A Quick Update

In 2010, we moved back to the small town in Colorado that I never stopped missing while we lived in Mexico. Now I sometimes miss Mexico, but I wouldn't travel as freely as we did when we were there, camping out in remote areas and so forth.

Mexico today is in a period of change, and in many ways it is more dangerous now. That said, I have plenty of American friends who still live there very happily, just taking a few more precautions than they did in the past.

Just to say!

Rosana

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If you live in Mexico, you probably know most of what I am about to say… please add any advice in the comments! This article is about the joys and sorrows (sorrows, mostly) of using the mail in Mexico. Readers who don’t live here, please remember that surrealism is a strong element of Mexican culture!

Problems with the Mail in Mexico

There are three main problems with having things mailed to you here: it can be very slow, things may disappear en route, and you might get charged duty which can be quite high.

Now some expats  have had pretty good luck with the Mexican mail system, but I don’t happen to be one of them. One example: a Christmas card from our daughter reached us just after Easter the first year we were here!

We eventually gave up our post office box in Ajijic.

One reason the mail can be so difficult is that Mexicans don’t use it much. Ordinary Mexicans in our town typically seem to go years between pieces of mail. Cellphones are ubiquitous, they pay their electric bills at the grocery store on the highway, their water bill once a year at City Hall, and I don’t know how they pay their phone bills, since we have never managed to get a regular phone ourselves.

I have heard from some other foreigners here that the mails are improving noticeably.

Fedex and other Delivery Systems

These are here, quite reliable, and priced high enough that you don’t want to order a ton of books from Amazon this way. We have sent and received important papers with Fedex just fine… we didn’t try to have them come to our hard-to-find house, so I don’t know if they do. We used a local Fedex office.

Mailboxes in Texas

Here in the Lake Chapala area, there are some choices that aren’t available in places with few expats. I’m sure this is true in San Miguel de Allende, Puerto Vallarta, and other expat favorite spots. Various companies in our area have arrangements with companies in Texas — I don’t know if they use Mailboxes Etc. or what — and the mail is brought down regularly. I’ve certainly heard complaints about this but by and large it seems to work pretty well.

A Word About Customs

Until the presidential term of Vicente Fox a few years ago, books could come into Mexico duty-free. Then his administration put duty charges on books, but whether or not it will be charged is variable. It’s supposed to be a fairly low rate but I do know someone who absolutely needed a professional book for her online business and she got socked with customs roughly equal to the hundred bucks or so that the book cost.

Most medicines are here and cheap but sometimes people need meds from north of the border and if they come by mail or courier, there may be some customs. I don’t know how much.

So What Do We Do?

Living in an area with thousands of expats and snowbirds really helps. We bring things down for each other, and  we take tax forms, birthday presents, and other things to be mailed up north when we go.

I for one have been surprised at how easily I have adapted to not having the mails in my everyday life. I *do* miss easy access to Amazon.com and my favorite vitamins and supplements. But with Mexico’s second-largest city nearby, over time we have found sources for many things here.

5 Responses to “The Mail in Mexico”

  • Leslie Limon says:

    Yes, the Mexican mail is known for being quite slow. I tell my friends that wish to send Christmas cards, to mail them the beginning of November, because come December, the mail gets even slower.

    I recently “discovered” Amazon and was wondering if they do indeed ship to Mexico, if the book(s) arrive, and if there was any duty to be paid. Thanks for the info!

    Hope all is well!
    .-= Leslie Limon´s last blog ..September =-.

  • JOHN WEIDLEIN says:

    Had lived here for a year without getting any of my Mexican mail. Mail sent from the states got here fine.a week to ten days delivery time. I live in a rural farm town in central vera cruz. I found the the mail from the united states came thru the city of vera cruz then to my local post office where i had gone on introduce myself when i moved here. I am the only gringo here. I did some searching and found that the mail sent in country went thru the capital of the state instead of vera cruz city. I drove the hour west to cordaba and to the post office there. took two hours of talking to many workers but they now send my mail over two times amonth. A man comes on a moto. They always sent it as so but did not know who i was i guess. what ever , i am sure my going to the post offdice in person is what worked.

  • Rosana says:

    Thanks, John. The personal touch always helps a LOT in Mexico!

  • ronald hollister says:

    Yearly i buy used books for .25cents apiece. I send them to myself in mexico. the average cost per book ends up being about $1. One time it took 9 months for the books to arrive. in recent years much more quickly. never been charged a duty or fee .

  • Rosana says:

    Thanks, Ron, that is good to know, very good!

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