• Feb

    The Cost of Living: Canada vs. Mexico


    One of the things that people often hear about is how much cheaper it is to live in Mexico. Well, that can be true, or not, depending on your lifestyle. If you want to spend the bucks, you can find ways to do it, that’s for sure.

    On the other hand, if you want to economize, that’s easily achieved, depending on where you are. As a case in point, I’m writing to you from La Paz, BCS.

    Our cost of living here is dramatically less than what it cost me to live in Victoria, B.C. To elaborate, in Victoria, my base expenses were: $920.00/month for my apartment, including parking (and it wasn’t a great apartment, either. I had a good view, but the aparment furnishings hadn’t been upgraded in about 40-50 years. (and no, I’m not kidding – it was OLD.)

    Internet was $50.00/month and Hydro (electricity) was 25.00/month. Roughly $1,000.00/month. And that’s not including what it cost to buy furniture, cutlery, etc.

    Here, we live in a newer building, roughly 5 years old. The space is smaller than my apartment in Victoria, but it’s quite nice. All the furnishings are new, or close to it and it comes fully furnished, with the exception of linens or cutlery. It’s also 4 blocks away from the Malecon (boardwalk). We have high ceilings, tiled floors, 2 ceiling fans, 2 air conditioners and covered, secure parking with a remote.

    Since we’re a couple, we can really stretch the costs. Here they are. Rent: $230.00/month. Internet: $45.00/month. Electricity: $25.00/month. Total cost monthly, $300.00.

    And when you throw in our food, gas, entertainment , etc. our monthly cost is about $6-700.00. Essentially our rent is less than what I paid as a student when I moved to Vancouver from Calgary in 1983, 27 years ago. SWEET!

    You can live on the high end for accommodations, but it’s unnecessary. Both of us are quite happy and comfortable here. It’s a bit small at times, but ok for the moment.

    Eventually we’ll upgrade. Even then, I expect we’ll find a great deal. Many of them exist here. All you have to do is look around a bit and you’ll find them.

    Questions? Write to me.

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2 responses to “The Cost of Living: Canada vs. Mexico” RSS icon

  • Great stuff, Nathan. I’d like to read more about your day-to-day costs. If you stop by a street vendor for a taco, for example, how much is that in USD? Or if you want to buy a few new books to read? Also, you talk about the boardwalk, but let me exhibit my cluelessness: that’s on the beach, right? How’s the beach? Clean? Quiet?

    I had a good friend who lived in Hawaii for a year and he got a lot of hassle from the locals because he was visibly a haoli (white guy). Do you see any of that sort of discrimination or hostility there in BCS, or is everyone pretty cool? And how about the fact that you’re not fluent in Spanish?

  • Hi Dave,

    Thanks for the post. As for your questions, I’ll give you as much info as I can.

    First off, the Malecon is the boardwalk next to the ocean. Here in La Paz it’s made up of tiles, each about 8 inches square.

    As for our day-to-day costs, here’s a bit of a breakdown. We have a 600 sq/ft. apartment here which is nice and roomy. A big plus is the 10 foot high ceiling. Base cost is $460.00USD, or $230.00 each. Internet is $500 pesos/month (or about $45.00USD). Electricity is another $20.00USD. Overall, I think our costs are around $800.00USD/month. That includes everything.

    Food prices vary (have a look at my post on Trocadero which is extremely expensive). As for tacos on the street here, they’re anywhere from 12-20 pesos, (from 90 cents to $1.60USD). One of my favorite places is La Fonda. Good food at low prices. Breakfast would be about 60 pesos, or roughly $5.00. That would come with your meal, coffee and tip.

    The beach here is so-so, not that it’s bad; there just isn’t much of it and some sections get a fair bit of seaweed. If you really want to go to the beach, head north to Tecolote’, which has a great beach. It’s about 15-20 minutes from here. Still, the beach here is regularly cleaned. As for quiet, no, not much, since it’s right next to the Malecon, and right next to that is a main road.

    Overall, I find Mexicans to be quite friendly. Many of them positively light up if you make an attempt to speak Spanish. Overall, I find the Mexicans to be very kind and I’m very comfortable here. Granted, I’m not fluent in Spanish, but I know enough to get by in many situations.

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