Feb 16, 2011, 7:12 AM
Post #2 of 20
While I don't live in La Paz, I have spent the winter months there for many years. The first few years it was with my husband but, after his death, I continued to go down by myself. I can assure you that being a single woman is not a problem. There are a lot of us out there!
I would suggest that the first thing you do is join Club Cruceros. It is based at Marina La Paz, just behind the coral colored condos at the end of the Malecon. They have a club house, a library, a notice board and a lot of events where you can meet people. If you have a marine radio (just a hand-held VHF), you can listen in on their net every morning which will tell you about more activities.
The folks at Club Cruceros will have any and all information you need. If you are renting a condo or apartment, I am sure there will be good folks there too and they will be happy to help you settle in. La Paz is a wonderfully friendly community with a rich cultural life.
There are several supermarkets that stock the products you are familiar with, although you should try out the little corner stores too. The more "Mexican" you live, the cheaper you live, and once you get past the unfamiliarity, you will be fine. Get yourself a good english/spanish dictionary and start using it. While many Mexicans speak some english, they will be delighted to hear you try your spanish and they will be very helpful.
You don't say what kind of visa you have but you should set up a bank account as soon as possible. I assume, if you are bringing down your belongings, that you have an FM3? You also need to have Mexican insurance for your vehicle. If you don't have it already, you can buy it online. I use Lewis and Lewis but there are several others. Just Google it.
Once here, apply for IMSS health coverage if you plan to go that way. Make sure you activate it as soon as possible after you have it. If you don't activate it, it expires at the end of 3 years and you will have to start all over again!
Electricity is the most expensive utility in Mexico and if you go over a certain amount, your rate will increase dramatically. Use propane appliances where possible and keep your electricity to a minimum. Coming from Oregon, you are going to need air conditioning in the summer! You can keep that to a minimum too by keeping blinds and curtains drawn, doors closed etc.
To start off with, you will find all kinds of familiar stores: WalMart, Home Depot, Costco, Office Depot, Applebee's, MacDonalds etc. If you don't find one in La Paz, you will find it in Cabo, a couple of hours south. They are great for some things but almost everything they sell can be found cheaper (and often better) in a local store so once you get settled in and have a few words of spanish, go exploring.
Best of luck - you will have a ball.