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#1 cozitsnice

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Posted 09 May 2011 - 12:08 PM

My partner and I are thinking of moving from Southern California to Cozumel and are looking for any advice to take into consideration before cementing the plan. We have been there and are planning a trip down for a month to make sure we like it.
1. We have 2 dogs. (a golden retriever and a yorkie)
2. We are used to a very technilogical lifestyle and would like info on intenet
3. We recently signed a 2 year contract with Direct TV and would like information on the service there on the island or other options for American TV wathcing.
4. Our income is 36K+ (combined) without working and we're wanting to live modestly but not have to be strapped.
5. We are selling our vehicles and plan to walk/bike/possibly ride scooters or taxi everywhere.
We are just looking for things to consider, the viability of living on the island without working and any ideas or things to consider before we book a month and begin our process of decision making.
Thanks in advance to any and all who can give us a little help!
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#2 CZMDM

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Posted 09 May 2011 - 01:52 PM

Internet is slow by world standards (Mexico-3.48 Mbps max vs. USA 10 Mbps max). Local internet speed averages 3Mbps.

Electric costs are probably close to 3 times what you are used to.

A lot of people get around on bikes, but it is very hot and is not for me a a primary source of transit.

USA DirectTV not a problem. There is a local internet and satelitte guy who is great (Nemecio Interian-Cozumel Wireless).

Grocery prices seem to go up constantly. This is second hand. I stay out of grocery stores.

Dogs not a problem, but there are tons of ticks. Would be a little warm for a Golden Retriever outside of a/c.

You really need a car.

If you are buying a home and not renting, 36K a year would do fine. If you have to rent...I don't know. You sound like you have normal North American needs, which can be costly down here.

Good luck!
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#3 Kandy

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Posted 10 May 2011 - 10:01 AM

It has been my understanding that DirecTV is not available on the island. Dish Network is bootlegged. There is, however, USTVNow (www.nationphone.com). Broadcast channels are out of Philadelphia; you get an HD DVR; with the bluetooth this box works on 3 TV sets. The box is free with the lowest level of service.

Electric rates vary depending on where you live on the island. Unfortunately, I'm in the most expensive location and my August bill (with daytime thermostat on 78 and nighttime on 74) can run around $450. Other areas are much less expensive.

I think grocery prices are a little higher than in the states, especially if you just have to buy those American products you are accustomed to.

We did buy a car for those days we want to go to the east side or somewhere farther back in town. I agree completely with Mike that a bicycle isn't my thing, especially in the summer months. Once you get your FM3, you can buy a used or new car. I find license plate renewals to be outrageously expensive.

In contrast to taxes on license plates, property taxes are next to nothing here. Insurance is also quite a bit less.

Your income of $36K will be no problem for you at all. In fact, I'd say it's more than adequate.

My husband and I just recently, in December, made the big leap. We sold everything in the states and moved down full-time. It's the best decision we ever made. Best wishes!
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#4 ccannon707

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Posted 10 May 2011 - 01:46 PM

I wouldn't make any kind of decision on transportation, i.e. feel like you have to get a car, till you go for your month and see. It will depend on your location and activities. When I'm there I walk all over, take the local collectivo/bus (in town, not to tourist/beach areas) and catch cabs if it warrants it. Paying for a cab once and a while is way cheaper than the expense of owning or renting a car. I always lose weight when I'm in Cozumel. I feel it's because I'm walking, not driving as we tend to do alot in the US. Walk to the grocery and cab home with your goods. Didn't get that much? Walk home with your bag. It's a different mind set. I did borrow a bike to ride for a few weeks and it can be a hot (perspiring) activity + I was wary of cars on the road. But I thought of it as exercise and it was fun for the most part. Some neighborhoods aren't as busy with cars as others.

You are doing the right thing coming to check it out first before making the leap. There are lots of folks on this board who have done it. therefore a wealth of info for you if you decide to go for it. Good luck and let us know how it turns out.
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#5 cozitsnice

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Posted 10 May 2011 - 02:20 PM

Wow, this is great information. We don't want to come down during the "best of Coz" weather. We want to see if we can manage during the long haul since we aren't planning on being snowbirds. Tix are $420 RT LAX to CZM right now and we're thinking of coming mid August until mid September. Comments on this? After we have been there for a month posing as locals we'll make the final decision and start applying for FM3 status, selling belongings, etc. ccannon707 I see you're from Sonoma. Very cool there (my partner is from Sac and I was there for 15+ years), is it a struggle with the weather? That's really our biggest concern. We do love the Caribbean weather and so far the weather hasn't been a problem on our travels. I think by going during late summer we'll be able to make an informed decision about the move. Also, I speak poquito Spanish but was fluent as a small child, I speak better French than Spanish and learn language pretty quickly. Hopefully my Spanish is still in my brain somewhere and will come back during immersion. Are there people willing to help gringas there initially?
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#6 Carey

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Posted 10 May 2011 - 03:53 PM

August/September is not a good month to bring that Golden Retriever down. In fact, many airlines actually restrict travel for baggage area pets because of the heat. So leave your big guy behind if you come at that time of the year. Otherwise, even if you find an airline that will bring your pet, you'll worry yourself sick if you get stuck out on the runway in August. Pets die all the time which is why so many airlines have these restrictions now.

Non stop would help. Personally, I wouldn't do it.

September/October is our big hurricane season so you could possibly be getting even more than you bargained for coming at this time of the year.

You should be able to live on $36,000/year if you are somewhat frugal. Electricity costs have been pointed out and the worst bills are from using the AC. So find a rental place with good breeze through -- windows on the east and west ends of the house are a must as that's the trade winds direction. Also do NOT rent a place that faces south or you will bake.

You can get by just fine without a car if you pick your location right. Walking distance to the Mega and Chedraui is key and then there are always taxis waiting to take you home and that will cost around $3 US comparable or a little less IF you are staying close in in Corpus Christi or, my preference, Centro and two blocks beyond up to about Avenida 40. between Airport Blvd and Calle 11.

Internet is much slower than stateside and to get the fastest connection available non-commercially, which we have, costs nearly $100 US/month. But it's plenty fast -- typically around 1500 kpbs although my download speeds for bit torrent movies tops out at around 615 kbps slowing even more during times of high use. It's totally dependent on location, however, as I have friends using cablemas instead of Telmex that have much faster connections who are paying less for it. Suffice it to say, I work on the internet half every day and my husband trades stocks online and we are happy with what we have except that we wish it was cheaper.

Search the archives for all kinds of tidbits on moving here. Also search for DirectTV as I believe there was a mention of that awhile back. I thought I remembered someone saying it was now available. Most people have Dish Network which they order up in the states and pay for in the states and then they bring the receiver down here, buy a minimum 3 meter dish for around a grand and get one of our local guys to point it and set it up. We are just on the edge of the range for the Dish Network satelites so you have to get a 4 meter dish if you want reception when it's raining for example. Again not sure about Direct TV but whichever service, it's unlikely you'll be able to get your local network channels.

We'll be happy to continue to answer questions here as you plan your exploration. Fire away and we'll try to help.
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#7 cozitsnice

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Posted 10 May 2011 - 04:06 PM

Oh no, the dogs won't be joining us on the first trip down. We have a good boarding facility that a friend owns so that's not an issue. We have been talking about the possibility of hurricaines and it's probably more likely than a major earthquake is here on the SA fault but no matter where you are there are risks. We do web design so lots of the work can be done offline until we upload it but we tend to spend a lot of time on the net. What is the procedure in the event of a hurricaine? Evac to the mainland? If so is it a good system? I can't believe what good info I'm getting here and how helpful all of you are. How available are small places for one month? Will we be looking at paying vacation pricing or are there places that will rent for a single month for around the same price as lease pricing?
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#8 Carey

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Posted 10 May 2011 - 06:48 PM

We do not evacuate for hurricanes. For one thing, by the time you're sure it's going to hit, it's usually too late to get out anyway. For another, this is an amazingly safe place to ride out a storm. Witness our bout with Hurricane Wilma, the strongest storm ever to hit the Atlantic in recorded history which stopped and squatted over Cozumel with TWO eyes for 72 god damn hours.

When it was over not a single life had been lost. Within 10 days electricity was restored to centro where I live. Phone service and internet sooner than that. They brought in the military and they were handing out free food parcels door to door. The way Mexico responded to the needs of hurricane survivors put the US sadly and abjectly to shame when one considers Katrina and New Orleans.

Buildings here are reinforced concrete. The wind does not take them down. There is no storm surge on the channel side where the town is. The only thing you have to watch for is renting a place that floods with the water table rises in heavy rain. There were people walking around in their homes with water up their waists for weeks after Wilma and this was back in town where no storm waves ever surged but plenty of rain came.

So ask about that with your rental.

There are smaller places for rent by the month but most want a longer rental. I would try the old Days Inn on Calle 11. Maybe someone else can remember what they've named it. I know they rent by the month and have basic kitchen. And there's a place called something like Villa Sol up on AVenida 30 around Calle 5 that looked okay and may rent monthly. Prolly you'd need to stay at an inexpensive downtown hotel for a few days while you checked places out.
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#9 sailsgal

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Posted 11 May 2011 - 09:10 AM

Do all what the last posts have said...come down, find a place that you can walk to services i.e. grocery stores and in to town. Find a rental that doesn;t have central a/c as this can run you high in electric bills...Many places have zoned a/c in each bedroom. Air flow breezes are great in the right locations.
You could probably rent a car for a week or longer from one of the lower places like Less Pay across from Mega or ISIS on 5th...this way you can explore the island. Taxis are great in town but high if you want to tour the island.
Talk to people when here, ask questions and get first hand info about living here. Enjoy the island and all that it offers, but be realistic.
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#10 cozitsnice

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Posted 11 May 2011 - 09:45 AM

I am not interested so much in exploring the island as much as looking at the prospect of long term residence. The cultural aspect is very attractive to me. I'm pretty sick of the materialism here in the states and my exprience with Mexico (although I haven't spent a lot of time in Coz specifically) is that the focus is on family and enjoying life. I'm focusing more on a relaxed life than a tropical paradise. Where I'm currently living there is a HUGE Hispanic population and I adore the produce in the stores, the bakeries, and the tamales that are sold in the parking lot of the local Walmart. I find myself getting anxious while waiting in line at the store and I realize that a relaxed culture means that I'm going to have to relax which is something I want to work on.

I have another question. Is it possible to ship a couple of crates of things from the states to Coz? Bikes, electronics, massage table, espresso machine, guitar, things like that. Would it be cost effective to send those things or would it be better to just get there and start looking for those items? I started this board too late. I just sold a little truck that would have been ideal for running around the island. Our other cars would probably be better of being sold since I'm assuming a small(er) car is the way to go down there.
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#11 Carey

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Posted 11 May 2011 - 10:29 AM

It's expensive to import stuff. Better to wait until you decide if you want to move here, get your FM3 visa and then you can import anything you want one time only under a menaje de casa. Bring down as much as you possibly can with you on the plane even if you have to pay for extra bags. Bikes you can get here. Prolly no on the espresso machine although ya nevah know these days. Guitar you could bring although there is a shop that sells good ones (expensively) right downtown. Electronics are much more expensive here still although prices are going down a bit. I had to pay a gasping $12,000 pesos for a 42" LG brand LCD television, for example, and I'm seeing similar in the states for nearly half the price. Stereos and speakers quite a bit more expensive.
massage tables I would wait on.

You are correct that it is generally more mellow and laid back here on the island. However, there will be some adjustments to make. Like the differing sense of time can be charming when you're sitting on the beach waiting for your beer and quite something else when the painter promises to arrive at noon and still hasn't come three days later. Then shows up at a very inconvenient time.
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#12 cozitsnice

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Posted 11 May 2011 - 02:02 PM

Ok, we've found a place that's $1500USD for a month and includes wifi, cable and all utilities. Good location, central air, 2br, 2ba, 2 story. By going that way for a month we can avoid staying in a hotel and looking around for a place to rent. If course, we won't be that extravagant when we move there. The only concern is that the time it's available is July-mid August. I know that we'll get an idea of what the heat can be down there at that time which will help us when making our final decision. Is there any reason we should not do this oh-wise-and-helpful-ones? We will only be taking suitcases with our clothes when we go the first time, dogs, belongings, furnishings, etc. will stay here until we are sure. Also, are there places to snorkel that don't cost $20 like Chankanaab does? We snorkeled there and absolutely LOVED it but we'd like to snorkel often for exercise and entertainment but the cost of going to someplace that charges us each time could become prohibitive in a hurry.
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#13 Carey

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Posted 11 May 2011 - 03:09 PM

Sounds perfect. What is the location more or less?

Try going with out the air conditioning except at night and see if you can take it. Central air run around the clock in a two bedroom place will be prohibitively expensive but, for some, they simply can't function at all well without it. Invest in a couple of fans if necessary and plan on lots of cold showers.

Lot of people snorkel at the old Dzul Ha now called The Money Bar and you can hang out there for the price of a beer or snack. Snorkeling is better than at Chank which actually isn't all that good. Some people say the snorkeling at the Coral Princess is good close to the wall and there again you can go for the price of using the restaurant. Buccanos is another one you might want to try.

search using the term snorkeling and you'll come up with some places. It's mostly all what they call 'concessions' -- the restaurant doesn't own the beach itself which is federal property. But you can't sit down and use their facilities without buying something. Lot of locals snorkel between Fiesta Americana and the Money Bar on a regular basis. Where you put in depends on the direction of the current that day. Because if you get tired after floating with the current from one place to the other, you can always get out an walk back provided you're wearing surf booties under your fins.

Locals also snorkel near the caleta. Go into the caleta and turn right. Keep going right through some gates past the building for another block or so on a rough road and there's a place to put in. I never wanted to snorkel here, however, because of all the boat traffic as its very near the mouth of the marina. Although if you stay to the north of this and watch and listen carefully you might be alright. There are plenty of great captains down here but there are also a fair number of hotdoggers. And few are specifically on the lookout for snorkelers so it's up to you to stay out of their way.
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#14 cozitsnice

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Posted 11 May 2011 - 03:36 PM

Here is the info in the ad for the rental. The person was very responsive and answers e-mails in the evening. I swear, I'm going to be one of you all for people like me should we end up moving there. This board is so helpful and I would like to be someone like you helping someone like me :- )

Is Casa Christi on the beach?
No, but the house is 4-blocks from the shore.
Are there restaurants within walking distance?
Yes. There are several good restaurants like El Turix less than a block away and others like Chilango’s Cocina Economica within a short walk.
How about Grocery Shopping?
The house is 3-blocks from Chedraui, the largest grocery and general merchandise store on the island. And just 2-blocks away in the other direction there is a terrific fruit and vegetable store where you can pick up a liter of fresh squeezed juice for $18 pesos.
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#15 dangen

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Posted 11 May 2011 - 05:01 PM

[Locals also snorkel near the caleta. Go into the caleta and turn right. Keep going right through some gates past the building for another block or so on a rough road and there's a place to put in. I never wanted to snorkel here, however, because of all the boat traffic as its very near the mouth of the marina. Although if you stay to the north of this and watch and listen carefully you might be alright. There are plenty of great captains down here but there are also a fair number of hotdoggers. And few are specifically on the lookout for snorkelers so it's up to you to stay out of their way.
[/quote]

that option will soon be gone. they are about ready to cut the channal to the new marina which will cut off the road to paradise (no pun intended)
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#16 Carey

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Posted 11 May 2011 - 05:19 PM

That would be Joel and Mary Ann's place. They are friends of ours and very nice people. You'll have no problem dealing with them I'm sure and that's a pretty centrally located area right by the Corpus Christi church and near the big park there. Bikes would be good for that location but taxis will also be easy to get on nearby Ave 20. It faces north, too, always a big plus.

On another subject -- so they're finally starting work on the new marina, dangen? I'll believe it when I see it.
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#17 cvchief

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Posted 11 May 2011 - 09:28 PM

We took the in laws snorkelling at Playa Corona and thought was nice. Surprising amount of sea fans very shallow.
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#18 cozitsnice

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Posted 12 May 2011 - 11:05 AM

OK, we're booked from 7/1-8/14! Should we get snorkel gear here in the states or would it be better to get it on the island?
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#19 Carey

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Posted 12 May 2011 - 11:40 AM

bring your snorkel gear. Cheaper and better selection although if you do find you need something they carry a LOT of supplies at Cozumel Scuba Repair back in the hood. Ask about that if you find you need it.
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#20 Xuxan

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Posted 14 May 2011 - 01:57 PM

I am not interested so much in exploring the island as much as looking at the prospect of long term residence. The cultural aspect is very attractive to me. I'm pretty sick of the materialism here in the states and my exprience with Mexico (although I haven't spent a lot of time in Coz specifically) is that the focus is on family and enjoying life. I'm focusing more on a relaxed life than a tropical paradise. Where I'm currently living there is a HUGE Hispanic population and I adore the produce in the stores, the bakeries, and the tamales that are sold in the parking lot of the local Walmart. I find myself getting anxious while waiting in line at the store and I realize that a relaxed culture means that I'm going to have to relax which is something I want to work on.

I have another question. Is it possible to ship a couple of crates of things from the states to Coz? Bikes, electronics, massage table, espresso machine, guitar, things like that. Would it be cost effective to send those things or would it be better to just get there and start looking for those items? I started this board too late. I just sold a little truck that would have been ideal for running around the island. Our other cars would probably be better of being sold since I'm assuming a small(er) car is the way to go down there.



We just moved to Cozmuel to retire about 2 months ago from Sarasota, Florida. For residency in Cozumel, we have to prove income and a clean police record. We sold our house and packed only boxes -- 97 box / 5000 lbs (60% are books as my husband is an avid reader); no furniture because it makes more sense to buy here. I sold my car (2009 Prius -- sniff, sniff) and my husband bough a Jeep and drove it to Cozumel. (It is less expensive to bring your American car here than to purchase a car in Mexico because of their 10 year regressive sales tax.) I would say 'yes' to the items you mentioned because in Cozumel, the bike I have seen thus far is nothing like the ones we're used to in the States as far as technology goes. I will say the same about your massage table only because I doubt you will find too many stores here that sells it. One more thing, anything you shipped / bring with you that is more than 6 months is not subject to a 'value added' tax; anything under 6 months old is considered 'new' and will be taxed.

Regardless in any difference of opinion -- some say a 'menaje de case' is still needed, and some say it's done away with, I highly suggest that you will number the boxes as you pack, and itemized eveything you pack in that box in the 'menaje de casa' (or a home item manifest that allows you to bring your housefold goods, tax free, as permitted with the issuance of your FM3. This one time tax free 'menaje de case' is only good for 90 days) list. Having just arrive in the Island not too long ago, we have been doing more shopping than would be deemed 'normal'. But that is not to say that I cannot be wrong.

Both my husband and I are heavy internet users. We signed up with Cablemas here for our cable TV and internet services. Since arriving here a month ago, I ran into internet 'service disconnection' problems twice. I am not sure how long this 'lost service' lasted, because when I logged in again, the service was back up.

We have no complains at all about internet speed -- at least I cannot tell the difference between the speed here and that from the States (we had Verizon Fios). But then again, I hardly ever download movies, etc.

I understand that gas prices in the States is hovering around the $4.00 territory. Petmex is a Mexican State run energy company, and I believe that gas prices (I hope that my conversion from liter to gallon is correct) is around $2.85/gal. But even if my conversion is off base, being on the Island, most everyday businesses and services are spread over a very centralized area, so the need, and therefore, costs of driving to get your business done is less.

As for the cost of electricity... here in the middle of May, we still have not have the need to turn on the A/C. We have an unbelievable cross-wind going through the house, so maybe we're furtunate and does not reflect real life. Even without the A/C, in the middle of the night, we are cold. But who knows, we may be whistling a different tune in the coming months.

As for food prices; we have not been living here long enough to note the prices between then 'then' and 'now'. As a seafood lover, what I can buy fresh here, the price is more than reasonable.

But I do know this: In Florida, we had a 1,850sq ft house and paid an annual city tax of US$3,000. The house we bough here is 2,200sq ft, and we pay an annual tax of US$400. Our comprehensive umbrella home insurance in the US was US$1,750 a year while our comprehensive insurance in Cozumel a year is US$800. Hope this helps. And the best to you.
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