Regardless of your life stage, arrive in Mexico to live and retire or to work, there begins an inevitable settling-in period as you go through the motions and logistics of the arrival period, finding (or moving-in to) your home, and then beginning your journey of adopting and adapting to life situations in Mexico.
You’ll need to exercise patience during this period, and if you have a partner or family arriving with you, it’s important to be mindful of their needs and any emotional and practical support they may require as you work together to cultivate the beginning of your new lifestyle.
Mexico has a distinct feel and ambiance, and you will each need to give yourself time to adapt to the physical environment as well to the cultural changes and nuances you and your partner/family will find yourselves surrounded by.
This article offers some practical tips and resources that can help you prepare for the period of adapting and settlement in Mexico.
Exchange your residency visa for a residency card
To begin, a reminder: when you arrive in Mexico with a residency visa sticker(s) in your passport(s), you must begin the visa-to-residency-card exchange procedure within 30 calendar days of your arrival date and before the residency visa’s expiry date.
If you forget or omit to do this, or allow your visa to lapse, your visa will become void, and you’ll need to leave Mexico to restart the residency application from a Mexican consulate abroad. If you need help with the visa exchange procedure, consider using our Mexico Immigration Assistance service.
Adapting to the local climate and elevation
If you have moved to one of the many towns or cities in Mexico situated at elevation —principally Mexico’s colonial cities and its three big cities— you may need to allow time for your body to become accustomed to the ‘thinner’ air prevalent in these places if you did not live at elevation before you came to Mexico.
You may also need to take time to adjust to the general climate where you chose to live, for example if you’re near the coast you may have to acclimatize to the heat and humidity, especially if you accustomed to the climate of a cooler or colder country.
Further insight about adapting to the local climate and elevation
Read our article Breathing easy at high elevation in Mexico for practical guidance about adapting to living in the highlands
Learn about Mexico’s seasons throughout the year
Even in the winter months Mexico gives you long daylight hours and extraordinary light
Read latest articles about climates and weather in Mexico
Become acquainted with Mexican culture and local customs
If you have not yet read our guides and articles about Mexican culture and traditions, the settling-in period is good opportunity to do some research and get acquainted with Mexico’s culture. Mexperience offers a wide selection of articles and guides to help you—connect to the resources using the link below.
Further insight about Mexican culture and customs
Article series: Essential skills for expats
Latest articles on social etiquette in Mexico
Latest articles on Mexican culture and traditions
Foreign Native: insights into local culture and customs
Begin to develop your social and community network
A vital component of becoming integrated into your new lifestyle in Mexico is to seek out and connect with local people, community groups, and others with similar interests to you. Learn more about exploring common routes and approaches that foreign residents use to discover and cultivate new connections and friendships as part of their lifestyle in Mexico.
Find a school for your children
If your you have school-age children to raise, the settling-in period is also a time to visit the schools on your shortlist and choose one for your children to attend. Getting your children into a school routine will help them to find and make new friends, settle into their new surroundings, and begin to engage with the local language and customs.
Learning or improving your Spanish
Language gives you access to the culture and makes your lifestyle experiences richer and more meaningful. Learning or improving your Spanish is an essential part of settling-in and making Mexico your home. Mexperience offers articles, resources, and connections to help you.
Further insights about learning Spanish in Mexico
Discovering the Spanish language in Mexico
Why it’s important to learn Spanish when you live here
PinPoint Spanish Series: insightful and engaging articles that help you to understand the context and nuances of Mexican Spanish language in everyday usage
Latest articles about Spanish language
Find Spanish courses online and at language schools in Mexico
Managing your money and using bank services
If you’re not already familiar with Mexico’s currency, take time to get acquainted with the coins and banknotes you’ll need to deal with every day; and you can open a Mexican bank account when you have your residency card. Mexperience offers local knowledge and insights about money and finances in Mexico.
Further insights about money and financial services
Discover Mexico’s currency and banknotes
Latest articles about money and finances in Mexico
If you’re retired, apply for your INAPAM card
If you’re 60 years of age or older and hold a Mexican residency card, you can opt to apply for the INAPAM card that offers discounts to seniors living in Mexico across an ample range of products and services.
Settling-in to your home in Mexico
Whether you are renting or buying a house in Mexico, there will be a period of moving-in and settlement to your new home—and all the things that entails, including dressing the home with furniture and adornments, and might also include things like finding a gardener, a housekeeper, and someone to maintain your swimming pool if you have a private pool in your garden.
You’ll also need to learn about how to get all your domestic services in place: electricity supply, gas and water, telephone, internet access, etc.
The Mexperience guides to House Maintenance and Home Security in Mexico includes lots of practical guidance and local insights about managing and maintaining your home in Mexico.
Get connected to stay in touch
Although you might keep your home country mobile phone (at least for a while) you’re likely to benefit by getting a Mexican mobile phone number so that you can communicate locally at low cost, and others in Mexico can contact you easily.
If you plan to open a Mexican bank account, you’ll need a Mexican mobile phone number to be able to download and access the banking apps they provide. Mexican mobile phone plans offer affordable choices with unlimited calls across North America and generous mobile data allowances in exchange for a modest monthly fee.
You’ll also need to consider how to get your home connected with internet: there are various choices of providers and if your home is situated in a rural or semi rural area, there are options including mobile data and satellite services.
Further insight about staying in touch in Mexico
- Learn about mobile phone plans in Mexico
- How to dial telephone numbers in Mexico
- Wireless home internet services
- Internet via satellite services
- Using WiFi in Mexico
- Latest articles about staying in touch when you’re in Mexico
- Also, our Mexico cost of living guide includes a chapter about communication service providers.
Create your ‘essential local services’ list
When you move into you home in Mexico, compose a list of “essential services” providers locally. This ought to include:
- medical services like a local doctor, emergency clinic, dentist, opticians;
- local emergency service numbers—you can dial 911 in Mexico, but look for local service numbers as well;
- contact numbers for your gas suppliers, the water company, the electricity company, your drinking water supplier;
- contact details of anyone who attends your property regularly, e.g. your housekeeper, gardener, pool maintenance, etc.
- helpful service providers including fumigators, dry cleaning, local taxi services, etc.
This list is likely to grow over time and may include the names and contact numbers for helpful plumbers, electricians, carpenters, and other local domestic service providers.
If you live in a gated community, that list might already exist as part of the Homeowner’s Association pack—check locally. If your home is not part of a gated community, then asking friends, colleagues, and neighbors, or local community and association groups (including online groups related to specific locations) is a useful way to begin compiling your list of essential local contacts.
Tip: If you already know a plumber, that person might also be an electrician (the two trades often accompany each other) or one trades person might be able to refer you to another as they might work with others on larger building projects, etc. So ask your plumber if you need a carpenter or ironmonger, for example.
Discovering food and drink in Mexico
One of the most attractive aspects of living in Mexico is the access to lots of fresh, colorful, and flavorful food and refreshing drinks. As you settle-in, you’ll begin to explore and discover your local shops, markets, and food purveyors. Here are some articles and guides for further discovery.
Further insights about enjoying food and drink in Mexico
Insights about shopping for food in Mexico
An abundance of locally grown fresh produce
Locally run organic open-air markets
Finding and buying imported food and homewares
Read our guide to markets and shopping in Mexico; and
Browse the latest articles about markets and shopping
Taking time out for leisure and recreation
Amidst the demanding routines of physically moving to Mexico and taking time to settle into your new life situations, it’s worth remembering that Mexico’s enormous choice of leisure and recreation activities (supported by its agreeable year-round climates) is now on your doorstep—and as a resident, you can take full advantage of everything Mexico offers you for leisure.
Mexperience helps you to discover places, travel experiences, and opportunities for enjoying your leisure time here, and our travel associates can help you to create custom itineraries if you need assistance with your leisure trips.
Further insights about leisure and recreation in Mexico
Travel inspiration: Discover extraordinary travel experiences in Mexico
Browse the latest travel and leisure articles on Mexperience
Travel Guides discover beaches, colonial cities, big cities, pyramids, and nature
Custom tours: our travel associates can help you plan your trip
Further research and resources
Mexperience offers you a comprehensive online resource of information and local knowledge to help you discover Mexico, explore choices, find opportunities and plan a new life in Mexico.
- Articles about lifestyle planning in Mexico
- Finding suitable accommodations
- Approaches to choosing or changing your Mexico lifestyle
- Discover places to live in Mexico
- Principal routes to legal residency in Mexico
- Latest articles about lifestyles in Mexico
- A regular Mexico Newsletter you can subscribe to for free