Tag Archives: Traveling in Mexico

Travels with Grace Book Giveaway

Did you know that February 14 is International Book Giving Day? #bookgivingday Mexico is one of 44 participating countries and I have the perfect book for you to gift a child in Mexico!

Erma Note has written a delightful story about a bicultural 9-year old Grace who lives in Mexico City. Her American cousin Connor is coming to visit and Grace wants to show him all the amazing things there are to see and do in the area.

travels with grace

For those of you that are not in Mexico, you can find Travels with Grace on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. A portion of all book sales is donated to Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos orphanage. To learn more about how you can contribute to helping the children of Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos orphanage, please visit their site here.

Nothing beats a beautifully illustrated hardcover children’s book! So today I’d like to offer a signed copy of Travels With Grace to one lucky winner here in Mexico. Enter HERE.

Note: Winners must provide a mailing address in Mexico to be eligible.

Are you looking for other ways to give the gift of reading? You can download bookmarks and bookplates for International Book Giving Day and include them in the books you give today! Take the time to read with a child today!

Be on the lookout for other ways to participate with the hashtag #bookgivingday. Check out the official International Book Giving Day site and see if there are any events near you.

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Overview of Travel MedEvac Insurance

Remember I mentioned that travel by ambulance isn’t a free service provided by the Red Cross? When my mother-in-law was in the hospital after being hit by a police officer driving excessively fast for no reason, she was taken to an IMSS hospital since she worked as a street cleaner for the presidencia (town hall). When I arrived, hours after the accident, she had not yet been seen by a doctor, although a nurse had bandaged her leg and taken x-rays. When the doctor finally arrived from Morelia (apparently there wasn’t a doctor on staff), he insisted that she be transported to the Regional Hospital that was better equipped to handle her injuries. The family had to arrange ambulance transportation because she was not in stable enough condition to be moved by other means. Our local Red Cross has the only ambulance in the area. The cost was not covered by IMSS. It took hours to make the arrangements. When she finally arrived at the hospital, she was admitted to ICU. Her spleen had been ruptured in the accident and she was bleeding internally.

The admitting doctor suggested she be transported to the hospital in Leon, GTO, a 4-hour drive. Again, there was the issue of ambulance transport to arrange. For some reason, the family member in charge would not sign off the transfer. My mother-in-law contracted a respiratory infection in the hospital and died.

So believe me when I say that the universal health care Mexico provides through Seguro Popular and IMSS may not be enough in some situations.

Today I’d like to highlight one insurance company’s policies for US and Canadian citizens while they are in Mexico in order to provide a baseline of what type of coverage to look for when purchasing additional insurance.Travel-MedEvac_728x90_r2

Travel MedEvac Insurance’s slogan is Medical Transport Home when the Unexpected Happens (which of course, nobody hopes for but unfortunately is a possibility).

The MedEvac insurance covers evacuation by air transport to a hospital of your choice in your home country (US or Canada) and transfer by air or ambulance to another hospital in Mexico as needed if you are medically unable to travel internationally. So in the event of injury or illness, MedEvac will make sure you are taken to a hospital, whether in Canada, US, or Mexico, that will be able to treat your condition. This is especially helpful if you are in a rural area in Mexico where the medical facilities are understaffed and lacking updated (or even functioning) equipment.

What about your family? Well, MedEvac offers transportation for a traveling companion, spouse, and dependents to the hospital where you been evacuated in your home country. If you are unable to be air-lifted out of Mexico, MedEvac provides transportation for your immediate family to the hospital where you are receiving treatment.

What about your stuff? MedEvac will transport your vehicle, RV, motorcycle, and watercraft from Mexico to your home country. If you are discharged but not able to drive, MedEvac will make sure your vehicle is returned to you in your home country.

What happens if you die? MedEvac will prepare your body for transport and complete the repatriation process up to $50,000 USD. This may include embalming or cremation, casket, and transportation.

So what are your options?

MedEvac offers daily and annual plans. Daily plans are good for up to 90 days in Mexico and best for vacationers, cruisers, business travelers, students, missionaries, church groups, timeshare owners, and volunteers who do not plan on staying more than 90 days in Mexico. There are plans available for groups of 10 with additional plans in increments of 10 at special group rates.

Annual plans are offered for both 6 month and 12 month periods. The Classic Plan covers you if you travel to Mexico several times a year but never longer than 90 days. The Extended-Stay Plan covers you if you live in Mexico part of the year but do not stay longer than the 180-day tourist visa limit. Either plan would work for Snowbirds and frequent travelers.

As of April 2018, a third policy has been added to MedEvac’s plans specially designed for expatriates that live in Mexico more than 180 days per year. In this situation, medical evacuation could include transfer to another hospital for treatment in Mexico rather than in your original country. If your stay is more than 2 days, traveling companions and dependents will be given transportation to their homes. If you are in the hospital for more than 7 days, MedEvac will provide for the transportation of a visitor for a single visit to your bedside.

There are some things to consider.

If you are older than 84 or have been advised by your doctor that you should not travel, you would not qualify for this type of insurance. It’s also important that your passport be current, otherwise, there may be complications in leaving Mexico or entering your home country.

Additionally, there are some situations where accident or injury would not be covered under MedEvac’s policies. If injuries are self-inflicted or sustained in a war zone, you wouldn’t be eligible. If you are injured while piloting your own plane or canyoneering, you wouldn’t be eligible. If you are traveling specifically to seek treatment whether or not medically necessary, you would not qualify for the plans above. (I’ll talk about Medical Tourism in another post.)

There are also some restrictions which you might need to take into consideration when living or traveling in Mexico. You might not be able to be evacuated from areas which the U.S. government has issued travel restrictions (See U. S. Travel Restrictions for Mexico) or areas where civil unrest or natural disaster has temporarily shut down air traffic.

So, as part of a comprehensive medical insurance program, travel insurance, like the policies offered by MedEvac might be something you should seriously consider.

This information is provided for informational purposes only. Please refer to the MedEvac’s page for current plans and prices, requirements and restrictions.Travel-MedEvac_728x90_r2

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Claudia’s San Pancho Marine Turtle Adventure–The Journey There

While I enjoy sharing my adventures and disasters in Mexico, I never really thought of myself as adventure inspiring. In fact, I recently received an unsubscribe request that said I was boring. Whatever! So when I was given this story and I’m mentioned as the catalyst for the adventure, well, to say that I was surprised would be an understatement.

For the next 5 days, I will be sharing your Claudia‘s adventure volunteering at the marine turtle nursery in San Pancho, Nayarit. I’ve translated her escapades for my English language readers adding in a few of my own comments here and there. Spanish literate readers can find her unedited story following the English version. I hope you enjoy her adventure in Mexico as much as I did!

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My trip to San Pancho to save the marine turtles

Well, to begin, if it weren’t for C. (that’s me) I would not have been inspired to even make a trip alone. She has been motivating me for 2 years to do some of the many things that I have wanted to do. Thanks C. for your encouragement and patience with me. (You’re welcome Claudia!)

Well, for starters it was hard for me to deal with my family about this solo trip mostly due to the fears they have about the insecurity here in Mexico. They are always watching the news reports about rape and trafficking in women in other states, which fills their heads with fear. They don’t have much confidence in me and often consider me scatterbrained. You can just imagine the drama that this trip caused at my house. (She came to see me in tears on a few occasions, so opposed were her parents to this trip.)

Since the moment I got on the bus from Moroleon to Morelia, I was nervous. I couldn’t believe that finally, I was traveling alone. I arrived at the bus terminal in Morelia to get the connection that goes directly to Puerto Vallarta. I got on the bus and I felt nostalgic. A small tear ran down my cheek as the bus left the terminal and I saw my father becoming more distant. This feeling disappeared once we left the terminal and changed into one of euphoria and happiness. I felt so free, sitting in the seat, watching the streets of Morelia pass by, distancing myself from the city and watching how the landscape changed as the bus continued on its route.

Before getting on the bus, I had collected some inspiring music and made an album called “Adventure” to listen to precisely at this moment, which I did. I put on my headphones and hit play to feel the full range of emotions this adventure had inspired.

clau en el autobus

I listened to Owl city’s To the Sky and Galaxies, Justin Timberlake’s Can’t stop the Feeling, Coldplay’s A Sky Full of Stars, the New Radicals’ You Only Get What You Give, E.L.O.’s All Over the World, Smooth Gravity’s Best Day of my Life, among others. If you like, I’ll give you the complete list so that you can hear and be motivated to make your own inspirational playlist. (That’s ok Claudia. I’m sure it’s a wonderful playlist.)

(After reading that, this scene from Zootopia came to mind.)

After that, I slept peacefully, the likes of which I had never slept before. We arrived in Guadalajara to let those off who had this stop as their final destination. My seat companion, who had been female up until now, became a thin, young man whose appearance, the quantity of medicines he carried in a small cooler, and the cane in his hand, led me to think he was ill. The vocabulary he used to talk on his phone made me feel so uneasy that I kept my hand on the pocket knife I carried just in case. I wasn’t able to sleep well. In any case, I dozed off a bit but woke when we arrived. (A knife, really? Well, better safe than sorry I suppose.)

I arrived at the bus terminal in Puerto Vallarta at 6:30 am. I was supposed to meet Miriam at The Holistic Center at 9 am. I thought it was a well-known place and maybe someone could give me directions but I was surprised to find that no one I asked knew where it was. This worried me because it was too early to call Miriam and ask for directions so I decided to wait for a decent hour to call. However, when I called, she didn’t answer my calls or my messages. I started to feel anxious since by now it was 8:50 and the battery on my cell was about to run out.

Another thing bothering me was the strange man watching me. Every time I moved, he moved too. I had my hand on my knife again but then I remembered that I was at the bus station, surrounded by people, so was safe enough. Eventually, I realized he was only trying to annoy me. He had his suitcase up on the chairs in the waiting area and finally left.

I approached a young man that set up tours to ask for directions. He was very nice and helped me look up the address. “Venezuela Street is between the hotels Pescador and marlin, near Malecon.  Take the white and blue bus.  It should have the sign “Centro” on it.”

I thanked him quickly for his help and went to grab a taxi. (But he told you to take the bus!) The taxi driver didn’t know where the street was. He had to ask a fellow taxi driver. In order to see if the taxi driver was trustworthy, I tried to break the ice and see if I could earn his sympathy, so I began with questions about the price of gasoline and his work. Then I changed the topic to that of the teachers and their protests until we finally became friends and he gave me his name, Heriberto. He had the same name as an old and dear friend from Moroleon, and in some way, I felt that was a good sign that everything would be ok. (Because someone with the same name as a friend wouldn’t kidnap you?)

We made numerous turns looking for the address, stopping to ask various people, but no one seemed to know. There were moments that I was afraid because some of the places seemed far from downtown and more so because I had called and sent several messages to Miriam without a response. Finally, a traffic cop was able to tell us where to find it. We continued and had to stop yet again to ask a young lady who called her mother to give us some clues as to what to look for. It was up ahead in front of Woolworth’s, but the sign was small and we would have to pay attention so as not to miss it.

Finally, I saw the sign and we stopped. I got out of the taxi and went up some steps to enter the office under the sign. I saw a woman seated at a desk and knocked. She opened the door. She was wearing a long turquoise skirt and white loose blouse, hippie style like the way Miriam dressed. I asked for Miriam. The woman admitted that she knew Miriam but she didn’t know who I was or what I wanted. I asked her if I could leave my suitcases with her until Miriam finished work.

She said “No, Miriam didn’t tell me anything and she doesn’t work here. She’s much further away. But don’t worry. The good thing is that I know her and you arrived here. How is it you arrived here?”

I replied, “Well, I don’t know. I only asked people and here I am.”

She continued, “Goodness. That’s curious. How fortunate (literally God directed coincidence) that you arrived here.”

She was very nice and we talked a little. She allowed me to leave my suitcases there until 5 pm so I could sightsee along the seawall. When I left her office, I checked my phone and saw that I had messages and missed calls from Miriam. I called her back. She apologized for not giving me the address and remarked how amazing it was that I found one of her friends seemingly at random.

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Mi viaje de tortugas marinas a San Pancho

Bueno para empezar, si no fuera por C. no me habría animado siquiera a hacer un viaje yo sola. Ella ha estado motivándome por 2 años a realizar algo de las muchas cosas que he querido hacer y de las que le he contado. Gracias C. por tus ánimos y la paciencia conmigo.

Bueno, para empezar fue muy pesado lidiar con mi familia sobre realizar este viaje yo sola, por los miedos que tienen sobre la inseguridad del país y de que siempre se saturan la cabeza viendo noticias de la televisión acerca de violaciones, trata de mujeres en otros estados y por la razón de que no confían mucho en mi por ser despistada, así que ya se imaginarán el show que se armó.

Ahora, desde que entré al Autobús de Moroleón a Morelia, ya sentía los nervios de la emoción de que aún no creía que estaba por fin realizando un viaje yo sola. Al estar ya en la central de Morelia para ir directo a Puerto Vallarta y al entrar  al autobús listo para caminar, sentí nostalgia y una pequeña lagrimita corrió por mi mejilla al ver alejarse el autobús de la central y ver a mi papá a lo lejos.  Pero esa sensación desapareció una vez que salimos de la central y cambió a un estado de euforia y felicidad. Me sentía tan libre estar sentada en el sillón viendo pasar las calles de Morelia; alejarnos de ella y viendo cómo cambiaban los paisajes conforme avanzaba el autobús. Antes de subir al autobús guardé música que me inspira y creé un álbum llamado “Aventura” para escucharla precisamente en ese momento y eso hice, tomé mis audífonos y le di play a mi lista para sentirme aún más plena.

Entre las canciones que escuché fueron: Owl city-To the Sky y Galaxies, Justin Timberlake-Can´t stop the feeling!, Coldplay- A sky full of stars, New Radicals- You only get what you give, Elo- All over the world, Smooth Gravity- Best day of my life (Lounge tribute) entre otros que si quieren les dejo la lista para que las escuchen igual y se motivan para crear su propia lista también.

Después de eso, dormí tan tranquila y en paz como nunca antes.  Al llegar a Guadalajara para hacer la parada para quienes tenía que llegar a ese destino; mi compañera se transformó en compañero, un joven adulto, delgado y enfermo por su apariencia y la cantidad de medicinas que cargaba en su pequeña hielera y el bastón en su mano. No me daba mucha confianza por el vocabulario que usaba al hablar por teléfono. Incluso guarde a la mano la navaja que llevaba conmigo por si acaso. Jeje. Ya no pude dormir, pero ya estábamos llegando cuando desperté de mi media siesta.

Llegué a la central de Puerto Vallarta y eran las 6:30 am. La única referencia que tenía del lugar dónde me vería con Miriam era “El centro Holístico”  a las 9:00 am. Pensaba que era un lugar conocido y que tal vez alguien podría darme dirección si preguntaba pero para mi sorpresa nadie sabía siquiera lo que era. Eso me preocupó bastante porque era muy pronto como para marcarle a Miriam y pedir dirección, así que decidí esperar a que fuera una hora decente en la que ella ya estuviera despierta para preguntarle; sin embargo pasado el tiempo de espera, no respondía mis mensajes ni llamadas. Ya desesperada por hacer algo porque ya faltaban unos 10 minutos para las 9:00 y mis baterías de celular estaban por agotarse.

Otra frustración que tenía es que había un hombre extraño vigilándome, cada vez que cambiaba de lugar también lo hacía y no dejaba de verme, tenía nuevamente lista mi navaja pero recordé que estaba en la central y no dejaría de haber gente en el lugar, así que estaba segura; hasta que finalmente me di cuenta que sólo estaba enfadado y tenía su propia maleta en las sillas de espera y se fue, jeje.

Finalmente ya cercano a las 9:00 me acerqué a preguntar a un joven que programaba tours y muy amablemente me ayudo a buscar una dirección. “Calle Venezuela; entre los hoteles Pescador y Marlín, cerca del Malecón, toma el camión blanco con azul debe tener el letrero de *Centro* “

Agradecí su ayuda y rápidamente salí por taxi y para colmo el taxista no sabía dónde quedaba la calle hasta que un compañero suyo le dijo por dónde estaba fue que partimos al fin de la central. Para ver si era confiable el taxista, quise romper el hielo y ver si me ganaba la simpatía del taxista, empecé con preguntas acerca del precio de la gasolina y sobre su trabajo, después se cambió el tema sobre los maestros y su lucha hasta que finalmente hicimos amistad y me dio su nombre: Heriberto, jeje qué simpático que se llamara como un viejo y querido amigo de Moroleón, de cierta manera sentí como buena señal de que todo estaba bien. Dimos tantas vueltas buscando el dichoso lugar sin dar con él, preguntamos a varias personas y nadie sabía nada; hubo momentos en los que sentía miedo por algunos lugares que parecían estar lejanos del centro y más porque había mando mensajes y marcado varias veces al teléfono de Miriam sin ninguna contestación, hasta que más adelante había un tipo tránsito y por fin nos dijo por dónde podíamos encontrar el dichoso lugar, continuamos y nos detuvimos a preguntar nuevamente a una joven que llamó a su mamá para que nos diera pista de que estábamos cerca, más adelante en el edificio de “Wool Worth” dijo, pero nos advirtió que el letrero era pequeño así que debíamos poner atención.

Y por fin vi el letrero y paramos. Bajé del taxi y subí por unas escaleras para llegar a la oficina donde estaba el letrero, vi una mujer sentada en un escritorio y toque la puerta. Abrió la puerta, observé estaba vestida con falda larga color azul Turquesa y blusa Blanca holgada, tipo hippie o del estilo que usa Miriam y le pregunté por ella, acertó que la conocía, pero tenía duda de quién era y que quería. Nuevamente pregunté si sabía que iba a dejarle mis maletas mientras ella se desocupaba de trabajar.

“No, no me dijo nada y ella no trabaja aquí, es mucho más lejos. Pero no te preocupes, lo bueno es que la conozco y llegaste conmigo. ¿Por cierto cómo llegaste hasta aquí?- Pues no sé, sólo preguntando a la gente.- ¡Vaya! Qué curioso, de verdad tenías que llegar aquí, qué genial Diosicidencia.” Ella fue muy amable conmigo y platicamos un poco y me permitió dejar las maletas hasta las 5:00 pm para poder turistear por el malecón.  Cuando salí de su oficina, revisé mi celular y ya tenía mensajes y llamadas perdidas de Miriam y nuevamente me marcó disculpándose por no darme una dirección y también quedar asombrada por cómo había dado con una muy amiga suya al azar.

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