Thinking about making Mérida your new home and want to understand the do’s and don’ts for expats in Mérida? This article contains information gathered from news articles, client feedback, business professionals, and interviews with expats, locals, and service providers. The advice you’ll read focuses on 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.
Cultural Do’s and Don’ts for Expats in Mérida
- Learn to speak Spanish.
- Accept the noise. As our Mexican friends say, “It’s quiet when you die.”
- Embrace the culture and quit expecting everything to be like it is back home.
- Stop comparing it to the country you left
- Remember that this is their country, not ours.
- Embrace the culture; don’t try to change things that have been the same for generations.
- Relax and enjoy the culture.
- Practice patience.
Manners for Expats in Mérida
- Do everything not to become that screaming gringa at Walmart.
- Have good manners: always say good morning, good afternoon, good evening, please, and thank you. It is simple but very relevant and culturally significant.
- Go with the flow! Continue exploring. There are always unexpected little things that can make your day or become a favorite thing.
- Don’t come to this country as a guest and bitch about the way of life here.
- Flexibility and a sense of humor!
- Learn to relax and slow down.
- Roll with it . . . everything.
- Always wear sunscreen. The sun here is no joke
- Live in the present. Engage all of your senses. Breathe and smile as you experience life and emotions before your eyes.
- Come with an open heart and an open mind. Do not bring limited expectations and want to impose changes on the country you are a guest in.
General Advice for Expats
- Visit during the hottest months of the year. Come in March, April, and May to see if you can deal with the hottest, driest months of the year before the rainy season starts in June.
- For people over 60, insurance can be pricey with the restrictions for pre-existing conditions.
- Medical care is excellent. However, if you don’t have insurance, be prepared to pay before discharge.
- I love it here. But my partner doesn’t. He is not bilingual or culturally adept. I spent many years growing up in Latin America. It’s not for everyone.
- My opinion is nothing has to be forever. If I try it and it doesn’t work, I can look elsewhere.
- Things need super frequent maintenance here — due to everything being concrete, climate, hurricanes, etc.
- It’s hard, for me anyway, to find high-quality items, from garbage bags to spray paint. A lot of stuff here is cheap and cheaply made. Finding brands that you know are good can take lots of time or money and many trips to different stores/areas. Sometimes, you will drive all over to find one or two things you need
A Different Life in Mérida
- Everything in Mexico is an adventure, including the simple things.
- I would say to consider your tolerance for little frictions in life. I love Mérida, and my kids are so happy here. But, we have a very high tolerance for difficulties.
- Customer service is not always great.
- The bureaucracy and red tape is insane.
- The traffic is terrible.
- Neighbors can be noisy.
- The idea of someone keeping their dog or their rooster quiet is nonexistent.
- People often show up late to appointments or not at all.
- Things here are not as inexpensive as you might think. This is not to bash Mérida because we love it here.
- Mérida is beautiful, full of art, culture, and music. The people and the weather are warm. There is so much to see and do. BUT it’s not, in my opinion, EASY. It’s totally worth it for some and not worth it at all for others. Of course, this is just my respectful opinion. I hope this gives others some food for thought!
Final Thoughts on Do’s and Don’ts for Expats in Mérida
For most, the honeymoon period lasts about two years. For some, things work out with time. But, for many others, it never does. On Facebook, you hear from the ones who stay or paint a pretty picture from behind rose-colored glasses. But, hardly ever from those that leave for different reasons. Mainly, they don’t want to acknowledge their perceived failure. In truth, there is no failure. They left for valid reasons and don’t need to explain why to anyone.
Some of the reasons people leave:
- language barriers
- health issues
- cost of private health insurance
- insurance availability due to pre-existing conditions
- missing family and/or friends
- their social networks
- isolation, depression, and/or boredom
- anxiety about a new culture
- poor public education system for those who have children
- constant upkeep and maintenance of homes due to the climate
- missing the familiar, such as quality ethnic food, four seasons, celebrating holidays in their tradition, camping trips, etc.
- moving to Mexico with unresolved issues, thinking Mexico will cure them, and realizing the issues don’t stop at the border