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Old 12-21-2012, 10:52 AM
 
27 posts, read 63,249 times
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Hey,

So I am planning to move down to the Rosarito area in the next few weeks. I am currently homeless in San Diego and receive $900/ month in Social Security. That money will certainly go much further in Mexico then it will here in the US of A.

I considered moving down to Lake Atitlan, Guatemala because it is a beautiful and inexpensive place to live but it is simply too far from the US. I want to be within an hour or two of the border because there are still many things I am still involved with here in California.

So I figured the Rosarito area would be a good place for me to explore but I am not absolutely committed to Rosarito. If there are other towns-cities that are also close to the border then I am open to those locations as well.

I assume that I will need to explore the Rosarito area once I actually go there but I am wondering what peoples experiences have been. Can someone live decently on $900/month there? Are there cities-towns nearby that would be cheaper and perhaps more rural?

Do people have any hostel recomendations? I will need to stay somewhere when I arrive in Rosarito. Are there cheap hotels in that area as well? I know that in other parts of Mexico a hotel can actually wind up being cheaper then a hostel and I would certainly prefer my own space as opposed to a dorm. I will be picking up a copy of Lonely Planet Mexico in a few days so I will see what info is in that book.

And finally, my goal is to get a place to rent and a dog. I have wanted a dog for some years but refuse to have a pet while liviing on the street.

I am hoping that wanting a pet will not make my rental search too difficult. That is, I hope that there will be plenty of rentals available to someone with a pet. Do people think I am correct or do people think it will make finding an apartment/house much more difficult?

Oh, last question: When I arrive what would be the best way of me finding a place to rent? Are there certain websites that I should check out?

Thanks in advance for info and suggestions.
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Old 12-21-2012, 11:26 AM
 
Location: A Very Naughtytown In Northwestern Montanifornia U.S.A.
1,088 posts, read 1,820,557 times
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Default Rosarito is hectic.

Rosarito is so hectic, you might try finding a place in TJ. I would rather live in TJ than Rosarito any-day. That is only if I wanted to live in Mexico. I was homeless for years when I was young but ended up in Montana and eventually acquired properties.
In our state you can buy a small fixer house for less than most rents even with no down payment.
Mexico used to be a fairly safe and pleasant place to visit or live, not anymore. I wouldn't visit or reside there anymore. Try Belize or Costa Rica.
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Old 12-21-2012, 11:41 AM
 
27 posts, read 63,249 times
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Default Mexico vs Central America

And so it goes....

For quite a while I was totally committed to moving back down to Lake Atitlan, Guatemala. I spent three months there some years ago and it was great.

But I want to have my cake and eat it too. I want to have a very cheap, quiet, rural life close to the border of the US. And it just does not look like that is going to happen.

I can live close to the border but I will not have the kind of life I could have in Central America. When I look at what I can rent in Guatemala for $400/month and compare it to what I can rent in Mexico...Guatemala wins.

So I have a choice to make: move far from the US of A and have a pretty darn decent life or stay close to the border and put up with a lesser quality of living.

Right now--after looking at some apartments for rent at Lake Atitlan--I am leaning towards my original plan of moving down to Central America.

But all of this is conjecture until I actually buy a plane ticket. And that moment of decision will take place sometime next week when I get my Social Security.

Stay tuned.
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Old 12-24-2012, 11:32 AM
 
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It sounds like you haven't been to Rosarito before, or not in a long time. I would suggest since you are in San Diego, that you come down to Rosarito and stay for a while to see how you feel about it. There are a few hostels and many inexpensive motels/apartments. The outskirts of the main city are very rural, friendly and quiet. This is seriously a pet-friendly community. You will always find people with differing opinions on this topic. The only way to make an informed decision is to judge it for yourself, first hand.
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Old 12-24-2012, 09:13 PM
 
Location: Tucson/Nogales
21,695 posts, read 25,883,405 times
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Why not go a bit furthur south to Ensenada? They have nonstop bus service from the border to Ensenada every hour on the hour!

Yes, once you get south of the Mexican border, everything gets cheaper, as I've made 5 trips around Central America the past 10 years and used those trips to contemplate being an expat down there rather than more expensive Mexico. But as far as food costs, go peak in the grocery stores down there, and what will you find, generally? Higher food costs than the U.S.!

Go check out the food prices at the El Gigante grocery store on Revolution in TJ some time, and compare!
It's quite shocking, actually, given the wages they pay in Mexico, how the low income residents can afford to eat down there!

I, too, considered the Lake Atitlan area in Guatemala, but if I chose a location in Central America, it would be Tegucigalpa, Honduras instead. No big American expat community there, but cheaper!
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Old 12-26-2012, 01:35 AM
 
5,930 posts, read 10,644,424 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tijlover View Post
Why not go a bit furthur south to Ensenada? They have nonstop bus service from the border to Ensenada every hour on the hour!

Yes, once you get south of the Mexican border, everything gets cheaper, as I've made 5 trips around Central America the past 10 years and used those trips to contemplate being an expat down there rather than more expensive Mexico. But as far as food costs, go peak in the grocery stores down there, and what will you find, generally? Higher food costs than the U.S.!

Go check out the food prices at the El Gigante grocery store on Revolution in TJ some time, and compare!
It's quite shocking, actually, given the wages they pay in Mexico, how the low income residents can afford to eat down there!

I, too, considered the Lake Atitlan area in Guatemala, but if I chose a location in Central America, it would be Tegucigalpa, Honduras instead. No big American expat community there, but cheaper!
Go anywhere more than an hour south of the border and there is a very clear difference in how the lower classes live, especially when it comes to buying food in the market or getting it cheaply served at a fonda or street stand instead of visiting the big shiny supermercado. The shoppers at the supermercado in most cities more often than not drive to the store so right away that makes them mostly middle class and up.

Border towns distort the shopping habits since so much can be bought for cheaper on the other side. The rest of Mexico is only modestly more expensive than other Central American countries when it comes to food at least in what I have seen. Its not worth picking out a place further away just to save 5-10% on your food budget. Go further south only if you like it better there.
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Old 12-26-2012, 06:50 PM
 
2,984 posts, read 9,612,692 times
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I can speak in general terms about border living...and would assume most of this would apply to neighboring Rosarito/Ensenada/TJ--my experience is from Mexicali.

The short answer to your question is YES, you can easily live on $900 a month in this area based on certain assumptions. A lot of people will say no, but they tend to be the kind that want to live in secured compounds, near the beach, near attractions, in American style housing and ammenities, etc. If you are willing to rent a small, simple "Infonavit" style house, your monthly rent will be about 1,500 pesos, that's around $130. You will probaly have one or two bedrooms, a bathroom and a shared kitchen and living room. Cement floors...no porch o garage...just a very basic house. However, if budget is a concern, it will meet your needs. You can always up the budget and rent a place that is furnished (water heater, fridge, fenced, has security bars, AC, etc). Average water usage costs around 5 bucks. Electric varies on useage...in the summer, in Mexicali, light bills can be between 500 and 1,000 pesos, depending on if you leave the AC running when you are not home, in all th rooms, etc. So basically, housing and utilities will run around $100 at the bare minimum. Then add another $40 for internet and cable. Food costs vary, you could cross the border and shop at Wal Mart or Food 4 Less...or go to Bodega Aurrera, Ley in Mexico to grocery shop (the cheap local grocery stores). They have all the basic neccesities in Mexico, but you can also pick up US items at the US stores as well. If it's just you, $200 on food a month should probably cover it. So now we're at $440...add to that gas, maybe $100 a month for just driving around. That's $540....then you have car insurance, another 40 bucks probably (US car insurance). So the monthly costs for necessities are around $600. $300 would be left over for you misc. purchases, cell phone, health, random spending and dog care. and savings. Is that enough for you? Mexicans can make that work, I bet you could too...depending on how luxurious you want your housing to be.

Many Mexican families survive on far less than $900. By living near the border, you have the best of both worlds. If you choose to, you can make it work. Having a dog isn't an issue either, but you would need to rent a house for that. People generally won't rent an apartment to someone with a dog-they are viewed as outside animals in Mexico. So, you can have a house and let him or her in and out as you please, assuming it is fenced.

If you were to brave the heat in Mexicali, you could live close enough to the border and have US cell coverage...and even cheapy 40 dollar unlimited plans to the US with unlimited texting to Mexico. Mexicali is cheaper than the coast...so housing is cheap even though it's right on the border. It is also pretty safe. TJ is bigger, more expensive and has more crime...but cooler temps. So just take a trip around the area and see which cities are most appealing, check the classified sections of the local papers they sell at Oxxo and you will see tons of housing options for rent.

Good luck.
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