So, you are curious about what life in Mexico is really like. Is it as enjoyable as it sounds? How you will adapt and adjust to the changes if you decide to make the move?
Wait, it’s not all happy hours and hammocks? Well, yes, a lot of the time it is, but there’s still day to day tasks that need to be taken care of. Moving to a new country is an exciting, big step in your life and we want to provide you with as much information as we can to make the transition enjoyable and natural. Here is an overview of some things you’ll want to know.
Even if you have brought along some items from your home country, you’ll probably need some basics for your new home. Thankfully, because Puerto Morelos is located directly between Cancun and Playa del Carmen, you will have plenty of options at your fingertips.
A great place to start is Telebodega, which has a nice selection of mattresses and frames, along with couches, dining tables, end tables, and appliances. For home furnishings, décor, and kitchen items, Liverpool is a high-end department store with many choices. Telebodega and Liverpool have locations in both Cancun and Playa del Carmen. Another option is Walmart, where you can find many basic, inexpensive household goods, and get your grocery shopping done at the same time.
If you are looking for something truly special and high quality, you can stop by Zara Home, which is located in the Paseo del Carmen Shopping Mall. They carry beautiful home décor, sheets and pillows, candles, and other goods you won’t find elsewhere. While you are there, visit Miniso, which is an Asian variety store. Upstairs, there is a surprising amount of affordable, quality kitchen and bath items, and it’s always fun to browse.
There is also Costco in Cancun, along with Sam’s Club, and City Club, which you could think of as a Mexican version of Sam’s Club. All have some options for furnishings, bedding, towels, and appliances. And of course, there is always online shopping. Check out Amazon, (yes, many items can be shipped here!) Amazon Mexico, and Mercado Libre.
Last but not least, don’t forget about all the local, handmade options for home furnishings, textiles, and décor. There is a wonderful variety of artisanal products scattered throughout the Riviera Maya and beyond. In Playa del Carmen, there is a glass blowing workshop called Vidrio Soplado Mexicano that sells its beautiful recycled glassware to the public. Take a day trip down to Tulum and explore the unique, bohemian shops along the beach road, or head inland to Merida or Valladolid for other unique items.
We have three main grocery stores here in Puerto Morelos. There is the Chedraui on the neighborhood side of town, and is well suited for the locals, carrying more than just groceries. There are also many household items, a small selection of pet items, a hardware section, and more. The Chedraui Selecto on the beach side of town is our newest addition, and caters more to the tourists, with prepared food, wine by the glass, beer by the glass, souvenirs, and plenty more fun stuff! (But fewer household items.)
A good thing to remember is to try to avoid the grocery stores around 5 or 6 PM, as it is when all the locals get out of work, get off public transportation, and head to the store. So, even if the parking lot seems empty, you’re going to be faced with lines backing up into the aisles. No matter how much extra time you have in your day, you probably would rather not spend it waiting in lines.
If you only need a few fresh fruits or vegetables, our local fruterias are a great choice. There are many around town, and you can stop in and pick up just what you need quickly and easily. The same is true for our corner stores and convenience stores. They stock a good variety of last-minute dinner items, snacks, and drinks.
Especially when the temperatures start to rise in the summer, it can be helpful to make a plan for what you need and go first thing in the morning before the heat of the day or later in the evening after the sun has set.
Grocery shopping may be a little different at first, but explore a bit, and soon you will be able to find most items you are used to or reasonable substitutes. You’ll probably find some new favorite regional ingredients as well! It’s part of the fun.
These days, we’re all spending more time at home. Fortunately, we have several convenient delivery services. A service called Grovery makes trips to Costco, Sam’s Club, and more for a reasonable delivery fee. There is also De Volanda Puerto Morelos, a local delivery service that will bring you pretty much anything you need – food and pharmacy items, meals from restaurants, beer, and other alcohol, to list a few. Does it get any easier than that?
It’s good to remember is that eventually, you will find everything you had in your home country – a dentist, a doctor, a chiropractor or massage therapist, a car mechanic, and so on. Most, if not all of it can be found right here in Puerto Morelos. It just might take a bit of time to find the right one for you.
Don’t underestimate the power of networking. There are several “ex-pat” Facebook groups with people who made the move to Mexico just like yourself, and they are happy to answer questions and give recommendations. You can also learn a lot by getting out, being friendly, and meeting your neighbors. Most times, they enjoy chatting and can be a valuable resource.
If you are looking to have some maintenance done on your home or your car, keep in mind that Mexicans are sweet, polite people. They are also very industrious. Because of this, you will rarely hear “no, I don’t know how to fix that”. Do your homework, and just like anywhere in the world, hire someone who comes with recommendations from someone you know.
As you first start interacting with the friendly, welcoming locals in your new town, keep in mind that just because you encounter a native Spanish speaker who has learned English to better communicate with foreigners, there are nuances of languages that just won’t translate perfectly. As with most things in life, patience and a sense of humor will go a long way while we all our best to communicate with each other. And of course, the Google Translate app is everyone’s best friend here. You will find that most people are patient and understanding as you endeavor to communicate.
Another aspect of your daily life in Puerto Morelos will be transportation. Once you have your residency, you can purchase a car here and legalize it to drive fairly easily and inexpensively, but it is also very possible to get by without one just fine! Our charming little town is easily traveled by foot, bicycle, or – and we think this is the option that is the most fun – scooter! It will take you less than ten minutes to travel from Selva Escondida to the beach by scooter. How’s that for the beach town lifestyle? Taxis are plentiful, and there are several public transportation systems as well. The collectivo is a van that can help you travel around town. The ADO bus has a route on the federal highway that can take you to Cancun, Playa del Carmen, Tulum and beyond if you are looking to head out on a day trip. Whether or not you decide to own a vehicle in Mexico, there are plenty of safe, reliable options to choose from.
Take your Time
As you explore your new environment, you may discover you hope to check things off your list quickly, as you are used to doing. Although you moved here for a slower pace of life, the drive to quickly complete tasks can be strong. It helps to take a breath, slow down, and realize everything does not have to be accomplished today. If it’s not essential, take a break, and enjoy a happy hour or a siesta along the way.
Also, although we mentioned many options outside of Puerto Morelos, rest assured that our little town has just about everything you could want or need. There are quality hairdressers, barbers, nail salons, carpenters, metal workers, plumbers – you name it, this Caribbean town has it! You can choose to be a homebody or head out and explore everything the rest of Quintana Roo has to offer.
Keep a grateful attitude
If you start zeroing in on the things you don’t understand, can’t change, or don’t like, your adventure south of the border will be pretty short-lived. It’s true, life here is like life anywhere; it comes with its challenges. It can be helpful to focus on the things you love, and what drew you to Mexico in the first place: the abundant sunshine, the easygoing lifestyle, tacos, and the fresh produce, to name a few. We are sure that the longer you are here, the longer your list of personal favorites will grow. Make sure to play tourist in your own backyard and head to one of our local toes-in-the-sand restaurants t to remind yourself of what a gift this life in the Riviera Maya is.
Try to resist the urge to squeeze Mexico into the mold of your home country, recreating the same experiences here that you had there. Part of the beauty of the country is that it is different from where you are from. Try new things. Taste new foods. Visit a fruteria on your morning walk and bring home a bag of fresh, tropical fruit and make an incredible smoothie for breakfast. Order some tacos for lunch and watch the children play across the street. When you try new things you wouldn’t usually have the opportunity to, it can enhance your appreciation for your adopted country and way of life.
Life in Mexico will change you. The vast majority who have made the move say for the better; that successfully navigating and learning to thrive in a new country and culture is one of the greatest adventures you can have. It will give you a sense of fulfillment and accomplishment that only others who have done it can truly understand. Before long, you’ll settle comfortably into your new life in the Riviera Maya, grateful that you took the plunge.
Are you ready?
Does this sound like the right adventure for you? Are you ready to give up the daily grind of life in the States or Canada and come see what has so many transplants to our Caribbean shores wishing they did it sooner? Send us an email and we’ll get started making it happen! We’re happy to answer any other questions you might have about Selva Escondida and Puerto Morelos.