Things You Can't Get in Mexico and Should Bring to Mexico

How to Figure Out What You Need to Bring to Mexico (and Some Examples)

Woman sitting on a comfortable sofaThe best advice I would give is to make a trip to Lakeside [Lake Chapala / Ajijic area] several months before packing and moving here. Explore the local shops (furniture and home furnishings stores, hardware stores, drug stores, grocery stores, etc.) to determine what is available. Take a lot of notes. Then think about the things you might need in your new space. If you can’t find the specific things you want to set up a comfortable home for yourself locally, bring it from the US. The list is specific to the individual and what you personally find important.

Some real-life examples: There are high cabinets in the kitchen of our Lakeside home. But it is not possible to find a kitchen step ladder that folds to 1-inch wide for storage with more than two steps here. Likewise, for a telescoping ladder. While large extension ladders are available everywhere here, a 16-foot ladder that collapses to 3.5-feet for storage isn’t available. I brought these items from the US.

Other items I would recommend bringing from the US:

  • Soft sheets and bed linens that have a high thread count
  • Bed pillows that are comfortable to sleep on
  • Some health and beauty products that you can’t find here
  • Comfortable living room chairs and sofas – many of those available in Mexico are too firm or have a straight back by US standards
  • Specialty kitchen gadgets
  • An accurate oven thermometer that is marked in both Celsius and Fahrenheit – propane-fired ovens in Mexico are difficult to regulate for baking

There is a Wal Mart at Lakeside and Home Depot in Guadalajara. These stores are not fully stocked with all of the things that you are used to seeing in their US stores. The same item from Home Depot here is generally much more expensive as compared to the US. If you are like me, I know certain tools and pieces of hardware when I see them. But I don’t always know their name or how to describe them. Trying to ask for an item in Spanish when you don’t know the name of it in English is usually a lost cause. Moral to the story: If it is something you think you might need from Home Depot or Lowe’s, bring it with you. It is better to bring something than to regret that you didn’t.

— David Hudnall