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35 Things No One Tells You About Living in Mexico

Things No One Tells You About Living in Mexico

Full disclosure: There are affiliate links in this post, which means that if you buy something, I’ll get a percentage (at no cost to you!) So, thanks in advance! 


Before you think about moving to Mexico, whether to one of the big three cities like Guadalajara, Monterrey or Mexico City or a smaller town, there are tons of things to consider – do you speak Spanish? Do you need a visa for Mexico? Will you like the food? What’s the cost of living in Mexico? However, after living here for almost two years now, I can tell you there are plenty of things no one tells you about living in Mexico, that you really should know and consider before you decide to move there. In the spirit of graciously making my fellow Mexico expats’ transitions easier, here’s everything weird, wonderful, quirky and even frustrating about Mexican culture and life that nobody thinks to mention when you tell them you’re moving to Mexico.


ALL THE THINGS NO ONE TELLS YOU ABOUT LIVING IN MEXICO

1. You can actually buy tampons in Mexico

This is one of the biggest myths of all that I would like to take a second to debunk right now. Before I moved to Mexico, one thing that I kept hearing was that you can’t buy tampons in Mexico. Honestly, I should have packed a suitcase full of the bloody things according to some people. Howeverrrr, you can most definitely buy tampons here and my vagina concurs with that. They’re not cheap (but where are they cheap?!) and you might only be confronted with pads if you run to a corner shop (a la Oxxo or Seven Eleven) in a period-fuelled panic, but they can most definitely be found.


Sidenote: Bear in mind, I’ve lived in two of the biggest cities in Mexico (Mexico City and Guadalajara), so I can’t speak for smaller pueblos. It’s safe to assume that they will likely be trickier to get your hands on there. Even so, just buy more than you need when you do spot them, rather than wasting your luggage allowance on feminine hygiene products.

Related Post: Moving to Mexico? Here’s What to Pack + What to Leave Behind

Things No One Tells You About Living in Mexico2. Mexicans are some of the friendliest, most helpful people you’ll meet

OK, OK, this is actually something that everyone tells you about living in Mexico, but I think in this post-Trump world it’s worth reiterating that Mexicans are not all drug dealers and bad hombres. In fact, most Mexicans (in my experience) will go out of the way to help you with whatever compromising situation you find yourself in, whether that’s asking for directions or swapping change with you at the bus stop. However, that brings me on to my next point…

3. But they’re incapable of saying no

If you ask for directions and the person you ask has no idea where that place is, rare is the occasion that they’ll straight up tell you that. Instead, they’ll vaguely wave their hand, give a very convoluted response or (and this has actually happened to me) ring their daughter to get the direction from her. In short, Mexicans have a hard time saying no. This also explains the set response of ‘gracias’ rather than ‘no’ that you’ll hear most people say to street side vendors when they offer up their wares, and perhaps sheds light on the ahorita phenomenon of Mexican culture. For reference, ahorita (right now, literally) can mean anywhere from ‘in a sec’ to ‘absolutely never, lol’. So…take care with that one!

Things No One Tells You About Living in Mexico

4. Renting might prove harder than you first think

This very much depends where you’re going to be living and what you want your living situation in Mexico to look like, but renting in Mexico can prove problematic. If you want to rent a whole flat for yourself, and then sublet the other rooms (or live alone), you’ll need an aval (guarantor) who’ll be responsible for any missed payments on your behalf. Think of it as a back-up for the landlord if you turn out to be a shitty renter. However, your aval has to fulfil certain requirements and be a Mexican citizen, which is where many recently arrived expats find it difficult to get a foot on the rental ladder. There are companies which are basically like rent-an-aval services but these can prove costly, so it’s worth trying to figure out who your aval could be before you arrive.

On the other hand, if you just want to rent a room you should find the process pretty smooth – you’ll probably be asked to give a month’s rent as deposit (the cost of renting in Mexico is generally quite cheap), but there are generally no formal contracts involved in the process. This can be good or bad depending on how you look at it, and you need to have a certain level of trust in your subletting landlord or lady. However, for temporary stays, it’s perfect.


Tip: The website compartodepa.com.mx was a lifesaver for me when I was searching for rooms in Guadalajara and it’s free and easy to use. Definitely get yourself signed up!

Things No One Tells You About Living in Mexico5. The bureaucracy is horrendous

Is Mexican bureaucracy bad? If you want the short answer, then yes. If you want the long answer, then fuck yes. The Mexican penchant for excessive bureaucracy is well-documented (ha!), so this shouldn’t come as much of a surprise to anyone. Either way, as an expat in Mexico, you are going to have to get used to hearing different things from various government officials at different points in the lunar cycle and depending on what they ate for breakfast that morning. I joke, of course, but it can sometimes feel like that when you’re passed from pillar to post and given different information at each stage.

We’ve all been to immigration with the correct (supposedly) documents, only to be told we need another six copies of this, another four of that and a coffee with two sugars from the Oxxo down the road, thank you very much.


Tip: When dealing with Mexican bureaucracy, take more copies in more colours, shapes and sizes than you were told you needed. Check with at least three people RE: what you actually need to bring and make sure you check the opening times for the place you need to be at very carefully, lest you arrive and find it already closed for lunch at two and won’t reopen until next February 30th.

Things No One Tells You About Living in Mexico6. You can wave goodbye to direct debits

If you’re renting in Mexico, you’ll be expected to pay your landlord cash in hand. Just like it took the US bloody ages to catch on to chip and pin, it has taken Mexico a good old while to start using direct debits. Even so, the insanely dangerous (wandering about the streets after just withdrawing thousands of pesos isn’t my favourite thing to do) and inconvenient act of paying in cash for everything should still be expected in most places.


Tip: When it comes to paying for electric bills, you have to go to the nearest Oxxo and pay there. You (again) can’t pay by card and they’ll charge you a MXN$6.50 handling fee for the pleasure.


7. All banking matters have to be handled in person

This is an annoyance more than anything, and I’m of course speaking from my experiences with Santander only – I don’t know how other banks in Mexico operate. Disclaimer aside, with Santander everything has to be done in person – to set up online banking you have to go in person, to transfer money you have to go in person (and you’ll need the CLABE code of whoever you’re transferring money to too). Basically, it’s all just more time spent waiting to do things that could all be sorted online. (See the previous point).

Things No One Tells You About Living in Mexico

8. Your home driving licence won’t be accepted as ID

Don’t bother taking your driving licence with you to be used as ID (in official capacities), because it simply won’t be accepted. Instead, you need to use your visa or your passport, and it has to be the real-life original, not a copy.


Tip: You do not have to give your actual passport to any police official if they ask you for it – in situations like that, copies should suffice of whatever form of identification they ask of you, and don’t feel pressured into giving them anything else.


9. Politeness is key

Mexican Spanish is super polite, sometimes in excess, and you’ll quickly get used to hearing words like ‘mande’ instead of ‘qué’. Trust me, once this enters your vocabulary it’s there for good…even when I switch back to English the odd mande slips out from time to time. As far as the language goes in terms of politeness, Mexico also uses the ustedes form exclusively, so you can forget the odious, tricky to pronounce vosotros conjugation the second you step foot on Mexican soil.

Politeness extends into the culture too though. I’ve witnessed about as many people fighting to sit down on the metro as I have fighting to not sit down. Instead, they’ll spend a good 20 seconds in a battle of wills with the other person, offering them the seat, before one of them reluctantly backs down and takes it.

Things No One Tells You About Living in Mexico

10. There are women and children only areas on public transport

This only applies to the capital, as on Mexico City transportation options (like the Metrobús and Metro) there are women and children only carriages/ sections. They were introduced in an attempt to cut the rate of sexual harassment and assault on public transport, yet there are plenty of men who still regularly flout the rules and hop on them anyway. If you’re a woman (or child) reading this, use them! Similarly, if you’re a man reading this (hi!), don’t be that idiot who uses the women and children’s carriages. They’re there for a reason, so respect that.

Related Post: A Beginner’s Guide to Using the Mexico City Metro

11. You can’t find blutack anywhere

Straight up not available. So, if you want to pin posters to your wall, bring a stash from home.

Things No One Tells You About Living in Mexico

12. Travel can be cheap

This one is a controversial point, as it’s coming from a very Western perspective and concept of what is cheap and what isn’t. First of all, let’s take my three-hour round journey to work in Mexico City – I take four buses and two metros and it costs me a grand total of between MXN$24-30 (~£1-1.20). That, by my standards, is very cheap (and Mexico City actually has some of the cheapest public transport in the country), however for locals who potentially earn very little, it could actually be considered pretty expensive. Even so, compared to Monterrey (where a bus journey can run to MXN$12, rather than CDMX’s price of MXN$2) it is definitely far more affordable.

However, when it comes to long distance bus travel, it can actually be far costlier than you were perhaps led to believe before you move to Mexico…but at least the generally comfortable buses and ample leg room make up for that. Mexico doesn’t really dabble in Megabus type coaches.

13. Buses often have baby shoes hanging from the bars

This one is just worth mentioning because it’s something I’ve yet to figure out and I find it amusing every time I see one just hanging out on the bus. You might also spot the ubiquitous dangling baby shoes in taxis too.

Things No One Tells You About Living in Mexico

14. PDA is off the charts

When I first moved to Mexico, I had a note on my phone with all the things that were surprising to me about the country and PDA was one of them. Honestly, I’ve never seen as much tongue action in real life as I did when I first started using the metro in Mexico City, and I’ve legit seen partners laid on top of one another in public parks. Couples here are really no holds barred when it comes to PDA, and being a slightly repressed and awkward Brit, I was definitely a bit taken aback by it at first. (It’s worth noting that I no longer find this particular cultural quirk surprising. Often a bit gross, yes, but surprising, no.)

15. Bulk buying is far easier here and super common

Unlike many other countries, the UK for example, where you need a membership or company card to access bulk buy stores like Costco, in Mexico the bulk buy industry is far more informal. It’s not uncommon to see people hauling huge bin bags full of crisps (not exaggerating) on the metro and you can buy boxes of sweets, such as mazapanes de la rosa from tons of stores. However, for Costco you do still sadly need a membership card.

Things No One Tells You About Living in Mexico

16. Similar stores always seem to cluster together

Want flowers? There’s probably a street for that in the city. Looking for a bridal gown? Go to the top of Chapultepec in Guadalajara. While I still fail to understand how any of these stores make money by clustering around their competitors, it does make shopping easier because everything is handily in one place and I definitely recommend taking a stroll down Calle Donceles in Mexico City, if you’re looking to pick up some used books.

Related Post: Must-Read Books About Mexico

17. Buses follow no rules

As a general rule, you kind of just have to wing it when it comes to bus travel in Mexico. When I first got to Guadalajara, I didn’t understand how anyone ever got anywhere because there were very few ‘official’ looking bus stops and no information on the routes (there actually is a site that can help you with bus routes in Guadalajara – rutasgdl.com – but it’s pretty tricky to get your head around at first). Basically, once you’ve figured out the bus number you need, and the road it should pass down, just stand on a corner and stick your hand out when you see it approaching – with any luck it’ll stop.


Sidenote: The exception to this confusing bus rule is the RTP service in Mexico City (and possibly in other cities too), which is government run. They do in fact have set bus stops and you’ll be able to tell where they are by looking for the RTP sign on the side of the road.


18. Antibiotics are given out like sweets

This is more of a public health warning, if anything, but please don’t always take antibiotics if you’re prescribed them in Mexico. I’ve been to the doctor on a handful of occasions during my time here and I find the attitude to handing out antibiotics is fairly shameful. One time I was given a prescription for them when I had a simple cough and cold. So, don’t always run to the nearest pharmacy and pop them like sweets (even if you’re told to).


Disclaimer: I’m obviously not a doctor and you don’t have to take medical advice from travel bloggers on the internet, but keep the Mexican fascination with antibiotics in mind if you’re planning on moving there. As a sidenote, always ask for the generic brand of whatever you get prescribed as you’ll save a fortune.


19. GPs don’t exist – instead you need to go to the pharmacy

This was something that I found super strange, as a Brit used to the NHS, when I arrived in Mexico. If you get sick, rather than going to the GP or doctor’s office, you instead have to go get a consultation with one of the GPs that have their office attached to the side of a pharmacy. (There are other ways to see a doctor, but this is easily the most common one). They’ll give you an examination (although they aren’t allowed to touch or examine you, so choose the illness you visit them for wisely), and then they’ll write a prescription if necessary. Odd, but you rarely have to wait weeks for an appointment like in the UK, I guess.

Things No One Tells You About Living in Mexico

20. You will likely be the centre of attention

If you’re tall, black, white, blonde, Asian or redheaded prepare to be stared at a lot. That goes doubly for women. The truth about living in Mexico is that, whether you like it or not, you’ll become the centre of attention in most places, especially buses and metros.


Sidenote: If you want to see some awesome women fighting back against street harassment in Mexico City, check out Las Hijas de Violencia, a female activist duo who sing a song called Sexista Punk and fire confetti guns in their aggressors’ faces.

21. Your snot will be black from the pollution

This one speaks for itself, although I’ve only experienced it in Mexico City. Don’t be alarmed when your snot has a grey tinged hue is basically what I’m saying.

22. You’ll get used to being sweaty

Again, this one is obvious. Even in Mexico City, which is not actually all that hot 365 days a year, the metro will up your sweat tolerance within weeks. When I was studying in Cardiff, I used to find it literally unbearable if the temperature reached 16 and I was a bit sticky from the walk to university. In Mexico, sweaty pits are a way of life. And don’t even get me started on the high-waisted jean waistband dampness dilemma…I’ve already said too much.

23. You can’t drink the tap water

This one is controversial but it’s something that’s worth knowing before you move to Mexico, or even before visiting. While some people do drink the tap water without boiling it off, filtering it or generally faffing with it first, it’s not really advisable. If your stomach is used to it, then you’re unlikely to get sick, but as a newbie it’s best to stick to bottled water. Also, there can be plenty of nasty extras in the tap water in Mexico, ranging from bacteria and parasites to heavy metals, so you’ll probably want to steer clear for reasons going beyond a dicky tummy anyway. Having said all of that, I still drink the tap water as long as I’ve boiled it thoroughly in the kettle first.


Tip: The huge bottles of drinking water you see in homes and offices across Mexico are known as garrafones and cost roughly MXN$35 each.  

Things No One Tells You About Living in Mexico

24. Many bottles are retornables in Mexico

It may seem insignificant, but the number of returnable bottles in Mexico is both impressive and baffling. For example, beer bottles (normal sized ones) can’t be returned, so you can chuck them away at the end of the night, but glass coke bottles should most definitely be taken back.

Large beer bottles (caguamas), on the other hand, always have to be returned – in fact, you have to pay a tax on them of anywhere up to ~MXN$10 which you’ll then be refunded once you take it back to the same store you bought it from. Alternatively, you can swap an empty for a new bottle and avoid paying the tax at all.


Tip: To get your tax back, you have to have the receipt with you which shows you paid it. Also, many stores and food stalls will have a bottle opener hanging on a string which you can use to pop the lid off your Coke/ beer the very second you buy it.

Things No One Tells You About Living in Mexico

25. You should carry loose change at all times

Honestly, the way I horde loose change you’d think I have a problem, but honestly, it’s such a commodity to have a ton of one and two peso coins kicking around your purse that I get really angsty when I have to spend it. The ubiquitous Oxxos claim to never have change, which I just think is a straight up lie, and you need to pay with exact coins on the RTP buses in Mexico City, although it also helps to have close to the exact change on any other bus too. (Don’t be like me and pay with a MXN$50 note in times of desperation, because the driver will not be your biggest fan). For tipping toilet attendants and bag packers in the supermarket, you want to have a few pesos to hand, which brings me to my next point…

26. There are certain people who should always get tips

It’s common decency, by Mexico standards anyway, to tip roughly MXN$10 to your takeout food delivery driver, around MXN$3 to your bag packer in the supermarket and at least 10% on sit down restaurant bills, whether you ate tacos or a fancy schmancy three course meal. I’ve never tipped taxi drivers, but you should really give something to the ushers who show you to your seats at football games or concerts.

Things No One Tells You About Living in Mexico

27. You can’t flush your toilet paper

No, really, don’t flush it. Just throw it in to the bin at the side of the toilet and have done with it.


Tip: If you’re planning on living in Mexico and have to invest in a good ol’ toilet paper bin for your bathroom, I highly recommend buying the vanilla scented bin bags that they sell in Soriana, as they’ll make everything smell fresher.


28. No pica is a straight up lie

You’ll learn eventually, but if you’re not good with spice, don’t take anyone’s assurances that ‘no pica’ at face value, because you’re the one who has to deal with the consequences. Equally, get used to being offered the mildest sauce available if you’re white. I can’t tell you the amount of times I’ve been asked if people in the UK like spicy food and whether we eat chili (although now I’m thinking about it, that last one might have been an albur…).


Tip: Dab the potentially potent sauce on your hand first and give it a quick try before slathering it all over your meal. 

Things No One Tells You About Living in Mexico

29. Mexico is filled with heavily armed police and military all the time

I was surprised by the amount of police officers there were around the city and on major highways, literally anytime of the day or night, when I first came to Mexico and I think it is generally quite a shocking thing. I’m not talking just normal, uniformed police officers either, I’m talking heavily armed officers and pick-up trucks full of khaki-wearing military members too.


Sidenote: While some people see this police presence (which is actually 1:100 residents) as reassuring, many people who live in Mexico will tell you that quite often police are the ones involved in a lot of corruption, drugs and kidnapping cases and may see their constant presence in a very different light.


30. The level of makeup application on public transport is bloody impressive

Everywhere I’ve been in Mexico, I’ve seen women applying makeup on public transport, from your bog-standard lick of lipstick to some honestly impressive liquid eyeliner application. Believe me, many women step off the metro looking entirely more refreshed than when they got on (disclaimer: I am not one of them). Actually, I tried to put mascara on on the metro for the first time today and it is so much harder than I ever imagined. Props to all the Mexican women who do that shit daily.


Sidenote: Keep your eyes peeled for the women using spoons as eyelash curlers. Honestly, it’s genius.

Things No One Tells You About Living in Mexico

31. Seatbelts are optional (kind of)

This is another controversial point, but seatbelt use in Mexico is so much lower (read: usually non-existent) in comparison to seatbelt use in the UK. I wouldn’t dream of not wearing one at home, but when I’m in Mexico it literally never even crosses my mind to wear one. In fact, only once has a taxi driver asked me to put one on (in Mérida, Yucatán) and the only other times I’ve used them are when friends give me lifts.


Sidenote: You can be fined for not wearing a seatbelt though, so even though their usage might not be that common, take care if you decide not to clunk, click with every trip.


32. You’ll be lucky if your care parcel arrives

If you want some treats from home, take them with you, because the Mexican postal service is not all that reliable. I was lucky enough to receive my parcel without problems, albeit it two months late, but other expats I know in Mexico haven’t been so lucky – my housemate had her parcel held by customs and had to pay a sugar tax on the contents (which struck us both as absolute invented bullshit, because my chocolate bar laden box made it through without a hitch), and parcels I sent to my boyfriend when I was in the UK just never arrived.

mexican postal service

33. If it rains, you can wave goodbye to efficient transport options

Mexico, contrary to popular belief, does have rain. In fact, it has a very well-established rainy season between the months of April and September and the roads are notoriously bad when it comes to flooding. You know how Brits (in the south) don’t deal with a light dusting of snow that well? You know, they close schools and newspaper headlines scream out at us that it’s snowing as if we can’t see that for ourselves. Well, that’s what happens with rain in Mexico. The metro is slower than ever, buses are packed with people who all smell like wet dog and everyone huddles in stores for shelter rather than just get wet. It’s a disaster.

34. Loose cigarettes are everywhere

Social smoking just becomes that much easier when loose cigarettes are sold by street vendors, from stalls and in bars all across the country. While this is technically not allowed in Mexico, it still happens, so prepare for that temptation if you’re planning on moving to Mexico.


Sidenote: They still sell the clicky menthol cigarettes in Mexico, the type which everyone knows is the gateway cigarette.

Things No One Tells You About Living in Mexico

35. You won’t want to live anywhere else again

This is perhaps one of the most dangerous things no one tells you about living in Mexico – you’ll never want to leave! If you’re anything like me anyway, you’ll fall head over heels with the country and people (in more ways than one) and probably won’t want to live anywhere else again.


If you want to read more things no one tells you about living in Mexico, click here. Alternatively, check out my Quick + Dirty Insider Guide to the Best Neighbourhoods in Mexico City


60 comments

  1. The Wayfarer 11 March, 2017 at 02:04 Reply

    OMG, the PDA! It was so weird to see teenagers literally sitting on top of each other, making out in the park. And the wedding dress street in Guadalajara! Who needs so many wedding dresses??? I mean I know you have weddings + quinces, but still. That\’s a lot of dresses.

  2. Nat 11 March, 2017 at 14:21 Reply

    Hi I think that you are not very good informed, I\’ll help you but as a mexican and Im very offended with the first paragraphe, like seriously ? Who can be so ignorant to think that are not tampons in Mexico ?

    2.-In the pharmacy there is a doctor who can help you but normally the people who goes is the one who has no money to pay a doctor in the hospital or prefer to go there just because is easier because as in the UK you have to wait to get an appointment.

    3.-The seatbelts are obligatory! If you are not using one you can get a fine!
    You need to know more or ask to people if you want to write a blog in order to not say things wrong.

    • Lauren 11 March, 2017 at 14:28 Reply

      Hi Nat! Thanks for your comment. RE the tampon point – in the post I actually say that you can get tampons here. I was told repeatedly before I came that you couldn\’t, which is incorrect, and so wanted to correct the, as you say, ignorant thinking about this point! I also know that you can get appointments at the hospital, I just think it\’s interesting that you can see a doctor in the pharmacy in Mexico – again, just wanted to let people who might move here know their options. Finally, I aaaalso know that seatbelts are obligatory. However, I very rarely see them being used and this is a list compiled from my experiences. As far as I\’m aware though, they\’re only obligatory for the driver? Correct me if I\’m wrong! Contrary to what you might think, I actually do know what I\’m talking about!

      • Grey 18 September, 2017 at 22:01 Reply

        Hi.. in her defence (Laueren’s) the first paragraph was her busting that myth… it is only idiotic that people would think that in the most populated city in America (and second in the world), you couldn’t find tampons, it’s downright ridiculous.

        And on the seatbelt issue.. I’ve been to CDMX a couple of times, my parents lives there, and while it is mandatory I’d say that not even 50% of the population in the city follow the rule, so let’s give her a break beacuse it is sad but true.

        While knowledge is necessary for many things, realities are everything if anything, diverse, she wrote this list based on her experience and her expectations. I am not Mexican, but I am south american, I’ve lived in the States for years, and I am currently living in Panama. Though it is true, there are sooo many stigmas around our different cultures, many are in some level correct, now when we deny them, not only are we lying to ourselves, but we are not helping in the correction of these little annoying things that we DO do. Don’t get me wrong, I love, love more than ever my heritage, now that I am older and have kids of my own, really appretiate it. But c’mon we’re still lacking in a lot of departments that don’t makes us joyful, just makes us inneficient and troublesome.

        • Lauren 19 September, 2017 at 02:54 Reply

          Thank you! At least some readers understood what I was trying to say haha 🙂
          There are things wrong with every society and like you say, there’s no point denying them. Nothing about this list was meant to be offensive, they were all just observations based off, as you rightly say, my experiences and expectations. Thank you for your comment!

  3. inlocamotion 11 March, 2017 at 18:43 Reply

    Great post!! I would move to Mexico in a heartbeat, honestly. I spent a few months traveling around the country and I absolutely love it. Thanks for sharing this very informative and honest post about life in Mexico! Looking forward to checking out more of your writing 🙂

  4. Cali 11 March, 2017 at 18:58 Reply

    You\’ve acquired quite a bit of useful tips living in Mexico! I will be visiting in May so this is very helpful for me! I love how number 1 was about tampons, lol. Great tips!!

    • Lauren 11 March, 2017 at 18:59 Reply

      Ah, yes, the controversy causing tampons issue. At least you know you don\’t have to pack for periods before going to Mexico now!

  5. helenanglin 11 March, 2017 at 20:04 Reply

    My boyfriend and I have been in Mexico nearly three weeks (travelling around for a few months) and I loved this post. A lot of things you talk about we\’ve seen, especially all the PDA! We also could never find any blutac when we lived in China. Perhaps it\’s weirdly British…?

  6. kad8585 11 March, 2017 at 20:47 Reply

    This is a great list and I loved reading about all the little idiosyncracies of mexico, like all the women slather on the makeup in the subway. But glad they had tampons. And i didn\’t even know that was a rumor. Lol.

  7. ravenoustravellers 12 March, 2017 at 09:27 Reply

    Love reading posts like this as I find out so many interesting facts that i\’ve never heard of before! I was completely flummoxed by the baby shoes hanging from the bus, but just read the comments and seen the answer!! we\’re planning a visit to Mexico this year so have pinned this post! 🙂

  8. Aaron Smith 12 March, 2017 at 20:39 Reply

    Nice post! I actually live on a road with like 10 flower shops in Coyoacán. I would add \”you\’ll have to learn to wear flip flops in the shower\”. At my local swimming pool at least there are signs everywhere saying that it\’s strictly prohibido to be barefoot at any time in the changing room. I\’m still trying to figure out exactly how to wash and dry my feet and get dressed without getting my pants wet.

  9. Natasha 12 March, 2017 at 21:57 Reply

    Love the article! Fun to read as a mexican. Most are true. I am also a General practitioner and the \”handing out antibiotics like sweets\” has always bothered me! Its so true tho!

    • Lauren 12 March, 2017 at 21:58 Reply

      It\’s nice to get a Mexican perspective on the situation, and I\’m super pleased you think it\’s a pretty accurate list! Thanks for the comment 🙂 (and yeah, the antibiotics thing is soo frustrating)

  10. Laura Bronner 16 March, 2017 at 18:22 Reply

    hahaha #21! My snot is ALWAYS DIRTY. It\’s just nasty.

    As for the penchant for prescriptions – that happens on the daily in the US and it happened all the time when I lived in Korea too. Doctors are drug dealers in most countries these days (jk, sort of).

    The banking in person stuff literally drives me BONKERS. I have to pay my gas bill at the bank every single month. I can\’t pay it anywhere else, can\’t do it online, can\’t do it at an ATM. I have to SIT AT THE BANK with everyone else who also has to pay their bills. I once waited TWO HOURS. Literally bonkers.

    This is a great list – wish I\’d read some of this before I moved here hahaha

    • Lauren 16 March, 2017 at 18:23 Reply

      Thanks! I\’m planning on updating it soon/ doing a part two cos there\’s just so much I forgot! Any suggestions??

  11. Thalia 16 March, 2017 at 23:38 Reply

    All the tips are very accurate except for the one of the toilette paper, it is more hygienic to flush the paper, in some places like restaurants are sign that tell you not to, but that is because the fear you may clog the toilette, theres no other reason, so flush it girl!

    • Lauren 20 March, 2017 at 08:58 Reply

      Thanks for your commment, but I never said it was more hygienic to throw it in the bin! I just said that Mexico has a very non-flushing policy when it comes to toilet paper. I agree that it\’s way cleaner to flush! 🙂

  12. Isa Kegel 17 April, 2017 at 22:06 Reply

    Hi Lauren!

    I loved your post! As a Mexican, it is always a pleasure to read or hear how others see us as a country. A couple of updates on your post: while most banks ask you to do things in person, Banamex and Bancomer have ATMs that act as bank tellers, so you don\’t need to line up in the bank and you may go at odd times and still pay. On the other hand, while having a Banca Electrónica or online bank is made in person the first time, I can tell you that I have not stepped in a bank for months now. You can pay basically anything from your phone or computer safely.
    Tampons are available as you say in most cities, whereas smaller towns do not because women still think they might get lost inside them! It\’s a matter of sexual education at lower income families.

    Something else that proves true: always ask for the Mexican price. If you are a tourist, most probably they\’ll give you a higher price, specially in stalls and craft stores. As the exchange rate for Brits and Americans is ridiculous ranging above 20-1, most tourists pay 3-4 times more than we do because they just pay for it as it seems cheaper than it does back home. But once you earn Mexican pesos and the exchange rate is 1-1, you\’ll find useful the term \”regatear\” and always ask if that is their final price or ask a Mexican friend to do some research beforehand so you don\’t get mugged.

    We are always glad to receive people in our country that truly appreciate how great and beautiful it is, despite those who most frequently see us in horses, hats, barefoot and in pigtails. Thanks for letting others know that we have showers and restaurants, tampons, pizza, hamburgers, doctors and actual houses! (I have been asked if we do have these in Mexico, believe it or not!)

    • Lauren 17 April, 2017 at 22:20 Reply

      Thank you so much for your comment! How great that you liked the post 🙂
      Yes I agree about the bank info! I\’m with Santander and also have online banking now which is much easier but MY GOD it\’s such a pain at first.
      Glad you agree about the tampon point, I seemed to get a lot of outrage about that from people!
      And yes! I work on \’mexican wage\’ prices and don\’t appreciate been overcharged. I try my best to avoid it but looking like I do, I doubt I get the \’normal price\’ much (if ever!) I always try and check with mexican friends to see if I\’m been scammed!
      All this said, I still love Mexico! 🙂

  13. Donna Meyer 3 July, 2017 at 06:14 Reply

    Great post, Lauren. I live in Mexico too, in San Miguel de Allende, and this post is spot on. Especially the last item. Becuase just no. I never want to leave Mexico.

  14. Mariea Leil 1 August, 2017 at 19:04 Reply

    Hi , I am wondering what it is like to rent places in Mexico. I have a family member possibly moving there the end if October who has never been south! I read somewhere thstbit us next to impossible to temt your own private apartment.

    Thanks!

    • Lauren 1 August, 2017 at 19:12 Reply

      Hi! It is tricky, that’s for sure. You often have to provide a ton of documentation plus several deposits. You also need an ‘aval’ who will cosign the contract for you, and agree to cover the rent if you stop making payments. The ‘aval’ can’t be just anyone, it has to be someone with good credit/ enough money/ Mexican etc., and being an ‘aval’ for someone is a BIG DEAL so it can be hard to find people willing to do it. There are companies that will act as your aval though, but I’m sure they’re not cheap. If the move is only temporary, it might actually be easier to rent an Airbnb long term. How long will they be in Mexico for? (Also, please double check all this info, I’m speaking from my experience but I’m by no means an expert on renting in Mexico City!)

  15. Juan Jiniker 31 October, 2017 at 04:39 Reply

    Hello!
    Was born in Mexico but brought to the states when I was 3 so I haven’t been in Mexico for 20 years & I might be removed soon & I’m terrified about going back. I hear stories all the time about crime & corruption from both people coming from there & my family members about people getting robbed or killed for their phones. My grandparents where kidnapped & we had to pay a ransom to get them back safely, the police didn’t help cause they were involved so my grandparents hid in the states for a little over a year before having to return to defend their property from government seizure (which they lost). You seem to be having such a great time & I was just wondering what you do to keep yourself relatively safe? If I do end up having to go back I want to experience the best part of Mexico, not the worst.

    • Lauren 2 November, 2017 at 03:40 Reply

      I stay out of anything that might land me in trouble (drugs and dodgy areas, mainly) and I use my common sense! I’m not saying that’s something that will stop you getting kidnapped. In fact, the fact I’m white probably has a lot to do with that, as I’ve heard kidnapping happens mainly to small business owners who are less likely to report it now… Mexico is a corrupt country, and there is violence. But not everywhere.Do your research and you’ll be fine!

    • Veronica Farrelly 13 December, 2017 at 18:17 Reply

      If you do wind up being deported or whatever, try to get on the voluntary repatriation program to the INTERIOR of Mexico, assisted by the Mexican Consulates. Don’t let them just dump you in Tijuana, Nogales or Juarez! I hear it’s vastly different for repatriados because those who never left, feel like you’re “Americanised” while, of course, the country you’ve been living in most of your life doesn’t want you there because you weren’t BORN there. It sucks, I know. There are migrantes agencies to help you if you do wind up coming back. Mostly in Mexico City, though. As an “American” Mexican you may get picked on more than an actual American would, sorry to say. I don’t know how they arrange it but if you get on the voluntary repatriation of Mexican nationals into the interior program the Mexican consulate somehow arranges for you to get on a plane, don’t know what they do to get around the passport requirements of airline travel. Charter flights directly into Mexico City, maybe? Or maybe instant same-day “emergency” passports issued at the consulates, I don’t know.

  16. Juan mendez 6 November, 2017 at 20:37 Reply

    Hello Lauren: Your post is very entertaining and funny. It is understood that it is your perspective and as a Mexican who has lived abroad, I want to provide you with some additional information: 1. You can find tampons in many commercial centers of large and medium-sized cities throughout the country. 2. Mexicans can even give you free accommodation if you look for it and ask for it properly example the group “Backpackers MX” on Facebook. 3. Completely true. 4. it is correct 5. Certainly in part, there are also officials who help and there are already procedures online. example “tramitanet” on internet. 6. All banks in Mexico give you the option of electronic funds transfers so that you can transfer the payment to your tenant. You can also do it from your bank abroad. 7. True in part. The initial process of opening an account is personal but other procedures can be done online “electronic banking” or by phone. Hsbc, Banamex. Bancomer has the best service because its policy is that you do not go to a branch and it has the best technology for the client. 8-12 true. 13. True in part. Currently, many buses are of the new generation and already in some cities such as Puebla and Leon, they use hydrogen as a fuel and there are no more shoes hanging on them.14. true. 15 and 16 true. You can find what you want or you fancy in Mexico from the newest “high end” to antiques. also operate online markets such as amazon, bestbuy, ebay, mercadolibre that take the products to your home. 17. partly true as already mentioned, the new ones have routes without obstacles and you can pay with a prepaid card, their performance is better than the ones you mention. Available in Mexico City, Leon, Puebla, Acapulco, Pachuca and other cities. 18. true in part. This is decreasing because pharmacies are already asking for a prescription to sell antibiotics, it is not so easy. 19 and 20 true. But Lauren you have green hair (you look heemous) and that draws attention where most brings it black. 21 true 22. true in part Depends on the location where you are, if the coast is very hot, in Mexico City it is generally a temperate climate. but in the metro it is very hot. 23. Sad but true. 24. true. 25. In part, we already talked about buses, oxxo and 7 eleven accept debit cards. 26 to 30 true. 31 false. And most people always use the speed belt. 32. Some of the mail is increasingly efficient and the packages arrive in less time, the shipping cost is very cheap. but if you want to ensure in Mexico there are several international messaging such as DHL, Fedex etc. 33 to 35 true. extra data Mexico has many of the services of US companies operating. more and more US companies provide services in Mexico. Here you can find stores of international brands including the niche cone Tesla motors and Tesla Home operating in Mexico. If you are interested in a service or product from the USA or Europe you can search online if it is available in Mexico. certainly nothing will be lacking in this country

  17. Martina 12 November, 2017 at 17:55 Reply

    I’m thinking to move to Mexico after the new year. I’ve been there three times already and I absolutely loved it. My boyfriend is Mexican, we are together for 2 years already but we live really far away from each other. So, I was thinking to move in with him.
    I have some questions for you.
    Did you know Spanish before moving to Mexico?
    And what did you study? Is it possible to study in English?
    Please if you can link me some helpful websites I’ll appreciate it so much.
    Thanks!

    • Lauren 12 November, 2017 at 20:04 Reply

      Hi Martina! I did know Spanish before moving to Mexico, I never studied in Mexico though (I worked), but it is possible to study there. You’d have to ask someone else for more specifics on that though, as I’m not sure 🙁 Maybe start by checking out the UNAM page.

  18. Brian 27 November, 2017 at 22:19 Reply

    One point that was completely glossed over was CRIME! I know of two women from our college who were raped in totally different cities in Mexico and going to the police sounded more violating that the crime itself! If you like to throw all caution to the wind and never think about personal safety, then by all means Mexico is the place for pre-adults who never consider reality!

    • Lauren 27 November, 2017 at 23:32 Reply

      To reply to your first comment about ‘glossing over’. I’ve never glossed over the dangers of living in Mexico; however, this is a post about thing NO ONE tell you about living in Mexico. All anyone can seem to talk about is how ‘dangerous’ Mexico is. In fact, many places in the US are far more dangerous.
      Secondly, and sadly, women are raped all over the world, every day. This is not limited to Mexico. In fact, it happens with impunity on a regular basis in the US too, and the police are also roundly useless when faced with rape allegations. This is not new, nor limited to Mexico.
      As for your final sentence, I have no words for such narrow minded thinking.

    • Veronica Farrelly 13 December, 2017 at 17:58 Reply

      That’s exactly how it felt getting the purse-snatchers caught, reporting the crime, and trying to get my purse back!! They act like they’re not used to women REPORTING these things!! That we must be “American” because we report these things like we’re used to having rights or something. Well, fuck no. IRISH women are even more hot-headed than “Americans” and I’m about to rip the arm off of the next man with his hand anywhere near what’s left of my bags!!
      And I can’t say “it’s these Mexicans…” because since I’m half French-Polynesian I “look like” one of them myself. That’s why it’s so much more degrading and an outrage. They rip me off and I “look like” one of them!! (Well, maybe Guatemalan or Panamanian).

      • Lauren 14 December, 2017 at 03:10 Reply

        These things happen regardless of whether you feel you blend in. That’s why robberies also (shock!) affect Mexicans in Mexico too.

  19. Heather 29 November, 2017 at 16:41 Reply

    I just wanted to add that you can pay for your water and light bills online now by registering on the aguakan and cfe website, I live in Quinatana Roo, I am not sure if the water is only for her. But this is the way that I pay, as well, for rent most landlords now are okay if you ask them to do a deposit to their debit cards. If they have bancomer for example it is so simple you can deposit at the atm or with other banks you can do the deposit at the oxxo. This is what we do because of weather and timing it never works to meet and person and I hate, as you do carrying all that cash with you. Although, safety never has been a problem, where that is concerned.

    Also to be added, with all the bad publicity from the states about the Riviera Maya and living in Mexico in general. I am a Canadian who has been here for over 5 years and next year I will finally be a full time resident and will be looking at buying a home. The news exploits drug crimes that almost never affect the common people. There is a funny statistic about the crime here versus the crime that happens with the same population of people here and in Orlandos area of DisneyWorld, the place dreams are made of, and there are more murders and crime per capita there than here, who would have estimated that?

  20. Veronica Farrelly 13 December, 2017 at 17:49 Reply

    I’m guessing by reference to the Metro you’re talking about Mexico City and the other parts of Mexico which vaguely resemble “civilisation.” A city bigger than London, and about 500 times more dangerous! Of course, I’ve not made it down there yet because I got as far as Juarez and Tijuana and promptly got my passport stolen in Juarez and then my whole purse snatched in Tijuana. I have the Irish Embassy “on” getting me a replacement passport but my purse and debit cards and phone are tied up at the police station in Tijuana never to be seen again, probably, since they told me it would be just to “photograph them for evidence” and that was two bloody weeks ago, how long does it take to take a picture?!
    Mexico City may be better than this but I can’t afford to take my chances getting KILLED next time finding out! I’m looking into IOM Voluntary Repatriation programs for hopefully soon after my passport gets to the Irish Embassy.
    It’s been suggested to me that I CAN get on the bus from here down there with just a photocopy of the passport for all those damn “checkpoints” because this country is savage and stupid and their laws say if your passport’s been stolen, YOU go to jail for “being without ID.” Not the thief or thieves. YOU. Like I brought it on myself by what, BEING HERE? The first time, I “brought it on myself” by falling asleep in the room I was staying in, woke up to some guy in my room going through my purse! How’d I “bring that on myself”? And the purse-snatchers, I fought, held on to the purse for dear life, and chased them down the damn street yelling!!
    They claim they “need” English teachers, then treat anyone who SPEAKS English like THIS. At least, Tijuana and Juarez.
    I’m Irish but I know damn well this is all because they think I’m “American.”

    • Lauren 14 December, 2017 at 03:11 Reply

      I’m sorry this happened to you, but your comment is unnecessarily judgemental, not to mention fearmongering, especially when you admit this is a place to which you haven’t even been yet.

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