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Resort Work in Mexico

By Elena Switzer

At all-inclusive resorts located throughout Mexico teams of young people--known as "G.O.s" in Club Med--are the energetic core of everything that goes on. The resorts hire both Mexicans and foreigners, and will arrange for all legal working papers once you are hired.

To get the job, certain skills may be helpful. (I was hired for my diving experience and taught scuba diving for eight months at Maeva, a resort in Puerto Vallarta.) But even if you don't have a particular skill, don't worry--the basic requirements are to be energetic, outgoing, and willing to work hard and have fun. Knowing at least some Spanish (or another language) is a plus, but not a requirement. You will have plenty of opportunities to learn Spanish in the course of your time there, and all activities at the resorts are conducted in both English and Spanish (and sometimes French and German as well).

Work schedules typically entail long hours, with obligations ranging from coordinating sports events, to providing information and assistance to hotel guests, to performing in nightly shows. Depending on the resort, you may have one or more days off a week. Salaries (usually paid in pesos) range from $200 to $600 a month. A typical contract is for six months, and many resorts pay roundtrip transportation expenses if you are hired from the U.S. Most of the companies have resorts throughout the world; after completing your initial contract you may be able to relocate.

Since room and board are provided, you can save most of your earnings. Some companies include benefits such as access to medical care or insurance and opportunities to travel with the company on promotional trips.

Since most of the resorts have guests from many different countries, you get to meet and make friends with people from around the world. In addition, the staff itself is generally an international mix. For me, the best part of the job was working alongside Mexicans and exploring the town of Puerto Vallarta and the surrounding areas on my days off. I saved most of my earnings and used the money to travel in Mexico for two months after I completed my contract.

Because average turnover is six months to one year, jobs are available year round. Some companies interview over the phone; others, like Club Med, conduct biannual interviews in the U.S. Send your resume even if no positions are available. Hiring often comes from filed resumes. Another option is to work on an "au pair" arrangement--working in exchange for room and board and without a contract. Above all, be persistent and patient. And be prepared: if you are offered a job you will likely be expected to start immediately.

Where to Apply

Some companies hire through the corporate or U.S. office; some hire through individual hotels.

Club Med G.O. Hotline: 212-755-6458.

Maeva Resorts, Darwin 142, Col. Nueva Anzures, Mexico D.F. 11560; 011-52-5-227-0245 (in Mexico), 800-GO-MAEVA or fax 511-5013.

Allegro Resorts (Diamond and Caribbean Village), Tiradentes #33, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic; 011-809-563-5565. Contact: Orselina De los Santos.

Crown Princess Club, Blvd. Kukulcan km. 18.5 Zona Hotelera, Cancun, Q. Roo 77500, Mexico.

Royal Solaris, Blvd. Kukulcan km. 20.5 Zona Hotelera, Cancun, Q. Roo 77500, Mexico.

Presidente Hotels: 800-447-6147, fax 800-327-7730.

Palace Resorts, 520 Brickell Key Dr., Suite 205, Miami, FL 33131; 800-346-8225.

Jack Tar Village, 5949 Sherry Lane, Suite 1800, Dallas, TX 75225; 800-999-9182.

Vista Club, P.O. Box 92000, Los Angeles, CA 90009; 800-882-8215.

ELENA SWITZER writes from Peachtree City, GA. Last year she worked and lived in Mexico.