The good news is that you’ll find many people who want to help. When people speak Spanish around you, listen instead of tuning them out. Over time, words’ intonation, inflection, and flow help you understand better. It’s easier to learn once you’re here and immersed.
CHAPTER 21KIDS and TEENSSCHOOLS and FUN ACTIVITIES

Both public and private schools are available in Mérida. However, public schools do not provide support for a non-native-speaking child. It’s essential to know between the ages of three and seven, language acquisition is more accessible with less academic stress. Children of this age seem to be quite adaptable. Middle school-aged children or teens may or may not be as flexible. From the feedback I’ve received, most teens adapt beautifully.

While Mérida is a mecca of culture, arts, and history, there’s also a lot of fun and cool stuff to do for kids AND adults! This list scratches the surface of the exploration one can do around the city and nearby.

CHAPTER 22SCAMSSPOTTING and AVOIDING DECEIT
It’s important to stay vigilant and aware of common scams. Unfortunately, foreigners unfamiliar with the area’s customs and practices can be exploited. Though it may be surprising, it’s not only tourists who experience scams. Visiting Mexican nationals and locals Mérida are just as susceptible. For this reason, it is vital to learn how to equip yourself with the necessary knowledge and skills to avoid being scammed.
CHAPTER 23POST-RESEARCH TRIP DEBRIEFREFLECTIONS and OBSERVATIONS
Once the research trip is complete, it’s time for the debrief. This chapter focuses on disseminating the information gathered. Grab your journal or log, pencil, calculator, and other notes, and let’s go down the list item by item.
CHAPTER 24RESIDENCYBREAKING DOWN THE PROCESS
Embarking on the residency process can be both exciting and overwhelming. Several residency options cater to different needs, each with its specific requirements. As a foreigner living in Mexico, acquiring residency is non-negotiable. It is something you MUST have to remain in the country legally. Not only is this entire process confusing, but rules and regulations change without notice.
CHAPTER 25PETSFURRY FAMILY POINTERS
If you’re planning to move with your pet, there are a few things to keep in mind to ensure a smooth and stress-free relocation. This comprehensive checklist will help you prepare for the move and ensure you have everything you need to keep your pet safe and comfortable during the journey. Like anything else, regulations and requirements change, sometimes without advance notice. Be sure to check frequently before finalizing travel plans.
CHAPTER 26AUTOMOBILESPROS and CONS OF BRINGING A CAR
Before importing a foreign car into Mexico, it’s essential to understand the requirements and restrictions the Mexican government sets. Depending upon the age and type of vehicle, it may not be eligible for importation. Bringing your car may seem simple, but it can be more complicated and expensive than expected. While this chapter provides information and answers to frequently asked questions, it’s recommended, and in some cases mandatory, to hire a professional customs broker or import agency to assist with importing a car. One small mistake can jeopardize the entire application.
CHAPTER 27PERSONAL ITEMSSHIP, FLY, DRIVE, or LEAVE BEHIND
Many people want personal items and don’t want to replace them, no matter the cost. However, bringing too much stuff can be cost-prohibitive for those on a budget. Fortunately, many things can be replaced, some at a lower cost. On the positive side, most housing comes fully furnished and equipped.
CHAPTER 28LEGAL DOCUMENTSBIRTH CERTIFICATES, WILLS, and MORE
As a foreigner living in Mexico, it is crucial to be aware of necessary legal documents to help ensure that your rights and possessions are safeguarded. Notably, having these documents provides peace of mind in unforeseen circumstances. It is equally important to have legal documents apostilled and translated, when applicable.
CHAPTER 29BANKING BENEFITS OF A LOCAL BANK ACCOUNT
While having a local bank is more than important, it’s necessary. Everyone has their own needs and requirements, especially regarding banking. For me, the most important thing about a local bank is having a personal relationship with my banker. If ANYTHING goes wrong, then my banker can assist.
CHAPTER 30ORGANIZING PLANFROM A TO Z
Getting organized for your move is a process:  physical, emotional, mental, and a vast array of logistics. Only YOU can make critical decisions about what to take, what to leave for a later decision, and things you can let go of. To begin taking steps to make your move, it’s better to start slowly with a plan and a system.
CHAPTER 31MOVING TIMELINEWHEN and HOW TO START
In this chapter, I’ve provided all the logistics of what, when, and how to organize your timeline. With many years as a professional organizer and stager, I’ll share all my tips, tricks, and advice, and then you can adjust as needed. I promise things will take much longer than you anticipated, think double or triple the time.
CHAPTER 32OVERCOMING OBSTACLESMOVING DESPITE NEGATIVE FEEDBACK
This PERSPECTIVE chapter covers all the comments and unsolicited feedback I received once I decided to move. Sharing this information provides some insight into what you may experience and how to handle delicate situations.
CHAPTER 33INTEGRATIONWHAT TO DO and NOT DO AS AN EXPAT
Both Angel and I gathered information for this chapter from news articles, client feedback, business professionals, and interviews with expats, locals, and service providers. The information is intended for people considering moving to Mérida because this city is very special, unique, and conservative. Like anything else, you can take it or leave it. However, it’s very valuable advice, in my opinion, and good to know upfront.
CHAPTER 34FIRST MONTH IN MÉRIDASETTLING INTO A NEW LIFE
This chapter is all about little tips and tricks that I wish someone told me. While these may seem logical, I promise you’ll forget some of them due to the sheer excitement of being here. Allowing yourself time to process the huge step you’ve just made is beneficial. Take your first days in stride, enjoy, take it slow, and revel in the start of your new life.
CHAPTER 35MISTAKESHARD LESSONS I LEARNED AFTER MOVING
Interestingly, as I wrote this chapter, I realized I was trying to prove something to myself. Hindsight is 20/20, and hopefully, I can help you make some good decisions by learning from my mistakes. As you know, this is not an easy process, and to be completely transparent . . . this is what really happened my first year in Mérida.
CHAPTER 36SHORT-TERM RENTALSAFTER THE MOVE
You’ll find several choices of platforms for short-term rentals after you move. I highly recommend beginning in Centro to take full advantage of all the activities, culture, events, and meet others. You may be tempted to rent short-term through Facebook Marketplace or by finding a recommendation on one of the expat groups. Not knowing the language, the customs, and the process creates more headaches. It’s not worth saving a few dollars if there is a problem. Get a few months under your belt, then branch out
CHAPTER 37AVOIDING BOREDOMA LIST OF THINGS TO DO
Once the initial excitement wears off, some expats struggle with boredom and loneliness. This is especially true for those who have moved alone. However, even couples experience a sense of isolation. The problem with boredom and loneliness is that it can lead to unhealthy habits and addictions. It’s not uncommon for people to turn to alcohol or social media to fill the void.
CHAPTER 38SUMMING IT UPFINAL THOUGHTS
After arriving, you realize what you learned may be wrong or information is missing. What was true three months ago has already changed. Now you have to deal with all the hard stuff and experience challenges and surprises. I mention all these things as words of caution. My intent is to provide enough information, resources, perspective, and instructions to equip you to make educated decisions.

The All About Mérida Guide 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

  INTRODUCTION and INSTRUCTIONS
CHAPTER 39DELIVERY SERVICESAMAZON, RAPPI, MERCADO LIBRE, and MORE
CHAPTER 40CREEPY CRAWLIESINSECTS, ARACHNIDS, and REPTILES
CHAPTER 41WEATHERHEAT, HURRICANES, and TROPICAL STORMS
CHAPTER 42DRIVINGSAFETY TIPS
CHAPTER 43SPORTS and RECREATIONSTAYING ACTIVE
CHAPTER 44LONG-TERM RENTALSLIVE LIKE A LOCAL
CHAPTER 45REAL ESTATEBUYING PROPERTY, FIDEICOMISO, and MORE
CHAPTER 46UTILITIESELECTRICITY, WATER, GAS, and SOLAR POWER
CHAPTER 47INSURANCEFROM A TO Z
CHAPTER 48WORK OPPORTUNITIESLEGAL REQUIREMENTS and STRATEGIES
CHAPTER 49STARTING A BUSINESSTIPS FOR ENTREPRENEURS
CHAPTER 50
CURP, RFC, and SATTAX ID NUMBERS
CHAPTER 51TAXESA PRACTICAL APPROACH
CHAPTER 52CITIZENSHIPPROS and CONS OF DUAL CITIZENSHIP
CHAPTER 53ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENTPROJECTS DRIVING GROWTH
CHAPTER 54MEXICAN HOLIDAYSJOIN THE FESTIVITIES
CHAPTER 55MAGICAL MÉRIDATHINGS PEOPLE LOVE
CHAPTER 56TOURISMMUSEUMS, HISTORY, and RECOMMENDATIONS
CHAPTER 57DAY TRIPSEXPLORE OUTSIDE THE CITY
CHAPTER 58EXPAT DEPRESSIONTHE HIDDEN TRUTH
CHAPTER 59END-OF-LIFE PLANWHY IT’S CRITICAL
CHAPTER 60TASTE OF HOMEWHAT EXPATS MISS MOST
CHAPTER 61COMFORT ZONESOBSTACLES THAT KEEP PEOPLE FROM MOVING
CHAPTER 62MOVING HOMEWHY SOME EXPATS LEAVE
CHAPTER 63PLAN BWHEN MÉRIDA DOES NOT WORK OUT
CHAPTER 64MEXICAN EMIGRATIONREASONS MEXICANS LEAVE MEXICO
CHAPTER 65WRAPPING IT ALL UPFINAL THOUGHTS