Best Places for Expats to Live in Mexico
Whether you are considering studying, working, or retiring in Mexico, the country has something for everyone! Mexico is popular with US expats moving there due to lower living costs, fantastic weather, beautiful landscapes, and high-quality private healthcare, which is of utmost importance, especially for those who want to retire in Mexico. With Mexico being a relatively large country (the 13th largest country globally, to be exact), there are many places to potentially move to within Mexico. So which one should you choose?
Why Live in Mexico?
Before we jump into our list of best places to live in Mexico, we want to distinguish other (excellent) reasons as to why to live in Mexico! While by some, Mexico is considered a not-so-safe place to live, the truth is that Mexican people are very welcoming, the procedures of getting a visa and residency are not too complicated, and of course, the cost of living compared to other Western countries is considered very low, making Mexico a popular destination for retirees and those who work remotely – the digital nomads.
Best Places to Live in Mexico (With Rental Prices)
1. Mexico City
Best for Big City Life
Mexico City (Ciudad de México in Spanish) is the capital city of Mexico and one of the most important political, cultural, educational, and financial centers in North America. More than 9,00,000 people live in the city proper – making it also the biggest city in Mexico.
Mexico City attracts digital nomads who seek a bustling lifestyle with lots of work opportunities. The city’s cultural and historical sides perfectly balance the vibrant nightlife and cultural events going on in the city. It is a busy and fast-paced city perfect for those who like to be in the now and working from many of the city’s cafes and co-working spaces, providing endless opportunities to meet other expats.
Mexico city is generally safe, however, typical precautions have to be taken when living here, such as avoiding walking by yourself at night. Living in Mexico City also costs more than in other places in our list of the best places to live in Mexico:
Rent Prices in Mexico City
1-bedroom apartment in City Centre: $400 to $1000 USD +
1-bedroom apartment outside the City Centre: $230 to 600+ USD
2. Puerto Vallarta
Best for Retiring, Safety, Connecting with Expats
Puerto Vallarta has been a popular expat destination for over 60 years now, making it one of the largest expat communities in Mexico. The weather is pleasant all year long, beaches are clean, sandy, and beautiful, and the city is very safe. It is an ideal place for both retirees looking to spend their days relaxing in a safe environment and for the self-employed expats looking for a relaxed yet a developed place to work from. Puerto Vallarta offers a plethora of cultural events such as jazz concerts and film festivals. Expats have plenty of options for food, from local Spanish restaurants to international cuisines to gourmet establishments to choose from. Puerto Vallarta has its own International Airport, and excellent hospitals, with excellent levels of care. On top of that, Puerto Vallarta is considered a not very expensive city to live in in Mexico.
Rent Prices in Puerto Vallarta
1-bedroom apartment in City Centre: $400 to $770 USD +
1-bedroom apartment outside the City Centre: $250 to $400 USD +
Best for Retiring, Relaxed Life
What Tulum is mainly known for is its above-average safety. Tulum is a touristy place, with a plethora of activities to choose from, such as snorkeling with the turtles, jungle trekking, and visiting Mayan archaeological sites. Tulum is also a house to beautiful beaches with clear turquoise waters and warm and pleasant weather all year round. The town itself is charming to live in, walkable in the majority, and expatriates will find many Western eateries to accommodate their cravings.
There are a few co-working spaces across the city where digital nomads can rent a desk. However, living in Tulum is a little bit more expensive, mainly because it is a trendy city, both among tourists and local expatriates.
Rent Prices in Tulum
1-bedroom apartment in City Centre: $300 to $600 USD +
1-bedroom apartment outside the City Centre: approx $400 USD +
4. Playa del Carmen
Best for Relaxed, Beach Style Living, Diving
Playa del Carmen continues to be a popular destination for digital nomads and still holds the position of one of the best cities to live in Mexico. The city’s location, pure-white beaches, blue sea, relaxed way of life, and abundance of coffee shops and co-working spaces all contribute to the appeal of Playa del Carmen.
Playa del Carmen is not a very large city, however, by being a popular tourist destination, it is a lively place with lots of shopping and nightlife activities. It is also a popular diving destination. There is a large expat community living in Playa del Carmen, too, which makes this city one of the very few where you can live with very low knowledge of the Spanish language.
Because of the city’s popularity, safety, and overall attractiveness among expats, the cost of renting an apartment here can be pretty high, especially compared with other cities on our list.
Rent Prices in Playa del Carmen
1-bedroom apartment in City Centre: $500 to $800 USD +
1-bedroom apartment outside the City Centre: $160 to $360 USD +
5. La Paz, Baja California
Best for Digital Nomads, Peaceful Life
La Paz is the vibrant capital city of Baja California Sur. It has a small port town feel with amazing scenic views, beach promenade, hotel resorts all along and exciting things to do for sea lovers, such as swimming with sea lions or whale sharks and swimming in one of the best beaches in Mexico, the Balandra beach. Just a short trip away is the UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site and National Park in the Isla del Espiritu Santo (the island of the holy spirit).
La Paz is closely located to the southern US border, making it a popular holiday destination for Americans. However, it is not a sleepy town at all! In the city’s touristy area, Malecón, you can find plenty of bars, cafes, and restaurants and happenings around the city. However, unlike other touristy towns in Baja California, such as Los Cabos, La Paz remains a truly Mexican city, and at last, for now, it is a commerce city rather than a tourist destination.
Besides that, the beautiful weather, fresh seafood, and a humble and relaxed way of living make La Paz an excellent location to reside in for the longer term. In addition, the weather in the Baja California region is dryer compared to the south of the country (Playa del Carmen, Puerto Vallarta).
Rent Prices in La Paz, Baja California
1-bedroom apartment in City Centre: 400 to 670 + USD
1-bedroom apartment outside the City Centre: 180 to 420+ USD
The above list our team’s pick of best places to live in Mexico for expats, be it for work, retirement, or just an adventure. Mexico is a wonderful place to visit and to live in – some people would even say – a dream destination. See our list of the best places to retire in Mexico and the safest places to live in Mexico, too! Which one of these cities do you think is the best place in Mexico for you?