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Mexico by Regions

Although Mexico can be divided into six general regions (Baja California, Northern Mexico, The Bajio, Central Mexico, the Pacific Coast and the Yucatan Peninsula), the country is actually divided into 31 states and the federal district of Mexico City. Some of these states are very small and others have a very small population, however it is still a lot of information to go through to decide where you want to stay. At Room in the Moon we have put together this blog that will break down all of these areas and give you all the important information you will need to live and work there. We have focused on these six general regions that the country is divided into and picked the places where you are most likely to find work. The main cities that this article focuses on are Mexico City (Central Mexico), Ensenada (Baja California), Monterrey (Northern Mexico), Guanajuato (The Bajio), Guadalajara (Pacific Coast) and Mérida (Yucatan Peninsula), but there are also other places that you can go to.

Mexico is such a vast country that it offers a wide range of environments from deserts to coastal resorts and from ancient world heritage sites to the dynamic metropolis of Mexico City. These small posts will hopefully provide answers to many of the questions you might have about moving to Mexico.

 

Central Mexico and what you need to know

Where is it?

Central Mexico, as the name might suggest, is at the centre of the country and is made up of the states of Hidalgo, Mexico State, Morelos, Puebla, Tlaxcala, Veracruz and the federal district of Mexico City. It is bordered on the north by The Bajio and Northern Mexico, on the west and south by the Pacific Coast region and on the west by the Gulf of Mexico and the Yucatan Peninsula. It is the country’s most populated region with a population of over 68 million people and it is also where most of the commercial and administrative centres in the country are, including one of Mexico’s main international airports – Benito Juarez International Airport in Mexico City.

How do I get there?

Since Central Mexico holds the capital Mexico City and is the most populated part of the country, it is very easy to get to. It holds one of the main international airports in the country which receives flights from all over the world. There are many coach routes that cross this region and it is also possible to get here by car. As mentioned in out 10 Step Guide to Moving to Mexico (LINK) the coach companies that serve this part of the country are ETN (http://www.etn.com.mx/), Estella de Oro (http://www.estrelladeoro.com.mx/), Omnibuses de Mexico (http://www.odm.com.mx/) and ADO (http://www.ticketbus.com.mx/wtbkd/index.jsp). Travelling by bus is probably one of the cheapest ways to travel in Mexico, but depending on where you are from it might be much faster to get a flight. Please be aware that flights to Mexico can be very expensive when booked less than 3 months in advance and it is very common to have at least one layover during your journey, depending on where you are from.

Is it a good place to learn Spanish?

As the capital region of Mexico, this part of the country is also a major cultural, international and business hub, and as such is also one of the best places in the country to learn Spanish. Mexico City has one of the largest concentrations of Universities and colleges in the country, most of which offer language classes. There are many different types of courses available so it is best to have a look around and decide which one best suits your style of learning. Some of the courses available include:

  • International House Riviera Maya (http://www.ihrivieramaya.com/spanish-course.html) – this is a prestigious chain of language schools with different classes on offer. Intensive classes meet for 20 hours a week with a maximum of 6 people per class and the possibility of a placement with a family.
  • Centro de Enseñanza Para Extranjeros (www.cepe.unam.mx) – this centre is part of the National University and offers six week courses which meet for 3 hours every day. For those who already speak Spanish they also offer some cultural courses as well.
  • Spanish Abroad (http://spanishabroad.com/mexico-city-spanish-school/)

What else is there to do?

Apart from the vast number of museums and galleries in the 6 states in this region there are also many other attractions. The state of Veracruz, for example, is noted for its quantity and variety of festivals, the most important of which is the Carnival. The state of Hidalgo offers many attractions with its ‘corridors’ which contain everything from spa centres to amusement, sports and camping parks. Mexico State holds some of the biggest attractions in this region as there are many ruins of ancient cities in this area including Teotihuacan, Malinalco, Teotenango and Calixtlahuaca. Some of these even predate the Aztec and Toltec civilizations!

Famous exports

Pyramid of the Sun and Pyramid of the Moon

Moving to Mexico’s Central region: 4 things you need to know

The central region of Mexico is the most populated part of the country and you will find the vast majority of the international communities here. A population of over 68 million people means that certain aspects of living here can be quite expensive, so here are some quick tips to help you keep living costs down when moving to Central Mexico.

Where to live

The most obvious choice when moving to this area is Mexico City as it is the nation’s capital and also one of the largest cultural centres in the world. Mexico City is not only a rich cultural hub but also an important business hub with a large international community. However there are other important cities in this region like Toluca, Puebla and Cuernavaca that you could also move to.

Due to its vast size, Mexico City is divided into 16 boroughs or ‘delegaciones’ and hundreds of neighbourhoods or ‘colonias’. When looking for a place to live it is very important to consider the area and also how far away it is from your place of work as traffic can become very congested. One of the things that you should also consider is that in certain parts of the city people would want to meet with you face to face before you rent an apartment so you might not be able to arrange this before you go.

Expensive

The most expensive parts of the city are the neighbourhoods of Polanco and Santa Fe which is where the wealthier part of the population is. Prices here can be quite expensive but they are well connected to the rest of the city. While these areas are not dangerous it is a good idea to be on the lookout for pickpockets.

Mid Range

Neighbourhoods like Roma, Coyoacan and Condesa are generally in the mid range budget and are considered safe places to live in. Condesa is the Mexican equivalent of ‘Soho’, it is a very trendy area with a lot of Art Deco architecture, boutiques, art, cafes and a lively night life. However it is also very quiet in its residential areas while still being very close to the city centre. Roma is an even quieter area, mostly residential with very beautiful beaux arts architecture and is one of the oldest parts of the city. It is very close to the city centre so there are still several places for going out.

Budget

There are many neighbourhoods in Mexico City that are much more affordable, however not all of them are a safe place to live. A good option would be to share a house or a flat with others in the areas mentioned above until you find a job and get more settled so you will have a better idea which part of the city you might want to live in. There are many websites that facilitate flat sharing some of which include:

Where to work

Mexico is a country with very strict immigration laws and in order to be able to work you will need a permit known as FM2 or FM3. It is a difficult permit to obtain unless you are working for a multinational company, however, there are some options if you are unable to get this. Most foreigners choose to do jobs such as teaching languages or opening a restaurant or a shop. You should be very careful with finding a job as there could be serious consequences if you don’t have a work permit and an immigration officer finds out.

How to get around

The public transport in Mexico City is very well organised and it is quite easy to get around. There are extensive networks of metro lines and buses but you could also use metrobuses, trolley buses and taxis.

The metro is one of the best ways to get around the city, especially in rush hour as trains are very frequent and it is also one of the cheapest modes of transport. It is a very efficient and fast system even though it is often very crowded. The metro is open from 5AM to midnight on workdays, from 6AM on Saturdays and 7AM on Sundays. Metro stations usually have various food stalls both inside and outside and many have artwork and exhibitions on display so they are a good place to even just have a look around.

Getting around by car is another option even though it is difficult to get around during rush hours. There are many places where you can rent a car, even on your arrival at the airport. Here are some other car rental companies in Mexico City:

How to spend your free time

Mexico City has a rich history that spans centuries, it has evolved from an ancient Aztec city to a modern day bustling metropolis. It holds a vast amount of attractions, landmarks, museums and galleries. The district of Coyoacán is a famous historical arts district and was the home of Frida Kahlo. Today it is a lively centre for arts, crafts, markets and museums, and it is still very much a cultural centre. There is also the Cineteca Nacional (the national film archive) with a huge film library as well as a café. Another place worth visiting is Xochimilco, which is a massive system of waterways and flower gardens dating back to the Aztec civilization and is now a UNESCO world heritage site. It is the last place remaining which shows how Mexico City looked when the Spanish first arrived. It now offers visitors trips on colourful boats called ‘trajineras’, some of which carry Mariachi or marimba bands providing a more atmospheric trip. It is a brilliant way to spend a relaxing day.

 

The Baja California Region and what you need to know

Where is it?

The Baja California region is located in the north of Mexico and in made up of the states of Baja California and Baja California Sur. It is bordered on the north by the American state of California, on the east by the North Mexico region and the Gulf of California, and on the south and west by the North Pacific Ocean.

How do I get there?

There are various ways to get to this region including bus, plane and car. Getting in with a car should be easy as there are many border crossings with the United States, however, you should be prepared for long queues at passport control as vehicle searches are quite common. If you are crossing the border with a rented car, make sure beforehand that you are allowed to take it into Mexico.

There are international airports in both Tijuana and Mexicali and also many smaller airports that have flights to and from the Mexican mainland, however, the best way to get here is by bus. The long distance bus services in Mexico are much better than those in some other countries like the United States with more modern and comfortable buses. The biggest service provider in this region is ABC Autobuses de Baja California (http://www.abc.com.mx/), while Grupo Estrella Blanca (http://www.abc.com.mx/) connects Tijuana and Mexicali to the mainland.

Is it a good place to learn Spanish?

Because of its nice weather and many beaches Baja California has a very friendly atmosphere and attracts a lot of tourists. It is a good place to learn Spanish as the locals are used to people who may not speak the language very well and can help you to practice and improve your language skills. There are various different language schools and universities that offer language classes. There are many different types of language classes available but one of the best ways to learn a language is to learn about the culture as well so immersion programmes like this one are a very good option:

What else is there to do?

This region has some of Mexico’s most dramatic and beautiful landscapes, ranging from remote deserts, dormant volcanoes and historic mission towns. There are many remnants of Mexico’s colonial past here, one of which is the first capital of “old California”. This region is also renowned for its world class surfing and deep fishing areas as well as beautiful beaches, which attract a lot of tourists and young people from the United States. This mixture of cultures creates a different and more relaxed lifestyle than that on Mexico’s mainland.

The Pacific coastline is ideal for surfing and attracts many visitors from all over the world, while the eastern coastline is less rocky and more suitable for beach-goers. Apart from surfing there are many amazing destinations for diving and snorkelling along the coast, as well as opportunities for whale-watching.

Famous exports

Surfing

Moving to Mexico’s Baja California region: 4 things you need to know

When choosing a place to live in the Baja California region it is important to consider both safety and job opportunities. Tijuana, Mexicali and Ensenada are the three biggest cities in this region and therefore where most of the job opportunities lie. Due to the increase in violence in both Tijuana and Mexicali, it is probably a better idea to initially move to Ensenada while you get to know the region. Of course there are also other places where you could live such as La Paz in the south. Ensenada is the third largest city in this region and has a very relaxed coastal atmosphere and a big multicultural community.

Where to live

While accommodation prices in Ensenada are relatively uniform across the city, generally speaking the city centre can be a little more expensive. The cost of living here is relatively higher than some other parts of the country but it is also one of the best places to live. To get started it is better to rent first until you get to know the city better and you find a permanent job. Be aware that to buy property you will need to obtain an FM2 or FM3 visa. Here are some websites where you can find properties:

Where to work

As in the rest of Mexico you will need the appropriate visa to be able to work here. Apart from teaching languages there are many other jobs open in Ensenada due to the number of tourists that the city attracts. One of the websites that you could use to help you find a job is (http://www.glassdoor.com/Job/ensenada-jobs-SRCH_IL.0,8_IC3483517.htm).

How to get around

Travelling by car is probably the easiest way to get around in the city as buses and route taxis mostly serve the suburban areas of the city. However, it is also easy to get around on foot as the city centre is not too big. There are various companies offering car hire in the city including (http://mexicocarrental.com.mx/en/Ensenada-Car-Rental/).

How to spend your free time

As a coastal city, Ensenada offers beaches and surfing, however, there are also a lot of hiking opportunities. Just on the outskirts of the city is another major attraction – La Bufadora, a small village at the top of the cliffs offering amazing views over the sea. Ensenada also has a very lively night life with a varied mix of cultural influences.

 

The Northern Mexico Region and what you need to know

Where is it?

The Northern Mexico region is the biggest region in Mexico and is considered among foreigners as ‘unknown Mexico’. The region is located in the north of the country, bordered on the north by the United States, the east by the Baja California region and the Gulf of California, the south by the Pacific Coast, the Bajio and the Central Mexico regions, and the west by the Gulf of Mexico. It is made up of the states of Chihuahua, Coahuila, Durango, Nuevo Léon, Sinaloa, Sonora and Tamaulipas.

How do I get there?

Northern Mexico has the best highway network in the country and the easiest way to get here is either by car or by bus. Once you get a flight into Mexico, the coach companies that service this area are Omnibuses de Mexico (http://www.odm.com.mx/) and ETN – Enlaces Terrestres Nacionales (http://www.etn.com.mx/). There are also two international airports in Monterrey, General Mariano Escobedo International Airport and Del Norte International Airport.

Is it a good place to learn Spanish?

As one of the largest regions of the country, North Mexico has many colleges and universities where you can take language classes and improve your Spanish. The third-ranking university in the country is based in the city of Monterrey, which is also the country’s third largest city. The Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León is one of the best universities in the country and offers a wide range of different courses both full and part time, depending on your needs.

What else is there to do?

North Mexico is far from what tourists normally see, it is closer to what we imagine Mexico to be like – vast deserts, cowboys and mountains. However, North Mexico is also a very rich region and has some of the most modern cities in the country. There are many places that are definitely worth the visit in this region like the Copper Canyon or the Reserva de la Biosfera El Cielo, a subtropical rainforest located in Tamaulipas. Another place worth a visit is the Sierra del Carmen, it is the largest wilderness still preserved in Mexico. The landscape of this region is truly inspiring and it feels like you are in an old Western movie!

Moving to Mexico’s Northern region: 4 things you need to know

There are various options when you are considering moving to North Mexico. The most obvious choice would be the city of Monterrey in the state of Nuevo León as it is the country’s third largest city and can therefore offer more job opportunities. However there are some other cities that you could choose to live in like the coastal city of Mazatlán in the state of Sinaloa or Torreón in the state of Coahuila.

Where to live

Monterrey is an affluent city and the cost of living here is somewhat higher than in some other parts of the country. The city is divided into several neighbourhoods, the wealthiest of which are the San Pedro Garza Garcia neighbourhood which has a big American community and the northwest neighbourhood. Living here can be very expensive but manageable if you work at one of the international companies in the city.

The more affordable parts of the city are the San Nicolás de los Garza neighbourhood, where the Universidad Autonoma de Nuevo León is located, and the south parts of the city where the university Tec de Monterrey is. The proximity to these universities means more affordable housing and the possibility of sharing a flat or a house with others. To get started you could visit a website such as https://www.airbnb.co.uk/s/Monterrey–Mexico until you are more settled.

Where to work

As one of the major cities in the country, Monterrey has many international companies here across many different sectors. There are many work opportunities for foreigners, however, it may be a good idea to make a visit before you move so you have a better idea what kind of job to look for. Some of the job sites that could help you in your search include:

How to get around

Renting a car here can be quite expensive, however, the other methods of transport are quite affordable. Getting around by taxi is probably the easiest way to travel in the city and it is relatively affordable. There is also an extensive network of buses which are also a good way to get around. Though Monterrey has a subway system, the metro lines do not cover the whole city, but they are still good for going between areas in the centre of town.

How to spend your free time

There are many attractions in this city apart from the various museums and galleries. There is the Barrio Antiguo where many bars, cafes, restaurants and art galleries are found and it is a nice place to spend an afternoon or go out at night. There are many landmarks like Cerro de la Silla (Saddle Mountain), the Santa Lucía riverwalk and the Cola de Caballo, a beautiful waterfall in the mountains just outside the city. Another way to spend a day off would be to visit Fundidora Park which houses a museum and an alternative cinema along with beautiful scenery.

 

The Bajio Region and what you need to know

Where is it?

The Bajio region is right at the centre of country and is one of the most historically rich regions in the country. It is bordered by North Mexico, the Pacific Coast region on the west and south and the Central Mexico region on the east and south. The Bajio is comprised of the states of Aguascalientes, Guanajuato, Zacatecas, San Luis Potosi and Querétaro.

How do I get there?

There are many ways to get into this region as it is well connected. The Guanajuato International Airport serves three cities and serves many international airlines. The city of Querétaro in the state of the same name also has a small international airport, IATA|QRO, connecting the city with other parts of the country and the United States. This region is also very close to the main international airport in Mexico City. Like in the rest of the country, the best way to travel between regions and cities is by bus and there are various coach companies that service this area including ETN – Enlaces Terrestres Nacionales (http://www.etn.com.mx/), Omnibuses de Mexico (http://www.odm.com.mx/) and ADO (http://www.ticketbus.com.mx/wtbkd/index.jsp).

Is it a good place to learn Spanish?

The Bajio is a very good place to learn Spanish as there are a lot of different language schools, colleges and Universities here that offer a very wide range of courses so you should be able to find something that suits your needs and your style of learning. Because of this wide range of courses it is a good idea to shop around and see what is available. Some of the universities in this region include the Autonomous University of San Luis Potosí (UASLP), Universidad Autónoma de Querétaro, Universidad Internacional de México, Universidad Contemporanea and University of Guanajuato.

The state of Querétaro has an amazing number of Universities and colleges that offer many different courses so it is a good place to do a language course through a university. The state of Guanajuato is also a very good place to learn Spanish as apart from the universities, there are also many language schools here that offer immersion programmes that teach you about the culture as well as teaching you the language, which is one of the best ways to learn as it will allow you to integrate easier into the culture. Some of these programmes are:

What else is there to do?

The Bajio has a very rich history and is home to many UNESCO World Heritage Sites. This used to be a very rich silver mining region in the 17th and 18th centuries and a hugely populated part of the country. A lot of the colonial architecture is still preserved in many of the cities here and Guanajuato and Zacatecas have been declared as World Heritage Sites. They are very charming cities and definitely worth visiting even if you choose to live elsewhere. Real de Catorce is another very charming place to visit, it is a very old mining ghost town that is still a very important place for the native Huichol Indians as they make traditional pilgrimages to this area. Another very interesting place that is definitely worth a visit is the surrealist gardens of Las Pozas close to Xilitla in San Luis Potosí. The gardens are in the middle of the Mexican jungle with surrealist structures spread around, creating an amazing atmosphere.

Famous exports

Silver mining, leather goods

Moving to Mexico’s Bajio region: 4 things you need to know

There are several places you could consider when choosing where to live in the Bajio region. The city of Guanajuato is the sixth most populated in the country and is one of the largest in the region so it is one of the best options when looking for a job. It is a city with a rich history and has become a World Heritage Site. Some of the other places you could choose to live in include Querétaro and San Luis Potosí.

Where to live

Guanajuato is one of the safest places to live in Mexico and also relatively cheap compared to other parts of the country. Generally prices are quite uniform accommodation wise but you might find that apartments are a little cheaper close to the university. To get started while you look for a permanent place to stay you could visit https://www.airbnb.co.uk/s/Guanajuato–Mexico.

Where to work

Guanajuato is a good place to work as an English teacher as there are a lot of language schools and colleges as well as the University of Guanajuato. It is a university town so teaching jobs in other disciplines should also be available. If teaching is not for you, then you can have a look on websites such as this to see what is available: http://guanajuato.en.craigslist.com.mx/

How to get around

The easiest way to get around Guanajuato is on foot as everything is grouped in the centre of town and close together. For your daily commute it is best to buy or rent a car as there is no transport system besides the tourist trolleys that tour around the city. You can rent a car straight at the airport or from one of these companies:

How to spend your free time

There are many different museums and galleries that you could visit in the city that have some very interesting collections. The city also has some very beautiful colonial architecture and is a very nice place for relaxing walks around town with many little cafes and restaurants scattered around. The city is also located at the base of the Trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt, which is a chain of six volcanoes, which allows for a few vantage spots where you could see the whole city from above.

 

The Pacific Coast Region and what you need to know

Where is it?

The Pacific Coast region is in the south-west part of the country and has a varied landscape ranging from tropical beaches to jungles and volcanoes. It is bordered by the North Mexico, the Bajio and the Central Mexico regions on the north, the Yucatan Peninsula region and Guatemala on the west and the North Pacific Ocean on the south and east. It is comprised of the states of Chiapas, Colima, Guerrero, Jalisco, Michoacan, Nayarit and Oaxaca.

How do I get there?

While this region does not have an international airport there is an airport in Oaxaca that connects this part of the country with others. As with the rest of Mexico the best way to get here is by bus or car as the highway system in Mexico is very good, however, you should consider that toll roads are usually the best maintained and when travelling by car you should be aware where you need to pay this road tax while when travelling by coach this is already included in the ticket price. The coach companies that service this part of the country include Estrella de Oro (http://www.estrelladeoro.com.mx/) and ADO (http://www.ticketbus.com.mx/wtbkd/index.jsp).

Is it a good place to learn Spanish?

The Pacific Coast region is a very good place to learn Spanish, particularly Oaxaca, as there are many language schools based here. This part of the country is very steeped in culture and the people are friendly and helpful to foreigners so the more you interact with people the easier you will learn the language. There are many different schools and colleges that offer a wide range of Spanish classes but some of the best options are short intensive courses or immersive courses that teach you about the culture and the language at the same time which would make it easier to integrate into your new environment as you understand the people around you better. Some of these include:

What else is there to do?

The Pacific Coast region has some of the most dramatic and beautiful landscapes in the country, from tropical jungles and beaches to volcanoes and charming towns full of history. There are many scenic places worth visiting like the gorgeous Miramar Lake surrounded by the Lacandon Jungle and the Sumidero Canyon in the state of Chiapas. The states of Coloma and Guerrero on the other hand have many fascinating archaeological sites dating back to the Pre-Hispanic period. In the state of Michoacán there is the beautiful Sierra Madre del Sur and the Yacata pyramids of Tzintzuntzan. There is also the conserved rainforest of Santiago Comaltepec in Oaxaca, which is a truly beautiful and exotic place to visit as well as the former monastery of Santiago Apóstol.

Famous exports

Archaeological sites, Mariachis, the Mexican Hat Dance and the wide brimmed sombrero hat.

Moving to Mexico’s Pacific Coast region: 4 things you need to know

There are many good options when deciding where to live if you plan to move to the Pacific Coast. Apart from the many coastal towns and resorts there are many larger cities that also offer a lot of job opportunities. Guadalajara, the state capital of Jalisco, is one of the best options as it is the largest city in the region and the second largest in the country, but another good option would be Oaxaca.

Where to live

As the second largest city in the country, living in Guadalajara can be expensive so here are some tips to help keep living costs down. Guadalajara is an interesting city as it is made up of several small towns, each with its own downtown area. While there are some websites online like http://www.vivanuncios.com.mx/, that can help you when searching for a place to live most vacancies are not even listed online. So the best way to find a place to live is to walk around the city in the neighbourhoods that you would like to live in as most people just put up a sign announcing that the place is for rent or sale. Here are some helpful pointers to help you narrow down your search.

Expensive

The Providencia neighbourhood is one of the more upscale and expensive areas in the city. It is very safe and has a very vibrant night life. It is close to the city centre and has many shopping area, restaurants, cafes and parks.

Mid range and Budget

The downtown central area is a good place to live as you would be close to everything and it would also mean you would need to commute less. The western side of the centre and the Chapultepec neighbourhood are very safe while still within budget. The whole northwest side of the city is largely residential with bars and restaurants close by. The eastern side of the city however, is largely an industrial zone and a little more rough than the western side. The smaller towns like Zapopan and Tlaquepaque that form Guadalajara are also good places to look as they are both very distinct areas with a more traditional setting, while still having all the modern facilities and shopping areas.

Where to work

The Pacific Coast is a region with many tourist resorts both coastal and inland where it would be relatively easy to find work in that sector or finding teaching jobs as language teachers are very sought after because of the tourist industry. However, as the second largest city in Mexico Guadalajara offers a lot more opportunities to find jobs in many different sectors that would also provide a higher income. There are many international companies here so even if you are still learning Spanish, your English might come in handy.

How to get around

The public transport system in Guadalajara is very good and you can use bus, metro or taxi. Travelling by bus is cheap but finding where the bus stops are located can be a little tricky as the bus stop signs are not always in place so sometimes busses may stop at a corner or traffic light. The metro is also a good way to get around however the lines do not cover the whole city. It cost the same as a bus ticket and is open until 11pm.

How to spend your free time

There are many attractions in Guadalajara and places worth visiting. The city has many interesting markets that sell everything from food to some rare finds. The Mercado San Juan de Dios is a traditional Mexican market where you can find a lot of Mexican music, while the Tianguis Cultural is a street market where you can find alternative clothing, books and other miscellaneous objects, and the Mercado del Mar is a sea market where you can eat fish and other seafood at a reasonable price. The city also has many different shopping malls including Plaza Patria, Plaza Galerias and La Gran Plaza. Apart from the many museums and art galleries in the city, the Parque Mirador is also a nice way to spend the day with its beautiful gardens and an amazing view over the city. Guadalajara also hosts the Festival Internacional de Cine (the International Film Festival) and in November the Feria Internacional del Libro (the International Book Fair).

 

The Yucatan Peninsula Region and what you need to know

Where is it?

The Yucatan Peninsula region is in the southeast part of the country and home to many impressive archaeological sites from the Mayan civilization. It is bordered on the north and east by the Gulf of Mexico, on the south by Belize and Guatemala and the west by the regions of Central Mexico and the Pacific Coast. It is comprised of the states of Campeche, Quintana Roo, Tabasco and Yucatán.

How do I get there?

The Yucatán Peninsula is easy to get to – you can get a flight to Cancún, Cozumel or Mérida. Alternatively, as in the rest of the country you could go by bus using one of these coach companies: Estrella de Oro (http://www.estrelladeoro.com.mx/) and ADO (http://www.ticketbus.com.mx/wtbkd/index.jsp). Please be aware that ticket prices may be expensive so it is a good idea to book them in advance.

Is it a good place to learn Spanish?

The Yucatán peninsula is another great place to learn Spanish because of the wide range of different language schools based in this region. This part of the country has a very rich history and is where the remains of the Mayan civilization lie, in fact, much of the population in this region descends from the Mayans and Mayan is still widely spoken today along with the official Spanish. The people here are friendly and helpful so you can practice your language skills while you learn. There is an immense number of language schools dispersed throughout the region but here are a few of them to get you started:

What else is there to do?

Most of this region is scattered with Mayan ruins so there are a lot of places to discover and see. The ancient cities are dispersed between the Yucatan jungles and offer a unique look at the ancient empire that existed here. Chichén Itzá is the largest and most visited of the Mayan ruins and it is also the most restored one, however, there are numerous other sites that are off the tourist track that are also worth visiting. There is also the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef offering unique opportunities for snorkelling and exploring the marine life in this area. Cenotes of the Yucatán is another place worth exploring – it is a vast system of beautiful underground caves.

Famous exports

Chichén Itzá (Mayan Ruins)

Moving to Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula region: 4 things you need to know

When choosing a place to live in the Yucatán Peninsula region, Mérida is one of the best options as it is the largest city in the region. Of course there are many other places you could choose like Campeche, Cancún or Chetumal, however, most of them are mainly tourist resorts so job opportunities can be somewhat limited.

Where to live

Mérida is a very safe place to live and is very family friendly with a good community network. Generally speaking property prices here are quite uniform but the centre of town may be a little pricier than some of the suburb areas. The atmosphere here is very relaxed and friendly making it one of the best places to live in Mexico. To get started, you can find a place to stay on https://www.airbnb.co.uk/s/Merida–Mexico while you look for a permanent place to live.

Where to work

The Yucatán has many tourist resorts and towns so it might be possible to find work in this sector, however, as in the rest of Mexico getting a work visa might be very difficult. To get a work visa you will need to have a sought-after skill set and this type of job is more easily found in bigger cities like Mérida rather than smaller beach resorts. It is a good idea to research the area before you move here to see what is available on the job market.

How to get around

The centre of town is easily navigated on foot as all the main attractions are close together. The city also has a good bus network that is reasonably priced and covers the whole city. Alternatively you can rent a car to get around and for any short trips to the surrounding areas. You can rent a car from one of these companies or at the airport on your arrival:

How to spend your free time

Even though Mérida is not a coastal town, the beach is only a half an hour drive away in the small port town of Progreso. Also a short distance outside the city is the Cuzamá site where there are sinkholes leading to an extensive network of underground caves and Oxkintok and the Calcehtok Caves which is a large labyrinthine complex of mazes left from the Mayan era. Please be aware that you must have a guide with you to enter the caves and there are several different tours that you could go on. Within the city itself there are many art galleries and museums that you could visit as well as the Cairo Cinema Café, which is an independent movie theatre that is also a coffee shop and a DVD rental shop.