We’ve been living at Cabrales Boatyard in Puerto Penasco, Mexico for two months now, getting our sailboat ready for winter cruising in the Sea of Cortez. Tom spends his days sanding and painting the sailboat, and I sit in the Sprinter van working on my computer.
In Episode 13 of The Wayward Home podcast, I’m going to give you a behind-the-scenes look at our current life in Mexico, plus answer some common questions. I’ll also tell you about my likes and dislikes about living here.
Listen to the Podcast:
Table of Contents
Crossing the Mexican Border in our Sprinter Van
In order to drive our campervan to Mexico, we first had to buy local Mexican insurance. This isn’t an option, but a requirement to drive your vehicle in this country.
We used a website called BajaBound.com to purchase insurance. I did get full comprehensive insurance for the Sprinter van, which wasn’t cheap, but worth it given this is a new vehicle. When we bring my Chevy Astro down here, I only get Liability, which is a lot cheaper.
Crossing the border turned out to be super easy. The Lukeville crossing in Arizona is used to seeing all types of RVs drive down to the beachfront campgrounds in Puerto Penasco. They did a quick search of the Sprinter van but didn’t even ask to see our passports. Then, we were on our way!
What I Like About Living in Our Van in Mexico
There are a lot of things to like about living in Mexico in our van, especially during the winter months when it’s cold up in the states. Here are the top pros:
- Super cheap. Everything here is cheap, especiallly groceries and restaurants. Living in the boatyard only costs us $200 per month, with a small price for unlimited electricity. 5-gallon jugs of water cost just $.50.
- Friendly. The people who work at the boatyard and who live in Puerto Penasco are all very friendly. We also love the community of cruisers here. It’s easy to find friends!
- Nice restaurants. There are a variety of restaurants here. We love getting $6 pizzas on Wednesdays from a placee called Pane y Vino. There’s also a nice wine and craft beer bar, good burgers, good seafood and tacos. We also just started eating at a wonderful mole place called Ole Mole Penasco
- A beautiful beach. I love that there is a beach within walking distance of the boatyard! I love walking barefoot in the crystal-clear water
A Few Things I don’t like about Van Life in Puerto Penasco
There are a few things I don’t like that much about living in Puerto Penasco:
The grocery situation
I usually have to go to 3-4 different stores to find the things I want while living here. And when I do go to the main market, the Super Ley, a lot of the vegetables are wilted or rotting. When we were here last spring, there were flies in all the produce sections of grocery stores, which really grossed me out.
As I’ve lived here longer, I’ve finally figured out where to buy some good products, including where to find good wine. I still can’t find craft beer or good coffee.
Never mind products that help me be a vegetarian like tofu and tempeh. You also can’t find many Asian cooking supplies like sesame oil or rice vinegar.
I am learning to adapt what I eat (a lot of beans!!), and I finally found a local fruteria that has good quality fruits and veggies, although I can never find good leafy greens.
Another thing I don’t like is that the drivers are all over the place and fairly crazy. Plus, on weekends, American tourists rent side-by-sides and quads which are noisy, and I’m pretty sure they drive them drunk. It doesn’t seem like a safe place to roam around at night due to the crazy drivers.
I also hesitate to drive my Sprinter van around very much here as I don’t want it to get hit, or doored at a supermarket.
Working remotely here was challenging at first as I didn’t know what to do about the internet. Now, I have a local SIM card, and have to renew it every 2 hours. For 15 pesos, I can get 2 hours of unlimited WiFi, which is about $0.75. Given that I renew this many times throughout the day, the price of internet really adds up.
What Questions Do you Have?
Do you have any questions about van life in Mexico? Leave them in the comments below and I’ll get ack to you!