Living in Mexico
Ever dreamed about moving to Mexico? What’s it like living in Mexico? We get many questions from people about living in Mexico, so here we will give you the rundown on what it’s really like. There are many aspects to look at such as how the various States differ, the nitty gritty of immigration, how to get residency, the climate, the people, safety, how to make that move, and all the things that come with it. Here we aim to go into these subjects and offer many other tips.
Follow that dream
Following your dreams is what life’s all about. Life’s too short for regrets. If your eyes have been open this past two years, you would have seen on various social media travel sites that Mexico has been the top destination to flock to. Indeed, for some much needed tranquility and head space, to get away from the stress, Mexico has been one of the go to places for a bit of a haven. Moreover, people want to find out what it’s really like living in Mexico.
Fed up with tyranny? Fancy living in Mexico?
Are you fed up with the tyranny in your country? The constant bombardment of corrupt government talking about stats, masks, vaccines, tests, the constant lockdowns?
Don’t you hate the stomach knot uncertainty on what is around the corner? Many people escaped to Mexico for that reason alone. They took matters into their own hands and set out on their own path, without waiting for the government to do it for them.
There are differences of opinion in Mexico too. This is especially noted between the President / Federal government and the various States. Some are stricter than others. Yet, the general outlook has been more positive than the hardcore mandates in many countries around the world.
Mexico’s entry requirements
Mexico has been open for international tourism with no testing, quarantine, or jab papers throughout. They have even recently scrapped their health form. Tourists, from most countries, can automatically get up to 180 days when entering Mexico. It’s easy peasy! This can help you decide if living in Mexico is for you.
Unlike other countries, Mexico’s economy has been thriving (or at least holding better than other countries). Of course, they still had lockdowns at the beginning of the plandemic, however, these didn’t last as long as those in Europe, some parts of the United States, or the UK etc. Sayulita, Mexico, for example only had a lockdown for two months! Then they said, ‘Enough is enough!’
But I don’t know where to start about living in Mexico?
This is where we can help you with questions about living in Mexico! We have been traveling around various states in Mexico since 2021 after packing up and leaving our home town, Belfast in November 2020, two days before the second lockdown.
We had already a rtw planned for the end of 2020, but the cancellations were coming in fast and we needed an escape plan. Before Mexico, we started off in Naxos, Greece, while waiting to make our next move.
Mexico was a no brainer to go to after Greece due to its hassle free entry into the country.
Relocating to Mexico
We will concentrate on the places in Mexico we have been to. Therefore, you can benefit from the knowledge we have learnt. Moreover, this should help you decide which place suits you best to start your journey of living in Mexico.
Living in Mexico – Where should I go?
It depends on what you are looking for I guess. Do you want the bright lights of a city, or a sunny island somewhere?
We will start with a list of places we have been to in Mexico, not necessarily in order. We will give you an overview of each place, from everything to accomodation, cost, climate, local amenities, safety, entertainment, walking ability etc. Breaking down everything like this will, hopefully, give you a clearer picture and help you make up your mind.
What place would suit my lifestyle?
Everyone’s preferences are different. Some like an easy lifestyle of laying on a beach all day. Others, like a location where you have everything commercial on your doorstep. Also, most importantly, it has to be the perfect place where you can find your tribe and where you can be comfortable being yourself.
Compared to the Yucatan peninsula, we think that the Riviera Nayarit is overlooked. Nayarit is a small state in western Mexico between the forested mountains of the Sierra Madre Occidental and the Pacific Ocean. It has some spectacular surfing spots, as well as lagoons, mountains, stunning miles upon miles of beaches, as well as friendly, free smiley faces. It’s only a 45 minute taxi drive from Puerto Vallarta airport and you will be sure to find a slice of your own special paradise waiting for you.
There are only two seasons, dry, warm winters (November to May) and hot, semi-humid, wet summers (June to October). The Sayulita region averages 345 days of sunshine and 60 inches of rain a year.
The rainier season would be in August and September were thunderstorms aren’t uncommon. These usually come more in the afternoon and evening, so there is still plenty of days for you to enjoy the beach.
Sayulita by far is our favourite place in Mexico, due to the fact it is very free. There is a local joke in Sayulita, ‘What is Covid!’
People in Sayulita have generally got on as normal, except off course for the two months of lockdown. While the rest of the world’s economy got destroyed, Sayulita’s thrived. There was no big mask influence, little by way of fear mongering, no stopping living. No wonder we have a soft spot for her! Sayulita is a positive place to start when considering living in Mexico.
Sayulita is far from cheap. This is due to the expat American’s and Canadians descending on this little surf town. For a example a meal out in a delicious restaurant, like our favourite Italian at La Rustica, cost approximately £45/55. This included sometimes a pizza, a pasta dish, lots of vino and maybe a dessert or starter.
However, if you go to a less upmarket restaurant, like a local establishment for tacos, it’s possible to get a meal for £5 and maybe even a cold beer included!
A cold beer in Sayulita was between 30/55 pesos, which is around £1.20/2. Craft beers are more expensive at around £2.50. A vino blanco will cost around £2.50 to £4.50+ depending on where you buy it.
Of course, cooking for yourself will be much more economically viable.
In Sayulita there is everything from high-end hotels, Airbnbs, guesthouses, rental APTS, as well as camping or hostels. If you want to stay away from tourist prices, the best bet is to enquire on Sayulita People’s Facebook group for accommodation. This usually brings up options of APTS with fully equipped kitchens, which will be beneficial for you to keep costs lower.
Depending on what you’re looking for prices vary widely, but bargains can be had if you look hard enough, especially if out of high season. Or if you have a big budget you can splash the cash and buy a million dollar beach front home, as plenty do exist! A thriving real estate businesses will always find you somewhere to buy.
If renting is your preferred option, a simple room can cost as little as £25 a night or a full apt around £350 to £1200 monthly. You can spend much more if your budget is bigger.
Sayulita has lots to do for all tastes. It’s filled with music and art. Many aritsts take to the streets day and night displaying their talents. You’ll find anything from the traditional mariachi bands, acoustic singers, drummers, to fire jugglers and dancers!
If you like more sedate entertainment, you can take part in the many early morning yoga classes on offer.
As Sayulita is a surf town you can take lessons to ride the waves of the Pacific Ocean. Or how about taking part in the regular event of releasing baby turtles?
There are also many cookery classes, jewelry making events, and much more to draw out your creativity. Indeed, there is plenty to keep you occupied and get the juices flowing.
Sayulita is so small it’s easy to walk around. Although if you prefer you can hire a golf cart. You will see many people whizzing about in these, however it’s against the law to go outside of Sayulita on one. Going further, regular buses will bring you to various towns in Nayarit and beyond. There are also taxis, but they are very expensive in Sayulita.
Sayulita is very safe, but like anywhere keep commonsense, as sometimes there can be petty theft especially when you leave bags unattended. Most theft happens when people leave bags on beach while swimming. Have a look at our blog post, scratching under the surface.
The vibe –
There’s a close knit community in Sayulita. There is usually a good hippy vibe, with a sunny outlook, and it’s not hard to see why. Indeed, the colourful artwork on buildings and sunshine weather play a large part in creating the local identity.
If you are doing your own cooking, there are plenty of local stores that sell fresh fruit and vegetables. For tinned and packet food such as beans, rice, pasta or herbs etc prices will be a tad more expensive compared to buying in the bigger supermarkets. The closest big supermarkets, Chedraui and La Comer are in Bucarias, 30 minutes away. Living in Mexico is about making a home for yourself so cooking your own food will certainly help one to adjust.
For medical treatment or dental, you will find one hospital and a few doctors surgery’s in the area, as well as a couple of dentists. There are also many pharmacies in the town so it is easy to get medicines if you require. Many look for alternative therapies and the holistic approach is also easy to tap into in Sayulita.
There are also several beauty shops, hair salons and tempting clothes and jewelry stores when you want to splash out. Bare in mind you will be paying American/European prices.
Sayulita basically has everything you need on your doorstep. Another reason why people find it hard to leave the Sayulita bubble!
San Pancho / San Francisco
A lot less lively than Sayulita, San Pancho, also know as San Francisco is charming in its own right. An hour’s walk through the jungle, a 20 miunte cheap bus ride, or a 10 minute (expensive) taxi journey brings you to this sleepy village. The beach is a good stretch but not as long as Sayulita, and it’s mostly unshaded. If calmness is your idea of Living in Mexico, then this might be the spot for you.
Following the one way system, by car into the town, will bring you pass a football pitch, a selection of small businesses; stores, cafes, real estate etc, and reach the central square.
Maybe slightly cheaper than Sayulita but not by much.
There are several types of accommodation. Everything from simple guesthouses, boutique hotels, hostels, airbnbs or villas. Prices vary depending on what your after. You can expect to pay from around £300 a month (very basic) to as much as £1200+ monthly.
You don’t go to San Pancho for partying, so you may find yourself having lazy days sunbathing or strolling along the golden sands, or taking part in one of the early morning yoga classes.
At the back of the beach, south side, is the estuary/lagoon that supports a wide variety of wildlife. Flocks of birds can be easily observed chilling on its shores, and showing respect to their space, will allow one to get fairly close. Coots ducks, gulls, vultures, egrets among many others make this rich feeding ground their home.
If you are craving some lively entertainment, you will be glad to know there is a performing arts center and an annual music festival featuring international musicians and is free to the public.
The San Pancho area is walkable or you can hire a golf cart. If you need to go out of town, there are buses or taxis.
It’s very safe, but as with Sayulita just keep your wits about you to avoid petty theft.
The vibe –
A more sedate vibe. You will most likely spend your time lounging on the beach or eating some local Mexican cusine in one of the several restaurants in the vicinity. There is a mix of expats and locals, and just like Sayulita, there is a close knit community.
There are a few stores, like fruit and vegetable places to tide you over. You may not get everything you need here. If cooking for yourself, most take a trip into Bucerias to the big supermarket Chedraui or La Comer. In both of these stores you can also purchase household items, such as bedding, electrical goods, and kitchen essentials etc.
There is an open air market selling textiles, handcrafts and jewelry.
There is also San Francisco general hospital, which is very rare in such a small village. Aswell as this, you will find a dentist.
A beach resort town in Nayarit on a stretch of Mexico’s Pacific coast known as the Riviera Nayarit, on the Bay of Banderas. It’s approximately 30 minutes drive from Sayulita and, in the other direction, a 20 minute drive to Puerto Vallarta. It wasn’t our favourite place. We found it lacking the charm of Sayulita and San Pancho. The beach wasn’t as attractive either. This is just our personal opinion. Some people love it!
It’s similar priced to Sayulita. Depending on were you eat. A meal could cost anywhere between £5-45.
You have a whole range of accommodation to choose from. Anything from a local guesthouse, fancy hotels, studio apts to cheap airbnbs.
Expect to pay around £300 to £1200 a month.
You will find the popular Flamingos golf club on your doorstep aswell as a casino. Then off course there’s the beach where you can lounge or, if you’re feeling more active, take up some paddle boarding or kite surfing. There are also many nightclubs, bars and restaurants, along with stores selling handcrafts and jewelry.
You will find the usual stores selling handcrafts, clothing and jewelry. There are also pharmacies, a hospital, dentists and a number of large supermarkets; including the Chedraui and La Comer, conveniently close by.
Since it’s a bigger town you are close to most places. If needed there are regular buses in the area to take you pretty much anywhere in the state and beyond. Puerto Vallarta’s airport is also within easy reach
In the day it seemed safe enough. Although we did see police arrest a couple of local guys one day. Personally, we found an edge to it and the atmosphere wasn’t as friendly. We didn’t particularly like the many grubby adult clubs situtated around.
Set in the western Mexican state, fringing the Pacific Ocean, with the capital being Guadalajara. The state is known for mariachi music and tequila. We spent a lot of time in the city seaside of Puerto Vallarta. For those looking for the buzz of a small city in a beach setting may find this there place for living in Mexico.
Puerto Vallarta is very reasonably priced depending on where you go. A taco at a local restaurant or street stall will cost anywhere between £1.30-£2.50. There are fancy restaurants to were you can get a slap up meal for around £30-40.
You will find bargain accommodation in Puerto Vallarta. You certainly get more for your money here. Expect to pay anything from £25 nightly and above. This usually will include having a kitchen. There’s everything from luxury condos, cheap studio APTS, fancy hotels, or dirt-cheap hostels.
As with any city you will find entertainment for every taste. As well as the usual nightclubs, bars and restaurants, you will also have food / culture tours where you can indulge in tacos or burritos washed down with tequila and cerveza.
For beach lovers, you can take upsurfing, windsurfing, kite surfing or just lazily lounge. For a city beach it’s quite attractive. You can walk the Malécon along the shoreline of the old town heading towards the centre and the Zona Romantica, with its Playa Los Muertos.
Puerto Vallarta / Nuevo Vallarta (The bland, sedate, a tad soulless, manicured condo add on to the the main port city) offers a wide variety of shops. Whether it be groceries, clothes, white goods, electricals et al, the city’s population is served by the full spectrum of small independent traders up to the well know corporate entities. You will generally get what you are looking for.
The airport serves the local area as well as the Riviera Nayarit. Indeed it has regular flights to other parts of Mexico and international destinations; mainly within the Americas. As it is the local city hub, Puerto Vallarta offers great transport links to the surrounding area. It is also a port city so cruise liners and supply tankers will dock here.
Away from the mainstrip and tourist streets in the evening we found there could be a bit of an edge along some streets. As with any city, be cautious and alert when walking around at night. Use commonsense and that should be your biggest assitance to staying safe. In addition, there are Navel and Army bases in the area. This gives the general area, and population, a fairly level head.
The vibe –
There is a lovely atmosphere in Puerto Vallarta in the day or early evening with many musicians and traditional performers. We especially enjoyed the Malécon boardwalk, centro, and the Zona Romantica area for the artist sculptures by Alejandro Colunga, its array of delicious restaurants; set back of Malécon boardwalk, and surf shops. There are also the usual tourist restaurants and bars along the boardwalk, being more pushy, which we preferred to avoid.
Set on the Yucatán Peninsula, you will be spoiled for choice along the beautiful calm Caribbean coast with its white sandy beaches, the Mayan ruins, and the cool refreshing cenotes. This is an area that many would think of first if considering living in Mexico.
In Cancun you will pay European / American prices. It’s not cheap, but if you shop smart, like the locals, and stay away from tourist areas, Cancun can be an affordable place to live.
You have a whole range of accommodation. The Hotel Zone is where most tourists flock as it’s in the middle of the action. You will find mostly resort hotels here or condos looking over the ocean. We actually preferred downtown Cancun. It has more reasonable priced accommodation such as studio APTS, guesthouses, or airbnbs. A more sensible option if you are plan to live in Cancun longer term, as you will have the opportunity to cook for yourself.
The Hotel Zone has clubs such as the famous Coco Bongoor Monkey Business, or you can have an ocean entertainment pirate show on Jolly Rogers Pirate ship. For gym buddy’s, you will be in your element as there are many outside eco friendly gyms dotted around Cancun.
Then off course you have the pristine white sandy beaches to have many walks along or for some serious sunbathing.
Along the Cancun coast you will also have the usual array of water activities to keep you occupied. Walkers, runners and cyclists will enjoy the few miles of dedicated pathways in the Hotel zone for realitively safe exercise. Outside of the hotel zone life becomes more sketchy, especially for the cyclist, as the roads lack a bit of thought for the bike rider. Proceed with caution would be the best advice.
Also a great place to go for some fine dining restaurants would be down at the marina. It’s a chilled out place to be, down by the water, eyeing up all those luxury yachts!
None the less, we are lucky enough to have free use of bicycles and navigate the Downtown roads conscious of the dangers. We breathe a sigh of relief once we reach the long cycle lanes once off the main roads. There are also regular buses (ADO or local) or taxis. Remember, if you hail down a cab, prices will often be sky high, especially if you aren’t a local. If you really need to use taxis, book online with an App like Cabify and you will get a set fare. There are also regular Collectivo buses than offer cheap transport, using minivans, along set routes.
The airport of Cancun offers direct links to many places around the world and good links with the rest of Mexico. This makes it a popular place for living in Mexico. Getting to and from the airport is usually done by pre-booked private or shared shuttles / taxis. It is fairly tied up meaning that it isn’t particularly cheap. It costs about $30 into downtown from the airport and about $40-$50 to the hotel zone.
We found downtown quite safe as we were in a more local residential area. The hotel zone can get a bit crazy, but like anywhere, have commonsense and don’t go wandering about on your own at night.
Being a city, Cancun has a full range of shops at one’s disposal. You can get most of what you need even if some things, such as garam masala, may be a bit more difficult to source!
If you need medical or dental treatment, people travel to Mexico as it’s so much cheaper for private health care than somewhere like the USA. There are plenty of options, in a built up medium sized city like Cancun, for medical facilities.
I (Miko) required advice from a doctor and got referred to an awake doctor from Cancun, called Dr Veronica. I am happy to pass on her number directly to you privately if needed.
Just an easy 20 minutes ferry ride from Cancun, Isla Mujures is an easy option for some island life away from Cancun. However do not think of it as a dreamy paradise isla that you have dreamt off, as it’s much more built up and can be on occasion a party island, more than a sedate getaway.
Isla Mujures is far from cheap. Expect to pay island prices and more in supermarkets, restaurants and bars. A glass of vino blanco will be as much as £5 a glass, where a beer will be approximately £2. It is also difficult to find accommodation for good value for money. You get what you pay for here basically.
You can get anything from a luxury apt to a simple studio in Isla Mujures. Expect to pay around £600 – £1900 monthly.
Isla Mujures has got built up over the years, so you will find top class crusine restaurants and lively bars in the area. For an island they even have hardcore dance parties till early hours of the morning in clubs or boats!
For daytime activities, there is plenty of things to keep you occupied, such as kayaking, snorkeling, diving, sailing and windsurfing etc.
The vibe is relaxed, although a party type atmosphere, due to the heavy tourist influence. It’s noticeable around the island, that money being pumped in by the tourists is often not put back into the infrastructure. This can show in some of the rubble and rust.
Most people get around on golf cart. Taxis are plentiful. They are red with license number on them.
It is a safe enough island. Do what you would do anywhere, just keep alert.
Playa del Carmen
A coastal resort town which stretches along the Yucatán Peninsula’s Riviera Maya strip of Caribbean shoreline. In the state of Quintana Roo, it’s known for its palm-lined beaches and coral reefs, cenotes, aswell as the energetic 5th Avenue with its cosmopolitan atmosphere. It is a party town and definitely a place that some would consider for living in Mexico, especially as it is only an hour drive from Cancun.
Because, Playa Del Carmen is a tourist destination, so you have to be wise were you shop, eat and drink to get the best value for your money. Shop and eat where the locals do, and you will be able to hold onto your pesos more.
It’s not cheap by any standards, but with a good trawl through internet searches you can find digs within your budget. For long-term accommodation you can rent an oceanview condo or villa, or you can find many Airbnb rentals with the all important cooking facilities. Expect to pay anywhere in between £600-£1400 per month. There are plenty of real estate agents if you plan to buy and we can help connect you with your preferred option.
Playa Del Carmen has got you covered when it comes to things to keep you occupied.
You can visit one of the many pristine white sandy beaches, refreshing cenotes, art galleries, or shop till you drop on the lively 5th Avenue.
There is also lots of fine dining restaurants (our favourite bring Trattoria Del Centro) and fun bars to socialize in the evening.
As with Cancun, you have anything from little, independent, local shops, through corporate mainstays, and up to high priced brands. Your money will have no issues in being spent.
There are plenty of taxis willing to take you but the prices can get to extortionate levels. Make sure you bargain and be prepared to walk. Buses, for travelling outside of town, will leave from the ADO bus station in the centre of town. You will have options for 1st and 2nd class buses. The 2nd class (still comfortable) bus to Cancun cost MX$42 (about £1.50) one way. There is about 1 bus every hour.
Playa Del Carmen can be a safe place if you keep your wits about you. Have eyes open at all times, especially in 5th Avenue were pickpockets can be rife. You will also get people trying to sell you drugs. Ignore them or just say no thank you and walk away.
Tulum is set into two parts. Simply the beach and town. Tulum beach is party central, mixed with exclusive dreamy white sand beaches, this is a paradise for those that want to party hard at night and sweat it out on a lounger in the late morning and afternoon. It is very much a tourist destination but worth a look when deciding about living in Mexico.
At Tulum beach, you will be paying super expensive tourist prices. The Town, set a couple of KMs from the coastline, is more reasonably priced.
You really have to look hard to find something reasonable at Tulum beach. It’s mostly fancy resorts. Personally Tulum beach is somewhere were you should just consider for a holiday and a blowout. Downtown Tulum is still dear by Mexican standards, however it is possible to find affordable accommodation to suit your budget. In downtown you will find airbnbs or guesthouses with kitchen facilities. Expect to pay anywhere from £600-£1500 per month.
The climate in Tulum is extremely hot and humid, with a muggy, rainy season from May to October and a cooler, relatively dry season from November to April.
Them cooling cenotes surely come in handy!
As well as the famous Tulum Archaeological Site, for all you history buffs, you also have the refreshing cenotes to cool you down from the oppressive temperature. At night you can bar hop to one of the many popular bars or nightclubs and dance the night away till early hours.
If that isn’t your cup of tea. Why not check out all the best playa’s in the area, or take part in one of the many yoga classes on the beach. Indeed, the holistic approach is very much to the fore for plenty of places in the area.
Taxis can be extortionate here when flagged down. However, outside the Super Aki supermarket, at the main junction, there is a taxi stand there with a price list. This is good for the tourist to familiarise themselves with. On top of this, Many people opt for cycling, which is a great healthy way to get around the beach area or downtown.
Getting in and out of the town, to other parts of the state, is served by the usual transport of buses, collectivos, and taxi / prebooked shuttles. It is about 1hr 45min / 2hrs to get to Cancun.
Again just have your wits about you. Petty theft does occur, especially when leaving belongings unattended. Isolated incidents of robbery also do occur. Don’t go flashing around wads of cash, phones or expensive jewelry. Make sure you lock your bike up well as this can be a target for petty theft.
As with anywhere around the world, some more serious incidents can take place. While shocking, being alert can often help one avoid such incidents. They are generally a rare problem.
Holbox is an island north of Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula. It’s part of the Yum Balam Nature Reserve and separated from the mainland by the Yalahau Lagoon, which is home to pelicans and even pink flamingos in April to October. Living in Mexico may lead to island life for you.
Holbox isn’t overly cheap when it comes to food or drink. Island prices is their excuse, even though it’s only a short distance on the ferry to the town of Chiquila. A meal out would cost anywhere between £30-45. Fruit and vegetables are imported so expect to pay higher prices.
There are various types of accommodation in Holbox, from luxury boutique hotels, beach side palapas, airbnbs and everything in-between. Holbox isn’t known for its bargains, but we were lucky to find a simple Airbnb for an unbeatable price. Expect to pay anywhere between £380 to over a grand monthly.
This is island life so you will most likely spend your days laying on the soft sands, wading in the calm Carribbean sea, paddle boarding, kite surfing or exploring the likes of mosquito island. There are also several restaurants in the area when you don’t feel like cooking aswell aswell as bars or a beach party on occasion. Expect life to be generally slower.
Holbox is a ‘car free’ island, although saying that some locals have cars. However most people get around the island by golf cart, but it just as easily walkable. Bicycles are another popular mode of transport on the island as are ATVs and motorbikes. The local taxis use Golf carts and ATVs. At the port there is a board with the prices to various parts of the island. It is important to familiarise yourself with this (take a photo) as taxi drivers have selective amnesia when they see a foreigner.
Getting to and from the island is by ferry or boat taxi from Puerto de Chiquila. It is MX$220 pesos (approx £8 / $11). Getting to the port from other parts of the peninsula will be cheapest by bus. For a quicker, more direct route, you can use a taxi transport service. Holbox taxi (Miguel’s) is a good option and was quite a bit cheaper than the options in Cancun.
It’s a very safe island. Just don’t leave your belongings unattended to entice petty theft.
Mexico City is located in the Valley of Mexico, sometimes called the Basin of Mexico. Its a huge city with many districts. If the bright lights and a hectic lifestyle are your thing then the city might be for you when living in Mexico. We chose to stay in the relatively relaxed area of Roma Norte and visited the close by La Condesa.
Mexico city can be expensive. Expect closer to European / American prices. For example, a normal glass of vino in a bar or restaurant will cost around £3.50 to £7.50. Cerveza is generally an average price for mexican beers. Craft beers will be more expensive. Restaurants will level simialar to tourist hotspots. There are cheaper local taco houses and street food abounds.
There’s so much options to choose from in Mexico City. Anything from upscale APTS, airbnbs to Simple studios. Prices widely vary between £750 to £1400 or more monthly. Real estate is at a premium too. You have to really hunt for bargains.
Culture and nightlife, Mexico City has it all. It’s home to world class galleries and museums including the home of Frida Kahlo. It has many gourmet fine dining restaurants and fancy bars and music venues and cool vintage stores. Sports, gigs, etc are all available as you would expect in a large city.
Even though Mexico City is at a tropical latitude away north of the Equator, it sits nestled at 8,000 ft. in the mountains of central Mexico, which is why that’s why it’s much cooler than the likes of Nayarit or Quintana Roo. It’s still pleasant though at around 22 degrees in the day.
Since Mexico city is huge you may be reliant on taxis or buses. The metro is another option. Not only is it clean and quick, but you can ride for approximately $0.25. We enjoyed sticking to the Roma Norte and La Condesa area as it was walkable and everything in one section. Taxi apps will help you get round too.
We found Mexico city safe, however, it is important to use common sense, avoid certain areas, and employ the same strategies as you would when traveling in any big city.
The Vibe in Mexico City is vibrant, especially in the likes of our favourite areas, Roma Norte or La Condesa. The avenues are filled with refurbished mansions, trendy cafes, restaurant’s and vintage stores. There’s definitely a great buzz and we found that there was less mask wearing here. La Condesa also has a couple of good sized city parks (Mexico and Espania) as well as the parklands around Castillo de Chapulpetic. You are also close to many of the central city sights such as you will find in the historic centre.
Acapulco de Juárez, city and port, Guerrero estado (state) is southwestern Mexico. Situated on a deep, semicircular bay, Acapulco is a resort with the best harbour on the Pacific coast of Mexico. People class it as the most dangerous Mexican city due to fear mongering mainstream media, but this was far from the case for us. In past years it was subject of cartel wars all wanting a slice of the celebrity market that had built up. Over the last 20 years, the government has worked hard to restore the good name of the city.
Downtown is much cheaper than the Diamante location. A beer example costs approximately 60/80+ pence in a restaurant. (Around 20/30 Mexican pesos). There are definitely plenty of bargains to be had.
There is many accommodation styles in Acapulco such as small studio APTS, condos, guesthouses, Airbnbs etc. In the Diamante area, most are in gated communities and most have pools! In downtown Acapulco, beachside condos and hillside villas are the best places to stay.
Salsa dancing, traditional music, acoustic sets, pool bars, beaches, you will never be bored in Acapulco! Check out the divers at La Quebrada. It is a good size of a city so you will be able to source different styles of life and therefore, plenty to do for whatever your favourite pastime may be. Dive right in, but maybe not from the top of a cliff!
Hot, hot, hot and tropical, with a less hot period from December to April and a muggy, rainy period from June to October.
Taxis and shared shuttle vans (Colectivo) are easy to flag down. The shared shuttles are obviously much cheaper and go up and down the roads regularly for a very small amount of peso’s. If you get a taxi be sure they have a set metre or agree beforehand the fare. The airport will connect you easily with the rest of the country and some international destinations.
Don’t believe MSM they’ve been known to spread untruths and propaganda.
In our experience we found Acapulco safe. As with anywhere keep your commonsense and don’t go walking the streets alone at night.
The shoreline, is set on a large bay, backed by high-rises and the Sierra Madre del Sur mountains. It really is a stunning location.
Acapulco is a big place with a population of 992,000. We split our time in two locations. La Quebrada and Diamante.
We personally preferred La Quebrada. It has a more down to earth local flavour. Aswell as being cheaper, it is also possible to walk places, whereas Diamante is more spread out, which means you really need to depend on taxis or have your own transport to get around.
You have everything you need, such as supermarkets, shops, entertainment, medical and dental as in any big city.
How long do you plan on living in Mexico?
When it comes to immigration, it will depend on how long you want to move to Mexico for.
Visas on arrival
Visas on arrival is 180 days automatically. This gives you a good amount of time to find out if Mexico is right for you to live longer. You can leave and return when you want as long as you don’t exceed your 180 days. Every time we left Mexico for a few months at a time and returned, we would get a brand new 180 day visa. Especially when landing in Cancun, the immigration officers expect people to only want a couple of weeks at most. You may need to explain that you will be travelling around and need the full 180 days.
Staying longer than six months, you can apply for a temporary residency visa at the Mexican consultant. Some people get it while in Mexico, due to the ongoing plandemic, while others prefer / expect to organise it in their own country before they arrive in Mexico as has been the traditional way up until the present issues.
There are two types of residency visas: permanente or temporal (permanent or temporary). The main difference between the two visas comes down to income requirements.
Most expats use up their 180 days tourist visa, then apply for temporary residency, which is for 4 years. You basically renew the one year residence card up to the four years if you choose to stay. After that, you need to apply for a permanent residency visa, which is basically the same protocol; proving you have a sufficient income to live on. You also do not have to wait for your 4 year visa to expire, you can apply for a permanent visa 2 years down the line if you decide you love living in Mexico so much and you never want to leave!
The temporary visa costs around $4,413 pesos ($220 USD), every year.
Residente Permanente card is $5,776 Mexican pesos.
How to qualify?
You need to prove you have an income of approximately $2000 USD a month or a lump sum of around $14,000 USD to last around a year. This can be tricky when a digital nomad, but you just need somebody to vouch for you ‘as in a client’.
Some people we know didn’t get asked to show any financial proof at all!
Advantages of a temporary / permanent visa
Some visitors prefer just to stay on their 180 tourist visa, leave the country, then re-enter for another 6 months. However, there are some advantages of having a temporary visa, such as, you can open a Mexican bank account, get a Mexican driving licence, buy / register a car and go out and come back into the country without having to worry about immigration .
Taxes when living in Mexico
You do not need to pay taxes in Mexico if you are only a temporary resident; i.e. no permanent home in Mexico.
Mexican law permits foreigners to purchase property in Mexico, as long as it is located outside of ‘Restricted Zones’, which include any land within 100 kilometres of foreign borders or within 50 kilometres of the sea. That strict law was relaxed somewhat in 1993 so many foreigners do own land and property by the sea. You will need a fideicomiso; a bank trust which is used to allow foreigners to legally buy land in areas close to the beach or national borders.
Do I need to learn the language when living in Mexico?
It’s not necessary to be fluent in Spanish, although knowing the basics will help you get by and locals will love that you are trying. If you’d like to brush up on your language skills to talk the lingo like a pro, then there are plenty of language classes to see you through. It is definitely an advantage to know the language when living in Mexico.
Serious about living in Mexico?
If you would like help moving to Mexico then we can help you make the transition more smoothly.
- Helping you get residency
- Advice on flights
- Transportation from the airport
- Help with finding accommodation
- Help with bringing your furry family members over to Mexico.
- Information on the location
- Videos of location so you can get a more realistic feel of the area.
Please contact us directly with any questions you may have.
All the advice and information is free and we are happy to answer any questions. There would be a charge for transportation, flights, setting up your new home with the basics and anything else that may need paid for. There is a lot work that goes in to this. Therefore, we gratefully accept donations no matter how small if you feel we have been of assistance.