Sonora, Mexico Report of what it's like to live there - 07/07/20
Personal Experiences from Sonora, Mexico
1. Was this post your first expatriate experience? If not, what other cities have you lived in as an expat?
No, Jerusalem, Baghdad, Kirkuk, Kabul, Bogota, and Nuevo Laredo.
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?
USA, Arizona. Very easy, Nogales is on the border.
3. How long have you lived here?
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?
The worst housing pool I've seen. Cannot recommend this post as this element of the compensation package is a rip off, in my opinion. Comparing the pool with Nuevo Laredo, also on the border, these are two different worlds. If you want a nice house, bid NVL, not Nogales.
2. How would you describe the availability and cost of groceries and household supplies relative to your home country?
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?
Typical USA-Mexico border. Lots of tasty treats.
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?
Consulate has a no service mail room and you can access USPS by crossing the border.
2. What is the availability and cost of household help, and what types of help are typically employed by expatriates?
day maid, quite affordable.
3. What kinds of gyms or other sports/workout facilities are available? Are they expensive?
both sides of border. No issues.
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?
Yes. Get U.S. currency on USA side and use ATMs in secure locations on Nogales side.
5. How much of the local language do you need for daily living? Are local language classes/tutors available and affordable?
Spanish is needed on both sides of the border.
6. Would someone with physical disabilities have difficulties living in this city?
Sidewalks and such and hills make wheelchair access near impossible.
1. Are local buses, trams, trains or taxis safe and affordable?
Off limits to USG
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?
Internet has been a battle since day one. Telmex bills for a high velocity and then delivers near-dialup service.
2. Do you have any recommendations regarding mobile phones? Did you keep your home-country plan or use a local provider?
1. Are qualified veterinarians and/or good kennel services available? Do animals need to be quarantined upon entry to the country? Are there other considerations regarding pets that are particular to this country?
Lots of vets.
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?
Limited due to labor situation and low wages
2. What is the typical dress code at work and in public places? Is formal dress ever required?
Relaxed, business casual for women.
Health & Safety:
1. Are there personal security concerns to be aware of at this post? Please describe.
High crime, off limits areas in the city.
2. Are there any particular health concerns? What is the quality of available medical care? What medical conditions typically require medical evacuation?
Dust. USA healthcare readily available.
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?
Good but dusty
4. What is the overall climate: is it extremely hot or cold, wet or dry, at any time of year, for example?
Very comfortable nine months per year, chilly in winter due to elevation.
Schools & Children:
1. What is the availability of international schools? What has been your general experience with them, if any?
Children attend school in USA for the most part I think.
1. What is the relative size of the expatriate community? How would you describe overall morale among expatriates?
Small, haven't yet networked.
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?
Will revise report as we better integrate here.
3. Is this a good city for single people? For couples? For families? Why or why not?
Don't see any issues here other than the VERY poor housing situation (an embarrassment).
4. Is this a good city for LGBT expatriates? Why or why not?
Typical Mexico situation but I don't think bad.
5. Is it easy to make friends with locals here? Are there any prejudices or any ethnic groups who might feel uncomfortable here?
Stand by . . . .
6. Are there problems with ethnic, race/racial minorities or religious prejudices? Gender equality?
Stand by . . . .
7. What have been the highlights of your time in this country? Best trips or experiences?
Stand by . . . .
8. What are some interesting/fun things to do in the area? Can you recommend any “hidden gems"?
Stand by . . . .
9. Is this a "shopping post"? Are there interesting handicrafts, artwork, antiques, or other items that people typically buy there?
10. What are the particular advantages of living in this city?
Access to USA.
Words of Wisdom:
1. What do you wish you had known about this particular city/country before moving there?
The condition and choices of the housing in the pool. This has evidently been neglected for a long time and needs major attention. Nice housing seems to be available. We'll see if this improves.
2. Knowing what you know now, would you still move to this city?
Possibly, still weighing what amounts to a pay cut due to the housing.
3. If you move here, you can leave behind your:
Can't think of anything.
4. But don't forget your:
5. Do you recommend any books or movies about this city/country for those who are interested in learning more?
6. Do you have any other comments?