We have lived in Mexico for six and a half years. We have lived in three different Mexico gated communities during that time. One in Morelia and two in Uruapan, both in the state of Michoacan. We have also lived in three homes that were not in gated communities. Just regular homes in regular neighborhoods. Yeah, we have moved a lot. I don’t even want to talk about that right now, although I can tell you it does give us a little authority on this subject of Mexico gated communities.
Personally, we don’t like living in fraccionamientos or the Mexican equivalent of a gated community. In each one we have lived in we have had negative experiences. Some experiences have been worse than others. I will not name the fraccionamientos for safety reasons as I don’t want this to come back and bite me in the butt. But for your reading pleasure here’s my current list of negative experiences in Mexico gated communities.
- A neighbor’s fish pond pump was tampered with. The rumor was that it was the white kids. We even heard this rumor from our friends which was disturbing because they didn’t even live in the same fraccionamiento. Prior to hearing this rumor, I had consulted with the fraccionamiento guards out of worry. Our children were not involved. It was the neighbor’s kids that caused the damage.
- One evening there was a knock on our door. It was a drunk neighbor and his friends. I can’t remember what he wanted. I think he was looking for someone and didn’t expect gringos to answer the door. Anyway, there was some silliness due to alcohol, and one of his friends shouted, “Be careful! You are dealing with the biggest drug dealer in the neighborhood!” They all laughed. I didn’t find it funny.
- While playing at the fraccionamiento playground, one little girl became pushed Sawyer, who was only four. He hit his head against a brick wall causing a deep cut and profuse bleeding. There was also a little boy in the same fraccionamiento who constantly bullied the girls.
- Another evening the property police knocked on our door. They took our Mexican friend to their office and they firmly told him we were living on someone’s property without permission and we had two weeks to leave or the individual was going to press charges. I still don’t fully understand this situation because we signed papers, put down a deposit, and paid rent to a woman who claimed to own the property. But we left after only three months renting the house. We didn’t need the drama. Click here to read more about this story.
- The area outside our rental home was a party area. I picked up trash and swept up a street filled with broken beer and liquor bottles on a regular basis. Brad called the casita or guard shack countless times to complain but it continued. Our little corner was a party place. There were drug deals, cocaine use outside our front door, and teens having sex on the street. Ew.
- We have been bullied by an eight-year-old. It is very weird being bullied by a child when you are an adult. This poor little kid had issues. He was always at our home or in front of our home and I seldom saw his mother. His parents gave him free rein of our block and allowed him to do whatever he wanted. He did not like being told no and was vengeful. Here are some of the things he did that drove us nuts: threw mud all over the front of our house; stole various toys, shoes, and whatever he could reach by coming in our house and taking them or by reaching inside the garage gate; drove his loud and obnoxious four-wheeler around our house doing figure eights around my boys as they played in the dirt; pulled my plants out of the ground in anger; spit and hit our boys intentionally even breaking Sawyer’s glasses; spit and climbed on top of our truck; came inside and stole toilet paper from my hall bath and closet; painted a Mexican curse word on our sidewalk in front of our door; and lied to us constantly when confronted about these things. Unfortunately, his parents did not believe he was capable of these things and did little to stop him. The saddest part is that this same child is capable of kindness and has a beautiful smile. I blame most of his behavior on his parents.
Besides the above, there are some valid reasons not to live in a fraccionamiento in Mexico.
- Gated communities are a pain in the butt to enter and exit for those that live there and for any friends that may come visit. As an example, my mother-in-law popped both her rear tires on the traffic spikes at the entrance due to a misunderstanding with the guard.
- Gated communities are more expensive. Rent is higher and there is almost always a maintenance fee in addition to rent. Electricity is usually higher in these neighborhoods as well because the average income is higher.
- Gated communities can be snooty and uppity just like the high-end subdivisions in the US. More money can make people feel entitled and self-righteous.
- Gated communities can be prejudice against gringos. Not everyone is prejudice but it is definitely there… Like a “Why are you in my country living off your US dollars?” attitude.
- Gated communities are sometimes home to unsavory folks, thus the increase in drug users and drug transactions. I mean why not? It’s gated. There is little more security for them.
Please note these reasons don’t apply to every city and town. I am sure somewhere there are some very nice fraccionamientos where you can be comfortable and content. Some of you Mexico expats may already live in one that you love. And that is great, I am happy for you.
My general dislike for Mexico gated communities also has not in any way diminished my love for Mexico. I could never afford to live in a gated community in the US but I am guessing some of my reasons for not living in one would apply there just as they apply here.
In conclusion, the choice is yours and I wish you the absolute best adventure and happiness in Mexico :-)
Signing off, Tina
Originally published March 2, 2020
A ridiculous amount of coffee was consumed in the process of creating this project. Add some fuel if you'd like to keep me going ;-) Gracias!