Search Baja California

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

SAN FELIPE - California Real Estate & Construction Co.

Karla Lourdes Sánchez Overpeck founded California Real Estate & Construction Co. in San Felipe in 2003, based on her experience in construction and real estate. She saw the international growth projection of San Felipe and considered it a good place to establish herself.

When is comes to construction, California Real Estate & Construction has made an art of completing work on time and providing excellent quality. We also ensure that we stay within budget and offer a good market price.

An established company, with a beautiful office building north of San Felipe on Highway 5, California Real Estate & Construction has the capacity to handle any size of project. Our professional engineers and qualified contractors will find the right solution for you, which they bring from the interior of the country.

California Real Estate & Construction employs approximately seventy people, throughout their San Felipe Projects, at any given time. Karla considers them lucky to have the base of service that they are offered. Clients often recommend them, which helps to win new clients. “We keep working, in spite of the recession,” Karla says. “Even when other contractors have had to close their doors.”

If you’re considering going into this business, “Think about it twice,” warns Karla. “If you’re interested, but you’re not professional and don’t have qualified personnel to offer this type of service, I would suggest dedicating yourself to another activity.”

Karla and California Real Estate & Construction are currently working on their own residential development, the Residential Assisted Living Center for Senior Citizens, which is a Medical and Dental Center. At the same time, they are continuing to promote their modular homes, and working hard to be the best constructor in San Felipe for residential work and home designs.

Karla and California Real Estate & Construction understand that, with the market having taken a considerable downturn, it will be necessary to wait and see what effect a change of government will have on the U.S. economy. They also understand, now more than ever, the need to dedicate themselves to the company and marketing.

”Our intention is to offer the service that our clients expect,” Karla says. “Keeping our clients satisfied is our major business achievement.”

Always Shining Bright:

The life of the publisher of Gringo Gazette in San Felipe and South Campos
By Bruce F. Barber

Brought into this world and kidnapped, then placed in an orphanage and returned to her mother; grew up in show business, got married and had children; lost two sisters, a brother, two children and two husbands; and lives each day for its individual beauty. This is the life of June Snow.

She was born June Marion Snow in Cleveland, Ohio, where her father was a cattleman and her mother, who was from Sweden, was a good enough chef to own her own restaurant, ultimately in Los Angeles. So it was in Los Angeles, rather than Cleveland, where her life really began. At age three she was kidnapped from a neighborhood playground, and her abductors later clandestinely delivered her to an orphanage, where she lived for some time before the authorities could find and return her happily to her mother.

June's childhood was all show business. Her mother wanted her daughters to be models, so she enrolled them in Ethyl Meglin's famous dance studio, where she got her start in the same room, on the same floor and stage and at the same time as Shirley Temple, Judy Garland, Mickey Rooney and many other “Meglin Kiddies" who became the stars we know today.

She learned walking with poise, tap dancing, ballet and operatic singing and, by high school, she was also a coloratura soprano; so at a young age she began her career in vaudeville, which continued until one Halloween Eve when a car struck her so forcefully that a finger-sized piece of wood lodged in her foot and prevented her from continuing as a dancer. As strange as it may seem, the piece of wood went undetected until many years later, when her husband inadvertently stepped on that same foot in a manner that forced the wood to poke its ugly head into the air.

June changed her former operatic voice to her naturally low and sultry one, and became a featured singer in a number of Southern California nightclubs. She was singing in San Pedro the night Tokyo was bombed. In fact, she met her husband-to-be that night and bore him three children. Because her husband had been a sailor, she donated some 3000 hours singing in California's U.S.O. (United States Service Organization), which traveled extensively entertaining the troops. As a member of the Manhattan Strolling Trio, she reminisced, there was one song (Quizas, Quizas, Quizas) she may have sung 10,000 times. Her husband died of a heart attack.

Singing in five languages, English, Swedish, French, Spanish and Hawaiian, June eventually teamed with trios, quintets and orchestras in Palm Springs, Reno, Las Vegas, Guadalajara and Mexico City. Although other languages came more naturally, she learned Spanish words from her promoter while driving to each night's performance. She just memorized them and before the gig was over she had learned 67 songs, many she still remembers to this day.

After singing at night, June spent her days as a sales woman at Robinson's Departments Store, where her keen eye soon caught management's attention and she was offered a position in security. Although she continued singing, she eventually was promoted to Director of Security of all of Robinson's branches; and eventually spent 23 years as a professional detective with as many as 18 policemen in her stall.

While singing at Manhattan Beach, she met her second husband. They set sail on his sailboat for 12 years, when they made it to the Gulf of California. As many others do, they fell in love with Baja and decided to make it their home. After returning to California, June retired and they sold their boat, collected their belongings and headed south to build the place of their dreams. It was from that wonderful place that her husband drove into the desert one sunny day and never returned. He was found on a roadway, the victim of a hit and run. He was taken to the hospital, but never regained consciousness.*

Sadly living alone in their beautiful home, June got on with her life. She mingled among her many friends, gardened and began writing and publishing the Gringo Gazette. One evening, while she was in San Felipe for dinner at her favorite restaurant, the owner, Juan, told her that she should return home immediately, but did not say why. When she arrived on the scene, it was crowded. The fire department had moved all the propane tanks out of harm's way and pulled the roof down that connected the garage to the house. “Mickey,” the South Campo Fire Chief at the time, called the Mexicali Fire Department Investigators who, after two days, concluded that the fire was arson!

June spent a month in front of her destroyed home on a cot while people brought her food, water and supplies. Then her long time friend, José Castro, asked her to come to his camp and stay on his roof until they could make other arrangements. Later June moved back home and stayed in her garage, which, thanks to “Mickey,'' suffered no damage. She remained there for the next five years until New Year's Day, 2000.

Now married to the ever-popular José Castro, building a new home and still publishing the Gringo Gazette, the monthly newsletter she inaugurated in 1995, June also played a leading role in the establishment of their Community Center. She is respected throughout San Felipe as a pioneer whose heart hangs high like a sky full of bright stars over the Sea of Cortez.


* The Black Dahlia was the name given to an incomparably gruesome, late 1940s Hollywood murder case. It remains unsolved.

Cops on Quads

Finding the right balance between accommodating tourists and protecting the environment and economy is not always an easy job. There are currently several initiatives underway to achieve this in the local area.

La Policía Montada de San Felipe, our very own Mounties, have been re-activated to patrol the Malecon and the commercial-tourist section of town. You may have seen them briefly in the past, but the delegation budget ran short and they had to be put on hold.

Actually, the force is composed of four bilingual officers trained in the arts—that is, the martial arts—to handle unruly tourists who misbehave and to help assist the well-behaved ones, no matter where they fall.

They won't be galloping by on big, white horses, but will be mounted on all-terrain quad vehicles, ready to fight crime and wrongdoers, mainly on Mar de Cortés, el Malecón and the beach from El Machorro to the end of Hotel Row to the south.

Meanwhile, lengthy, difficult and complicated circumstances have impeded a final solution to the improvement of conditions at the bay and boardwalk, and authorities have been very respectful of people’s traditional feeling that the beach is free and theirs to use and frolic in.

Many people choose to ignore adequate beach safety and rules of reason. One such rule is that driving motor vehicles on the beach in the bay is only allowed for fishermen who must move their pangas about. Signs on accesses to the beach warn about this and several other restrictions that are seldom, if never, enforced, as the beaches in México are Federal Zones, where the municipal or state authorities have no jurisdiction, and the federales are too busy chasing drug runners.

All coco loco coaches will now be banned from cruising on the beach and instead will probably be assigned a parking space near where those beachgoers craving for coconuts and piña coladas can get to them.

The fishermen have long claimed the area for their traditional activity and, often times in the past, would clean their catch and feed the birds, while tourists were content to camp and mingle, enjoying the folklore and getting great fish at a bargain price.

The task at hand for the authorities is not an easy one. They still have to clean up the action, while preserving, protecting and allowing people their right to live and let live. Tourism and fishing are the two main revenue activities, especially for those establishments and vendors at the Malecón, and for the local economy in general.
The newly assigned and past administrations have worked on and will soon have a plan to accommodate all the activities traditionally enjoyed at the waterfront, while striving to improve, protect and modernize our beautiful little bay front.

Two Policías Turísticos, out of a total of four, will be patrolling the area from 6 in the morning till 10 pm., each on their quad vehicles. Comandante Martinez-Soto, San Felipe chief of police, soon to be confirmed in his post, with Delegado Hazael, Sierra's new administration, explained that he's had to use all of his men and equipment for crime prevention in the rest of the town, but he estimates that by the peak of the tourist season, they will have the tourist police on duty and hard at work around the Malecón, to serve and protect us all.

San Felipe Animal Rescue’s Ronda Walpole Honored

An Appreciative San Felipe Honors Ronda Walpole!
San Felipe Animal Rescue’s Ronda Walpole Honored at “Bitchy Bingo”

by Steven Forman

A standing ovation was definitely in order for SFAR founder and benefactor Ronda Walpole at San Felipe Animal Rescue’s giant “Bitchy Bingo” fundraiser at El Dorado Ranch on February 25th. Ronda was somewhat shocked and totally overwhelmed by all the attention she got, which was so rightfully deserved. She has greatly contributed to controlling San Felipe’s stray and indigent dog and cat population---and when nearly 300 people got to their feet to applaud her, she was just blown away---the fact that husband Richard was in attendance, along with daughter Heather, son-in-law Jamie and new grandbaby Brynlee, really made this tribute that much sweeter.

The catalyst for Ronda’s passion for the animal problem in our “small drinking village with a fishing problem,” back in 2003, was the day Ronda befriended a wonderful dog on the beach near her house in Las Palmas. ‘Taxi,’ as she named him was her sidekick around town for years to come, until one day at her home in Show Low Arizona, Taxi walked off the property and never came back. Ronda and her family and friends did everything they could to find Taxi and bring him home, but it was simply not meant to be.

San Felipe artist, Luis Cogley’s painting of Taxi, which was presented to Ronda during her tribute at Bitchy Bingo, left not a dry eye in the house as Ronda approached the stage at the Pavillion to accept the painting of her beloved longtime friend and companion.

Along with the support of her husband and family, Ronda continues to commute regularly to San Felipe from Arizona where she immediately goes to our site in Las Minitas to visit all her furry friends and to check on the health and well being of all who live out there and depend on her for care and solace.

Those of us affiliated with SFAR, as well as those of us who volunteer from time to time, love Ronda Walpole. Not only do we appreciate all she has done for our community, but we were so gratified by the love and support that was shown by her at Bitchy Bingo; which by the way, raised more than $9000 for SFAR’s 2008 Spay/Neuter Project.

Avoiding Problems at the Border

Sam Grubb

Did you hear the story about the man who was bringing his household goods across the border, only to have the goods and his truck impounded by Mexican customs? How about the couple who hired a major US moving company to bring their household goods to Baja but it took them two weeks to get across the border, and they had to abandon several thousand dollars’ worth of electrical goods because they didn’t have the right paperwork? Or a couple that brought new appliances to the border and had the appliances impounded for lack of the proper paperwork? These are all true stories, and the list goes on.

These horror stories, and stories like them, of people trying to move to Mexico, even with “professional help”, are endless. Some of them strain the bounds of credibility.

Recently, Mexican customs officials announced a zero tolerance policy for people trying to move their belongings to Mexico. They will no longer allow anyone through the border without the proper paperwork.

There is a very specific process required by Mexican law to bring your household goods into Mexico. If you follow the process to the letter, you have a one-time exemption from paying import duty on your possessions. However, many people have not complied with all the steps, and have had trouble at the border.

An executive of Mayflower once said, when talking about Mexico, “It’s easier to move people to Australia.”

To bring your household possessions with a combined value of $1000 or greater into Mexico, a customs broker is required along with the following:

• Proof of residence in the USA (a US utility bill in your name).
• Proof of residence in Mexico (a Mexican utility bill in your name).
• FM-3.
• An inventory of your goods in English and Spanish.
• All items with a serial and model number must be listed.
• It must be stamped by the Mexican consulate nearest your USA address. The requirements sometimes vary with individual consulates.
• Import papers prepared by a licensed broker.
• Import license.

Any attempt to short circuit this process seriously risks having your shipment turned back, or even confiscated, at the border.

There are many people and companies that offer to provide this service to Americans, promising to do it more cheaply. Be sure to check references carefully before doing business with them, because these are the people that customs officials are targeting.

Be smart, do your homework, and speak to professionals. See the sidebar for specific rules on Mexican Border Customs.

Bio: Sam Grubb is an owner of San Felipe Storage Company. Their team of experts have been moving people to Baja for two years. They do it all, from loading in the US to unloading in Mexico, without changing trucks.

Newport to Ensenada Yacht Racing

In the yachting world, no other international race attracts more entries. This annual event takes place this year on April 25, 26, 27, 2008, the last weekend in April. With its spectacular starts off the shores of Newport Beach, this is always reported as one of the greatest sailing events of the year.

Created by the Newport Ocean Sailing Association (NOSA) in 1947, when the founding member wanted to organize a small, just-for-fun race for sailors coming out of World War II.
Since then participants have been well-known racers, adventure-seekers, novice sailors, and celebrities from around the world. People such as well-known actors Buddy Ebsen and Humphrey Bogart, Walter Cronkite, comedienne Vicki Lawrence, and Pulitzer Prize winning cartoonist Paul Conrad have raced alongside world-class skippers.

The first 125-mile race from Newport Beach, California to Ensenada, Mexico took place on April 23, 1948 and only 65 boats finished the race that year. In 1983, a record 675 boats entered the race and more than 500 boats typically competing every year. The racing teams compete for the coveted First-to-Finish Honors, the President of the United States Trophy, and the President of Mexico Trophy among many other awards.

In the 1998 51st Annual Newport to Ensenada Race, the winds blew hard and consistent allowing virtually every boat to finish in record time, but last year there were 449 entries and only 241 official finishers before the Sunday cutoff. On Saturday the 26th, the yachts and racer begin filling the Ensenada Harbor for the finish of the 61st Annual Newport to Ensenada Yacht Race and whether you’re a racing fan or not, this is the largest yacht race in the world and is going to be a great weekend in Ensenada full of fun and good times. http://www.nosa.org

Versoleil Landscaping

By Ben Eugene

Guillaume Duclos started landscaping on 2nd August 1981 in France, and has gone on to landscape at Jardins de Gally (Paris France), Club Mediterranee Resorts (Italy, Sicily, Japan) and Saudi Oger, (Saudi Arabia). Today, he is William Duclos, owner of Versoleil Landscaping in San Felipe Baja California.

William found it was too difficult for Americans to remember Guillaume (French for William), so he decided to use William.

William came to San Felipe three years ago with the French company Gregori International to construct the 18-hole Las Caras de Mexico Golf Course within the Beach and Golf Resort of La Ventana del Mar.

When asked why he stayed in San Felipe and started Versoleil Landscaping, Williams says “I met my Mexican wife Xochilt here in San Felipe… and I saw a good opportunity to start a landscaping company here, because of all of the new developments.”

Versoleil Landscaping offers everything from landscaping design to green decorations for special events, with experience and solutions for small areas to big developments. They analyze various natural parameters (e.g., wind, water, sun, pH, soil etc.) and match them with the client’s wishes, style and budget. Although parameters and plants change from place to place, the art of landscaping and rules remain the same; composition, association of colors, size, contrast, use of local products (e.g., rocks, gravels, wood, sand, shells etc.) and so on.

“The priority is… saving the water and using irrigation systems…, if you want some plantation in San Felipe” says William, “forget the Rhododendron and the Rose, instead consider Century plants and Euphorbia.”

“My business is to do exactly what we say and exactly what our contract states, including start date, duration of job, budget, guarantee and so on” says William. “We make the difference with of price and quality, imagination and experience, guarantee and maintenance.”

Versoleil Landscaping has between 25 and 35 workers on various jobs and, along with Xochilt and team members Sheri, Martin, William, Guadalupe and maintenance team of 10 men and women gardeners, and landscaping construction team of 12 gardeners.

Soon Versoleil will be expanding to a “one stop shop" for nursery, landscaping office, garden decoration, vegetable and flower shops, and irrigation parts. They’re constructing two new greenhouses to produce more plants. “Anywhere you drive in San Felipe you can see the results of our jobs,” says William. “Our clients know that we are only a phone call away.” Eventually, Versoleil will expand to service areas like Rosarito, Ensenada, San Diego or California with the main office in San Felipe.

William considers the 72 condominiums at Mi Casita in La Ventana del Mar Golf Course (El Dorado Ranch) in San Felipe, and the Djeddah`s Prince Abdallah Palace with 90 workers over 4 months for one green and flower paradise front on the Red Sea, to be his greatest business accomplishments.

As more developments begin and existing developments continue adding landscaping to entice the retired, investor or baby boomer looking for that second dream home in Mexico, Versoleil is ready. “We want people travel down to San Felipe and fall in love with this town, as we have.”

Multi-talented artist of canvas and blues.

by Robin Waters

They say that everyone has a talent. Rick Rudd is exceptional, and has found success in two. He is the lead singer and bass player in a favorite local band, Vatos Locos, and he is also a skilled painter.

Born in Oklahoma and raised in southern California, Rick began drawing and painting at the age of 3. By high school he had become very serious about his art. He attended the prestigious Chouinard Art Institute in the late 60’s. But under the parental complaint of “when are you going to get a real job?” he let 15 years elapse before he picked up the brushes again.

Since 1997 Rick has made San Felipe, Baja, his permanent home. He felt that he needed to simplify to focus. When he arrived, he wanted to get back to his art, but says he was going through an “artist’s block”. He decided to “just drive” one day, and ended up on the dump road. When he got out to stretch, he noticed a scruffy copy of an archeology magazine. The only legible pages were on the history of the Mayans. An idea just hit him, he relates, and he’s been producing the Mayan series, his unique paintings on canvas and wood, ever since in his local studio. They are all based on authentic Mayan carvings.

Inspiration comes to him from the amazing Sea of Cortez, the desert, and this strange stark land; in ways that are difficult for him to describe, but are obvious in his art. His canvases display a combination of paintbrush and air brush, and even a cement trowel on occasion. The style is not easy to define, possibly abstract realism, but however you define it, it is definitely Rick’s own.

He explains “I start by applying colors in broad sweeping motions and look for the layers of possibilities; some will be relevant, others meaningless. I want depth and movement, organic and geometric shapes, familiar and enigmatic allusions.”

“This tension adds visual interest. The result is always new to me and gives me a sense of completion and resolves the unknown. I’m still learning to trust the process of painting; to be willing to disappear into it, into the search, and have something to show for it afterward. It is amazing and enlightening for me.”

When asked what he would like to see happen in the San Felipe art world, he says he wishes people would be more open-minded about art, and buy it because you like it and it “speaks to you”, not because it matches your carpet.

When he’s not painting he is “bringing the Blues to Baja”. Watch for the Vatos Locos band spotlighted at many of the fun places in town. You can see a good sampling of his art at the Tattoo Rose Café and Gallery restaurant on Mar de Cortez #162, in downtown San Felipe. Or give him a call at 576-0106 for a tour of his homes/studio.

Shrimping in Puerto Peñasco

By Charlie & Leticia Luse


“Shrimp Boats are a comin’, their sails are in sight,
Shrimp Boats are a comin’, there’s dancing tonight.”
So goes the song, which perfectly fits Puerto Peñasco, a very important port for production of shrimp, beautiful beaches and tourism. The shrimp season—the period of time the boats are permitted to “harvest” shrimp—is set by law from September through March, a period of seven months. There are between 108 and 118 shrimp boats in Puerto of various size—but most are approximately 185 feet in length. Each is powered by a large diesel engine with a second smaller engine for electricity. A normal crew consists of the captain, a mechanic, a cook and three workers. At times, there may be an additional two or three young men on board as apprentices, called “turkeys”.

The boats go out on the high seas for between 30 to 40 days at a time and go out great distances from shore, to the Bay of Kino, Guaymas, Mazatlan, and other locations. The captain has his own quarters, and below the wheel house is a room with bunk beds, a small dining area, a kitchen with refrigerator, and a restroom. On the rear deck are the hoists for the nets, a tank to rapidly freeze the shrimp, an opening down to the large freezer and a room for ice. The shrimp nets are hoisted up and the shrimp dumped on the deck, where they are washed clean of sand and acidity. They are “de-headed” by simply twisting off the heads, and then placed in the freeze tank. The tank has a solution of salt and water with freeze coils. Within approximately 15 minutes, the shrimp are frozen, and this process also keeps them from sticking together. Once frozen, they are placed in large bags and taken to the freezer below deck.

The first month of the season is best for quantity of catch, and a boat can return with as much as 25,000 pounds of shrimp. Each month, the amount of the catch decreases until during the last month of March, when the crew may only catch 1,000 to 1,500 pounds. It is during the last months that some of the boats go out only at night, and only for about 50 miles. They may not dock for 15-30 days, as they return each morning and anchor off the Malecon ( The Point ) coast of Puerto, and can be seen with their nets extended to be dried and repaired. There is a strip along the Malecon shore line that has several places where shrimp and fish are sold. You do not see frozen shrimp here, so you may assume they all are fresh—but the only time the shrimp are actually fresh—that is, they have not been frozen—is when you can see the boats anchored off the shore. Because they return each morning, they can keep some of the catch on ice, and small boats go out to buy the fresh catch to sell in these market places. There is no guarantee that the shrimp you buy are fresh, but this is the only time it is even possible. All those we spoke to in the business insist that there is no difference in quality or flavor between fresh or prior-frozen shrimp. For the jumbo shrimp, it only takes 10 to 12 of them to make one pound, with the smaller the size, the more per pound. When the shrimp season ends, the boats continue to go out for fish.

Once back in port, the frozen shrimp are brought up from the freezer by hoist in large plastic containers, then by a hoist on the dock to be loaded onto trucks and taken to one of the two processing plants in Puerto. The processing plant we visited is owned by Mr. Angel Alberto Lizarraga Sotelo, and we were warmly received by him and his son, Angel Alberto Lizarraga Ruiz, the administrator, and his wife, Mary Lizarraga. The shrimp arrive in a half-frozen state, are placed in large tanks of water to thaw, and are washed twice to eliminate the characteristic acidity of shrimp. Depending on the amount of shrimp to process, they may use a mechanical device with a conveyor to move the shrimp over another device that separates them by size. The processing then continues by hand. The day we were there, the incoming load was not large enough to use the mechanical device, so the entire sorting process was being done by hand. From the thawing and cleaning tanks, the shrimp were dumped onto large, stainless steel tables where they were sorted by size and color and placed in plastic trays with large cellophane sheets on the bottom. We need to mention here that there are two main colors of shrimp—white and brown. We asked Angel and two of his lead workers which color they preferred, and they all said brown—but they all insisted that the flavor does not differ between the colors. The trays are next weighed so each has five pounds. The trays are then taken to another table where the shrimp are removed to ascertain that the count is correct, then are replaced, with the cellophane brought up over the top, and placed on a rack where purified water is poured into each tray in preparation for two phases of freezing. Once frozen, the five-pound cellophane packages are placed in boxes, then placed in a larger box for shipping and returned to a large walk-in freezer for storage. Shipments go to many United States locations, and even to Japan.

The processing plant is strictly for shrimp; therefore, during the five months when harvesting shrimp is prohibited, the plant shuts down. Two interesting things we were told about shrimp: the first is that the freezing, thawing, freezing process, which can be repeated again, does not harm the quality or flavor of the shrimp and it would not be possible to tell the difference by looking at them, or when cooking them to be consumed. The second is that once the shrimp are frozen, they can be kept for up to two years without harm to the product.

We want to thank all those who took time to talk to us about the shrimp business in Puerto Peñasco. In addition to those at the processing plant, Mr. Gabriel Ledezma Ochoa, who has 20 years of fishing experience, enlightened us with his knowledge. Next time you are in Puerto, visit the Malecon (The Point ), where you will find shrimp in the fish markets along the shore, and if it’s the right time of year, you can see the shrimp boats anchored offshore.

10 Things to consider before moving to Mexico

Do your research. Spend time in some of the different areas of Mexico to discover which areas you feel most comfortable. Most people who retire here have had many prior visits on annual vacations and have experienced Mexico first hand.

Pick your climate. Decide what sort of climate you are most comfortable living in, depending on the area the weather ranges from year round spring-like weather to warm sea front locations and dry desert heat.

Will you be a permanent or part time resident? Depending on your personal choice, you may decide to live here permanently or only a few months out of the year, and renting the rest of the time. Some also rent their permanent homes to offset the costs of their temporary Mexican residence.

Purchasing real estate in Mexico. There are a myriad of real estate opportunities available, but be certain you are dealing with reputable agents on both sides. You may also find it easier to finance your purchase at a bank back home. There are properties available to suit every need including, apartments, resorts, condos and beachfront homes.

Choose the location that suits you. Whether you want city living or a secluded property surrounded by nature, there are plenty to choose from.

Learn the language. It's much easier to assimilate into your environment if you can speak the native language; as a result, many of our visitors enroll in classes to learn Spanish.

Consider turning your hobby into a business. Many of our retirees turn their hobbies into small businesses once they set up residence. Others get involved in social work in their local communities.

Make sure your income qualifies. You will need to research the various government requirements for foreign retirees and ensure that you qualify. You must have a proven fixed income of at least 400 times the daily minimum salary per month, and 200 times the daily amount for each dependent. If you own, your Mexican home, opposed to renting, these figures are reduced.

Health care considerations to remember. Most U.S. or Canadian health care plans do not cover your medical requirements in Mexico. Make certain you arrange for medical insurance to cover you during your stay in Mexico. There are numerous medical facilities and hospitals, but they are private and require payment in full.

Paying taxes in both countries. If you plan to work in Mexico or collect any sort of income such as rental income, sale of artwork, handicrafts, etc., you will require an FM3 Retirement Permit. This will allow you to work or run a business, but you will have to pay Mexican tax on any income earned.