5+ Years Living in Split: Expat Eric del Castillo from Mexico City

Daniela Rogulj

Updated on:

Žaklina Antonijević
Žaklina Antonijević

Two idyllic weeks on a Croatian beach is very different from the realities of full-time living. So what is it really like to live in Croatia as an expat? In a new series on TCN, we meet expats who have lived here for 5 years or more, to find out from them the good, the bad, and the ugly of 12-month living in Croatia. Next up, Eric del Castillo from Mexico City!

1. Tell us firstly how you came to Croatia? What motivated you to choose this slice of paradise and how long have you now been here?

It’s a long story, but starts in Sausalito, California. In 1996, I was at an artistic residency at The Headlands Center for the Arts. There I met Neli Ružić an artist from Split and I fell in love with her at the first moment. A year later I visited Split for the first time when Luka was born, the following year Neli and Luka visited Mexico, and a year later I returned to Split for them and we went to live in Mexico. Pablo was born in Mexico City and we lived there for 13 years. At a hearing in the summer of 2010, we decided to move and live in Split, after two years of preparations we finally arrived in Split in 2012. Now we have almost 10 years living here.

2. Looking back, what were your perceptions and expectations?

From 1997 to 2010, I saw a great change in the infrastructure and the economy of the country and good quality of life. However, in Mexico, the so-called war against drugs began and violence and insecurity grew up. Our expectation was to offer our children a much safer and healthier environment. Every day I confirm that we were not wrong and that we made the right decision.


And of course, language is an issue, but malo po malo. I’m doing better and already I got my permanent residency.

3. After 10 years here, how have those perceptions changed. Do you now view Croatia differently?

There is no perfect place, as everywhere there is bureaucracy, corruption, lack of budget, legal gaps, poverty, and inequality. But I think that these are things that are much easier to solve in a country of 4 million than in others of 130 million.

4. After your time year, the 3 things you love most about Croatia?

The art scene and the artistic community, it’s a very supportive group and I’ve made great friends, they are amazing people.

The food and the good quality and freshness of local products, and of course the extraordinary good weather.


5. And the 3 things you would like to change.

A more open society

Simplicity in government office services, meaning less bureaucracy and more digital services.

To have in the old town center a digital fiber-optic network.

A better system and more awareness on separation and recycling of waste disposals.

6. Given your experiences, what advice would you give to any would-be expat thinking of making the move?

Split is a fascinating city, with great history. Very safe and easy to access and move around, everything is relatively close. For me, it is a source of inspiration and in every corner, I always find extraordinary details, with so many layers of history one above another, it is like a visual palimpsest.


7. The most beautiful place in Croatia, and why?

I couldn’t mention just one there are lots of them: I love the cities of Split and Zagreb, the landscapes, the sea, and the islands. Nature is incredibly beautiful in Croatia.

8. Your favourite moment of your time in Croatia?

There are many moments that I have really treasured. Christmas is one of the few dates that we can all be together. When I have exhibitions, I had several exhibitions in split and Zagreb.

When we receive family and friends from Mexico, the house is always open to receive visitors.

Summer In Šolta, we are there a big part of summer and we spend all the time in nature.

I always have lots of work to do there, taking care of the garden and plants, trying to plant and develop my avocado trees, for now, I haven’t succeeded, improving year by year the technique of suho zid, and of course, always creating some artwork. 


Learn more about Eric here: 



instagram: eric.delcastillo


Are you an expat who would like to be featured in this series? If yes, please contact [email protected] Subject Expat

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated lifestyle section.


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