Hey there, I’m Gab. Welcome to my podcast where I dive into the worlds of travel and entrepreneurship. Today, I’m excited to chat about Mexico, a place that’s become a pivotal part of my business journey. It all started after the summer of 2021, following another success with our hotel in Canada, when I decided it was time to broaden my horizons and build something new. I’d always dreamt of owning a property abroad and transforming it into something unique. So, with a mix of thrill and entrepreneurial spirit, we set off for Mexico, a land brimming with sunshine, beaches, and endless opportunities.
Our adventure kicked off with a list of countries and criteria on a whiteboard, weighing factors like weather, beaches, and tourist seasonality. After a process of elimination, considering even places like California and Hawaii, we settled on Mexico. We knew Cancún wasn’t our final stop, so we headed to Holbox, a charming island with its own set of challenges, especially in terms of internet connectivity. Eventually, we landed in Puerto Morelos, exploring the jungle and discovering an ideal microclimate at the heart of the Riviera Maya.
That’s where everything began to take shape. We got in touch with an Airbnb owner who, by chance, had a piece of land for sale. It was perfect, surrounded by dense jungle, teeming with life and challenges. We bought the land and started building our dream: a small jungle hideaway, a place where nature meets comfort. We constructed a quaint house and a camping area, all with a rustic and cozy vibe, true to the essence of the Mayan jungle.
This journey wasn’t just an adventure in building and entrepreneurship, but also in life. We learned about Mexican culture, property management, and the unique challenges of living and working in such a diverse environment. And now, I want to share that experience with you. So, if you’re thinking of moving to Mexico or just curious about life in the jungle, stay tuned!
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We Built a Tiny House!
After a journey filled with discoveries and decisions, we finally reached the pinnacle of our project in the Mexican jungle: building a small house. But this wasn’t just any house; it was a little haven, a sanctuary amidst nature, softly lit in the heart of the jungle.
Constructing this house was more than a building project; it was a journey of self-discovery and connecting with nature. Every aspect of the house, from its structure to its location, was carefully designed to blend with the jungle, honoring its beauty and spirit. At night, the house transforms into a luminous oasis, a place of peace and tranquility, where one can enjoy the starry sky and the gentle sounds of the forest.
This small home in the jungle is more than a structure; it’s a testament to our adventure, our passion for exploring and creating something unique. It’s a reminder that sometimes, life’s greatest pleasures come from the simplest things.
How can I buy land in Mexico?
How to buy land in Mexico, a crucial topic for those who, like me, dream of owning a little slice of paradise. Purchasing land in Mexico as a foreigner comes with its own set of peculiarities, especially near the coasts and borders.
In Mexico, there’s a restricted zone where foreigners can’t directly own land. This area includes 100 kilometers from the borders and 50 kilometers from the sea. Since our property is 15 kilometers from the sea, we’re within this restricted zone. But don’t worry, there’s a solution: the fideicomiso.
A fideicomiso is basically a trust agreement where a Mexican bank holds the legal title of the property, but you, as a foreigner, are the trust’s beneficiary. This means you have all the rights to use, enjoy, and even sell the property. It’s a common process for foreigners wanting to buy near the beaches, which are, of course, the most sought-after areas.
The process is simpler than it sounds. You go to the bank, they set up the trust, send you the documents, and everything’s sorted. The cost to establish this trust is about 2,000 US dollars, and there’s an annual maintenance fee of around 500 dollars. The bank doesn’t get involved in anything other than collecting its annual fee.
So, if you’re dreaming of your own corner in Mexico, don’t let the restrictions discourage you! With the fideicomiso, buying land is accessible and safe for foreigners.
How much does it cost to build a house in Mexico?
This is an important consideration, especially for those dreaming of their own spot in this beautiful country.
From my experience, building in Mexico can be a bit cheaper than in countries like Canada or the United States, but the difference isn’t as significant as it used to be. If you’re planning to build something from scratch and to your taste, be prepared to spend an amount similar to what it would cost back home.
To give you a clearer idea, I recommend doing something I did: visit a Home Depot in Mexico and compare the prices of materials. You’ll be surprised to find that the costs are quite similar. Sure, there are savings in certain areas, like labor, but don’t expect a huge difference.
If you decide to buy an already-built property, you might find better deals and save some money. But if your plan is to build something new, customized to your standards and tastes, prepare for an investment similar to what you’d make in your own country.
How to transfer money to Mexico to buy a house?
This may seem daunting at first, but it is actually simpler than it sounds.
When faced with this task, I opted for a regular bank transfer. But here’s the kicker: I used WISE Transfer. WISE is a relatively new company that facilitates money transfers from one country to another. The great thing about WISE is its efficiency and ease of use.
In my case, I had to transfer $25,000 USD. WISE has a maximum limit per transaction, so I split the transfer into several parts, transferring about $5,000 over five days. It was a fairly simple and straightforward process.
Of course, there are other options available, but in my experience, WISE was an economical and efficient option for transferring large sums of money internationally without hassle.
How to get people to help you build a house in Mexico?
The answer, actually, is quite universal and applies to any country.
In my experience, an effective way to find help is through Facebook groups. These groups are fantastic for connecting with people who have the knowledge and skills you need. Simply join a relevant group, state your intentions, and look for people interested in your project.
Another method is the classic word-of-mouth approach. That’s how we did it in our case. We just asked around and expressed our interest in building, and this way, we found amazing people willing to help. This not only helps you find skilled labor but also immerses you in the local community and gives you a real sense of connection with the people and the place.
How do you get electricity to your house in Mexico?
Electricity in Mexico can be complicated, especially in less developed areas. In my case, being in the jungle presented a unique challenge. Electricity is available on the main road (La Ruta), but from there to our property there was approximately one kilometer with no electrical connection.
Faced with this challenge, we had to be creative. The option of installing poles and extending electricity on our own was unfeasible. Fortunately, we were able to reach an agreement with a neighbor to connect to his power supply. This arrangement, although not ideal, allowed us to have electricity, although the stability of the electricity is not perfect.
In some cases, people choose to install a more solid infrastructure, such as a steel structure near the main road to distribute electricity. This solution can create additional opportunities, such as selling or renting electricity connections to other nearby properties.
How to move to Mexico?
Moving to Mexico offers several options, and each one depends on your needs and situation.
In our case, we chose to go to Mexico as tourists. We have a small house built on our land there, but every time we visit, we do so on a tourist visa. As Canadians, we receive a stamp in our passport that allows us to stay in Mexico for 180 days. If we leave the country and return, for example, going to Belize and back, we get another 180 days. It is a fairly simple process and was our choice, although it has its limitations.
This method is a practical and hassle-free way to enjoy Mexico, especially if you do not plan to live there full time. However, it is important to be aware of the regulations and limitations that a tourist visa entails.
How to Airbnb in Mexico?
In Mexico, the management of rental properties such as Airbnb involves a particular process due to “La Plataforma Tecnológica”. This system is a way for the Mexican government to collect taxes from services such as Airbnb and Booking.com. If you decide to rent your property on Airbnb, the Mexican government has an agreement with the platform to make sure it receives its share of the revenue.
In practical terms, this means that if you list your property on Airbnb, a significant portion of the revenue (around 25%) goes directly to the government. It’s an automatic and simple process: rent your property and receive your share, while Airbnb takes care of sending the government’s share.
How to get dual citizenship in Mexico?
The key to obtaining Mexican citizenship is to be a permanent resident for several years. I knew a German who, after living in Mexico for many years as a permanent resident, became a Mexican citizen. He, along with a Mayan elder, owned a large part of the jungle, which they chose to protect from massive urbanization.
Obtaining Mexican citizenship is a process that requires time, patience and a real commitment to the country and its culture. It is not simply a matter of living there for a while; it is a process of integration and contribution to the community.
What is the climate in Mexico jungle?
The weather in these areas of the Mexican jungle is simply fantastic. Between November and April, you experience what they call their “winter”, although it is quite warm compared to what many of us know as winter. During the day, temperatures hover around 28 to 29 degrees Celsius and at night they drop slightly to around 25 or 26 degrees. It is an ideal climate for enjoying the lush vegetation and incredible jungle wildlife, without the extreme heat you might expect.
What to bring to travel to the jungle of Mexico?
When you’re in the Mexican jungle, particularly in areas like the Riviera Maya, you really don’t need much. Most of the time, we’re in swimsuits, enjoying the warm weather and cooling off with outdoor showers. So, I’d recommend packing flip-flops, a swimsuit, and a couple of t-shirts.
The beauty of Mexico’s jungle is its simplicity. There’s no need to pack a lot. Nature provides everything you need for a relaxing stay. The trees aren’t very tall, which allows for enjoying beautiful sunsets through the gaps in the branches. In short, to enjoy the Mexican jungle, all you need is the basics: light clothing and an adventurous spirit.
Travelers, this has been a journey through my experience of moving to and living in Mexico, especially in the magical jungle. As you can see, living in Mexico is an adventure filled with discoveries, challenges, and above all, a deep dive into an incredible culture and natural environment.
From building a small house in the jungle to dealing with the quirks of property and daily life in Mexico, every step has been a valuable lesson. Life here is simple yet rich, where less is more and the beauty of nature is enough to fill your days. You don’t need much to enjoy the Mexican jungle; a pair of flip-flops, a swimsuit, and a couple of t-shirts are enough for a unique and unforgettable experience.
I hope my story has inspired you and provided useful information if you’re considering a similar adventure. Mexico is a wonderful country with so much to offer, and I encourage you to explore it!
I invite you to visit my previous post: I Want To Travel the World, Where Do I Start – My experience