Are you looking for the best places to live in Mexico? We totally understand. It has never been easier to relocate to a new destination (hello, digital nomads!), and Mexico — with its beautiful weather, mouth-watering food and smiling faces — is a fantastic choice. The advice here comes from a trustworthy place, because for the last two years I have called Mexico my home.
I should point out that vacationing in Mexico is very different from living here. When looking for a place to move, think less about holiday plans and more about your everyday lifestyle. Will you be working? Studying abroad? Do you prefer a buzzing metropolis or a relaxing beachside town?
With these considerations in mind, let’s brush up on our Spanish and explore the top places to live in Mexico.
If you’re looking for the ideal place to raise a family, look no further. Located in the state of Yucatán, Mérida is one of the safest and most affordable cities in all of Mexico. Though it boasts all the amenities of a major metropolis, Mérida’s small size makes it easy to navigate by foot or bike.
Colorful colonial streets, a relaxed vibe and kind people contribute to Mérida’s distinctive charm. And if you’re ever in need of a weekend getaway, you’ll be close to lovely beach towns and ancient Mayan ruins like Dzibilchaltun.
Bonus points? This is one of the best cities in Mexico to call home if you’re looking to learn or practice Spanish. The population generally doesn’t speak as much English as in other tourist-friendly locales.
Keep in mind that the weather stays hot (very hot!) all year round in Mérida.
2. San Miguel de Allende
Searching for stunning colonial architecture? This UNESCO World Heritage site will leave you speechless.
San Miguel de Allende is located in the central Mexican state of Guanajuato, the birthplace of Diego Rivera and the setting for key moments in Mexico’s political and cultural history. This small town is bursting with picturesque cafés, art galleries and winding streets — all of which you can explore on foot during countless sunny days. Are you a retiree or digital nomad looking for a relaxed, yet lively place? San Miguel is for you.
Unsurprisingly, San Miguel has earned a reputation as one of expats’ top places to live in Mexico. This has opened the floodgate to international businesses and even schools, but it has also made San Miguel more expensive than the average Mexican town or city.
Guadalajara (GDL) is the capital of the coastal state of Jalisco. As the second-largest city in the country, it’s one of the best places to move in Mexico if you want to live it up without paying Mexico City prices.
GDL is home to prestigious universities (UDG and Tec de Monterrey), museums, bars, restaurants, parks and some of the best street food in the country. In recent years, Guadalajara has emerged as the country’s Silicon Valley, which makes it a popular international business hub for young tech professionals.
GDL offers a diverse urban environment, with bustling areas and quiet districts alike. Oh, and according to TimeOut, it’s home to the world’s coolest neighborhood: Colonia Americana.
Other advantages include its proximity to gorgeous surf spots and great private healthcare. Any downsides? The city is difficult to navigate without a car, as its public transportation remains inefficient.
4. Puerto Escondido
Embedded in the southern state of Oaxaca, this port town exudes Mexican authenticity. With its laid-back atmosphere, it’s one of the best places to move in Mexico if you’re looking for a family-friendly beach life and boho vibes.
Puerto Escondido’s tropical weather, vibrant markets, delicious seafood and ample surfing opportunities appeal to many. So it’s not surprising that the town has developed all the services necessary to cater to tourists and expats, including an international airport. (Just beware that the internet may not be the fastest at the beach.)
It’s good to note that, if you relocate to Puerto Escondido, it’s best to plan your move during the low season. Rental rates during the high season can double.
5. Mexico City
The capital city of Mexico is a metropolis like no other. Whether you’re a retiree, a student or a professional, this city will have something for you. From parks to tree-lined streets, Ciudad de México (CDMX) is one of the greenest capital cities in the world.
CDMX has some of the hippest neighborhoods in Latin America (like La Roma), the best university in the country (UNAM) and an historic downtown (El Centro). And it’s refreshingly easy to get around, with efficient bike lanes on main thoroughfares and a city bike-sharing program. Throw in world-famous restaurants, incredible street food and great transport connections to the surrounding regions, and you’ll find that “bored” is a word that doesn’t exist in Mexico City. Especially for folks in the LGBTQ+ community, like myself, this cosmopolitan city is an obvious choice.
As expected, this is one of the best cities in Mexico to live for expats and Mexicans alike. This means that gentrification has driven costs up for locals. The effect of a recent boom in foreigners resettling in CDMX (specifically U.S. Americans and Europeans) has also altered the target market of local businesses. To offset these negative effects, here are some tips to follow:
- Research the local real estate market to avoid paying above-market prices.
- Shop at local markets, stores and street vendors.
- Avoid patronizing restaurants known to exploit workers.
- Try to speak Spanish in your daily interactions.
Since the city is becoming more international by the minute, it’s a good idea to enroll in Spanish lessons or find a tutor so you can practice your Spanish and become comfortable in conversations.
How can I move to Mexico?
These are some of the avenues you can follow to obtain a Mexican residence permit:
- Join a close family member.
- Find a job in Mexico.
- Study in Mexico.
- Demonstrate “economic solvency.” This is proven by a minimum monthly income, savings/investment balances, or a certain value of a purchased property or capital investment in Mexico.
For details, contact your area’s Mexican consulate.
You now know some of the best places to live in Mexico — even if you’re only ready to visit! Whether you’re looking for a relaxed surfers’ haven, an exciting metropolis, a small city or a delightful colonial town, you now have some pointers and advice. So, pack your bags and get ready to explore one of the most spectacular countries in the world. ¡Vámonos (let’s go)!
Alison Maciejewski Cortez es una chilena-estadounidense que nació y creció en California. Ha estudiado en España y vivido en varios países, y por el momento ha encontrado un hogar en México. Alison cree, firmemente, que al aprender a ordenar una cerveza en el idioma de un nuevo lugar, puedes descubrir mucho sobre su cultura. Habla inglés, español y tailandés con fluidez, y hoy estudia los idiomas checo y turco. Además, tiene un negocio de consultoría que la lleva a viajar por todo el mundo, y está muy emocionada de ser parte del equipo de Lingoda y compartir tips para aprender nuevas lenguas. Sigue sus aventuras culinarias y culturales en su cuenta de Twitter.