Sunday, December 19, 2010

Children's Outreach

Last Saturday Christine and the kids and I went with a group from our church to minister to a neighborhood of children on the southside of Merida. A lady in our church knows a woman in this neighborhood who runs a food pantry for children in her community. Many Meridian families are very poor and because of this meals can be skipped. The lady who runs the food pantry feeds about 80 children each day straight out of her own home. The food she feeds the children come straight from donations through both local businesses and from the Mexican government. Let me show you some pictures of how the night unfolded.

This is our group upon arrival. We are standing in front of the home where the food pantry is run. The building....i.e. her home can be seen directly behind the fence on the right hand side. Joseph is in the front. Joel and I are in the back on the right.

Apologies for the lack of resolution on the picture. We are using Joseph's Nintendo DS which has a camera option on it.

The lady standing in the front on the far left in the blue and white shirt is the one who runs the pantry from her home.

This is our group setting up for a puppet show. It was a basic set up with PVC pipe and cloth curtains to hide behind. It took about 45 minutes to set up because the guy that designed it didn't come with us and no one else had set it up before.

This actually worked in our favor as it gave us more time to see a larger crowd gather around us.

The place where we are setting up is a public park directly across the street from the food pantry.

The puppet show got up and running (above left), but not until some of our group sang and danced with the children (above right). We brought our own stereo/sound equipment (not pictured). It was very loud and the sound of the music just brought people from everywhere.

About half way through we stopped and passed out candy while we set up for the second half of the presentation. The little boy on the right was getting overlooked in the mad dash for the candy so I took him by the hand and walked him through the crowd to get his share. He is a very handsome little fella. I think his name was Roberto.
This is Roberto's mother and little sister, Vanessa Jacqueline. I don't know if you can tell but she has no fingers on her right hand. Her mother was explaining to me that when Vanessa turns two the doctors want to operate on her hand.

She asked me if I wanted to hold her so of course I did.  Her mother was very attached to Christine. She wanted to know all about us and why we were there. She just wanted to be around Christine the whole time even though they couldn't communicate very well.

I was invited to attend a pastor's conference in Kentucky back in 2002. Rocky Malloy with Mission Generation was invited to preach at this gathering of ministers. Rocky and his wife Joske and their children live in Santa Cruz, Bolivia. They founded Rio de Vida church in Santa Cruz many years ago.

While at the conference he told us that most people in Bolivia live in houses about the size of a master bathroom or bedroom. It was always difficult for me to picture the reality of this in my mind until I moved to Mexico with my family this year. This is a picture of a house across the street from the park. These are the types of homes that most of the children pictured  above actually live in. This home is about the size of a small bedroom. This was typical of the entire area. Many of these homes have broken windows, holes in walls..... Material poverty is common in Latin America.

The picture to the left is of the inside of the courtyard/fence of the lady who feeds these children. The picture above right is where the children eat. She feeds 80 kids on average each day.

This is our group from Iglesia Bautista Norte after finishing up. The lady on the back right is the one who feeds the local children.

She was very gracious to invite us in. She was trying to feed everyone in the group along with her regular group that comes to see her ever

God Bless,
J.E. and family

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Learning to Speak Spanish

We have occasionally run into and/or met expats from the US and Canada who refuse to intermingle with the locals. This makes absolutely no sense to me at all!!! I think some of the reason for this can be attributed to some expats having an unwillingness to Habla Espanol . Honestly, English and Spanish have alot of vocabulary that overlaps. The main difference is sentence structure and appropriate phrases. Yes, you will have to learn new vocabulary. I won't lie to you. But with some consistent, basic effort you are going to be able to learn to speak basic spanish in about 12 months and become fairly fluent within 2 or 3 years.

I highly recommend that even before you move down you begin to pick up some basics. I have heard that Rosetta Stone is a good program. You have probably seen it on T.V. I would also recommend The Learnables. Go to to check out their programs and information. This is the system that I am using with my wife and oldest son. We finished level 1 in about 3 months. On that pace we could finish all four levels in one year. That would put our Spanish proficiency at about an 8th grade level after finishing the program according to their information.

I would also recommend that after you move down that you watch as many movies in English that have Spanish subtitles. Write down some of the common phrases that you see and hear on some of your favorite movies. You would be suprised at how fast you start to pick up the language when you begin to do this. I have met more than one Mexican national who has learned how to speak a fair degree of English just watching American movies like Rocky or regular American T.V. shows. Many of the Mexican nationals who live and work in the tourism industry in Cancun learn to speak English by watching American T.V.

As for daily living, you will want to make bilingual friends as you go along. You will be suprised at how easily that can happen for you. My attorney and co-owner of Yucatan Real Estate Paradise, Francisco Guitterez, is very bilingual. I say "very bilingual" because you meet some people who have some degree of proficiency in English but still have severe limitations. Francisco can carry an ongoing conversation in English and never ask for your help in how to say something. My next door neighbor, landlord's son and son-in-law, the builder that built my home, my son's LOBO Boy Scout leader, ....the list goes on....these guys all speak English even though they are Mexican Nationals.

You will have people that can help you out along the way. Just understand that when you go out you are going to want to converse with the cashiers, waiters, ......whomever. They will know you are a Gringo. Don't worry about it. They will slow down and try to help and talk as simply as they can. Just do your best and you will learn as you go along.

We are here to help those who desire to learn about living, working and retiring in Merida, Mexico. Let us know how we can assist you in your transition. My email is Look forward to hearing from you.


Monday, November 1, 2010

Apostilles for those moving to Mexico

Note to Readers of the Blog: I am reposting this information as I think it warrants doing periodically. The info you are about to read is very important for those making the transition to Mexico. Please read and take to heart. Muchas Gracias Amigos y Amigas!!!!!

What is an apostille and why do I need one as an expat moving to the Yucatan? Good question. I wish we had known about this before we moved down. If you are married and/or have children that will live with you here in the Yucatan and you want to come down and apply for FM2 or FM3 residency visas you are going to need to have your marriage certificate and all of your children's birth certificates apostilled by the Secretary of State in the documents state of Origin.

An apostille, in the most basic terms, is a notarization that is recognized internationally by all foreign governments. It is recognized by international law. Your bank notary does not have the power to issue an apostille. Only the Secretary of State in all 50 US States or appointed government agencies in your country of origin has the power to issue an apostille. Check out the following link:

Let me give you an example of how this applies to our family. My wife and I met and married in the state of New Mexico in the US. We also had our first son in New Mexico. Our second son was born in Texas because that was where we were living when we had him. I have to order an apostilled birth certificate from Vital Records in New Mexico for my oldest son. Then Vital Records ships that birth certificate to the Secretary of State in New Mexico to have the document apostilled. The Secretary of State then ships out the apostilled document, in this case my son's birth certificate. We go through the same steps with my youngest son with both Vital Records and the Secretary of State's office in the state of Texas.

If you come down to the Yucatan and you have a marriage certificate, divorce decree or birth certificates that do not have apostilles and you want to apply for residency visas (FM2 or FM3) then you are going to have to send back for them in the US or Canada and pay the international shipping rates via FedEx, UPS or DHL. Word to the wise. Get this taken care of in advance. No one ever told us this before we came down and we did alot of research on necessary documents before we came down. Aargh!!! We just don't want you pulling out your hair unnecessarily. Hope this helps.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Building a Home in Merida

Is it cost effective to build in Merida, Yucatan, Mexico? Absolutely. Both from a personal and business perspective it makes absolute sense and is easy to do. Let me give you the numbers:

Land: 300 sqaure meters - $25,000.00. USD
Construction cost: 200 square meters - $65,000.00. USD
Total Cost of land and Construction:  $90,000.00 USD
Closing Costs: $5,000.00 USD (estimated)
Total Cost: $95,000.00 USD
Sales Price $125,000.00 USD
Profit/Equity $30,000.00 USD

If you want a pool add another $5,000.00 USD. On a three hundred square meter lot, with two story construction, this would still leave you with a nice size backyard.

The homes pictured to the left are in Hacienda Zodzill Norte, just north of where I live. Land in that Colonia area sells for about $1,000.00 PESOS per squre meter. That is about $82 USD per square meter. Very affordable. The home on the far left was sold 6 months from the date construction began. Construction time usually runs 3 months. Average time on market in North Merida from the day you start construction is 6 months or sooner.

All in all the real estate market is very healthy in Merida. It is beyond anything you see in the United States at this time. Many people are moving to Merida from all over the nation of Mexico. We hear of people moving here from Villahermosa, Mexico City, Monterrey and even Cancun. The economy here has been growing, it is considered very safe to live here and we also have 11 colleges and universities inside the city. The people of Merida are becoming very educated.

From both a personal and business perspective it really makes sense to build here. It is very common for homebuilders to buy lots that will accomodate 3 to 10 homes and just build one or two at a time until they completely build out the project. You don't have as many large established home-builders here like you do in the states. You have some but not as many. I think it is a very good business opportunity for those looking to invest in emerging markets.

If you are interested in exploring this side of Meridian business send me an email. We can help you get started. We already have a construction and legal team ready to help you with all of your business needs (Realtors, Attorneys, Architects and Construction Managers).

Look forward to hearing from you. My email is


Monday, October 25, 2010

Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts in Merida

Attached below are some pictures of our oldest son's Boy Scout Troop including the country club at which his meetings are held every Saturday afternoon. The seed for Boy Scouts in Mexico was planted as far back as 1912 in the port city of Veracruz. In 1981 the opportunity for girls to enter scout troops presented itself. Many of the youth in our city participate.

The website to Mexico scouts is

Our son is very much enjoying his participation in the program. A number of the youth are bilingual in Mexico today as many take varying levels of English study in schools. So if you move down with children you are not going to have a problem finding a troop for them. We know of another American family here that has their 10 year old daughter participating. Let us know if you have more questions.

Club Campestre

Our son's Scout Troop.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Mexico Postal Service

Mexican Postal Service 

Postal Service and Couriers in MexicoRegarding the Mexican Postal Service (Servicio Postal Mexicano), there is an open debate about its effectiveness. No self-respecting business that places much importance on the timely distribution of its correspondence would rely on it for anything other than mass-mailings. Nor do most of its private citizens.

Couriers in Mexico

Companies tend to have propios, in-house messengers, for the delivery of important correspondence and paperwork of any kind within the city limits. Invitations for important functions are also hand delivered, although usually by a specialized delivery company, for about 8 pesos per delivery. Remember that most require up to a week to make the delivery from the time that they receive the material from the sender. For intra-Mexico correspondence a local carrier, such as Estafeta, usually does the trick.
Finally, for international deliveries, any of the well-known international companies work well, especially in the "overnight" categories (DHL, FedEx, UPS). What we are saying is that if you really want to get mail to someone in Mexico, scan and email the docs, fax them or send local deliveries by a local courier, out of town mailins by one of the big three previously mentioned.

Personally, I have never even seen a Mexico Postal Official deliver anything to my house nor have I seen them out driving around on the streets. Also, as it pertains to important bills like cable/internet and electricity and water, those companies have there own reps/couriers deliver their bills to your mailbox. What does that tell you? And even then you may not get the bill until the day it is due, or even the day after, if even at all. My advice...... keep a copy of your account #'s on each of your utilities and pay them monthly or bi-monthly (electric and water) at the pay stations at the mall (Grand Plaza) or at your local OXXO. Or you can try to pay them on-line.....if you can figure it out.

Don't get me is very easy to pay your bills. You just need to plan on doing so when you are at the mall or in town if you live on the beach. Word to the wise.

Jay Blackshear

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Updated Fees for FM3 or FM2 Visas

The fees for FM2 or FM3 visas have been updated at the Mexican Immigration Office as of 2010. To apply for an FM2 there is a one time application fee of $669.00 MX Pesos and a yearly fee of $2,800.00 MX Pesos. Both fees are charged by the immigration office for each person applying for a visa.

The fees for the FM3 are as follows: Yearly fee of $1,294.00 MX Pesos and a one time application fee of $491.00 MX Pesos.

Each visa is good for a period of 5 years but must be renewed annually. When renewed you must pay the yearly applicable fee again but the application fee that is paid the first year is not charged again. That means that if you have an FM2 or FM3 right now and you need to renew it, you will pay either $2,800.00 or $1,294.00 when you renew each visa. You will not pay the initial application fee again. Hope that makes sense. Email me with questions at


Monday, October 4, 2010

What is Henequen?

If you ever choose to visit or live in Merida or the surrounding area, you will eventually hear someone bring up the subject of Henequen. Late in the 19th century and the early 20th Century, the area surrounding Mérida prospered from the production of Henequen. It is an agave whose leaves yield a fiber also called henequen which used to make rope and twine in the early to mid 20th century. It is the major plantation fiber agave of eastern Mexico, being grown extensively in Yucatan and Veracruz. It is also used to make Licor del henequén, a traditional Mexican alcoholic drink.

According to Wikipedia, The plant appears as a rosette of sword-shaped leaves 1.2 to 1.8 meters long, growing out of a thick stem that may reach 1.7 meters (5 ft). The leaves have regularly-spaced teeth 3-6 mm long, and a terminal spine 2-3 cm long.

For a brief period, around the turn of the 20th century, Mérida was said to house more millionaires than any other city in the world. The result of this concentration of wealth can still be seen today. Many large and elaborate homes still line the main avenue of Paseo de Montejo, though few are occupied today by individual families. Many of these homes have been restored and now serve as office buildings for banks and insurance companies.

Just out of curiosity, I recently asked a friend of mine here in Merida what happened to all of the Henequen production and why it disappeared. Among a few other reasons, this person informed me that government interests came in and bought up the plantations from private owners and well......everything just sort of disappeared after that. Enough said I guess......Also, just as an interesting fact, Les Stroud used the henequen plant on his T.V. show Survivorman to make a needle and thread for making both medical stitching and a sewing needle for clothing on one of his episodes. This "plant" does in fact have many purposes.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

What Is The Difference In Visa's

What is an FMM Visa?
The FMM VISA is the Short-Term Non-Immigrant Visa that every visitor receives upon entering Mexico. Short term visas are intended for visitors to Mexico who come to stay for 6 months or less. Usually these visas are given to tourists and business travelers on short-term business trips. FMM visas are issued by airlines and are also available at ports of entry.* For trips of longer than 6 months, a non-immigrant or immigrant visa is required-- see the Questions and Answers below for details.

What is an FM3 Visa?
The FM3 VISA is the Long-Term Non-Immigrant Visa.
Mexico provides the FM3 Vsa, which is a renewable long term (more than 6 months) permit which gives non-immigrant temporary residency status to the holder. This means that it gives a person the right to live in Mexico (under the terms set out in the visa) but it does not lead to, and cannot be converted to, a visa leading to permanent residency.

There are various categories under which FM3 visas are granted, and these relate to the activities you intend to undertake while in Mexico. Under the terms of the FM3, you are authorized to only undertake certain, specific activities which may be lucrative or non-lucrative, depending on the visa's classification.
One of the criteria that the Mexican authorities require for the issuance of a FM3 Visa is that the applicant prove that they have 'sufficient funds to sustain themselves while in Mexico' and/or a proven steady income. There is no official minimum or maximum amount -- every application appears to be dealt with on a case-by-case basis. Proof of funds and/or income is usually requested by means of bank account statements, proof of investment income, credit cards, or a combination of these.

Once applied for and granted, the FM3 may be renewed for an additional four years (for a total of five years). After this period, a new FM3 may be applied for and, if granted, will serve for another (max) five year period, renewable annually.

The FM3 visa may not be exchanged automatically for a visa leading to permanent residency (FM2). The FM2 visa must be applied for separately. Any years accrued under a FM3 visa are not transferable towards FM2-residency status (see FM2 Heading, below, for details).

What is an FM2 Visa?
The FM2 visa is an Immigrant Visa, intended for people seeking permanent residency status in Mexico or those seeking Mexican Citizenship.

There are various categories under which FM2 visas are granted, and these relate to the activities you intend to undertake while in Mexico. Under the terms of the FM2, you are authorized to only undertake certain, specific activities which may be lucrative or non-lucrative.

You must hold an FM2 for a full consecutive five-year period before you may apply for "immigrant" status or Mexican Citizenship. You do not need to have held an FM3 visa before applying for an FM2, and any years you may have accrued while living in Mexico under an FM3 permit do not count towards your five-year FM2 qualification period.

If your goal is to seek long-term residency in Mexico, or to become a Mexican Citizen, you should apply for FM2 status (or request a change of status from FM3 to FM2) so that your time starts counting towards the qualification period as soon as possible. You may apply for a FM2 visa while in Mexico and in possession of a FMM (Tourist/Business Visitors Visa) or a FM3.

Following the five-year qualification period, you may apply for full resident status. When your full residence status has been accepted, you are entitled to full rights (e.g. access to IMSS sickness pay) and responsibilities (e.g. pay income taxes) as any other Mexican Citizen, with the exception of the right to vote. Foreigners are not allowed to involve themselves in "internal Mexican affairs" and they may not be post-holders of any public office.

When your full residence status has been accepted, you may also begin your application for Mexican Citizenship, although you do not have to do this; you can remain a 'resident alien' on a FM2 visa. Upon receiving immigrant status, you will receive a document that looks like a Mexican Passport (the actual FM2 visa). Under Mexican law, you do not need to surrender your national passport. You may remain a resident-alien or apply for Mexican citizenship. You will keep your original passport, which you will use when you return to your home country, for visits, or when returning home permanently.

If you hold a FM2 visa and stay outside of Mexico for longer than 2 years, or for 5 years in any 10 year period, you will lose your permanent resident status in Mexico.

Contact Us

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

How To Buy Real Estate In Mexico

Properties in México can be legally purchased by foreigners
If you are interested in purchasing property outside the restricted area (32 miles from the coast or 63 miles from the borders), you can do the same way you can do it anywhere else in the world, with a simple deed.

To purchase a property that is within the restricted area, which includes Mérida and most other popular areas of Yucatan, you will need to sign a trust contract with a Mexican bank. Such contract is called a "fideicomiso", and both your name and the bank's appear in the "escritura" (contract).

The contract creates a trust for the benefit of you, the foreign buyer. The bank has a fiduciary obligation to the owner. The owner retains all the benefits of ownership and has legal rights to rent, sell or inherit property as they see fit. Normally these contracts expire after 50 years, but they can be renewed at the end of those 50 years for an additional 50 years. There is no limit on the number of times the fideicomiso contract can be renewed. The 50 year renewal cost is currently about $900 USD.

Currently, the cost to start a trust is approximately $2000 USD. There is an annual fee to the bank for maintaining the trust, which is based on a percentage of property value. For a house in the range of $100,000 USD, the fideicomiso maintenance cost is approximately $ 600 USD a year.
Currently, the law only allows trusts for properties of less than 2000 square metres (about 21,520 sf). You can apply for an exception to this law.

Owning a Mexican company
If your property is over 2000 square meters, you can create a Mexican corporation to buy the property. The cost to create a legally-registered company is approximately $ 1500 USD. You need to be incorporated under the laws of Mexico and all the proceedings must take place under the supervision of an accountant. The cost of the accountant varies from $ 50 to $200 USD per month, depending on how much activity takes place in your corporation.

To form the company requires at least two partners who are at least 18 years of age. The legal representative of the company must be in possession of an FM-3 Visa. You can apply for a visa yourself in the offices of Mexican immigration or you can hire a lawyer to do it for you. The cost for a visa is about $ 500 USD.
Whether buying a property, starting a business, or creating a corporation, you should always consult with a local lawyer. Our sister company, Yucatan Lawyers, provides legal services for real estate transactions, immigration issues and all corporate issues.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Time To Work Out!

One of the many great things about home schooling out kids is that our schedule is really flexible and we can take advantage of certain deals offered during school hours only! We really believe in the importance of exercise for ourselves and for our kids and were thrilled to find the WWGym here in Merida for a very affordable rate.
We love to swim in the huge pool!
Mom & Joseph head for the treadmills while Dad swims laps and Joel plays in the pool. Then Dad works out in the gym while Mom and Joseph and Joel have swim time.

They have several work out areas for every level of need

We pay 690 pesos ($55.00 USD) for 25 visits, no contracts, no fees
This is about half of what you pay for prime time hours as we go during the hours of 10am-4pm

Monday, September 20, 2010

Real Estate & Legal Services

Whether you are buying a property, starting a new development, applying for a visa, or dealing with the legal issues of an existing business... whatever the problem or endeavor you are facing, our team at Yucatan Lawyers has the experience and knowledge in Mexico to understand the issues. We know how to analyze the situation and then present you with your options. We are also careful about following through with the necessary services to get the business done.

Professional Expertise and Personal Attention
We understand how difficult it can be sometimes to understand and excel in business dealings in a country where the laws and customs are different. We pride ourselves on providing our clients with the sophisticated and professional expertise they are accustomed to receiving in their own countries, while maintaining a level of personal attention, cost efficiency and follow through that is often ignored by larger law firms.
We believe that with our special attributes, we can offer clients the type of legal security and comfort that they want and need to be successful in their activities in Mexico.

When it comes to investing in Real Estate, we understand that legal protection is very important, that is why we also offer Title Insurance and Escrow Services. Whatever your motivation for purchasing property in the States of Yucatan, Campeche and Quintana Roo, we are here to assist you.

Areas of Practice
  • Real Estate Law
  • Immigration Law
  • Corporate Law
  • Notary Public Services
  • Contracts and negotiations
  • Federal Zone Concessions
  • Environmental law
  • Intellectual Property
  • Litigation and Mediation
  • Extended Services

Real Estate Law
We can provide legal advice in the following areas:
  • Contracts
  • Due Diligence
  • Title Search
  • Title Insurance
  • Closing
  • Fideicomiso set up
  • Negotiation and Preparation of Sales Contracts
  • Negotiation and Preparation of Purchase Contracts
  • Negotiation and Preparation of Leasing Documents
Due Diligence: We are acutely aware of our responsibility to assist our clients in the due diligence which is necessary on their part in connection with the acquisition or purchase of real property.

Title Search:Title search involves an extensive search of the public records to determine that there are no adverse claims to our client's interests. If we find there adverse claims or other defects in title, we will seek to eliminate them prior to closing.

Title Insurance: We can also obtain title insurance for our residential and commercial clients. The title insurance policy protects the purchaser of real estate and the holder of mortgage against loss from defective titles, liens, and encumbrances. Since title insurance, like other forms of insurance, is a risk assumption, the title insurer will work to eliminate risk and prevent losses caused by defects in title arising from events that may have happened in the past.

Closing: We will guide the client through their due diligence and contractual responsibilities concerning the purchase and/or sale of real property. We will also prepare and/or review all the closing documents and other matters necessary to secure a successful closing.

Trusts (fideicomisos)
Trusts in Mexico are principally used by foreigners to acquire rights to property in Mexico’s restricted zone (50 kilometers from beach and 100 kilometers from borders) for residential use and lending agreements.

Immigration Law (FM2 – FM3 Visas)If you are a foreigner and going to live and/or work in Mexico, you will need to have the necessary immigration documentation. Mexico offers several types of working and non-working visas. Before you choose a visa you should know what the pros and cons are of each type. We can assist you with selecting and acquiring the type of visa that best fits your needs.

Corporate Law
We offer of full range of corporate law services including setting up corporations, partnerships, non-profit and charitable organizations, registration of minutes and minutes book maintenance, annual and extraordinary meetings, board meetings and minutes, granting of powers of attorney, government filings and permits, as well as any other administrative assistance needed to maintain a Mexican corporation in good standing.

Notary Services
We have established specific alliances with all the major Notaries in the States of Yucatan, Campeche and Quintana Roo in order to provide full legal services that require any services of a Notary Public.

Federal Zone Concessions
If you have land that borders on a federal zone (beaches, rivers, lakes, creeks, highways or lagoon) you need to be aware of your rights and obligations to use that land. You should also be aware of the rights of third parties to use and enjoy that land even if you own the land bordering it.
Mexico’s federal government will grant concession rights to exclusively use and enjoy certain types of federal zone properties. Acquiring the concession to use the federal land that borders your property is an easy way to increase the value of your land and reduce the risk of someone else using this land for purposes that will reduce your property value.

Contracts and Negotiations
An improperly executed agreement is the biggest cause of civil litigation and/or loss of investment in Mexico. The best advice we give our clients it to make sure their agreement takes into consideration the legal aspects of the business at hand. Too many times foreigners will sign agreements in Spanish without fully understanding the legal implications of what they are signing. When this happens, the outcome of the agreements is often not favorable for the investor.
We recommend that any time you sign an agreement in a foreign country you understand the intent of the agreement as well as the legal ramifications of the entire agreement.

Environmental Law
In today’s world, environmental law affects just about every type of investment. Making sure your investment complies with these laws is important in order to avoid fines, delays and even criminal prosecution. We can assist you in determining how the environmental laws of Mexico will affect your business and assist you in acquiring the necessary permits and entitlements to carry out your operations.
If the environmental authority takes action against you, we can also defend you and your investment from improper application of the law.

Intellectual Property
Counsel on intellectual property includes drafting, filing and follow-up of applications for the granting of patents, registration of trademarks, utility models, industrial designs, advertisements and publications of corporate names, as well as copyright of original works of authorship before the National Copyright Institute of the Department of Public Education.

Litigation and MediationOur team of lawyers can provide litigation and mediation services in all major practices. Please contact us for more detailed information.
Extended Services
  • Land Surveys
  • Structural Inspections
  • Environmental Inspections
  • Architecture
  • Engineering
  • Accounting 
  • Property Management: Payment of Real Estate Property Tax and Trustee´s annuities.
    • Option 1: Basic Property Oversight and Bill Payment. This also includes 2 visits per month to perform a walk-through inspection, collect and pay all bills and report any problems.
    • Option 2: Caretaking/Management Service. This also includes home oversight, opening/airing out home, gardening and cleaning service, bill payments, other services as needed. (Prices dependent on the property).
    • Option 3: Rental Service/Property Management. This also includes promotion and management of your rental property

For more information please Contact us

Friday, September 17, 2010

Apostilles for Expats

What is an apostille and why do I need one as an expat moving to the Yucatan? Good question. I wish we had known about this before we moved down. If you are married and/or have children that will live with you here in the Yucatan and you want to come down and apply for FM2 or FM3 residency visas you are going to need to have your marriage certificate and all of your children's birth certificates apostilled by the Secretary of State in the documents state of Origin.

An apostille, in the most basic terms, is a notarization that is recognized internationally by all foreign governments. It is recognized by international law. Your bank notary does not have the power to issue an apostille. Only the Secretary of State in all 50 US States or appointed government agencies in your country of origin has the power to issue an apostille. Check out the following link:

Let me give you an example of how this applies to our family. My wife and I met and married in the state of New Mexico in the US. We also had our first son in New Mexico. Our second son was born in Texas because that was where we were living when we had him. I have to order an apostilled birth certificate from Vital Records in New Mexico for my oldest son. Then Vital Records ships that birth certificate to the Secretary of State in New Mexico to have the document apostilled. The Secretary of State then ships out the apostilled document, in this case my son's birth certificate. We go through the same steps with my youngest son with both Vital Records and the Secretary of State's office in the state of Texas.

If you come down to the Yucatan and you have a marriage certificate, divorce decree or birth certificates that do not have apostilles and you want to apply for residency visas (FM2 or FM3) then you are going to have to send back for them in the US or Canada and pay the international shipping rates via FedEx, UPS or DHL. Word to the wise. Get this taken care of in advance. No one ever told us this before we came down and we did alot of research on necessary documents before we came down. Aargh!!! We just don't want you pulling out your hair unnecessarily. Hope this helps.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Is the Yucatan Safe?

Is Travel to the Yucatan Safe?

In view of headlines about crime and violence Along the border, and the State Department ’s travel warning concerning travel to Mexico, many people are wondering about the safety of visiting or moving to Mexico.

Mexico is a big country and it’s incredibly diverse, so violence Along the border will not have Any effect on your vacation or move in, for example, the Yucatan any more than an earthquake in California would affect people in Chicago. Most of the violence that has taken place recently is due to conflicts between drug cartels and the Mexican and U.S. Authorities near the border.

Research your destination and choose a place that you will enjoy and feel safe in. There are plenty of places in Mexico where you can have a tranquil, relaxing vacation or move to and still be safe secure. Merida is the Capital City of the Yucatán and known as the “White City” due to its white buildings. Merida is only 15 minutes from Progreso, a beautiful & quaint beach town.

When people think about the Yucatan region of Mexico, they usually think about the archaeological Mayan site of Chichen Itza. But Merida is a beautiful colonial City that can serve as home base for exploring Mayan ruins, cenotes, haciendas and cathedrals. It is an extremely charming city for those that come to visit or stay here. Beyond that, it is known as the safest and most peaceful in Mexico City. Many American and Canadian expats have moved here for those reasons.

Let us help you find your own piece of paradise here in the Yucatan! Our family of 4 moved to Merida from San Antonio, TX & we love it! You will too!

Jay & Christine Blackshear.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

About Us and the city of Merida

My name is Jay Blackshear. I live with my wife and two yougest sons in Merida, Yucatan, Mexico. My family and I decided to move here after 3 years of due diligence. And I mean due diligence. While looking at Mexico we narrowed it down to four cities: Guadalajara, Guanajato, San Miguel de Allende and of course...Merida. We found that Guadalajara was too big for our young family, Guanajato was not quite modern enough and real estate in San Miguel de Allende was overpriced for what it offers. Merida is just the right size for us, modern enough for us to enjoy our lives and raise kids, and affordable enough for us to operate a small business in the states and live here with all of our needs met.

My professional background centers mostly around Real Estate Investment and Sales. After faith, family and friends, real estate is one of the few things I have done in life that I can say I have a degree of passion for. Since 2001 I have been involved in over 400 Real Estate transactions in roughly 15 states within the United States. During that time my experiences were centered around the REO foreclosure industry. Based on my experiences in the industry, I believe I can say with confidence that the real estate market in the Yucatan is stronger and healthier than anything in the USA. There are few if any appreciating markets in the US as we speak. On the other hand, Merida is an emerging market with appreciation of around 10% to 15% per annum. The growth here has been steady, safe and modern. 

Because of its geographic location (3 hours from Cancun/Playa Del Carmen), modern amenities and reputation for being the physically safest region in Mexico, Merida has seen some pretty consistent growth over the last decade. The population of our city is around 1.2 million but I can tell you it feels like it's about half that much. It just doesn't look or feel like a large city. And it is continuing to grow at a healthy rate. There are two groups of people buying homes here: 1)Expats mostly from the US and Canada and 2) Middle to upper class Mexican nationals who are relocating here for the many of the same reasons we moved here: It's affordable, modern, not too big's close to some of the best beaches in Mexico.

Prices in real estate here can range anywhere, in US dollars, from $40,000.00 to $2 Million and up. There is a very broad range. The cost of housing here is comparable with most of the Texas real estate market which just happens to be some of the most affordable real estate in the US. And I would say the overall cost of living here is about two-thirds of what it is in the state of Texas. If you are from California or New York it is at least half. The same applies to most Canadian cities and states.

Merida is a very safe city with modern amenities. We have police.... lots of them. Federal, State, Local, Military. We have it all. The government of Mexico takes preserving the safety of our region very seriously. Tourism is big business for Mexico. Progresso is a little beach town about 20 miles to the North of Merida. It gets 2 U.S. cruise ships a week that port there. Cancun and Playa del Carmen are three hours to the East of us. Lots of tourism obviously. The whole region appears to be safe. We also have modern amenities. Costco, Sam's, Wal Mart and Home Depot. Restaurants, 4 shopping even has an ice skating rink for the kids.

 There are no established Real Estate Agencies in any of the states of Mexico so most real estate companies in Merida are self-licensed. We don't have a centralized MLS system like the US or Canada but the market has a way of establishing itself and the prices of the real estate market fluctuates and sets itself just like any other market does. It is very important that you have a reliable and trustworthy buyer's agent representing you, regardless of whether you are looking to buy or rent, regardless of whether you speak Spanish or not. You need someone on the ground in this market full time to let you know that you are getting a good, fair and honest deal. If you need a referral let me know. I will put you in touch with the people that have helped me in the past, the people I feel will help you the most, who are trustworty in the process of things.

We have a section on the blog here called FAQ's (Frequently Asked Questions). We can go into more detail about more issues in that section. And if you have questions on things we have not posted or written on as of yet then just give me a call or send me an email. My contact info is below. Just know that we are here and available to help you make this transition if you feel this is what is right for you. Let us know how we can help you navigate one of the biggest decisions you will ever make.

Jay Blackshear

Sunday, August 29, 2010

New Family Member

Missy is the newest member of our family! We found her at the local Pet Sanctuary run by Sylvia, Jill & Steve. We have not had a dog in several years, and we promised the boys we would look once we moved in. We went to local Mall to see all the pure bred, 100's of dollar dogs & then started to inquire about a local dog pound.

We thought it strange that several of the locals did not even know they had a dog pound. Jill was gracious to explain to us that the Mexican culture here in Merida does not usually look at dogs as pets, they are interested in guard dogs. They also do not subscribe to spay & neuter, so the Sanctuary has workshops to educate the locals. Many mixed mutts run the streets here and calls will come into the Pet Sanctuary to pick them up.

Missy was found on the street several years ago and was taken to the Sanctuary with her newborn puppies. Her pups were all adopted out, but Missy was overlooked for 2 years. Surprizing to us as she looks mostly chocolate lab & has a great disposition. Sylvia named her Mama, but our son, Joel was confused about having 2 Mamas in the house, so we chose Missy as her name.

Santuario Evolucion always needs donations of dog food and other items. If you are local and wish to help, please contact Jill Benson at

What are Yucatan people like?

What are Meridians like? Please understand that what we share with you is just our interpretation coming from the American culture. In no way do we judge or make fun of the people here, they just do some things differently than we are used to. They can be very kind and gracious most of the time and at other times can appear to be rude, but only by American standards.

Our first few days in Merida have been spent running around shopping to set up our home. Even here Wal-mart does seem to have the best prices on many items along with some sort of warranty or decent return policy. While at the check-out counter at the nearest WM Supercenter, Jay, myself and the boys were waiting as the cashier totaled our purchase & out of the blue comes a woman with her children cutting right in front of us to address an issue with our cashier. She never looked at us or acknowledged us, & as we walked away with our cart, she continued her conversation very focused on the issue she was trying to resolve. On another occasion, while standing in line at Costco to get the boys some pizza, Jay experienced a woman cutting in front of him three different times within a span of 3 minutes for three different issues. She only acknowledged him on her third cut-in with a “perdon” when she physically had to move him to get to the counter.

 What we have been told though is this culture is very social and likes close physical contact, so if you are used to having your space, well…..don’t always expect that to be the case, especially with the lower social class in Meridian society! With the upper more educated class you will not experience this. Some people down here do not respect personal space as in the states & in fact if you leave any space between you and the counter, some people assume you are not really trying to wait in a line and have no problem moving in front of you.

Now for the gracious & kind side of the people here. We have been so blessed to have new friends and helpers here in Merida. Francisco, Sebastian, Arleta, Javier, Claudette, Larry & Tammy….We have been given people to lean on for small things. Jay tried to pay our landlord’s son-in law to help us set up utilities and he refused payment. On another day Jay ran into a local Baptist pastor while they were both looking at weedeaters at Home Depot. Larry and his wife Tammy and their 4 sons are originally from Decatur, Alabama. They have been in Merida for 10 years and pastor a Baptist church here of about 175 people. Fransisco, pictured to Jay's left in the photo, is our attorney and now friend. Arleta is his business partner and our realtor.

The list goes on. Javier was the one that built the home we rent. He came over at 8:30 PM one night at the drop of a hat to fix our water tank when the depth sensor stopped working and we ran out of water. He had us up and going again in 15 minutes so we could all take showers before going to bed. (In this climate you need to take showers before you go to bed all 365 days of the year.) When I told he and Sebastian we could just fix the water tank the next day they absolutely refused to let it wait and insisted they come over and fix the problem right away. Juakin (pronounced “wa-keen”) our next door neighbor is extremely laid back and easy to talk to although he travels on business most of the week and we almost never see him. All of these people are extremely educated, bilingual and very friendly. Our realtor and friend Arlette was previously a dentist and learned how to speak English by watching American television shows. WOW! That is a smart girl.

One thing that is very unique about the Meridian culture is that, at least among the middle to upper classes, men and women greet each other with with a handshake AND a kiss on the cheek. Men greet each other with hugs at times minus the smooch or just the simple handshake but for some reason it has become customary for men and women to at least push their cheeks together and make the sound of a kiss.

Yucatecans and Non-Yucatecans: This are two terms that you here from time to time in the Yucatan. Basically the people of the Yucatan are a proud people. Their language, although Spanish, is spoken with a Yucatecan dialect. If you are of Latin heritage, speak Spanish and show up here, you won't be able to hide the fact that you are not Yucetacan. The dialect is different, the slang is unique, and if you don't grow up here you can't hide the fact that you didn't. 

All in all our experiences have been very blessed. We have run into several Canadians and Americans while here, many of whom have lived in other cities in Mexico. And everyone of them says the same thing: "Merida is considered the safest, easiest, most convenient place to live in all of Mexico....especially for people from other countries.

Hibiscus Tea

We had been in the Yucatan only three days when we ran into Larry & Tammy Allred, a family originally from Alabama that has been here for 10 years. We have become fast family friends. The following weekend, Tammy fixed us a wonderful dinner and introduced us to a few native Yucatan foods and drinks. The watermelon juice was a little too rich for me, but we loved the Hibiscus tea, which is a prominent drink here in the Yucatan of Mexico. I was excited to also find out the great benefits of drinking hibiscus tea.

Hibiscus tea is the infusion made from the calyces (sepals) of the Hibiscus sabdariffa flower, an herbal tea drink consumed both hot and cold by people around the world. It is also referred to as roselle (another common name for the hibiscus flower), flor de Jamaica in Latin America, karkadé in Egypt and Sudan, bissap in West Africa, sorrel in Jamaica, and red sorrel in the wider Caribbean, and other names in other regions. Hibiscus tea has a tart, cranberry-like flavor, and sugar is often added to sweeten the beverage. The tea contains vitamin C and minerals and is used traditionally as a mild medicine.

Hibiscus tea contains 15-30% organic acids, including citric acid, maleic acid, and tartaric acid. It also contains acidic polysaccharides and flavonoid glycosides, such as cyanidin and delphinidin, that give it its characteristic deep red colour.

Health Benefits of Hibiscus Tea

Blood Pressure

Studies have shown hibiscus tea to be beneficial in lowering blood pressure and may control cholesterol.

One study was done using adults with pre-hypertension or mild hypertension. Those who had three cups of hibiscus tea a day had better results than those who didn't (a 7.2 point drop in systolic blood pressure compared to 1.3 points). Those who had the highest blood pressure reading at the start of the study, showed the greatest results.

Weight Loss

Hibiscus tea contains an enzyme inhibitor which blocks the production of amylase. Amylase is an enzyme that breaks down complex sugars and starches. Drinking a cup of hibiscus tea after meals will reduce the absorption of dietary carbohydrates and will assist in weight loss.

Immune System

Hibiscus tea is rich in vitamin C and makes a wonderful herbal remedy to fight off colds and infections by strengthening the immune system.

Other benefits of hibiscus tea include preventing bladder infections and constipation if taken regularly.

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Life In Merida

Merida is modern and traditional all at the same time. Yes, you will find many American companies here. They all look the same as the ones in the States. Just picture Costco, Sam’s, Wal-Mart, Home Depot, Burger King & McDonald’s, all the major car dealers, Office Depot, Blockbuster, …..then add some palm trees to the parking lot and you’ve got the picture.

Then to imagine the traditional side~

My first thought as we got closer to our new home was that these people should be getting notices from there Homeowners associations, if in fact they had any. They do not always separate commercial and residential dwelling on some streets. In some of the older areas you will see a home next to another home that has been turned into a café or store of some sort. Then you can go 5 streets over and see several of the most gorgeous Meridian mansions in a row and then one block over is a partially vacant lot, with a torn apart building on it, and then several three room homes with clothes lines hanging in the front yard one street over from that. In some strange way though, it is still very picturesque. Real eye candy on a regular basis. I find myself wanting to take pictures constantly as this is very different from what you see in America. I am lured at times with a desire to go sit on the sidewalk and just people watch for hours, or drive around in the evenings when people stroll in the streets.

So far, Jay does all the driving here and I am real okay with that. I think my husband described the traffic movement here perfectly. If you have ever seen the animated Bee movie, were the bees race around in perfect close harmony and never run into each other…..that can be driving in Merida. I have never seen anything like the way people drive here in Merida. From the faint lines in the street, you can assume at one time they did have lanes and then someone came along and painted new lines a few feet over. So you have to take a good look at the street and decide where the new lane really is. Nevertheless, you see very few wrecks here as compared to the states. You just have to make sure you are always going fast enough, turning quickly enough and if you don’t, someone will let you know with a prompt blow of their horn. I could safely say that traffic movement here is managed mostly by horns blowing.

Casa De Blackshear

One of the first things you will notice about our new home here is the amount of natural light that comes in through windows and skylights. This brand new home seems to have been built for energy efficiency with lots of natural lighting, insulated windows and concrete construction, which helps keep homes cooler & more structurally sound during hurricanes. We only have to turn our lights on in the evenings. Electricity can be expensive if you are not careful. The floors are all tiled as carpet is not used here. Area rugs are used on tile living spaces.
If you cannot afford a washing machine for your clothes, you are provided with an outdoor wash basin (see left) This is placed in an outdoor room off of the porch area. We do have a washer, but the homes are built with cold water spigots only & most appliances here are in spanish. Clothes dryers are expensive here. For a clothes dryer we use plastic racks from WM of course with a fan blowing on them. Many people just use clothes lines.

Dishwashers are an item of luxury here and only afforded by the wealthy. We do not have a dishwasher, we have become “The Dishwasher.” The amount of water and electricity usage from dishwashers can be pretty consuming.

We have air-conditioning only in the upstairs bedrooms and use a fan at the bottom of our stairs for our living room and kitchen. They do not have standard HVAC systems like you see in America. Gas stoves are preferred as natural gas costs much less than electricity.

We opted for a smaller refrigerator for two reasons, first and most important was that the front door entrance to your Casa may not be wide enough for a regular size refrigerator and secondly, the smaller refrigerator uses less energy. This forces us to shop a little more often as we have several grocery stores near us. However, this gets us in front of people more often for more social contact. Several friends have asked us what it really costs to live here. I will put that in a later post as we are still waiting on our first round of utility bills. We will have a better idea in a couple months. I can definately tell you we are paying less to live here than we did in San Antonio.

We run into Americans from time to time. Here is a picture of a group of American teenagers from a boarding school in New Jersey. They are here for the summer as foreign exchange students. We saw them at the mall near our house and were immediately curious about them. We approached them and struck up a conversation with them and asked them if we could take a picture. They of course happily agreed. We asked them if they spoke any Spanish and the answer from them was pretty much "no." We then asked them if their host families spoke any English and the answer was again "no." Nothing like lots of hand gestures and a hard core crash course in language studies.

The weather here is pretty much the same every day during the rainy season. Light cool breezes in the early part of the day and the early evenings. Potential for rain almost every day. The picture to the right is of the skies over the southern part of Merida moving into the southern part of the Gulf of Mexico. High's are usually around 95 degrees from May through September. It's no worse to us than Dallas or San Antonio, TX. In fact, I would say it is probably a little cooler than Dallas but the increase in humidity makes up for the lower temperatures making it feel hotter more often. I, Jay, went for a jog last week and found out the hard way you don't want to be out jogging past 10AM. The humidity can hit you pretty hard if you are not used to it.

This is a picture of a palm tree in our neighbors yard. I am not sure what kind of palm this is but you see them everywhere down here. You can see a palm branch fell off and onto our fence. This particular tree is about 30 feet tall. I would describe them as having a very "majestic" appearance. Their trunks are as hard as concrete. Also, as you can see from the picture, most fences around peoples homes are fairly tall. Talk about privacy. Most people have fences that are anywhere from 8 to 15 feet high. We have a certain kind of lizard down here that we were told is called a Toloc that you will see crawling on top of these fences from time to time for a good sunbath.  It looks like a small iguana. We looked out our second story bedroom windows today and saw two of them crawling on our neighbors fences. One of them looked like it was almost 2 feet long. They are afraid of humans and will run off if they see you coming. If we can get a picture of one we will post it. We asked Javier, the man who built the house we rent, what they taste like and of course he said "chicken"

Saying Goodbye!

We have a few close friends from San Antonio & saying goodbye was not easy. We know we will stay in touch and maybe even see each other again soon. My friend Karen is a sweety and her son, Chris is our Joseph's best friend. Karen & Chris took us to Peter Piper Pizza for a farewell party & we sure had fun. Karen is pregnant with their little girl Faith, due in August. Karen has a  miraculous testimony about her pregnancy & God has graciously blessed them & I am so happy for her.
Our good neigbor and friend, Lydia, treated our family to the best enchiladas in San Antonio. Our last few days in San Antonio we had sold our refrigerator and dining table with chairs, practically everything we had. Lydia new exactly what we needed along with the great night of fellowship. We will miss them, but will stay in touch. Lydia took our
last family photo from San Antonio.

The boys were very excited to get on that airplane. Joel asked about it for days, although he thought we were going to visit Grandma in California. We highly recommend Mexicana Airlines. We were so impressed with their service, standards and meals. Very clean airplanes, very gracious stewardesses. Our trip took us to Mexico City to change flights, which is an old but very clean airport. Then on to Merida, Yucatan Mexico.

As you read this post, we have been in Merida for 6 days and are settling into our new home and town. I promise to have the blog running on real time in the next few days as I know some of you wanted to see pictures of  Casa de Blackshear & the town itself.

What do I bring?

This is not a simple question and it will vary depending on the person or family. Our family of four had begun a downsizing journey in the States, 5 years before we actually made the move to Merida. After much research coupled with our budget info, we decided to sell everything except what we could fit into 8 check on bags (2 per person) & 8 carry on bags (2 per person) and what we were able to fit in the cab of our truck that my husband drove down. We flew on Mexicana airlines, but as they are going through financial difficulties, Continental will be your next choice & you need to check their baggage guidelines. We were allowed two carry on bags per person & 2 of those bags were our 2 laptops we were bringing. If you are bring in any new items, make sure you have a receipt when declaring them.

Read this guideline sponsored by the TSA (Transportation Security Administration), but you must also abide by the Mexican import laws, so check out Continental Airlines guidelines for what you are allowed to bring into Mexico. Make sure your luggage fits the sizing guidlines. We were on a tight budget, but we found great luggage deals at Wal-Mart. Our 8 check in bags cost us about $15.00 each. We used various backpacks and bags for our 8 carry on bags.

We did pretty good research before hand when deciding what to bring, but in hindsite, after being here awhile, we wished we would have brought a few more items. Here is what we found out before we left. Bring only Summer clothes as most months here are warm. You will only have a few months, December & January, that get a little cooler. Some of the expats think it is funny to see the locals in sweaters during those months as they say it really is not cold enough for them. If you need warmer clothes once you get here, Wal-Mart is still the lowest price, but if you have fancy taste, you will definately pay more for the various Shopping Malls here. If you prefer Organics, in your shampoos, toothpaste & Toiletries-grab these before you go as they are rare to find here and pretty expensive when you do. We stuffed a few bottles of everything into each check in bag without any problems. Remember to seal them in ziploc bags to prevent leakage.

If you have children, you are allowed to fly in with one full bag of used toys. My strong recommendation is that you work with your kids before you pack to find the most important toys to them and stuff in as much as you can. Toys are very expensive here, almost double in some stores. Super Wal-Marts here are not like the States, they are not stuffed full of choices & some items are more expensive than the States.

You cannot bring food items into Mexico. There are many supermarkets here in Merida, including Sams Club, Costco & a variety of local chains. You can get some organics at Costco here, but there will be some items you cannot get anywere here that you can typically find in the states. Our biggest hurdle was "Goldfish", our boys favorite snack is not stocked here, but they got over it.

Last but not least! If you have children-I cannot stress enough the importance of making sure you have brought favorite items for them. Moving to a foreign Country can be stressful for kids, so you need to make sure they have comfort items. Favorite blanket, pillow, book, stuffed toy, dolls. The very first room to set up in your new home should be the children's rooms. They need to feel secure in this big move you have made. This is probably the best decision we made when we moved here. We immediately got bunk beds, unpacked toys and set up there room first & it has been easy going ever since! I have heard stories about families moving without planning ahead for their kids and the result was not pretty.

Driving To Mexico

There goes my brave husband, driving our truck from San Antonio, TX to Merida, Yucatan, Mexico. He crossed the border in Brownsville were it is still safe to cross. It took him about 3 days to make the drive, with a sleep stop in Tampico and one more in Campeche.

Jay said the best part was the change in scenery as you go from texas flat to palm trees and some mountaineous terrain in the distance, very tropical. Some of the prettiest scenery you will ever see.

He said the stressful part initially was getting over the border and through the various checkpoints he drove through down the coast line as you never know when the rules will change or when someone will want to search your truck. That is why you will see in the picture, he had very little in the truck as we were advised by our Mexican National friends to not bring attention to the truck .
All and all he had alot of grace on him to make the drive.

He can laugh now at the strange reactions he would get from the border guards when they saw a cage with gerbils sitting on the front seat next to my husband. One even joked with Jay about sticking his hand in the cage. Not a great idea as gerbils have a pretty nasty bite. You can bring your pets into Mexico, just make sure you read their regulations first.

Jay found some great detailed driving info on the web. If you want to see what the drive is like, This site  gave the best detailed information on driving from Brownsville to Merida. Make sure to obtain Mexican Vehicle Insurance well in advance of your trip.

Garage Sales

When you move to another Country, you have to decide whether to ship your stuff with you at a pretty high cost, or sell it all. We decided to sell it all, not that selling all mean't much to as as we had already been downsizing for several years in preparation for this move. As A family of 4, we downsized in steps from a 2500 sq ft home in the Dallas area to a 1200 sq ft home in San Antonio.

This is where Craiglist & Garage sales become important. We started by Craigslisting our biggest items & then went through 5 garage sales to clear out most items.

The trickiest items were the refridgerator, washer and dryer as we needed those until last & selling our Chevy Van. So we collected phone numbers from interested parties and let them know when we would be ready to sell.

We just finished our last garage sale, so now I go to my other favorite site Freecycle, a great place to just donate stuff to other people who like to recycle items.

It is easy and safe to use. Alway request and do porch pick ups. Never let someone in your house.

Looks like we are just about ready to go. My Husband Jay will drive our truck down to Merida next week and fly back to pick us up, then we will fly down as a family.

Stay tuned for our next update!