Merida is an almost 500-year-old city which is approximately 3 1/2 hours west of Playa del Carmen, only 22 miles from the Gulf of Mexico. It is in the state of Yucatan and is the capital of Yucatan. It is the largest city in the Yucatan Peninsula with close to 1 million residents, but it is also very large in size (2,223 square miles). This is the Merida website (www.merida.gob.mx) if you would like to learn more.
We found that it has state of the art healthcare, which is really important to us. Rental home prices are much more reasonably priced than in Playa del Carmen and the crime statistics are very low, even lower than those of Fort Myers, Florida.
The more we looked into Merida, the more we found to like. It is a city of history and culture and there is so much to do and see and learn here, but I will go on more about Merida in future posts. By this time, we had decided that we would not be going to Playa del Carmen like originally intended, but would make our new life in Merida.
We saw an ad on a Mexican Expat website for a company called YES (Yucatan Expat Services). They charge a reasonable fee of $200 and for that, we had a contact person who could answer all of our questions for 3 hours of her time!! So we signed up and first spoke with a woman named Adrianna for an hour over the phone. She was great and answered all of the questions that we had. Later, we kept in touch with her via emails for any additional questions that we had. If you are planning on moving to anywhere on the Yucatan Peninsula or the Riviera Maya, I would definitely recommend going through YES, they are very helpful and lovely to deal with. We even used them once we got to Merida to help us with Immigration.
While making our lists of all that needed to be done to get to Mexico, we also checked out shippers who could ship from Fort Myers to Merida. We had already decided that we were not going to be taking the majority of our furniture as it would be too costly to ship, but we had about 70 boxes and 3 bookcases that we had decided to ship. We found a company that seemed ideal and Rich was working directly with them. It was very difficult to know what to take and what we could purchase in Merida as we had never been to Merida and were unsure what kinds of stores and shopping would be available to us. Now, looking back on it, I don’t think we really would have brought much at all because there is really a great selection of big box stores and many small stores too, but we did not know. So we paid thousands to have our items shipped to us. More on our shipping issues to come.
We were also told by Adrianna at YES that there are strange rules on bringing your car to Mexico. She asked how old the car was and we told her it was a little over a year old. She said if it was 6, 7, or 8 years old we could have it imported into Mexico and we could keep it in Mexico. If it is a newer car, like ours, we could only keep it in Mexico for 4 years and then we would have to drive it out or ship it out of Mexico. I really have no idea what is behind that rule, but we had decided that we would have to sell our car in the US and go to Mexico without a car and then buy one once we got to Mexico. So that was also on our list of things to do!
Before going to Belize, Rich and I got most of our vaccinations, so I think I only needed one more vaccine before we moved to Mexico. We also needed to get all of our medical records from our different doctors which took a few months to get them all.
Then we spoke with our Vet, Dr. Denise Kalliainen at GulfCoast Veterinary Clinic, about moving to Mexico and what would need to be done prior to our moving. Both dogs had had their regular checkups and shots and our vet had to be accredited and certified to be able to approve the pets for international travel. We later took both cats to the vet and had them examined and had all the vaccines that they needed.
We thought we had done our homework and were ready to get everything done that needed to be accomplished. Unfortunately, many issues came up as we went along and we learned we just had to deal with whatever it was and get through it……This is only the beginning!!