Friday, January 15, 2010

Moving to Mexico (Mazatlán) with School Kids

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Dianne and Greg


  1. What a fantastic post you guys. I would like to tell about it and post a link on my site, would that be ok?

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  2. That's fine, Nancy. Thank you for helping us get the word out.

    I started this post months ago, and finally finished it up tonight after emailing with a lady several times today. I hope it helps someone.

  3. I don't even have school age kids, and I found it extremely interesting. Especially since there are been inquiries of late on various posting sites. How cool that your son feels the way he does about the move and living here. That is half the battle!

  4. Thanks, Zoe. Oh, yes... When a resident teenager is not happy, no one is happy, lol!

  5. This was a great post - lots of information and it answered a lot of questions my husband and I have. We are actually considering moving to Mazatlan (from KCMO...small world, huh?) and are planning another trip down there in June to do some more research. We were wondering if you might possibly be interested in meeting for dinner one night while we are in town so we could talk to you more about some of our questions. Feel free to email me at :)

  6. I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


  7. Glad you are enjoying the blog, Kate (or Lucy). Do you live in Mexico?

  8. Thanks for your very informative blog...I am just now in the final process of deciding to "take the plunge" and move to Mazatlan (from Portland, OR). And though I don't have school age children any longer, I still enjoyed learning so much about the school system in MZT and the perspective of other expat's with a teenager... Keep up the great blogging!!!

  9. Thank you, BikerGuy! Are you in town for Moto Week? Making the parade Saturday! Enjoy!

  10. I have all ready decided to move there with my 11 and 13 year old children. Your blog has given me so great ammo for convincing everyone that it is a great idea. thank you!!

  11. I trust you will love your lives here, Anonymous! It's a terrific time of life to move overseas with children.

  12. Do you know why school is getting out earlier this year in Mazatlan?? I can't seem to get an answer and wonder if it's because of the election happening this Sunday, 4 JUL???

  13. Wow, CUMC Youth, we don't feel that school ending July 2nd is early at all. We are told that the SEP (Secretary of Public Education) calendar is set nationally, with some variations by state/city (e.g., days off for Carnaval).

    The original notice we received at the beginning of the school year was for the last day of classes to have been last week. About 15 days ago SEPyC sent out notice to extend last day of classes till this Friday. In our limited experience the end of school does flex, making summer plans challenging. Our school restarts then on August 23.

    Enjoy your summer!

  14. This is an incredible post. I just started a blog to document our move to Mexico with kids. We are looking at the Lake Chapala area. I was wondering if I might post this information there with all appropriate credit to you and links to your site. Our blog is an attempt to work through our own decision making process and meet others who have gone through the same thing. Mainly it is a way to organize everything we are learning about moving there in one handy place.

    Thanks for your blog- well done.



  15. You are most welcome to link to this post, Gringo. Good luck with your decision making! The move and life overseas can be wonderful for families. And, sometimes, it's not what a family needs. I trust you'll LOVE it!

  16. Hi!. We are Mexicans but living abroad for already 6 years. We are moving to mazatlan on july 2011 which of the links school mentioned are bilingual.


  17. Hi Lily. Welcome back home! We'll be excited to meet you here. Where are you from originally? Several schools call themselves bilingual. Andes, Anglo Moderno, and Británico are the big 3 of the bilinguals here in Mazatlán, I'd say. Hope that helps?

  18. Thanks Dianne. My husband is from Monterrey and myself from Guaymas Sonora. And yep will be very happy to meet you there. Thank you very much for the information. :))

  19. Hi Dianne,

    Thank you for sharing your research and experience. My family and I are planning on moving to Mazatlan within a year. Our children are 2 and 5 and have only attended Montessori schools (preschool). Do you know of any Montessori programs in Mazatlan? Do you have any experience with the primaria schools? We would love to visit some and will be in Mazatlan next week, do you have any particular recommendations?

    Thank you for your time,
    All the best,

  20. Dear CJ,

    We trust you will absolutely LOVE living here! Welcome to town!

    I don't know much about primary schools or preschools since our son is older. I know how frustrating it can be to try and figure things out, especially from afar.

    There is a Colegio Maria Montessori in town, and I've heard good things about it but it's best for you to check it out directly and ask around, since we have no personal experience with it. Their website is:
    It gives the address, email and a phone number. I'm sure they'll give you a tour and meet with you and your kids while you're here.

    If we can be of help just let us know. Good luck!

  21. Thank you Dianne,

    I appreciate the information on the schools and the Montessori contact information.

    We are anxiously awaiting the day when we can call Mazatlan our home.

    Thank you again for all your help. Who knows? Maybe our paths will cross some day in Mazatlan.

    Take care,

  22. Hi Dianne,
    Thanks for a fabulous and informative blog post. My fiancee and I are math teachers back in the US, and just here in Mazatlan for the next few days on vacation. It didn't occur to us that it would be nice to visit an escuela primaria while we are here, to just get a flavor of the kind of educational experiences our students who immigrate to the US come with. A few google searches later and here I am at your blog post. Any suggestions for how we might approach visiting a public school here as visiting teachers? We would love to just peek at a classroom, visit and observe instruction. I am comfortably fluent in Spanish, so I'm happy to initiate contact somehow. We were thinking of just showing up to a school near us and seeing if we could be their guests for a few hours, but I feel funny just showing up. Suggestions are very appreciated.

    Thanks for so much good information,
    Maria & Adam

  23. Hi there Dianne,

    I am wondering if you could email me. I would love to chat with you a bit about Scouts in Mazatlan and other things. We are a family that winters in our RV in the Cerritos area of Maz. My kids are getting older and I am looking for ways for them to meet other people outside the RV park! My husband wants to buy a house in Real de Valle, but that's a whole other story! My email is hoylingj at hotmail dot com. I really appreciate the opportunity to pick your brain on some things if you have the time :)


  24. Happy to help, Janina. I just emailed you so we can be in direct touch!

  25. I{ve been in Mexico about 40 years now. This article covers Schools and problems encountered very well. My Children, both grown and on their own now, were born in Mexico and we sent them to Regular schools, There are good ones and mediocre ones, you have to investigate, but it's the economical way to go.
    Our problem was more of the kids didnt want to study English as everyone in School spoke Spanish. We solved that problem by taking them to the USA every School vacation and they learned enough fluidity to wind up in Jobs in Mexico that required a second language, (imports/exports, Logistics and Exterior Commerce.
    Great information Dianne, keep up the good work.

  26. Thank you, Bob. That is good to hear. Your experience sounds phenomenal. Maybe you can read my posts on cultural differences and give me some course correction/advice? I'd so welcome a seasoned expat weighing in. Where do you live? Congratulations on raising bicultural/Blended Culture children. Our world needs a whole lot more of them!

  27. OK, I should have clicked on your name first. The Mexico Mystic blog! Cool!

  28. Hi there I'm glad that I found your blog, I'm planning on taking my children to Mazatlan for 1 school year as I feel it would be a great experience for them. We have bee going there for 4 years quite often. Could you give me on your thoughts about a special needs child and there schools?

  29. Dear cidie,

    Congratulations on your decision! I wholeheartedly believe that living abroad with your children is one of the best life experiences you can give them! Learning to see the world in a new way, learning to enter into the unknown, learning not to judge but to see different perspectives, becoming bilingual. Way to go!

    There are many wonderful teachers and principals here in Mazatlán. I would guess a smaller school would be your best bet, but that depends on the resources your child might need. I have a post on this blog about middle schools/junior highs, and another on high schools. Not sure of your child's age. I'd start by visiting to see which school's personality resonates with your child and your philosophy/approach. Am happy to meet with you when you are next in town, or to correspond offline if you'd give me more detail.

    I do feel that in general adults here are more indulgent/supportive of kids than can sometimes happen in the US or Canada. We do have a school for the blind and a Casa Downs here, but my guess is you are talking a learning disability or something like that. The other really nice thing here is that special or additional help is affordable: after-school classes, tutoring, etc.

    Please let me know if this answers your question. Or contact me privately if you'd like to discuss. Good luck! You are sure to be embarking on a wonderful adventure!!!!

  30. Hi, My name is Nichole and I am really hoping you are able to help me.

    I am planning on coming out to Mazatlan for a year with my two year old daughter come May of 2013, Its been something Ive been wanting to do for a few years now, and even more so now that my daughter is getting older and once she starts school, I may not have the chance.

    My daughter will be 3 July 15th, next year and I would really like to get her into a school, so she can learn basic Spanish at least. I am a single mom, but her father was Mexican so it is important for me that she gets a little bit of both cultures and languages.
    The school I am interested in is called "Instituto Cervantes del Pacifico", but the problem I am having is I can't find the information on the ages or tuition cost. Would you be able to help me?

    My next question is, what is a good amount of money to have monthly to live comfortably? and by that I mean food in our stomachs, a roof over our heads, clothing on our backs and the occasional outing.. I have found a place I really like for $4000.00pasos/month. I am not by any means a wealthy individual, I have just finished school as a nursing attendant, and live day to day, and put away as much extra as I can, so I am just looking to see if my dream to go in May is realistic or not..

    Thank You.

    1. HI Nichole,

      Sorry it has taken us so long to respond. We were traveling a lot over the summer and wanted to give you the best answers possible. As posted anonymously, I cannot respond directly, so here it goes.

      For the school, here is the link to the directory page of the school’s website:

      You could try emailing the director of preschool and primary or just calling. If you don’t speak Spanish, the email may be best as that can get forwarded to an English speaker. Your little one will be speaking Spanosh in no time and may even start to resist speaking English.

      People can and do live here on very little. It all comes down to standards of living and decisions like car or bus, or using IMSS versus paying for medical care. 4,000 pesos a month for year round living should get you a nice place. Eating fresh local food from the market is inexpensive. Trying to buy all your favorite things from north of the border adds up. Electricity is reasonable and subsidized in the summer. When looking at where to live consider size as cooling costs can kill you in suMmer. Water is almost free, but plan on using a good filtration system if you want to drink it, or just buy big water containers at the store. A movie ticket is around 3 or 4 dollars and a nice casual meal can be found for ten dollars or less. Simple prepared food is also available even cheaper. School fees can add up – inscription, tuition, books, uniforms, activities. You will have annual fees for your visa to be here year round. When you read on the Internet about the cost of living in Mexico (or in Mazatlán), a lot of the low prices are for basics. For instance, I can find sites saying that for $35 per month you can get phone and internet. True, but local calls only, limited by number and low bandwidth Internet. Want more, be prepared to pay. Be honest with yourself about how you will want to live.

      Here are some web pages that might help you. Again keep in mind that everyone has their own experiences:

      There is a great blog that a lot of folks around Mexico go to for help. Here is a link to the page of useful information:

      Do you plan on working? You will need to look into what is required to get a working visa for a nurse if that is your plan. Let me know and I can direct you to someone who can help you with that if necessary. I don’t know what nurses get paid, but if you are bilingual, that would help.

      Let us know what else we can do to help!

      Greg and Dianne

  31. Hi, I was wondering if you could give me the contact information for the Boy Scouts/Girl Scouts. We just moved here in November with our 3 kids, ages 8, 6, and 4. Any other recommendations on opportunities to integrate our kids? Thanks for the great posts!

  32. Hello Anonymous. I am happy to share contact info with you, however, I would prefer to do it privately as we do not have permission to post the scout leader's info on our blog.

    If you email me at I am happy to answer you.



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