Mexicali is a Mexican desert city, situated on the border between the United States and Mexico, and adjacent to its sister city of Calexico in California. With temperatures reaching 120 degrees Fahrenheit or more, Mexicali’s nickname of “the city that captured the sun” is very apt. Due to its location, Mexicali is also a popular destination for shoppers from the United States, with four air-conditioned shopping malls, the nearest to the US being Plaza La Cachinilla, just one mile from the border. The cost of living in Mexicali is much cheaper than the US, but luxury goods such as electronics and the internet, are more expensive and housing is similarly priced. Residents of Mexicali call themselves ‘Cachinillas’, after the plant whose leaves were used to construct shacks in the city. There is a significant Chinese population in Mexicali as well, with many Cantonese restaurants offering combinations of Chinese, Mexican and American dishes. Leisure facilities for any expatriate in Mexicali to enjoy include movie theaters, bowling alleys, and several sports grounds. And the Nuestra Señora de Guadelupe Cathedral and the Bosque y Zoological de la Cuidad, which contains the Forest Mexicali Zoo, are both popular with tourists and residents alike. Expats living in Mexicali are mainly employed in the manufacturing industries and higher education, and by networking on the InterNations website, you should soon find trusted InterNations members living in the city or in Calexico for mutual support and friendship.
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The Mexicali International Airport is some twelve miles to the east of the city, and major interstate and federal highways pass nearby, allowing expats moving to Mexicali easy access from all major southern California and Mexican cities. Public transport in Mexicali gives passengers the option of enjoying air-conditioned buses, or regular buses, which are cheaper. US nationals, or those with US residency, should obtain a SENTRI card which allows fast passage through the border crossing between Calexico and Mexicali. The road system in Mexicali is based on a complex grid system, with several wide boulevards cutting through the city. Despite the city’s accessibility, however, relocating to a new country can be a daunting task, and moving to Mexicali is no exception. Whilst English is widely understood in the tourist areas of Mexicali, the ability to converse fluently in Spanish is a necessity. There is a huge cultural difference between Mexico and the US which often causes problems for expatriates moving to Mexicali. To find help with dealing with specific problems, you should consider registering as a member of InterNations. Posting a question on the many online forums should help you find expats who have, or who are, living in Mexicali and are able to give advice and helpful hints to help you settle in your new home. For more general advice on relocation, the InterNations Expat Magazine, contains many articles on a wide range of topics, and should be browsed through as necessary during your planned move to Mexicali.
Mexicali’s economy relies heavily on the export trade through the maquiladora status of the city, which encourages manufacturing in a free trade zone. The term ‘maquiladora’ originally referred to the charge of a ‘miller’s portion’ for processing grain on someone else’s behalf. In Mexicali, raw materials are imported on a duty-free basis, then assembled or processed in Mexicali before being exported from the city, again with favorable duty and tax benefits. There are some three thousand maquiladora enterprises in Mexicali, including many global brands. Although agriculture is still a major employer in Mexicali, expats living in Mexicali will find that the population is predominantly employed in manufacturing and food processing, and is highly skilled and educated. Mexicali also has a number of public and private universities which contribute to the regional economy. As an expatriate working in Mexicali, you should take advantage of the social network a membership of InterNations can provide. Members are encouraged to make contact with each other, and organize a social calendar to enjoy the company of like-minded individuals not only online on our platform but also in the city they are living in. Whether it be a golf tournament on the Club Compestre course, or dining together in one of the many varied cuisine restaurants, you should enjoy your time as an expat in Mexicali.