Even before many people gave up their office jobs or switched to a completely remote lifestyle, Mexico was one of the first places where digital nomads and retirees could resettle. Given the colorful culture, beautiful beaches and breathtaking mountains that the country has to offer, it is no wonder that so many people emigrate here.
I have been living in Mexico for more than two years and I can honestly say that I would prefer not to call home anywhere else. Although I still identify as a nomad, Mexico is my permanent home for the near future.
Here are my top recommendations for destinations in Mexico that are especially ideal for foreigners like me who hope to settle here.
But first, what makes Mexico a great place to live?
I will start with a reminder that not all cities and towns in this vast country are the same. There is a wide range of different places to visit in Mexico, each with its own peculiarities, challenges and advantages. Although I and many foreigners enjoy living here, I must also recognize that living in Mexico is not everyone’s cup of tea. Some people find the slow pace of life, frequent stomach aches, the language barrier and other challenges overwhelming.
However, even with the disadvantages, I think Mexico is a great place to live as a foreigner. In general, Mexican nationals are warm and welcoming, especially for those who at least try to speak Spanish and/or the local indigenous language. I have never been anywhere where people have embraced me more like their own family than in Mexico. It’s a beautiful, sacred thing to feel.
Another big plus is the food. Oh, my God, the food. It is fresh, tasty and sometimes surprising. It doesn’t look like the Tex-Mex you find in the US and elsewhere. There is no comparison.
Last but not least, the landscape! From the white and sandy coasts of the Caribbean to the volcanic peaks and everything in between, Mexico has beautiful natural areas that take my breath away.
Anyway, this is not a list of reasons why you should live here, so let’s move on to the best places to live in Mexico:
The best places to live by the sea in Mexico
1. La Paz, Baja California Sur
When it comes to beaches with crystal clear waters shallow enough for you to wade for miles, Balandra Beach may be reason enough to entice you to move to La Paz in Baja California Sur. With the Sea of Cortez waiting for you, you will be happy to end your days with a walk on the malecón (promenade) to admire a radiant sunset for which La Paz is known.
In addition to the sea views and quiet beaches, La Paz has the reputation of being a great place to live because it is relatively safe; has a cosmopolitan atmosphere, with people from all over the world; and a high standard of living for a fraction of what it costs to live in the United States, Canada or Europe.
La Paz is also very well located for exploring Baja California Sur, including destinations such as the pueblo mágico (Magic Town) of Todos Santos, which has charming cobbled streets that wind along the coast.
A disadvantage of La Paz is the extremely high temperatures from July to October, with high temperatures reaching almost 100 degrees. Meanwhile, locals tend to adjust their daily schedules to avoid being outside in the afternoon heat. If you don’t mind doing it, then you’re a good fit.
2. Inexpensive Flights To Puerto Escondido, Mexico
Puerto Escondido is a great place to move if you are young, or at least young at heart. The surf culture is strong here, and you’ll find that an overwhelming majority of visitors are in hot spots like La Punta in their twenties and early thirties.
Sure, it’s a great destination for spring break, but the rest of the year in Puerto is pretty laid back and quiet. This sleepy town was much further off the tourist radar than it is now, but it still maintains a calm atmosphere and is safe for foreigners.
If you are a beach lover, Puerto may be for you due to the number of beaches nearby, each with its own distinct atmosphere. In the city of Puerto Escondido alone, there are almost a dozen to choose from, others in cities just 30 to 60 minutes away.
One disadvantage of moving to Puerto Escondido is the occasional power outage. Due to the rapid expansion of the city as tourism continues to grow, the infrastructure has struggled to keep pace with the population. However, this outage has become less frequent over the past year, and residents report that even Internet speeds are improving as the city adapts.
The biggest advantages of Puerto Escondido in addition to the beaches are excellent restaurants, relatively inexpensive rent (compared to other beach towns), and a lively nightlife. This is the place to live if you want to make new friends, learn to surf, and enjoy a carefree atmosphere. If you want to check before you move, definitely don’t miss our complete guide to Puerto Escondido.
3. Sayulita, Nayarit
In many ways, Sayulita is very similar to Puerto Escondido in its general atmosphere. You will see many young people living and spending holidays here, and enjoying lively nightlife and the trendy and contemporary touch of the city. Sayulita is definitely on the tourist trail, especially for those visiting the main resorts of nearby Puerto Vallarta, but it’s still a laid-back place to settle down.
Like Puerto Escondido, Sayulita has an impressive surf scene that is suitable even for beginners. There is also a great yoga culture, with many studios to choose from and teachers from all over the world. Sayulita, surrounded by nature, is also a great place for outdoor enthusiasts who sometimes have to go to the jungle to explore. In addition, it is close to the dreamy San Pancho, which is a quiet town to escape if the crowds of tourists are too many.
Sayulita is well equipped to receive foreigners, with many things to do and other destinations nearby, but locals report that sometimes internet speeds can be slow. If you don’t need high-speed Internet for your work or if you are ready to get creative to find the Internet you need, it won’t be a problem.
Since Sayulita is a well-known party destination, this is not for you if you are looking for an entirely quiet place. But if you don’t mind a little noise, go ahead. Even so, remember that in many Mexican cities, parties can last up to 16 hours or even after, which is not unique to places like Sayulita.
4. Inexpensive Flights To Puerto Morelos, Mexico
Do you want to enjoy the beauty of the Riviera Maya, but are turned off by the mega-tourism of Cancún, Tulum, and Playa del Carmen? Puerto Morelos has all the great parts of each of these places without too many inconveniences, making it the ideal beach town on the Riviera Maya. It receives a small part of tourists, it is right on the gentle beach, and it has a cool balance of modern infrastructure and dirt roads that lead to secret places on the coast. The cost of living is slightly higher than elsewhere in Mexico, but you still get good value for money.
Puerto Morelos has a decent number of people still living there, unlike other resorts on the Caribbean coast, which means it’s a great place to connect with the people of the area and learn more about their culture. I have visited several times, and each time I am overwhelmed by the kindness of the people. There are also a lot of foreigners living there, so there is a robust “ex-pat” community where it is easy to be social without the main activity being partying.
Another great advantage for Puerto Morelos – or really wherever you choose to live on the Riviera Maya – is that the health care is of high quality and affordable. In fact, people from all over the region go to Puerto Morelos just to see the doctors and dentists there.
The best mountainous places to live in Mexico
5. Inexpensive flights to San Cristóbal de las Casas, Spain
San Cristóbal de las Casas has been my home for almost two years now, and I wouldn’t want it to be any other way. Given this, this is the place on this list that I can talk about the most from experience.
Nestled in the heart of the Chiapas Mountains, “San Cris” is one of the most popular “magic cities” in the country.”It has characteristic cold weather, vibrant indigenous culture, and colorful colonial buildings in the city center.