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Moving Down Next January.


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#1 YoloCoz

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Posted 09 January 2014 - 11:30 AM

Hi everyone,

My name is Eric and my wife's name is Peggy. We are coming down next January (2015) for a 6 month trial run. We are semi-retired and have sufficient funds to provide for us without needing to find work.  We have one year to get the house sold, build our existing internet based business to a level that will afford us a little better lifestyle (I have been calculating a $3000.00 USD /per month budget at our current income level...realistic?). 

One of the first issues I have run into is long term rentals. I have looked at a lot on-line and apparently, they are very hard to book. it seems that the property manager's will not reserve a house for you until one month before arrival due to the possibility (very likely) possibility that the current renters decide to re-sign their lease. Of course, you can understand my reluctance to wait until the last moment and I understand that the internet is very limiting as to what apartments you are seeing so, if anyone has any contacts I would be more than happy to field them :-) Our rental budget is approx. 5000-8000 / peso / month.

 

As the months go by I am sure I will run into other questions so I hope everyone can be patient with me....looking forward to meeting a few of you and getting to know San Miguel a lot better next year !

Thanks,

Eric


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#2 BettyfromToronto

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Posted 09 January 2014 - 12:43 PM

Welcome Eric & Peggy to this wonderful site.

 

My husband and are are moving to Cozumel in 2 weeks to retire there permanently so a little different than you guys....however; we do have the same problem as we are both arriving in January which is the middle of high season and rentals are hard to come by.  I also heard that landlords can get more money for weekly rentals versus monthly rentals but you should be able to get something ahead of time for a 6-month period starting January 2015.  Do searches on this site and other sites (like Cozumel4You on Facebook) to see what has been said before.  There are a lot of property management companies that you can e-mail.

 

You will find the people on this forum to be wonderful as they were so helpful with so many questions I had. 

 

PM me if you have anything specific to ask me.  Where are you coming from?

 

Betty


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Betty
Retired in Cozumel in January 2014


#3 YoloCoz

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Posted 09 January 2014 - 01:17 PM

Hi Betty! Mucho gusto te conocer (G.R.? :-) 

My wife and I are currently in Columbus, OH. While our initial trip is scheduled for 6 months, that is really a trial run. If we find we love it as much as we hope, we will make a move permanently. Yes, I have sent out about 4 or 5 e-mails to realty sites (everything you can find on google). We aren't interested in "living the high life" at the $1000.00 USD / week high rises on the strip. Just something comfortable and conveniently located to Los Mercados, since we don't plan on keeping a vehicle. Looking forward to the next 12 months of dreaming about Cozumel :-)

Thanks for taking the time to introduce yourself ;-) Congrats on your upcoming move!! Very excited for you! Keep me posted on what you love, what surprises you, and what becomes aggravating once you've been on the isle for awhile ! Thanks!

 

Eric


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#4 Charles

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Posted 09 January 2014 - 07:22 PM

Your budget of $5,000 to $8,000 pesos is possible, particularly for one bedroom apartments. You will need to come down, network and pound the pavement. It can be frustrating looking for an apartment and I doubt you can rent sight unseen without paying more. October-November are the months to look and always, the best deals, the best values will get taken early. If you try to wait or rent unknown, you'll be looking at the leftovers or over priced.

Are you familiar with changing gas tanks, dealing with gravity fed roof top tinaco water systems? Your low end won't include property management services. Be prepared for issues with Internet and cable TV hook up, can be fast and easy or NOT. Best to see a previous electric bill to get an idea whether you'll be paying 1B rates of about $1 peso or high consumption rates of about $4 pesos per kilowatt. It is nice to know who your neighbours are, do they raise fighting cocks next door or are you next to a cantina? Is it old construction = oven or more modern construction materials, much cooler & comfortable.

Your budget seems reasonable, but you'll spend more setting up your place and there will be an economic learning curve of extra spending learning the ropes. I have seen people that blew budgets on alcohol consumption alone. A big degree will be your psychological and emotional dependence to the culture you're leaving behind. God knows, you aren't far from gringolandia. If you find the need to visit a gringo bar every night or if you relish having lunch at the Mercado will be big factors in your budget and adjustment. Learn Spanish, live, eat and think like a Mexican and you'll do well and have fun.

Don't burn any bridges and have the means for a return flight. A tourist visa is good for 180 days which is a good taste, beginning,
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#5 YoloCoz

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Posted 10 January 2014 - 04:11 PM

Charles,

Thanks for the input! Yes, we have already realized that renting from the internet = highest price possible (if you can even find anything available). I did get an offer to rent this house: http://enjoycozumel.com/CasaLuna a little over my ideal range, but it seems very nice. Looks like it is in / very near to Flamingos...is Chedraui within walking distance from there? Bicycle?

I really am not in the know on maintaining a house on the island. ( changing gas tanks, etc...) so handling it all on my own is not a good idea at this time. I don't really want to be a tourist so much as to learn and experience the local culture, foods, etc... 

My wife and I are planning to travel in summer so we won't be broken-hearted to move houses once or twice. We expect to be travelling June-Aug. and Nov-Dec. So it is possible we could take what is available the first year and then spent Sept-Oct. looking for someplace we would be comfortable staying in long-term. This really is a trial run for the island life. My wife and I are just in a position to leave the 9-5/ 40 hour lifestyle, but it requires us to leave the states. We are mostly looking at Coz, but my wife holds hope that I will like Greece better :-) So, as I said, we don't feel any need to MAKE Cozumel work. We'll come down for six months and if it doesn't work for us we can try Greece :-)

 Great advice Charles! Thanks again for your input. 


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#6 Charles

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Posted 11 January 2014 - 03:03 AM

You'd certainly be experiencing local culture staying at Casa Luna. My guess is you didn't want to experience that much of a saturation. Yes it is close to the colonia Flamingos. It would be about 2 miles maybe to Chedrai and the Mercado municipal. It is close enough to Moby Dick Centro De Espectaculos to experience the shows and concerts without buying a ticket! The volume of the music would probably not break glass in windows, but might make quarters bounce on the table. I exaggerate only slightly. The price quoted appears real cheap for the potential value, but I wonder what the total monthly overhead would be. It would be way too far away from most things for my tastes as someone who used to walk most everywhere. It is a good example of your needing to view in person just what the overall package consists of and what negatives are in too close a proximity. It would have some positives as well.

The colonias that in my opinion that might be most appropriate for your stated intentions might be el centro, 10 de abril and Adolfo L. Mateos The Corpus Cristi area, the heavily marketed to and "highly desired" by North Americans, also called Gringo Gultch would have some conveniences, but is largely soulless and filled with empty vacation rentals. You might could find housing there as some people have dropped rates and it is convenient to shopping. It would be very low on the Mexican cultural experience you seek.

The best thing will be to come and look. Maybe arrange for a one month rental at a higher rate for a shorter rental. If you are serious about Cozumel for the long term, expect to pay more for your tuition in learning the ropes and seeking a gem.

Greece? Well that would be a pretty extreme alternative. I'd expect it to be economical due to their economic situation, but easy to blow your budget on so many places to go, things to experience. Factors to consider, you couldn't freely spend dollars there like in Cozumel where the dollar is an alternative currency. If you need something from the States or need to be in the States, it won't be a 2-3 hour direct flight. You can survive on English in most parts of town in Cozumel, although Spanish serves you better. Even among the townspeople that speak not a word of English, chances are they have dealt with the language barrier situation and don't come unglued.

My Spanish is far from perfect, but advanced conversational and with good vocabulary in certain areas especially when dealing with common concerns of service providers and accomplishing things far outside the tourist inquiries. It used to be fairly common in some of the places in more the outback, places unaccustomed to English speaking visitors, I might ask some very detailed and specific questions in Spanish, I would be greeted by a blank stare of a muchacha and get a response that they couldn't speak English. And then get in a dialogue, I was asking in Spanish, "but I couldn't answer you in English", did you not understand my Spanish, my accent and pronouncement might not be perfect, can you answer me in Spanish, "well, yes I could, but maybe if you came back later, someone might be here that could assist you in English". It used to be a real oddity in places of dealing with Spanish speaking Americans.

One bottom line contrast between Greece and Cozumel. Europeans in general don't particularly like Americans. Many Mexicans don't and the "higher class blue blood Mexicans" would attend colleges in Europe and shopping sprees to the continent, never "slumming" in Miami or New York. Cozumel in contrast of many parts of Mexico like Americans, the rich tend to send their kids to Universities in the States and members of the higher economic classes on the island, commonly marry Americans. A real contrast to many places.
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#7 Freezin' Canuck

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Posted 11 January 2014 - 11:09 AM

My wife and I have managed fine with our broken Spanish and many local's broken English(In the beginning and a few mistakes later, our real life game of charades gave way to a more serious study of Spanish). In our neighbourhood (Colonia Cuzamil), we have nice neighbours, reasonably quiet (New Years is the usual test and we and our friends slept through it---last of the fireworks this year were finished as I was getting up at 6 a.m.). Don't have the stress of a car--rent if we need to take visiting friends to the other side. Walk to town or use our Plan Locale for the ferry for the occasional excursion to Playa. Taxis to our area are extremely reasonable for a weekly shop to Mega or Chedraui. Cost of living is much easier on the budget than in Canada. For example, last night and the night before as we were having some construction work done on our place and had to vacate, my wife and I ate out at places suggested by locals. Amazing meals both times for between 160 and 200 pesos for both of us. I'm not a pork eater normally, but one of my local amigos introduced me to his favourite spot and it has now become a weekly habit. We had family and friends staying over the holidays and ate out often but our budget was never strained. McDonald's just down the street must be hurting. Naturally, there are frustrations as everywhere (deliveries not when they are supposed to be, cable or internet problems, screwed up bank statements, etc.), but learning to roll with them is essential. Oh and by the way, in our ramblings to and from town there are many "se renta" signs. Probably not on any web-site, but Charles is right. You need to come and explore and do a bit of leg work getting just what you want. There are good neighbourhoods and bad ones. We have just experienced unusual rains and some of the streets (and houses) were subject to serious floods. Friends who are buying here saw a beautiful place on the internet. Two weeks ago it had almost a foot of water in the kitchen.
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#8 Coz2wonder

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Posted 11 January 2014 - 01:11 PM

if you want to be within walking distance to the grocery stores, then you want to look for something on 10th, 15th, 20th, 25th, and 30th (north &south...also the 'Bis's) is as far back as you may want to go.

 

Use Google street map to get the lay of land around these areas.  Pin point the supermarkets, then take a "walk around" the areas.


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#9 YoloCoz

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Posted 11 January 2014 - 10:10 PM

Thanks to all for the input. Thanks to all the input (and many hours of research) we have determined that we will need to come down and pay the "premium" rates for a month or two while we look for what is more "ideal". As for Greece...well, that was my wife's fairly flippant remark trying to remind me that this is a "trial run" in Cozumel and in the end we may decide to "settle down" somewhere else (Greece? Costa Rica? Honduras? hard to say...someplace with a lower cost of living than the U.S. for sure). I personally became infatuated with Coz when we were there for our fifth anniversary, but recognize that there are a lot of places we haven't been yet...so, the final decision must wait until after we have a bit more exposure.

Two miles from Chedraui...that is closer than I had thought. Two miles is walking distance for us (not with  armloads of groceries though :-), so we would want to buy some bicycles if we were that distance from the nearest large grocery. Renting a car for day trips is inside our budget so that is good also. 

I agree that the big question with Casa Luna will be utilities. Having a pool can be really expensive. Here in Ohio the cost is elevated due to heating, but even without heating you are running the electric filtering pumps hours and hours per day....so ...We have sent out a feeler to the Prop. mgmt. company for Casa Luna inquiring about a two month rental. Two months may give us enough time to comb the local market and still allow us to extend our stay at Casa Luna if need be (or if desired). Thanks again for all of your help!


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#10 Charles

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Posted 12 January 2014 - 03:06 AM

Yolo, I can't imagine any serious discussion regarding rentals a year in advance. The cost of living really depends on the lifestyle you adopt/adapt to, Cozumel and Mexico in general ain't that cheap anymore. Remember those books from the 1970s and 1980s of how to live like a king on $20 dollars a day? In the early 1990s, I could be comfortable in Chiapas on $10 dollars a day.

I could live more cheaply in Florida than in Cozumel, but then I'd be surrounded by Floridians. I'd need to own a car and I might feel compelled to invest in items for self defense. Cozumel is changing, it is not what it once was, but the real benefit, the real attraction are the people. It is the people that make for an overall quality of life. Neighbors mean everything. There are some bad ones, but there are many good and if effort is made, great neighbors can be common. The lack of neighbors and the whole culture free environment is why I exclude Corpus Cristi as a place to live. Property and other crimes have been more common there.

If you'll learn the routes and don't mind pressing the flesh with the masses, the colectivos would offer very efficient and economical transportation. All routes lead to Chedraui, the Grand Central Station. It would be an easy walk to the stores, but then the price of a taxi home with groceries would only be about double the price of a colectivo for two people. Colectivo price is per person, a taxi price would be the same for 1-3 people.

For me the biggest cost of living difference is in not needing to own a car. I bought a car for the first time in 20 years for living in Alaska last year. I can not take the heat in Cozumel, even if I married an air conditioner. After eleven years of year round living, I swore I'd never spend another summer (April thru September) and I haven't. Then I tried seven months a year. Two years ago, the year my Mayan neighbors were calling the year with no winter, the heat about killed me and I haven't been back.

It can be what you make of it and learning minimal Spanish can open new horizons and really add to your experience. Compared to other places: Costa Rica was wonderful, but it was not cheap 25 years ago. Belize or Honduras, to have a decent standard of living would be costly and overall. you couldn't pay me to live there. Test Cozumel and see if it is right for you. It might be the easiest place for an American to try out.
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#11 Coz2wonder

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Posted 12 January 2014 - 09:38 AM

I've lived here 11 years full time.  The average temp during the summer is about 92.  We use our A/C on some days from about 3 until 8 pm.  Ceiling fans are a must here, regardless of the time of the year.

 

Your biggest expense will be your CFE (electric bill).  If you are sensitive to heat, and run the A/C a lot, then it may cost you more for your electric bill then your rent.

 

What ever you rent, look for mini splits instead of window A/C units.  I would be cautious about renting anything that has a second story, or has the main bedroom on the second floor (heat raises).

 

As for Corpus Cristi, that is one of the nicest areas to live in.  However, the population of the area has a number of  foreigners (foreigner=better goodies to steal) it can be a target for burglaries while the owner is not here. From what I read in the local rags, the "hoods" have the same if not more burglaries.  Just like anywhere else, make sure your windows, gates and doors are locked. 


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#12 Ali

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Posted 12 January 2014 - 06:37 PM

.


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#13 YoloCoz

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Posted 24 February 2014 - 11:07 AM

Was just rereading through this thread to refresh my memory on all the advice. A couple surprises since I last read through it.

1) I have been in contact with my friends on the island (a Mexican / Dutch couple) and I told them I was looking for a furnished house / apartment but needed to keep it under p8000.00 per month. His response (the surprise) was: "Wow! For P8000 you can have anything you want"! On his suggestion I started searching the internet in Spanish and, man, a whole lot of different results. I see many furnished 1 BR apts. starting at ~P4500 and going into the P6000 range. Two BR's furnished running between ~ P5000 - P10,000. So, it seems as though the P8000 range will fit comfortably. Mind you, these are mainly, not "Americanized" casas like "Casa Luna" we had looked at before, but still very nice.

Charles - I just noted that you stated "I could live more cheaply in Florida than in Cozumel..." That is a surprising statement. Only speaking for Miami, 1 BR apts (unfurnished) start at around $1000.00 US...at the same time, my wife ran a cost analysis on owning a vehicle (at least here in the states) and Charles is dead on! Even without a car payment it still worked out to around $7000.00 US just to have a car (per year) - that doesn't include gasoline!

Also - Charles makes a good point about "extravagant" expenses. I love dining out...that will be a challenge because I am currently in the habit of dining out whenever I want.

lastly, thoughts on this: Of Course, I recognize that is illegal to work in Mexico without the proper papers. From my research, it is not legal to even "make" money while on a tourist visa (i.e. subletting at a profit..which isn't technically working, but still earning money). Same goes for selling (i.e. bringing goods into the country for sale). No worries there, we don't "need" to work. But the following idea has been floating back and forth between us and our friends on the island. Our friends own a dive shop. The first month or so after we get there we will be finishing off our DM cert. Our friends had mentioned that once certified we could "help out" by coming along on trips to help with overflow (more divers than they normally take themselves) in exchange, we would dive for free. Kind of volunteering, I guess...but I just wonder if, since, were it not for us "volunteering" a native DM would have been used. So, while not earning money, it could be viewed as "taking" income from a native. Anyone have any thoughts on this? Our friends don't seem to think it would be an issue, especially, as they pointed out, the extra income from the extra divers would go to them plus the boat captain, which would be a net increase in Native income...semantics maybe? Honestly, the idea of diving for free sounds great since it would otherwise be my biggest entertainment expense, but then,,,even heavily "discounted diving" would be great! Just don't want to get deported and banned :-/


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#14 crunch

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Posted 24 February 2014 - 12:38 PM

I think the "overflow" customers deserve an experienced dive master not helpers.............  


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#15 YoloCoz

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Posted 24 February 2014 - 01:36 PM

ha...yes. I would agree with that! I had presumed that "helping" with overflow meant changing tanks and doubling with one of the two of them. It is interesting though because, during the DM course one is expected to slave for the trainer :-) and also bear the duties and responsibilities of a DM. Which is why one is certified as a DM once the "internship" is complete. This would seem to imply that, once certified, we would not be "helpers" but I understand your sentiment. Our friends have been diving the reefs of Cozumel for ten years or more. Certainly, 6 weeks of internship doesn't bring one into that realm of experience. Still, all experienced DM's began as new DM's...

More interested in anyone's thoughts on the legality of it. I would be perfectly happy to simply sling tanks, set-up gear and pass out sandwiches if I could dive for cheap :-)


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#16 Charles

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Posted 24 February 2014 - 10:33 PM

Yolo, I could live more cheaply in Gainesville than I could in Cozumel at least for food and rent including utilities. Miami would cost more and Key West would be off the charts. Of course Gainesville and Key West too, have decent public transportation and I have lived both places comfortably without a car. A nice one bedroom for in the $400 a month range, utilities cheaper, food except fruit and vegetables cheaper. The one winter we spent in Gainesville, we had a sweet heart deal from a friend, paid $800 a month, but that was for a place that was furnished with all gourmet cooking needs and the place was filled with art and antiques. Two blocks from the main bus central and could travel efficiently all over town. It is that car ownership, essential many (most) places which really impacts a monthly budget, the gasoline the least of your worries.

 

Cozumel rents will be all over price wise, it depends on what you are willing to accept and the area. Central locations have some big pluses, walking and/or easy colectivo transportation. I like being in the fringe of downtown if you can get lucky and find a place. Colonia 10 de abril, is convenient, but does have some negatives and then there is Adolfo Mateos, bordered by 30th & 65 and Juarez and calle 11. No place is perfect, but these areas would have a convenience factor.

 

For me personally, I have a real problem with mildew and mold, I can't take it. I have gone to check out some places that looked good online, open the door and UGH, no thank you. Some places could be aired out, cleaned, while others are beyond hope. It would be real nice to have one room (bedroom) air conditioned. A consideration in furnished, is just what is a bed like and is it a typical size, a double which I consider appropriate for two kids, not for adults. Keep in mind when places are furnished, that refers to furniture only, no linens nor kitchen utensils, no plates, pots nor pans. Do you want to have television (cable) and besides entertainment, TV can be a Spanish learning tool (I learned a lot of verbs reading Spanish subtitles). In my opinion, $8,000 pesos monthly would be a decent price of which you should expect a higher quality of furnishing and assorted comforts. I'd expect kitchen utensils with some appliances. A nicer and larger bed, I'd plan on buying new pillows. TV would be reasonable and in that price, I'd hope for a decent air conditioner. For $8,000 you might find fancy and you might find a "you have got to be kidding".

 

There are a few places that have intelligent landlords that make for good value, are always in demand and rarely become vacate. There's a couple of places, that might be OK for a month or maybe two weeks that you could base at while you looked for something better suited. Look where you think you want to spend your time, stay close to busier colectivo routes and/or being able to walk. I lived for a while on 15th, close to the airport road, I could walk out my door, usually get picked up on a collective and be inside Chedraui in seven minutes. If you are in the boonies, public transport will be infrequent and you'd need to pack a lunch if going by foot. For convenience, it is well worth spending an extra $1,000, $1,500 pesos a month to have a good location. You can factor in more taxi fare with cheaper rent and a greater distance, but there are times it can be damn hard to get a taxi, even if you call for one. And when it is busy on the island, taxi base just takes the phone off the hook.

 

That is not a good idea "helping out" or volunteering as you could call it. That is the fastest way for you to get deported and your dive shop friends could get in major trouble. Sometimes it is just the appearance of some impropriety.  Trust me, it will not go unnoticed and even if below the radar, it takes only a slip of the tongue and you'll find yourselves in a locked room at the airport waiting for the next plane. It would be close to impossible to get work papers to even be an assistant on the dock, the dive industry being the most regulated and for a long time, you needed something major, like fluency in three or more languages for even consideration. There are far too many Mexican dive professionals, not to mention former expats that have reached immigrado status that they can work and function as Mexicans. You probably can't imagine the number of people selling jewelry that would rather be working at diving, but diving just doesn't pay the bills, 6-7 months of the year. There might be 500 people qualified to work in the industry, any one of which might report you.


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#17 YoloCoz

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Posted 25 February 2014 - 07:21 AM

All great points Charles! Centralized location will be a top point in our search which, we realize now, can't really start until we get there. As for the diving: These were my thoughts exactly. As soon as a native DM thinks I am "handling customers" the call will get made and, honestly, even if I could keep clean of the authorities I don't really want to offend the natives. I know they have a tough enough time getting by without someone reducing their income just to get some "free diving" in. That would seem pretty inconsiderate, and downright offensive to the Mexicans that I am claiming to "want to be a part of". The upside is that as a successful dive business, they dive pretty cheaply on their "days off' (air and boat) and have invited us to take along "whenever"...so, I would be very satisfied with that, plus paying for dives once or twice a month. Our entertainment budget is about 5000mx/mth for the two of us so it will depend on how often I feel like i "need" to dine out.

Anyway, all great thoughts! Thanks! Particularly the idea of details such as mildew, mold, crappy beds..that really helps me realize that sight unseen would just be plain crazy!

Thanks again!


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#18 crunch

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Posted 25 February 2014 - 01:24 PM

For incredibly cheap and delicious food try Mr. Taco.  Trust me :)


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