Expat Living — My expat life in Mexico

christa thomas expat livingI was recently interviewed about expat living for the book “Mexico- Interviews With 10 Expatriates (Expat Interviews)”. Here are my interview questions and answers providing some insight into expat living and my move from Canada to Mexico …

How did you become an expat, and why?

  • Why? I love travelling and moving to a new country and experiencing a new culture seemed like an exciting adventure worth living.
  • How? Took a giant leap of faith, sold everything in Canada, bought something in Mexico, and moved! Basically, packed my bags and left.

Have you lived anywhere else as an expat?

I lived in Seattle Washington for several years while doing my undergrad.

As an expat, what is the best piece of advice you’ve received?

Two pieces of advice:

  1. Learn the language of your new country, or at least make efforts to try to learn the language – in my case, Spanish.
  2. Remind yourself that TIS (This Is Mexico)…and things are done differently here than in Canada and the US. Embrace the change in cultures, customs, attitudes, etc – otherwise you might as well move back to your home country.

Best piece of expat living advice you’d give?

  • Don’t bring all of your old stuff. Start new. It will simplify things immensely.
  • Participate. Join something, like a gym, sports team, club, charitable organization — you’ll meet people, be occupied and start to feel part of the community.
  • Dive in, be open, be patient and enjoy. Becoming an expat is exciting, educational, eye-opening and amazing, but can also be challenging and sometimes lonely.

Have you ever considered moving elsewhere in Mexico or any other country or back home?

Back home – no. But I love to travel and experience new places, so I’m open to living in new locations.

Has your life in Mexico been impacted by drug violence?

I feel completely safe in San Carlos. I drive to Hermosillo, the capital of Sonora, at least once a month and up to the US border two or three times a year. I have never experienced or seen any problems and have never felt threatened or unsafe. I was once pulled over by a police officer who politely said “drive slower please” and let me continue on my way. I find that the majority of Mexican people are extremely helpful, kind and generous.

Tell us more about what you do where you currently live?

  • Scuba dive, hike, bike, snorkel, kayak. Work out at two different fitness centers. Plan trips and travel the world. Volunteer with different organizations. Enjoy the local food and culture.
  • When I arrived in San Carlos, I saw the need for English language information on local events and entertainment. So, I helped start What’s Up San Carlos, a local travel guide to the area. Sign up for our Monthly Newsletter to find out what’s happening here and to learn more about San Carlos, Sonora, Mexico.
  • I also develop websites and have a couple of other online ventures.

Would you recommend your current location to other expats or those thinking of becoming expats?

  • Yes. San Carlos is beautiful, relaxed and safe. There’s a large friendly expat community. The lower cost of living is a big draw. We are only a 4 hour drive to the Arizona border, but feel a world away.
  • The ocean lures many people to the area. Fishing and diving are popular past-times. There’s also snorkeling, kayaking, boating and long soft-sand beaches. We have two excellent marinas.
  • There are plenty of organizations to volunteer with. For example, you can volunteer at an orphanage, help build houses, work with school kids and work with rescued animals.
  • Many talented musicians live in San Carlos. You’ll find live music at the local restaurants on most nights.
  • Want to see the top ocean view in the world (according to the National Geographic book “Secret Journeys of a Lifetime”)? Visit San Carlos, Sonora Mexico — our Mirador Escénico was ranked #1 in the world!! It confirms what we already knew — that the “Mirador is also a world-class vantage point for spotting wildlife, including dolphins, pelicans, and whales”.

christa thomas expat living mexicoBrief Bio:

  • Previous Occupation: Lawyer
  • Occupation: I am a web designer and own several online businesses: What’s Up San Carlos; Travel the World Guide; and What is Nutrition? I’m also a divemaster and work on weekends from a resort in San Carlos.
  • Originally From: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • Expat Location in Mexico: San Carlos, Sonora, Mexico


If you have any questions about expat living and expats in Mexico, please drop me a line or leave a comment below.


  1. Marquita George - November 28, 2012 6:29 pm

    your comments are right on! We cruised Baja for 5 years and built a home in San Carlos in 2007. It only gets better! What’s Up San Carlos is a community treasure, thank you!

    • Christa - November 28, 2012 8:06 pm

      Thanks for the great feedback! Yes, expat living in San Carlos Mexico is fantastic.

  2. DEBBIE - July 12, 2017 10:32 am

    I appreciated your information about san carlos! I have been a nurse for 38 years, ESL certified and taught english in Italy for a year. I am a master practitioner of energy shifting and reiki for the last 20 years and in your opinion would people in san carlos be receptive to healing energy work?

    • Christa - October 12, 2017 10:24 am

      Yes, I think they would be.


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