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Hello!

I am new to this webboard but not new to the Lake Chapala area. We've been visiting as often as we could since we discovered it two years ago!

It has come time for us to make Lake Chapala our home as so many people from around the world have before us. We're relocating from California. We've just purchased a lovely place in San Antonio Tlayacapan.

We've got a lot of what we need sorted out, but we're still wondering if it's worth it to move all our stuff, sell it and start over, move some of our stuff and who to use for such services.

We've found a few companies that say they can do the move:

    Transparent International    
    East Coast Shipping    
    Inter Movers    
    SDC International INC    
    Legend International Transport

But we've got no experience with any of them. Recommendations for these or other companies would be greatly appreciated! 

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Welcome to the area and welcome to this group.

Since I haven't moved in a long time I'll leave it to the more recently experienced to comment on who to use.

What to move is another matter.  When we came 12 years ago, we had first visited furniture and appliance stores in GDL and at that time the selections were pretty dismal and the prices pretty high.  Our place came unfurnished.  After measuring it up and taking detailed photos, we determined that almost all our custom made in New Mexico furniture, I'd loosely describe as traditional territorial style, fit this place perfectly.  Later we imported much better cooking and refrigerator equipment.  

Now I would say the furniture available both locally and in GDL is much better and unless you are buying a furnished place, before I brought regular household furnishings down I'd have a good look around here.  I definitely recommend bringing tools, good kitchen stuff, linens and family stuff down.

Our move cost a bunch of money, one third of the cost alone was due to the packing and handling of a 100 year old fully restored antique piano.  

This topic comes up from time to time and again, there are people here with more recent experience whom I expect will show up to welcome you and help you.

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There are literally dozens of companies that can move items around the world.  They use interconnections and are often referred to as freight forwarders. You might be better served by a company that has local service and experience.

Here is a local company. Lake Chapala Moving 

http://lakechapalamoving.com/   They are typically lower cost than other companies here.  

You have a one time exemption from import taxes. You will need a Manaje de casa properly prepared. 

Only you can decide if the cost of moving all your stuff is worth it.  

Although this gentleman passed away his blog has valuable information

https://www.rollybrook.com/how_to_move_to_mexico.htm

 

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IMO the current philosophy is to bring 'only' those things which have sentimental value OR are not easily replaced, electronics not included in that theory.... bring them. Many smaller things 'with a cord' might should be brought as they tend to be more expensive to replace in Mexico. Also, let the price of moving heavier things guide you. As an example the price to move beds and mattresses, a double-door refrigerator or an oak dinning room set w/ 8 chairs can never be recouped vs buying here.  And, some but not all folks wonder why they brought all 500 hard back books with them 'just because they had them' and liked to read. 

We 'all' are packrats but a move like this might be a good time to start afresh. 

 

 

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A lot of stuff is hard to find at the lake. I would recommend bringing appliances and cookware. Also comfortable favorite furniture. Mexican beds are a different size and US sheets don’t fit. Guadalajara has stuff but a difficult place to drive in. Medical care here is great and fast. 

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Waste of money to bring your furniture    I know so many people that brought their furniture down and some did not fit in their home   Sell it and buy down here. Guadalajara has lots of places to shop and they deliver.  Unless you are from a very small town and do not drive to big cities then Guadalajara can be intimidating but it is a great city to see and shop in, Get to know it and you will find whatever you will ever need.  Bring electrical appliances and specialty items for cooking, socks and underwear are harder to find, bring your favorite clothing.  
it is a great place to live.  Enjoy

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Careful with electrical devices. Anything that creates heat is going to drive up your electrical bills way up. Also, the plug voltage in Mexico is 130 to 134 volts, versus 120 back home. You may have invest in a whole house power protection system, or convert to offgrid solar (with battery backup). Payback time depends on the quality of the batteries, not so much the panels.

The power and amps are definetely stronger here, an electrical (sting) in the north is no big deal. I have known electricians check a live wire connection with thier bare fingers ( showing off). Here, they are unlikely to get away with it. 220 240 volts will put you in hospital anywhere.

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Chillin, I take exception to your recommendations.  Yes, the voltage is a bit higher and yes one needs to be conscious about running things like electric heaters and pool pumps so as to not get into the high-use DAC level. BUT suggesting to a newbie that one may have to invest in a whole house power protection system and/or add solar AND with batteries no less JUST to run normal household appliances, TVs and computers for example is IMO doing a disservice to them. 

Probably need to purchase a Mexican refrigerator which is designed to run 'hot'. Otherwise just buy a $50 voltage regulator or UPS device for your US TV and computers. Other common things like a microwave, blender, toaster, hairdryer etc which only run a few minutes or seconds will be JUST FINE. 

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We are not moving our refrigerator as our new home has one already and we can just leave the one we currently have. We've not had any issues with small electronics anytime we've used them but those are AC / DC converters designed to work at a range of voltages. Good to know that microwaves and other medium sized devices should also be fine.

@sm1mexThanks for recommending Strom White! Did you choose to move furniture or only household goods?

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The first time we moved here in 2008, specialty cookware and small kitchen appliances were hard to find and we brought those items down (back then we drove up/down to AZ once a year).  Same with quality linens.  

When we moved back in 2017, Amazon had just started selling in Mexico.  It's made a world of difference to outfit a kitchen with the latest and greatest cooking accoutrements.  Better linens and kitchenware also readily available via Liverpool.com.  And with the current exchange rate nearing 21:1, purchase prices are reasonable.  

Also there are more furniture stores locally with a bigger variety nowadays. 

And don't forget local craftsmen for various wood, iron and equipale furniture and furnishings, made to your exact specifications for nominal prices. 

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We recently did the reverse move and used Strom White. Excellent service. It was about $2500 per lift-van (a wood container 7' high, 7'wide and 4'deep) and that was from Ajijic to South Carolina. You being in CA, would probably be a bit cheaper. Lots of furniture can be had in Tlaquepaque and Replicas & Originals ( https://tequilasource.com/ornelas/index.html ) in Tonola. A variety of resale shops locally. Same with mattresses. Also Liverpool in Guadalajara. 

As others have said, bring your kitchen stuff, bedding and bath linens, personal stuff, art, etc. 

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Just a thought. When I made my permanent move down here in 2008 I was facing the same dilemma. I was also in California (Southern). I had just sold my retail store/wholesale warehouse where I was importing 53' truck containers of Mexican arts and crafts, pottery and much more. I had gotten quotes from movers here, many mentioned on this thread, and they were way up there! Then the light want on! The containers that I was contracting for to bring merchandise from México were going back empty! I was using Castores and also a company out of San Diego named Lizarraga. I called the owner Antonio Lizarraga and soon had a deal for $2,000!!! When the day came they backed the container up to my door and loaded my complete 3 bedroom household goods including washer and dryer. I had sold my refrigerator since the house here had one. I had already rented a house in lower SAT that was almost the exact size as the one I was leaving. I left California the next day in my old Ford 350 truck with some remaining personal items and my dog Moe (RIP) and a couple of days later was here. Now here is a little tricky part. There is no way that a 53' truck container can negotiate the narrow streets in lower SAT, so I made arrangements for them to park it on the side of the carretera, hired a couple of guys and many loads in my pickup truck later all was delivered to my new abode (where I still live). The bad news is that Lizarraga is no longer in business. I understand that Castores is still delivering to California so maybe you can start there. This is a huge company so you will have to work your way to the top and someone who understands and is in a position to listen and help. There are also other truckers delivering to California from here that you might research and try. Lots of luck and dont forget your Manaje de casa!

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7 minutes ago, gringohombre said:

Just a thought. When I made my permanent move down here in 2008 I was facing the same dilemma. I was also in California (Southern). I had just sold my retail store/wholesale warehouse where I was importing 53' truck containers of Mexican arts and crafts, pottery and much more. I had gotten quotes from movers here, many mentioned on this thread, and they were way up there! Then the light want on! The containers that I was contracting for to bring merchandise from México were going back empty! I was using Castores and also a company out of San Diego named Lizarraga. I called the owner Antonio Lizarraga and soon had a deal for $2,000!!! When the day came they backed the container up to my door and loaded my complete 3 bedroom household goods including washer and dryer. I had sold my refrigerator since the house here had one. I had already rented a house in lower SAT that was almost the exact size as the one I was leaving. I left California the next day in my old Ford 350 truck with some remaining personal items and my dog Moe (RIP) and a couple of days later was here. Now here is a little tricky part. There is no way that a 53' truck container can negotiate the narrow streets in lower SAT, so I made arrangements for them to park it on the side of the carretera, hired a couple of guys and many loads in my pickup truck later all was delivered to my new abode (where I still live). The bad news is that Lizarraga is no longer in business. I understand that Castores is still delivering to California so maybe you can start there. This is a huge company so you will have to work your way to the top and someone who understands and is in a position to listen and help. There are also other truckers delivering to California from here that you might research and try. Lots of luck and dont forget your Manaje de casa!

like thingy

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More on Mexico CFE electrical power. It will not damage simple electronics, like toasters. But the power in Mexico is mostly sold to industrial and commercial business. It has not been "cleaned", it has a lot of spikes and anomalies, which creates havoc with sensitive electronic and medical equipment. Hospitals and computer server farms have to upgrade and cool their power distribution hardware. I have an excellent, uninstalled marine grade inverter, which can produce 5,000 watts surge, and 20 amp continous, of pure sine wave power. The problem has been the cost of batteries, but I have been reading about an electrical engineer, who is boondock camping in Arizona, who has been buying used or scrapped lithium ion batteries from electric vehicles and has a way of reviving them. One battery and solar panel can feed up to 5 RVs.

This solution will save you a lot of money, you will not suffer brown outs or outages, you can have true 24/7 home security, you are helping the climate to get cleaner, and best of all, you will not have to deal with CFE the most difficult to deal with goverment owned company in Mexico.

Our casualty list. 3 microwave explosions, 2 CPAP machine motherboards, 4 computer power supplies, 3 computer motherboards (they think capacitors).

https://blog.ucsusa.org/hanjiro-ambrose/the-second-life-of-used-ev-batteries

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22 hours ago, CHILLIN said:

Careful with electrical devices. Anything that creates heat is going to drive up your electrical bills way up. Also, the plug voltage in Mexico is 130 to 134 volts, versus 120 back home. You may have invest in a whole house power protection system, or convert to offgrid solar (with battery backup). Payback time depends on the quality of the batteries, not so much the panels.

The power and amps are definetely stronger here, an electrical (sting) in the north is no big deal. I have known electricians check a live wire connection with thier bare fingers ( showing off). Here, they are unlikely to get away with it. 220 240 volts will put you in hospital anywhere.

Actually it is 114.3V to 139V according to CFE. Thats a big spread.  So it is 127v plus or minus 10% (12.7).  Small electronics with power supplies adjust automatically if you look at the voltage spec on the power supply.  Many new TV and such also adjust automatically. They just give you the local power cord. Older stuff you are correct in that mexico can be a little bit too much or little in voltage.   I just put voltage regulators on everything old like my expensive stereo and such.  Costco use to sell 120V voltage regulators. Don't know if they still do.  I would not worry about a Mexican 127V voltage regulator being used on 120V gear. Not enough of a difference.  You can hear these regulators click in my house as CFE raises or lowers the voltage.  Also people love to weld here and it does suck down the whole hood sometimes. I think we all agree electricity is much better than it was 10/20 years ago.  Yea I agree the mexican electricians play a little fast and loose with touching bare wires.  Yikes!

 

Drift:  Beware of cheap voltage regulators or surge protectors.  Ability to suppress surges is expressed in Joules.  Many cheap units have a rating of 50 joules which won't work if you get a big surge.  Don't buy below 500 joules or so.  You can also buy a whole house surge protector which attaches to your electrical panel.  I buy 2000 joule surge protector units for my expensive gear and have not lost anything in 10 years.  Also don't buy surge protectors without a ground light and light to make sure your MOVS are still working.  Most surge protectors use MOVs that blow up when a big surge hits but the power strip may still work believe it or not.  The light tell you that the unit still will work as a surge protector.  The ground light tells you that your ground lug is really hooked up to a ground wire in the wall socket.  Many three prong sockets here do not have a hooked up ground wire!!!

 

Hope this helps and thanks for listening.

 

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1 hour ago, lcscats said:

Many three prong sockets here do not have a hooked up ground wire!!!

No kidding! The OP can check all outlets by plugging in the surge protector that you mentioned... the one with the two lights that say "protected" and "ground" are available at Walmart locally and the brand is Koblenz. My personal preference is from Radio Shack (not here) and has three lights: "on" , "protected when lit" and "grounded when lit". It always went with me when either buying or renting a house. For every day, I always plug a voltage regulator into the wall outlet first and then plug a surge protector into the voltage regulator and then what I want protected into the surge bar. I've never lost anything to dirty CFE power in twenty-four years.

There are a few things to do immediately you move in. 1) electrical as above and. get your house grounded immediately if it is not. It's neither a huge expense nor a big deal because the tube for the electricity is already there. 2) have your aljibe (underground water storage) cleaned and 3) have your tinaco (rooftop gravity fed water storage) cleaned. 4) have the condition of your roof sealant checked. I had all four things done within the first two months of buying this house. Better safe than sorry.

Relax and enjoy the move. I have never regretted making the decision to live in Mexico.

 

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