Ciudad Juarez, Mexico Report of what it's like to live there

Personal Experiences from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico

Ciudad Juarez, Mexico 06/18/19

Background:

1. Was this post your first expatriate experience? If not, what other cities have you lived in as an expat?

First experience with the USG, but I have also lived in Latin America and Asia.

View All Answers


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?

You can get to the U.S. in 20 minutes, depending on traffic. The El Paso Airport has direct flights to Houston, Dallas, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Denver, Salt Lake City, Chicago, Las Vegas, Atlanta, and perhaps one or two more cities. Colleague report having more issues with flights that go to the East Coast. It is a decent sized airport, but not a hub like DC, so of course there are some compromises. You can fly out of the Juarez airport on Mexican airlines to Guadalajara, Mexico City, Monterrey and Tijuana. There are seasonal direct flights to Cancun, and some options for going to smaller towns around Mexico.

View All Answers


3. How long have you lived here?

One year.

View All Answers


4. What brought you to this city (e.g. diplomatic mission, business, NGO, teaching, retirement, etc.)?

Diplomatic mission.

View All Answers


Housing, Groceries & Food:

1. What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?

USG housing is comprised of single-family homes with backyards and attached garages, and a balcony or two. Most are three bedrooms with two and a half baths, although there are a few bigger houses in the pool for the larger families. The backyards vary in size and layout: some have rocks, some are patios, some have grass, and some are a mixture. Almost all are within walking/biking distance to the Consulate, and the complexes that are farther are only a 10-20 minute drive.

View All Answers


2. How would you describe the availability and cost of groceries and household supplies relative to your home country?

The same, if a few dollars cheaper. Seasonal produce is much cheaper in Mexico, as are Mexican agricultural products (avocados are everywhere). There is Sam’s Club, Costco, Walmart, and Mexican supermarkets. I think everything can be found, perhaps with some research, but you can also shop in the US at Whole Foods, Albertson’s, Target, Sprouts, Walmart for anything you didn’t want to buy in Mexico. There’s also Amazon, if you need it.

View All Answers


3. What household or grocery items do you wish you had shipped to post?

None, see above. You cannot ship food, spices, alcohol or certain types of pet food in your shipments.

View All Answers


4. What typical restaurants, food delivery services, and/or takeout options are popular among expatriates?

There is tons of Mexican food, from divey taco shops to more upscale dining. Lots of pizza/pasta, and many US-chains like Buffalo Wild Wings, McDonald’s, Applebee’s, and Great American Steakhouse. People seem to complain about lack of good Asian food in the area. There are mediocre generic Asian restaurants in Juarez and a handful of good ones in El Paso for Thai, Vietnamese, Korean, Indian and Mediterranean. UberEats recently arrived in Juarez and the service is growing. Vegan and vegetarian Americans and Mexicans seem satisfied with their options on both sides of the border, although more so in El Paso. It isn’t a food mecca like New York City, but I’m quite satisfied.

View All Answers


5. Are there any unusual problems with insects or other infestations in housing?

No. It is dusty here, so the dirt can seep in through the cracks around the doors and windows, but I’d rather have that than any insect problems. Desert insects include scorpions and spiders, but I haven’t seen any and have not heard of it being a problem in the housing areas.

View All Answers


Daily Life:

1. How do you send and receive your letters and package mail? Are local postal facilities adequate?

Through the Consulate. Everything gets shipped to El Paso and then driven across the border. The mail room staff is excellent, and they go to El Paso 3x/week, and more during the holidays. DHL is reliable in the area too, though I’ve never specifically used it for personal mail.

View All Answers


2. What is the availability and cost of household help, and what types of help are typically employed by expatriates?

Most people employ somebody to clean their house, especially for singles living in huge houses, at about US $20-30/session. Many families have nannies, and some people have gardeners. Labor is inexpensive and there are lots of available resources.

View All Answers


3. What kinds of gyms or other sports/workout facilities are available? Are they expensive?

The Consulate has a small gym with the basics. It also hosts yoga, Zumba and Crossfit classes. There are gyms in the area that seem to be comparable prices to the US, including one that is walking distance from most of the housing. You could go to El Paso for specialty programs, but there are options in Juarez too. You can run/jog around the area near the housing, or go to Parque Central that has a nice perimeter path for walking, jogging or biking.

View All Answers


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?

Credit cards are accepted most places, except at very small food stands. There’s an ATM and a bank inside the Consulate that most employees use. I’ve used other ATMs around town without any issues, but I mostly get cash from the Consulate out of convenience. Lots of places will take your dollars if you don’t have pesos.

View All Answers


5. What English-language religious services are available locally?

I’m not sure. I know there are colleagues that attend Catholic services in Juarez, but I believe they are in Spanish. A few LDS colleagues go to services in Juarez, but again, unsure about the language. Some go to El Paso for Jewish and LDS services, but they could easily be in Spanish there too. I imagine you can find what you’re looking for between the two cities, but I don’t have any experience.

View All Answers


6. How much of the local language do you need for daily living? Are local language classes/tutors available and affordable?

You need to know the basics. I struggled with the menus when I got here, mostly due to lack of exposure to Mexican Spanish. There aren’t a lot of tourists, so there is less English than in other parts of Mexico. Tutors are available, and you can take classes on both sides of the border, for Spanish, English, even Chinese.

View All Answers


7. Would someone with physical disabilities have difficulties living in this city?

Perhaps. It isn’t really a walkable city, so if you have a car or other means of transportation, it could be doable. The sidewalks around the Consulate area have ramps. There are handicapped parking spaces in most of the grocery stores and shopping centers. Not a lot of high rises around, so there isn’t a need for elevators/stairs. The Consulate seems ADA-accessible.

View All Answers


Transportation:

1. Are local buses, trams, trains or taxis safe and affordable?

They are off limits for security reasons. We can use Uber though, which is much cheaper in Mexico.

View All Answers


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?

Lots of people say you MUST have a high clearance car, but I think that is exaggerated. The roads are full of potholes just like most of the roads in the US. It rarely rains, but when it does, it floods for a few hours. This is usually in the afternoon or evening when I just stay home anyway, and it is only about once per month, if that. Any car will do, and since we walk to work, we only really use ours for grocery runs and weekend trips. You definitely need a car though. Diplomatic plates are optional, though increasingly recommended.

View All Answers


Phone & Internet:

1. Is high-speed home Internet access available? How long does it typically take to install it after arrival?

It is already installed when you arrive, and is very affordable. We upgraded to a medium package to stream on multiple devices at once and it is about $30/month. The connection is good, and maybe we didn’t need to upgrade. There are some teleworking spouses so I think the internet is sufficient.

View All Answers


2. Do you have any recommendations regarding mobile phones? Did you keep your home-country plan or use a local provider?

We kept our American phones and plan and made sure it had US and Mexican coverage. AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile have similar plans. Some of the carriers require at least 50% of the data to be used in the US, but I haven’t had a problem. I’ve heard there are some good Mexican phone plan options for both country coverage, but I don’t have any experience.

View All Answers


Pets:

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?

Yes, to services, no to quarantines. Lots of options available on both sides of the border. I’ve been satisfied with Mexican vet care, both in expertise and cost. Animals must have rabies vaccines to cross the border. The housing has backyards, though it varies on grass and/or shade availability. Many single officers get a pet to keep company in the big houses.

View All Answers


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?

There are some EFM jobs at the Consulate. The spouses who work in the local schools say the salary is really low. Minimum wage in Mexico is US$5/hr. Some spouses work in El Paso. Some are telecommuting, and being on the same time zone as the US seems like it’d be an advantage of the post.

View All Answers


2. What volunteer opportunities are available locally?

I’m not sure of specifics, but I imagine there are many options. If it was in Juarez, the location of the organization would matter for security reasons.

View All Answers


3. What is the typical dress code at work and in public places? Is formal dress ever required?

Work is business or business casual, depending on the section/industry. Mexicans dress well in professional settings. Formal dress is required for functions, and often Mexican women will get hair or makeup professionally done for parties. There’s lots of variety.

View All Answers


Health & Safety:

1. Are there personal security concerns to be aware of at this post? Please describe.

There is some cartel violence, however, Americans are not the target. There are zones of the city we are not allowed to go to, which tend to be the more violent areas, but they aren’t places most Americans want/need to go anyway. I feel comfortable wearing jewelry in public and see Mexican women leaving their purses on empty chairs in restaurants. People need to be aware, as much as they would in any other city. The security situation is what you make of it. It can dictate your life and force you to stay inside if you let it, or you can proceed with appropriate caution and explore what Juarez has to offer.

View All Answers


2. Are there any particular health concerns? What is the quality of available medical care? What medical conditions typically require medical evacuation?

It is dry and dusty at 3500 ft elevation. Lots of available medical care in Juarez and El Paso. It is much cheaper in Mexico, but mostly Spanish-speaking. The Consulate has a nurse that can help navigate Mexican medical care. It comes down to personal preference.

View All Answers


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?

It is dusty, dry and at 3500 ft elevation. The air is worse in spring, and the wind can be intense sometimes. I think some people have allergies because of the dust.

View All Answers


4. What do people who suffer from environmental or food allergies need to know?

See the comment above about air quality. There are many vegans and vegetarians within the community. I don’t have any experience with food allergies, but knowing how to describe what you’re allergic to in Spanish would be smart. If you don’t eat gluten, this is the part of Mexico to be in, since most of the tortillas are corn tortillas.

View All Answers


5. Are there any particular mental health issues that tend to crop up at post, such as Seasonal Affective Disorder (winter blues)?

None that I know about. It is sunny all the time, except for a handful of days every so often. I think some people get frustrated with the grind of the work and with the security situation, but a good remedy is to get away for the weekend, either in the US or in Mexico.

View All Answers


6. What is the overall climate: is it extremely hot or cold, wet or dry, at any time of year, for example?

It is hot from May to September, 90-100 degrees. The winter gets down to 30s and 40s, and it even snowed last year. There is a spring and fall. It is very dry, with little precipitation, almost always sunny and no humidity. There’s a 20-30 degree temperature swing every day, which makes for pleasant weather in the mornings and evenings most of the year.

View All Answers


Schools & Children:

1. What is the availability of international schools? What has been your general experience with them, if any?

Parents can send their children to private school in Mexico or to public or private in the US. Both options have buses from the housing. It seems people are generally happy with the options, although the schools in the US have a significant daily commute. I can’t speak to the education quality.

View All Answers


2. What accommodations do schools make for special-needs kids?

Unsure. The Community Liaison Office (CLO) has excellent information about the schooling options.

View All Answers


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?

Again, no direct experience. Some people use nannies, and I know that some pre-school age children attend a school/daycare that requires uniforms in Mexico.

View All Answers


4. Are local sports classes and/or activities available for kids?

It seems so, based on what I’ve overhead from coworkers. I’ve seen leagues and studios for soccer, Taekwondo, dance on both sides, and I imagine the American high schools have options.

View All Answers


Expat Life:

1. What is the relative size of the expatriate community? How would you describe overall morale among expatriates?

The community is medium-sized, although there are no other diplomats in town. There are probably some expats that manage the factories. The post and the community are what you make of it. I’d say overall the morale is good. Lots of people extend, it is good for families, there are a lot of positives to the post.

View All Answers


2. What are some typical ways to socialize, either with local people or with other expatriates? Are there groups or clubs that you can recommend?

There are lots of events sponsored by the CLO, and I know that school activities link families together. Lots of first and second tour officers here, and therefore there are always happy hours, game nights, dinner groups, etc. You can go to restaurants, cafes, the movies, road trips, etc. There are as many (and as few) opportunities to socialize as one would like.

View All Answers


3. Is this a good city for single people? For couples? For families? Why or why not?

Yes, this is good for everybody. For singles, you can go to bars and restaurants, and can date in Mexico or the US. For families, there are lots of family-friendly activities, within the community and with locals. The community is close (see above) so it seems like a good option for everybody.

View All Answers


4. Is this a good city for LGBT expatriates? Why or why not?

Yes, I think so. Although it is a conservative Catholic country, there are locals and officers alike who are out in the Consulate. There are gay bars in Mexico and I would assume in El Paso.

View All Answers


5. Is it easy to make friends with locals here? Are there any prejudices or any ethnic groups who might feel uncomfortable here?

I think it is possible to socialize with locals, if you want to put in the effort to get to know them. The income disparity exists, but not the level as it does in other parts of the world. There’s a lot of exposure to America and American culture due to proximity and shared history.

View All Answers


6. Are there problems with ethnic, race/racial minorities or religious prejudices? Gender equality?

Probably, because isn’t this a problem everywhere to a certain extent? However, I can’t really comment on anything specific. Juarez has a history with femicide, but not as much recently. There is some tension in other parts of the country with indigenous groups.

View All Answers


7. What have been the highlights of your time in this country? Best trips or experiences?

Traveling throughout Mexico, the food, and the culture. The community is great. People really like access to the Southwest US.

View All Answers


8. What are some interesting/fun things to do in the area? Can you recommend any “hidden gems"?

In Juarez, you should check out the Samalayuca sand dunes, Parque Central, the downtown area, La Rodadora Children’s museum if you have kids. In the US, you are close to Carlsbad Caverns, Albuquerque, Santa Fe, and close enough to the Grand Canyon and other natural wonders for longer weekend trips. It’s a good post for outdoor activities.

View All Answers


9. Is this a "shopping post"? Are there interesting handicrafts, artwork, antiques, or other items that people typically buy there?

Not really a shopping post, unless you need access to American stores. There is some pottery, bright fabrics, leather goods if you want them, but I’ve seen similar stuff throughout Mexico.

View All Answers


10. What are the particular advantages of living in this city?

Proximity to the US, interesting front-row view on the border situation, immigration and US/Mexican relations, interesting work, good work/life balance, cost of living, food, culture, travel within Mexico. Small-town feel.

View All Answers


Words of Wisdom:

1. What do you wish you had known about this particular city/country before moving there?

There are fewer areas of the city that are restricted than I thought there would be. Work-wise, it is a well-oiled machine which is refreshing.

View All Answers


2. Knowing what you know now, would you still move to this city?

Yes. It wasn't my first choice, but knowing what I know now, perhaps I would have put it higher on the list.

View All Answers


3. If you move here, you can leave behind your:

Love for greenery. Expectations of cosmopolitan mega-city.

View All Answers


4. But don't forget your:

Sunscreen and positive attitude.

View All Answers


5. Do you recommend any books or movies about this city/country for those who are interested in learning more?

No specific recommendations, but I know there lots of options out there. There are movies and TV shows (Sicario, Narcos, Breaking Bad) that feature Juarez, though I haven’t seen them. Born to Run is a book about the indigenous people of the Chihuahua state, and there are tons of books about the borderlands. Lots of movies/books that feature Mexico more broadly.

View All Answers


6. Do you have any other comments?

I can’t stress enough that this post is what you make of it. Lots of people get assigned here against their wishes, but there are definitely worse places to be. If you appreciate the positives, your tour will fly by.

View All Answers


Ciudad Juarez, Mexico 02/10/19

Background:

1. Was this post your first expatriate experience? If not, what other cities have you lived in as an expat?

Other places in the Western Hemisphere and Europe.

View All Answers


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?

Post is a six day drive from Washington D.C.

View All Answers


3. How long have you lived here?

One year.

View All Answers


4. What brought you to this city (e.g. diplomatic mission, business, NGO, teaching, retirement, etc.)?

US Consulate.

View All Answers


Housing, Groceries & Food:

1. What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?

Housing is small: three bedroom houses, no matter what your family size. Larger places are very rare.

View All Answers


2. How would you describe the availability and cost of groceries and household supplies relative to your home country?

You can shop in El Paso, or in CDJ. Med advises bleaching your vegetables if from CDJ, and local refrigeration can be iffy, especially in summer.

View All Answers


3. What household or grocery items do you wish you had shipped to post?

None.

View All Answers


4. What typical restaurants, food delivery services, and/or takeout options are popular among expatriates?

Everything is here. There are many fast food and Mex or Tex-Mex options.

View All Answers


5. Are there any unusual problems with insects or other infestations in housing?

No.

View All Answers


Daily Life:

1. How do you send and receive your letters and package mail? Are local postal facilities adequate?

Mail is driven in from El Paso.

View All Answers


2. What is the availability and cost of household help, and what types of help are typically employed by expatriates?

Help is available, it’s typical to combine housekeepers and nannies.

View All Answers


3. What kinds of gyms or other sports/workout facilities are available? Are they expensive?

The Consulate has many services for the community. Yoga, Zumba, Cross-Fit and a very small gym are on-compound. Gyms in CDJ can have security concerns and El Paso is far away just for a workout. Many people own personal treadmills.

View All Answers


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?

Yes. Some people have had bad experiences with skimming in CDJ. There is an ATM and a bank branch at the Consulate.

View All Answers


5. What English-language religious services are available locally?

Catholic services in English are in CDJ; everything exists in El Paso.

View All Answers


6. How much of the local language do you need for daily living? Are local language classes/tutors available and affordable?

You cannot survive without Spanish. The level of English in the area is very, very low, including in the Consulate itself.

View All Answers


7. Would someone with physical disabilities have difficulties living in this city?

It is a driving city.

View All Answers


Transportation:

1. Are local buses, trams, trains or taxis safe and affordable?

We aren’t allowed to take most local transport. Taxis and Uber are available and permitted.

View All Answers


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?

An old car with high clearance for the speed bumps and road flooding.

View All Answers


Phone & Internet:

1. Is high-speed home Internet access available? How long does it typically take to install it after arrival?

Yes, set-up before arrival. Speeds are slow during peak periods.

View All Answers


2. Do you have any recommendations regarding mobile phones? Did you keep your home-country plan or use a local provider?

U.S. based T-Mobile and ATT are popular choices.

View All Answers


Pets:

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?

Pets are very popular here; no quarantine required.

View All Answers


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?

Many people telecommute. Salaries on both sides of the border for jobs on the economy are shockingly low. A handful of EFM jobs exist, Spanish is helpful for all types of local employment.

View All Answers


2. What volunteer opportunities are available locally?

Many in El Paso, volunteering in CDJ is complicated by security concerns.

View All Answers


3. What is the typical dress code at work and in public places? Is formal dress ever required?

Dressy casual for the office, people wear everything in public. Shorts are uncommon in Mexico.

View All Answers


Health & Safety:

1. Are there personal security concerns to be aware of at this post? Please describe.

Yes. We have no-go zones and shootings throughout the city, although they are targeted.

View All Answers


2. Are there any particular health concerns? What is the quality of available medical care? What medical conditions typically require medical evacuation?

Medical care in El Paso is adequate, although there can be long waits for appointments. Care in CDJ is largely Spanish-language. The MED unit has a nurse only, who is unable to prescribe.

View All Answers


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?

Pollution and dry air takes a toll on most people.

View All Answers


4. What do people who suffer from environmental or food allergies need to know?

Pollution and dry air takes a toll on most people. Food allergies are largely manageable and products either labeled or made locally.

View All Answers


5. Are there any particular mental health issues that tend to crop up at post, such as Seasonal Affective Disorder (winter blues)?

N/A

View All Answers


6. What is the overall climate: is it extremely hot or cold, wet or dry, at any time of year, for example?

Hot and dry in summer, cold and dry in winter.

View All Answers


Schools & Children:

1. What is the availability of international schools? What has been your general experience with them, if any?

There are no international schools. All have pros and cons:

CDJ instruction is in Spanish with no support for non-speakers. A good option for the young, due to the short commute but English instruction (even in “bilingual” schools) is inadequate and academics are variable.

El Paso public schools are very large with many extracurricular activities. Some children have to repeat grades when they return to Washington D.C.

El Paso private schools are small (to very small) with no to few extracurriculars. Bridges Academy (for kids with special needs), El Paso Country Day (for kids needing an accelerated curriculum) and Loretto/ Radford (religious) are all popular.

All El Paso choices have a commute time of roughly 3 hours daily.

View All Answers


2. What accommodations do schools make for special-needs kids?

See above.

View All Answers


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?

Yes to all, at prices less than in D.C. The commute time for El Paso schools effectively serves as before and after care!

View All Answers


4. Are local sports classes and/or activities available for kids?

Spanish language only. Kids who commute to school don’t have time for weekday extracurriculars. Others are offered mainly on Saturday mornings or during the week.

View All Answers


Expat Life:

1. What is the relative size of the expatriate community? How would you describe overall morale among expatriates?

There is no expat community here to speak of. FAST officers have a strong network and take care of each other, including socially. Others must find their own way.

View All Answers


2. What are some typical ways to socialize, either with local people or with other expatriates? Are there groups or clubs that you can recommend?

CLO activities, events in El Paso.

View All Answers


3. Is this a good city for single people? For couples? For families? Why or why not?

Singles and couples, yes. Schooling and a small number of kids at post makes this difficult for families.

View All Answers


4. Is this a good city for LGBT expatriates? Why or why not?

Post has a very active GLIFFA group.

View All Answers


5. Is it easy to make friends with locals here? Are there any prejudices or any ethnic groups who might feel uncomfortable here?

Yes, if you speak strong Spanish.

View All Answers


6. Are there problems with ethnic, race/racial minorities or religious prejudices? Gender equality?

The situation is largely as in the US.

View All Answers


7. What have been the highlights of your time in this country? Best trips or experiences?

There are many fun trips in the Southwestern US. Travel to other parts of Mexico requires flights. Travel in the area is complicated by the security situation.

View All Answers


8. What are some interesting/fun things to do in the area? Can you recommend any “hidden gems"?

Super Target in El Paso, the local parks, both national and state, Viva Mexico. However, big-city style entertainment is lacking.

View All Answers


9. Is this a "shopping post"? Are there interesting handicrafts, artwork, antiques, or other items that people typically buy there?

Mata Ortiz pottery, other ceramics and Mexican handicrafts.

View All Answers


10. What are the particular advantages of living in this city?

El Paso and proximity to the US more generally.

View All Answers


Words of Wisdom:

1. What do you wish you had known about this particular city/country before moving there?

The school situation and the absolute necessity to speak Spanish.

View All Answers


2. Knowing what you know now, would you still move to this city?

Probably.

View All Answers


3. If you move here, you can leave behind your:

Taco seasoning and spice intolerance.

View All Answers


4. But don't forget your:

Sunscreen.

View All Answers


5. Do you recommend any books or movies about this city/country for those who are interested in learning more?

N/A

View All Answers


Ciudad Juarez, Mexico 01/04/19

Background:

1. Was this post your first expatriate experience? If not, what other cities have you lived in as an expat?

No. I've also lived in Western Europe and Africa.

View All Answers


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?

Ciudad Juarez borders El Paso, TX. It is easy to travel to anywhere in the US though most flights connect through bigger cities in Texas.

View All Answers


3. How long have you lived here?

Two years.

View All Answers


4. What brought you to this city (e.g. diplomatic mission, business, NGO, teaching, retirement, etc.)?

The US Consulate.

View All Answers


Housing, Groceries & Food:

1. What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?

Housing is generally all three bedroom houses. There are some four bedroom houses, but getting one of these is not dependent on family size so much as availability when you arrive. Most people walk or bike to work with the commute being five to ten minutes.

View All Answers


2. How would you describe the availability and cost of groceries and household supplies relative to your home country?

Cheaper and you can find everything in either Juarez or El Paso.

View All Answers


3. What household or grocery items do you wish you had shipped to post?

None.

View All Answers


4. What typical restaurants, food delivery services, and/or takeout options are popular among expatriates?

There's everything including sushi. Food delivery is not the most reliable, but it's not hard to go get things yourself.

View All Answers


5. Are there any unusual problems with insects or other infestations in housing?

No.

View All Answers


Daily Life:

1. How do you send and receive your letters and package mail? Are local postal facilities adequate?

You'll feel like you're living in the US with how fast you'll get your mail.

View All Answers


2. What is the availability and cost of household help, and what types of help are typically employed by expatriates?

It's easy to get a housekeeper to come over one to two times a week and it generally costs US $20-30. Incredible nannies are available.

View All Answers


3. What kinds of gyms or other sports/workout facilities are available? Are they expensive?

All sorts of gyms are available. A broader range of facilities (yoga, barre, etc) are available in El Paso.

View All Answers


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?

No issues.

View All Answers


5. What English-language religious services are available locally?

Probably in El Paso.

View All Answers


6. How much of the local language do you need for daily living? Are local language classes/tutors available and affordable?

Spanish is needed, but some get by without it. It is more common even in El Paso to not speak English than to not speak Spanish. There are many resources and opportunities to learn Spanish.

View All Answers


7. Would someone with physical disabilities have difficulties living in this city?

Yes and no. There aren't sidewalks, you will have to drive everywhere, but all of the newer developments are built and designed to be friendly to those with disabilities. I wouldn't rule out Juarez as an option.

View All Answers


Transportation:

1. Are local buses, trams, trains or taxis safe and affordable?

Not recommended, probably discouraged.

View All Answers


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?

Whatever car you want. Traffic can be rough, so you might want to avoid a newer car. There are lots of speed bumps, so higher clearance can be useful but not required.

View All Answers


Phone & Internet:

1. Is high-speed home Internet access available? How long does it typically take to install it after arrival?

It's about $15 a month and already set-up when you get here.

View All Answers


2. Do you have any recommendations regarding mobile phones? Did you keep your home-country plan or use a local provider?

Most major cell phone providers have "border plans" that allow you to use their service in the US and Mexico.

View All Answers


Pets:

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?

No quarantine required. A lot of people get pets when they get here. Vet, grooming, and kenneling services are easy to access and more affordable than in the US.

View All Answers


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?

There are jobs at the consulate for family members. People telecommute. If you work on the local economy it's not for the pay. Employment in El Paso has been trickier for people to access than anticipated.

View All Answers


2. What volunteer opportunities are available locally?

There are lots of options depending on your interest.

View All Answers


3. What is the typical dress code at work and in public places? Is formal dress ever required?

No formal dress required. At work, shirt and tie for the guys and the equivalent for the ladies.

View All Answers


Health & Safety:

1. Are there personal security concerns to be aware of at this post? Please describe.

Yes. There is a lot of violence related to gang activity and cartels. Even in areas considered "safe", violence occurs.

View All Answers


2. Are there any particular health concerns? What is the quality of available medical care? What medical conditions typically require medical evacuation?

Most people develop allergies here. It is easy to get high quality health care on both sides of the border.

View All Answers


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?

Not great year round. Those aware of the air quality readings may choose to limit time outside.

View All Answers


4. What do people who suffer from environmental or food allergies need to know?

It's common to have seasonal allergies that last all year. As for food allergies, you'll find it's very similar to being in the US.

View All Answers


5. Are there any particular mental health issues that tend to crop up at post, such as Seasonal Affective Disorder (winter blues)?

No.

View All Answers


6. What is the overall climate: is it extremely hot or cold, wet or dry, at any time of year, for example?

Hot and lengthy summer, with short but cold winter. Air is very dry.

View All Answers


Schools & Children:

1. What is the availability of international schools? What has been your general experience with them, if any?

This is the worst part about this post. There are no good options. There are no international schools or schools accredited by any American accrediting bodies. There are local Mexican schools that people use in Juarez, but the trade-off for a short commute is quality. Also, if your child doesn't speak Spanish the Juarez schools are not set-up to help the child learn Spanish even if the school is bilingual. Many schools are available in El Paso including access to excellent public schools, but the commute is over an hour each way on motor pool.

View All Answers


2. What accommodations do schools make for special-needs kids?

Schools in El Paso are able to provide accommodations. I'm not sure about Juarez.

View All Answers


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?

Many options for preschool and day care on both sides of the border. It's cheaper than in DC. Schools do provide before and after school care.

View All Answers


4. Are local sports classes and/or activities available for kids?

Wide range of sports and activities available for kids.

View All Answers


Expat Life:

1. What is the relative size of the expatriate community? How would you describe overall morale among expatriates?

It's a large consulate community. There are a lot of first tour officers at the consulate which leads to an optimistic, collegial vibe.

View All Answers


2. What are some typical ways to socialize, either with local people or with other expatriates? Are there groups or clubs that you can recommend?

There are many ways to socialize and get out just like in any US city. There is a regular calendar of events through the Community Liaison Office (CLO) with strong participation.

View All Answers


3. Is this a good city for single people? For couples? For families? Why or why not?

It's challenging for families with school age children due to the school situation.

View All Answers


4. Is it easy to make friends with locals here? Are there any prejudices or any ethnic groups who might feel uncomfortable here?

It is relatively easy to make local friends here. The most prejudice that certain ethnic groups will encounter seems to be with CBP officers when crossing into the US.

View All Answers


5. Is this a good city for LGBT expatriates? Why or why not?

I'm not aware of any issues.

View All Answers


6. Are there problems with ethnic, race/racial minorities or religious prejudices? Gender equality?

Attitudes are similar to what you will encounter across the US.

View All Answers


7. What have been the highlights of your time in this country? Best trips or experiences?

The food! The cafeteria at the Consulate serves up affordable home-style Mexican and American food for breakfast and lunch. Even the locals love it. Their are so many culinary options to explore from taco shacks to white table cloth dining. Also, traveling within Mexico from Juarez is easy and relatively inexpensive.

View All Answers


8. What are some interesting/fun things to do in the area? Can you recommend any “hidden gems"?

So many amazing National Parks on the US side are hours away. This is a great post to take up camping and hiking.

View All Answers


9. Is this a "shopping post"? Are there interesting handicrafts, artwork, antiques, or other items that people typically buy there?

Target in the US is a short drive away. Most handicrafts are brought in from other parts of Mexico. It's generally better to buy these things when you're travelling.

View All Answers


10. What are the particular advantages of living in this city?

You have easy access to the US, but you will still feel like you're living in Mexico. Traffic isn't great, but getting stuck in traffic for hours isn't a thing here. It's not hard to get home to visit family and friends in the US by driving or flying.

View All Answers


Words of Wisdom:

1. What do you wish you had known about this particular city/country before moving there?

I wish the information on the school situation had been more clear. A lot of the other reports are quite rosy, but when I arrived I learned that it's not entirely accurate and it's not uncommon for people to say that if they had known about the school situation they would not have come here.

View All Answers


2. Knowing what you know now, would you still move to this city?

It's complicated.

View All Answers


3. If you move here, you can leave behind your:

Bring it all!

View All Answers


4. But don't forget your:

Elastic-waist pants for all the tacos and hiking shoes.

View All Answers


5. Do you recommend any books or movies about this city/country for those who are interested in learning more?

Watch Sicario just to tell yourself that it's not like that at all. I recommend books by Luis Alberto Urrea to get you started. From there, I would pick up a syllabus from a Latin American history/culture class. There's a lot to learn.

View All Answers


Ciudad Juarez, Mexico 06/01/16

Background:

1. Was this post your first expatriate experience? If not, what other cities have you lived in as an expat?

I have also lived as an expat as a child for four years in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

View All Answers


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?

Our home base is Ohio. It is a 23-hour DRIVE from Cincinnati. Total flight time is about 5 or 6 hours with a layover in various cities: Houston, Chicago, Dallas, Atlanta, Denver, etc.

View All Answers


3. How long have you lived here?

We currently live here and have been here for a year and a half.

View All Answers


4. What brought you to this city (e.g. diplomatic mission, business, NGO, teaching, retirement, etc.)?

We lived in Ciudad Juarez due to my husband's work as a Foreign Service specialist.

View All Answers


Housing, Groceries & Food:

1. What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?

I don't know of anyone in an apartment. Everyone is in houses. Some neighborhoods are walking distance from the consulate. The farthest are about a ten-minute drive. Some yards are very small or are completely rocks or cement, but all of the neighborhoods have shared green spaces with playgrounds.

View All Answers


2. How would you describe the availability and cost of groceries and household supplies relative to your home country?

The cost is similar to that of the U.S. You can get pretty much everything here in Juarez.

View All Answers


3. What household or grocery items do you wish you had shipped to post?

Nothing, really.

View All Answers


4. What typical restaurants, food delivery services, and/or takeout options are popular among expatriates?

The cost is cheaper than in the US. There are lots of DELICIOUS restaurants and fast food: McDonalds, Burger King, Wendy's, Carl's Jr., Subway, KFC, etc. Fast food restaurants here have HUGE play places. HUGE!

View All Answers


5. Are there any unusual problems with insects or other infestations in housing?

No major insect problems. Just the expected cockroaches. There are black widow spiders and scorpions, mosquitoes, and crickets. We had a bird-mite infestation from birds who nested in our window sills, but none of our neighbors or friends had that issue, so I think we were just unfortunate.

View All Answers


Daily Life:

1. How do you send and receive your letters and package mail? Are local postal facilities adequate?

The U.S. Consulate has two addresses in El Paso that you can use to receive mail and packages. You can send mail at the consulate or drive across the border and mail it from El Paso.

View All Answers


2. What is the availability and cost of household help, and what types of help are typically employed by expatriates?

Domestic help is very inexpensive --- around $20 a day. Most people have someone who comes once or twice a week. Dual working parents often have full-time or live-in nannies. Some have drivers.

View All Answers


3. What kinds of gyms or other sports/workout facilities are available? Are they expensive?

The U.S. Consulate has a gym. Your membership in the employee recreation association (ERA) includes use of the gym. There are also other gyms in Juarez in the "green zone" to which you can buy a membership.

View All Answers


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?

I use my credit cards and ATMs here with no problems.

View All Answers


5. What English-language religious services are available locally?

People who want church services in English just drive over to El Paso, Texas. In the Green Zone of Juarez there are Catholic and Mormon churches. There may be others as well. All of the Anglican churches are in the "red zone."

View All Answers


6. How much of the local language do you need for daily living? Are local language classes/tutors available and affordable?

A lot of Mexicans speak some English. You will meet lower income Mexicans who are fluent in English, because they lived in the US for years and are here only because they were deported. You will meet wealthier Mexicans who are fluent in English because they've paid for lessons.



English is actually taught in all public schools in Mexico, but with varying success. I find it convenient to know Spanish, but a lot of signs and store items have labels in both languages.

View All Answers


7. Would someone with physical disabilities have difficulties living in this city?

There are some sidewalks, but not always.

View All Answers


Transportation:

1. Are local buses, trams, trains or taxis safe and affordable?

Nope. You can hire a U.S. Consulate driver in his free time if you need a ride.

View All Answers


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?

You can bring any kind of car.

View All Answers


Phone & Internet:

1. Is high-speed home Internet access available? How long does it typically take to install it after arrival?

High-speed internet is available. The combined cost of our landline and internet is a little over $30 every month.

View All Answers


2. Do you have any recommendations regarding mobile phones? Did you keep your home-country plan or use a local provider?

We obtained a local phone number through Movistar. The plan works in the US and in Mexico. We Google-ported our American numbers, so we can still use those through our Mexican cell phone data line. I like having a local number, because it is easier for the local doctors, schools, friends, etc. to call me. That said, a lot of wealthier Mexicans have American phone numbers. It costs about 30 bucks a month for unlimited calls, text, and 1.5MB of data.

View All Answers


Pets:

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?

There are vets and kennels here that my friends with pets use. I don't think there is a quarantine requirement.

View All Answers


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?

Some spouses further their education at UTEP. Many of them telecommute. Some work in El Paso. I work at my kids' school. Many work at the Consulate.

View All Answers


2. What volunteer opportunities are available locally?

You can volunteer at the schools, at churches, and through an orphanage. There are many opportunities.

View All Answers


3. What is the typical dress code at work and in public places? Is formal dress ever required?

Business attire at work. Whatever you want in public. Mexicans, in my opinion, dress more formally than Americans, but the other moms don't bat an eye when I wear yoga pants to my kids' soccer practice, and they're in three-inch heels and a dress.

View All Answers


Health & Safety:

1. Are there personal security concerns to be aware of at this post? Please describe.

Well, yes. Ciudad Juarez is doing MUCH better than it was during 2008-2011 when it was the murder capital of the world, but it does still have a pretty high homicide rate. I never really felt unsafe, though. When you arrive, the Regional Security Office (RSO) will give you a map with the "Green Zone" marked on it. The rest of the city is the "red zone," and you have to get RSO approval before venturing into those parts of town. There are many churches, stores, and schools in the green zone, and if you ever want to stretch your legs farther, you can also hop over to El Paso.

View All Answers


2. Are there any particular health concerns? What is the quality of available medical care? What medical conditions typically require medical evacuation?

I don't think there are any specific health concerns. There are two fantastic private hospitals within fifteen minutes of the consulate. I had my baby here. I have my dental work done here. I had a root canal here. I go to El Paso for my kids' well-check ups and vaccines, but I see a pediatrician here in Juarez when they are sick. We haven't had a medical unit during most of the time I have been here, so that's a little frustrating.

View All Answers


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?

The air quality is mostly good. Some times of the year are very windy, and that kicks up a lot of sand/dirt into the air. The pollution is similar to that in the United States.

View All Answers


4. What do people who suffer from environmental or food allergies need to know?

Mexicans don't seem to worry about food allergies. It is a desert, so I imagine it wouldn't be too horrible for plant allergies.

View All Answers


5. What is the overall climate: is it extremely hot or cold, wet or dry, at any time of year, for example?

The spring season is windy. Summers are hot (highs of 90-100). Winters are mild (highs of 40-60F). It is very, very dry, and the altitude is higher than we were used to, so various family members had to deal with nose bleeds, cracked and bleeding hands, dry nose, and dry mouth.

View All Answers


Schools & Children:

1. What is the availability of international schools? What has been your general experience with them, if any?

There are no international schools at this post. You have the option of using private Mexican schools or shuttling your kids to El Paso for a private American school. Separate Maintenance Allowance (SMA) is an option right now, and a few families choose to live in El Paso and attend public school.



There are currently six different private schools in Juarez with consulate children attending them. The schools vary: some are small, some are large, some are Montessori, some are Catholic, some are bilingual, some are all-day Spanish, and one is all-day English. It is not uncommon to choose a school and then change your mind and switch your kids to a different one.



Typically, those with high schoolers choose to send their kids across the border to El Paso every day, and those with preschoolers and elementary school kids keep their kids in Juarez. Middle schoolers are a mix of both. We did recently learn that there is one high school here in Juarez that can offer a diploma recognized by the US, but it is also part university, so your high schoolers would be on campus with college kids.

View All Answers


2. What accommodations do schools make for special-needs kids?

I only know of one school that has special-needs kids: Colegio Kari Montessori. Depending on the disability/disorder, El Paso might be a better option.

View All Answers


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?

There are many preschool and daycare options available. Mexican public schooling begins at age three, so all of the local children are in school. Some private schools begin at age two with a "maternal" level. All of the private schools offer "estancia" where your child can stay longer after the school day; some offer after-school arts, sports, music, tutoring, etc. rather than just a regular day care. Preschool is VERY inexpensive compared to Virginia, like under $150 a month. You can also hire a full-time nanny for $20-$30 a day.

View All Answers


4. Are local sports classes and/or activities available for kids?

There are lots of sports programs. You can do them in Juarez if you want a shorter commute and don't mind Spanish, or El Paso if you want English and don't mind the drive. My kids have done soccer and gymnastics. There are tennis lessons at the Consulate. We have friends who have done swimming, ballet, dance, and tae kwon do. Pretty much all sports are available.

View All Answers


Expat Life:

1. What is the relative size of the expatriate community? How would you describe overall morale among expatriates?

The American consulate is the only consulate in Juarez, but there are other expats here because Juarez has a large international industrial sector. The American consulate is huge, and I've never met anyone who didn't love it here. Some are initially not thrilled at coming because they are fearful of the violent past, but once you get here you love it.

View All Answers


2. What are some typical ways to socialize, either with local people or with other expatriates? Are there groups or clubs that you can recommend?

The consulate has lots of activities. People get together a lot as well for trivia nights and board-game nights. There are lots of delicious restaurants to choose from. Many concerts. The VIP movie theater is a treat.

View All Answers


3. Is this a good city for single people? For couples? For families? Why or why not?

It is a good city for all of the above. The Consulate community is huge, and there are always activities going on. Juarez also has lots of concerts and shows, as do El Paso and Las Cruces.

View All Answers


4. Is this a good city for LGBT expatriates? Why or why not?

That I don't really know, but there are currently a few serving here, and I believe they are enjoying the assignment.

View All Answers


5. Are there problems with ethnic, race/racial minorities or religious prejudices? Gender equality?

The area is predominantly Catholic. There are very few people here of African descent, so I don't know if an African American would feel uncomfortable with being such a minority. I personally have never encountered any prejudices.

View All Answers


6. What have been the highlights of your time in this country? Best trips or experiences?

Highlights have been the amazingly delicious food, the caring environment at the Montessori school, and the incredible friendliness of the Mexican people.

View All Answers


7. What are some interesting/fun things to do in the area? Can you recommend any “hidden gems"?

There are three different water parks within fifteen minutes of the Consulate, so those are fun. The children's museum (La Rodadora) is fantastic. The El Paso Zoo has a very inexpensive yearly membership and includes a very fun playground and splash pad. We are able to get a library card through the El Paso public libraries. Fiesta Park has go-carts, a zip line, bumper cars, boat launchers, a roller skating rink, carnival games, mini golf, and other fun activities. Franklin Mountain State Park in El Paso has some great and challenging trails. You are close to White Sands, Carlsbad Caverns, and City of Rocks.

View All Answers


8. Is this a "shopping post"? Are there interesting handicrafts, artwork, antiques, or other items that people typically buy there?

"Lucha libre" masks and Mata Ortiz pottery.

View All Answers


9. What are the particular advantages of living in this city?

The greatest special advantage is being right on the border with the United States. It has been very convenient to drive across the border for my son's speech therapy. Also, if I ever get a hankering for my favorite cereal, it is just a bridge crossing away.



Juarez is also an excellent place to live if you want to travel in the southwestern United States. Many great places are a short road trip away. Juarez itself has Walmart, Costco, Sam's Club, and Home Depot, as well as Denny's, Little Caesars, and a plethora of other American chains. It is also very nice to have the option to fly throughout Mexico from the Juarez airport or throughout the U..S from the El Paso airport.

View All Answers


10. Can you save money?

Definitely.

View All Answers


Words of Wisdom:

1. What do you wish you had known about this particular city/country before moving there?

That private Mexican schools are not at the same level as the international schools, but the schools are very motivated to keep the Consulate children at their schools because there is so much competition. So, if you work with the administration, they will probably work hard to accommodate your needs.

View All Answers


2. Knowing what you know now, would you still move to this city?

Definitely.

View All Answers


3. If you move here, you can leave behind your:

Fear of being murdered by a drug cartel.

View All Answers


4. But don't forget your:

Map of places to explore in the southwestern United States.

View All Answers


5. Do you recommend any books or movies about this city/country for those who are interested in learning more?

It is not a book, but here is an article from June 2016's National Geographic magazine about Juarez.

View All Answers


Ciudad Juarez, Mexico 04/21/16

Background:

1. Was this post your first expatriate experience? If not, what other cities have you lived in as an expat?

no, I have lived in Europe and Asia.

View All Answers


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?

Drove to Juarez from DC. We went slow -- 5 nights so that we could make some stops.

View All Answers


3. How long have you lived here?

2 years

View All Answers


4. What brought you to this city (e.g. diplomatic mission, business, NGO, teaching, retirement, etc.)?

Government

View All Answers


Housing, Groceries & Food:

1. What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?

3 bedroom houses with little yards. Most walk-able to consulate. Some a 15-20-minute drive.

View All Answers


2. How would you describe the availability and cost of groceries and household supplies relative to your home country?

Produce in Juarez is good and cheaper than in El Paso. Most other items are cheaper in El Paso.

View All Answers


3. What household or grocery items do you wish you had shipped to post?

dont worry you can always go to Target in El Paso

View All Answers


4. What typical restaurants, food delivery services, and/or takeout options are popular among expatriates?

All kinds of American chains. Lots of quick taco and burrito joints, very different style than typical Tex/Mex.

View All Answers


5. Are there any unusual problems with insects or other infestations in housing?

cockroaches. Little scorpions (not poisonous). And some have seen black widows (very poisonous).

View All Answers


Daily Life:

1. How do you send and receive your letters and package mail? Are local postal facilities adequate?

USPS through the consulate

View All Answers


2. What is the availability and cost of household help, and what types of help are typically employed by expatriates?

US$4-6 per hour.

View All Answers


3. What kinds of gyms or other sports/workout facilities are available? Are they expensive?

yes. small one at consulate. gyms all over town with a range of prices.

View All Answers


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?

No problems.

View All Answers


5. How much of the local language do you need for daily living? Are local language classes/tutors available and affordable?

the more the better, but you can get by with zero. Many locals know at least a tiny bit of English.

View All Answers


6. Would someone with physical disabilities have difficulties living in this city?

No sidewalks. This is not a walkable city in any way.

View All Answers


Transportation:

1. Are local buses, trams, trains or taxis safe and affordable?

Not safe.

View All Answers


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.

View All Answers


Phone & Internet:

1. Is high-speed home Internet access available? How long does it typically take to install it after arrival?

yes, reasonable

View All Answers


2. Do you have any recommendations regarding mobile phones? Did you keep your home-country plan or use a local provider?

Some U.S. carriers have good policies for use in both Mexico and U.S. Most people don't bother with a local carrier.

View All Answers


Pets:

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?

i don't think so. I believe dog food is one of the items you are not supposed to bring from the U.S. to Mexico, which frustrated some pet owners...

View All Answers


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?

El Paso is right there!

View All Answers


2. What volunteer opportunities are available locally?

yes

View All Answers


3. What is the typical dress code at work and in public places? Is formal dress ever required?

tie, no jacket.

View All Answers


Health & Safety:

1. Are there personal security concerns to be aware of at this post? Please describe.

Yes. It is better than it used to be, but there is still high crime. I never felt targeted or threatened, but I was constantly reminded that it remains a dangerous city. Murders took place during my years there at just about everywhere I would go in the city (Wal-mart, Home Depot, grocery store, outside a gated community where consulate folks live, the mall, the movie theater, etc etc). These were typically gangs and assassinations. But there is always the fear of being at the wrong place at the wrong time.

View All Answers


2. Are there any particular health concerns? What is the quality of available medical care? What medical conditions typically require medical evacuation?

good dentists and the private hospital is nice.

View All Answers


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?

Dry and dusty. Dust storms in the Spring.

View All Answers


4. What do people who suffer from environmental or food allergies need to know?

dust seems to aggravate seasonal allergies.

View All Answers


5. What is the overall climate: is it extremely hot or cold, wet or dry, at any time of year, for example?

Oh it's a desert. Most of the time sunny and hot, but can get cold and windy quickly during winter. Rare snowfalls. When it does rain, it often gushes and floods the streets.

View All Answers


Schools & Children:

1. What is the availability of international schools? What has been your general experience with them, if any?

I did not have a child in school. Some kids go to a private school in Juarez, others go to school in El Paso.

View All Answers


2. What accommodations do schools make for special-needs kids?

Unsure.

View All Answers


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?

I am not familiar with schools. But nannies are easy to find. We had a fantastic English-speaking nanny for our 1 year old who charged about US$6/hour.

View All Answers


Expat Life:

1. What is the relative size of the expatriate community? How would you describe overall morale among expatriates?

morale was very high while I was there. Most people wanted to be there.

View All Answers


2. What are some typical ways to socialize, either with local people or with other expatriates? Are there groups or clubs that you can recommend?

House parties, restaurants.

View All Answers


3. Is this a good city for single people? For couples? For families? Why or why not?

Good for all. A lot of families at consulate. Mexicans love kids, and you can bring them anywhere. It is safe enough now that singles do go out in Juarez (in the safer parts of town).

View All Answers


4. Is this a good city for LGBT expatriates? Why or why not?

Unsure. I think locals are a bit conservative but I have never heard any major complaints from gay friends.

View All Answers


5. Are there problems with ethnic, race/racial minorities or religious prejudices? Gender equality?

Not that I experienced...

View All Answers


6. What have been the highlights of your time in this country? Best trips or experiences?

Great consulate community. Some will say Juarez doesn't count as living abroad, but I disagree. Juarez and El Paso, while closely linked, are very different places. You can enjoy the unique aspects of Mexican culture while having the convenience of U.S. amenities just across the border.

View All Answers


7. What are some interesting/fun things to do in the area? Can you recommend any “hidden gems"?

Explore the restaurant scene. Very good, affordable food. If you like the outdoors and don't mind driving, there are endless camping/hiking options. Although the desert landscape can get a bit repetitive after a while.

View All Answers


8. Is this a "shopping post"? Are there interesting handicrafts, artwork, antiques, or other items that people typically buy there?

mata ortiz pottery.

View All Answers


9. What are the particular advantages of living in this city?

Great food. Very friendly people. Proximity to U.S. (El Paso) makes life easy.

View All Answers


10. Can you save money?

yes

View All Answers


Words of Wisdom:

1. Knowing what you know now, would you still move to this city?

Probably not. While we did have a good experience, we feel like we saw what there was to see. Overall the city has a run-down feel, and the ongoing violence darkened our perspective a bit. While we were there, the consulate had a great community with great morale. Without that, we probably would have been counting the days.

View All Answers


2. But don't forget your:

grill

View All Answers


3. Do you recommend any books or movies about this city/country for those who are interested in learning more?

"The Fight to Save Juarez" by Ricardo Ainsle. Goes into detail about the peak years of violence with a focus on the police and local authorities.

View All Answers


Ciudad Juarez, Mexico 04/07/16

Background:

1. Was this post your first expatriate experience? If not, what other cities have you lived in as an expat?

As an FSO, yes.

View All Answers


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?

East coast. Lots of connections through Dallas, Houston, Atlanta.

View All Answers


3. How long have you lived here?

2014-2016

View All Answers


4. What brought you to this city (e.g. diplomatic mission, business, NGO, teaching, retirement, etc.)?

US Consulate

View All Answers


Housing, Groceries & Food:

1. What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?

Large free-standing houses, almost all very close to consulate (a lovely 5-10 minute walk). A few were not as close but I don't think the commute was more than 15 min for anyone.

View All Answers


2. How would you describe the availability and cost of groceries and household supplies relative to your home country?

Similar to US but cheaper and less variety. Go to El Paso if you want specifics you cannot find in Juarez.

View All Answers


3. What household or grocery items do you wish you had shipped to post?

Nothing, you can cross the boarder in 15 minutes.

View All Answers


4. What typical restaurants, food delivery services, and/or takeout options are popular among expatriates?

A handful of fun, new restaurants in Juarez and El Paso. Best tacos of your LIFE on the side of the road (...yes, you can and should stop and eat at these places). I never got sick from anything and it is so unique to Juarez, your guests will love it.

View All Answers


5. Are there any unusual problems with insects or other infestations in housing?

Nothing notable.

View All Answers


Daily Life:

1. How do you send and receive your letters and package mail? Are local postal facilities adequate?

Personal mail to the Consulate address. Easy.

View All Answers


2. What is the availability and cost of household help, and what types of help are typically employed by expatriates?

Very available and very reasonable. I miss my maid like crazy and know I will never have it that good again.

View All Answers


3. What kinds of gyms or other sports/workout facilities are available? Are they expensive?

Yes, the Consulate has a gym and nice tennis courts, volleyball. However, I recommend joining gym 360 (lots of consulate folks go there). It's another way to explore the city and make local friends. Good group classes, weight rooms, etc.

View All Answers


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?

I used credit cards all the time. No issues.

View All Answers


5. What English-language religious services are available locally?

I went to religious services but in Spanish. Plenty of English services in El Paso.

View All Answers


6. How much of the local language do you need for daily living? Are local language classes/tutors available and affordable?

You need Spanish. Locals do not speak English.

View All Answers


7. Would someone with physical disabilities have difficulties living in this city?

No sidewalks to speak of.

View All Answers


Transportation:

1. Are local buses, trams, trains or taxis safe and affordable?

No to trains and buses. We took taxis on occasion; was never clear if this was allowed by RSO or just frowned upon but I had no issues. Always did so in a group and usually with locals.

View All Answers


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?

Bring something high off the ground, nothing fancy. Road conditions can be bad and having visibility is helpful.

View All Answers


Phone & Internet:

1. Is high-speed home Internet access available? How long does it typically take to install it after arrival?

Yes, reasonable and arranged by the Consulate which made it so easy upon arrival. GSO is fabulous in Juarez.

View All Answers


2. Do you have any recommendations regarding mobile phones? Did you keep your home-country plan or use a local provider?

Make sure you aren't roaming - even in El Paso. You will learn all sorts of manual tricks to start/stop data, connect to the 'right' towers etc. No way to explain it, ask when you get down there. It's not easy to be on the boarder in this respect but you figure it out.

View All Answers


Pets:

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?

View All Answers


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?

I don't think so.

View All Answers


2. What volunteer opportunities are available locally?

View All Answers


3. What is the typical dress code at work and in public places? Is formal dress ever required?

Business casual ay work. Anything goes in public. Bring cowboy boots if you've got them.

View All Answers


Health & Safety:

1. Are there personal security concerns to be aware of at this post? Please describe.

I was single and went out fairly often. I dated local Mexicans, went to bars, restaurants, house parties and BBQs. I always tried to stay very aware of my surroundings, especially alone at night driving back into Juarez from El Paso and never felt scared, per se, just much more cautious than I would be in other cities. I certainly stood out - there are not many Americans in Juarez that aren't there because of the Consulate - but I never felt threatened or targeted in any way. I relied on RSO's robust and often updated guidance and took cues from my local friends on what bars/restaurants were considered 'safe' (and others they would tell me were not a place anyone should go). Basically, my approach was to be aware but to really get out and get to know Juarez. I am so glad I did, I have great memories.

View All Answers


2. Are there any particular health concerns? What is the quality of available medical care? What medical conditions typically require medical evacuation?

No.

View All Answers


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?

Same as El Paso.

View All Answers


4. What do people who suffer from environmental or food allergies need to know?

No.

View All Answers


5. What is the overall climate: is it extremely hot or cold, wet or dry, at any time of year, for example?

Desert conditions. Hot and dry, surprisingly cold in the winter. Tons of SUN (El Paso is named "Sun City"). Some dust but nothing that affected my life.

View All Answers


Schools & Children:

1. What is the availability of international schools? What has been your general experience with them, if any?

View All Answers


2. What accommodations do schools make for special-needs kids?

View All Answers


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?

View All Answers


4. Are local sports classes and/or activities available for kids?

View All Answers


Expat Life:

1. What is the relative size of the expatriate community? How would you describe overall morale among expatriates?

The only expats I met were those of us at the Consulate. It has been said before, but this is truly a happy place. Life is easy in a lot of ways: quality of life/work-life balance is high, amazing LES, great housing, friendly locals, lots of opportunity to take leave due to the size of the community.

View All Answers


2. What are some typical ways to socialize, either with local people or with other expatriates? Are there groups or clubs that you can recommend?

Dinners with other FS families, Juarez nightlife (be aware but go out!), great relationships with the LES community/lots of socializing, running groups, cycling groups. Festivals in El Paso/Southwest.

View All Answers


3. Is this a good city for single people? For couples? For families? Why or why not?

Definitely a lot of families. However, with such a large ELO community, there were a fair amount of singles, too. I was single, dated both in Juarez and El Paso and met some great people. To be sure, you have to look for opportunities to meet other single professionals but it's do-able. Fort Bliss is also a MASSIVE military base with lots of people "like us" - meaning, not from El Paso but there for a few years. Get out, explore, be adventurous and keep your eyes open :)

View All Answers


4. Is this a good city for LGBT expatriates? Why or why not?

I believe so.

View All Answers


5. Are there problems with ethnic, race/racial minorities or religious prejudices? Gender equality?

No

View All Answers


6. What have been the highlights of your time in this country? Best trips or experiences?

Making local friends, being invited for holidays by my Mexican neighbors, having "brave" friends and family come to visit (there is something about Juarez; it is so authentic and everyone that visited me absolutely loved it), the housing (it's huge and nice), the Consulate community (I didn't realize this at first, but we come away knowing SO MANY FSOs and make a lot of connections in two short years. Also, there is credibility to having served in Juarez: not just related to the city but also the tremendous reputation/experience gained in one of the world's best-run, largest Consulates).

View All Answers


7. What are some interesting/fun things to do in the area? Can you recommend any “hidden gems"?

Mesilla, New Mexico (The Double Eagle - totally a hidden gem). White Sands - take visitors there and they will be blown away. The JW Marriott in Tucson, AZ - a very easy drive for a long weekend with incredible gov. rates!! Easy to fly to Austin, Mexico City, Tuluum (Cancun).

View All Answers


8. Is this a "shopping post"? Are there interesting handicrafts, artwork, antiques, or other items that people typically buy there?

Tequila. Tacos. Great domestic help.

View All Answers


9. What are the particular advantages of living in this city?

The people of Juarez! They are so kind, generous, friendly and inspiring. Mexico itself is spectacular and there are many opportunities to do TDYs throughout the Mission because of the size of the ELO community. Travel is the US Southwest is also a wonderful benefit: it has so much to offer and long weekends/leave is ridiculously easy to come by. Living on the boarder is a once-in-a-lifetime experience for many and being so close to El Paso makes everything EASY.

View All Answers


10. Can you save money?

Yes. The dollar is strong and everything is cheap.

View All Answers


Words of Wisdom:

1. What do you wish you had known about this particular city/country before moving there?

That I was going to love it and miss it in a lot of little ways.

View All Answers


2. Knowing what you know now, would you still move to this city?

Yes, I didn't "ask" for Juarez but I couldn't have picked a better first post for myself if I tried.

View All Answers


3. If you move here, you can leave behind your:

...any preconceived notions of Juarez. It is a huge city filled with some of the warmest, most welcoming people I've met. It is not pretty, I'll say that, but it makes up for it's rough appearance with its grit, authenticity and frontera identity.

View All Answers


4. But don't forget your:

Space heater for the master bedroom (all are over the garage and it gets chilly).

View All Answers


5. Do you have any other comments?

I read a lot of posts from the perspective of families. I think it's important for singles to know there is a unique but very much 'alive' nightlife in Juarez. It's nothing like Washington, DC - but I wouldn't have wanted it any other way, it was kind of random and crazy in a good way, usually. Juarez is such an adventure.

View All Answers


Ciudad Juarez, Mexico 12/10/15

Background:

1. Was this post your first expatriate experience? If not, what other cities have you lived in as an expat?

First expat experience with the foreign service and with a family, but I've also lived in Czech Republic & England. Husband has lived in Peru, Venezuela, Germany, Japan, & Kenya.

View All Answers


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?

Home base is Dallas, more or less. 10-hour drive from Juarez. I suppose it would be a couple hours on a plane.

View All Answers


3. How long have you lived here?

7 months

View All Answers


4. What brought you to this city (e.g. diplomatic mission, business, NGO, teaching, retirement, etc.)?

Spouse of foreign service officer

View All Answers


Housing, Groceries & Food:

1. What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?

All homes (that I'm aware of) are in gated, guarded neighborhoods and are single-family homes, some detached, some in rows. I believe all have garages. Many of the Consulate homes are within easy walking or biking distance of the Consulate. Some are in neighborhoods immediately beside the Consulate. We are in a more "distant" neighborhood about 1.5 miles from the Consulate. Depending on traffic the drive can be less than 10 minutes but even at peak traffic I don't think it's ever more than 15.

Housing tends to be spacious and very nice - certainly our home is larger and in a nicer neighborhood than anything we ever had in the U.S. As far as I know all homes are tiled. Our bathrooms and kitchen are completely covered in tile - all the way to the ceiling. I like how easy that makes it to clean, given how much sand and dust gets in the house, but it is chilly in colder weather. The homes also tend to have concrete walls. Most homes are in neighborhoods that feature a central park/playground area. It's nice for us that our kids can ride bikes and play at the neighborhood park and experience a degree of freedom.

View All Answers


2. How would you describe the availability and cost of groceries and household supplies relative to your home country?

As mentioned previously I'd say an average grocery run in Juarez costs about 2/3 what it would in the U.S. Linens, durable goods, and electronics are probably cheaper and better quality in the U.S.

View All Answers


3. What household or grocery items do you wish you had shipped to post?

Nothing you can't get either here or in El Paso.

View All Answers


4. What typical restaurants, food delivery services, and/or takeout options are popular among expatriates?

There is some U.S. fast food here and I find the prices ridiculously expensive for what you get, but I suppose it's not more expensive than the same food in the U.S. The thing is, you can get amazing tacos, burritos, and other Mexican specialities at a fraction of the cost of a burger and fries. The burrito is an invention the people of Juarez claim for their own and there are numerous burrito chains, many of which make their own tortillas fresh when you order, and the most expensive of these charge less than US$2 for a meat burrito, less for chile, bean, or veggies. Of course all the fast food you could possibly want is right across the border in El Paso. With kids, I have to say we do sometimes patronize Little Caesar's, which is ubiquitous here. "Hot and ready" pizzas set you back the same US$5 or so they cost in the U.S.

View All Answers


5. Are there any unusual problems with insects or other infestations in housing?

I have heard of people here having trouble with insects and with spiders/scorpions but so far we have not had any trouble at all. We are fortunate to have little lizards living in our patio and I think they help keep that area clear of pests. Also, keeping patio areas swept out can really cut down on black widows, which do tend to take up residence in neglected corners in this part of the world. Mosquitoes were a nuisance over the summer but no more so than they were in the U.S.

View All Answers


Daily Life:

1. How do you send and receive your letters and package mail? Are local postal facilities adequate?

Consulate has a P.O. Box and also a street address in El Paso - mail is then delivered to the Consulate.

View All Answers


2. What is the availability and cost of household help, and what types of help are typically employed by expatriates?

We don't have domestic help but I think it's widely available and quite affordable.

View All Answers


3. What kinds of gyms or other sports/workout facilities are available? Are they expensive?

There are gyms and I believe the costs are fairly low but I'm not sure.

View All Answers


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?

We just get cash from the bank branch at the Consulate but from what I understand it is safe to use ATMs and credit cards here. Cash is definitely king in Juarez, though, and some places are not equipped to accept cards, or can't accept U.S. cards. Most stores and restaurants accept dollars as well as pesos, usually at a very fair rate of exchange.

View All Answers


5. What English-language religious services are available locally?

I believe there are English-language services of all faiths in El Paso. There are none that I know of in Juarez. Within the "green zone" (area we're allowed to travel in) there are Spanish-language Methodist, Mormon, nondenominational Christian, and many Catholic faith communities - that I know of. There may well be more. Spanish-language Anglican/Episcopalian and Lutheran churches in Juarez are in the "red zone" (where we can't go).

View All Answers


6. How much of the local language do you need for daily living? Are local language classes/tutors available and affordable?

The more you know, the better. Although this is a border post you might be surprised how many people don't speak English. Life here is much richer if you can at least understand Spanish and communicate the basics. Also, when you cross into El Paso you will find more people are speaking Spanish than English in the areas right by the border.

View All Answers


7. Would someone with physical disabilities have difficulties living in this city?

There are definitely not the accommodations one would find in the U.S. but overall I think it could be OK. Most supermarkets, malls, etc. are accessible.

View All Answers


Transportation:

1. Are local buses, trams, trains or taxis safe and affordable?

We are not permitted to use local buses. Taxis are fine, I think, provided we follow RSO advice and call a specific company. We haven't had the need thus far.

View All Answers


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?

We were advised by some folks to bring a vehicle with high clearance and while there are definitely LOTS of crazy speed bumps, many of them not clearly marked, and plenty of potholes, we have been fine with our very low-to-the-ground Ford Focus. I think pretty much any car is fine. We are advised to drive with windows up and doors locked and not to buy from street-corner vendors (of which there are many), but we have not had any scary moments in the car. Theoretically I know carjacking could happen, but the only ones I've heard of so far in our time here were cartel-related and targeted.

View All Answers


Phone & Internet:

1. Is high-speed home Internet access available? How long does it typically take to install it after arrival?

Internet is connected when you arrive, which is great. I think people's experience varies, but I've been stunned by how good our service is. For about US$24/month we have a phone line and internet service good enough that sometimes my two kids and I have all been streaming different things on three different devices with no buffering. At peak times that might not happen but it's rare that we have any trouble at all. It's possible to pay more for faster internet but we haven't seen the need.

View All Answers


2. Do you have any recommendations regarding mobile phones? Did you keep your home-country plan or use a local provider?

Several Mexican and U.S. cell phone companies have recently removed roaming charges between Mexico and the U.S. which is great news for folks posted here. The main Mexican cell phone providers are Telcel and Movistar. T-Mobile and MetroPCS both have quite low-cost unlimited plans that work on both sides of the border. I have MetroPCS and it's US$45/month for unlimited calls, texts & data (first 2 or 3GB of data at 4G speeds, which has been more than enough as we have great internet and I can use wireless when I'm at home).

View All Answers


Pets:

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?

I believe you just need proof that the pet is vaccinated. Can't speak much for quality of pet care but I've heard it's good.

View All Answers


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?

I don't believe there's much on the local economy, but I can't say for sure. I telework for a U.S. company and know many other spouses who do the same. A handful of spouses also work at the Consulate.

View All Answers


2. What volunteer opportunities are available locally?

This is something I don't know a whole lot about yet. There are volunteer opportunities at kids' schools if you have kids, and periodically there are opportunities through the Consulate to tutor or mentor.

View All Answers


3. What is the typical dress code at work and in public places? Is formal dress ever required?

Similar to U.S., I'd say.

View All Answers


Health & Safety:

1. Are there personal security concerns to be aware of at this post? Please describe.

There are definitely security concerns in Juarez, although day-to-day life does not feel dangerous. There seems to be less petty crime here, at least in the areas we frequent and the neighborhoods in which we live, than there was where we lived in Dallas. But the cartel-related violence is still an issue in Juarez and still something to be aware of. Awareness can be a challenge, though, because it does truly feel very safe - and then you'll read about a cartel murder or abduction and remember it's not as safe as it feels. In our experience so far, though, following RSO advice, maintaining vigilance, and staying out of areas we're supposed to stay out of has meant a very peaceful time.

There are parts of town we are instructed not to enter and unfortunately that does include the more historic downtown areas. There are periodic tours arranged, though, for Consulate personnel/families, and taking advantage of these opportunities provides the opportunity to enjoy those parts of the city at least on a limited basis.

View All Answers


2. Are there any particular health concerns? What is the quality of available medical care? What medical conditions typically require medical evacuation?

I don't believe there are health concerns specific to Juarez. It's safe to drink the water here and we've never had food-related health trouble. In our experience so far, medical and dental care is excellent and inexpensive. And of course there's El Paso if language is a concern. Many doctors and dentists here speak English, though, as people come over from El Paso sometimes - especially for dental care.

View All Answers


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?

I don't notice a difference between the air quality here and in the U.S. (we lived inside Dallas, so maybe not the cleanest air to compare).

View All Answers


4. What do people who suffer from environmental or food allergies need to know?

There doesn't seem to be much awareness or regard for food allergies - my daughter's school regularly serves peanut and tree nut-containing foods, for instance (which isn't a problem for her but could be for some). Seasonal allergies don't seem to be any more significant an issue for us here than the were in the U.S. There is a lot of cotton here which caused us some trouble in the late summer/early fall.

View All Answers


5. What is the overall climate: is it extremely hot or cold, wet or dry, at any time of year, for example?

Hot summer (and this past one was particularly hot and long-lasting). Pleasant fall. Winter is on its way and from what I recall growing up in this region it does get surprisingly cold, especially once the sun sets, but almost always warms up fairly nicely during the days. There are certainly cold days in the winter but the sun is very warming. The colder temperatures do tend to make it feel cold in the houses, which are tiled and built of concrete. Lots and lots of sunshine and big blue skies, year-round.

View All Answers


Schools & Children:

1. What is the availability of international schools? What has been your general experience with them, if any?

There are no international schools, per se, in Ciudad Juarez. There are, however, several excellent bilingual schools and I think at least one English-only Montessori (I have no direct knowledge of that school). School in El Paso is also an option, and the Consulate provides transportation to El Paso schools, as well. There are several very good private schools in El Paso (Radford, St. Clements, Loretto, and Cathedral - for older boys - come to mind).

Colegio Milema, Colegio Ibero, Colegio Americano, and Colegio San Patricio are all bilingual schools attended by Consulate kids in Juarez. Comunidad Kari Montessori is a small school with 100% Spanish instruction attended by a significant number of Consulate children. We have one child at San Patricio (a very good, very structured bilingual school) and one at Kari and we're happy with both schools. There are so many good school options here I feel it's easy to find a school that fits each child well.

View All Answers


2. What accommodations do schools make for special-needs kids?

I can't speak to this but I would guess probably most of the schools in Juarez are less accommodating than El Paso schools would be. That's just a guess, though. I can say that there are some students with disabilities at Kari Montessori and they seem to be very much integrated into the family atmosphere there - but I don't believe the school has resources to provide special services.

View All Answers


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?

My kids are older and I'm not sure of details but I believe there are many options and I think cost is quite reasonable by U.S. standards.

View All Answers


4. Are local sports classes and/or activities available for kids?

My kids take tennis lessons at the Consulate and my daughter does gymnastics at a local studio. The cost for those sports is about US$30/month for twice-weekly classes. Many of the schools offer sports programs - soccer and basketball are popular here (especially soccer).

View All Answers


Expat Life:

1. What is the relative size of the expatriate community? How would you describe overall morale among expatriates?

The only expats I know here are associated with the Consulate and I think morale is quite high, at least among families. I think singles find it a bit slow and boring here, but generally there is a strong sense of community and people are happy.

View All Answers


2. What are some typical ways to socialize, either with local people or with other expatriates? Are there groups or clubs that you can recommend?

Many people get together with other Consulate folks at their homes for parties, book clubs, trivia nights, sports viewing, etc. There are many good restaurants in Juarez, at least one featuring a Mexican music/dance/culture show along with traditional foods. There seems to be a fair amount of theater/dance/music to view both in Juarez and in El Paso, although we have yet to explore that much. Sporting events are fun - Juarez has a new and so far very successful soccer team, and UTEP/NMSU sports are not exactly top-notch but fun to attend. El Paso has a minor league baseball team that plays in a cool stadium in downtown El Paso. Also, CLO organizes regular outings and dinners out and breakfasts for EFMs.

View All Answers


3. Is this a good city for single people? For couples? For families? Why or why not?

I would guess it might be harder to be here for singles or couples than for families. While my husband and I do feel comfortable going out at night we stay clear of bars/clubs/etc. It's a very comfortable life here for families, I think.

View All Answers


4. Is this a good city for LGBT expatriates? Why or why not?

I have heard from numerous people here that Juarez is very open and accepting compared to other parts of Mexico.

View All Answers


5. Are there problems with ethnic, race/racial minorities or religious prejudices? Gender equality?

None that I am aware of, but I truly don't have the basis to say for sure.

View All Answers


6. What have been the highlights of your time in this country? Best trips or experiences?

The people of Juarez are incredible. There is a strong sense of pride here and I find it amazing and heartening that after the violence this city endured over the last decade and a half or so the people are not broken or even guarded. I have heard terrifying stories from people who lived through the worst of it and yet they are still here and they have not lost faith in humanity. It's a real inspiration.

View All Answers


7. What are some interesting/fun things to do in the area? Can you recommend any “hidden gems"?

Juarez is a great point from which to explore the southwestern U.S. This would be a great post for outdoors enthusiasts. There is wonderful hiking and camping in New Mexico and Texas. Big Bend is within striking distance. Santa Fe is just a 5-hour drive away. Gila National Forest and the Gila Cliff dwellings are relatively nearby. There are plenty of places to ski in NM if that's of interest. We have yet to explore Mexico much, and we are not permitted to drive anywhere from Juarez except to Chihuahua (with permission from RSO). Within Juarez, I'd say the real gem is the people.

View All Answers


8. Is this a "shopping post"? Are there interesting handicrafts, artwork, antiques, or other items that people typically buy there?

Some traditional pottery, clothing. This is not a great post for souvenirs, but they can be found. Food is probably the best place to encounter local culture, in my opinion.

View All Answers


9. What are the particular advantages of living in this city?

The proximity to the U.S. makes this an unusual foreign service experience. Any U.S. products you might want are available in El Paso, and it's very easy to get there and back. Almost everything is also available in Juarez, too. Produce and food in general tends to be considerably cheaper in Juarez, and in my opinion the quality is not notably different. For high-end, specialty foods there is a Costco in Juarez with prices roughly comparable to prices in the U.S. Household goods and electronics tend to be cheaper and higher quality in the U.S. in my experience.

Cost of living is lower enough in Juarez that it's possible to enjoy life at this post and still save money. My kids are able to participate in sports and activities here we couldn't have afforded in the U.S. as easily. Eating out tends to be inexpensive by U.S. standards and the food is delicious. Basic groceries are about 2/3 the cost of comparable groceries in the U.S.

Weather is lovely, as far as I'm concerned, but I grew up just an hour or so away in southern New Mexico, so I'm not bothered by the summer heat (which is fairly intense) or the dry air. I love the sunshine and the gorgeous, clear blue skies of the desert.

Although as a border town Juarez may not seem as culturally rich as other Mexican posts, there are still many engaging cultural experiences to be found. These experiences tend to be more of the personal variety - the people here are very friendly and welcoming. Through personal contacts and our kids' schools we have been invited to share in cultural events and family celebrations that have given us the chance to experience Mexican - or at least border - culture.

Medical and dental care here tends to be of good quality and relatively inexpensive. My son got braces here and his treatment will cost, in total, less than it would have even with insurance in the U.S.

View All Answers


10. Can you save money?

Definitely. Especially if you do the majority of your shopping in Juarez.

View All Answers


Words of Wisdom:

1. What do you wish you had known about this particular city/country before moving there?

I'm not a good one to answer this question - having grown up not far away (and having visited often during my childhood) I had a pretty good idea of what it would be like.

View All Answers


2. Knowing what you know now, would you still move to this city?

Absolutely.

View All Answers


3. If you move here, you can leave behind your:

Thoughts of Juarez formed by the likes of Breaking Bad or Sicario. Day-to-day life here is remarkably normal and non-threatening, although vigilance and care is necessary.

View All Answers


4. But don't forget your:

Friendliness, willingness to experience something entirely different, I think, from other foreign service posts. It can still be a different cultural experience from the U.S., despite the proximity.

View All Answers


5. Recommended movies/DVDs related to this city:

None I can think of - so many focus on the violence, which is not the whole story of this city.

View All Answers


6. Do you recommend any books or movies about this city/country for those who are interested in learning more?

Don't know of any specifically but I know there are many.

View All Answers


Ciudad Juarez, Mexico 08/03/15

Background:

1. Was this post your first expatriate experience? If not, what other cities have you lived in as an expat?

Yes as an expat, but not first time living abroad

View All Answers


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?

Washington DC is home base and it is two flights and about 7-8 hours of travel time. Typically connecting through Dallas, TX.

View All Answers


3. How long have you lived here?

9 months, arrived in 2014

View All Answers


4. What brought you to this city (e.g. diplomatic mission, business, NGO, teaching, retirement, etc.)?

Government

View All Answers


Housing, Groceries & Food:

1. What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?

Amazing, new, big, great communities with parks, yards, etc. Commute is 5 minute walk up to 15 minute drive - depending on location of community.

View All Answers


2. How would you describe the availability and cost of groceries and household supplies relative to your home country?

You can get pretty much any food item you would want in Juarez, either at the local grocery or Costco or Sam's club. El Paso offers anything else you would want. There is a traditional grocery chain, target, and Sprouts that people enjoy.

View All Answers


3. What household or grocery items do you wish you had shipped to post?

rugs

View All Answers


4. What typical restaurants, food delivery services, and/or takeout options are popular among expatriates?

variety of food options - mainly taco/burrito options. more variety in El Paso

View All Answers


5. Are there any unusual problems with insects or other infestations in housing?

minor

View All Answers


Daily Life:

1. How do you send and receive your letters and package mail? Are local postal facilities adequate?

It is picked up multiple times a week in El Paso - very easy and quick.

View All Answers


2. What is the availability and cost of household help, and what types of help are typically employed by expatriates?

very available and affordable

View All Answers


3. What kinds of gyms or other sports/workout facilities are available? Are they expensive?

There is a small, but suitable gym at work. Many people enjoy tennis and take tennis lessons at work. And others belong to a local running club or belong to a nearby gym.

View All Answers


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?

no issue - opt for no foreign transaction fee.

View All Answers


5. What English-language religious services are available locally?

options are in El Paso

View All Answers


6. How much of the local language do you need for daily living? Are local language classes/tutors available and affordable?

it's always good to have a basic understanding

View All Answers


7. Would someone with physical disabilities have difficulties living in this city?

no, I don't think so

View All Answers


Transportation:

1. Are local buses, trams, trains or taxis safe and affordable?

no - cannot take any local buses. Some taxi's are okay. Everyone drives their own vehicle.

View All Answers


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?

nothing specific

View All Answers


Phone & Internet:

1. Is high-speed home Internet access available? How long does it typically take to install it after arrival?

yes, it is set up prior to arrival and then you can upgrade. good and reliable service

View All Answers


2. Do you have any recommendations regarding mobile phones? Did you keep your home-country plan or use a local provider?

Many people purchase the U.S.-Mexico plan. Others have a U.S. phone and a local Mexico phone.

View All Answers


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?

no, not on the local economy. spouses work from home, at the consulate or some work in El Paso.

View All Answers


2. What volunteer opportunities are available locally?

some

View All Answers


3. What is the typical dress code at work and in public places? Is formal dress ever required?

same as U.S., leaning toward conservative in public.

View All Answers


Health & Safety:

1. Are there personal security concerns to be aware of at this post? Please describe.

yes part of the city is off limits to travel - but again with El Paso so close you can access anything you'd like. Only that you miss out on the 'culture' of the country/town because of the restrictions.

View All Answers


2. Are there any particular health concerns? What is the quality of available medical care? What medical conditions typically require medical evacuation?

good options for medical care. only allergies during hot season.

View All Answers


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?

allergies during warm season

View All Answers


4. What is the overall climate: is it extremely hot or cold, wet or dry, at any time of year, for example?

cold in winter, hot in summer.

View All Answers


Schools & Children:

1. What is the availability of international schools? What has been your general experience with them, if any?

Many children attend bilingual schools in town, or travel to El Paso for school.

View All Answers


2. What accommodations do schools make for special-needs kids?

Unclear - likely accommodations would be met in El Paso.

View All Answers


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?

Yes, Montessori school options - but many people opt for nannies for young children and many nanny's and children have regular play dates.

View All Answers


4. Are local sports classes and/or activities available for kids?

yes in Juarez and El Paso

View All Answers


Expat Life:

1. What is the relative size of the expatriate community? How would you describe overall morale among expatriates?

morale is good - lot of luxuries here compared to many posts

View All Answers


2. What are some typical ways to socialize, either with local people or with other expatriates? Are there groups or clubs that you can recommend?

movies, bowling, mall, restaurants, outdoor park, swimming pools. People also gather at each others homes - especially those with young children.

View All Answers


3. Is this a good city for single people? For couples? For families? Why or why not?

definitely for families. There are many travel/day options for singles/couples but it is limited because of security restrictions. Though every week there are more and more restaurant options and many people bike, hike, or camp on weekends throughout the southwest. Families spend time together, go to the zoo, park, water parks, etc.

View All Answers


4. Is this a good city for LGBT expatriates? Why or why not?

unsure

View All Answers


5. Are there problems with ethnic, race/racial minorities or religious prejudices? Gender equality?

not that I know of

View All Answers


6. What have been the highlights of your time in this country? Best trips or experiences?

Traveling in Mexico, time with co-workers and their families.

View All Answers


7. What are some interesting/fun things to do in the area? Can you recommend any “hidden gems"?

The central park is great and provides a large green space and activities very close to home. The children's museum in town is first class - really impressive. El Paso has a variety of activities on weekend - limited compared to other big cities, but still good options with the zoo, water park, etc. People enjoy traveling to all cities in Mexico - travel is relatively cheap and explore the southwest - though not many day trip options outside of hikes or bike rides.

View All Answers


8. Is this a "shopping post"? Are there interesting handicrafts, artwork, antiques, or other items that people typically buy there?

not much. unless you travel to another city in Mexico.

View All Answers


9. What are the particular advantages of living in this city?

The ease of the border and El Paso nearby. The housing is amazing and the communities, plus proximity to work.

View All Answers


10. Can you save money?

sure - not too much to spend money on, unless you travel a lot or always shop in El Paso.

View All Answers


Words of Wisdom:

1. What do you wish you had known about this particular city/country before moving there?

that I would have limited options to site see, explore the Mexican culture.

View All Answers


2. Knowing what you know now, would you still move to this city?

Sure. We've felt very fortunate. Housing, community, young families is a huge plus!

View All Answers


3. If you move here, you can leave behind your:

ideas that there will be nothing to do and everywhere you go is unsafe

View All Answers


4. But don't forget your:

good attitude and optimism. It really is a great post.

View All Answers


Ciudad Juarez, Mexico 06/16/15

Background:

1. Was this post your first expatriate experience? If not, what other cities have you lived in as an expat?

No. I lived in Western Europe for about 6 years and Eastern Europe for 1 year. For those 7 years I was not working with the government and I worked on the local economy. Juarez was my first experience being overseas with the government.

View All Answers


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?

My home was located a short 8 minute walk from the Consulate and I did not use a car. The housing was in a secure neighborhood that had a gate attendant, the home had an alarm and I felt very safe and secure. A good portion of the housing is located near the Consulate and a number of employees could walk or would ride a bike. For the rest of the housing, a car was necessary as there were no sidewalks and I would not recommend cycling on some of the roads in Juarez. No matter where your housing is located, it would not be possible to be posted to Juarez without a car. Having a car IS necessary. Although I could walk to work, I could not walk (and would not recommend cycling) to the grocery store or anywhere else in Juarez.

View All Answers


3. How long have you lived here?

2 years, left Juarez in 2015.

View All Answers


4. What brought you to this city (e.g. diplomatic mission, business, NGO, teaching, retirement, etc.)?

Worked at U.S. Consulate in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.

View All Answers


Housing, Groceries & Food:

1. What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?

The houses that I visited while at the Consulate were all awesome-large, American-style appliances, garages, seriously the nicest and largest house I've ever been in. Everyone has backyards but the size, style and "niceness" depends on the housing; some people have smaller, "prison style" backyards, while others have ginormous grass filled backyards. There is some housing that is close to the U.S. border, so close that some people can pick up full AT&T, but it's my understanding that a number of those houses are being pulled out of the housing pool.

View All Answers


2. What household or grocery items do you wish you had shipped to post?

I would NOT ship any large furniture. There is plenty of furniture in the house and found the furniture provided was sufficient. One item I wish I would have shipped was my bed. The bed provided by the Consulate was nice, but on the soft side for my husband which resulted in back issues for him.

View All Answers


3. Are there any unusual problems with insects or other infestations in housing?

You are living in the desert, so typical desert insects should be expected. In our house we would sometimes have cockroaches and scorpions. The housing is sprayed for both before you enter but despite this, there would still be some visitors (alive, but most often dead)-- Nothing Raid can't handle.

View All Answers


Daily Life:

1. Are credit cards widely accepted and safe to use locally? Are ATMs common and do you recommend using them? Are they safe to use?

I never had an issue using my credit card while out for dinner or drinks in Juarez. I typically used the ATM at the Consulate if I wanted to take out Pesos.

View All Answers


2. How much of the local language do you need for daily living? Are local language classes/tutors available and affordable?

Spanish is needed!!! You would not be able to do your job properly at the Consulate (visa interviews, political work, ACS work) if you could not speak or read Spanish. A 3/3 is needed in Spanish and you'll be doing yourself a disservice if you think otherwise. I found that Spanish was even needed in El Paso. My husband did not work at the Consulate so he was able to get by with his limited ability --but there were instances where it would have been helpful.

View All Answers


3. Would someone with physical disabilities have difficulties living in this city?

Juarez is not a walking friendly city anyhow as there are only a few sidewalks located around the Consulate, so I would guess that someone with a physical disability would get along fine in Juarez. The Consulate is a beautiful new building, elevator access so I would imagine the person could easily get around the interior. When travelling to El Paso, that is not a walking friendly city either. A car is key.

View All Answers


Transportation:

1. Are local buses, trams, trains or taxis safe and affordable?

Not authorized to take trains, buses or taxis in Juarez.

View All Answers


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?

A vehicle IS needed! Do not come to post without one! People at post had a range of cars, mini coop to minivans, from Lexus to cars that will most likely not be used on a following tour. Many people did not bother getting Diplomatic License Plates, I would say about 40% had them (maybe less).

View All Answers


Pets:

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?

View All Answers


Health & Safety:

1. Are there personal security concerns to be aware of at this post? Please describe.

Yes. The security situation now (in 2015) seems to have improved compared to the situation in 2011 (for example). That being said, the gym I belonged to, across the street from the Consulate, the most high-end gym at the time, a gunman entered the gym and shot three people in the middle of the day. Consulate employees are no longer allowed to attend the gym. So, there is danger pay for a reason. Follow what the RSO says and you'll be fine. There are areas that you cannot go to in Juarez and areas that you can. There are some GREAT restaurants and bars in the areas that you can go to--and you should go! Experience the city that you live in! It's just important to always be aware of your surroundings.

View All Answers


2. What do people who suffer from environmental or food allergies need to know?

I have never had allergies--- but I did develop some allergies that I never knew I had-- different plant life from the desert. Nothing life threatening, just annoying (skin rash, itching).

View All Answers


3. What is the overall climate: is it extremely hot or cold, wet or dry, at any time of year, for example?

May, June, July, August and some of September are ungodly hot. It's a dry heat, but doesn't matter, still unbearable when in the triple digits. My glasses would sometimes feel like they were going to melt off my face. I enjoy the outdoors and physical activities outdoors--so during this time period, the key was to get out before the sun came up. And invest in 50 proof sunblock. Autumn, Winter, Spring are lovely. I hardly wore any sweaters but it is the desert, so temperatures would drop. September tended to bring heavy rains that would often flood the streets.

View All Answers


Expat Life:

1. What is the relative size of the expatriate community? How would you describe overall morale among expatriates?

There are about 48 ELOs-- so there is a nice large group to find people to connect to. During my time in Juarez morale was good. There were house parties, social gatherings like cooking competitions, clothing swaps, ladies night/guys night, organized downtown Juarez trips and winery trips. There was a cycling group, running group, tennis court in the consulate with organized lessons, etc.

View All Answers


2. Is this a good city for single people? For couples? For families? Why or why not?

When I first arrived at post it was a mostly young, singles post. When I left post in 2015 it had dramatically changed to a more family post (young families and families with children in high school). I'm married, but I've heard some singles say that it's hard post for singles because it's difficult to meet people in Juarez or El Paso--- however I also have single friends in Chicago (a very large and diverse city) say it's hard to meet people in such a big city. So-- I think it depends on your attitude in terms of if Juarez is a "good post" for singles, couples or kids. It's going to be different for each individual.

View All Answers


3. Is this a good city for LGBT expatriates? Why or why not?

There are gay clubs in Juarez and there is a community but I can't speak personally if it is a "good" city or not. The Consulate is involved in the pride parade each year in Juarez.

View All Answers


4. Are there problems with ethnic, race/racial minorities or religious prejudices? Gender equality?

I don't think there are problems, however Juarez (and El Paso for that matter) is not a very diverse city. In my (and my husband's experience) non-Hispanic people stick out in both Juarez and El Paso. Particularly in Juarez, if you're at the mall for example, be prepared for people to be looking at you. In El Paso it's assumed that you're not from the area and that you're most likely somehow associated with Fort Bliss (located in El Paso). Again, no issues-- it's just something that I noticed.

View All Answers


5. What have been the highlights of your time in this country? Best trips or experiences?

1.) Coworkers- some great FSOs and awesome ELOs.
2.) Varied work- about 14 months in IV and the rest of the time in NIV/or possibility scoring a 2, 4, or 6-month rotation. Volunteer opportunities to be a control officer for one of the many visiting groups.
3.) TDYs- great opportunity to work at another consulate in Mexico or the Embassy-- and a great way to see if you would enjoy a possible future tour in the other location
4.) Life on the border- what an experience. Juarez is as much a representation of Mexico as El Paso is the U.S.- the border area is different and unique.
5.) Tourism to various parts of the Southwest (New Mexico is a hidden gem!!) and various trips to southern Mexico.

View All Answers


6. What are the particular advantages of living in this city?

I LOVED my time in Juarez. The work was interesting (NIV, IV, ACS, FPU) and given the location to the border and the largest IV processing post in the world, there were a number of opportunities to get involved in organizing visits. There are a number of TDY opportunities within Mexico as well and while at post, I took advantage of working for 1 month in three different cities in Mexico. The LES at post are knowledgeable and awesome to work with-- a true feeling of family. Access to most parts of Juarez and anywhere to the south of Juarez in driving distance is off limits (don't even think about Copper Canyon). Despite this restriction, given the location to the border (El Paso could be reached 10-15 minutes with SENTRI card), there are a number of opportunities to experience the southwest of the US. Juarez is a great post for anyone that has a family member that would like to still be able to access the US (work purposes, doctor visits, kids in school, etc).

View All Answers


7. Can you save money?

Depends on your lifestyle. If you stay at home every weekend, sure. However I highly recommend using the opportunity and location to visit other parts of Mexico (Mexico City, Yucatan, etc) and the southwest of the U.S-- so many great cities and towns to visit just within New Mexico.

View All Answers


Words of Wisdom:

1. What do you wish you had known about this particular city/country before moving there?

Unfortunately much of my research beforehand only provided negative, dark and dangerous information (Narco Corrido on Neflix, numerous books). It was only in moving and living there that you can see and experience the reality of the city and life there-- of the wonderful people, the beautiful mountain trails in Juarez and the good food.

View All Answers


2. Knowing what you know now, would you still move to this city?

Yes. Si. Mot definitely. Without a doubt.

View All Answers


3. But don't forget your:

El Paso is a 15 minute drive away. If there are any products you can only buy in the U.S., no problem. So do not forget or misplace your SENTRI/Global Entry card. Your life will be difficult and you will be very unhappy.

View All Answers


Ciudad Juarez, Mexico 06/05/14

Background:

1. Was this post your first expatriate experience? If not, what other cities have you lived in as an expat?

I have lived around the world.

View All Answers


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?

Houston-- 10 hours by car or 2 hours by plane.

View All Answers


3. How long have you lived here?

22 months.

View All Answers


4. What brought you to this city (e.g. diplomatic mission, business, NGO, teaching, retirement, etc.)?

U.S. Consulate.

View All Answers


Housing, Groceries & Food:

1. What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?

Excellent housing in small compounds, most within walking distance.

View All Answers


2. How would you describe the availability and cost of groceries and household supplies relative to your home country?

Mexican stores are fine. I shop in ELP. In Juarez there is Costco, Walmart, Office Depot etc. And of course in ELP too.

View All Answers


3. What household or grocery items do you wish you had shipped to post?

I ship my dog food in and do a good bit of Amazon shopping.

View All Answers


4. What typical restaurants, food delivery services, and/or takeout options are popular among expatriates?

Fast food in ELP. Few really good restaurants in Juarez or ELP. But there is one pizza restaurant I go to here and a Vietnamese place in ELP. We have a few Starbucks here in Juarez and a Denny's next to the Consulate (I have never been).

View All Answers


5. Are there any unusual problems with insects or other infestations in housing?

None.

View All Answers


Daily Life:

1. How do you send and receive your letters and package mail? Are local postal facilities adequate?

Consulate has mail service to ELP.

View All Answers


2. What is the availability and cost of household help, and what types of help are typically employed by expatriates?

I have my housekeeper 1.5 days per week for US$60 per week and a dogwalker 5 hours per week for US$42 per week.

View All Answers


3. What kinds of gyms or other sports/workout facilities are available? Are they expensive?

Yes, gyms and some classes after work at the Consulate. A tennis court also.

View All Answers


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?

It's fine.

View All Answers


5. What English-language religious services are available locally?

Everything in ELP, even a Tibetan Buddhist center.....who knew?

View All Answers


6. How much of the local language do you need for daily living? Are local language classes/tutors available and affordable?

Not much if you want to be a lump on a log. Most people understand English

View All Answers


7. Would someone with physical disabilities have difficulties living in this city?

Not if they had a car, they would likely be ok.

View All Answers


Transportation:

1. Are local buses, trams, trains or taxis safe and affordable?

I have taken a few taxis.

View All Answers


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?

I love my Subaru Outback. The roads are hard on cars.

View All Answers


Phone & Internet:

1. Is high-speed home Internet access available? How long does it typically take to install it after arrival?

It's slower than they say. I quit using my VPN cause it slowed me down to a crawl....

View All Answers


2. Do you have any recommendations regarding mobile phones? Did you keep your home-country plan or use a local provider?

AT&T viva Mexico plan plus Skype.

View All Answers


Pets:

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?

No and excellent.

View All Answers


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?

View All Answers


2. What volunteer opportunities are available locally?

Some.

View All Answers


3. What is the typical dress code at work and in public places? Is formal dress ever required?

Professional at work.

View All Answers


Health & Safety:

1. Are there personal security concerns to be aware of at this post? Please describe.

Yes. American shouldn't engage in risky behavior in Mexico. No guns, no drunken carousing except at home. The same level of random and opportunistic violence as elsewhere. That's for Americans-- Mexicans are at far greater risk.

View All Answers


2. Are there any particular health concerns? What is the quality of available medical care? What medical conditions typically require medical evacuation?

No. There's a decent hospital on the corner. I go to ELP for most stuff.

View All Answers


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?

Very good, little pollution. Dusty seasons a few days per year when it's really dusty.

View All Answers


4. What is the overall climate: is it extremely hot or cold, wet or dry, at any time of year, for example?

Sunny every day. Cool in winter, it freezes a few days per year. Really hot in the summer.

View All Answers


Schools & Children:

1. What is the availability of international schools? What has been your general experience with them, if any?

View All Answers


2. 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?

View All Answers


3. Are local sports classes and/or activities available for kids?

View All Answers


Expat Life:

1. What is the relative size of the expatriate community? How would you describe overall morale among expatriates?

U.S. consulate only -- 85 direct hires. Morale is what you make it, here.

View All Answers


2. What are some typical ways to socialize, either with local people or with other expatriates? Are there groups or clubs that you can recommend?

Eating out and at friends' houses. Coook-outs. I think singles and young couples drink a good bit. Iron Chef competition. The CLO organizes a few things.

View All Answers


3. Is this a good city for single people? For couples? For families? Why or why not?

All.

View All Answers


4. Is this a good city for LGBT expatriates? Why or why not?

Yes, reasonable.

View All Answers


5. Are there problems with ethnic, race/racial minorities or religious prejudices? Gender equality?

Not really.

View All Answers


6. What have been the highlights of your time in this country? Best trips or experiences?

Great weather and easy access to U.S.

View All Answers


7. What are some interesting/fun things to do in the area? Can you recommend any “hidden gems"?

It's not that kind of post. It's like Detroit but they speak Spanish and it's sunny. It's very suburban. Easy.

View All Answers


8. Is this a "shopping post"? Are there interesting handicrafts, artwork, antiques, or other items that people typically buy there?

Tacos? Talavera pottery.

View All Answers


9. What are the particular advantages of living in this city?

Easy access to El Paso so it's "FS light." Some access to Mexico but by plane only from this post. Great weather, sunny every day. Nice housing and great LES.

View All Answers


10. Can you save money?

Sure.

View All Answers


Words of Wisdom:

1. What do you wish you had known about this particular city/country before moving there?

Nothing--- its predictable and easy.

View All Answers


2. Knowing what you know now, would you still move to this city?

I think I will do Mexico again for my last tour, so yes.

View All Answers


3. If you move here, you can leave behind your:

Expectation that it's Old Mexico. It's not. Appetite for ethnic food.

View All Answers


4. But don't forget your:

Dogs, kids, and sunscreen.

View All Answers


5. Do you have any other comments?

It has been pleasant and easy but kind of bland. The Consulate is nice. We had good management during my time here.

View All Answers


Ciudad Juarez, Mexico 08/12/13

Background:

1. Was this post your first expatriate experience? If not, what other cities have you lived in as an expat?

No. I did internships in Quito and Freetown, studied in Accra, and live in Yaounde.

View All Answers


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?

Chicago- trip about three hours to El Paso, TX, and then drive across the border.

View All Answers


3. How long have you lived here?

Two years, from 2010-2012.

View All Answers


4. What brought you to this city (e.g. diplomatic mission, business, NGO, teaching, retirement, etc.)?

Foreign Service Officer.

View All Answers


Housing, Groceries & Food:

1. What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?

Very nice, spacious homes, all in gated communities for the most part.

View All Answers


2. How would you describe the availability and cost of groceries and household supplies relative to your home country?

Same as in Texas, or less expensive.

View All Answers


3. What household or grocery items do you wish you had shipped to post?

None- you can buy everything in El Paso, Walmart, and FSOs are able to access the Fort Bliss commissary as well.

View All Answers


4. What typical restaurants, food delivery services, and/or takeout options are popular among expatriates?

McDonald's, Burger King, etc.- good, affordable Mexican food as well- places like Cristostomo. The burrito was born in Juarez.

View All Answers


5. Are there any unusual problems with insects or other infestations in housing?

Usual bugs to any western U.S. home

View All Answers


Daily Life:

1. How do you send and receive your letters and package mail? Are local postal facilities adequate?

Regular mail is good.

View All Answers


2. What is the availability and cost of household help, and what types of help are typically employed by expatriates?

Harder to find for young children, but affordable.

View All Answers


3. What kinds of gyms or other sports/workout facilities are available? Are they expensive?

Yes, a few nice gyms in town.

View All Answers


4. What English-language religious services are available locally?

Yes- in El Paso. Unknown in Juarez.

View All Answers


5. English-language newspapers and TV available? Cost?

Yes.

View All Answers


6. How much of the local language do you need for daily living? Are local language classes/tutors available and affordable?

Some, but you can get by if you want.

View All Answers


7. Would someone with physical disabilities have difficulties living in this city?

Not sure.

View All Answers


Transportation:

1. Are local buses, trams, trains or taxis safe and affordable?

I would not take them.

View All Answers


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?

During rainstorms flooding is bad- four wheel drive is good.

View All Answers


Phone & Internet:

1. Is high-speed home Internet access available? How long does it typically take to install it after arrival?

Yes, affordable.

View All Answers


2. Do you have any recommendations regarding mobile phones? Did you keep your home-country plan or use a local provider?

No- great coverage- I was able to stay on my U.S. network in most of the city.

View All Answers


Pets:

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?

No.

View All Answers


2. Quality pet care available (vets & kennels)?

Good quality, many vets and kennels available locally.

View All Answers


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?

View All Answers


2. What is the typical dress code at work and in public places? Is formal dress ever required?

Same as Western U.S.

View All Answers


Health & Safety:

1. Are there personal security concerns to be aware of at this post? Please describe.

Random violence, most cartel related.

View All Answers


2. Are there any particular health concerns? What is the quality of available medical care? What medical conditions typically require medical evacuation?

No, good healthcare options in Juarez and a 15 minute drive (with no traffic or line to cross at the POE) to El Paso.

View All Answers


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?

Good.

View All Answers


4. What is the overall climate: is it extremely hot or cold, wet or dry, at any time of year, for example?

Beautiful and sunny. Usually warm to hot, although we did experience snow once during the winter.

View All Answers


Schools & Children:

1. What is the availability of international schools? What has been your general experience with them, if any?

View All Answers


2. What accommodations do schools make for special-needs kids?

View All Answers


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?

No daycare that I know of, but domestic help is affordable.

View All Answers


4. Are local sports classes and/or activities available for kids?

View All Answers


Expat Life:

1. What is the relative size of the expatriate community? How would you describe overall morale among expatriates?

Small.

View All Answers


2. Morale among expats:

OK- it depends on who you hang with.

View All Answers


3. What are some typical ways to socialize, either with local people or with other expatriates? Are there groups or clubs that you can recommend?

Same as anywhere in the U.S.

View All Answers


4. Is this a good city for single people? For couples? For families? Why or why not?

Yes- great for families- Mexicans are very family-oriented. There are play areas in almost all of the shopping malls in both Juarez and El Paso, lots of kid-friendly events and restaurants, and the best childcare facilities I have seen in churches anywhere in the world.

View All Answers


5. Is this a good city for LGBT expatriates? Why or why not?

Just like any U.S. city, I believe.

View All Answers


6. Are there problems with ethnic, race/racial minorities or religious prejudices? Gender equality?

Not that I observed.

View All Answers


7. What have been the highlights of your time in this country? Best trips or experiences?

Ease of access to everything you are used to. Affordability of domestic help.

View All Answers


8. What are some interesting/fun things to do in the area? Can you recommend any “hidden gems"?

Visit Chihuahua City, go to El Paso.

View All Answers


9. Is this a "shopping post"? Are there interesting handicrafts, artwork, antiques, or other items that people typically buy there?

Little Juarez trinkets- nice local artwork as well.

View All Answers


10. What are the particular advantages of living in this city?

Proximity to the U.S., relatively affordable, lots of shopping opportunities, beautiful weather (sunny 360 days of the year).

View All Answers


11. Can you save money?

Yes.

View All Answers


Words of Wisdom:

1. Knowing what you know now, would you still move to this city?

Yes.

View All Answers


2. If you move here, you can leave behind your:

Ideas that Juarez is not a good place to serve- the local staff are the best I have worked with, the weather is amazing most of the year, the housing is big and beautiful, and it is easy to get to El Paso with a Sentri pass...we have the great benefit of being able to access Fort Bliss as well and obtain some MWR privileges.

View All Answers


3. But don't forget your:

Sunscreen.

View All Answers


Ciudad Juarez, Mexico 08/07/13

Background:

1. Was this post your first expatriate experience? If not, what other cities have you lived in as an expat?

No. I have lived in different countries in Asia, Europe, and North America.

View All Answers


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?

We are based out of Washington, D.C.

View All Answers


3. How long have you lived here?

8 months.

View All Answers


4. What brought you to this city (e.g. diplomatic mission, business, NGO, teaching, retirement, etc.)?

Employed at the U.S. Consulate.

View All Answers


Housing, Groceries & Food:

1. What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?

Housing is great and close to the Consulate - commute times are very minor.

View All Answers


2. Are there any unusual problems with insects or other infestations in housing?

Some scorpions and spiders...nothing too difficult.

View All Answers


Daily Life:

1. What is the availability and cost of household help, and what types of help are typically employed by expatriates?

If you work at the Consulate, you receive Consulate prices for domestic help. It is absurd. I highly recommend finding domestic help on the local economy where it is much more affordable. Seriously, some of my friends pay the equivalent of Montessori prices for nannies.

View All Answers


2. What English-language religious services are available locally?

English language religious services are only available if you cross an international border.

View All Answers


3. How much of the local language do you need for daily living? Are local language classes/tutors available and affordable?

It is important to speak Spanish - otherwise you'll constantly be in El Paso.

View All Answers


4. Would someone with physical disabilities have difficulties living in this city?

There are little to no sidewalks or ramps.

View All Answers


Pets:

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?

No.

View All Answers


Health & Safety:

1. Are there personal security concerns to be aware of at this post? Please describe.

Narco violence remains an issue, though the situation is improving daily. Car jackings and kidnappings are common.

View All Answers


2. 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?

Contrary to what other folks have posted, the air quality is not good in my opinion. The majority of folks here have allergy issues here. It is a dusty environment, it is too be expected. Neti pots are a desert dweller's best friend!

View All Answers


3. What is the overall climate: is it extremely hot or cold, wet or dry, at any time of year, for example?

Hot, dry summers. Mild winters. Very pleasant spring and fall. There is no drainage in the city, so the rare instances of rain usually result in flooding.

View All Answers


Expat Life:

1. Is this a good city for LGBT expatriates? Why or why not?

The Pride Parade was quite spectacular for a small desert town. I was really impressed.

View All Answers


2. What have been the highlights of your time in this country? Best trips or experiences?

The food and local staff are the best things about this post.

View All Answers


3. What are the particular advantages of living in this city?

Proximity to the U.S. is an advantage. The general cost of living is an advantage. I like the dry heat as well, but most folks do not.

View All Answers


Words of Wisdom:

1. Knowing what you know now, would you still move to this city?

I would not bid CJ again. The local staff, food, and housing are great, but I would have preferred a much different professional and social atmosphere.

View All Answers


2. If you move here, you can leave behind your:

Weapons.

View All Answers


3. But don't forget your:

Rugs.

View All Answers


Ciudad Juarez, Mexico 06/02/13

Background:

1. Was this post your first expatriate experience? If not, what other cities have you lived in as an expat?

Yes.

View All Answers


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?

We just drove down here from Washington, DC.

View All Answers


3. How long have you lived here?

18 months.

View All Answers


4. What brought you to this city (e.g. diplomatic mission, business, NGO, teaching, retirement, etc.)?

U.S. Consulate.

View All Answers


Housing, Groceries & Food:

1. What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?

Housing is very nice: 3-4 bedroom houses with lots of security features in gated communities. Most people live within several minutes' drive of the consulate; some even can walk or bike easily.

View All Answers


2. How would you describe the availability and cost of groceries and household supplies relative to your home country?

Most people grocery shop in El Paso, and there are the usual chain restaurants and a couple of boutique health-food stores.

View All Answers


3. What household or grocery items do you wish you had shipped to post?

No need - you can get everything you need in El Paso

View All Answers


4. What typical restaurants, food delivery services, and/or takeout options are popular among expatriates?

Many popular US food chains are present in Juarez, and there are some excellent local restaurants in Juarez as well

View All Answers


5. Are there any unusual problems with insects or other infestations in housing?

If you get regular pest control, things are fine. We have found a scorpion or two here and there.

View All Answers


Daily Life:

1. How do you send and receive your letters and package mail? Are local postal facilities adequate?

We live separately, so we send our mail to our US home. But most people at the consulate ship their mail to the consulate address.

View All Answers


2. What is the availability and cost of household help, and what types of help are typically employed by expatriates?

Readily available and affordable.

View All Answers


3. What kinds of gyms or other sports/workout facilities are available? Are they expensive?

Yes, there is a popular country club in Juarez that has a pool, gym, and golf course. Facilities for working out on the El Paso side are abundant as well.

View All Answers


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?

They are fine and readily available.

View All Answers


5. What English-language religious services are available locally?

I'm not sure what is availabe in Juarez, but El Paso seems to have everything available.

View All Answers


6. English-language newspapers and TV available? Cost?

Yes - we have Direct TV in Juarez for about the same cost as it woud be in the US.

View All Answers


7. How much of the local language do you need for daily living? Are local language classes/tutors available and affordable?

Many people in Juarez speak English, but knowing some basic Spanish for day-do-day communications (e.g., ordering at restaurants or communicating with household help) is very helpful.

View All Answers


8. Would someone with physical disabilities have difficulties living in this city?

I don't believe so.

View All Answers


Transportation:

1. Are local buses, trams, trains or taxis safe and affordable?

No - people drive themselves.

View All Answers


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?

There are some potholes in Juarez, and many people drive an SUV. But a sturdy sedan would be sufficient.

View All Answers


Phone & Internet:

1. Is high-speed home Internet access available? How long does it typically take to install it after arrival?

Yes - my spouse and I video-chat over the internet during the week when we are apart. Time Warner Is available in El Paso.

View All Answers


2. Do you have any recommendations regarding mobile phones? Did you keep your home-country plan or use a local provider?

Verizon has better reception than AT&T if you maintain a US service.

View All Answers


Pets:

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?

No. It is easy to cross the border, even on a daily basis with pets. All you need are the rabies records.

View All Answers


2. Quality pet care available (vets & kennels)?

Yes.

View All Answers


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?

Any family members I know who work either have an EFM position at the consulate or work in El Paso.

View All Answers


2. What is the typical dress code at work and in public places? Is formal dress ever required?

Shirt and tie for work; public is casual.

View All Answers


Health & Safety:

1. Are there personal security concerns to be aware of at this post? Please describe.

Obviously, Ciudad Juarez has significant security concerns because of the drug wars and gang violence, but the violence seems to be trending down. Most consulate employees regularly enjoy socializing with local staff and local restaurants, clubs, bars, movie theaters, golf courses, etc. There is the occasional random act of violence, but there are neighborhoods and places you know to avoid.

View All Answers


2. Are there any particular health concerns? What is the quality of available medical care? What medical conditions typically require medical evacuation?

There is a good hospital right next to the consulate, and several hospitals in El Paso

View All Answers


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?

Good.

View All Answers


4. What is the overall climate: is it extremely hot or cold, wet or dry, at any time of year, for example?

Very hot summers - but it's a "dry heat", and there is plenty of air conditioning. Winters are easy and mild. Its a mountain-desert climate.

View All Answers


Schools & Children:

1. What is the availability of international schools? What has been your general experience with them, if any?

I believe school-aged children go to school in El Paso at this point in time.

View All Answers


2. 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?

Household help is available and affordable.

View All Answers


Expat Life:

1. What is the relative size of the expatriate community? How would you describe overall morale among expatriates?

The consulate in Juarez is large, but there is not a presence of other countries' consulates.

View All Answers


2. Morale among expats:

Most people seem very satisfied.

View All Answers


3. What are some typical ways to socialize, either with local people or with other expatriates? Are there groups or clubs that you can recommend?

Vibrant.

View All Answers


4. Is this a good city for single people? For couples? For families? Why or why not?

Best for singles and couples, also easy for families with small children. Families with school-aged children may chose to split their family to El Paso for the educational opportunities there.

View All Answers


5. Is this a good city for LGBT expatriates? Why or why not?

Yes.

View All Answers


6. Are there problems with ethnic, race/racial minorities or religious prejudices? Gender equality?

Other than having to put up with some "machismo", women are well respected and well treated.

View All Answers


7. What have been the highlights of your time in this country? Best trips or experiences?

We have made great friends at the consulate and in El Paso. Easy weekend trips to some of the popular Mexican vacation destinations (i.e. Cancun, Tulum, etc.). Great hiking opportunities in El Paso. Skiing is available just 3 hours north of El Paso. The cost of living is VERY cheap.

View All Answers


8. What are some interesting/fun things to do in the area? Can you recommend any “hidden gems"?

Hiking and mountain biking are very popular here, skiing in New Mexico, all of the regular things you can find in the US. There are some great restaurants in El Paso and Juarez, plus movies, etc.

View All Answers


9. Is this a "shopping post"? Are there interesting handicrafts, artwork, antiques, or other items that people typically buy there?

Great Mexican crafts, pottery, sculptures, and art.

View All Answers


10. What are the particular advantages of living in this city?

You essentially have all of the comforts of the US, as El Paso, Texas, is just minutes away -- an easy commute over the border.
Because of the immediate proximity to the US, it is a potentially good post for spouse careers and employment opportunities, or schooling opportunities for families of school-aged children -- if you are willing to live apart during the week. The culture of the "Borderland" is a unique blend of American Southwest and Mexican.

View All Answers


11. Can you save money?

Yes, the cost of living in Juarez and El Paso is very cheap.

View All Answers


Words of Wisdom:

1. Knowing what you know now, would you still move to this city?

Yes. This is not a post that is going to feel terribly "foreign", and you won't get the same cultural experience you would if being immersed in, say, Peru, but it has been much safer than we thought it would be -- and excellent for our family circumstances (spousal employment opportunities being a priority).

View All Answers


2. If you move here, you can leave behind your:

winter coats.

View All Answers


3. But don't forget your:

sunscreen.

View All Answers


Ciudad Juarez, Mexico 09/15/12

Background:

1. Was this post your first expatriate experience? If not, what other cities have you lived in as an expat?

View All Answers


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?

U.S. Midwest. 5-6 hours through domestic flights out of El Paso. Crossing to El Paso is easy with SENTRI (trusted traveler), although lines still get long around the holidays.

View All Answers


3. How long have you lived here?

View All Answers


4. What brought you to this city (e.g. diplomatic mission, business, NGO, teaching, retirement, etc.)?

(The contributor worked at the U.S. Consulate and lived in Ciudad Juarez for a year and a half.)

View All Answers


Housing, Groceries & Food:

1. What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?

The housing is great. Everyone gets at least a 3-bedroom, 2-bath house. The houses aren't enormous, but they are spacious and perfect for a single or a couple. Families get larger single-family houses, usually in communities with playgrounds and space to run and play. Much of the housing is within walking distance. No one is more than a 15-minute drive. Good housing is definitely a highlight of this post.

View All Answers


2. How would you describe the availability and cost of groceries and household supplies relative to your home country?

Everything is available. Produce is often cheaper and of better quality in El Paso. Americans posted to Juarez get privileges at Fort Bliss.

View All Answers


3. What household or grocery items do you wish you had shipped to post?

Nothing.

View All Answers


4. What typical restaurants, food delivery services, and/or takeout options are popular among expatriates?

Fast food is the same restaurants as in the U.S. but a bit cheaper. Local restaurants are often very good at reasonable prices. If you love Mexican food, you will be in heaven here.

View All Answers


5. Are there any unusual problems with insects or other infestations in housing?

Not many. The occasional scorpion. Very few mosquitoes because there is so little open water.

View All Answers


Daily Life:

1. How do you send and receive your letters and package mail? Are local postal facilities adequate?

The Consulate has a PO box in El Paso. No restrictions on size or contents.

View All Answers


2. What is the availability and cost of household help, and what types of help are typically employed by expatriates?

Very available. Reasonably affordable. If she's willing to risk her visa, a woman can cross the border and earn double the salary.

View All Answers


3. What kinds of gyms or other sports/workout facilities are available? Are they expensive?

Yes. The Consulate has a small gym. There are private gyms in Juarez and El Paso at very reasonable prices.

View All Answers


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?

Go ahead and use them. Most stores and restaurants will accept them.

View All Answers


5. What English-language religious services are available locally?

Every denomination you can think of in Spanish. Some attend in Juarez. Others cross to El Paso.

View All Answers


6. English-language newspapers and TV available? Cost?

You get El Paso channels on cable. Most read newspapers on line, but the El Paso Times is available.

View All Answers


7. How much of the local language do you need for daily living? Are local language classes/tutors available and affordable?

You can survive with English, but Spanish will make your time here richer. Even in El Paso, many do not speak English.

View All Answers


8. Would someone with physical disabilities have difficulties living in this city?

Sidewalks, where they exist, are torn up and uneven. Buses and taxis do not accommodate disabilities (not that you'd want to be on a bus anyway).

View All Answers


Transportation:

1. Are local buses, trams, trains or taxis safe and affordable?

No.

View All Answers


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?

Bring anything. You'll see a range from tiny Scions to large SUVs. There are flash floods at times, but they pass quickly. High clearance really isn't necessary.

View All Answers


Phone & Internet:

1. Is high-speed home Internet access available? How long does it typically take to install it after arrival?

Yes and cheap. My phone and internet bill is $35/month. The speed is good enough to stream movies. Some neighborhoods have slower speeds.

View All Answers


2. Do you have any recommendations regarding mobile phones? Did you keep your home-country plan or use a local provider?

Many of the US cell companies will add Mexican service for a small fee.

View All Answers


Pets:

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?

No. You just need the vaccine records to cross the border.

View All Answers


2. Quality pet care available (vets & kennels)?

There are kennels in El Paso. Otherwise colleagues pet sit.

View All Answers


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?

There are family member jobs at the Consulate. Other spouses work in El Paso or telecommute.

View All Answers


2. What is the typical dress code at work and in public places? Is formal dress ever required?

Business at work. Anything goes in public.

View All Answers


Health & Safety:

1. Are there personal security concerns to be aware of at this post? Please describe.

Plenty. The all-out war between rival drug cartels seems to be a lull. However, carjackings and home invasions are still very common.

View All Answers


2. Are there any particular health concerns? What is the quality of available medical care? What medical conditions typically require medical evacuation?

None really. Water is passably potable. Doctors and dentists are excellent. One of the best hospitals in Juarez is a block from the Consulate.

View All Answers


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?

Moderate. The spring winds blow dust around.

View All Answers


4. What is the overall climate: is it extremely hot or cold, wet or dry, at any time of year, for example?

Hot and dry. This is a desert. Winter nights get cold. All housing has central heat.

View All Answers


Schools & Children:

1. What is the availability of international schools? What has been your general experience with them, if any?

Some U.S. Consulate kids go to a local, bilingual school that parents have been happy with. Others are bused across the border to private schools in El Paso. Still others live in El Paso on SMA and attend public school there. There are options for every family. The consulate provides transportation to both sides of the border. Children attending school in El Paso cannot pack their lunch because of restrictions on fresh foods crossing the border.

View All Answers


2. What accommodations do schools make for special-needs kids?

There are several private schools in El Paso that are dedicated to children with learning disabilities. Check out Bridges Academy.

View All Answers


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?

There is a wonderful Montessori preschool in Juarez that has been very popular. Parents give it rave reviews.

View All Answers


4. Are local sports classes and/or activities available for kids?

Yes. You may to cross to El Paso to find baseball and football, but otherwise there are youth sports all over.

View All Answers


Expat Life:

1. What is the relative size of the expatriate community? How would you describe overall morale among expatriates?

Hard to say. The maquila industry is rising again and many have foreign managers. Many, many residents of Juarez were born in El Paso.

View All Answers


2. What are some typical ways to socialize, either with local people or with other expatriates? Are there groups or clubs that you can recommend?

It's pretty good, especially among the entry-level officers (and there are more than 40). No one is bar-hopping at 2am, but there is enough to do.

View All Answers


3. Morale among expats:

Morale is really good at the Consulate. The Consul General is excellent and has set a positive tone.

View All Answers


4. Is this a good city for single people? For couples? For families? Why or why not?

Families and couples will do best. Singles have a hard time dating in the local community and dating across the border brings its own challenges. However, there have been several marriages and long-term relationships among colleagues.

View All Answers


5. Is this a good city for LGBT expatriates? Why or why not?

Yes. There are many same-sex couples at the Consulate. Several singles date regularly. It seems the gay officers have better luck dating than their straight colleagues.

View All Answers


6. Are there problems with ethnic, race/racial minorities or religious prejudices? Gender equality?

Not particularly. Machismo is alive and well, but it doesn't impact work or quality of life.

View All Answers


7. What have been the highlights of your time in this country? Best trips or experiences?

View All Answers


8. What are some interesting/fun things to do in the area? Can you recommend any “hidden gems"?

The whole desert Southwest is open to you. White Sands, the mountains and ski resorts in southern NM, Albuquerque, Santa Fe. San Diego is a 10-hour drive or quick flight. LA is a bit farther. Unfortunately, personal road travel within Chihuahua is restricted for security reasons. But hop a flight to Mexico City or Guadalajara. Explore other states in Mexico.

View All Answers


9. Is this a "shopping post"? Are there interesting handicrafts, artwork, antiques, or other items that people typically buy there?

View All Answers


10. What are the particular advantages of living in this city?

View All Answers


11. Can you save money?

Yes.

View All Answers


Words of Wisdom:

1. Knowing what you know now, would you still move to this city?

Absolutely. It's been wonderful to watch the city come alive again after years of violence and murder.

View All Answers


2. If you move here, you can leave behind your:

View All Answers


3. But don't forget your:

View All Answers


4. Do you recommend any books or movies about this city/country for those who are interested in learning more?

View All Answers


5. Recommended movies/DVDs related to this city:

View All Answers


6. Do you have any other comments?

Don't be frightened by what you read in the papers. Security at home and work is good. With precaution, you can live here well.

View All Answers


Ciudad Juarez, Mexico 02/15/12

Background:

1. Was this post your first expatriate experience? If not, what other cities have you lived in as an expat?

Third expat experience.

View All Answers


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?

Home is in Utah. It is a 13/14 hour drive or a nonstop flight to Las Vegas and then I drive to my destination.

View All Answers


3. How long have you lived here?

5 months.

View All Answers


4. What brought you to this city (e.g. diplomatic mission, business, NGO, teaching, retirement, etc.)?

US Consulate spouse.

View All Answers


Housing, Groceries & Food:

1. What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?

The housing is good. I like the short walking commute.

View All Answers


2. How would you describe the availability and cost of groceries and household supplies relative to your home country?

Acceptable in Mexico and the US (less then D.C.) and really good if you shop at Ft. Bliss.

View All Answers


3. What household or grocery items do you wish you had shipped to post?

Nothing.

View All Answers


4. What typical restaurants, food delivery services, and/or takeout options are popular among expatriates?

Lots of restaurants to choose from on both sides.

View All Answers


5. What kinds of organic, vegetarian and allergy-friendly foods are available, such as organic produce, gluten-free products, meat substitutes for vegetarians, etc?

View All Answers


6. Are there any unusual problems with insects or other infestations in housing?

There are insects here that would like to live in your house, but thankfully, you can actually get people to spray your house & yard. They do a really great job, and all the bugs disappear.

View All Answers


Daily Life:

1. How do you send and receive your letters and package mail? Are local postal facilities adequate?

You are given a PO BOX address in El Paso. The mail is brought in M-F.

View All Answers


2. What is the availability and cost of household help, and what types of help are typically employed by expatriates?

Available. Not as inexpensive as other Latin America countries.

View All Answers


3. What kinds of gyms or other sports/workout facilities are available? Are they expensive?

There are, but I have heard that it can be problematic. There is an acceptable gym at the Consulate.

View All Answers


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?

View All Answers


5. What English-language religious services are available locally?

In El Paso.

View All Answers


6. English-language newspapers and TV available? Cost?

I have US Satellite! It is great, easy, and I have access to everything.

View All Answers


7. How much of the local language do you need for daily living? Are local language classes/tutors available and affordable?

It depends on how much you do in Juarez.

View All Answers


8. Would someone with physical disabilities have difficulties living in this city?

I don't think it is much different from any other U.S. city.

View All Answers


Transportation:

1. Are local buses, trams, trains or taxis safe and affordable?

No, you can not/should not ride the buses. There is a taxi company that is okay to use.

View All Answers


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?

We have a compact car and it does just fine. I would recommend a car that runs well and is not flashy.

View All Answers


Phone & Internet:

1. Is high-speed home Internet access available? How long does it typically take to install it after arrival?

Yes. Good. I pay $50 a month and run my computer, ROKU and Magicjack on it.

View All Answers


2. Do you have any recommendations regarding mobile phones? Did you keep your home-country plan or use a local provider?

I got a US Verizon phone/phone number and it works on both sides with just my prepaid US plan.

View All Answers


Pets:

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?

View All Answers


2. Quality pet care available (vets & kennels)?

View All Answers


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?

Yes.

View All Answers


2. What is the typical dress code at work and in public places? Is formal dress ever required?

View All Answers


Health & Safety:

1. Are there personal security concerns to be aware of at this post? Please describe.

Yes. There is a lot going on in this city. That being said, we take precautions and are careful. Also, I think that because we are here as a family with children, it doesn't effect us as much. We wouldn't be going out to bars and clubs anyways. Also, even though I was prepared to take cover the first time we drove in here, I haven't ever felt like I was in danger while I've been out and about. Also, I really like my neighborhood, it is safe.

View All Answers


2. Are there any particular health concerns? What is the quality of available medical care? What medical conditions typically require medical evacuation?

View All Answers


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?

Really good, except for the occasional dust storm. I am amazed at how healthy my family (including children) have been here. If we get sick (rare) it runs it's course quickly and with little impact. I think that the clean, dry air helps.

View All Answers


4. What is the overall climate: is it extremely hot or cold, wet or dry, at any time of year, for example?

It's a desert, but with some altitude. Great winters! Look at the monthly averages at weather.com.

View All Answers


Schools & Children:

1. What is the availability of international schools? What has been your general experience with them, if any?

There are 3 schools that I know of in Juarez: 1 is bilingual, 1 is bilingual Catholic, and 1 is all Spanish Montessori. There are many schools to choose from in El Paso. You can send your children to a public school of your choosing or private schools. Post will pay for any of these schooling options. The most popular private schools are: Radford, Loretto (Catholic - all girls after 5th grade) and Cathedral High (Catholic - all boys). We choose to use a school here in Juarez.

View All Answers


2. What accommodations do schools make for special-needs kids?

Yes, there are schools in El Paso, public and private.

View All Answers


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?

Yes. Most choose options here in Juarez.

View All Answers


4. Are local sports classes and/or activities available for kids?

If you want your kids to learn tennis, this is your post! There is a instructor who comes to the Consulate. Most of the schools have sport programs to choose from. The school that we use has: soccer, gymnastics, dance, basketball, Tae Kwan Do, etc.

View All Answers


Expat Life:

1. What is the relative size of the expatriate community? How would you describe overall morale among expatriates?

View All Answers


2. What are some typical ways to socialize, either with local people or with other expatriates? Are there groups or clubs that you can recommend?

View All Answers


3. Morale among expats:

I think people are surprised when they get here that it is really livable and manageable. Morale seems good.

View All Answers


4. Is this a good city for single people? For couples? For families? Why or why not?

Right now there are mostly just singles and couples here. It is hard because it is not recommended to be out and about. Families are less impacted by that, but there are not a lot of families here, but it has lots of potential: good school options, easy work commutes, good shopping (you can even shop at the commissary at Ft. Bliss saving you lots of $$), America close by and easy and cheap travel to see extended family more often.

View All Answers


5. Is this a good city for LGBT expatriates? Why or why not?

View All Answers


6. Are there problems with ethnic, race/racial minorities or religious prejudices? Gender equality?

I haven't noticed.

View All Answers


7. What have been the highlights of your time in this country? Best trips or experiences?

View All Answers


8. What are some interesting/fun things to do in the area? Can you recommend any “hidden gems"?

I haven't done much in Mexico, but there are those who do and enjoy it. I tend to just drive the couple miles to El Paso. Also, you are not able to go out of Juarez further into Mexico.

View All Answers


9. Is this a "shopping post"? Are there interesting handicrafts, artwork, antiques, or other items that people typically buy there?

View All Answers


10. What are the particular advantages of living in this city?

The weather is good. It is the easiest place I have lived with the Foreign Service. It is a foreign country with plenty of differences, but I can easily live like an American.

View All Answers


11. Can you save money?

Yes.

View All Answers


Words of Wisdom:

1. Knowing what you know now, would you still move to this city?

Yes. The hardest part about living here for me is that there are not a lot of other families.

View All Answers


2. If you move here, you can leave behind your:

View All Answers


3. But don't forget your:

View All Answers


4. Do you recommend any books or movies about this city/country for those who are interested in learning more?

View All Answers


5. Recommended movies/DVDs related to this city:

View All Answers


6. Do you have any other comments?

View All Answers


Ciudad Juarez, Mexico 07/05/11

Background:

1. Was this post your first expatriate experience? If not, what other cities have you lived in as an expat?

4th expat experience

View All Answers


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?

About 5 hours of traveling time from El Paso to Washington, DC. You'll usually have to connect in Dallas, Houston, or Chicago.

View All Answers


3. How long have you lived here?

18 months

View All Answers


4. What brought you to this city (e.g. diplomatic mission, business, NGO, teaching, retirement, etc.)?

U.S. Consulate

View All Answers


Housing, Groceries & Food:

1. What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?

Housing for consulate members here is all single family homes in gated communities. The houses are pretty large and most are relatively new construction. All are within a 10-15 minute drive of the consulate.

View All Answers


2. How would you describe the availability and cost of groceries and household supplies relative to your home country?

Everything’s available in El Paso and many US products are available in Mexico as well. Prices are US prices in El Paso, and similar in Mexico though the tax is higher.

View All Answers


3. What household or grocery items do you wish you had shipped to post?

Nothing, really. Pretty much everything is available in Juarez or El Paso. The closest Trader Joe’s is in Albuquerque, so you may want to bring some your favorite TJ products or anything that’s specific to your region.

View All Answers


4. What typical restaurants, food delivery services, and/or takeout options are popular among expatriates?

Many fast food options like Wendy’s, McDonald’s, Carl’s Jr., Subway, Domino’s, Papa John pizza, Applebees, and Chili’s on both sides of the border. Lots of good Mexican restaurants and burrito places. Costs are similar to US costs, maybe a bit cheaper, depending on where you go.

View All Answers


5. What kinds of organic, vegetarian and allergy-friendly foods are available, such as organic produce, gluten-free products, meat substitutes for vegetarians, etc?

View All Answers


6. Are there any unusual problems with insects or other infestations in housing?

None that I’ve noticed.

View All Answers


Daily Life:

1. How do you send and receive your letters and package mail? Are local postal facilities adequate?

The consulate has a PO box in El Paso and a warehouse address for receiving packages that can’t be shipped to a PO box.

View All Answers


2. What is the availability and cost of household help, and what types of help are typically employed by expatriates?

Cleaning ladies charge $20-30/day and are readily available. The CLO keeps a list of cleared ones.

View All Answers


3. What kinds of gyms or other sports/workout facilities are available? Are they expensive?

There’s a small gym in the consulate and a couple of others nearby.

View All Answers


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?

There’s an ATM and Banamex branch in the consulate. Credit cards are pretty widely accepted, but I usually use cash just to be on the safe side.

View All Answers


5. What English-language religious services are available locally?

Pretty much every type of service is available in El Paso.

View All Answers


6. English-language newspapers and TV available? Cost?

You can pick up network stations from El Paso with an antenna. Telmex offers a Mexican DishTV service that has lots of US programming with subtitles. Some people have gotten US satellite service set up at their homes.

View All Answers


7. How much of the local language do you need for daily living? Are local language classes/tutors available and affordable?

Spanish is very useful if you’re going to do much shopping in Juarez. Some places have English speaking staff, but you can’t necessarily count on it.

View All Answers


8. Would someone with physical disabilities have difficulties living in this city?

Many. There are not sidewalks in many areas, many buildings are not handicapped accessible.

View All Answers


Transportation:

1. Are local buses, trams, trains or taxis safe and affordable?

There is a taxi service that you can call, but I wouldn’t use any of the buses.

View All Answers


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?

Almost any make and model can be serviced either in Juarez or El Paso. You see all kinds of US cars here, so nothing would really stand out as strange, though I wouldn’t recommend anything that expensive or flashy due to the potential crime. Something with a higher clearance would be helpful because of the speed bumps that can scrape lower cars and the way the streets flood when it rains, though many FSOs and locals manage with small sedans.

View All Answers


Phone & Internet:

1. Is high-speed home Internet access available? How long does it typically take to install it after arrival?

Yes. Telmex has service bundles for phone and internet available ranging from $20-100/mo depending on the internet speed and phone service.

View All Answers


2. Do you have any recommendations regarding mobile phones? Did you keep your home-country plan or use a local provider?

The consulate provides a basic phone and plan to US employees. Prepaid phones are available through Telcel and Movistar. Many people tend to keep a US cell phone for use on the US side. AT&T and Verizon have plans that work on both sides of the border. Vonage and MagicJack are also popular.

View All Answers


Pets:

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?

No, there aren't any special requirements for bringing pets into Mexico. Most people get the health certificate only to enter Mexico with no questions about the pet.

View All Answers


2. Quality pet care available (vets & kennels)?

Yes, good vets and kennels are available in El Paso.

View All Answers


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?

There are several jobs at the consulate and it's possible to work in El Paso.

View All Answers


2. What is the typical dress code at work and in public places? Is formal dress ever required?

Mexicans tend to dress up a bit more in public, but otherwise it is not too different from the US.

View All Answers


Health & Safety:

1. Are there personal security concerns to be aware of at this post? Please describe.

Over 3,000 people were murdered here last year. Most of the violence in contained within the cartels and their associates, but innocent people are more and more likely to be caught in the wrong place at the wrong time or mistaken for someone else. Other crimes, like carjackings and burglaries have also increased dramatically. There’s a certain level of nervousness that never quite goes away.

View All Answers


2. Are there any particular health concerns? What is the quality of available medical care? What medical conditions typically require medical evacuation?

Well, there’s the possibility of getting whacked in a cartel hit. Other than that, no special medical concerns. Medical care is good on both sides of the border.

View All Answers


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?

Dry, dusty. No real problems from pollution, but the dust can get to you.

View All Answers


4. What is the overall climate: is it extremely hot or cold, wet or dry, at any time of year, for example?

Dry and warm to hot. The summers are brutally hot and the winters are colder than you’d expect for Mexico due to the altitude and desert. Spring and fall are nice.

View All Answers


Schools & Children:

1. What is the availability of international schools? What has been your general experience with them, if any?

The consulate runs an armored shuttle to take kids over to schools in El Paso. A couple of families have kids in school in Juarez and one has sent their child to boarding school in another part of the US.

View All Answers


2. What accommodations do schools make for special-needs kids?

View All Answers


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?

I believe that there are but I don’t know much about them.

View All Answers


4. Are local sports classes and/or activities available for kids?

View All Answers


Expat Life:

1. What is the relative size of the expatriate community? How would you describe overall morale among expatriates?

Very large if you count dual citizens who are US citizens by birth or through family, very small if you do not. The U.S. consulate is the only diplomatic mission in town and the maquilas have some managers who are international. That’s about it.

View All Answers


2. What are some typical ways to socialize, either with local people or with other expatriates? Are there groups or clubs that you can recommend?

Lots of casual entertaining in homes. Very little in the way of official representation, unless you're very senior.

View All Answers


3. Morale among expats:

It depends. Living in Juarez is tiring with all of the security issues and it takes a toll. Some days things seem fine, some days it feels like the walls are closing in around you.

View All Answers


4. Is this a good city for single people? For couples? For families? Why or why not?

I think that it's a tough city for everyone in some respect. Singles can feel very isolated since it is difficult to go out and socialize due to security concerns. Families feel stress from worrying for the safety of their family members and feeling cooped up inside sometimes.

View All Answers


5. Is this a good city for LGBT expatriates? Why or why not?

The consulate is very gay-friendly and I'm not aware of special problems outside of the consulate, though it's hard for anyone to go out much.

View All Answers


6. Are there problems with ethnic, race/racial minorities or religious prejudices? Gender equality?

Machismo is alive in Mexico, moreso with older generations than with younger people.

View All Answers


7. What have been the highlights of your time in this country? Best trips or experiences?

The people. Chihuahuenses are really warm people and the FS and local staff at the consulate are wonderful.

View All Answers


8. What are some interesting/fun things to do in the area? Can you recommend any “hidden gems"?

Most of the attractions within driving distance in Mexico are off-limits per the RSO.Las Cruces, Tucson, Albuquerque, Riudoso, and Santa Fe are within a reasonable drive. There’s good hiking over in the Franklin Mountains near El Paso. You can go skiing several places in New Mexico. There are a few museums in El Paso. You can get decent flights to most places in the US from El Paso and many places in Mexico from CDJ.

View All Answers


9. Is this a "shopping post"? Are there interesting handicrafts, artwork, antiques, or other items that people typically buy there?

Travel out of Juarez?

View All Answers


10. What are the particular advantages of living in this city?

It’s nice to be able to get home easily and have access to US shopping.

View All Answers


11. Can you save money?

Absolutely, if you don’t spend it all on getting out of town. It’s a 30% differential post, the cost of living is reasonable, and you’re not going out much due to the security situation, so it's relatively easy to save a lot.

View All Answers


Words of Wisdom:

1. Knowing what you know now, would you still move to this city?

Not any time soon, but maybe in the future if things calm down. The people at the consulate and community are wonderful, but you spend so much of your time living in fear that it’s exhausting and I'm ready to be able to go for a drive, out to eat, or to the mall without looking over my shoulder all the time.

View All Answers


2. If you move here, you can leave behind your:

Snow tires

View All Answers


3. But don't forget your:

Sunglasses and warm weather wear

View All Answers


4. Do you recommend any books or movies about this city/country for those who are interested in learning more?

View All Answers


5. Recommended movies/DVDs related to this city:

View All Answers


6. Do you have any other comments?

View All Answers


Ciudad Juarez, Mexico 06/09/11

Background:

1. Was this post your first expatriate experience? If not, what other cities have you lived in as an expat?

First experience

View All Answers


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?

You can drive into US at any time, however the time it takes to cross the bridge is 5 minutes to 2 hours, even with the speedy pass. Flights from El Paso to DC are available.

View All Answers


3. How long have you lived here?

1.5 years

View All Answers


4. What brought you to this city (e.g. diplomatic mission, business, NGO, teaching, retirement, etc.)?

State Department Foreign Service Officer

View All Answers


Housing, Groceries & Food:

1. What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?

Houses are great, they are quite large and well maintained. All have small back yards, some with grass. Houses are all in gated communities and are generally right near the Consulate compound. Almost all neighborhoods have multiple Consulate houses, so you are almost sure to know a neighbor or two. However, some neighborhoods do have very large, loud kids parties and karaoke parties that can keep you up late.

View All Answers


2. How would you describe the availability and cost of groceries and household supplies relative to your home country?

Most people do their shopping in the US, so it is US prices.

View All Answers


3. What household or grocery items do you wish you had shipped to post?

Nothing.

View All Answers


4. What typical restaurants, food delivery services, and/or takeout options are popular among expatriates?

Good restaurants right near the consulate for lunches and dinners, some good restaurants in El paso.

View All Answers


5. What kinds of organic, vegetarian and allergy-friendly foods are available, such as organic produce, gluten-free products, meat substitutes for vegetarians, etc?

All available in El Paso.

View All Answers


6. Are there any unusual problems with insects or other infestations in housing?

A few houses have scorpions, GSO tries its best to prevent them, but sometimes nature wins

View All Answers


Daily Life:

1. How do you send and receive your letters and package mail? Are local postal facilities adequate?

Sent through daily post office runs in El Paso.

View All Answers


2. What is the availability and cost of household help, and what types of help are typically employed by expatriates?

Good, about $40 for one day a week maid service. Many nannies and gardeners also available.

View All Answers


3. What kinds of gyms or other sports/workout facilities are available? Are they expensive?

The Employee Recreation Association runs a small workout gym on the consulate campus. Some folks also go to a gym in the mall across the street from the Consulate. There are also many joggers who run in their neighborhoods. The consulate also has a small but strong biking club.

View All Answers


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?

ATM machine is available in the consulate.

View All Answers


5. What English-language religious services are available locally?

All available in El Paso.

View All Answers


6. English-language newspapers and TV available? Cost?

Dish TV available.

View All Answers


7. How much of the local language do you need for daily living? Are local language classes/tutors available and affordable?

Not too much, as most shopping is done in El Paso.

View All Answers


8. Would someone with physical disabilities have difficulties living in this city?

Not if they can drive. The new Consulate compound seems accessable.

View All Answers


Transportation:

1. Are local buses, trams, trains or taxis safe and affordable?

Not used.

View All Answers


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?

Higher car is needed because of some poor road conditions.

View All Answers


Phone & Internet:

1. Is high-speed home Internet access available? How long does it typically take to install it after arrival?

About $40 per month via TelMex.

View All Answers


2. Do you have any recommendations regarding mobile phones? Did you keep your home-country plan or use a local provider?

Post gives officers a Mexican cell phone for use in emergencies. People also tend to keep their US numbers, though coverage can be spotty on the Mexico side.

View All Answers


Pets:

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?

View All Answers


2. Quality pet care available (vets & kennels)?

All available in El Paso.

View All Answers


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?

Can work in El Paso if desired.

View All Answers


2. What is the typical dress code at work and in public places? Is formal dress ever required?

Ties at work, in public whatever you want.

View All Answers


Health & Safety:

1. Are there personal security concerns to be aware of at this post? Please describe.

Yes

View All Answers


2. Are there any particular health concerns? What is the quality of available medical care? What medical conditions typically require medical evacuation?

Allergies can be a problem with the dust and pollen.

View All Answers


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?

Dusty

View All Answers


4. What is the overall climate: is it extremely hot or cold, wet or dry, at any time of year, for example?

Hot, dry

View All Answers


Schools & Children:

1. What is the availability of international schools? What has been your general experience with them, if any?

No first hand experiance. I know kids are sent to both schools in El Paso and in Juarez and Consulate provides transportation.

View All Answers


2. What accommodations do schools make for special-needs kids?

Don't know, El Paso would have US-style programs.

View All Answers


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?

Most babies are with stay-at-home parents who hire nannies to help.

View All Answers


4. Are local sports classes and/or activities available for kids?

ERA offers tennis lessons at the consulate, many kids take lessons through that program.

View All Answers


Expat Life:

1. What is the relative size of the expatriate community? How would you describe overall morale among expatriates?

Large, about 80+ US officers, specialists, and others

View All Answers


2. What are some typical ways to socialize, either with local people or with other expatriates? Are there groups or clubs that you can recommend?

Lots of house parties and nights out in El Paso.

View All Answers


3. Morale among expats:

Good, even though most did not choose to come to Juarez all seem to work well together and enjoy eachother's company.

View All Answers


4. Is this a good city for single people? For couples? For families? Why or why not?

This is a great post for couples, and an OK post for singles and families. Many officers at post are single and attempt to date in El Paso with limited success. There are a growing number of families with infants and toddlers, but few with school age children. I would think with school age children they would not feel as connected to the Consulate community, however those with kids seem to like the schools.

View All Answers


5. Is this a good city for LGBT expatriates? Why or why not?

The consulate is very gay friendly. There are gay Americans at every level and many gay FSNs. There are gay bars and events in El Paso and Juarez. The greater community does not seem to be hostile to gays.

View All Answers


6. Are there problems with ethnic, race/racial minorities or religious prejudices? Gender equality?

None that I have seen.

View All Answers


7. What have been the highlights of your time in this country? Best trips or experiences?

It has been a great experience getting to know my fellow entry level officers and FSNs. Being at such a large posts gives you many opportunities to network. Also, management provides many interesting projects off the visa line for entry level officers. Those have been very interesting as well.

View All Answers


8. What are some interesting/fun things to do in the area? Can you recommend any “hidden gems"?

El Paso can be boring, but there are many great weekend road trips throughout New Mexico.

View All Answers


9. Is this a "shopping post"? Are there interesting handicrafts, artwork, antiques, or other items that people typically buy there?

Mexican tourist stuff? I am not quite sure.

View All Answers


10. What are the particular advantages of living in this city?

Post has a great sense of community and the US is readily accessible. The work, at least in the consular section, is also very interesting and you will learn a lot.

View All Answers


11. Can you save money?

You can if you do not spend your hardship on travel.

View All Answers


Words of Wisdom:

1. Knowing what you know now, would you still move to this city?

Yes, because of the great sense of community and large number of folks you will work with. It is a great way to build your professional network.

View All Answers


2. If you move here, you can leave behind your:

Walking shoes, as this is pure suburbia and you will need to drive.

View All Answers


3. But don't forget your:

Computer, because you'll want to stream in movies or TV when you don't feel like leaving your house.

View All Answers


4. Do you recommend any books or movies about this city/country for those who are interested in learning more?

Ringside Seats to the Revolution.

View All Answers


5. Recommended movies/DVDs related to this city:

View All Answers


6. Do you have any other comments?

View All Answers


Ciudad Juarez, Mexico 03/01/09

Background:

1. Was this post your first expatriate experience? If not, what other cities have you lived in as an expat?

Yes.

View All Answers


2. How long have you lived here?

15 months so far.

View All Answers


3. What brought you to this city (e.g. diplomatic mission, business, NGO, teaching, retirement, etc.)?

Government.

View All Answers


4. Travel time and best routes to this city from Europe or the US:

5 minutes to two hours to cross one of the bridges. Then you can fly from El Paso, Texas to anywhere else.

View All Answers


Housing, Groceries & Food:

1. What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?

Government providing housing is mostly good. There are a few exceptions, but most houses outside of gated communities are being phased out. They will eventually have everyone within a 15-minute drive to the new Consulate.

View All Answers


2. How would you describe the availability and cost of groceries and household supplies relative to your home country?

Soriana, SMart, and Superette are the three main local grocery stores. Government employees may also shop at the Fort Bliss commisary. There is no U.S. product you cannot get, one way or another.

View All Answers


3. What household or grocery items do you wish you had shipped to post?

Nothing.

View All Answers


4. What typical restaurants, food delivery services, and/or takeout options are popular among expatriates?

Most U.S. hamburger and pizza chains are in the city, as well as some excellent local restaurants, reasonably priced. And you can always go to El Paso.

View All Answers


5. Are there any unusual problems with insects or other infestations in housing?

There are lots of gnats and houseflies. Some people have had problems with scorpions, if they lived near vacant lots or in the most recently developed areas.

View All Answers


Daily Life:

1. How do you send and receive your letters and package mail? Are local postal facilities adequate?

The Consulate has a P.O. Box in El Paso, and receives packages through a service in New Mexico. It is easy to cross the border, and some people have P.O. Boxes there, often at one of the stores so they can have a physical address.

View All Answers


2. What is the availability and cost of household help, and what types of help are typically employed by expatriates?

There is plenty. It is about US$20 to have someone clean your house.

View All Answers


3. What kinds of gyms or other sports/workout facilities are available? Are they expensive?

There are several good gyms in the city, and most government employees can use the facilities at Fort Bliss in El Paso.

View All Answers


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?

Most credit card machines here print your entire number on the receipt, so the numbers are stolen a lot. Use ATMs inside the big stores and then shop. The bank kiosks have locking doors - that are usually broken. Never get money at night in one of those.

View All Answers


5. What English-language religious services are available locally?

Only in El Paso, but all denominations seem to be represented.

View All Answers


6. English-language newspapers and TV available? Cost?

You get broadcast TV from El Paso. There are some English channels on local cable and satellite. Few places sell the El Paso paper in Ciudad Juarez.

View All Answers


7. How much of the local language do you need for daily living? Are local language classes/tutors available and affordable?

Many people speak at least some English, but the more Spanish you know, the better. You will not starve to death without it, but everything is harder.

View All Answers


8. Would someone with physical disabilities have difficulties living in this city?

Nowhere in Mexico is well designed for people with disabilities, but there are some handicapped parking spaces. At least one of those we know of has a power pole in the middle of it, so maybe it is the parking space itself which suffers the disability.

View All Answers


Transportation:

1. Are local buses, trams, trains or taxis safe and affordable?

We cannot recommend the converted school buses for travel. There are many cab stands - pick up a cab there or call to request one. They are somewhat expensive.

View All Answers


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?

Do not bring anything with too low a ground clearance because of speed bumps and occasionally immense potholes. An SUV will help in the flood season. Do not bring anything too flashy, and definitely not a black SUV with tinted windows.

View All Answers


Phone & Internet:

1. Is high-speed home Internet access available? How long does it typically take to install it after arrival?

Yes, between US$50 and US$100 monthly.

View All Answers


2. Do you have any recommendations regarding mobile phones? Did you keep your home-country plan or use a local provider?

You can get a plan from any of 4 providers. Despite proximity to the border, most U.S. phones do not work. At least one company has a pay as you go plan.

View All Answers


Pets:

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?

View All Answers


2. Quality pet care available (vets & kennels)?

View All Answers


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?

Only if they speak Spanish very well.

View All Answers


2. What is the typical dress code at work and in public places? Is formal dress ever required?

Mexicans as a rule tend to dress up more than Americans. Men will almost never wear shorts, unless playing sports or going to the beach.

View All Answers


Health & Safety:

1. Pollution index (Good, Moderate, Unhealthy, or Very Unhealthy)?

Moderate. The pollution is not so bad, the problem is the dust blown from the Chihuahuan Desert by the near constant wind.

View All Answers


2. What immunizations are required each year?

All are voluntary.

View All Answers


3. Are there personal security concerns to be aware of at this post? Please describe.

In 2008, 1,602 people were murdered - mostly narcotraffickers. 2009 is looking to be worse. Since police keep quitting, or being killed, the overall crime rate is rising. There are armed robberies in front of the Consulate. 2008 saw over 1,600 carjackings. Not many people go out in the city, but some are willing to take their chances.

View All Answers


4. Are there any particular health concerns? What is the quality of available medical care? What medical conditions typically require medical evacuation?

There are some excellent local doctors and dentists. Many people do cross for medical care, however.

View All Answers


5. What is the overall climate: is it extremely hot or cold, wet or dry, at any time of year, for example?

Winters are cold with occasional light rain or snow. February and March bring the heavy winds and dust storms. June can be well over 100 F (38 C). July and August are the rainy season, and it floods. A lot.

View All Answers


Schools & Children:

1. What is the availability of international schools? What has been your general experience with them, if any?

We have no experience with the international schools. Some people use them, others send their children to schools in El Paso.

View All Answers


2. What accommodations do schools make for special-needs kids?

The special-needs children who come to post attend schools in El Paso.

View All Answers


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?

Again, both sides of the border are used.

View All Answers


4. Are local sports classes and/or activities available for kids?

View All Answers


Expat Life:

1. What is the relative size of the expatriate community? How would you describe overall morale among expatriates?

It is tough to judge. The border is not really Mexico or the U.S., but something in between. People drift back and forth. Many people are citizens by birth in the U.S., but have lived their whole life in Mexico.

View All Answers


2. Morale among expats:

Everyone's morale is low right now.

View All Answers


3. What are some typical ways to socialize, either with local people or with other expatriates? Are there groups or clubs that you can recommend?

Despite some fine restaurants and night clubs in town, most people are making home the center of their social life.

View All Answers


4. Is this a good city for single people? For couples? For families? Why or why not?

It is a tough city for everyone right now. Singles may have it the worst because it is hard to go out without worrying about the security situation.

View All Answers


5. Is this a good city for LGBT expatriates? Why or why not?

It does not seem to be any worse here for gays or lesbians than for anyone else. The Consulate has many gay employees.

View All Answers


6. Are there problems with ethnic, race/racial minorities or religious prejudices? Gender equality?

None that we have seen.

View All Answers


7. What are some interesting/fun things to do in the area? Can you recommend any “hidden gems"?

Chihuahua State has a lot to see and do. Unfortunately, it is very hard to do it. Paquime is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Copper Canyon train ride is a great multi-day trip, and Cd. Chihuahua has some nice museums. In the U.S., you are only a few hours away from 4 ski areas, Big Bend National Park is a day's drive away, there are spring fed pools, mountain hiking, rockclimbing, etc. all within a few hours drive.

View All Answers


8. Is this a "shopping post"? Are there interesting handicrafts, artwork, antiques, or other items that people typically buy there?

View All Answers


9. Can you save money?

Yes.

View All Answers


Words of Wisdom:

1. Knowing what you know now, would you still move to this city?

No.

View All Answers


2. If you move here, you can leave behind your:

Things that will be damaged by lots of dust.

View All Answers


3. But don't forget your:

Humidifier.

View All Answers


4. Do you recommend any books or movies about this city/country for those who are interested in learning more?

View All Answers


5. Do you recommend any books or movies about this city/country for those who are interested in learning more?

View All Answers


6. Recommended movies/DVDs related to this city:

Someone recently commented that nearly all movies about this area are horror films.

View All Answers


7. Do you have any other comments?

It will get better when the narcos are diminished enough that they have trouble finding rivals to kill, but that will probably not be in 2009.

View All Answers


Five stars on Amazon! Don't miss Talesmag's first book of essays, on cross-cultural food experiences from Mexico to Mongolia (plus recipes!)

Read More