Today, Mexico welcomes over 1.2 million expats, and unsurprisingly, a growing number of them choose to call the Yucatán Peninsula their new home.
The high levels of safety, white sand beaches, crystal-clear cenotes, endless entertainment opportunities, and vibrant community life worked as a siren call for hundreds of families who have decided to relocate to Merida, Tulum, Playa del Carmen, or Campeche.
But moving to a new country with your whole family always comes with its fair share of challenges. Get prepared for your new family adventure with the tips below.
First Things First: Make Sure To Comply With Mexico’s Visa Requirements
When arriving in Mexico, you’ll find that you and your family can enjoy a 180-day visa-free period. However, if you are planning to permanently relocate your life to the Yucatán Peninsula, you’ll need to apply for the Mexico Family Visa — which is usually a Temporary or Permanent Residency Permit — at a Mexican embassy in your county.
The process is quite bureaucratic and not always straightforward, but you can expect to receive a permanent or temporary family visa within two to 15 working days after your application is complete and you have submitted all the necessary documents.
Ideally, you should book an appointment with the embassy at least four weeks before your arrival date, and you should expect processing times to vary depending on where you are applying for the visa.
Understand What To Expect From the Cost of Living in the Yucatán Peninsula
The cost of living across the Yucatán Peninsula can vary widely, but you’ll find it to be around 63% lower than major US cities like San Francisco and 52% cheaper than London.
On average, a family of four living in Mérida will spend around $2,000 a month excluding rent, which can be between $600 and $1,000 a month, depending on your living standards. However, the cost of living in expat hubs in the Yucatán Peninsula has been on the rise.
If you are considering purchasing a home, make sure to research the area in advance and apply for a home loan before you start looking for suitable properties. This will help you set your expectations in terms of what you can afford!
Review Crime Rates and Safety Standards
Safety and crime rates are often the main concerns for families looking to move to Mexico. However, not all Mexican cities live up to this stigma, and most communities in the Yucatán Peninsula are a favorable exception.
According to statistics from the Mexican Justice System and the INEGI, Mérida consistently ranks as one of the safest cities in Mexico, followed by Playa Del Carmen and Cancún. In any case, you should consider researching the property and violent crime rates of the area you are looking to relocate to.
Take a Few Spanish Classes – It’ll Make Your Life Easier!
Over the past years, the Yucatán Peninsula has become a major tourism hotspot and a sought-after expat hub. So, when living here, you can expect more and more of the population to speak English.
Nonetheless, taking Spanish classes and getting to grips with a few key phrases can truly help you make the most of your life in Mexico. In particular, learning Spanish can make the visa application process easier and allow your family to integrate into your local community.
Consider Investing in Health Insurance for You and Your Family
The healthcare system in Mexico has developed to meet the highest standards in terms of international accreditation, technology adoption, accessibility, and efficiency. When living on the Yucatán Peninsula, you’ll find that your local hospital is staffed by internationally trained, English-speaking personnel and that you can choose between public and private healthcare.
While universal healthcare is available, private health coverage has been on the rise over the past years, especially among expats.
Choose Your Destination Wisely — and Plan in Advance
Relocating to the Yucatán Peninsula isn’t extremely complicated — but it might require a certain degree of planning. Some of the aspects you should focus on include moving your household goods to Mexico, finding recreational activities that meet your preferences, and checking for high-quality schools and hospitals close to your neighborhood.
Ideally, you should consider traveling through the Yucatán Peninsula and visiting prospective destinations to choose the best one for your entire family.