The People's Guide To Mexico

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The People's Guide to Mexico: Articles & Letters, Questions & Answers

The People's Guide to Mexico Website

"Having traveled quite a bit myself, I couldn't resist checking out your site. I'd have to say that I was very impressed and it rekindled part of the travelling bug that I'm trying to keep dormant."

Scott Glassmeyer

•What's been happening with the website?


"Haven't noticed much activity on the website lately. Hope the book is going well. I always read what you chose to publish with a lot of interest."


Carl responds:

The good news is that you evidently watch our site close enough to notice that it's been a while since we've added anything new, the bad news is that both of our computers, our software and most everything else we own of value was ripped off in early August. We're just now getting back up to steam, trying to put things together again from "stems and pieces". Lorena has lots of material waiting to go up on the site, however, and as always, we remain optomistic.

By the way, if you have any ideas, suggestions, criticisms, or "whatevers" for the website, please fire away -- we really appreciate hearing from people who visit the site and obviously care about it.

•Why Are Carl and Lorena Living in Ajijic?

"After reading your book, it is obvious that you are a true expert on expatriate living in Mexico. From that vantage point, it comes as a minor surprise that you live in Ajijic, But, I respect your perspective on living in Mexico, so my question is: In your opinion, is the Lakeside area the best locale for expatriates who are not averse to immersion in an authentic Mexican cultural experience?" Carl Responds.... (more)

Carl's Note: A cranky reviewer of The People's Guide To Mexico once roasted me for claiming that about 100,000 gringos lived in the Guadalajara-Chapala area. I don't recall which hat I pulled that particular rabbit from, but it was probably an "official" statistic from the U.S. or Mexican government. But, once burned, twice shy.... When Bill Masterson offered his expertise to finally answer the puzzling question of how many Americans really do live in Mexico, we jumped. His article, and the surprising results of his research, are below.

•Yanks Abroad: How Many Americans Really Live In Mexico?

One of the key factors that comes into play when most people consider moving to another country is how many of their fellow countrymen are already there. For all of our professed desire for independence, when push comes to shove, most of us really want to be in relatively close proximity to some people that are similar to us.... (more) by Bill Masterson

•Letter Section #6:

Where Should I Retire?Lake Chapala GuideFlying from Puerto Escondido to Oaxaca.Thanks for the People's GuideWhat kind of Spanish to study?Hola CompanerosLaptop Computers.

•Entering Mexico: Single parents with children

"My problem has to do with obtaining entry for my children into Mexico (preferably legal). I know I am supposed to have signed notarized permission from the children's father, but what do I do when that is impossible? ...." (more) with a response by People's Guide legal expert, jennifer rose

•Is it Safe for a Single Woman to drive in Mexico?

"I am a single middle aged woman with an old Vanagon & a big dog. Is it safe to drive from Nogales to the ocean & then south? Possibly to San Miguel de Allende. First time & don't know much Spanish.....Want to have a winter's rest in a little house near a beach....." (more)

Carl's note.... our interviews with Robert and Deborah Foster and their own follow-up articles and emails about living in Puerto Vallarta continue to be a "hot topic" on this website. The Fosters are building a second house, coping with a dead computer, and yet somehow managing to write even more about their life in PV with remarkable good humor.

•Living & Working in Puerto Vallarta Part II

"While considering a relocation move to Mexico many questions arise. First, being Money! How much will we need to live nicely (not extravagant) in a quiet neighbor in Mexico? In the beginning we would like to rent. I have always worked and mostly enjoyed my career. Don't know if I am ready to fully retire yet. Will we be able to work if we want or need to?.... " (more)

Questions from Lisa & Rick, answered by our resident Puerto Vallarta experts, Robert & Deborah Foster

•Living near Puerto Vallarta

"I have some questions, and my neighbors in Punta Mita have been more than generous in sharing information, but they are "high maintenance" retirees and will only settle for "the best". I am less chauvinistic and am definitely budget minded. so....... 1): Recommendations on where to shop for furniture? 2): I'm going to need a car. 3): I'd like to get an english language paper...." (more)

Questions from Susan, answered by our resident Puerto Vallarta experts, Robert & Deborah Foster

•Building in Puerto Vallarta

"Could you tell me what one would would expect to pay for new construction per sq ft in Nuevo Vallarta today?..." (more)

Q&A: Charles Sloan & Robert Foster

•Shopping for House Furnishings : PV or Guadalajara?

"I have recently purchased a condominium in Puerto Vallarta. My decorator and friend Jan will be going to PV, and then on to Guadalajara to shop for furniture, etc. for the new condo. Jan will need help getting around in Guadalajara; translation; and also need help getting the furniture shipped to Puerto Vallarta. I am wondering if you have any helpful information regarding shopping as well as shipping from Guadalajara to Puerto Vallarta...." (more)

Good advice from Puerto Vallarta experts, Robert & Deborah Foster

•Letters on Puerto Vallarta:

Renting in PV for a Month? Bus from PV to Guadalajara? PV in January? •Tattoos in Puerto Vallarta? You're my Folk Heroes! Driving from Laredo to PV?

•Where will I Live? Rent? • Buy? • Build?

Check out our new Index page for articles and letters on Renting, Buying and Building in Mexico.

•Midlife Mavericks: Women Reinventing Their Lives In Mexico By Karen Blue

Mexico's foreign retirement communities might seem an unlikely setting for a great adventure story, but in Midlife Mavericks, Ajijic author Karen Blue reminds us that courage comes in many forms. Through a highly readable series of face-to-face interviews, Blue chronicles the stories of sixteen "Indiana Joans... ordinary women who have made extraordinary choices".  In fact, the adventures this book relates is just the leading edge of a growing movement: single women moving to Mexico, overcoming their fears of the unknown and discarding old beliefs in search of new dreams.... Full Review by Lorena Havens

•Tina Rosa's latest: Ode to Odette:

Yesterday a woman died on the beach. Her name was Odette. She was a 65 year old French Canadian. She had a heart attack and died in her pink and gray bathing suit on the floor of the little 16' travel trailer.....We all stand around outside staring at each other in disbelief and repeat the same old cliche. What a shock. It's so sudden. She's gone. It could happen to anybody. And those words are all true. We just don't know their meaning, their true content, until it happens.... (more) by Tina Rosa

Lorena's Note: Dobie and Sergio are homesteading in a former coconut plantation on Mexico's Pacific Coast. From their latest update:

•Bugs: Not the Computer Variety

Woke up with a start this morning to lightning, thunder and fierce rain, at about 5 AM, hopped in the car and drove over to cover the well -- with an assortment of poles, boards, bricks and a tarp. All around the well was slick and muddy, and all I'm thinking is - don't fall in the well -- but it's hard to see as the mounds of dirt are blocking the car's headlights and my flashlight dangling by its cord from my mouth is only helping marginally.... (more) by Dobie

Carl's Note: My earlier article on the Perfect RV for Mexico brought swift rebuttals. Several of our readers now claim that "they" have the Perfect RV, and it doesn't look at all like the one we suggested. What do you think? Have you travelled to Mexico in a "perfect" van, pickup camper, 5th wheel, or motorhome? Cast your vote! Let us know!

•The Perfect RV: A Class B Motorhome

"I just finished reading your article on the Perfect RV, and I gotta tell ya' -- you're close but off the mark.

How do I know? Welllll, I'm a very experienced RVer and a moderately experienced Mexico traveler, as well as a former RV tech, aaaaaaand we just bought the perfect RV for Mexico -- a Class B motorhome. For those unfamiliar with the beast, it's an extended van with a raised roof, converted to a motorhome....I'll start by telling you what I think is wrong with your choice, which is based on our trip through Mexico last year in a similar rig...." (more) by Dennis Murry

Gresham’s Perfect RV: A 23 ft Ultra-lite Travel Trailer

"I've got a recommendation for you....a 23 ft ultra-lite travel trailer....I do not and will not ever "tow" any vehicle behind my RV. My sister tows her car behind their 38 ft motor home and most times they can't even get into the big RV parks around here without unhooking it. They also have trouble parking in restaurant parking lots to eat...." (more) by Terry Gresham

•There is No Perfect RV: BUT....

"I've probably spent more time in an RV in Mexico than most folks and I can tell you that I am firmly convinced that there is no perfect RV. Most everything is a compromise. For instance, when I park a monster trailer, I can detach and take Nellie Belle to places where a VW van would refuse to go. Your van is much more economical and here's where the great decision on a compromise comes in..." (more) By People's Guide Correspondent and notorious cheapskate, David "El Codo" Eidell

•RVers Online:

RVers Online is the Internet's premier public service information resource. With several hundred pages of non-commercial RV-related information, and online help for all types of RVing questions, this site is based on "RVers helping RVers". Their goal is to provide a quality online experience for RVers, park owners, and other participants in the world of RVing.

Highly recommended by David "el Codo" Eidell (and we fully agree with David's rave. If you RV, check this site out.)

•Gardening in Mexico?

"I am writing because I would like more information about gardening and farming in the area around Guadalajara. I haven't been able to find much about agriculture in Mexico. By "farming", I mean, growing fruits and vegetables, and maybe a few animals for food....." (more) from Frank Hodge

•Sacred Monkey River: A Canoe Trip with the Gods

"I was just on your site and didn't see my favorite new book about Mexico. Sacred Monkey River: A Canoe Trip with the Gods is the real thing. In 1997, Christopher Shaw, an ex-river guide and writer from the Adironadacks of northern New York put two canoes and all his gear in and on a beat-up Nissan Sentra and drove to Chiapas. Shaw paddled from the headwaters of the Jatate River, through the heart of Zapatista country to the ruins at Yaxchilan on the Usumacinta River, looking not for a first descent.... but rather to understand the place from the perspective of a paddler, to see the country at "canoe speed," as the people of the place do and have for thousands of years...." Full Review by Walter Martin Order Sacred Monkey River

•Father wants to study Spanish in Xalapa

"My father who is 60 has been taking Spanish lessons for several years and is interested in traveling to Xalapa for 2 or 3 weeks this December to January. While there he would like to either attend a school or have a tutor/guide for the short period of time. He has already been to Cuernavaca and enjoyed the experience. Do you have any suggestions how to find a school or tutor? Any help you can respond with would be greatly appreciated! ...." (more)

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