When you start downsizing and planning your move to Mexico, you might think to yourself, “will I need this there?” I think it’s a typical thought process we all go through when we move from one house to another. But moving to a different country- well, that’s a whole other ballgame.
You won’t be able to visit your favorite grocery store until you find a new favorite. And there will be a whole new set of brands and stores that you haven’t shopped in before. While that’s exciting, at the same time, it can be frustrating when you don’t find what you need.
It can be hard to know exactly which things you’ll be able to replace and which ones you won’t. So here are some of the top things you cannot find in Mexico.
Vitamins are sold at Big Box Farmacias, GNC, Soriana, Walmart, Chedraui, and other retailers. But unlike your neighborhood Walmart or CVS, you won’t find 20 different types of vitamin D3, Vitamin B complex, or specific brands like Garden of Life.
We are spoiled in the U.S., where you can get vitamins of all kinds in different amounts and with different dosages or mg. In Mexico, you will find vitamin D3 or Vitamin B Complex, but what you won’t find is 20 different kinds with 500-5000mg. You may only see one brand, which might not be popular, and it might only be in a small dosage. Meaning you’ll have to double or triple the dosage yourself and pay 3x as much for the exact dosage.
Nowadays, you may have better luck finding quality and affordable vitamins on MercadoLibre– Mexico’s version of Amazon. The only word of caution here is that it might be challenging to purchase anything online if you don’t have a Mexican bank account. And because it’s a marketplace, there could also be some counterfeit products. Do your research.
Some great stores sell electronics like Coppel, Walmart, BestBuy, and Steren. But what you’ll find is that electronics in Mexico are about 30% more expensive than in the U.S.
For example, a Samsung 4k 50 in T.V. at Walmart in the U.S. is USD $630
The SAME TV at a Walmart in Mexico is about USD $900 or MXN $18,000. That’s about 30% more!
If you drive across the border 2-3 weeks before Christmas, you’ll see one or two cars with Mexican license plates packed to the brim with things they are bringing to Mexico from the U.S. For many, it’s an easy way to make a lot of money selling electronics, home goods, cookware, and things that you usually can’t find in Mexico.
High Quality Linens and Towels
There are some really nice stores in Mexico like Liverpool, Palacio del Hierro, Sams, and Sears. Yes, Sears in Mexico is considered an upscale store. And what you’ll find in these stores are some of the highest-end home goods, including furniture, decorations, curtains, grills, bedding, and beyond. But even in these stores, finding a high thread count sheet set is tricky.
It’ll be hard to find anything higher than a 450 thread count. And if you do find something higher than a 450 thread count, it’ll probably be so expensive that it doesn’t make sense to buy it. Personally, after a few washes and a lot of fabric softener, even a lower thread count is comfortable for me. But that’s your personal preference. I have to caution you that if you bring your sheets from back home, you may have difficulty fitting them on your Mexican mattress.
When it comes to towels, you’ll find that a lot of towels are really small and not these jumbo towels we’re used to seeing back home. The quality will vary depending on the store. But prices are about 10-20% more expensive for quality towels that don’t tear easily in the washer. For example at Sams I found some nice hand towels at
480 MXN each or about USD $4 each. That may not seem like a lot, but you could easily find something similar for about $3 USD in the U.S.
Mattress sizes in Mexico aren’t the same size as mattress sizes in the U.S. or Canada. They vary just enough that your sheets will either be too tight or kind of loose. If you’d like to learn more, I wrote an article on sizes in Mexico.
I never understood why my aunts and uncles would visit us in the U.S. and shop for silly things like pots and pans. When I was little, it seemed silly that they would pack their suitcases and pay for weight fees at the airport for some pans!
But as an adult, I get it.
Cookware in Mexico isn’t the same as the cookware you’ll find back home. Yes, you can find quality pans. But the difference is you won’t find 10 types of pans in 10 different sizes for your specific needs.
You’ll find 2 types, and that’s it. Oh, and if you need a specific finish to match your kitchen decor- forget about it. You’ll have better luck buying them on Amazon and shipping them to yourself in Mexico. Yes, it’ll be expensive, but good cookware will last a long time. If you’re not picky, then no problem! You’ll find everything you need in Mexico.
If you love coffee as much as I do, and you love convenience, you may pack your Keurig with you. I’m guilty of this, and I am not ashamed- the Keurig used to go where I went.
But you’ll find it’s hard to find replacement K-pods. Not impossible, but they aren’t well-stocked.
Mexico as a society is much more of a Nespresso country. Nespresso pods are sold EVERYWHERE. K-pods, not so much.
You may occasionally find them at Soriana or Walmart, but unlike back home, you’ll probably only find one flavor, and that’s it. My best advice to get around this, start getting used to making coffee the old school way- with a drip coffee maker. First of all, you’ll get to taste all the different varieties sold at various grocery stores. And Mexico has some of the best coffee in the world. So ditch the Keurig and get yourself a coffee maker when you move.
Or you can buy a Nespresso machine- which tends to be about 2x as much as Keurig, and the replacement pods are about 50% more.
Specific Dog Food Brands At A Reasonable Price
What about our furry friends? We can’t forget about them! Before you move to Mexico, do some research about the kinds of kibble or high-quality dry foods you’ll have available to purchase. Of course, the kinds and variety will depend on which part of Mexico you move to.
Not every major city has a Petco or Maskota (another popular pet store in Mexico. And if there is one of the major pet stores in town, don’t assume they’ll carry all the brands.
To give you some insight, our dog Loolu eats this kind below. This same brand and amount of food is $27 USD back home. In Mexico, it’s a whopping USD $250! Crazy right?
I love my dog and all, but even I wouldn’t spend 1000 times more on the same food! So, instead, you should look for a similar brand or similar quality that fits within your budget that you can also find in your home country. Why? Dogs need an adjustment period to new food. Ideally, it’s 1 -2 months.
Find a dog or cat food available in both Mexico and the U.S. and introduce them to it. That way, it’s not such a shock to their system when you move to Mexico with your pets.
Should You Bring Everything?
The short answer- NO.
In fact, in many cases, you’ll find better and lower-cost items in Mexico. They may not be the brand name you’re used to but they are very similar. And, it’ll give you an excuse to start over and decorate your home with your new lifestyle.
Downsizing can be a very freeing experience. Once you downsize and learn that you can live comfortably with fewer things, it’s cathartic. But if you cannot part ways with some of your precious pieces of furniture, then I highly recommend hiring an excellent international mover. Make sure you find one that has a customs broker at the border that can clear your items. And make sure you find one that is used to handling deliveries in Mexico.
Our COMPLETE Mexico Relocation Guide gives you a directory of our recommended international moving companies that don’t charge an arm and a leg. And all of them offer delivery to your doorstep in Mexico.
Jacqueline Grace says
I have money to buy a home , I have money to move with an international mover.
I plan on living there the rest of my life. I an an artist and have lots of art supplies, I do embellishments on painted mannequins and dolls so I have boxes of scrap jewelry, I can’t possibly list every little piece. Will this be a problem? I also have pieces of art , many Knick knacks and furniture that I can’t part with.
My boyfriend and I do welding and re-fab so we have many tools. We would not be able to afford to replace these items and I would think not even be able to find them in Mexico. We are retirement age and just want a beautiful place to create art
I have a website where people order my art. I would like to ship items when ordered. Is there any problems? Do I need a work visa for this?
Mariana Lange says
Normally, yes you would need to list off every little thing you are bringing in. And the customs agents can give you a hard time about it if they wanted to. But you’d probably be fine doing your very best to ensure that list is complete.
You can continue selling your art online no problem. But if you plan to sell in Mexico you will need a work permit.
I’d recommend talking to one of our recommended international moving companies, and an immigration facilitator. Both are in our online guide https://mexicorelocationguide.com/guide/