18 Tips for Living in Mexico Including Pet Friendly Tips

brown concrete dome building

After traveling full-time over the last 3 years, I’ve landed in beautiful Mexico.  6 months later, here are 18 of the little ways moving to Mexico changed my daily routine—maybe yours too.

  1. Bring your own shopping bag to the market. Mexico is very progressive in reducing plastic waste. Most markets do not provide plastic or paper bags for your purchases. Like most of us, you may find you wind up buying many bags at the tiendas until you finally remember to bring your own.

2. There Will Be Noise Just About EverywhereIf your Dog is reactive, the Centro area may not be your best location. Fireworks that sound like cannons happen at all hours.  When you’re looking for a place to settle, if you don’t see construction in the immediate area, it likely will pop-up once you move in.  Dogs bark and complaining is futile.  People sell door-to-door and call out in the street to let you know they are there.  I am grateful for the man who calls out in the morning.  For $2.50usd/50 pesos, he lugs my 5 gallon water jug up the hill and brings it to my door-step.

3. Sidewalks may be very narrow or non-existent and pavements are often uneven, especially in historic centers.  Bring your best walking shoes.

4. At the ATM, save money when you get cash. Many ATMs ask you to accept or decline 2 charges. We are used to just hitting “accept”. In Mexico you need to ACCEPT the banks fee for withdrawal, but you should REJECT the next request to accept the CONVERSION. This 2nd request changes the rate even more favorable to the bank. Decline the Conversion and you still get your money but only pay the ATM fee.

5. Well-Behaved Dogs on leashes are allowed in most Cafes, Markets, Shops and Restaurants—Yay!

German Shepard and Pet Parent enjoying an outdoor cafe in Mexico.
San Miguel de Allende-Socialized Puppers are Almost Always Welcome

You may also like: Guide to Pet Friendly Mexico City

6. Negotiate taxi Fare Before you load your groceries or hop in. One more reason to use Uber instead. And if you ask in advance, most Uber drivers will allow your pet in their car.

7. Public restrooms charge for use. Bring your own TP or grab a coffee at a café and use their free restrooms.

8. Lavenderias and Housecleaners. Many rentals do not have washers and dryers. Laundry services, like housecleaning services are widely used and inexpensive. The gal who cleans my place charges $5usd (I do tip her, of course, but $5 an hour is the going rate).

9. Glass Top Covers on Your Gas Cooker. Gas stoves often have a glass top covering the burners. You’re supposed to lift those up before you turn on the burner. If you don’t lift the cover before turning on the flame, a new cover costs about $120usd.

10. Wifi can be spotty. Searching for solid, reliable internet connections takes flexibility and patience, especially in historic centers and cities. Building walls are often a foot thick and wifi signals do not permeate everywhere. Fiberoptic cable is not expensive to install and costs about $15usd per month—great solution!

11. As much as Mexico is pet-friendly, crimes against animals are not treated as seriously as they are in the US and elsewhere. Keep this in mind when allowing your Dog off-leash.

You may also like Pet Friendly San Miguel de Allende

12. It’s easy to change the habit of weekly shopping to buying groceries everyday or every few days. No more 1 gallon jugs of milk and fruits and veggies stay fresh longer.

13. If a vendor offers you their wares and you do not want to buy, just say “Gracias” instead of “No” or “No, Gracias”. Saying “NO” to a Mexican can be considered rude. Thank them for offering their wares and move on. (BTW, going rate for a small piece of candy offered on the street is only $10pesos/.50 cents.)

Mexico Street Vendors Selling Candy and Handicrafts
Street Vendors and Nearly Everywhere.

14. When paying by card, a waiter or retailer may casually ask you if you want the payment made in your currency. Always decline this offer. Always choose local currency, you get a better exchange rate.

15. You can recharge your Cell Phone service and pay utility bills at OXXO. OXXO is the 7-11, Quicky-Mart, equivalent in Mexico. I have unlimited calls, text and 3g coverage. A month’s worth of service is about $10usd with Telcel.

16. Well-behaved off-leash dogs are highly tolerated in parks and on the street. Most Dogs are well-socialized and for those smaller pups, many larger parks have fenced areas just for them.

Speaking of Dogs in Parks, check out: Help Make Dog-Friendly Mexico City Even Better for FREE!

17. In smaller cities some Doctors make house-calls. They also often own the pharmacy you’ll use for a prescription they write, which, in turn, will be open for those after-hours emergency needs

18. When booking your pet on a flight or when you need to make a change to your reservation, contact the airline on Facebook, they often respond faster and saves you time spent on hold over the phone.

I have never experienced what some expats call “culture shock”. I just try to be grateful for all my travel and be flexible arriving in a new country. If you are too, you and your pet will enjoy beautiful Mexico.

Check out some of my other articles on living in Mexico with Pets.

Published by Stephanie Fling

Everything Pet Travel Related by Air, Sea and Land.

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