Monterrey, Mexico Report of what it's like to live there - 08/09/15
Personal Experiences from Monterrey, Mexico
1. Was this post your first expatriate experience? If not, what other cities have you lived in as an expat?
No. Warsaw, Damascus, Sanaa, and Baghdad
2. What is your home city/country? How long is the trip to post from there, with what connections? How easy/difficult is it to travel to this city/country?
Norther California. 5 hours direct flights to LA
3. How long have you lived here?
4. What brought you to this city (e.g. diplomatic mission, business, NGO, teaching, retirement, etc.)?
Housing, Groceries & Food:
1. What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?
Housing is very good. For the Consulate housing is located in San Pedro and the NCC in Santa Catarine. The average commute is 20 minutes. Cars are needed.
2. How would you describe the availability and cost of groceries and household supplies relative to your home country?
Anything you like is here at HEB (Texas based chain) and Sorianna. Price about 15% higher.
3. What typical restaurants, food delivery services, and/or takeout options are popular among expatriates?
Yes. Everything from McDonald's to Wendy to IHOP. About 15% more expensive then U.S.
4. Are there any unusual problems with insects or other infestations in housing?
1. How do you send and receive your letters and package mail? Are local postal facilities adequate?
Once a week delivery from the the U.S. logistical Center in Brownsville.
2. What is the availability and cost of household help, and what types of help are typically employed by expatriates?
Lots of options
3. What kinds of gyms or other sports/workout facilities are available? Are they expensive?
Yes, but can be expensive. NCC has a small gym, pool, and half basketball court.
4. Are credit cards widely accepted and safe to use locally? Are ATMs common and do you recommend using them? Are they safe to use?
Use the same common sense you use in the U.S.
5. What English-language religious services are available locally?
Catholic. Not sure of others.
6. How much of the local language do you need for daily living? Are local language classes/tutors available and affordable?
It is helpful to have about a 2 level of Spanish.
7. Would someone with physical disabilities have difficulties living in this city?
In Monterrey yes it would be an issue. In San Pedro it could be manageable.
1. Are local buses, trams, trains or taxis safe and affordable?
Taxi -OK. Bus and train not permitted
2. What kind of car do you recommend bringing to post, given the terrain, availability of parts, burglary/carjacking risks, etc.? What kind of car do you advise not to bring?
Anything is available from Porshe to pick up trucks.
Phone & Internet:
1. Is high-speed home Internet access available? How long does it typically take to install it after arrival?
Yes but it is limited to certain portions of the city. The service area of Axtel, the only fiber optic option is expanding. Other providers are TelMex and CableVision.
1. Are qualified veterinarians and/or good kennel services available? Do animals need to be quarantined upon entry to the country? Are there other considerations regarding pets that are particular to this country?
Vets are available. Please note that transport of large animals can be difficult due to the size of the planes. Several new arrivals have had to pay to have their peta driven in from Texas to Monterrey by one of the local vets as they did not fit on the plane. Please contact GSO for information.
Employment & Volunteer Opportunities:
1. What types of jobs do most expatriate spouses/partners have? Locally based or telecommuting? Full-time or part-time? Can you comment on local salary scales?
If they have Spanish - yes. But the process for the work permit is long and complicated.
Health & Safety:
1. Are there personal security concerns to be aware of at this post? Please describe.
We must follow security rules regarding driving and curfew hours. Public transport (buses) are not permitted. Casinos and adult entertainment establishments are off limits. Radio dispatch taxis are permitted. We are not allowed to drive to the U.S. Border.
2. Are there any particular health concerns? What is the quality of available medical care? What medical conditions typically require medical evacuation?
Great quality medical care however it is not necessarily very cheap and cost must be paid up front.
3. What is the air quality like at post (good/moderate/bad)? Are there seasonal air quality issues? Does the air quality have an impact on health?
Air quality can get bad; it is combination of geography and local industry.
4. What do people who suffer from environmental or food allergies need to know?
Bring your usual allergy relief. I think food allergies could be managed HEB has most anything you need.
5. What is the overall climate: is it extremely hot or cold, wet or dry, at any time of year, for example?
Weather can be a bit unpredictable. But there is a hot dry season from July to September and a wet season. The weather during winter gets down into the 40sF.
Schools & Children:
1. What is the availability of international schools? What has been your general experience with them, if any?
Post just retuned to fully accompanied after five years without families. There are several very good schools including American School Foundation of Monterrey, San Roberto, and American Institute.
2. What accommodations do schools make for special-needs kids?
Please check with them directly it is dependent on the accommodation required.
3. Are preschools available? Day care? Are these expensive? What has been your experience with them, if any? Do the schools provide before- and/or after-school care?
Option but can be expensive and not covered education allowance.
4. Are local sports classes and/or activities available for kids?
1. What is the relative size of the expatriate community? How would you describe overall morale among expatriates?
Small the U.S. Contingent is by far the largest.
2. Is this a good city for single people? For couples? For families? Why or why not?
Yes. All will enjoy Monterrey
3. Is this a good city for LGBT expatriates? Why or why not?
Yes and improving
4. Are there problems with ethnic, race/racial minorities or religious prejudices? Gender equality?
5. What have been the highlights of your time in this country? Best trips or experiences?
View of the mountains, great shopping, comfortable place to live.
6. What are some interesting/fun things to do in the area? Can you recommend any “hidden gems"?
Hiking in the mountains, shopping for beautiful arts and carats, perfect weather during spring and fall.
7. Is this a "shopping post"? Are there interesting handicrafts, artwork, antiques, or other items that people typically buy there?
Beautiful arts and crafts
8. What are the particular advantages of living in this city?
Set in a beautiful valley surrounded by mountains. Opportunity for shopping, cultural activity and touring.
9. Can you save money?
Yes if you stay away from the stores.
Words of Wisdom:
1. Knowing what you know now, would you still move to this city?