Expat's Guide to Living in Ensenada


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Some General Tips, Advice, Observations

Here is some information I've gleaned about living in Ensenada...check back often as I will be adding to the list as time goes on.

1. According to a recent global survey/study, Mexicans are the second happiest people on Earth. It has been my experience that this is true...and, that the Mexicans I meet everyday are warm and friendly and helpful.3/10/04

2. Learn at least a few words of Spanish, Mexicans appreciate that you are making the effort. Use those few words as often as possible in day-to-day living and you will find that your vocabulary will grow--and you will feel more confident and enjoy your life here more. It's fun!3/10/04

3. To establish phone/internet service go to the Telnor (the phone company) office next to the Super Gigante market on Reforma--you can spot Telnor by the huge antenna tower. Park in the Super Gigante parking lot and walk to Telnor, which is around the corner.3/10/04

4. Because long-distance calls to the U.S. are quite expensive (54-67 cents per minute), many of us use what is called a call-back service, which costs about 20-24 cents per minute. Once subscribed to the service, you simply dial a number in the US, hang-up upon the first ring, and seconds later it will call-back at your phone number with a dial tone--you then enter the US telephone number you wish to reach. It's easy, and much cheaper than using Telnor. Use an internet search engine (e.g., Google) and enter the words, call back service mexico and it will return results listing a number of companies offering call-back service.3/10/04

5. Because of the questionable reliability/security of the Mexican postal system, many of us use a local mail service which costs about $200/yr.. You are issued a US postal address, and the local mail service company picks up your mail at that address 5 days a week and brings it down to Ensenada--this includes regular mail, and packages from FedEx/UPS. We use: P.O. Box International, located at the corner of Calle Sexta and Moctezuma in the Central Zone of the city. Call them for more information at: (646) 178-3680.3/10/04

6. Auto Insurance--Extremely important here. If you have an accident, both parties, regardless of who caused the accident are "arrested" awaiting establishment of guilt. Having auto insurance will enable you to be released on "bail". Rather than having an auto insurance policy for each car, it is possible to to insure your driver's license which will cover you no matter which car you are driving. The insurance agent we use insures both of our licenses (with basic liablity insurance) for a total of about $150/yr.). Our insurance agent is Elena Bretts (who comes from an old and respected Ensenada family)--she speaks perfect English, and is very helpful. Contact her at: 178-5715 or email: elenabretts@yahoo.com 3/10/04

7. Homeowner's Insurance--very reasonable rates. Again we use Elena Bretts.3/10/04

8. ATM machines are available in virtually every bank, and most supermarkets...also at Sanborn's Restaurant on the Costero. Most give pesos...but there are some which issue dollars. I've never used the dollar machines so when I learn where they are I will add their locations on this page.3/10/04

9. Drinking water--most people use (drink and cook with) water that is supplied by water vendors located throughout the city. Buy a water dispenser and at least one 5 gallon jug (we have 5 jugs which will fill at the same time to avoid having to visit the water vendor more often than we like). Each 5 gallon jug of water costs about 7 pesos. The water is filtered through a reverse osmosis system. 3/10/04

10. Heating your home--while many of us have fireplaces that can provide all the heat we need, it is very convenient and inexpensive to buy a portable propane home heater which are sold at many stores. Will need to purchase a 5 gallon propane tank separately. The cost for the heater ranges from about $100-$220. A propane tank costs from $20-40. You can buy used tanks from the Silza propane gas trucks which you will see everywhere...delivering propane directly to the home. They charge $20-27 for the used tank. It costs about $6-7 to fill the tank. 3/10/94

11. Water heater gas--you can buy a used propane tank for your water heater from a Silza Gas truck for about $35, or a new one from many hardware store for about $40-50. You can take your tank for filling at one of the Silza Gas stations for about $30, or they will deliver gas to your home (they drive around neighborhoods everyday and honk their horn to let you know they are there) for about the same price. They will leave a full tank of gas (and will hook it up) and take yours. 3/10/04

12. That's all for now folks--return often as I will continue adding information. today's date March 10, 2004