Posted on 02 December 2013
Mexico is country of many faces. It has a mix of ancient and modern, a mix that many countries wish they could replicate but cant. The reason they cant is that they simply don’t have the colorful and full history that Mexico has. If you want to see the real Mexico, you need to travel […] Continue Reading...
Posted on 18 November 2013
Mexico is a place of beauty and brutality. It is a fun country with an extremely dark side to it. That dark side is drugs. Since 2006, when the war on drugs began, more than 100,000 people have been killed and over 26,000 more have disappeared without a trace. Until now. Shortly after the war […] Continue Reading...
One of the main reasons why many people move to Mexico is the cost of healthcare. Mexican healthcare can often be provided at about 50% less than the equivalent cost in the US and, although they are cheaper, they still have extremely high standards.
Mexico has a wide range of private healthcare facilities, all fully equipped with the latest in modern equipment and built to the standards expected in the USA. Here we look at some of the healthcare facilities you can expect to find in Mexico and the best way to get access to them:
The first thing you should do when you move to Mexico is find and acquaint yourself with all local healthcare facilities.. Locate the hospitals and clinics, local doctors, dentists, opticians and pharmacies and make a note of any phone numbers.
The 911 equivalent for Mexico is 060 and will get you access to all emergency services.
If you are living in Mexico permanently it may be worth considering taking out a health insurance policy. The cost will depend entirely on the level of cover you require and your age, whether you are a smoker or not, etc.
Many of the doctors in Mexico speak excellent English – you can get a list of these from the local consulate. If it is an emergency and you need an English-speaking doctor, the nearest large hotel will be able to help you with details.
One thing Mexico doesn’t have a shortage of is dentists and many people, particularly Americans, travel to Mexico for dental work every year. As with doctors, get the details of a dentist that comes recommended and speaks at least some English in case of dental emergencies.
There are opticians on just about every street in Mexico and you will not have any issues finding one to give you an eye test or supply you with glasses and lenses. Most of the bigger ones offer the complete service but if you chose to use a smaller one for your test, you may have to go elsewhere to get your glasses.
Eye tests are free provided you purchase your prescription from the same place and you get to choose from a wide array of frames, including designer ones, at a fraction of the cost.
Hospitals and Clinics
The best hospitals and clinics are based in the major cities and this is where you will need to be if you require specialist treatment. Private treatment is not cheap in Mexico and you will need to provide proof of private insurance or a credit card that has enough credit to cover a few thousand dollars in treatment costs.
All healthcare staff are professionally trained and have access to the latest in modern equipment, medicine and medical technology.
Pharmacies and Medicines
No matter where you are in Mexico you will find a pharmacy and many of them are 24/7. Up until July 2010 it was possible to purchase just about any medication over the counter but some now require the presentation of a prescription first.
Medications are a good deal cheaper in Mexico than in the US and many people cross the border daily to fill their prescriptions.
One of the considerations when moving to a new country is the cost of living and how it compares to what you pay now. Mexico is no different. Although you hear many stories about the cost of living being lower in Mexico than it is in the USA for example, its best to do some checking first. Of course, much is going to depend entirely on how and where you want to live.
As a rule, you can expect to pay a great deal less for your groceries in Mexico, including, fish, meat, baked goods and fresh vegetables. Generally, especially if you buy from a market, you will also find the food much fresher, particularly as a lot of it is caught, reared or grown in the area.
Travelling around Mexico will also cost you a good deal less, particularly if you use public transport. Flights across country are cheap in comparison to domestic fares in other countries, mainly because of the introduction of a great deal more competition.
Where you will lose out price-wise is on your utility bills. Electricity prices are higher than the US and parts of Europe, mostly because there just isn’t any competition. Telephones, both fixed and cell are also a lot higher in price although internet calling services, such as Skype, are beginning to take off, making the cost of calling a lot more affordable.
You must always be careful of the water. Although piped water can be cheap it isn’t always safe to drink. Unfortunately, a severe lack of maintenance, coupled with what seems to be an almost unanimous decision for people not to pay their water bills has left the mains water system in extreme disarray. Bottled water is your best bet, although it isn’t a cheap option.
Electrical goods, certain types of clothing and computers are definitely more expensive in Mexico, owing mainly to the need for them to be imported. You will also find the cost of buying a vehicle in Mexico a little more expensive than the US.
The cost of running that vehicle is, at the moment, quite a bit cheaper, basically because the price is subsidized by the government. This stops the wild fluctuations in price we see across the US and Europe although nobody can tell how long the government can continue to subsidize it.
Renting in Mexico can also be pricier than equivalent paces elsewhere, especially in the more popular towns and cities, or those near to the US border. In less popular, more out of the way places, prices are much cheaper although you do have to look carefully at everything else that goes with living in a lesser known place.
Most of the finance in Mexico revolves firmly around a centralized economy, which is heavily related to places such as Mexico City. Thus, you will find the cities far more expensive that perhaps a small fishing or farming village or a town near to the beach. This also accounts for wages being a good deal higher in the cities than they are elsewhere in the country.
Mexico is a huge country, covering almost 2 million km2. Planning a trip there can be a bit of a chore, knowing where to visit and what to do once you get there. We have for you the top seven places to visit in Mexico for you to choose from
While Cancun is known as a holiday destination for spring breakers, there are quite a few decent family resorts for you to visit and stay at as well. However, Cancun is not just for the beach holiday lover. It is also home to several major Mayan ruins for those interested on seeing a little bit of ancient Mexico.
Playa del Carmen
This is one of the most popular dive destinations in the world, with plenty of vibrant sea life and caverns for you to explore. Where it used to be a fishing village, now it is a little more upmarket with golf courses, a good shopping center and the ruin of an ancient Mayan village.
This is a pretty obvious choice for anyone. Mexico City is built in what was once Tenochtitlan, the capital of Aztec Mexico. It is an eclectic mix of modern and ancient, housing world class restaurants and museums with carefully preserved relics and a mix of several different cultures.
Merida is the Yucatan capital of Mexico and is a must-see for any archeological enthusiast. There is a mix of Mayan and Colonial with ruins scattered about and you will find that many residents still observe Mayan cultures. On top of that Merida is the base for many of the colorful and flamboyant Mexican festivals.
For those not interested in the beach, this inland city may be just the thing. There are museums and churches, historic places to visit, right alongside rodeos and soccer matches as well as bullfights. Near to the city is Tequila, where that famous liquor is made, a visit to be put on your to-do list.
Tulum used to be a walled city but is now a thriving beach resort, overlooked by towering Mayan ruins. It is home to several well-known and well-preserved archeological sites and, for those that want a bit more adventure, there is an underground river to explore and the opportunity to dive into caves located in the center of a forest.
Acapulco is not for the faint hearted, nor those who need their sleep. The city is crammed full of nightclubs that operate the whole night through and a few beautiful beaches to relax on in the day time. It’s a place for the foodies as there are several gourmet restaurants here and it’s also a haven for the watersport lover as well.
To be honest, these seven places to visit are just the tip of the iceberg of a beautiful country. However, it does have its ugly side and you would be wise not to wander off the beaten track at times. With a properly planned visit though, Mexico should be on your list of destinations to visit.
While Mexico has always been a popular holiday destination, it is fast becoming a favored place for people to move to. More than 1 million Americans have chosen Mexico to move to and it is also a popular place with the Canadians.
The big question is, what does Mexico have that other countries don’t? Why don’t these people move to Russia, or India or Japan? Research brings up five main reasons why many people choose to relocate to Mexico to live out the rest of their lives.
To be honest, this is the main reason why many people relocate to another country. Some find that the pace of life in their country is too fast, others find they can’t manage on their pensions. Mexico is slow compared to the likes of the UK and the USA, there isn’t so much need to rush and the hustle and bustle can only be found in the larger cities.
For many, retirement is nothing but a dream in their birth country because any savings they have made towards it have gone on the fast rising cost of living. What pension they do have goes nowhere and, as is the common story coming out of countries like the USA now, pensioners have to choose between staying warm and eating properly. Moving to Mexico negates that choice.
- Cheaper Health Care Costs
In countries like the USA, the cost of health care is too high for many to afford. In Mexico, you can look at paying at least 50% less in health care costs and, for an older person or one who has a need for regular medical attention, this represents a huge savings.
Medical care in Mexico is excellent and most of the health care staff speak good English as well. Some necessary procedures in Mexico cost a good deal less than the cost of the health premiums in the USA so it really is little wonder that people are so keen to move there.
- Better Weather
Again, this is the main reason why most choose to move on. For some, the thought of another cold, icy winter fills them with dread and the lure of warmer weather all year round is simply too much to fight.
While Mexico does have changing weather patterns, and it certainly does get plenty of rain in parts, it doesn’t suffer the extremes of temperature that other countries do.
- Lower Cost of Living
For many, particularly those on a pension, this is a huge factor in their decision to relocate. Mexico enjoys a low cost of living compared to a lot of countries. In some parts of Mexico, $300 per month will give you a very good standard of living. That amount in the USA or the UK would leave you scraping the barrel.
- Excellent Beaches
While this isn’t a vital reason, it does factor into some people’s calculations. The beaches in Mexico are beautiful white sandy beaches lapped by warm water. Diving opportunities are also excellent in Mexico due to the abundance of sea life and underwater caves.
Instead of Chinese, Indian or Thai, more and more people are turning to Mexican cuisine as their meal of choice. However, while most of us have probably tried one or two of the more common dishes, unless you have actually been to Mexico, the chances of you trying anything more authentic are slim.
Every country has its own staple foods – the UK has potatoes and meat, the Italians have pasta and tomatoes and the Chinese have rice, Mexico has beans and corn. These are the basis of just about every good Mexican meal.
Although can be served on the cob, the corn is more commonly ground into a flour to make tamales and tortillas. Spices also feature very heavily in Mexican cuisine, the most common one being, of course, chili powder. However, herbs, cinnamon, cocoa, garlic and onion are also widely used.
In the 4th Century, rice was brought into Mexico via the Spanish trading ports and today remains as a popular part of the cuisine. The introduction of rice lead to what is now known as fusion cuisine, two or more different cuisine cultures blended together.
Another, perhaps surprisingly, important part of Mexican cooking is chocolate. In fact, it may interest you to know that the word chocolate is actually derived from a Mexican Aztec word – xocolatl. It used to be made into a drink, never eaten, and was also used for rituals and as a currency, bringing the real meaning to “chocolate money”.
The worth of the cacao bean as a currency actually produced very good value for money – 100 cacao beans would buy you a whole turkey and 3 would get you an avocado. Areas that were taken by the Aztecs were charged their yearly axes in cacao beans as well, making it quite a valuable form of currency.
As with everything, Mexican food has evolved throughout the years however, in many parts you will still be served traditional Mexican dishes. It might be of interest to you that Chili con Carne is actually NOT a Mexican dish – it actually originated in Texas in the US.
So, what are traditional Mexican dishes? Enchiladas, tamales, Chimichangas, taquitos and various soups are just a few you will come across but there are a few odd ones, those that are not so well known that you may just be offered if you visit Mexico.
Camote is a dish made with sweet potatoes, cinnamon, honey and butter, not something you would associate with Mexico but is apparently extremely delicious. If you are offered chapulines, be aware that these are grasshoppers, fried lightly in oil flavored with chili, garlic and onion.
Nopalitos are part of the cactus plant, more specifically the prickly pear cactus. Very nice in a salad and often cooked and served in tacos although, if they are overcooked they are slimy. Platanos is another dish you might be served – plantains lightly fried so they are crispy on the outside and soft in the middle.
Wherever you go in Mexico to eat, ask for the house specialties, as this is a surefire way of getting to taste some of the best and most authentic Mexican cuisine on offer.
Although Mexico is a beautiful country, it does have its seedier dark sides. It has a long history of alcohol, gun and drug related criminal activities, not to mention the smuggling of illegal immigrants.
Because of where it is located, Mexico has always been a staging point for supplying the US with contraband and drugs. During prohibition, the country was responsible for keeping the US supplied with alcohol and, once prohibition ended in 1933, the drug smuggling began.
This continued at a reasonably slow pace until it picked up and became major in the 1960’s. During the 1980’s and 1990’s, a Colombian by the name of Pablo Escobar was the main man behind cocaine smuggling. This changed when enforcement activity was stepped up and he joined forces with narcotics traffickers in Mexico.
Part of the ever-growing drug problem in Mexico can be tied to this partnership. At one time, the traffickers were paid in cash. However, this changed to a payment by product arrangement and the transport groups started to receive between 35 and 50% of each shipment in payment.
They now became distributors in Mexico as well as transporters to the US and beyond, quickly escalating the drug issue in Mexico. For a long time, the drug cartels had free reign and ran amok. These cartels were responsible for a massive 90% of the cocaine that arrived in the US as well as meth, marijuana, and heroin in 2007.
In 2006, things started to change. The Mexican military began to intervene and thus the drug war began. At the time, and to this day, the Mexican government insists that their work is all about bringing down the drug cartels rather than stopping the actual trafficking.
This they have left to the US to deal with on the border, maintaining that, if they can break up the drug cartels, the trafficking will dwindle anyway. In all honesty, that is not about to happen. Mexico is a major producer of cocaine and marijuana and breaking the cartels will not stop that.
You only have to look at the figures involved to see why it will never stop – the wholesale income per year from illicit sales of narcotics is estimated at anywhere between $13 and $50 billion. However, other figures exist to show the true cost.
Between 2006 and 2012, the official death toll from the drug wars stood at more than 60,000. With the countless number of people still missing that number could be almost double and that’s without the deaths due to the drugs themselves.
Before 1980 there were no drug cartels. These originated from one man – a Judicial Federal police agent by the name of Miguel Angel Felix Gallardo, better known as The Godfather. He was the controlling force behind drug trafficking between Mexico and the US. The cartels were born after he split his operations to stop it all from being destroyed in one enforcement swoop.
While this is one of the downfalls of Mexico it is not one that should stop people from visiting. As long as care is taken and rules are followed, everyone can enjoy the beauties and adventure that Mexico has to offer.
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