We found a house to rent! We have been staying in a vacation condo in Playa del Carmen, which we booked for 10 days. We had expected to spend a week exploring the area and looking at all the towns before we decided where would be the best fit for us. What really happened was that we looked at 3 homes, seemingly the last 3 in 100 square miles that had 3 or more bedrooms, and we took one that was totally different than we expected. It’s in Cancun and it has no furniture!
It’s a little ironic that we arrived in Panama with 13 suitcases and from day 1 we felt that they were nothing but a burden. Over the 14 months we lived there we acquired stuff. We spent the last month selling and giving it away and fitting into 6 suitcases. Now we arrive here, we rent a house and now we have to start acquiring things – big things! – in order to live there. What in the world….!???
Sometimes you just don’t know what you don’t know. We had no idea the rental market would be so tight. With the holidays and the high season, coupled with the scarcity of larger houses, we had very little to choose from. Everyone we talked to was amazed we found anything at all.
The neighborhood is an excellent fit for us. It’s so good it’s worth furnishing an entire house. It’s completely secure 24/7 so the girls will have the freedom to explore the parks, greenspaces, walking trails and streets. There are kids everywhere judging from the masses we saw at the parks at 5 p.m. and all the kids’ bikes parked in front of houses (completely unlocked). It’s walking distance to a mall with a movie theater and tons of restaurants and cafes. It’s so much like our old neighborhood in Oregon, it felt like home immediately. And we didn’t see a single expat – our neighbors are locals! Don’t get me wrong, we love our expat friends, but connecting with locals is key to helping the girls learn Spanish and have new and different experiences.
The house has 5 bedrooms and 5 and a half bathrooms, although one of the bedrooms is right off the kitchen for a live-in maid. Our live-in maid sleeps in the master bedroom, so Daniel will use that one as his office. The house has 5 balconies and a pool in the very small backyard. There is a dedicated guest room with a full private bathroom and very large balcony on it’s own floor (the 3rd floor). We were there at noon and the breeze flowing through the house felt wonderful and we didn’t see a need for a lot of AC. Although it’s there if we need it. It even has heat. What? Why!? Locals say we might need it because it can dip down to 17 degrees Celsius in the depths of winter (that’s a frigid 62 degrees for you ‘Mericans). Yeah, right.
For you number crunchers, the rent is $1650 a month (we were paying $1500/mo in Panama for a substantially smaller house). We pay no HOA dues and electricity should be less than the high of $900 we paid one month in Panama.
Okay, so here’s a shocker… we have decided that we will probably stay here longer than just 5 months. With this amount of effort getting settled, it’s probably easier to justify if we stay longer. Once the girls saw the house and the neighborhood they were fine with that idea. Once Daniel saw Krispy Kreme he was ok with that idea too. Once I found out that garbage is picked up once a day (ONCE A DAY!!!!) I was ready to become a Mexican citizen. We are not locked into any time frame so we’ll see how it feels, but 5 months seems like such a short time to enjoy a nice house and neighborhood. We might have to rename the blog “LetsJustStayinMexico.com”.
So now we start working on the details. We signed up for internet today. If all goes as planned it will be installed next week and will reach speeds of 20 mbps for $34/mo. That comes WITH a home phone (landline) with unlimited calls to the USA and Canada. There are several friends in Panama who I predict have just stopped reading this and are now crying. We joined Sam’s Club and Costco and began pricing out things like sheets and spoons and Dan spent a long time looking at the scooters. Sam’s Club is within walking distance from our new place. Or a quick scooter ride.
So now that we know where we will be living, it’s time for everyone to come visit. But the list of visitors is already growing so get yourself on our calendar quick-like! We’d love to have you stay with us and we’d be happy to show you around our new adopted area. You’ll know which one is our house because it has the gringa skipping to the trash can with one bag and a huge smile. EVERY NIGHT!!