Ciudad Juarez, Mexico Report of what it's like to live there - 08/03/15
Personal Experiences from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico
1. Was this post your first expatriate experience? If not, what other cities have you lived in as an expat?
Yes as an expat, but not first time living abroad
2. What is your home city/country? How long is the trip to post from there, with what connections? How easy/difficult is it to travel to this city/country?
Washington DC is home base and it is two flights and about 7-8 hours of travel time. Typically connecting through Dallas, TX.
3. How long have you lived here?
9 months, arrived in 2014
4. What brought you to this city (e.g. diplomatic mission, business, NGO, teaching, retirement, etc.)?
Housing, Groceries & Food:
1. What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?
Amazing, new, big, great communities with parks, yards, etc. Commute is 5 minute walk up to 15 minute drive - depending on location of community.
2. How would you describe the availability and cost of groceries and household supplies relative to your home country?
You can get pretty much any food item you would want in Juarez, either at the local grocery or Costco or Sam's club. El Paso offers anything else you would want. There is a traditional grocery chain, target, and Sprouts that people enjoy.
3. What household or grocery items do you wish you had shipped to post?
4. What typical restaurants, food delivery services, and/or takeout options are popular among expatriates?
variety of food options - mainly taco/burrito options. more variety in El Paso
5. Are there any unusual problems with insects or other infestations in housing?
1. How do you send and receive your letters and package mail? Are local postal facilities adequate?
It is picked up multiple times a week in El Paso - very easy and quick.
2. What is the availability and cost of household help, and what types of help are typically employed by expatriates?
very available and affordable
3. What kinds of gyms or other sports/workout facilities are available? Are they expensive?
There is a small, but suitable gym at work. Many people enjoy tennis and take tennis lessons at work. And others belong to a local running club or belong to a nearby gym.
4. Are credit cards widely accepted and safe to use locally? Are ATMs common and do you recommend using them? Are they safe to use?
no issue - opt for no foreign transaction fee.
5. What English-language religious services are available locally?
options are in El Paso
6. How much of the local language do you need for daily living? Are local language classes/tutors available and affordable?
it's always good to have a basic understanding
7. Would someone with physical disabilities have difficulties living in this city?
no, I don't think so
1. Are local buses, trams, trains or taxis safe and affordable?
no - cannot take any local buses. Some taxi's are okay. Everyone drives their own vehicle.
2. What kind of car do you recommend bringing to post, given the terrain, availability of parts, burglary/carjacking risks, etc.? What kind of car do you advise not to bring?
Phone & Internet:
1. Is high-speed home Internet access available? How long does it typically take to install it after arrival?
yes, it is set up prior to arrival and then you can upgrade. good and reliable service
2. Do you have any recommendations regarding mobile phones? Did you keep your home-country plan or use a local provider?
Many people purchase the U.S.-Mexico plan. Others have a U.S. phone and a local Mexico phone.
Employment & Volunteer Opportunities:
1. What types of jobs do most expatriate spouses/partners have? Locally based or telecommuting? Full-time or part-time? Can you comment on local salary scales?
no, not on the local economy. spouses work from home, at the consulate or some work in El Paso.
2. What volunteer opportunities are available locally?
3. What is the typical dress code at work and in public places? Is formal dress ever required?
same as U.S., leaning toward conservative in public.
Health & Safety:
1. Are there personal security concerns to be aware of at this post? Please describe.
yes part of the city is off limits to travel - but again with El Paso so close you can access anything you'd like. Only that you miss out on the 'culture' of the country/town because of the restrictions.
2. Are there any particular health concerns? What is the quality of available medical care? What medical conditions typically require medical evacuation?
good options for medical care. only allergies during hot season.
3. What is the air quality like at post (good/moderate/bad)? Are there seasonal air quality issues? Does the air quality have an impact on health?
allergies during warm season
4. What is the overall climate: is it extremely hot or cold, wet or dry, at any time of year, for example?
cold in winter, hot in summer.
Schools & Children:
1. What is the availability of international schools? What has been your general experience with them, if any?
Many children attend bilingual schools in town, or travel to El Paso for school.
2. What accommodations do schools make for special-needs kids?
Unclear - likely accommodations would be met in El Paso.
3. Are preschools available? Day care? Are these expensive? What has been your experience with them, if any? Do the schools provide before- and/or after-school care?
Yes, Montessori school options - but many people opt for nannies for young children and many nanny's and children have regular play dates.
4. Are local sports classes and/or activities available for kids?
yes in Juarez and El Paso
1. What is the relative size of the expatriate community? How would you describe overall morale among expatriates?
morale is good - lot of luxuries here compared to many posts
2. What are some typical ways to socialize, either with local people or with other expatriates? Are there groups or clubs that you can recommend?
movies, bowling, mall, restaurants, outdoor park, swimming pools. People also gather at each others homes - especially those with young children.
3. Is this a good city for single people? For couples? For families? Why or why not?
definitely for families. There are many travel/day options for singles/couples but it is limited because of security restrictions. Though every week there are more and more restaurant options and many people bike, hike, or camp on weekends throughout the southwest. Families spend time together, go to the zoo, park, water parks, etc.
4. Is this a good city for LGBT expatriates? Why or why not?
5. Are there problems with ethnic, race/racial minorities or religious prejudices? Gender equality?
not that I know of
6. What have been the highlights of your time in this country? Best trips or experiences?
Traveling in Mexico, time with co-workers and their families.
7. What are some interesting/fun things to do in the area? Can you recommend any “hidden gems"?
The central park is great and provides a large green space and activities very close to home. The children's museum in town is first class - really impressive. El Paso has a variety of activities on weekend - limited compared to other big cities, but still good options with the zoo, water park, etc. People enjoy traveling to all cities in Mexico - travel is relatively cheap and explore the southwest - though not many day trip options outside of hikes or bike rides.
8. Is this a "shopping post"? Are there interesting handicrafts, artwork, antiques, or other items that people typically buy there?
not much. unless you travel to another city in Mexico.
9. What are the particular advantages of living in this city?
The ease of the border and El Paso nearby. The housing is amazing and the communities, plus proximity to work.
10. Can you save money?
sure - not too much to spend money on, unless you travel a lot or always shop in El Paso.
Words of Wisdom:
1. What do you wish you had known about this particular city/country before moving there?
that I would have limited options to site see, explore the Mexican culture.
2. Knowing what you know now, would you still move to this city?
Sure. We've felt very fortunate. Housing, community, young families is a huge plus!
3. If you move here, you can leave behind your:
ideas that there will be nothing to do and everywhere you go is unsafe
4. But don't forget your:
good attitude and optimism. It really is a great post.