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Mexico Magico: Everything You Wanted to Know by German Estrada Navarro

Reviewed by Allan Cogan

We could have used a copy of this book eight years ago when we first came to Mexico. It's a mine of useful information on all aspects of making a move to this country or planning an extended visit here. Judging by the number of e-mails we receive as a result of my having written a handful of articles for Mexico Connect there are a lot of people out there seeking such advice and information.

Basically this is a well-organized and clearly presented compilation of data about this country that any newcomers - and some old-timers, too - could use. Just a glance at the partial list of contents will give you an idea of the scope of the contents.

  • Entering the country
  • Immigration
  • Coming in by car
  • Dealing with Customs
  • Bank services
  • Insurance
  • How to obtain FM3 visas
  • Buying real estate
  • Dealing with lawyers, accountants and architects
  • Remodelling your home
  • Making repairs around the house
  • Renting your property
  • Paying utility bills
  • Internet services
  • Road signs, traffic signs
  • Dealing with traffic police
  • Getting a telephone
  • Buying a condo or a timeshare
  • And so on….

That's just a brief rundown. And apart from the official kind of information listed above, there's a lot of just plain useful down-to-earth advice on, for example, deciding whether or not to get a meal from the various street vendors you'll encounter. "Make sure you have enough medicine with you against diarrhea, cholera, typhoid, etc.," the author advises. "Also, it wouldn't be a bad idea to take out medical insurance."

There's a brief discussion of the meaning of mañana as it is used in Mexico. Technically, of course, it means tomorrow. But if you're waiting for deliveries or a repairman or somesuch, then don't count on things to be that precise. Mañana can have a quite different slant. "Just try to adjust your watch and your mind, and accept it as a fact of life," the author advises. "You're in Mexico!"

This isn't the kind of book you read from cover to cover. It's much more of a reference work. My wife and I have both checked various sections of it on topics we're familiar with and we have no quarrel with the accuracy or completeness of the contents. It appears to be thorough in its details and explanations.

One cautionary note: I was unable at the time of writing (Nov 2001) to find this book listed in either Amazon.com or Barnes and Noble.com. And there's no information given about how the publisher can be reached. It's probably self-published. I know that it's available here in the Lake Chapala area at a cost of 170 pesos (Approx. $17 U.S.). Presumably it can also be found in places like San Miguel de Allende and Puerto Vallarta. Failing that, I've seen ads showing it available from Sandi's bookstore in Guadalajara. If you're looking for it from outside Mexico try www.sandibooks.com.

In my humble O: If you're contemplating coming here, for good or for an extended visit, include a copy of México Mágico in your survival kit.

México Mágico
Everything You Wanted to know about Mexico….but nobody told you.
By German Estrada Navarro

Published by Asociación Mexicana de Estandares para el Comercio Electronico


Published or Updated on: February 15, 2001 by Allan Cogan © 2008
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