Updated: Jan 22
When we moved to Mexico, we had no idea that we would rely on so many applications in daily living. We use apps to make reservations for restaurants, schedule appointments with handymen, order groceries, get food deliveries, get money delivered from the ATMs, and many more things. This article discusses the top applications you need to have installed on your phone to make a successful transition to living or retiring in Mexico.
The application that is number 1 on the list and essential is WhatsApp. We really do not use this app in the United States, but over 1/2 billion people use it daily worldwide. It is the number one application for communicating with businesses and service people in Mexico. I use it to communicate weekly with my house staff. Also, we use it to schedule all appointments for things like doctor's visits to spa treatments. Everything is done via WhatsApp.
The number 2 application on my list is Google Translate. As I'm still learning the language, I often need to cut and paste what is being said to me in WhatsApp into Google Translate. This application is beneficial to make sure that my communication is done correctly. It’s also great for in-person conversations when your Spanish words run out, and you really need to get your point across.
Application number 3 on my list is Rappi. Rappi is the next big application in the world. It’s a Colombia based tech unicorn that is available in some major cities in Mexico. Rappi is like the local version of Amazon. You can literally get anything, including cash, delivered on the back of a Rappi motorcycle within minutes. Rappi has so many different aspects that I may dedicate a whole article to its' many components. But I routinely use Rappi to order food from restaurants, groceries, and Rappi Pay to pay for things in stores.
Next on the list is Uber. Uber is so ubiquitous in Merida and very inexpensive. For the first six months, we were in Merida, we either rode our bikes, walked, or Ubered. We did not own a car, and it was very refreshing not to worry about driving. Typically, you can get an Uber in under 3 minutes and go from Merida to Progreso, a 25-minute drive, for less than USD $15. To go downtown Merida from the north side of town is like USD $3.50. So with gas being pretty expensive, around USD $4.00 per gallon, Uber is an excellent option to get around town.
Number 5 application on the list is Facebook. Facebook is great for its many groups. I belong to several Merida ex-pat groups. These are great to learn about a new place. They are also good for getting recommendations and learning about cultural differences. In addition to the groups, the Facebook marketplace is awesome for buying things. I’ve purchased furniture, PPE, wine, and charcuterie boards from the Facebook marketplace. Also, most of the businesses in Mexico will have a Facebook presence instead of a website. The business Facebook page is often how you find out about store hours, contact information, etc. Lastly, Messenger is a great way to communicate with businesses that have a Facebook page.
The last app I use extensively Is Transferwise. Transferwise is a central holding place for your money. They are not a bank but perform the function of holding and exchanging currency in over 60 different countries. With Transferwise, I can get the best exchange rate for my dollars to pesos. I can then transfer money to my pesos account, use my Transferwise Worldpay card to buy things, or transfer the money to Rappi for ATM withdrawals. I have an article that I wrote about using Rappi and Transferwise together. With Transferwise, I haven't needed to have a local Mexican bank in the last year.
Other apps that get an honorable mention are Didi and Cabify; both are Uber like services. Cornershop is a dedicated grocery shopping application. Please join the MexConnect membership to contribute to more useful content being made. Without your support, this is not possible. Thank you for your contribution to helping us make the transition easier for everyone else.
Until Next Time,