Living in Mexico is like living in any developed country, on the surface, at least. People enjoy a high standard of living and education level. However, if we compare living in Mexico to living the United States, there are some differences that must be emphasized.
When you live away from home, it is inevitable to start comparing the differences. Mexico, for instance, is a country of stereotypes. There are those who think that we nap half a day, we wear sandals and hats to go to work, and we drink tequila for breakfast. After living in Mexico for a month, you realize the truth is very different.
If you are planning to travel to Mexico, there are five differences (of the many that exist) that you should keep in mind before your visit.
The country is predominantly Catholic
Unlike the United States, where a great variety of religions are practiced, Mexico is more homogeneous. A fervently Catholic lifestyle is evident wherever you go, from big cities to the countryside. You will discover that this also affects people’s social and private life. Women tend to marry younger, families are larger and a weekly Sunday mass is a common ritual. Although religion is declining in younger generations, it is still a tradition for the entire country to close activities on Sundays (except for the capital city and the most touristic ones).
You cannot get complimentary water or fill your drinks for free
Unlike the United States, where you can ask for free water almost anywhere, as well as paying for one soda and getting free refills, this is not possible in Mexico. Tap water is not drinkable. When living in Mexico it is best to always ask for bottled water. Don’t worry about it when ordering fresh flavored water (try horchata or rice water), or natural lemonade or orangeade. You can get them in almost any restaurant with the certainty that they used filtered water.
When living in Mexico, people go out very late
Mexicans like to drink and socialize on weekends -and sometimes also on weekdays- we normally go out late (and come back even later). The regular time to go to a party, for drinks, or to meet some friends in a bar or a disco is after 10:00 p.m.
It is very normal to end a night of socialization several hours after midnight. The normal time to get home after a night out when you are young is 3:00 a.m.
Lunch is the biggest meal of the day
While in the USA breakfast is way too early, lunch is around 1:00 p.m. and dinner around 6:00 p.m .; in Mexico, breakfast happens when one wakes up, lunch is between 2:00 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. and dinner is after 8 p.m. Lunch is the heaviest meal of the day, although breakfast and dinner are usually not very light.
Living in Mexico has a much lower cost of living than in the United States
This is true in all cases: rent, gas, food, drinks, and public transportation. However, when it comes to buying branded clothing and shoes there is an exception. The popular American brands are very easy to find, however the prices are very high due to import taxes.
If you come to Mexico, do not forget to learn some Spanish words before your visit! It is not very common for people to speak English fluently.
And if you have decided to live in this wonderful country, check out our latest eBook Mexican Real Estate Buying Guide and follow the 10 basic steps to get started in this business without being overwhelmed.