Thinking About Relocating to Mexico?

If you’re among the thousands who are considering temporary or permanent residency in México, you’re in very good company. You may want to consider house-sitting as a way to help you decide on whether to pursue it or not.

House-sitting in México can be one of the best ways for you to decide which part of México will be your best choice, to learn first-hand about cultural differences, and to immerse yourself in learning the Spanish language. And all of these are possible without jumping through the hoops of Mexican residency, giving you a painless and enjoyable head-start on making the move someday. Or possibly deciding that México isn’t the right choice for you.
My wife and I have completed 12 house-sitting assignments in México since 2014. We found many of them through Most of them included pet care (we learned early that homeowners care much more about their pets than they do their houses!), We’ve done two assignments in Cuernavaca, Morelos (where we had lived for 6 years prior to becoming international house & pet sitters); two in San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato; two in Mérida, Yucatán; two in Progreso, Yucatán; and one each in Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco; Alamos, Sonora; Xul-Ha, Quintana Roo; and La Manzanilla, Jalisco. We’ve never done a house-sit in the expat hot spot of Ajijic/Lake Chapala, Jalisco, nor in most other places that are popular with expats and tourists. Over the years, we’ve been to 27 of México’s 32 states, so we know the country pretty well.

House-sitting has enabled us to “live like a local” in many different parts of México. We’ve shopped in the mercados and in huge modern malls; we’ve eaten at street “puestos” and in elegant rooftop restaurants; we’ve ridden in countless combis, mototaxis, rutas, luxury buses and in our own car and motorcycle; we’ve toured dozens of magnificent churches and ancient ruins; we’ve swam in the Gulf, in both oceans, in private pools and in cenotes. We’ve done house-sits in the desert, in the jungle, in the central highlands, and in beach towns. And many of our adventures were made possible by house-sitting. House-sitting allows potential expats to experience the “real México,” to live in typical neighborhoods, to meet the neighbors and to get a feel for a side of México that tourists rarely see.

We do have an advantage as house-sitters in México and other Spanish-speaking countries (we’ve also done house-sitting assignments in Panamá and Puerto Rico): we’re bilingual. But most of our assignments in México were for homeowners who were either U.S. or Canadian expats, or a couple comprised of an expat and a Mexican national. In all the assignments we’ve completed in México, the homeowners spoke English. So, our Spanish came in handy in our dealings with housekeepers, groundskeepers, vendors, neighbors, maintenance or pool workers, but wasn’t essential in our dealings with homeowners. We’ve met numerous house-sitters in México who didn’t speak much Spanish, so it shouldn’t be a drawback if you don’t either.

Doing a short- or long-term house-sit assignment in México may also provide an opportunity for you to try the country’s excellent dental and medical services. We’ve had implants, root canals, crowns, veneers, routine teeth cleanings and other dental treatments that were superior to those we’ve had in the U.S., at a fraction of the cost. We’ve been treated by doctors in clinics and hospitals, as well as the “doc-in-a-box” physicians who work from tiny offices adjacent to pharmacies, and the efficient labs that provided blood tests, X-rays, and other test results to our primary care physician back home in Colorado.

Before you take the plunge and dive into the temporary or permanent residency procedure in México, think about house-sitting as a way of becoming more familiar with the geography, the topography, geology, culture and climates of this beautiful country. Many of your questions about México can be answered during a house-sitting assignment, without jumping through all the hoops. You’ll probably get answers to questions you didn’t even know you had! Keep in your toolbox to learn more about the country before you even begin the process of applying for temporary or permanent residency.