Synergy Spanish

This system teaches you Spanish, the easy way - not the academic way. With only 138 words you will be speaking Spanish.


The Best Vet in Mexicali!

Dr. Rafael, the best veterinarian anywhere; he's close to the border, speaks English and has lived in Arizona! Click

Mexican Auto Insurance

This company has been with us since 2008. They are the oldest and best established insurer for those of you travelling to Mexico.
Mexico Insurance

Settling into Mexicali Life…

Wow! Cinepolis! – Popcorn & All!!!

We slept on the floor of our new casa, camping has never been more fun? We woke up early, to Rex’s usual face licking, and the cats needing their usual “care.” After a quick swig of a much needed cold “caffeine”, or coffee, as it’s called. Jim took Rex, on his leash, for a walk around our new neighborhood, for the first time. We had just two chairs in our new home, and a bottle of purified water.  When Jim returned, we sat down and felt a feeling of calmness, exhilaration, and for a long time- that horrid feeling of anxiety began to lift for the both of us. After a quick shower, we were both ready to get our lives in order and settled in Mexicali.

Jim wanted his Internet hookup. We were both getting withdrawal symptoms on not being on the computer.  Our landlord, Mario, informed us that, we could get Internet service from Mexicali’s CABLEMAS.  That was our first order of the day.  We drove, defensively, down to the CABLEMAS headquarters.  We showed our rental agreement and a water bill that Mario had provided us, along with our FM2 residence visas. We paid in cash to CABLEMAS (most everything’s in cash here).  We were told the CABLEMAS guy would come down to our home in a couple of days.  CABLEMAS is govt-owned, and with the Internet hook up, we would also get TV access. Wow!

Both Jim and I speak 10th grade Spanish, halting, with a lot English words thrown in, but the Mexican people were very understanding and gracious.  They could see we were making an effort to learn Spanish and understand their wonderful culture. I have to add in that Mexicans are very polite people, Jim’s early walk with Rex were met by “Buenos dias” from neighbors and from strangers, just walking along the sidewalk.  For newbies like us, that came as a pleasant surprise.

It was time for lunch, well for us it was anyway – the time being 1:00pm.  We hadn’t eaten the whole day, and were starving for some good Mexican food.  We came across a taco restaurant, where the servers wore plastic gloves. Our lunch comprised of four large rolled beef tortillas (called tacos in Mexico), served with grilled spring onions, cucumbers, horse radish, and a bunch of sauces, including guacamole. We washed it down with two Diet Cokes…called Coca Lite in Mexico.  Yes.  We were warned about not drinking the water, and to stick with purified bottled water, or diet drinks.  Our lunch bill came to US$12.00. It was a very satisfying lunch.  We would return to this air-conditioned restaurant many times. It was already filled with working people, and cooks that were dishing up various Mexican dishes, that we would try the later on.

We got into our truck, and headed down to the Mexicali’s well-known WALMART, down at the San Pedro Mall, just a five minute drive from our casa.

The San Pedro Mall is like a regular American one.  It houses the anchor store, a WALMART super store, a movie theatre, called Cinepolis, Office Depot, and the top Mexican banks, like Banamex.  Once I eye-balled WALMART, there was no stopping me. Jim saw the glee on my face, and dropped me off at the entrance of the store, while he parked the truck. Well, I think I died, and went to heaven?  San Pedro’s WALMART had practically everything, from milk, yoghurt, fresh fruits, meat produce, pet food, household stuff, flat screened TVs, and even chocolate ice cream??? There were tons of bottles of purified water, drinks, alcohol, bed sheets, car tires, different types of paint; yes…I am in heaven!

We bought what we needed, for starters.  The weather was still cool in Mexicali, we had no fridge yet, and Jim was happy to see that he did not have to lug in a ton of grocery bags.  At least, one person was happy.  For $150, we managed to purchase, bananas, yoghurt, a small bottle of  “La La” brand milk, a tiny burner for heating our coffee, some bed sheets, pet food, and more bottles of purified water…just for starters! The prices of food! Caramba!!! I had yet to delve into the meat section.

We came home, happy that the day had been productive.  Jim and I agreed, that to set up house, and re-create our comfort zone, we would make each day as productive as our first day in Mexicali.  Oh by the way…did I tell you all, Starbucks is just across the street in another mall from the San Pedro Mall. My tall cappuccino awaits!

PS: In addition to a little Social Security – this stuff helps!

18 comments to Settling into Mexicali Life…

  • Sorry, Cristina, we have removed your link.

    Submitted on 2008/10/12 at 7:47 pm

    Maryann, the reason no one cares if you have an FM-3, an FM-2, or a tourist card where you live is that you live in the free zone, where none of those immigration papers are required. If you lived farther from the border, you would be required to show an entry document when you come into the country and show an exit document when you leave.

    It sounds like you are going to have a fabulous time living in Mexico! Congratulations.


  • We agree! Thanks for the comment – it might wake up some of the folks north of the border.
    God Bless & see you in Colonia Libertad,

  • John

    I am not the only one who discoverd MEXICALI, I love it here. I have been here 10 months. Through the heat, through the earth shaking on easter, and don’t want to be anywere else. I read the pappers and all the us government travel warnings then I walk down my street and visit with my friends and ask myself were is the trouble. Not in mexicali the locals work to hard and long to cause trouble 10 hour days 6 days a week. Were else can you get 2 tocos asada y coca for trenty peso less than 3 dollars. my rent for a nice american style 2 bedroom apt is 1800 peso today the exchange rate is 12.2 to 1. I use my bank card for almost everything including cable only electric requires cash. I don’t drive I use the bus 9 pesso for the new busses 6.5 peso for the old ones and if I can’t figure out how to get were I am going on the bus I take a taxi cheaper than buying gas. If you are ever in col. libertad wave and I will wave back.

  • pedro

    hi gays. i was born of mexicali im proudn of my city is clean and cheaper than any place in usa even than tijuana but in june, july and agust is too hot like 120 c.I have a video rent place but there are a lot of i sell R4 ttds for nintendo ds and memory for psp. you can go to the movie theater, eat adelicius tacos de carne asada with the night you can go to the antros for dancing or play pool.mexicali is beautiful city

  • Marco, we have been here for a year and a half now, and are doing just fine. We don’t have a lot of American friends here, as we are more or less stuck-in-the-mud stay-at-home folks. Still we know quite a few nice English-speaking people here. Our favorite place to go is Sinapsis Cafe, which we wrote a piece about. Once a week, we go to Calexicoand El Centro for some US shopping. Somehow, we are always busy and on the go. Los Algodones is another favorite place of ours as the food at the Pueblo Nuevo restaurant is great. There are a lot of Americans headed for Mexicali – we know, as we get a lot of off-line emails seeking advice. Tell your gal there is nothing to be afraid of in Mexicali, we have never had even a hint of a problem as everyone here is very polite (compared to the US). God Bless. MaryAnn

  • Marco G

    hi guys good to know that you guys are doing good in mexicali i lived there for 5 years but one day i just up and left to nebraska i meet this beutiful girl there and move to ohio with her i been trying to convince her to move with me back to mexicali but she just scared of the new mexican world hahaha.she said’s that is gonna be inpossible to find american friends over there and jobs just hoping you send some conforting words for her please.

  • Phillip: Yes Cinepolis is great, as fancy as anything you will find in the US. In addition to being only $5, most all of the US films are in English with Spanish subtitles.

    I just hit OLX on our sidebar, and the first two rentals that came up were apartments.

    In Spanish the word for apartment is “departamento. There is a studio for 1,500 pesos, or about $115 a month. I see another one, near the University, with 3 bedrooms and 2 baths for 3,500 pesos for $269 a month, WOW!

    When you get into OLX, be sure to click on “Piso – Casa en alquiler.” It is listed under “Viviendas – Locales (887).”

    There ya go!
    God Bless,

  • Phillip

    I’ve check out OLX classifieds, but I can never seem to find studio apartments. Are there websites for Mexicali Apartments? Includes pictures, sq ft., and cost.

  • Phillip

    I love how the theater in Mexicali is so much cheaper. I pay about $12 in Newport Beach for 1 person. Little under $5 at Cinepolis.

  • Jose:
    We live in Colonia Hipico in the northern part of Mexicali, and very close to the US border. We pay 5,500 pesos a month rent.

  • Jose

    were do you live paying what u pay????

  • Alejandra gutierrez

    Mexicali iz funner in dee ghetto!!!!

  • Hi Jake: Boy, you guys are ambitious! First off, if your girlfriend is a student in Sinaloa, that’s aways from Mexicali. Of course, she could always go to school in Mexicali. If it’s university, we’ve got UABC, and Cetys, here. You could get a one bedroom apartment here for $250 a month, or less. Calexico is right across the border, and maybe you could work there. But, gosh, you kids are young. God Bless, MaryAnn

  • Hi everyone!My name is jacob I am from Fresno, Ca and Im 22 years old.My girlfriend is a student living in Sinaloa, Mexico.We have been together for a year now and I am starting to gain more income and we were considering trying to find a residence in Mexicali.But we are both so young and have never planed something so life changing.Im trying to save for this but i really have no idea how much something like this will cost or what kind of budget i will have, or if i can even afford it on my income.Also what is the process like of finding a house or apartment.What do i need?How much does a 1 bedroom cost?How far is the gap from mexicali to calexico?I am trying to decide if i want to move there too and find a new job possibly crossing the border everyday or if i should stay in fresno and have 2 residences.I am a tattoo artist and am not constrained to any kind of work schedule and i could come and go as my income lets me.
    Im really not sure what to do at all! I am young and not knowlegdable in things of these matters. Im just barely getting on my feet!Im still a kid.I dont know nothing about leases,and contracts, and documentation or visas.Me and my girlfriend are justing trying to get on our feet so we can be together.

  • Maryann, the reason no one cares if you have an FM-3, an FM-2, or a tourist card where you live is that you live in the free zone, where none of those immigration papers are required. If you lived farther from the border, you would be required to show an entry document when you come into the country and show an exit document when you leave.

    It sounds like you are going to have a fabulous time living in Mexico! Congratulations.


  • admin

    Joe – Thanks for the comment. Our budget is $1,500 a month – that’s what you need to get a one-year visa (which you really don’t need if you are willing to just cross the border and come back, once every 6 months. In Mexico, no one seems to check, and we could’ve come without a visa. Our first house (two bedrooms) was $350 a month. With our dog and cat it was a bit small, so we moved to a bigger place (1,000SF) for 5,500 pesos a month – splurging for us. Several months ago that was $550, but with the fall in the peso, it comes to $420 a month – a bit steep, but not a budget breaker. We have four bedrooms, two tiled baths (one is huge), a large living-room kitchen, a two-car garage with an automatic garage door, and a walled back yard of 500SF. Central A/C. We love it! Our food bills are less than the US, about $400 a month, gas is about $80 (cheaper here), TV & Internet about $70. Utilities run more when it’s hot, but average out to $150 (last water bill was $4.00) We eat out now and then. A neighbor lady has an outdoor restaurant, where we can get dinner for two for ten bucks. We see American movies in English at the very fancy Cinepolis, which is ten buck FOR TWO. Medicare is right across the border. So we are just barely making it, but life in the US would be nothing like this, at least for us. The pros – Mexico is a cash economy, so no one gives a hoot about a credit crunch. The cons – it gets hot in the summer. Cheers, MaryAnn

  • Joe Pitman

    I am curious to know what your average monthly costs are. Do you live in an apartment, condo, or other? I have been to Mexicali many times – staying at the Crowne Plaza – but that is much too expensive for long term consideration.
    If you have the time, please give me some of the pros and cons you have discovered while living there.
    Thank you,
    Joe Pitman
    Newberry Springs, CA

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