Have you thought about the state of Yucatán in southeastern Mexico? Here, you’ll find what you’re imagining, and then some. In fact, Mérida, the cosmopolitan capital city of Yucatán, has been featured in magazines from Vogue to Forbes, which ranks it the most livable and safest place in Mexico. For those who are looking for sandy shores, there are a string of beach towns along the Gulf Coast, just an hour away from Mérida.
Also close to Mérida, you’ll find crystal-clear cenotes to swim in, Maya archaeological sites to explore, and romantic haciendas. The food and cultural attractions are unique … the colors glow and music is everywhere. So much will be new to you, but you’ll also find most of the familiar conveniences you’re used to … like modern shopping malls, stores and restaurants … high-speed internet too! Indeed, Mérida offers the best of two worlds.
Professional people looking for career diversity or the opportunity to work online are moving to Mérida. Those who want to raise their children in a family-centered culture, like the feel of Mérida. And of course, retired people who want to live abroad are definitely choosing Mérida.
If you want your transition to go as smoothly as possible, why not skip the guesswork and learn from seasoned residents and professionals about the logistics of moving, finding a place to live, getting a residency visa, and starting your new life. Wouldn’t it be great to get them all in one room?
Investing a weekend to learn about all the pluses and minuses of international relocation seems like a smart move. It sounds even smarter still to do so in the winter months when it is cold and dreary up north!
To help you get your bearings, we’ll start the workshop with a city tour. Aboard our private open-air vintage bus — known as a Gua Gua (wah-wah) — we’ll travel through some of the neighborhoods that are popular with the international community. Each one is a little different and has its own parks and plazas, outdoor markets and shopping malls, galleries, monuments, and entertainment venues.
After getting the lay of the land, you’ll be curious to learn more. We’ll walk a short distance to our workshop’s main venue, a former 19th-century manor that is now the campus of TTT, a local college. The high ceilings allow circulation of cool air through the spacious rooms… and soon you’ll be imagining life in Mérida during the period when the haciendas flourished and homes like this one were built as town residences. Today, Mérida is a modern state capital, but reminders of days gone by are ever-present.
Gathered around the fountain in the central courtyard, a guitar serenading, you’ll feel the tropical downtown ambiance. Your hosts from Yucatán Magazine and from Mexico International will be sure that everyone is introduced before we move to a meeting room for our first session: “How I Got Here and Why.” You’ll learn right away from the experiences of others, who’ve already made the move you’re considering right now. You’ll be welcome to share how you got the idea of living abroad, and what you envision in your future.
The moderator will be Joanna van der Gracht de Rosado, who moved from Vancouver to Mérida in 1976. She is the author of two popular books about cultural adaptation, and her stories, both funny and poignant, will certainly resonate with you. Along with the other workshop facilitators, she understands the mixed emotions you’re probably feeling and will help you to validate them. You’ll be welcome to share your comments and ask questions about what you envision in your future.
Our evening will conclude at Restaurante Amaro for cocktails, dinner, and live music. A taste of Mérida’s sultry evenings.
Interactive Panel Discussions
Imagine Your Future Home and Meet Your Future Neighbors
A panel made up of:
• A veteran real estate agent
• A local architect
• A Chicago native who has lived in two very different Mérida homes
• A self-named “beach gal”
• The resident who has found his personal paradise in a small village
These Yucatán homeowners will discuss their own experiences setting up a household in Yucatán. They will address the advantages each feels their arrangement has, and the drawbacks too. All will share tips about what to look for and what to avoid when buying or building a home. Types of construction materials and their maintenance needs will also be part of the discussion. Locations and the prices will be an eye-opener. There’s a lot to learn.
This panel will be made up of:
• An insurance agent, who will address how to protect yourself and your investments.
• A medical doctor, who will talk about the wide range of health care options in Yucatán.
• A civil and penal law attorney, who will discuss what to expect if things go awry.
• A homeowner who will explain what exactly a notario is, and why you need one.
A panel of Yucatán residents who hail from the US and Canada will open up about their experiences living in Yucatán. This group has diverse interests and lifestyles but all agree that the daily surprises – the good, bad and ugly – and the wonder of living in Yucatán have enriched their lives immeasurably. Here is your chance to ask them anything about being a stranger in a stranger land.
Our busy day will end with a visit to a couple of Centro Histórico houses that are for sale. Over a glass of wine or a sparkling beverage, you’ll be able to speak with the owners about their houses in Merida. You’ll get to tour their homes and see how construction differs in this climate.
Day Three begins with a drive to the Gulf Coast, where beach houses are in high demand. Keep an eye out for pink flamingos and other beautiful water birds before we turn inland to Tahmec, a traditional Yucatecan town, where we’re invited for lunch. If you’re interested in regional cuisine, you can help the family make Pollo Pibil. This iconic Yucatecan dish is prepared by wrapping marinated chickens in banana leaves, and then placing them to roast in an underground oven — the authentic Maya way.
While our meal is cooking, we will visit the archeological site of Aké, and then the colorful town cemetery, which has to be seen to be believed. When it comes to the past, Mexicans have a different viewpoint than people of most other countries. The remains of the ancient Maya city and the grave site are not thought of as sad or scary. In Mexico, the past is celebrated and it shapes the present. Remembrance is a part of everyday life. Witnessing this can be surprising for newcomers, but it is an important element of the culture.
Enjoy a fresh fruit drink while the table is being set, and try your hand at making tortillas. Perhaps you’ll be wondering why we are having lunch in this quiet village. We could have gone to a resort or high-end restaurant, but the workshop organizers have seen before that sharing lunch with this typical Yucatecan family will explain more than we could hope to cover in a seminar. Many find that experiential learning is the most effective. After a delightful day, we’ll have you back in Mérida, with time for a rest before the evening’s wrap-up activities – a fiesta you won’t forget!
Our workshops aim to provide you with the information you’ll need prior to making a decision about moving to Mexico. The speakers and presenters will also help you to become aware of cultural differences and sensitivities that you’ll likely encounter.
All the activities mentioned in the itinerary are included:
• Guided tours
• Discussion groups
• Panel presentations
• Meals as outlined
• Local transportation
We can also assist you with choosing your accommodation during the workshop weekend, and we can help you with any post-workshop travel arrangements you might want to make. Let us know your needs and how we can help.
• The minimum number of participants in each workshop is 10 (enough to encourage lively conversation).
• The maximum number of participants is 20 (still an easygoing number).
• The itinerary is the same for the three weekends. It is full of activity but not so intense that you will be left breathless.
• If you have questions, please get in touch and join our mailing list to receive the latest updates.