Yes, we’re on the brink of moving to Mexico…again. After returning to California’s Bay Area over 10 years ago, Felice, our German Shepherd Scout and I will pack-up on Monday and hit the road south to Puerto Vallarta, once again.
In 2002, the move to Vallarta was much easier. We had purchased a home south of town in Mismaloya the year before and had furnished it for rental purposes. Since we owned property well in excess of US $100,000, getting our FM3 visas at the time was a simple procedure. We gave most of our furniture to our son and flew to Vallarta to begin our lives in Mexico.
This time around, it was a bit more complicated. First, we decided to rent, not buy. That meant spending hours online finding rental agents and properties to consider, based upon the criteria we set. After deciding on an agent who had the type of home listing we were looking for, I flew down in mid-August to find a place to live. By week’s end, we signed a contract for a lovely home in the Montessori area of the city.
Next step was to go through the bureaucratic process of getting visas, which is never fun. You should know that the visa requirements are changing under Mexico’s new administration (and they sometimes vary between consulates). So much so that the woman who helped us, who has worked in the San Jose Mexican Consulate for over 10 years, had to refer to a list of new instructions to know what to do.
We will update our Immigration section once we have confirmed all of the changes. The appointment process requires going online to register. If you use Safari as a browser, as I do, you’re out of luck. If you use Chrome, you will have no problem. We also had to return to complete the process because the computer system used by immigration was not working. Advice: patience, amigos. It’s a requirement for living in Mexico.
Since our son and daughter have fully-furnished homes and the cost of moving to Mexico using international moving companies is very expensive, I began selling most of our furniture in June via the local craigslist.com. Expect no more than 20 percent of the original value when selling furniture online. The items that could not be sold have been given to those who needed them.
More on international moving companies: U.S. companies are very expensive. We used this FIDI list of Mexico-based moving companies and signed a contract with a Mexico City-based company, which is much less expensive, but provides the same level of service.
If you use an international moving company, pare down to just those things that are essential or meaningful. Most homes in Mexico, whether you purchase an existing home or rent one, come furnished or at least partially furnished. You may have to re-purchase some things, but the cost in Mexico generally is much less.
As the days tick away and we find ourselves without a refrigerator and living out of a cooler filled with ice, awaiting rescue from the moving company next Monday, the reality of the four-day drive that awaits us has finally sunk in, but in a good way. The excitement is palpable, even the dog has a bounce in his step. Little does he know what he’s in for.
I’ll be back in about two weeks when we surface in Vallarta, but for now, excuse me while I disappear.