Where to LIVE for the WINTER in Mexico
Replies: 80 - Last Post: Feb 6, 2013 6:55 PM Last Post By: mzurie
Dec 17, 2012 7:41 PM
Where to LIVE for the WINTER in MexicoIt's so hard to research Mexico when your goal is NOT to vacation. I'm hoping some Mexico travel veterans out there can offer some advice.
I'm fortunate enough to work on the Internet and be able to live anywhere. I also hate cold weather, and enjoy spending time outside the USA. So I want to spend the winter in Mexico. I'm not going for vacation. I don't care about Mayan ruins or holiday activities. I want to LIVE in a place with warm weather, great restaurants, and reasonable personal safety. San Diego or Fort Lauderdale vibe would be ideal.
Reading the travel guides is a losing proposition - they're all written for holiday travelers. My past experiences in Mexico are probably the best way to give a sense of what I seek, so I'll describe them...
I'm 47, not 17! And I'm not on Spring Break. No freaking way do I want to go to a tourist trap full of American teens struggling to escape adolescence! Besides, the food sucked.
I'm 47, not 97! I care about the food, and it sucked in PV, even during the "gourmet festival", which was a joke. Yuck.
The restaurants were great, especially in Polanco. But we were constantly told it's not safe to hail a cab - only use "trusted cabs" or risk being taken down a dark alley. The trusted cabs cost 2x to 3x what regular cabs cost. I look like the quitessential gringo, so I stick out like a sore thumb. Of the places I've been in Mexico, DF feels like the best candidate, but frankly the place felt unsafe. Also I only know a few words of Spanish, so DF was harder than the tourist destinations where they are used to English-speaking gringos.
I visited Cozumel, Playa Del Carmen, and Isla Mujeres in the 90s, and wasn't impressed. The food sucked, and I had no interest in the cheap crap everyone was trying to sell me at every turn.
Cabo San Lucas:
Never been there, but I'm told it's "younger than PV". Hard to imagine any place being older than PV, save perhaps for those Mayan ruins. But I don't want Spring Break either.
MY MAIN PRIORITIES:
* Warm weather, preferably on the ocean
* Great restaurants. Not cheap restaurants. GOOD restaurants with gourmet food.
* Fast, reliable Internet. This was a major issue in DF, where the Net is sketchy at best in most areas
* English menus at restaurants a big plus, although I plan to hire a tutor and improve my Spanish while there.
* Walkable. I don't want a car. I want to walk from a furnished apartment to a large selection of restaurants.
Again, I'm looking for where to LIVE for several months and I don't care about tourist attractions, parties, drugs, or hookers. I need a quiet place to work with good Internet, and good mid-range to high-end restaurants to enjoy by night.
Any advice much appreciated! And yes, I've combed the prior posts before posting this myself. But 95% of Mexico travelers are on vacation and have different goals, and the advice for them doesn't really apply to what I'm looking for.
Thanks in advance for any suggestions! ;-)
Dec 17, 2012 8:58 PM
1How ironic you asked this question. I am also thinking of doing the same thing. I go to Acapulco every year for like 2 months starting in January. I am now getting bored with the winter months in Amarillo, Texas and thinking of staying there for 6 months. I really an not crazy about renting an apartment unless the utilities are paid by the owner. Also, I may be able to negotiate a deal with the hotel I have stayed at for like 5 years. Hopefully, others on this who are regulars will have more input!! Edmund
Dec 17, 2012 9:04 PM
2How about Querétaro? It's a fabulous quiet place. The weather is not exactly warm this time of year but it is quite nice during the day. You can wear a T-shirt and a pair of jeans, only a light sweater/jacket by night. There are some nice near by towns you can visit like Tequisquiapan and Bernal. San Miguel de Allende is a short one hour drive away. Guanajuato is about a two hour drive, so is Mexico City in case you'd like to spend a weekend in the big city. You can rent a car for the day or so if you decide to visit any of those. Sounds like you've been there before so you may want to try other restaurants/areas you don't know yet. I will be spending the holidays there with my cousins. It feels very safe. Not sure about the restaurants but I have eaten at a few that are not bad at all.
Edited by: fresh_17 oops. I didn't notice the 'preferably by the ocean" part.
Edited by: fresh_17 again! Fast, reliable internet? PUBLIC internet? I'm still looking for that one myself. If you rent an apartment, maybe you can hire internet service during the months you'll be living here. I personally use Cablevision and I'm very satisfied. Other companies are: Telmex (not that great) Axtel and Total Play. Cablevisión and Total Play have cable TV service as well. I don't know if there's a mandatory minimum amount of time for hiring their services though.
Dec 17, 2012 9:30 PM
3Sounds to me like the OPs got a bit of an atttude. And I don't mean it as a compliment. It's not something which would be welcome in Mexico (an uppity gringo atitude). That having been said, I doubt there's one place which will meet all of the demands we've been presented and compromise is required.
If we're to assume, deduct that the warm weather is the most important factor, then, in the Mexican Winter months, I'm thinking that the Central Highlands are out of the question, including Mexico City (where it can be downright cold Winter evenings and overnight).
The Yucatan Penninsula is probably where the focus should be. Merida would be my first recommendation. The temps, day and night, qualify as "warm" by USA Winter standards. And it's a relatively short ride to the beach at Progreso and nearby. While young people abound, because of population demographics, there's a "mature" environment and the expat community and foreign visitors who stick around tend to be older than college student age. There's a rich cultural tradition in Merida, and though gourmet restaurants may be in the minority there are good restaurants..Internet connections are probably as good there as anyplace else.
Expat living in Mexico requires a lot of patience, and compromise. It helps to have the ability to communicate in Spanish.
Best of luck with your search.
Dec 17, 2012 9:36 PM
4Mexico City has changed a lot in the last 10 years - when were you last there? It's certainly no more dangerous than any other candidates and the old "don't hail a cab" advice is way outdated. Central cities such as Queretaro as mentioned (add in Morelia, Guanajuato, Puebla, etc.) would also be ideal (temps are usually in the 70s or 80s in the day) but if you really want the beach then you simply have to either tolerate tourists or be in the middle of nowhere with no facilities. You might want to look at Merida which is full of ex-pats but fits the weather/culture/beach requirements although personally I found the food lousy.
Edited by: Queretaro
Dec 17, 2012 10:10 PM
Dec 18, 2012 12:19 AM
Dec 18, 2012 2:03 AM
Dec 18, 2012 2:08 AM
8OK...I get it now, the mythical town of: San Miguel Allende by the Sea!
Dec 18, 2012 2:36 AM
Dec 18, 2012 5:28 AM
Dec 18, 2012 5:47 AM
12we were constantly told it's not safe to hail a cab
You were constantly lied to. The "place" is not "unsafe." It's also not warm.
As #3 says, OP does sound far too fastidious and picky for Mexico (it's not a country that responds well to a demanding attitude), and also full of silly ideas – PV only for senior citizens? 95% of commenters on vacation? problems with high-speed internet in Mexico? Seriously, go do a brain dump and forget all that nonsense, then start over from scratch.
#3's Merida suggestion is probably the way to go BTW.
Dec 18, 2012 6:58 AM
Dec 18, 2012 7:44 AM
14OP, I would not expect to go to every gourmet restaurant in New York, Chicago, or DC and be given menus translated into languages other than English, unless they are Spanish, Italian, French, etc. restaurants. Why would you expect to see English menus at gourmet restaurants in Mexico, especially if you want to live in a place that is not tourist oriented? If you are planning on spending several months of every year in Mexico, why not start learning more than a few words of Spanish now? If restaurants are a major interest, start learning the vocabulary you are likely to encounter on menus. Type up a cheat sheet to take to restaurants with you. Ask if you can take a menu with you to study for the next time you come, or see if they have a web site with a menu you can study before you go (not that common, but there are some.)
I hate it when people jump all over others on this forum, but I have to agree that you seem to expect a lot of "catering to." Politeness and flexibility are very important in Mexico.
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