Best places to live in Mexico
Mexico has something for everyone; this includes beautiful cities and towns that meet everyone's expectations. These places are beautiful for anyone who would love to live in Mexico, temporary or permanent.
Ajijic is the most popular expat destination with American retirees. Ajijic is in the state of Jalisco and has very temperate weather year-round and beautiful lakes.
This region has plenty of hot springs, and English is widely spoken. This will make socializing easy if you need help expressing yourself in Spanish.
San Miguel de Allende
San Miguel de Allende is a beautiful town Mexico has to offer and is in the state of Guanajuato. It has a temperate climate year-round, incredible scenery, and plenty of restaurants and café to enjoy Mexican cuisine.
San Miguel is a small town, making it easy to take a walk, even as a tourist.
Ensenada in Baja, California, is one of the most popular expats cities for tourists who wish to move and live in Mexico and be closer to the United States. Ensenada is semi-arid, making it a perfect climate for winemaking and just 2hours from San Diego.
For beach lovers, then Puerto Vallarta is the best place to visit! It is located in the state of Jalisco, where it is just by the beach and is surrounded by some large beautiful hills, which give this town a stunning backdrop.
In Vallarta, you will find tourists of all ages, diverse retirees, and everything in between that is always exciting for all.
Riviera Maya consists of cities which are Tulum. Cancun, Playa del Carmen, Akumal and Cozumel city. The charming towns have attractive beaches, turquoise water, and white sands.
Another reason that Riviera Maya is the best place is the fact that the locals speak English in large numbers, which makes it an international tourist hub.
Rosarito is famous for its resorts located on the coast of the Baja Peninsula in Mexico and is well-known by surfers because of its beaches. This place is 1 hour away from San Diego, California.
If you love seafood cuisine, this is where fresh seafood is widely available, and you will love all the activities you can think of in this coastal town.
Mexico City is one of the oldest cities in Mexico, with cosmopolitan culture and unique breathtaking architecture. Expats living in Mexico City and love city life can move to Centro Historico as it is the best place to live in Mexico City.
Individuals living in Mexico City get to enjoy excellent Mexican cuisine, a lot of museums in the region and also the fun nightlife of Mexico City. Living in Mexico City is more expensive than living in other parts of Mexico, with a high population and crime rates in some areas.
However, the city government has done a lot to curb the city's insecurity rates, hence many places to visit, hang out and even live.
Why choose to live in Mexico?
When deciding where to move to Mexico, there are several things to check to see if they are compatible with your needs. Here are several reasons that will make you choose Mexico as your place.
The weather in Mexico is different throughout the year, so you get to experience a different climate that might be ideal for you. If you are the person that prefers cooler temperatures, you'll surely get a lot of cities to choose from, if you like hot and sunny temperatures there are plenty of beaches that will be perfect for you.
However, most of Mexico experiences constant temperatures year-round. High-raised land cities like Ajijic, Chapala, San Miguel De Allende, Oaxaca, Mexico City, and San Cristobal de las Casas experience cold nights during winter as the temperature will seldom drop 40 degrees below.
Whereas places like Mazatlan, Sayulita, Tulum, Puerto Vallarta, Playa Del Carmen and Cozumel have tropical and hot weather, the average temperature ranges between 80-90 degrees.
Cost of living in Mexico
Many tourists from America and Canadians choose to live in Mexico because their dollar goes much higher. Living in Mexico will require you to spend some dollars, depending on the kind of lifestyle you decide to go by.
It is possible to live in Mexico with as little as 1200 USD monthly for a single person and about 1800 USD for a couple depending on the city, home rent, health and lifestyle.
If your budget is more than 2000 USD a month, you can get a home at a high estate or fancy restaurants, travel to more places, and even get a helper to help you. Your lifestyle here will depend on your pocket, and everyone can have a memorable experience with their budget.
Health care and cost
Health is crucial, and health facilities and insurance are what everyone should check when deciding where to relocate. Most expats living in Mexico can save up to 30-60% on health insurance while living here.
Many Mexican doctors got their training from Europe and the USA and can communicate in English and give quality medical attention while you pay less for it. Most expats get to pay just 20 USD for a doctor's visit, and if you have health insurance, you get paid even less.
What's more, if you visit a public hospital or a local pharmacy for a consultation, you pay just 2 dollars! The significant part is that a whole industry in Mexico is set aside to focus on medical tourism.
Most health facilities offering various medical tourism packages will even get you at the airport, drive you to and from the hospital, and offer a nurse a few times a day if you need one, all this for a convenient cost.
Who doesn't love a good meal? Mexico offers unique, different kinds of food it has to offer with its Mexican taste. The cost of food here is very affordable, and fresh vegetables and fruit are readily available for the expats to explore.
If you decide to live along the coast, expect the best seafood Mexico offers; if you are in the central part of the country, expect more leafy vegetables rich in vitamins. If you love the taste of vanilla in your drink, cake, and sweets, well, you are in the right place and don't forget that the country is ranked 3rd in the world's highest organic food production.
If you love nature and what it offers, this place is definitely for you! The country has almost everything that any adventurous individual is looking for, from beaches to deserts, mountains and rainforests, not forgetting beautiful jungles.
Many expats visiting the place are always amazed by the incredible biodiversity here in Mexico. The northern part has a desert where beautiful hills, birds, and rocky terrains can be the spot.
If you decide the further south is where you want to live, it is filled with a great abundance of tropical rainforests, sinkholes, mangroves, White sands and turquoise waters.
You'll experience cool and temperate weather in the country's central part. The place is very green and also produces most of Mexico's farming.
And for beach lovers, then the pacific side of the country is for you, where you find beautiful clean beaches and incredible mountains in the background giving the region epic scenery to look at and admire.
Established expat communities
There are more established expat communities in Mexico, and being in one of the expat communities will allow you to integrate easily with many people before even deciding you want to live in Mexico.
Living in a different country is easier when you have a group of people who understand your language and can easily understand you.
San Miguel De Allende is one of the most loved expat community areas occupied by Canadians, British and Americans in large numbers and also one of the safest for expats to live.
Applying for a resident visa
Mexico is one of the countries where you can get your residency visa with so much ease by following the proper procedures. The most important part is to ensure you have enough funds to cover your stay in Mexico.
You must also pass simple immigration interviews that are done at the Mexican consulates outside of Mexico that are near you. There are two types of residency: permanent or temporary, depending on which you want to have.
The main difference between temporary and permanent visas comes down to the income requirements and, at times, retirement reasons or age when you are applying. Once you have set the appointment at the Mexico consulate, they will give you a list of requirements so you can do the paperwork needed for your application.
During your interview, the most common questions would be how you plan to pay your expenses, whether you are employed, how you earn a living and why you moved to Mexico. Another thing to note is that the paperwork might be in Spanish, meaning if you do not speak Spanish or need help understanding Spanish, you'll need a translator to help you through it.
With this in mind, consider hiring a migration organizer who can assist you in translating certain documents if need be and they charge depending on the service they offer. Expect to pay anywhere between 400-700 USD plus any other immigration fee at the time but it is worth it as you will have a smooth experience throughout the process.
Difference between temporary and permanent visa
Temporary visa (visa temporal)
Anyone who wishes to apply for a temporary visa can have it for 1 year and later would be eligible to renew it for up to 3 years. After this, one is in a position to become a permanent resident or has to start over and get a new resident visa.
To be eligible for this, you must have the following:
- You must show proof of investments or your saving balance of about 52000 USD.
- You must show your income of at least 3,100 USD monthly.
However, it would be best if you keep in mind that the income requirement might differ from one consulate to the other as each has its conditions different from the other.
It is wise to consult with your immigration facilitator to understand it clearly.
The benefit that comes with a temporary visa
- With a temporary visa, you are in a position to get a Mexican driver's license
- You can be able to apply for a work permit
- Easier to open and get a Mexican bank account if you need one
- Able to import a plated number from a foreign country for up to 4 years
- Able To apply for Instituto Nacional de las Persona Adults Mayores (INAPAM) at age 60+
Permanent visa (visa Permanente)
If you plan to stay in Mexico for longer than 4 years or retire and fully qualify with your application, then a permanent visa is the right choice. Most people choose to go for a permanent visa because their income allows them to have it and avoid dealing with immigration for renewal.
After an extended stay of about 5 years, you can apply for citizenship if you wish to be one. To be eligible for a permanent visa, you must:
- You must show your investment or savings account balance which should be about 207,000USD
- You must have an income of roughly 5,200 USD monthly.
Benefits of having a permanent visa
- You will be eligible to get a Mexican driver's license.
- You will be eligible for citizenship after your five years stay in the country.
- You can be in a position to open a Mexican bank account with much ease.
- You will have a smooth experience applying for a job in the country.
- You will be able to apply for Instituto Nacional de las Personas Adults Mayores (INAPAM) at the age of 60.
- You will have the privilege of discounted estate taxes.
Must see places in Mexico
La Paz. Baja California
If you are looking for a perfect place to rewind and relax, this is the place for you. Many beautiful eco-tourism options available in this place will blow your mind. These activities include beach-hopping, kitesurfing and a fantastic ecosystem designed to allow tourism access to local flora and fauna.
If you are lucky to visit between October and March, you will be able to experience swimming next to whales, sharks, and sealion sand dolphins with the help of expert guidance.
Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary
Do you love the sight of butterflies all around? This is the place for you; thousands and thousands of butterflies migrate to Mexico each winter. Massive colonies of these butterflies stay until spring to mate far from their predators.
Visitors are allowed in this sanctuary and are expected to follow protocols so as not to interfere with the species; some of the sanctuaries that enable visitors to our Santuario de Piedra Herrada, Santuario la Mesa, and Santuario El Rosario.
Huasteca Potosina, San Luis Potosi
Mexico is blessed with many deep canyons and raging rivers, but La Huasteca Potosina is the most outstanding. The Huasteca part of Mexico is the home of the indigenous people of Huasteca, and the San Luis Potosi state is well known for its epic waterfalls.
Huasteca Potosina is appealing to tourists who want to have an adventure and get to see bright blue waters, which give way to colossal gushing falls and beautiful swimming holes that go along with them.
Here, the Mayan ruins remain, attracting all kinds of tourists worldwide. Palenque is located in the deep jungle of the southern state of Chiapas and is one of the most breathtaking archaeological sites.
The ruins of Palenque date way back to 1000 years ago, and it is believed it was one of the rival cities together with other Mayan cities like Tonina and Calakmul.
This specific location is well known for its pyramid temple with hieroglyphics that have been useful in assisting archaeologists in interpreting the Mayan language. A Temple of inscriptions is also found in this place.
The unique structure in the temple of the inscription is the funerary monument of Hanab-Pakal, who was Palenque's most famous ruler ever lived.
Cenotes, Yucatan Peninsula
One of the best adventures you can experience while in Mexico is visiting underground into the mysterious world of unique cenotes found here. The most dominant on the Yucatan peninsula are cenotes, giant sinkholes in the earth that give a passway to underground rivers and caves.
Over 6000 cenotes in various parts of Mexico are ready to give you a fantastic adventure. The Mayan community has always believed that cenotes are an entrance to the underworld, and the place is considered sacred.
Teotihuacan, State of Mexico
In less than an hour's bus ride, Teotihuacan's most famous mysterious archaeological site is a few kilometres from Mexico City. The place was once inhabited by a multicultural society back then, and very little is known about its inhabitants.
The place is graced with amazing pyramids, which go by the name pyramids of the sun and pyramids of the moon.
They named it Teotihuacan or the birthplace of the gods, as it was believed that it was at this place the universe was created.
Las coloradas, Yucatan
This place is filled with fascinating pink salt lakes! Las coloradas are strikingly pink pools of water you can find in a tiny Mexican fishing village that is close to Merida. However, taking a dip in this lake is not allowed, but you can wander around it as you enjoy this mysterious natural scenery.
Edward James sculpture garden
The Edward James sculptures are found in the northeastern part of Mexico in San Luis Potosi, where you see a lot of waterfalls and beautiful towns altogether. The same person created these sculptures as their name suggests.
Tourists visit the place to get to see the surreal sculptures in this place and get to enjoy the beautiful pools found in this area. Dues to its popularity, more hotels have been built around the room.
Puerto Vallarta is located on the bays of Banderas that is found along Mexico's pacific coast in the state of Jalisco. It is a popular destination for tourists worldwide, with a gorgeous landscape of clean beaches you can ever see.
Giants, dolphins, and whales can be seen between December and March.
The beautiful hills in this region and mountains give hiking adventures to visitors and horse-riding trails, not forgetting canopy and ziplining fun.
Museo Nacional de Antropologia
The Museo National de Antropologia, also known as the National Museum of Anthropology, is one of the most visited museums in Mexico.
The museum is filled with enormous artefacts relating to the pre-Columbian heritage of this beautiful country. This includes Mayan and Aztec pieces such as the famed stone of the sun, which is also the origin of the Aztec calendar stone.
Las Cabos has increased its admiration over the last few years as tourists gather there due to its stunning beach resorts, excellent scuba diving, whale and dolphin watching, and lively party scene.
It is located in Baja, California and is composed of two beautiful towns, san Jose and san Lucas. Cabo san Jose is a traditional Mexican town with ancient colonial architecture and a relaxed quiet atmosphere.
Cabo san Lucas is one of the few growing towns attracting tourists from all over, featuring luxury resorts, restaurants, golf courses and a splendid party scene.
San Lucas is also loved because of the water sports that can be performed here, such as scuba diving, snorkelling, parasailing and glass-bottom boat tours.
Cabo san Lucas is also known for its stunning natural attraction, land ends, which are structures of rocks shaped by the sea and wind into distinctive formations, an example of El Arco, where you can spot sea lions.
The copper canyon was given the name after the copper-green colour of the grand canyon walls, which is a network of six canyons that combined measures more significant than the Grand Canyon of the united states.
This beautiful scenery is located in the Sierra Madre. These canyon structures give Mexico an extraordinary view to its tourist who comes to see them in person.
Copper canyons are filled with biodiversity with so many different kinds of trees, flowers, wildlife and waterfalls.
You can also find intriguing rock shapes, such as the san Ignacio formations, that look like humans and animals!
There are so many ways to explore this place, but the most common and loved by most is by the Chihuahua-pacific Railway, commonly known as El Chepe.
The track pass through over 37 bridges, and 86 tunnels, rising high as 2400 meters (7900 feet) above the sea level, giving some of the incredible copper Canyons the most remarkable scenery one can ever see.
The best part is that the train makes several stopovers, such as at the Divisadero, where travelers can enjoy breathtaking views and buy food and handicrafts from the locals.
Oaxaca is located in the gorgeous valley below the part of the Sierra Madre Mountains. The place is well known for its stunning colonial architecture, incredible archaeological sites, lovely climate and serene atmosphere.
This makes it the most popular tourist destination in the southern parts of Mexico. In the central part of Oaxaca, you will find the charming town of Zocalo, where tourists gather to admire the beautiful colonial landmarks that remain intact.
They include Santo Domingo Church, tour museums, a shop filled with lovely souvenirs and relax outdoor café. Tourists also get to explore archaeological sites around this city, such as the Monte Alban.
Traditional handcrafts from Oaxaca are well recognized around the world, and tourists in this location can have the opportunity to buy popular items such as Zapotec rugs, carvings and black pottery.
Last but not least is the capital of Mexico, Mexico city, one of the largest cities with people from all diversity around the world. Mexico City is not just the capital city of Mexico as it is filled with cultural centres of Mexico such as museums.
Mexico city has several historical centers, such as the Plaza de la Constitution, the national palace, the metropolitan cathedral and the incredible ruins of an ancient Aztec temple.
Mexico is the leading city with hundreds of museums, art galleries, performing art centres and beautiful culture of the Mexicans.
Transportation around Mexico
Transportation should be on your checklist to get a grip on how you will get around this beautiful country. There are a lot of ways you can use to get yourself around this country to your destination, which are:
Buses are a good option when traveling long distances, and they have a set of schedules depending on the destination. They are run by the local government of a specific region in the country.
However, their operating schedule is not posted online, and most buses do not have a formal timetable and route; hence you will need to ask the bus driver to let you know the schedule as well as the destination of the bus.
There are buses designed explicitly for long-distance journeys. They are well equipped with amenities such as bathrooms onboard, air conditioning, WIFI, fully reclining seats and even personal T.V.s with movies.
With this kind of bus, you can get a formal timetable and necessary information online depending on the fare charges, distance and several stops expected along the journey.
When making one of your rounds, you can ask for a taxi and always go with registered taxis to be on the safe side. To be sure you get a reliable taxi, always call a radio taxi where you can quickly get their number from hotels, restaurants and even online.
Cash is the most accepted way of payment by most taxis, so always ensure you have cash in case you need a taxi.
If you are in the major cities such as Guadalajara, Monterrey, and Ciudad de Mexico, then you will notice they have a more improved metro system. The most extensive subway is Mexico city's metro system.
Driving yourself comes with much freedom as you can go to all the places you want at any time. For you to get this freedom, then, here are some of the things you should take not to ensure you are doing it right.
- You are not allowed to drive a foreign-plated car if you are already a permanent resident of the country.
- You can drive with a U.S., Canadian or European driver's license.
- It would be best if you always carry your Mexican auto insurance.
- You can drive a car with a foreign plate as a tourist for up to 180 days.
- You must have a temporary import permit (TIP) on a foreign-plated car.
- You have the privilege to drive a foreign-plated car as a temporary resident for a timeline indicated in your residency visa.
Colectivos are very common and are known as micro, combi, or peseros. These are large vans or small buses that take individuals in local communities from one part of town to the next.
You should note that colectivos are not controlled by the government but are independently operated by their individuals; hence they don't follow a formal timetable, and fare prices may change as well as the route of their destination.
You don't have to be in a car to explore; you can also do it on foot. This will enable you to explore places cars do not get to, like the beach, as you enjoy the sand and the breeze.
Most cities' destinations are well explored on foot, scooters or bikes rather than driving.
Best cities for retirement
The most popular retirement destination in Mexico would be the city of San Miguel De Allende, Puerto Vallarta, Playa Del Carmen, Tulum and Mazatlán.
Mexico is very keen on the welfare of its elderly, and there are some discounted privileges that people of retirement age get to enjoy. To enjoy these privileges, you must have applied for INAPAM CARD.
The requirements are you must be 60+ of age, have proof of your residency in Mexico and are a Mexican national or a legal resident of Mexico. These discounted privileges are:
- Discounted hospital expenses.
- 10-15% off at the pharmacies
- Discounted doctors' visits
- 50% off property taxes!
- 20% off discounted airline tickets
- Get discounted hotel stays and so much more!
Taxes and working in Mexico
The Mexican currency is the Mexican peso; their whole monetary numbers are referred to as pesos, and the cents are referred to as centavos.
Property taxes are extremely low; some people pay less than 200 USD annually. The amount expected for real estate taxes will be determined by the location of the house, how old the property is and the size of the property.
Taxes from real estate property are paid annually, and if one pays earlier before the year ends, one gets a substantial 25% discount. Your taxes go to Servicio de Administracion Tributaria(SAT) On the other hand, if you want to work to boost your funding while staying in Mexico, you should be aware that you cannot work if you are on a tourist visa stay. Working with your tourist visa in Mexico is illegal.
You will need a residency visa to work in Mexico, and you should only work with a work permit, so you must get one if necessary. The kind of visa you have will determine whether you must apply for a work permit.
If your visa is temporary, work permission is not involved, and your employer will have to apply for a work permit through Instituto Nacional De Migracion (INM). In case you have a permanent visa, work permission is implied, but you will be required to notify INM of any changes in your employment status.
Overall, depending on the kind of skills you have, you may be able to find decent jobs in the popular categories expats like:
- Teaching English online
- Jobs /roles that need you to be bilingual (Spanish/English)
- Answering calls at the call center organization
The lowest earning that a worker in Mexico gets is 207 MXN which is about 10 USD In a day. The more experience you have in the job, the more earnings you get.
Real estate properties and rentals when you live in Mexico
It is possible to get an excellent rental at a lower price than a mortgage for expats living in Mexico. It Is advisable first to get a rental, then later, if you decide to live in Mexico as a permanent resident, get a mortgage.
When looking for rentals to live if, you should do it physically and not online to ensure the house you get meet your standards. Please refrain from getting a rental online, as most of them might have misleading pictures and information, which can result in huge disappointments.
When buying your personal property in Mexico, you do not have the same rights as a Mexican national. If you are interested in a beachfront property or property near the border, you will get it under a special bank trust agreement.
Getting your property from a recognized registered real estate company is advisable to ensure you do not lose money from con artists or, even worse have disputes in court over the property you get. Even then, ensure you do your research thoroughly before committing to getting any real estate in Mexico.
The most reasons for a lot of expats, tourists or other business men to want to move in Mexico is to have an amazing adventure away from their home that make them feel at home still.
The majority of the Mexican you will meet are way too friendly, which give you a welcome feeling as well as get to have new friends.
You will get the chance to not only explore of the beautiful places but get to enjoy the Mexican culture from the food, beliefs, religion, and culture at large.
While enjoying your adventure and stay in Mexico you can choose these activities that are way popular which include deep-sea fishing, hiking, maintain climbing, wine tours, golf and tennis, pickleball, tequila tour, travelling around cities, snorkeling, visiting ancients’ archeological sites, whale and dolphin watching.
While in the country, you should ensure all the legal documents that requires you to be there such as your visas. Your documents should be up to date or renewed if has expired to ensure you don't land in trouble with the authorities and have a hamble time in the country as it should.