Joined: 20 Nov 2011
|Posted: Thu Aug 23, 2012 1:18 am Post subject: Truth about Merida???
|Please no venting, ranting or putting others down for their opinions or questions.
I get asked a lot how things are going in Merida...
When I first got to Merida I had a lot of questions and literally no answers. I knew nothing. In the past I tried posting many questions like:
1. How much is rent in Merida?
2. What areas are cheapest to live?
3. What can you expect out of a cheap apartment over an expensive one?
4. How is the transportation system in Merida?
5. How much does it take to live in Merida on average?
6. What is the average pay for teachers?
I got no concrete information forums on Daveís. Iím not saying that's bad. It just is what it is. But, as time has gone on I have learned.
My hope is to get a nice information forum going about Merida. If people wish to compare Merida to other areas in Mexico please do. And if anyone has images on living conditions, shopping areas, etc. in Mexico where they are at now in Mexico please feel free to attach images! I was told again and again that Mexico is a tough teaching market to break into. But, as a new teacher one really has nothing to compare anything to. There was a great deal of mystery breaking into teaching in general. Unlike Asia there is not a great deal of placement agencies. I have only heard of 2 placement agencies and have gotten no response in the past from either one.
1. Rent: Merida rent...
Rent is a hard question to answer. The rent goes up and down quite a great deal in Merida depending on location. It can be as high as $700 United States dollars. But, it can be much lower. Much much lower. About 40 minutes away from Merida there is a town called Progresso. Progresso is an ocean front town. It is small compared to the size of Merida. Progresso has a large amount of apartments. And much like in California the closer you get to the popular Ďdowntowní beach area the higher the rent.
How high? The rent in Progresso in an apartment nice and clean by American standards with air conditioning included in the rent it can run $300 United States dollars per month. It may or may not include the electric bill. This I feel is important for those who may have never been to Mexico. $300 per month means completely furnished, no holes in the walls, new lighting fixtures, hot and cold water and garbage pick up. It also means you have to pay to get paperwork signed with a lawyer along with past references from apartment managers or from your present or past employer stating that your trustworthy and or employed and should be able to pay rent. Seeing a lawyer to do this usually runs about $40 United States dollars.
2. Rent: Cheap rent...
And what about Merida rent? That rent can go as low as $200 per month in newer neighborhoods being built up constantly around the city. This would be for a newer looking but completely empty apartment. And forget about the paid air conditioning. Few people talk about it but Merida is a huge city. And it does have a ghetto as most large cities do. If you choose to live in the ghetto you can find an apartment for about $100 per month, furnished. To find these places you would have to walk on foot around the neighborhood and look and have a locals assistance.
How low can it go in Progresso? This is one of the reasons people choose to live in Progresso over Merida. Rent can go as low as $100 United States dollars per month. If your not asking you should be asking how does one find these $100 dollar per month places? The truth is the best thing to do is walk down the street and look for signs in the windows of apartments saying they have places for rent. One of the mistakes I see people make again and again is that they do not have a local assist them with this. This can be an expensive mistake. Even if you pay a local to assist you with this process you will be coming out ahead. Money is hard to make in Mexico and hard to come by. If locals have a foreigner asking them about rent the price will go up.
3. Rent: What to expect on the cheap...
What do you get for $100 dollars per month in Progresso? Well, you can get a piece of crap with no garbage pick up and holes in the walls. Holes in the walls are a big problem because insects can and do find their way in. If you have seen the size of the roaches and centipedes in the area then you know you donít want holes in the walls. If you have a local help you you can find a furnished apartment with no holes in walls, hot and cold running water, garbage pick up and fans in all the rooms.
What are the most expensive areas in Merida? The most expensive in my research has been Centro Merida. This is where most of the shopping, theater, opera and other cool stuff is at. If you donít live somewhat near centro Merida if you stay in town late for the opera or free concerts at night, etc. you will have to pay for a taxi to get home. The buses stop running around 10pm. Most of the coolest things in Merida take place in the evening because that's when the city is at its coolest temperature wise.
Transportation from Merida to Progresso is easy. There is a bus line that ONLY runs between Merida and Progresso and back again. You can scream the entire way on the bus if you feel lost. But, Iím telling you it is not possible to get lost. There is about 7 places you can ask the bus driver to stop at in Merida otherwise it brings you to the centro bus station where it will then head back to Progresso. A round trip bus ride costs $30 pesos which is a little less than $3 usd. Many foreigners take this bus into work in the city of Merida every day from Progresso.
The buses in the city of Progresso and Merida run about 6 pesos each way. And they charge a little more at night and if you go further than what they consider a local ride. It kind of up to the bus driver. There is a large amount of buses going back and forth constantly in Progresso and Merida that drive you through the local streets. Buses stop running around 10pm.
5. How much $ does it take?
Iíve heard again and again on Dave's it takes about $3,000 United States dollars for 3 months. I feel that's a little high. I think one can make it on $500 USD or less per month. But, it really depends how much rent is and how fast you lock it in. Usually you can find a place to rent within 24 hours. That being said its better to be safe than sorry.
And keep in mind in October itís harder to find an apartment because that is when the Canadians come to stay in Mexico to avoid the Canada winter.
Food runs about the same as it does in the states maybe even a little more.
Shopping in general:
Shopping for clothing, purses and make-up. Forget it. Pack it and bring it with you. Make up such as cover girl, revlon and even elf have duty taxes attached to them. Face powder that costs $5 usd will cost close to $25 usd in Mexico.
Purses shocked me. Little name brand purses you can get in the States for $40 - $70 usd can be as much as $500 usd - $700 usd. I donít know who buys them but they are there. Jeans that cost $9 usd at Walmart will run $40 usd at Walmart Mexico. Pots can pans are outrageous also. And the quality of the product your spending so much money on in Mexico is lower than that of the United States.
And there are no traditional thrift stores. They are in Merida but the prices are much much higher for lower quality products.
6. Average pay...
Teachers can get 50 pesos per hour to 70 pesos per hour depending on where they teach. I am talking about beginner teachers NOT teaching at a university. Contracts will not include paying for visa. And will not include travel expenses or rent. Sometimes you get medical thrown in sometimes you donít.
Getting work in Merida is tricky. You have to know someone. You have to make connections somehow. Or you have to have a good deal of experience that other locals may not have. There is still the problem of talking a school info hiring you a foreigner over hiring a local.