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

Personal Experiences from Hermosillo, Mexico

Hermosillo, Mexico 08/18/15

Background:

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

No. We've lived in Costa Rica and Sao Paulo.

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?

Northern California. If you choose to fly you can do so via a 45-minute flight to Phoenix, AZ. We drive to Tucson, AZ from Hermosillo in 4 hours.

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.)?

US Government.

View All Answers


Housing, Groceries & Food:

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

Good housing. Big houses, some with nice yards. All houses are in closed communities, all with pools and play structures for the kids. My commute time is a whopping 12 minutes! Definitely a highlight of post.

View All Answers


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

Groceries are definitely cheaper than in the US. Strangely enough, the supply is quite limited, as all most of the best items go straight to the US. We find ourselves buying a lot of produce at Costco (go figure). We buy only fruits, vegetables, eggs, and meat here. Everything else we import via Amazon or Tucson trips.

Since our arrival, there have been more and more natural foods/organic products popping up that we try to support. You can buy organic beets, carrots, cilantro, etc., and organic eggs. But there are no organic dairy products here.

View All Answers


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

We're close to Tucson, so we just buy what we need there.

View All Answers


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

Regular crappy American fast food and restaurants. There are about 5-10 pretty good restaurants that we frequent. They are pretty reasonably priced --- under USD50 for a couple with a drink.

View All Answers


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

Lots. We have to spray regularly because of cockroaches, mosquitoes, and serious black widow problems during the summer.

View All Answers


Daily Life:

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

APO.

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. Most people pay about $25/day.

View All Answers


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

Yes, with reasonable costs and a range of facilities.

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?

At major restaurants and supermarkets we use credit cards. We use ATMs inside the Consulate, at Costco, or the bank.

View All Answers


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

Some.

View All Answers


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

It would be okay. This isn't a walking city, so that's less of an issue.

View All Answers


Transportation:

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

No. And they are not really available. The only place you can even find a taxi is at the airport.

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 RAV4, which is fine. There can be lots of pot holes, so most people drive vehicles with high clearance. This is not really needed, though.

View All Answers


Phone & Internet:

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

Kind of. We probably have the highest speed internet, and it's normally sufficient to watch Netflix. We pay about USD30/mo.

View All Answers


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

All direct hires receive them. I think you can get a cheap sim card or a cheap pay-as-you-go 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.

View All Answers


2. What volunteer opportunities are available locally?

I'm sure you could find some.

View All Answers


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

It's your normal consulate/not-embassy dress code. Women wear dresses, and guys wear slacks and ties (slacks can include chinos).

View All Answers


Health & Safety:

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

Yes. We sit smack dab in the middle of the Sinaloa Cartel's area. I'm pretty sure many of our neighbors are narcos. We occasionally get stopped on the freeway because of shootouts between the narcos and cops. Although I feel these issues are increasing, I also feel quite safe here. Everyone knows what's going on and tries to lay low. But the cartels are professionals, and in our part of Mexico there aren't a lot of people accidentally implicated in shootouts.

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?

I'd assume it's not great, because it's dry and hot. That being said, we've had few problems except with eyes and noses that are probably tired of being in constant air-conditioned buildings.

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?

Friggin' hot. Last year Hermosillo had one day when it was the hottest place on earth. It's over 100 degrees anywhere from 8-10 months a year. It's barely chilly in the "winter" and it's quite lovely for several months. Last year's summer seemed to be a lot worse, and I felt my kids were never able to leave the house because it was so hot.

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 here. We have folks with elementary-aged kids, but they need to be comfortable in Spanish (or willing to learn, which they will do in one year).

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?

Most of us send our kids to a local Montessori school, which I believe is probably one of the most expensive preschools in Hermosillo. For four hours we currently pay about $5,000 pesos - the exchange rate has tilted heavily in our favor, but it's ranged from 300-400 USD/mo. Nannies are generally used, and most of get between $1,500-$2,000 pesos per week - roughly USD150/week.

View All Answers


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

Baseball is huge here, so I'd imagine you could find that.

View All Answers


Expat Life:

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

Small. We're the only gig in town. I've never met another expat in Hermosillo, although my husband has finally found 3 Brazilians, which is a lot in this town! Most people are fine with Hermosillo and try to appreciate the positives. As I mentioned, a lot of people seem to be disillusioned with overseas life because of the constant reminders of the U.S.

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?

Restaurants, beaches, and the movies.

View All Answers


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

I think it's best for families with small kids. There isn't a lot to do here, and that's generally okay for families with with kids. Even with kids, we tend to get bored, as there's not a lot more to do than visit the beach (1:15 by car), go to lunch/dinner (about 10 restaurants), and go the movies. There's a nice country club that a lot of folks use, and people seem quite happy with this as it's a nice slice of green in Hermosillo.

View All Answers


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

Okay. Sonora is still quite conservative, so LGBT issues aren't really out in the open.

View All Answers


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

Not obviously.

View All Answers


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

Nice housing. Easy living. Easy access to the U.S., which is both a positive and an interesting negative in terms of people getting to see on a regular basis what they're missing in terms of parks and supermarkets. Easy access to the Sea of Cortez, which is lovely and warm!

View All Answers


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

Go to a beach --- there are two within about an hour's drive from Hermosillo. They are not overly developed, but both are very swimmable. And that's about it, outside of travel to Tucson. We all find ourselves traveling to Tucson with more frequency than we would have expected for grocery shopping, museum visits, and park trips!

View All Answers


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

Nada. If you travel to other parts of Mexico you can find a lot of stuff.

View All Answers


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

The local people are kind, and this is the first post at which I've actually made friends with local staff. Hermosillo is a lot like Southern Arizona, which is both a positive and a negative. It's a relatively middle-class city, and people are quite comfortable with Americans.

View All Answers


10. Can you save money?

Yes. Although some people tend to go to restaurants a lot as a social outlet, I think it'd be hard not to save money here.

View All Answers


Words of Wisdom:

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

Yes, because it suited us during this phase in our lives. We arrived with 8-month-old twins and wanted to be close to the US for health reasons - that's been great.

View All Answers


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

Jackets and closed-toe shoes!

View All Answers


Hermosillo, Mexico 04/25/13

Background:

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

This was our first 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?

Our home base is New England. We normally fly into Phoenix or Tucson and then drive down to Hermosillo. The drive is about 2.5 hours from the border crossing in Nogales. Flights in and out of Hermosillo are prohibitively expensive, although they have just added a new American flight to Dallas, which may help.

View All Answers


3. How long have you lived here?

Sept. 2011- August 2013.

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?

The housing here is great- very spacious with a surprising amount of storage. Many smaller neighborhoods, some of which have pools, community areas etc.

View All Answers


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

We have access to some decent grocery stores, several WalMarts and a Costco. Prices are more expensive than in the US since everything is imported. The quality of the good isn't great (other than Costco). I stock up at Target on our trips to Tucson or have things sent through Amazon.

View All Answers


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

We were happy with what we brought. Warm weather clothes are a must!

View All Answers


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

Hermosillo is weird because it is far more like the US than it is like Mexico. Every fast food place is here that you would see in the US. Prices are a bit more expensive. There are some really great restaurants in the city, especially if you like beef. We have missed good Asian food and have yet to find a better pizza than what is available at Costco (yes, there is a Costco).

View All Answers


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

We haven't experienced problems in our home, but in September there was a cricket infestation in the city that was something to see.

View All Answers


Daily Life:

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

We are able to send everything through the consulate. The consultate drives the mail up to Nogales twice a week.

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 ready availability of domestic help. We have a housekeeper who came 3x per week for about $15 day. We also had a full-time nanny for about $150 per week. Many of my Mexican friends have live-in nannies who work 6 days for slightly less than I was paying for ours. The consulate community seems to pass the same nannies around, and they are all very good.

View All Answers


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

A downside of Hermosillo is that there isn't a lot of availability of green spaces or walking areas. They have more than made up for it in the wide variety of gyms and workout facilities. There is a also a very popular country club- Los Lagos - that most people join, with a gym, pool, golf course, etc. Prices are comparable to the US.

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 have an ATM at the consulate and can cash checks. I usually do that and use cash. There have been some problems with credit card fraud here. I also feel comfortable using the ATMs in banks.

View All Answers


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

I think there is one non-denominational Christian group that has English services.

View All Answers


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

We have directTV from Arizona and pay about $30 per month.

View All Answers


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

There are a lot of people in Hermosillo who speak English because of the proximity to Arizona, however, I have found my Spanish to be invaluable for day-to-day living and for making friends.

View All Answers


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

This would be a tough place to live for someone with physical disabilities- there are hardly any sidewalks, handicapped parking is a crap shoot, and most locations around the city are not accessible.

View All Answers


Transportation:

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

No. The buses are crazy and unreliable. We have taken occasional taxis from the airport but not within the city.

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 is fine. A lot of people here have SUV-type cars for when it rains, but given that happens about 5 times per year, don't sweat it. The drivers here are insane, so we will be leaving with several dings and dents on our 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?

Telmex provides high speed internet. About $35 per month included with our home phone bill.

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 all use Telcel. It is reasonable. You can also get a pay-as-you-go phone and get refill cards at any convenience store, etc.

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?

Not really.

View All Answers


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

Mexican women are no joke. They look put together all the time. Men generally are business-casual when at work and jeans with boots and button-down shirts otherwise.

View All Answers


Health & Safety:

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

Hermosillo is generally regarded as a safer area of Mexico, as it is a sleepier town. However, there have been thefts from people's cars, spare tire thefts, etc. Our RSO has been excellent at keeping us up to date on what is going on here. As members of the consulate community, we have restrictions about where we can travel within Sonora and are not allowed to travel into Sina Loa. We remain vigilant.

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?

We have had excellent medical care here. We have an English-speaking Dr. and pediatrician. The care is affordable and efficient. I've been very impressed. That said, for anything major, I would still go back to the states.

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 would say moderate. Being in the desert, it is always very dusty and there are a lot of allergens.

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?

The majority of the year is lovely, but when summer hits, watch out. The temps rise into the 100-120 range from about June into October. I can count the number of days it has rained here on my fingers. During the wet months- July and August, when it does rain it is a deluge. It is true that you get used to it.

View All Answers


Schools & Children:

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

I know that there have been mixed reviews on schools here for older kids. We have preschool-aged children and have been delighted with the options here.

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?

We have our twins (now 4) in Bambu Montessori and have loved it. They take yoga, music and play chess. We have been included in the school community and have enjoyed all of the cultural activities that the school has provided. I can't say enough about this school. One small caveat- English is not spoken by the majority of the administrators, so you either need to speak Spanish or be proactive about asking your questions to the English-speaking teachers to keep the lines of communications open. We speak Spanish, so this hasn't been a problem, but some families have felt a little lost in the system.

View All Answers


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

Yes. In addition to Los Lagos, there are other opportunities around the city, including swimming, horseback riding, etc.

View All Answers


Expat Life:

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

VERY small. The consulate has a small number of officers, and there are several other agencies in the consulate. Anyone else that is here is most likely from the Ford plant or a Canadian mining company.

View All Answers


2. Morale among expats:

Moderate to high morale. There are certainly worse places to be in Mexico, and the CLO does a great job organizing opportunities for us. We enjoy the benefits of the beaches, the proximity to Arizona, etc. And the Consulate leadership is very good.

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?

Our main social life has been the amazing number of children's birthday parties and other family gatherings. We also have an active CLO who plans dinners, outings, etc.

View All Answers


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

In my opinion it is a great city for families with small children. It is a bit boring, but with small kids you get a lot of family time, and there is enough to do. I think the families with older kids have a harder time. As for singles- it is what you make it. I've seen some singles thrive here with lots of local friends, enjoying the nightlife, etc. Others have used Hermosillo as the jumping-off point to visit other areas in Mexico, as there are some cheap flights on Volaris. Others still have found it very stifling here. Again, the accessibility of Tucson (3.5-4 hours) helps everyone.

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 anything explicitly, but I can say that Hermosillo is a pretty homogenous place. There don't seem to be a lot of opportunities to practice your religion if you aren't Catholic or some form of Christian. Also, racially, it isn't very diverse. My kids with their blonde hair are often pointed at, and everyone wants to touch their hair and know what we are doing in Hermosillo.

View All Answers


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

Some might not view this as a highlight, but it has been great to enjoy this part of Mexico and also have easy access to the U.S., specifically Tucson. Being from New England, we had not explored the American southwest, and we've loved it. I would also list as a highlight the friends we have made here and our experience with the preschool community.

View All Answers


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

The beaches of San Carlos and Kino. A trip to the colonial town of Alamos. The zoo. Parque Infantil. Spending time with friends and attending any of the million birthday parties. Trips to Tucson, Tombstone, Phoenix, etc. The square around the cathedral has food vendors and people walking around on weekend evenings. There are some great festivals that come to town (Festival de Pitic, Feria del Libros), and every year there is a huge Expo Ganadera with concerts (kind of like a state fair). Finally, I've been impressed with the number of kids' theater performances that come to the Auditorio Civico.

View All Answers


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

There isn't much in the way of local items other than made-to-order cowboy boots and ironwood carvings. You can get other Mexican crafts in San Carlos, but they are priced at a tourist rate. There is some copper in Imuris on the way to Tucson.

View All Answers


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

We have found the people to be very friendly. Hermosillo looks like a city but is really just a small town. Everyone knows (or is related to) everyone else, and once you have made some friends, your circle grows quite quickly. We have really enjoyed the food. Lots of delicious carne asada, grilled vegetables, etc. The majority of the year, the weather is delightful. Access to the beaches in San Carlos (1.5 hrs) and Bahia Kino (1 hr) has been wonderful. Finally, we have very small children and have been able to enjoy our school community and the activities available for kids here- Parque Infantil (a little amusement park for the under 8 crowd), the zoo, ballet classes, Gymboree, Music Together, etc.

View All Answers


11. Can you save money?

Honestly, not so much. We have traveled a lot, and the cost of imported goods is equal to or more than it is in the states.

View All Answers


Words of Wisdom:

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

Absolutely. We honestly could spend another year here. It can be boring, but I feel like we made the best of it and have loved the time with our kids. We will be leaving with some good friends and great memories.

View All Answers


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

Winter clothes! Also your expectation that you will be getting an authentic Mexican experience. We joke that this is foreign service lite.

View All Answers


3. But don't forget your:

Sunscreen and indoor activities for the summer.

View All Answers


4. Recommended movies/DVDs related to this city:

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


Hermosillo, Mexico 12/03/09

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 Panama City and Rio de Janeiro.

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. Travel by air with 1-2 connections is approximately 6-10 hours, depending on the route.

View All Answers


3. How long have you lived here?

Feb 2008-Feb 2010.

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?

Housing, while perhaps not up to U.S. building code, tends to be spacious and nice. Commuting time for those accustomed to the horrors of the DC metro area will seem trivial, 20-30 minutes max.

View All Answers


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

For anything of quality you should be prepared to pay the same or maybe more than what you pay in the U.S. That said, you can get most of what you would normally purchase in the U.S., and what you can't get you can order by mail or pick up in Tucson on an occasional shopping trip.

View All Answers


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

Indoor activities for hot summer months.

View All Answers


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

Many of the U.S. fast food chains are also in Hermosillo. There are also many other local restaurants ranging from roadside taco stands to those that require advance reservations. While some variety exists, if you looking for lots of international options, Hermosillo doesn't have them. Most restaurants specialize in local tastes (i.e. beef). There are a couple vegetarian options available as well.

View All Answers


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

We have suffered reoccurring black widow infestations in our home. Sonora is home to several poisonous insect species, so some caution is warranted.

View All Answers


Daily Life:

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

Mexican post is unreliable and slow. Services such as UPS, DHL and FedEx are available and recommended unless you have access to diplomatic pouch services.

View All Answers


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

Widely available and reasonably priced compared to the U.S.

View All Answers


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

Yes. There are many good options around town, so finding one nearby shouldn't be a problem. Most have the equipment you would look for in U.S. gyms and prices are also equivalent.

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 widely accepted and ATMs are prolific. However, ATM and credit card fraud is rife, and many Americans have unwittingly become victims to this type of crime -- which is rarely prosecuted. Local media have recently reported large increases in this crime. If you want to be safe, use cash and trusted ATMs and vendors.

View All Answers


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

I believe there are one or two English Catholic masses around town.

View All Answers


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

Local TV (free to air and cable) is mostly Spanish language. Cost is roughly equivalent to U.S. prices.

View All Answers


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

While many people speak English due to Hermosillo's proximity to the U.S., good working knowledge of Spanish will greatly enhance your experience in this city.

View All Answers


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

Accessibility in Hermosillo is hit and miss. Reserved parking is almost always designated, but often abused.

View All Answers


Transportation:

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

Forget public transportation in Hermosillo. Buses are unsafe, unreliable and extremely inconvenient. There are no passenger trains or light rail. Taxis are expensive and sometimes don't show up when you call them. Having your own vehicle is a necessity.

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?

Getting around town in a small sedan is easy as long as it's not raining. A small to mid-sized SUV is probably preferable because of varying road conditions and summer street flooding. Traveling off of the main toll roads is easier with higher road clearance.

View All Answers


Phone & Internet:

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

Widely available, costs equivalent to U.S.

View All Answers


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

Telcel is the main carrier, although there are other options. Many people use prepaid phones which are abundant and plans are also available.

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?

Not to my knowledge.

View All Answers


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

I haven't had any experience with pet care in Hermosillo.

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?

Not many unless you can land something with one of the "maquiladores". If you having experience teaching at the university level you might be able to secure a job as a professor at one of the local universities.

View All Answers


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

Relaxed. Men often wear jeans and a button-down shirt and suits are almost never worn except in the most formal of occasions. The summer heat makes anything more than khakis and a short-sleeved shirt unbearable.

View All Answers


Health & Safety:

1. Pollution index (Good, Moderate, Unhealthy, or Very Unhealthy)?

Moderate. People who have not lived in the desert before are often more susceptible to the allergens that are found in the ever present dust.

View All Answers


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

Narco-related violence is less prevalent in Hermosillo than in other parts of Mexico, although there have been isolated incidents of attacks on the police and private individuals. Kidnappings are allegedly underreported by the Mexican government although like some of the murders, they tend to target traffickers and those associated. Street crime is not as bad as larger cities in the region, but robberies of persons and vehicles do take place with some regularity.

View All Answers


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

Medical care is widely variant. Several people I know personally have been victims of extreme medical malpractice at "good" establishments such as CIMA hospital. One person almost died of internal hemorrhage. For anything that involves going under the knife that isn't a lifesaving procedure, I would go back to the U.S.

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?

Summer temperatures are extreme. They can often be between 115 and 120 degrees Fahrenheit from 1:00-6:00 PM during the worst of the summer heat. Winter temps are very pleasant and are usually in the 70s during the day and 50s at night. During the coldest periods of the year (Jan-Feb), temps at night may approach freezing.

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 schools that are meet U.S. standards in Hermosillo and none are of the caliber those used to international schools would expect. Parents often complain of poor communication with teachers and school administration and students who are not native Spanish speakers have had a hard time adjusting, despite regular after school Spanish tutoring. While these issues are frustrating for those of us with preschool and primary school aged children, those with children in middle and high school should think very carefully about moving to this city.

View All Answers


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

Very few.

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?

Preschools are good and reasonably priced. Many families employee a nanny either part or full-time and prices are much more affordable than in the U.S. We have been very happy with our nanny and the attention she gives our daughter.

View All Answers


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

Yes. Many kids play baseball and are also members of swim teams. More activities are available at Los Lagos than other places around town.

View All Answers


Expat Life:

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

Small. There are a few Americans and Canadians working with some of the factories in Sonora, but not very many in Hermosillo. Other than the U.S. consulate, there is no other diplomatic mission in Hermosillo.

View All Answers


2. Morale among expats:

OK. Hot summer months and the lack of Mexican culture and arts makes this city somewhat dull. The ability to create your own opportunities for fun is a necessity.

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?

Lots of birthday parties for kids. Residents of Hermosillo tend to be conservative and inward-looking. There is virtually no expat community and information seems to be passed by word of mouth more than in conspicuous spaces.

View All Answers


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

It depends on what you like to do. In terms of nightlife, arts, culture, the selection is moderate but emerging. After a couple of months, you will want to travel somewhere. Airfare from Hermosillo is generally quite expensive (2-3 times what you would pay for equivalent distances in the U.S.), so singles will find it easier to take off for a weekend than those with families. Since Hermosillo is relatively isolated from other Mexican cities, driving anywhere other than Tucson is normally not practical.

View All Answers


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

Mexican culture in general is relatively intolerant of gay and lesbian lifestyles, although Mexico City is the much more accepting. In the past decade or so, Mexico as a whole has become less discriminatory, at least in the outward sense, but negative attitudes still abound.

View All Answers


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

Hermosillo (and Mexico) is predominately Catholic, although several other Christian denominations thrive. To my knowledge there are no places of worship for adherents of Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, or Hinduism. African Americans assigned to Hermosillo have complained of being stared and pointed at and even touched. People of African decent are almost non-existent in Hermosillo.

View All Answers


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

Outdoor activities available include quad riding, scuba diving, sailing, ocean kayaking, horseback riding, etc. During the hottest times of the year, many activities are limited to air conditioned spaces and indoor infrastructure is badly underdeveloped in Hermosillo, especially considering how much of the year is extremely hot. The local country club, Los Lagos, is a good option for those looking for one stop entertainment shopping. It is a very good facility that includes the city's only golf course, several tennis courts, an outdoor pool, gym and other workout facilities, and classes for children and adults.

View All Answers


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

Cowboy boots and ironwood sculptures.

View All Answers


9. Can you save money?

Perhaps with very precise budgeting and frugality.

View All Answers


Words of Wisdom:

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

From a career perspective, probably. From a quality of life perspective, maybe not.

View All Answers


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

Notions of a "Mexican" experience. Hermosillo's proximity to the border creates a nebulous situation in which you are culturally neither in the U.S. or Mexico. You won't find the colorful markets or pre-Colombian culture one normally envisions when thinking of Mexico.

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?

There is very little literature about Hermosillo.

View All Answers


5. Recommended movies/DVDs related to this city:

View All Answers


6. Do you have any other comments?

View All Answers


Hermosillo, Mexico 02/20/08

Background:

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

I'm not sure if I've always been an expat or if I'm just home in two different countries simultaneously =).

View All Answers


2. How long have you lived here?

I was born in Hermosillo and moved to Tucson, AZ as a child. My childhood and adolescence included time in both Hermosillo and Tucson. I currently manage the operations of the Hermosillo branch of our Scottsdale, AZ-based company.

View All Answers


3. Travel time and best routes to this city from Europe or the US:

There are daily flights from Los Angeles, Phoenix (actually, two daily flights from Phoenix), Tucson, and Las Vegas. Connections are possible to most major cities worldwide through Monterrey, Guadalajara, and Mexico City. There are at least six or seven daily flights to and from each for these cities.

View All Answers


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

I am there for corporate and personal reasons.

View All Answers


Housing, Groceries & Food:

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

Housing varies from very upscale to apartment living. Commute times rarely exceed 30 minutes depending on routes and exactly how much of the city you need to traverse.

View All Answers


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

Fresh vegetables, fruits, and meats (chicken, beef, pork, dairy, seafood) are lower priced in Hermosillo than in Arizona. They also tend to be fresher and less laden with preservatives as they are grown in Sonora for local consumption and don't require preservatives to survive long transportation times. Prepackaged food items (from your favorite brand of mayonnaise to baby food to t.v. dinners) are available although not in the variety that they are in U.S. supermarkets. They are also pricier than in the U.S. My family's supermarket bill in Hermosillo tends to run about 30% lower than in Arizona.

View All Answers


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

Cultural/ethnic items (food, decorations, etc.) from other parts of the world.

View All Answers


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

The beef in Hermosillo is excellent and the local specialty, as Sonora is one of Mexico's top beef producers (and exports over a half million head of steers to the U.S. for finishing north of the border). Steak, carne asada, and carne asada tacos range in quality from so-so to top notch, with prices ranging from being comparable to those of U.S. fast food joints in the case of good carne asada tacos, to US$100 per person, if you opt to have some good wine at one of the better steak restaurants.

Seafood is excellent and extremely fresh, with a handful of top quality seafood restaurants in various parts of town. Italian and Chinese food restaurants are abound although the flavors often bear little resemblence to the flavors you'll find at U.S. Italian or Chinese restaurants. I've had business associates and clients from the U.S. rave about the local Chinese and Italian places, react relatively indifferently, or absolutely hate them. Pizza in this town, even through the local Pizza Hut, Dominos Pizza, Peter Piper Pizza, or Papa John's, doesn't taste like the pizza from the U.S. (even from the chains). Local pizza places tend to be better, but nothing like a 'real Italian' pizza place in the U.S. Besides the pizza places, McDonald's, Burger King, Carls Jr., KFC, Subway, and Applebee's are in town. I'm not a big fan of these on either side of the border (with the exception of Subway) but the food quality at these places is comparable to food quality at their U.S. counterparts.

View All Answers


Daily Life:

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

The Mexican mail system is reliable in that you can get everything that is sent but it is very, very slow (everything takes at least two weeks). Fedex, UPS, Estafeta, and DHL are all available and offer service to desitnations worldwide. Also, if you don't mind making a little bit of a trip once a month or so, you can get a PO box in Nogales, Arizona (about a three hour drive north) or Tucson, Arizona, and make a monthly shopping, entertainment, and mail run.

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. You can get a live in-maid/babysitter for approximately US$400 to US$500 per month. Gardeners, general outside clean up/maintenance workers, etc., are also readily available and low cost.

View All Answers


3. 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's that take U.S. ATM cards are available in almost every bank and it seems like you can't drive more than a couple of miles without coming to a bank (or five...). You can withdraw local currency from your U.S. bank account at a better exchange rate than you'll get at the bank window or at a money exchange house if your U.S. bank doesn't charge service fees above US$3 and you stick with making larger cash withdrawls. Visa and Mastercard are accepted at most major stores and all gas stations(by law), as well as medium-sized or larger bars and restaurants. Be sure to tell the issuer of your card that you will be traveling to Mexico to avoid card rejection issues.

View All Answers


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

Unsure about non-English services. Hermosillo is predominantly Catholic with the additional presence of other Christian denominations, LDS, and a very small Jewish community.

View All Answers


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

Some English language channels are available through local cable provider MegaCable and Sky (these are Mexican cable providers with primarily Mexican channels). There are also several reliable, trustworthy providers of ´back door´ U.S. based DirecTV service, which allows you to watch the same channel lineup you get in the U.S. (including local U.S. channels and most High Definition channels).

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 the better, and every little bit helps. That said, many in the professional community speak at least passable English. Most of the better restaurants have English-speaking staff, as do some of the bigger stores. But English is not as widespread as in border towns. And you will find few people speaking a language other than Spanish or English.

View All Answers


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

Ramps are not available at all public/commercial facilities (particularly at older facilities), and where they are present, they are not always uniform or standard. Audio assist traffic lights are not used in this city.

View All Answers


Transportation:

1. Do you drive on the right hand side of the road or the left?

Right, like the U.S.

View All Answers


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

There are no urban trains. Buses are cheap and the public bus fleet was renewed in 2007.Taxis tend to be safe and affordable but small.

View All Answers


3. 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?

Hermosillo has dealerships for Chevrolet, GMC/Pontiac, Dodge, Ford, Lincoln/Mercury, Mitsubishi, Honda, Toyota, Volkswagen, Nissan, and BMW. The dealerships can service any vehicles from their brand. Parts tend to be pricier, with smaller inventory and longer lead times, than in the U.S., but labor is much cheaper. You can drive anything from a compact car to a one ton pickup in Hermosillo. But be aware that if you're coming from the U.S., roads and travel lanes are significantly narrower, paved surfaces are in much poorer conditions in all but the most recently paved roads, traffic control devices (traffic lights, signs, striping) are not standardized and are not always as visible as you're used to, parking is less available (and the parking stalls are smaller), and speed bumps are not as visibly marked (and sometimes not marked at all).

View All Answers


Phone & Internet:

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

Available from two different carriers (Telmex and MegaCable) for US$50 to $100 per month, depending on bandwidth and plan.

View All Answers


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

Telcel has great coverage around town and around the state. Plans and pay-as-you go phones are pricier than plans in the U.S. though the service seems to be better and drops fewer calls than my U.S. cellular service over the past five years (during which time I've used AT&T/Cingular, Verizon, Sprint, Cricket, and TracFone). Movistar is cheaper than Telcel but the coverage is not as good. Nextel is available and allows you to connect via radio to Nextel users across Mexico and the U.S. for very reasonable rates. But, like in the U.S., Nextel's coverage outside urban areas tends to be spotty, at best. U.S. phones from AT&T (which has an agreement with Telcel to use their network), Verizon, and TMobile have roaming service available but international roaming service is very expensive (cheapest you will find is US$0.59/minute). U.S. phones require activation (by calling customer service) of international roaming in order to work.

View All Answers


3. What is the best way to make phone calls back home?

Vonage, Skype, Nextel, or instant messenger with videoconference or teleconference capability (like Messenger).

View All Answers


Pets:

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

There are plenty of small and large animal vets, but they are not nearly as specialized or modern as in the U.S. I don't know of any good quality kennels, but do know of plenty of good places to board horses.

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?

So-so. Wages are significantly lower than in the U.S.

View All Answers


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

Business casual for most professional activities. Certain events and activities are business formal.

View All Answers


Health & Safety:

1. Pollution index (Good, Moderate, Unhealthy, or Very Unhealthy)?

Good to moderate, depending on the season.

View All Answers


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

It's a relatively safe city. There are safer and less safe areas of town, as is the case in most medium/large cities. There are not nearly the violence and crime rates of cities like Culiacán or even Mexico City. Walking after dark is safe in many of the important parts of town.

View All Answers


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

There is very good medical care available through two private hospitals (CIMA and San Jose) for routine to medium-severe issues. Care is often lower priced than comparable care in the U.S. Some English speaking doctors are available, more in some disciplines than in others. There are many different high quality doctors to choose from in some specialties (e.g., pediatricians, internists, OB/GYN) but less so in others (geriatrics, oncology, sports medicine). For major health issues, it is better to make a short trip to world class hospitals available in Tucson, Arizona (cardiology, oncology, sports medicine, others) or the Phoenix area (Mayo Clinic, Children's Hospital, etc.)

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?

Flat out hot from late spring through fall (I've seen 120° F plenty of times) so be prepared. Most homes and businesses are air conditioned, but your car will get really, really hot when it's left outside in the summer (even in the shade). In summer, the desireability of parking spots is determined more by the availability of shade than by proximity to the door you will actually walk through. There are beautiful winters, with plenty of sunshine and daytime highs ranging from the low 50's to the mid 80's (F) for most of the winter and early spring. Essentially, it's beach weather all winter if you're used to U.S., Canadian, or European temperatures (actually, the ocean may be a little too warm for you in the summer if you're not used to the warm waters of the Sea of Cortez). Evenings and early mornings can be realtively cold in winter (temperatures can drop into the mid 20's F, though lows in the 40's are far more common) and few homes and buildings have heating.

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 but many high-quality, private bilingual schools. I have a daughter who is school age and the school has a very solid english language program to complement the more basic mathematics, social studies, etc.

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?

There are many private, bilingual preschools (They are called 'kinders' -- pronounced 'keender' in Hermosillo) and are available in different areas of town.

View All Answers


Expat Life:

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

Small compared to cities like Tijuana, Saltillo, Monterrey, Mexico City. But, there have been expats in Sonora going back almost 200 years and they are well accepted.

View All Answers


2. Morale among expats:

Unsure.

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?

Hermosillo's business community is very social, and expats who are willing to participate in their activities are often well received. The U.S. Consulate holds a 4th of July party every year that is well attended by many in the local business community and can serve as a great social networking opportunity. Social networking opportunities are abound for expats who are willing to form friendships with local residents.

View All Answers


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

This is a great town for families. Most private schools have after-school sports programs (though not nearly on par with sports programs at U.S. schools). There are many small parks. People are friendly and children in school should have little trouble making friends. The private schools ask for a significant level of parental involvement which tends to help out-of-town parents make new friendships. Many opportunities for outdoor activities are available nearby, including hiking, ecotourism, horseback riding, etc. And, of course, the beach is only an hour's drive away. It's a good town for singles and couples who are willing to socialize with local residents. Entertainment opportunities exist but are not what they are in larger cities.

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?

Sonora's proximity to the U.S. history of an influx of European and U.S. immigrants, and the long-time connections between Hermosillo's residents and Arizona, all contribute to making most residents of Hermosillo very welcoming of expatriates. The majority of the local population is Catholic. I have not observed blatant discrimination against other religions.

View All Answers


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

Plenty of outdoor activities are available within one or two hours's drive, including beaches, hiking, mountain biking, ecotourism, cultural tourism, horseback riding, world class hunting, sport fishing (both salt water and fresh water), etc. There is one golf course in town and a second under construction. Professional (winter) baseball in November, December, and January. There are good movie theaters (at less than half the price of those in the U.S.) with several U.S. produced movies usually running concurrently with those in U.S. theaters. There are usually one or two concerts per year by 'nostalgic' U.S. musical groups. Creedence Clearwater Revival (CCR) and Scorpions played Hermosillo in 2007. There are top-level Mexican entertainers in concert every spring as part of the ExpoGan Sonora, a three week state fair and livestock show held in April and May.

View All Answers


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

Variety of local items are available, including typical foods (sugar cane and derived candies; beef, fresh seafood, fresh vegetables and fruits; pastries; etc.), ironwood figures unique to the Seri indians of the area, and traditional rural trappings associated with an agricultural lifestyle.

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?

Definitely.

View All Answers


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

Snow skiing equipment (but do bring a jacket).

View All Answers


3. But don't forget your:

Appetite! Or you sun screen for summer, and warm jacket for winter. I recommend light, long sleeve shirts and pants during the summer to keep the sun off. They tend to actually be cooler than short sleeves and short pants by keeping your skin out of the sun.

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:

View All Answers


7. Do you have any other comments?

View All Answers


New book from Talesmag! Honest and courageous stories of life abroad with special needs.

Read More