Thinking of moving to Mexico for a few months or longer? If you’ve been trying to figure out whether Mexico could be a good place to live, I’ll share my experience with you. That said, I’ve created a list of the pros and cons of living in Mexico.
If you wish to learn more about living in Mexico, read our blog post to discover the best places to live in Mexico.
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While Mexico is a beautiful place to live, there are also downsides to consider before moving there. Most tourists won’t necessarily have to deal with the disadvantages of living in Mexico when they are only visiting for a few days.
This is why it’s important to know both sides – the pros and cons of living in Mexico before moving there.
Living In Mexico Pros
Overall, there are more advantages of living in Mexico than disadvantages – which is great news!
Although, before committing to a new base, you should be aware of all the pros and cons. It’s important to note that some of the pros can quickly become cons. Some factors such as your budget or interest can influence some of the advantages. So, I added some nuances as well as my own experiences.
Keep reading to learn more about what it’s like to be living in Mexico.
If you’re an expat, or a digital nomad, you’ll be happy to know that there are big communities in Mexico – especially in places like Playa del Carmen, Tulum, Merida, and Puerto Vallarta.
Mexico attracts mostly Canadian and American expats. If I compare it to Asia where you’ll meet lots of Australian and European expats, Mexico attracts a different crowd. This is normal considering that the United States and Canada are close to Mexico.
Wherever we went, we’ve seen digital nomads working from cafés and restaurants.
While I was there, I struggled to meet friends because we didn’t go to a coworking space (more on this later). But, if you do decide to sign up for a coworking place, you’ll likely meet more people.
I added community as a pro because I know that most people meet friends during their stay. Although it wasn’t our experience – we struggled to make deeper connections with people.
Why? I guess it’s because we aren’t into partying. Most events seem to be around dancing, parties, or spiritual activities – which doesn’t suit our interests.
That said, if you’re into those things, you’re probably going to make friends easily.
Depending on the season, the weather in Mexico is usually great. You’ll notice that Mexico can get very busy during the high season and most expats come to Mexico during that time.
Although, you’ll still find expats around the country at all times.
The rainy season in Mexico is usually between May to September and the hurricane season is between June to November. Although we got lots of rain in January, so the weather is not set in stone.
The high season is between December and April which means many tourists and expats will come to Mexico for the holidays. As a result, the apartment rentals will increase their fees, and so on.
If you wish to save money on accommodation, I’d recommend you head there off-season. Then, you could get a long-term lease that won’t be affected by seasonality.
Transportation in Mexico can be easy but it can vary depending on the destination where you choose to live.
For example, you can easily walk around Playa del Carmen, but in Tulum, you may need a bicycle or a scooter to get around.
You won’t be able to use Uber, but you’ll find plenty of taxis around. I’d recommend discussing the price before entering the taxi to avoid any surprise fees later.
When traveling from one destination to another, you can use the Ado bus which is affordable and safe.
Overall, it’s fairly easy to get around the country.
During our stay, we spent most of our time in Playa del Carmen. We walked pretty much everywhere. Then, during our travels, we used the Ado bus. Transporation was definitely easy, especially because we speak a bit of Spanish.
Mexico is a big country that offers lots of fun travel adventures. In fact, Mexico is a good place if you want to explore different cities during your stay.
You’ll find plenty of digital nomad hotspots as well as off-the-beaten-path destinations like Bacalar.
You can easily maintain a healthy lifestyle in Mexico. You’ll find several gyms – but keep in mind that they might be crowded. I was really surprised by how crowded all the gyms were – especially during high season.
Alternatively, you’ll find yoga classes, scuba diving opportunities, and more watersport activities around Mexico.
Many hotels and apartment buildings have small gyms or outdoor pools – so you’ll have plenty of options when it comes to fitness.
Cost Of Living
To be honest, I kept switching the cost of living in Mexico between pros and cons, and let me explain why.
I thought Mexico was pretty expensive if I compare it to Southeast Asia. While you can find cheap apartment rentals if you stay long-term, many rentals are expensive (more than $1400 per month and it can easily get up to $4000 per month).
But the general cost of living is not just about housing. You can find affordable meals in restaurants and you can travel between destinations at affordable rates.
That said, in Mexico, you need to tip (propina) at restaurants and bars, and it adds up. Then, you’ll likely get ripped off with taxi drivers at some point.
If you’re on a budget in Mexico, you should keep in mind that some destinations are more expensive than others (for example, housing in Tulum is more expensive than in Playa del Carmen).
You might want to join Facebook Groups that focus on accommodation rentals and look at the prices before moving to Mexico. This way, you won’t be surprised when you’re there.
Now, remember what I said about coworking in Mexico? Let’s say you spend over $1000 for your monthly apartment rental, do you want to spend more money on coworking, or would you prefer to work from home?
Many expats (including us) prefer to work from home because of high housing costs. If you have a decent setup (good chair and table), you may want to save money by working from home.
That said, when we visited coworking spaces in Playa del Carmen, we were surprised by how small and crowded they were. On top of that, coworking isn’t cheap. We decided to work from home for all these reasons. But, as a result, we didn’t make friends. So, it really depends on your priorities.
Finding great accommodation in Mexico is not as easy as in Southeast Asia where you can find an apartment and move in the same day.
When we were in Playa del Carmen, we had booked an Airbnb for the first month and it tools us about a week before we were able to find our next apartment.
The problem is that during the high season, all the nice apartments get rented very fast. So, we would visit an apartment, and it would be gone in a few hours if we were not fast enough to commit to it.
Keeping that challenge in mind, it’s still possible to find housing in Mexico.
Depending on your budget, you could rent an apartment, stay in a hotel or a hostel, or move to a coliving place like Selina.
I’d recommend you join Facebook groups to find accommodation. Usually, you’ll be able to see photos, talk with an agent or the owner, and arrange visits.
There are a few things we looked for when booking stays in Mexico:
- Does the building have security? A 24/7 reception? The goal is to have a secured apartment because many expats have reported robberies (even in 2022).
- Does the apartment have a safe to put your money and passport in? Note that safes are not necessarily thief-proof though, but it’s always nice to have one.
- Are electricity and water bill included? Most of the time, these are not included (even on Airbnb), so make sure to take photos of the meters on your first day.
- How much is the deposit? Many owners and agencies require a damage deposit usually around $500.
Interested in learning more about long-term apartment rental in Mexico? Read our guide to renting an apartment in Playa del Carmen.
If you’re planning on working during your stay in Mexico, you’ll find coworking spaces in the digital nomad hotspots like Tulum, Playa del Carmen and Merida.
Although, the ones I saw were fairly small and crowded which is why we decided to work from home. On top of that, the coworking plans were quite expensive, which didn’t reflect the quality of the space in our opinion.
If you don’t mind this, then, you’ll be able to make more friends in Mexico while getting work done.
Mexico welcomes many nationalities with 180 days – but don’t be fooled – since 2021, many immigration officers are giving away fewer days. This is why many expats decide to apply for residency or to get a retirement visa instead.
You can learn more about the whole 180-day visa situation in our post about the Mexican tourist card (FMM).
Living In Mexico Cons
As you may have realized by now, there are lots of nuances with the advantages of living in Mexico. Some advantages could easily turn into disadvantages depending on your budget, standards of living, and interests.
To be fully prepared for your Mexico experience, you should also know about the cons of living in Mexico.
Healthcare in Mexico can be an issue and food poisoning can affect several travelers. That said, we’d like to remind you to purchase travel insurance before your trip.
Many health workers will charge huge fees to tourists, so you may want to read more about this in expat Facebook groups to find more affordable healthcare in Mexico.
That said, if you need any health services from a physical therapist, chiropractor, or osteopath – you’ll find affordable services in Mexico.
Unfortunately, safety is a major concern for many travelers, digital nomads, and expats in Mexico.
While everything was fine during our stay in Mexico, we heard many horror stories from friends who visited Mexico before and from other expats.
Here are some things to keep in mind:
- Always use an ATM inside a bank when doing withdrawals. When in doubt, use a Revolut card that you can block and unblock whenever you desire.
- Always decide on the taxi ride price before entering the taxi to avoid any surprise fees later. If you’re feeling uncomfortable in taxis, make sure to take a photo of the taxi number and share your location with a friend.
- Avoid renting a house and rent an apartment instead. It seems like robbers prefer houses to apartments. Although, many robberies are happening in 2022 regardless of the location and accommodation type. Make sure your building security and reception are legit and read reviews before renting a place.
- Avoid empty streets especially at night and avoid places where people offer you drugs. That said, if you’re planning on going out often, make sure to stay in control and don’t abuse alcohol to avoid troubles with the police, at the bar, or in the street.
- Always carry a copy of your FMM card and passport with you in case the police want to check your documents.
- Always lock your apartment door – even if you’re inside the apartment.
- Do not leave your things unattended.
Since 2021, the crime rate has increased in Mexico especially in the Riviera Maya (where Tulum and Playa del Carmen are). There are lots of cartel crimes that are not necessarily directed at tourists. Usually, tourists are caught in the crossfire.
During our stay in Mexico, there were a few shootings that resulted in an increase in military and police presence in the streets.
Obviously, safety can be a deal-breaker for expats and travelers.
Read our guide to learn more about safety in Playa del Carmen.
Final Thoughts On Living In Mexico
Living in Mexico can sound like a dream, but as you may realize by now – it comes with lots of pros and cons.
Safety is definitely the main issue in Mexico – even though we felt fairly safe during our entire stay.
Now, some of the advantages of living in Mexico can turn into disadvantages for some.
For example, there are communities of expats in Mexico but it can be hard to make friends if you don’t join a coworking space.
Keeping that in mind – you should be able to know if some of these points are deal-breakers for you, or if you feel ready to move to Mexico.
Psst. Overall, we liked living in Mexico, but we definitely prefer living in destinations like Thailand or Bali. We loved the sunshine and the Mexican food – but it’s not our favorite destination.
Learn more about Mexico by reading one of the following blog posts: