Life With Covid-19 in Paradise

No matter the season, no matter the weather, and now no matter the health status, Cozumel is paradise on earth. But a lot of visitors to the island wonder what it is like here during the Covid-19 crisis. So, I thought it might be helpful to describe the levels of restrictions/regulations that we are under.

The country of Mexico operates on a traffic ...  Read More

Challenges of Island Life


Life is full of challenges every day. It doesn’t matter your age, your income, or where you live. For most of us, we have and/or had extensive support networks in the US to rely on when we met specific challenges. We also, throughout our lives, learned ways to approach situations. Interestingly, though, at least for me and many of my friends, we came to expect certain things, took other things for granted, and developed questionable frustration tolerance. Therein lies the issue for this blog.

Moving to any island is an adventure in so many ways. We arrive feeling excited about what lies ahead and the beauty of our new life. And it IS exciting and beautiful! However, it is important to understand that life here is nothing like life in your home country; for me that would be the US. You have to adapt to a new culture and a new attitude. Very little gets done the way you think it would (or “should” based on your previous experiences). So, here are some things you learn.

ONE: Grocery shopping in and of itself is an adventure. You aren’t going to go to a single store and get everything on your list; not even close usually. For us, it is often three stops – Sam’s Club, Mega/Soriana, and Chedraui. Even then, no guarantees. Many of the products you want simply are not to be found here. You have to remember two things. First, everything must be shipped to the island. That places limits on what you’ll find. Second, it seems that lime and or chili must be included in almost every product. It took me forever to find mayonnaise without lime in it, but Sam’s finally came to the rescue. I’d kill for a bag of plain old Fritos Scoops. Not going to happen except on incredibly rare occasions, which is when I stock up! Interesting that they are in Cancun, but not here. The message here is that you learn to enjoy other products and make substitutions. Or you can always load up your suitcases with items in the US hoping that Customs doesn’t take them away! LOL

TWO: Repair work can be a bit of a challenge sometimes. First, there is often a language barrier, which is why it’s important to learn some Spanish for conversational purposes if nothing else. Let’s say you get past that. How do you know you can trust a specific repair person? Recommendations are key! There is a Service Provider spreadsheet on the Cozumel Life webpage to help get you started, but we don’t all agree on who is the best or most reasonable. Then you have scheduling. As noted in a previous blog post, the time scheduled isn’t a guarantee by any means. I think one of the most important qualities to develop if you are going to truly enjoy life here is this – patience. It is a virtue after all! Getting worked up and stressed out because your needs aren’t immediately met or met within the timeframe you think they “should” be met simply isn’t worth it.

THREE: Taxes and license renewals. Well, it’s not really anything new that these must be taken care of annually. However, you need to understand that lines and waiting are a way of life. In time, or after talking to those of us who have been here a while, you will learn there are better times than others to go to the offices to renew. You also learn what to take with you so you don’t wait only to find out you’ll have to come back! Of course, you can always find someone who will do this for you for a minimal fee, but you really can do this yourself!

FOUR: Many who move here are accustomed to readily available and fast internet. Some of us still conduct business via the internet back in our home country. Will you be able to do that? Sure! Just don’t expect your service to be consistent 24/7/365. Speeds vary from place to place on the island. Personally, my husband and I (who do conduct some business in the US via the internet) are ecstatic to get 10Mg! Our neighbor one floor below us gets an average of 25. Go figure! And don’t even get my husband started on a conversation regarding TV service! We use either the Media Cube (which is becoming more and more useless) or DirecTV Now with the Amazon Firestick. Yes, we want our US TV channels. Obviously, both options are affected by internet speed.

FIVE: Mosquitos! Oh. My. God. I know I’m in the tropics. I love being here. Unfortunately, mosquitos love ME! There is not a single over-the-counter product available on this island that will keep them off of me. Of course, they ignore my husband, which is a source of endless annoyance for me. I have tried almost everything available in the US. I have settled on two things. A product that contains at least 40% Deet, which I hate because it’s oily and burns generally speaking. The sprays and lotions here might contain at most 25%. Recently, I found an insect repellant scarf on It’s a miracle! I try to remember to take it with me everywhere, especially right now. I really don’t want to contract Dengue, Zika, or Chikungunya!!!!

There are other things to deal with, but these are the things that leap to my mind. What is the takeaway? Well, I think there are two things. If you really want to live on the island and enjoy life, you need to be adaptable. You need to be able to “go with the flow” and not freak out when things don’t necessarily go your way. After all, a challenge is really an opportunity for learning and growth.

Beyond that, I would strongly recommend eliminating one word from your vocabulary. What is that? The word “should.” The only “should” that exists is in our brains. It comes from previous experience and the way things have happened throughout our lives. But, you have to remember, that was your previous life! You have chosen to embark on a new life, which means new ways of doing things and new expectations in a new culture. We cannot impose our expectations from the past on a culture that knows nothing of them. We are the foreigners here, and it’s our responsibility to become a part of this new life. To expect the culture to bend to our former ways of life is unreasonable.

So, enjoy the life you have chosen! If you aren’t sure that it’s really for you, try it out for 6 months or a year. Talk to people who have been here for a few years. If it’s not for you, it won’t take long to figure it out. Oh! And one last thing! If anyone can get some Velveeta through Customs, I will be forever in your debt! This Texas girl misses her queso (the dipping kind – with Scoops)! Sure, I can get the little 1-lb bricks sometimes. But, I don’t miss my queso so much that I’m going to pay $7 USD for that little thing! LOL

Hurricane Preparation


I absolutely love living on this island! I wake up every day feeling so blessed, knowing this is where I am supposed to be. I’m sure you feel the same way. One fact of life that I’m not so fond of though is only a couple of weeks away – hurricane season. I even hate to speak the word in hopes of keeping them at bay. However, they are a part of life here, with the season running from June 1 through November 30. That is the time hurricanes are most common in the Atlantic, but Mother Nature does not live by a calendar – they can happen anytime.

As we move closer to the season, I thought it might be helpful to go over the standard things to be sure you are prepared. When it is declared that we are most likely in the path of a developing storm, the preparations are very methodical. You’ll see city trucks going down streets removing the globes at the top of light poles, people lining up for gas (with an armed officer to be sure things remain orderly), businesses and homeowners are boarding up windows and doors. But what else should we do? Here is a checklist of things to have on hand and some suggestions.


  • 1 gallon of water/person/day for at least 3 days
  • At least 3 days of non-perishable food (doesn’t require cooking/refrigeration)
  • Battery-powered or hand/crank radio, a weather radio, & extra batteries
  • First aid kit (various bandages, Hydrogen Peroxide, alcohol, burn cream, Neosporin,

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What If You Have a Medical Emergency in Cozumel?

What If You Have a Medical Emergency in Cozumel?

We are all fortunate to be living here. I think it is safe to say that we are living the dream. Agreed? I know I wake up daily feeling blessed. Paradise and tranquility are my reality now. But is that the big picture?

I know from experience that with my reality is multifaceted, extending beyond tranquility. Many of us would like to focus on all the wonderful things in our lives since we retired or moved here. And we do! What many would prefer not to think about is what they will face in a medical emergency.

If you face an unexpected hospitalization, how will you pay for it? If you or your significant other passes away, is everything in order so that the stress of such a tragedy is decreased? Does your family know your wishes in such an event? There really is a lot to think about! Advance arrangements for any kind of emergency is always a good idea.

I am currently working on a new page for the website dedicated to Getting Your Ducks in a Row. For now, though, I thought I would cover just a few of the basics to get this started. To begin with, if you are in an accident and/or need to be hospitalized, do you have a medical ID card that you carry with you? If you are alone, this could contain critical information for your medical team. There are a couple of websites where you can easily enter the important information, print out the card, and have it laminated. I personally have one in my wallet and one in my passport case, as does my husband. Here are a couple of websites you can go to and create your card easily and quickly – both are free!

Additionally, do you have medical insurance that will cover you on Cozumel? Not all hospitals will accept foreign insurance, and those that do may not accept your particular coverage depending on the carrier. The important thing to know is that you are going to have to pay the bill in full (less any amount covered and approved by insurance) before the hospital will discharge you! I would recommend that you consider getting a Mexican health insurance policy to make things easier for you if you qualify for one. I will address this in more detail on the web page, but you can contact any carrier for information.

Lastly, you really should have a will that is executed here in Mexico and registered. If you already have one in your country of origin, see a notary to have it translated and registered here. You need a will or other final documents in Spanish! Again, I will address this more on the web page, but I will just say that the cost is half price in September.

There is so much more to consider, but it goes beyond the scope of a blog post. I just wanted to get people thinking before I could get the page(s) ready. I hope this is a start for you.

I would like to extend thanks to Susan Beech for suggesting this important topic and for her input on the web page(s).

Getting a Mexico Driver’s License

Getting a Mexico Driver’s License

Let me start by saying this. I know this topic has been covered on different Facebook pages, and the city posts a graphic every once in a while, especially when they are offering a discount. But, it seems that someone (including myself) is always asking what needs to be done to obtain their driver’s license on the island. So here we go.

First, it is not mandatory to have a Mexico license, provided you have a valid license from your country of origin. However, it isn’t a bad idea to have it. This is what you need to do, assuming you are at least 18 years old (I’m guessing you are).

Go to the Police Station next to the Palacio Municipal at the corner of Avenida Rafael E Melgar and Calle 11. When you enter from the park, turn left and go to the last office at the end of the hall. They are open Monday through Friday, 8:00 AM to 3:00 PM.

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Shipping to Cozumel

Shipping to Cozumel

Living on an island in Mexico is not without its challenges, especially when you first move here. There are many things that you simply cannot buy here. That’s life on an island! Over time, I have found that you do adapt and find alternatives. And when you go to the US, you simply stock up and bring things back! However, sometimes you just can’t wait. So what do you do?

There are options available for purchasing items in the US and shipping them down. I’m sure similar options are available in other countries, but I’m just not familiar with them. Maybe one of my readers can share that information in another blog (hint, hint). So, here goes.

Some companies, like Target, have international shipping. I will tell you right now, though, it isn’t cheap! I wanted to purchase a small folding patio table at Target, but couldn’t get it in my suitcase. The table cost $22 USD. International shipping was $70 USD! I don’t think so. Next time I was in the US, I bought that table and a plastic cargo box that I packed it and several other items in. Checking it on the plane was a breeze! will also ship to Mexico, but doing that from the US site is costly. Instead, check out The import/duty fees are already built in, and shipping is really inexpensive. Be aware that the selection of items isn’t as extensive as the US site, but they have a lot. This morning, I even found a cast iron skillet – a lot of you have been wondering how to get one here!

Another option is to contract with a mail forwarding type of company. We have one that we use. We get a US postal address (very convenient for mail service), and once a month we ship down the mail we don’t want them to trash (that is easily done on their website). The one we use, US Global Mail, is about $150/year right now, and you pay about $40 per shipment of approximately 2 lbs of mail. There is another service called MyUS that does the same thing, but will also send packages using your preferred shipping method. In addition to their annual fee, these are their shipping costs:

Budget Economy 7-14 days $17.99 USD < 10 lbs.
Small Pack Saver 7-20 days $20.62 USD < 4 lbs.
UPS Expedited 2-8 days $28.49 USD < 150 lbs.
UPS Wordwide Saver 1-4 days $28.79 USD < 150 lbs.
FedEx Priority 1-4 days $31.44 USD < 150 lbs.
FedEx Economy 5-10 days $31.48 USD < 150 lbs.
DHL Express 1-4 days $31.85 USD < 150 lbs.

Whether you use UPS, FedEx, or DHL is up to you. However, I would recommend DHL. They are fast and reliable. If you’ve ever entered the chaos of the FedEx office on Calle 11, you’ll see how easy it is for your package to get lost for an extended period of time! Also, before shipping, go to each site and read up on what can and cannot be shipped, as well as a host of other information.

As a final option, I find the easiest thing to do is find someone who is willing to “mule” down whatever it is you are wanting. Simply ship it to them, and have them bring it. It’s a great way to meet new people if you ask for help in a public Facebook group. It’s also just a really nice thing to do for friends.

Happy shopping everyone!

Great Food – Low Price!

Great Food – Low Price!

One of the great things about living on our little rock is that you don’t have to look far for great food! I honestly believe that if you set out to eat at every single place on the island, it would take you at least a year! The cuisine that is to be found caters to every taste and every price range. I happen to love the “street food,” but this is a subject for another post.

In this post, I want to talk about those wonderful little gems that only the residents or really frequent visitors happen to know about. I’m talking about the loncherias and the places that serve a comida corrida. SUCH amazing food is found in these places, and the prices are shockingly low!

Loncherias are in great abundance. These are often connected to the owner’s home or in a small local. I have found that some are open for lunch and dinner, while others are only open for dinner. You can easily eat for less than $5 USD! Check them out when you are out and about for their hours. Better yet, post them in the comments along with your review! Typical fare includes tortas, panuchos, salbutes, etc. These are the ones I have found either online or in my wanderings.

  • Santa Maria Loncheria – Av Rosado Salas, between 20 & 25, SW corner of the Mercado
  • Loncheria Doña Chary – Calle 12, between 80 & 85 Bis
  • Addy’s – NW corner of Av 25 & 5, located in the nursery
  • La Isla – corner of Av 20 & 5

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Insurance in Cozumel

Insurance in Cozumel

Living on the island, in some ways at least, is no different than living in another country. There are some things you should consider doing sooner rather than later. One of those is obtaining insurance. We have insurance on our home, car, and medical insurance. The first two were no-brainers for us really. If a hurricane hits, I don’t want to lose everything and be unable to recover. If I’m in an accident, I want to be covered for repairs and any other expenses that might be involved. Medical insurance we did debate for a little while, but not for long.

Let me begin by saying that insurance is MUCH less expensive here compared to the US! I don’t mind sharing that my home insurance is about $800 USD per year, and auto is about $700 per year. Big difference compared to what I paid in Texas! What I’d really like to address is the medical insurance.

If you are a resident, you can purchase Mexican medical insurance to cover you. I know some of you will already have US insurance. It may cover you here, but the odds are that you are going to have to pay in full out of pocket and wait to get reimbursed for your expenses if you are hospitalized. And Medicare, to my knowledge anyway, is useless here. Perhaps you have an international medical insurance policy. Those are good, too. However, I found the Mexican policy to be less expensive and more comprehensive. Let me give you an example.

The policy we carry has a $9,000 peso deductible per incident, and an $85,000 peso lifetime deductible. It will pay up to $50,000 USD for an emergency that occurs in the US. It also covers prescription medications at select pharmacies. So what does this mean? My first incident was the congestive heart failure. Before I could be admitted to the hospital, I had to pay the deductible, which was the equivalent of $430 USD. At discharge, I owed not one single peso. Subsequently, all medications involved in that incident were reimbursable. The same was true when I was hospitalized for kidney failure. For me, this is so much better than having to pay the total bill before they would discharge me, which was surely in the thousands!

The cost of medical insurance here will obviously depend on different factors, including your age. I strongly recommend that you obtain it before the age of 60 if you can as the rates are lower. We were fortunately able to do that. Having just this month paid my annual renewal fee, I can tell you that the cost for BOTH of us was a whopping $3,875 USD. Compare THAT to what people now pay in the US! Filing claims is the only real hassle, but once you get the hang of it, it’s not so bad.

I’m sure there are other providers available to Cozumel residents, but here are the two I am most familiar with:

Irma Cantarell

Cozumel Insurance
Desiree Sanroman
987-876-1483 (cell)

Hospitals in Cozumel

Hospitals in Cozumel

There are several hospitals on the island, all of which are small compared to the US. I am often asked if medical care is safe here. My answer is, without any doubt whatsoever, YES! In my humble opinion, it far exceeds the care I or any of my friends or family ever received in the US! The hospitals are very clean and the staff is excellent. Of great importance to me has been the physicians themselves.

I have had to deal with some fairly serious medical issues since moving here, and I can honestly say that every physician has been amazing. My first experience was in Cancun when I had a blood clot obstructing my femoral artery. Not a good situation! I was rushed over by ferry and ambulance. The arteriologist met me in the ER of Hospital Galenia. I was understandably nervous given the circumstances, but I had no idea what to expect in a Mexican hospital! He was amazing! Two things surprised me during that 4-day stay. First, he came in daily to check on me, and HE was the one to bring in the ultrasound machine, unwrap the compression bandage on the entirety of my leg, do the ultrasound, told me the results on the spot, and wrapped me back up! That wouldn’t happen in the US! Second, when I was being discharged, he gave me his business card and wrote his private cell phone number on the back telling me to call if I needed anything at all. SERIOUSLY?

I experienced these same scenarios in Cozumel when I went into congestive heart failure and had to have a pacemaker/defibrillator. My cardiologist talked with me, telling me what really needed to happen. I did NOT want that, so he said I could wait over the weekend. If my condition had improved with the diuretics, we would hold off. I appreciated the willingness to work WITH me rather than dictate to me. I needed the surgery anyway. A year and a half later, I went into acute kidney failure and spent yet another week in a Cozumel hospital. Again, though, the experience was exceptional. I will say this, though. Whatever the situation, it seems the absolute worst part of hospitalization is getting discharged! You will NOT be released until your bill is paid in full (including any insurance they may accept in advance)!

Be advised that if you have to be taken to a hospital by ambulance, they will take you to the next one in their rotation. YOU MUST BE FIRM IF YOU WANT TO BE TAKEN TO A SPECIFIC HOSPITAL! Furthermore, I have it on good authority that no ambulance can charge you privately for its services. In fact, according to my source, it is illegal for them to do so! Each time an ambulance takes someone to any hospital, that hospital pays them for bring the patient! If you pay, that is just extra money in their pockets!

You will be required to pay in full by cash or credit card before any services are rendered. You will not be admitted to the hospital until you pay. If you have insurance that is accepted by the hospital, you will only need to pay your deductible in most cases. If you use a US insurance carrier, you will most likely have to pay in full and be reimbursed. In that case, be sure you get a facture from the hospital as well as all reports and an itemized bill.

If you just need to see a physician for antibiotics or everyday general medicine issues, you may want to go to one of the many Consultorios that are connected to pharmacies such as Ahorro and Similares. The doctor on duty can write a prescription that you can then take next door to the pharmacy. However, if you prefer to see a physician at a hospital where your complete medical records are maintained, I have comprised a list of some of the hospitals and the services they offer. If you have more to add, please do! Here is the list.

Hospitals in Cozumel