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The Quick Guide To
Living in Mexico
For Expats (2021 Edition)

Last Updated on September 27, 2021

Living in Mexico can be a truly wonderful experience! You can enjoy amazing weather and spectacular scenery without having to give up all the comforts you are used to from home. AND THE BEST PART: You can do all of this while reducing your cost of living!

I wrote this quick guide on Living in Mexico as my attempt at putting some of the most frequently asked questions I get on a single page. Saving you hundreds of hours scratching your head for answers. It’s a condensed version of the complete Mexico Relocation Course.

Living in Mexico can truly be a wonderful experience! You’ll enjoy various types of landscapes, fantastic weather, amazing food, and gorgeous scenery. You can enjoy life in Mexico without sacrificing all the comforts from back home. And you’ll love how you can enjoy life in Mexico while reducing your cost of living!

I’ll give you an overview of what it’s like living in Mexico by giving you the good, the bad, and everything in between. This quick guide to Living in Mexico will introduce you to Mexico and all the important questions you’ll have before moving there.

Ready to move to Mexico? Check out our Complete Mexico Relocation Course. And Get Access to our Network of Trusted Contacts.


Is Living in Mexico For You?

You’ve probably heard Mexico is one of the MOST popular expat destinations in the world.

In fact, Mexico is consistently named one of the “Best Places To Retire” on International Living, Forbes, and similar publications. Mexico is a large country, and that means you can have whatever landscape you dream of. Whether you love the beach, the mountains, city life, or countryside living, you can find it all in Mexico.

It offers warm weather up North and far South, cooler and drier weather in the central highlands. You’ll also enjoy a comfortable lifestyle at costs much lower than where you may be living now. 

Does this mean you should sell all your belongings, pack your bags, and move to Mexico right away? Well, no. In fact, I highly suggest you not move to Mexico without at least visiting first. 

Mexico is NOT for EVERYONE

My goal with this quick guide is to give you the confidence to determine if living in Mexico is right for you. Then you can take it to the next level and plan your scouting visit.

Visit our Private Relocation Tours page. See how you can plan your scouting trip to Mexico with the help of a local.

I wrote the Living in Mexico guide to help prevent you from making a potentially costly mistake.

There is so much more to Relocating to Mexico than just buying a plane ticket and renting a home south of the border. Many considerations are unique to you, and my goal with this guide is to cover many of them. 

In this guide, I provide an overview of the numerous options available for living in Mexico. I’ll give you suggestions that will help guide you in making the right decision for your future as a potential expat in Mexico.

This quick guide is packed with information but at the same time, it’s a quick read. The topics on this guide aren’t listed in any particular order. You can read the guide from top to bottom or use the table of contents to skip to the part you are most interested in. 

LET’S JUMP RIGHT IN!

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Why Live in Mexico?

The overarching theme of all the posts I read on various Facebook groups, TripAdvisor Forums, YouTube, Interviews with Expats, or different blog posts is about your WHY for living in Mexico. This is one of those topics that’s going to be unique to YOU. Having said that, here are some of the most common reasons for living and retiring in Mexico.

Cost of Living

A large number of Americans and Canadians move to Mexico because their dollars go much further.

With the rising costs in housing, healthcare, taxes, and utilities, many feel their paycheck no longer covers their basic needs back home. Being an economic refugee is an everyday reality many expats face as they plan for their future.

Luckily, living in Mexico is a solution that many have found to be their saving grace. Don’t misunderstand me though, I am not suggesting you move to Mexico only because you can save some money. You also can’t expect to live in Mexico like a king and expect to pay pennies.

However, you can absolutely have a comfortable lifestyle on as little as $1,000 USD/month for a single person and $1,500 USD/month for a couple. It all depends on the city you live in, the type of home you rent, your health, and your lifestyle.

very affordable house in San Cristobal de Las Casas
This 3 Bedroom House Rents for $600 USD/Month in San Cristobal de Las Casas

The fact is the average Mexican household of 4 lives on as little as $1k USD/month. But I also want to be fair and give you a realistic comparison of how much most American and Canadian families spend.

$2,000 USD/ month in Mexico is enough for a couple to cover the essentials and have enough money left over to have a house cleaner 2x/week who also cooks and does laundry.

Your dollar goes a lot further here. If your budget is more than $2k dollars a month, you’ll be able to afford higher-end homes, restaurants, traveling, a live-in helper, and other amenities. Mexico offers a lifestyle for everyone and every budget.

Quality of Life

A lower cost of living doesn’t mean cheap. Most people living in Mexico from the U.S. or Canada can agree that their expenses have decreased. All the while, their quality of life has remained the same or has gotten a nice upgrade. So why pay more for the same life?

Most of the people I interview who have moved to Mexico mention how much their stress levels have gone down since moving to Mexico. Many have made positive lifestyle changes like walking more, eating healthier, socializing more, and learning to slow down. Because we all know stress is the major contributor to other diseases.

Mexico has a very laid-back culture, and Mexicans are genuinely friendly! In fact, in a survey done with 20,000 expat participants, Internations.org named Mexico #1 on Ease of Settling In. Imagine that, crossing the border as an immigrant and being welcomed with arms wide open.

Amazing Weather

a house in san miguel de allende

There are beaches, mountains, rainforests, and deserts in Mexico. The weather throughout the country is very different. That means you can find your ideal weather.

If you prefer cooler, mountainous temperatures, you’ll find a lot of cities to choose from. If you like hot and sunny days there are plenty of beaches that’ll be perfect for you.

A really great thing about this beautiful country is how diverse the weather is and at the same time how you can find your ideal year-round temperature. Most of the country has constant temperatures year-round.

High elevation cities like San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, Ajijic, Chapala, Guadalajara, Oaxaca, Mexico City, and San Cristóbal de las Casas will experience cold nights during the winter months. But the temperature will seldomly drop below 40 degrees at night.

Whereas beaches like Mazatlan, Puerto Vallarta, Sayulita, Tulum, Playa del Carmen, Cozumel, and the like all have tropical and hot weather almost all year. The average daytime temperatures range between 80-90 degrees Fahrenheit.

Natural Beauty

I could spend weeks and months exploring Mexico, and I’d still not be able to see it all. This large country has everything from deserts to beaches, mountains and rainforests, jungles, sinkholes, and mangroves to natural lakes.

Most of the expats who move to Mexico are surprised at the amount of bio-diversity there is.

The Pacific side is home to incredible beaches and mountains in the background. You could close your eyes and feel as if though you were in Hawaii. Further south on the Yucatan peninsula, there is an abundance of tropical rainforests, mangroves, sinkholes, turquoise waters, and white sands.

The desert in the north is, and by contrast, is so different—miles and miles of hills, birds, and rugged terrain.

Central Mexico is green, cool, temperate, and produces most of Mexico’s farming.

Amazing Food

A lot of expats who move to Mexico end up losing some weight unintentionally simply because they eat more whole foods than ever before. The cost of food in Mexico is not only more affordable than most people are used to, but the best fruits and vegetables you’ll ever taste come from Mexico. Even the vanilla here is unlike anything you’ll ever taste! Which by the way, is native to Mexico.

Farmers Markets are bright with vegetables and spices in every color imaginable. It’s hard not to love the natural beauty in Mexico. When you live in Mexico, you’ll soon realize just how much more color you have in your life!

If you live near the coast expect to have delicious and varied seafood available all year. In the central highlands, you can expect to have a variety of leafy greens and all the avocados you can get your hands on. Fresh food in Mexico is one of the reasons so many people love living here.

Health Care Quality & Cost

This is an area that excites a lot of people who are wanting to get away from high medical costs in the U.S. and other parts of the world. Without sacrificing quality, most expats save an average of 30-60% on health insurance while living in Mexico.

What could you do with that much extra cash each month? Retire sooner? Would you travel more? Would you finally get massages each month? Buy those gadgets you’ve always wanted? Eat at foodie places?

Most doctors in private hospitals completed part or all of their training in the U.S.A. or Europe. A lot of doctors and their staff speak English. But the most fantastic part is the quality of care you receive while paying less.

hospital bed in mexico

Most expats pay an average of $20 dollars (without insurance) for a visit with a specialist and about $30 dollars for full teeth cleaning plus whitening. If you have insurance, you can expect to pay less or nothing. And if you choose to go to a public hospital or a small doctor inside a pharmacy you’ll pay around $2 dollars for a consult.

Saving that much money every month adds up, and the stress that it takes off your shoulders adds up to!

If you have private insurance, medical care is often covered at no cost! Living in Mexico will quickly save you money on medical care. Plus, most pharmaceuticals are over 50% less expensive in Mexico than in the U.S.

There’s even a whole industry focused on medical tourism in Mexico. People worldwide travel to Mexico for medical procedures because their travel expenses and medical care are cheaper than the same procedure back home with the same quality. Most hospitals offering a variety of medical tourism packages will even pick you up at the airport, arrange for your meals and hotels, drive you to and from the hospital, and a nurse a few times a day. All of this is still usually less than the cost of a broken foot in the U.S.

In 2013, Medica Sur was the first non-American hospital to affiliate with the Mayo Clinic Care Network. This means they share the same medical focus on the patient and the passion for scientific research and health education that have distinguished Mayo Clinic over time. Medica Sur has hospitals throughout Estado de Mexico, Ciudad de Mexico, and Morelos.

Medical care in Mexico is practiced with the patient in mind- Doctors spend the necessary time with their patients without rushing their consults and most people count on having their doctor’s direct phone number in case of follow-up questions. Plus, it’s unheard of to have to wait in Mexico to get treated. If you have the money to pay for your procedure or consult, you can usually be seen in a matter of days not weeks.

Established Expat Communities

I’ve recently come across more and more expat communities in parts of Mexico that were once off the beaten path. The internet and social media have made it easier to learn about unpopular places and connect with strangers worldwide before making a move. And being in an expat community can make it a lot easier to integrate once you decide living in Mexico is right for you!

It’s easier to live in a foreign country if you have a group of people who share your language and can sympathize with your struggles. However, most Mexican cities don’t have a lot of English-speaking expats. So if you want to fully immerse yourself and get the authentic experience of living in Mexico, you’ll easily find that too.

Whether you want to mix in with other English speakers or want to get a feel of more authentic Mexico is up to you. Living in Mexico, you’ll have the choice of where you want to live and how comfortable you feel there. Luckily, in today’s world of information, you can easily do some research beforehand so you can nail down a few cities and towns you’d like to scope out on your visit. And even if your Spanish is limited, Mexicans are some of the friendliest and patient people you’ll ever meet. They’ll go out of their way to try and understand what you are trying to say.

Ease of Getting a Residency Visa

Mexico is one of the easiest countries to get a residency visa. The process is very straightforward and inexpensive. You simply have to prove you have enough funds to cover your cost of living and pass a simple immigration interview done at the Mexican Consulate nearest you.

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 and, in some cases, “retirement” age when you apply.

For most expats, the process of applying for a resident visa in Mexico starts outside of Mexico at a Mexican Consulate nearest you. Once you schedule an appointment with a Mexican consulate, the consulate will usually give you a list of requirements and paperwork needed for your interview. During your interview, you will be asked by Mexican immigration officials things like how you plan to cover your expenses in Mexico, if you receive a pension or social security, whether you are gainfully employed, how you earn a living, and what your reason for wanting to live in Mexico is. The cost of getting a residency visa in Mexico is around $300 USD if you decide to process it by yourself.

However, most people choose to hire an attorney or facilitator to hold their hand through the process. Because some of the paperwork is in Spanish, you might want to work with someone who can help you make sure you are filling out forms correctly. Besides, you have to translate certain documents like a marriage certificate into Spanish, and Mexican Immigration will only accept this from a certified translator.

If you do decide to hire an immigration lawyer or facilitator, prices will vary depending on which services they include. But you can expect to pay anywhere from $400-$700 USD. (Plus any immigration fees at the time.) It is 100% well worth the money to ensure your process is smooth and you don’t waste time and money doing things the wrong way.

Get Access to Our Recommended Immigration Facilitators and Lawyers in Mexico- Take the Guesswork and Frustration out of Your Residency Visa Process.

A New Adventure!

And probably the most important reason for moving to Mexico is to have a new adventure!

It isn’t easy moving to a new country. You’ll face new challenges as you navigate a culture that is different than what you’re used to. If you don’t speak Spanish, you’ll have a whole other set of learning curves.

But if you’re willing to get out of your comfort zone, you can discover that Mexico is a wonderful place to make a new life. You’ll feel very accomplished when you learn new customs, traditions, language, and experiences that have a life-changing impact.

Luckily, most Mexicans are accommodating and friendly people. So feeling welcomed won’t be as much of an issue.


Geography & Landscape

Where is Mexico?

Estados Unidos Mexicanos, aka Mexico, borders the United States on the North. It also borders Belize and Guatemala in the South.

It is the Southernmost portion of North America and the world’s 13th largest country and the world’s 15th largest economy.

Mexico has a large coastline on the Pacific, Caribbean, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Gulf of California.

Mexico Has 32 States

Mexico is made up of 31 states, and the 32nd official state is Mexico City aka CDMX.

Mexico Map

The following is a list of Mexico’s States by land size:

ChihuahuaMorelos
SonoraSinaloa
CoahuilaCampeche
DurangoQuintana Roo
OaxacaYucatan
TamaulipasPuebla
JaliscoGuanajuato
ZacataceasNayarit
Baja California SurTabasco
ChiapasEstado de Mexico
VeracruzHidalgo
Baja CaliforniaQueretaro
Nuevo LeonColima
GuerreroAguascalientes
San Luis PotosiTlaxcala
MichoacanCiudad de Mexico


Cost of Living in Mexico

Your cost of living in Mexico can be as low as $1,000-$1200 USD/Month for a single person and $1,500-$2,500 USD for a couple. However, this all depends on your lifestyle, rent, and city.

Depending on where you decide to live in Mexico, you could save hundreds or even thousands of dollars a month on essential expenses like rent. This is especially true if you compare the cost of living in Mexico to most of the U.S., Canada, or Europe.

You will be able to afford a much better lifestyle in Mexico than what you are used to for the same amount of money back home. And that’s because Mexico is very affordable in most cases, but again it all depends on where you decide you want to live and how much you want to splurge.

I know people who live modestly but well on about $1,000 USD/month! That includes their rent, local health insurance, groceries, and even entertainment! And when I say modest I mean they live in a small 1 bedroom apartment in a central highland town where they don’t need air conditioning.

Personally, I have never lived anywhere else where you can afford to live on $1,000 USD/month. And I’ve lived in other places aside from Mexico like: U.S., Panama, Germany, and Italy.

Now, that doesn’t mean there aren’t expensive areas like Ajijic, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico City, Tulum, and Puerto Vallarta that have driven their prices up because the demand from foreigners is there. In some of these places, you could end up spending more on rent than you would in many parts of the U.S. However, even in expensive cities like these, you can still find inexpensive apartments for rent if you are willing to look and negotiate.

Here’s a brief break-down of the cost of living monthly in Ajijic for a couple:

(all prices are in US Dollars)

CategoryCost
Rent$800
Groceries$200
Electricity$30 (near the beach will be 4x more)
Local Health Insurance$300
Dentist and Doctor Visits$2-20
Prescriptions when Needed$10
Netflix$10
Internet$25
Clothes and Shoes$30
Entertainment and Eating Out$50
Travel$100
Maid$10
Public Transportation$30
Car Insurance and Maintenance$50
TOTAL$1,665

If you pay more in rent, your cost will go up accordingly. If you live near the beach where air conditioning is needed, your electric bill will likely be 3x-4x more. But even with these expenses, you can see that a couple can live comfortably for less than $2000 dollars per month if you are in an $800 USD/month rental.

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General Information About Mexico

The official name is Estados Unidos Mexicanos or the Mexican United States. However, most people simply say Mexico. The pronunciation is “ME-HEE-CO”

Each state has its own government, laws, and traditions.

 We have a COMPLETE Mexico Relocation Course that outlines the best places to live, several how-to’s for things like getting a Mexican driver’s license, your residency visa, tips for finding rentals, traveling with pets, getting retiree discounts, and so much more! You’ll save yourself hundreds of hours on research on living and retiring in Mexico.

Population 

According to the Mexican Government’s last estimate, there are roughly 127.5 million people living in Mexico. And some sources state there are more than 1.5 million U.S. citizens living in Mexico full-time. Mexico has the highest concentration of American Expats living outside of the U.S.A.

The top 10 most populated cities in Mexico are:

  • Mexico City (9 Million)
  • Tijuana (1.8 Million)
  • Ecatepec (1.6 Million)
  • Leon (1.5 Million)
  • Puebla (1.5 Million)
  • Ciudad Juarez (1.5 Million)
  • Guadalajara (1.3 Million)
  • Zapopan (1.2 Million)
  • Monterrey (1.1 Million)
  • Ciudad Nezahualcoyotl (1 Million)

Language

There are hundreds of pre-Hispanic dialects all throughout the country that are still spoken today, but Spanish is the official language of Mexico.

English is mostly spoken where there is a high concentration of expats or English-speaking tourists either due to business or as retirement communities.

The places where you will most likely hear English spoken include Ajijic, Chapala, Puerto Vallarta, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico City, Huatulco, and The Riviera Maya.

As you travel further from these cities or into more rural areas of Mexico, English will be less spoken, and Spanish will be necessary for you to fully communicate. But the good news is that immersion into the culture will be one of the fastest and easiest ways for you to learn Spanish!

And Spanish is not considered a hard language in comparison to English. All you need is the desire to learn and a little practice. Even in expat cities, it’ll be essential for you to learn at least a few words to get the most out of life in Mexico.

If you’re seriously interested in learning Spanish, there are tools like Busuu that offer a super-comprehensive learning path to learning. You can practice your speaking with native speakers.  You can also practice your grammar, and it will give you feedback. 

Many Spanish immersion schools in Mexico can also teach you a few tricks each day. Learning Spanish doesn’t have to be hard if you have the desire to learn. Doing some practical things like labeling items in your home or writing your grocery list in Spanish will help you learn the language a lot faster!

And for the most part, Mexicans are extremely helpful when they sense an effort. So if you give it your best shot and have a smile on your face, you’ll go very far in Mexico!

These are some of the most common phrases to help you get a quick start:

SpanishEnglish
Hola Hello
Como Estas?How are you?
Gracias!Thank You!
De nadaYou’re welcome
Ayuda Porfavor!Help Please!
DisculpeExcuse Me
PerdonI’m Sorry
En Donde Esta…?Where is…?
Cuanto cuesta?How much is it?
Si/NoYes/No

Time Zone

There are 4 time zones in Mexico

  • Pacific Time Zone (UTC -8:00) (UTC -7:00 DST)
  • Mountain Time Zone (UTC -7:00) (UTC -6:00 DST)
  • Central Time Zone (UTC -6:00) (UTC-5:00 DST)
  • Eastern Time Zone (UTC -5:00) (Quintana Roo)

In most of Mexico, including its capital Mexico City, Daylight Saving Time (DST) runs from the first Sunday of April to the last Sunday of October. However, there are several exceptions:

  • The state of Sonora does not change its clocks. This is to stay in sync with the neighboring US state of Arizona, where Mountain Standard Time (MST) is observed all year.
  • Quintana Roo has opted out of following the country’s DST regime. Following its own time zone in 2015, Mexico’s easternmost state is observing EST year-round.
  • The state of Baja California and many other locations close to the country’s northern border follow the United States’ DST schedule. Here, the DST period starts on the 2nd Sunday in March and ends on the 1st Sunday in November.

I know it’s a little confusing. When you come to Mexico, make note of which cities are in what time zone so you can plan bus schedules, flights, events, and such accordingly.

Measurement and Distance

We use the metric system in Mexico. If you aren’t used to using this form of measurement, you will have to do some basic measurements in your head. I was raised measuring things in miles instead of kilometers in the U.S. and it always takes me some time when I’m in Mexico to adjust things.

Here are some tips to help you make the conversions.

The Key is to memorize some conversions

  • Length is measured in Meters.
    • 1 meter = slightly more than 3 feet. For example I am 5’3″ ft tall. That is 1.6 meters tall. You would say “Uno Sesenta.” 6Ft tall is 1.8 Meters. 
  • Speed and Distance are in Kilometers.
    • 1 kilometer = more than 1⁄2 a mile. For example, 50Km is 30 miles. If you are driving 80 Mp/h you’d be driving 130 Km/h on your dashboard.
  • Weight is in Kilograms.
    • 1 kilo = about 2 1⁄4 pounds. If you want to get 1Lb of ham, you’d ask for 1/2 a kilo (“medio kilo”) and you’d get a little more than 1 LB.
  • Gasoline is sold by the Liter.
    • 1 liter = a little more than a 1⁄4 gallon. Another way to look at it is 1 gallon= almost 4 liters. For example, a mid-sized Nissan Murano SUV can hold up to 65 liters which is about 17 gallons.

Once you start using the metric system, the conversions will become automatic.


Communication Services

Having a cellphone in Mexico is necessary. It’s a good idea to check with your home country’s cell phone provider regarding what they cover on your plan while you are visiting Mexico. For example, I know T-mobile and AT&T both cover both talk and data on most packages while you’re in Mexico without paying extra. 

Many other big-name cell phone providers offer an all-inclusive package with Mexico that allows you to use their towers at no cost or for a minimal fee. The only thing you might notice is slower internet speeds.

Once you are living in Mexico, it’ll be a lot less expensive for you to buy a SIM card and have a Mexican phone. Usually, you can get a pay-as-you SIM card for as little as $10 USD which has enough data and minutes for the average user to not run out in a month.

With regards to the Internet, fiber optic internet is slowly making its way to every city in Mexico. Most big and mid-sized cities have great internet coverage and download speeds of 100Mbps. However, upload speeds in Mexico can vary significantly between 5 Mbps up to 100 Mbps. If you plan to work remotely while living in Mexico, you’ll want to research the area you’re moving to. Even if a city has fiber optic cables, it’s not uncommon for specific neighborhoods to not have them installed.

Another thing to look out for is false advertising. Many companies claim to have great internet speeds of 100 Mbps. But what they don’t tell you is that their upload speeds are next to none. If this is important to you, make sure you do your research. Especially if you plan on doing a lot of zoom or video meetings. 

**A great way to brush up on your Spanish lessons is to watch TV in Spanish with English subtitles! It’s a proven method to help you accelerate your learning and start learning conversational words.

Movies and TV in English can be found on various cable TV packages in Mexico. However, not all movies in Mexico are dubbed though. There are also TV channels on Mexican cable T.V. that are in English, but most of these are channels specific to news or lifestyle like QVC.

Most expats prefer to watch their favorite TV Shows and Movies through platforms like Netflix, HULU, and Amazon. And for you to be able to watch some of your favorite shows through these platforms, you’ll need to buy a VPN.


Water & Electricity

Mexico uses 110/127V as their voltage for electricity. Although this is very close to what the U.S. and Canada use (At 110 to 120V), some appliances won’t handle the extra 7 volts. Make sure you check your appliance to make sure it handles a range between 110-130V. Otherwise, you could fry your small appliance.

By contrast, most of Europe uses 240V and won’t have enough power to operate in Mexico unless it has dual voltage and you use an adapter. You can usually find the voltage information on the device itself, just look for the input number. On a laptop, there’ll be a sticker on the brick of your charging cord, and it’ll be on the backside of your smartphone or tablet charger.

Water is generally NOT safe to drink out of the tap in Mexico. Water is usually contaminated for consumption. You can brush your teeth, shower, wash your face, wash your produce and wash your dishes. However, I would caution you from drinking it straight out of the tap.

In Mexico, you will see big jugs of water available for sale and refill. (these are called Garrafon in Spanish) and bottled water is sold everywhere and readily available.

garrafon
5-gallon garrafon

Weather

Mexico sits on the Northern Hemisphere about 1300-1400 miles from the equator. It is almost perfectly divided by the Tropic of Cancer.

Everything above The Tropic of Cancer is temperate, whereas everything South is far more humid and tropical. This gives Mexico one of the most attractive climates in the world. For most of the country, there are 2 seasons: the wet and dry seasons. Most of the beaches in Mexico experience hot and humid climates almost all year round. Most beaches on the Gulf and Riviera Maya side are prone to hurricanes during the hurricane season running from June through October.

Merida

The exception for hot and humid beach weather being The Baja Peninsula, where the climate is much drier and more like the Mediterranean. 

Many big cities in Mexico are in the central highlands, where the elevation is at 5,000 ft and higher. This makes them cooler, especially at night. But you have to realize that Mexico is a very big country, and weather varies depending on elevation and distance to the equator. Although, it’s fair to say that most of Mexico gets a lot of sunshine. Some areas tend to get more rain than others. And in some of the cities up North, there will be snowfall once a year.


Things to Do

Mexico is an incredibly diverse country that is not only full of history from the Mayans, Aztecs, Olmecs, Toltecs, and Spaniards. But because it is such a melting pot of cultures the country is always filled with reasons to celebrate something. It seems that almost every month, there is a religious or nationwide celebration of some sort.

Some of the largest festivities celebrated include:

  • January- Dia de Reyes
  • February- La Candelaria
  • April- Semana Santa
  • May- Dia De Las Madres
  • June- Dia del Nino
  • July- Dia Del Padre
  • September- Dia De La Independencia
  • October- Dia De Brujas
  • November- Dia De Los Muertos
  • December- Navidad y Año Nuevo

And because Mexico is one of the most biodiverse countries in the world there is always an activity to enjoy year round.

Some of the most popular activities include:

  • Snorkeling
  • Visiting Ancient Archeological Sites
  • Whale Watching
  • Deep-Sea Fishing
  • Traveling To Other Towns
  • Hiking
  • Mountain Climbing
  • Ziplines
  • Wine Tours
  • Chocolate Tours
  • Tequila Tours
  • Beach Hopping
  • All Inclusive Resorts
  • Pickleball
  • Golf and Tennis
  • And so much more!

Health Care & Health Insurance

Looking for comprehensive information about health care and health insurance in Mexico? Check out our Mexico Relocation Course It includes recommended health care providers and insurance companies.

According to several world health publications, Mexico ranks above countries like the U.S. regarding healthcare quality and accessibility.

And if you talk to any expat living in Mexico about their experience with healthcare here, you’ll get overwhelmingly positive feedback about their experience.

Many of the doctors at private hospitals in Mexico have studied medicine in Europe or the United States, and many speak perfect English. The equipment at most private hospitals in Mexico is modern and new. You’ll most likely find some of the most modern and up-to-date private hospitals and equipment in the larger cities of Mexico. But every town in Mexico has at least 1 medical facility where they can treat minor health issues and stabilize a patient to be transferred.

Whether you decide to pay out of pocket, hire private health insurance, or go with the public healthcare system, you can rest assured that treatment in Mexico is not only efficient but very affordable. It is not uncommon to self insure in Mexico and pay as little as $400 Pesos or $20 dollars to see a specialist without insurance. In fact, so many health professionals and their services are so affordable that many expats living in Mexico prefer to self insure, particularly if there is no family history or personal pre-existing conditions.

I still highly recommend having at least a basic private insurance policy since more serious treatments like cancer, kidney failure, or heart problems can get pricey when you are paying out of pocket.

However, if you decide to buy health insurance in Mexico, you can certainly find a comprehensive plan regardless of your age that fits your budget and lifestyle. Affordable and Quality Healthcare is one of the MANY reasons people decide to move to Mexico!

Affordable healthcare and top-notch medical services are one of the biggest money savers and benefits to being an expat in Mexico!


Best Places to Live in Mexico

The most popular places for foreigners to live in Mexico are Mexico City, Ajijic, Puerto Vallarta, Chapala, Merida, Riviera Maya, Ensenada, Rosarito, San Cristobal de Las Casas, Mazatlan, Oaxaca, and Huatulco. Each city has pros & cons and the best one will ultimately depend on your needs & preferences.

Now that you have a basic overview of what living in Mexico is like, it’s time to start thinking of some places you would like to live in. You probably have an idea of what boxes you’d like to check off to find your ideal place to live in Mexico.

Luckily, Mexico has something for everyone and incredible diversity to meet almost everyone’s needs. There are beaches, mountains, lakes, forests, cities, deserts, and everything in between.

I’ve broken down the next section into two parts: Popular Expat Destinations and Less Popular Cities.

Popular Expat Areas

San Miguel de Allende

San Miguel de Allende

San Miguel de Allende is a charming town in the state of Guanajuato. It has temperate weather year-round, a great art scene, and plenty of restaurants and cafes. This city is popular not only amongst American expats, but highly sought after by Europeans and wealthy Mexicans. You can walk almost everywhere in San Miguel because it is small enough to do so.

Lake Chapala and Ajijic

Ajijic and Chapala are probably the most popular expat destinations with American retirees.

Ajijic, in the state of Jalisco, has grown into one of the most popular retiree havens in the world. This area has very temperate weather year-round, and a beautiful large lake. There are also plenty of hot springs nearby. 

In Ajijic you will find a lot of different expat groups, and English is widely spoken. So making new friends won’t be hard at all! One of the biggest benefits of Ajijic is also how walkable it is. Having a car isn’t necessary if you don’t want one. This quiet and small town continues to grow.

Puerto Vallarta

Puerto Vallarta, in the state of Jalisco, is a little piece of heaven by the beach. Puerto Vallarta has been very popular with travelers from the U.S. since the 60s, and as a result, the expat scene in this city has grown significantly. Puerto Vallarta is surrounded by some large hills which give this town a beautiful backdrop! 

In Vallarta, you will find foreigners of all ages- digital nomads, retirees, and everything in between.

Merida

Merida in the state of Yucatan is known as the “safest” city in Mexico by various studies. The low cost of living, the calmness of the city, and the kindness of people are what draw thousands of expats to this colonial city in the South. Merida has a tropical and hot climate so if you like sun and heat, Merida is the place for you!

Riviera Maya

The Riviera Maya consists of cities like Tulum, Playa Del Carmen, Cancun, and Cozumel. All are very attractive expat cities with turquoise water and white sands. These beaches are famous for being some of the most beautiful in Mexico and in the world. There is incredible biodiversity in the Riviera Maya and if you like the outdoors, this place is for you!

Another benefit of living in the Riviera Maya is the amount of English spoken by the locals because it is a large international tourist hub.

Ensenada

Ensenada in Baja California is one of the most popular expat cities for people who like to be close to the United States. Ensenada has a semi-arid climate which is perfect for winemaking. If you find yourself loving the weather in San Diego, CA, and love wine, then Ensenada is a place for you!

If you have allergies or need to be in a Mediterranean type of climate for health reasons, you can’t go wrong with Ensenada. Plus, you’re only 2 hours away from San Diego.

Rosarito

Rosarito Beach

Only 1 hour away from San Diego, California is the beach town of Rosarito. Rosarito is a popular resort town on the coast of the Baja Peninsula in Mexico. Rosarito’s beaches are known amongst surfers.

Even though Rosarito is only an hour away from the U.S. it is still very much a Mexican town. Much of its charm and air remains very authentic. In Rosarito, there is a wide availability of fresh seafood and amazing food all around. And if the outdoors is your thing, you’ll never run out of activities in this coastal town.

Less Popular Cities

The following areas aren’t as concentrated with expats. You’ll need more Spanish than other cities to be able to integrate and thrive. However, what you get in return is a much more authentic Mexican experience. Some cities like San Cristobal de Las Casas and Huatulco are beginning to gain popularity with the expat community from Canada and the U.S.

These are not listed in any particular order:

San Cristobal de Las Casas

San Cristobal De Las Casas in the Southern state of Chiapas is growing faster and faster in the expat community. San Cris has a very low cost of living and a very cool climate. All of the natural beauty surrounding San Cris makes the air feel clean and pure. You can say goodbye to your air conditioning in San Cris, and at times you’ll need a jacket at night.

San Cris has a bohemian vibe and is home to a lot of wellness and yoga retreats. Plus, the coffee in Chiapas is known to be some of the best in the world. Chiapas is the southernmost state of Mexico bordering the country of Guatemala and surrounded by mountains and 2 volcanoes.

Mazatlan

Mazatlan in the Northern state of Sinaloa is a nice Mexican resort town that is known for its big sea fishing. So if you like to fish, bring out the bait in Mazatlan! This beach town has a lively nightlife and bar scene along with a varied art scene.

Mazatlan is not only a very safe city but attracts thousands of tourists every year making it a popular beach city in Mexico. The cost of living in Mazatlan is very low compared to other beach cities like Playa del Carmen or Tulum. The weather is semi-arid and mostly warm year-round with low humidity.

Oaxaca

Oaxaca

Oaxaca City in the diverse state of Oaxaca is one of the most “authentic” Mexican cities in the country! Known as the land of the 7 moles, Oaxaca is not only known for its food but also known for its rich culture.

There are several dialects spoken in Oaxaca from all the different indigenous tribes that have lived in this area since pre-Hispanic times. Oaxaca’s climate is warm in the summer and temperate in the winter. There are some magnificent ruins nearby and plenty of festivals throughout the year. Plus, if you’ve always wanted to try Mezcal, this is where they make it!

Huatulco

Huatulco in the state of Oaxaca isn’t as popular as other beach cities in Mexico in terms of expat concentration.

However, it recently started getting a lot of attention from Canadian retirees who are trying to escape the harsh winters up north. Sitting on the Pacific Ocean, it is surrounded by 9 different bays. Huatulco’s weather is warm year-round with the highest humidity in the summer months.

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Real Estate & Rentals

Rentals In Mexico

Many rentals are cheaper than a lot of mortgages in Mexico and oftentimes much nicer for a lower price.

Rent before you buy! Why?

FLEXIBILITY 

It’s much easier to leave a rental in Mexico than sell a house if you don’t like the neighborhood or the city you’re in. And always look at a rental in person before renting it sight unseen!

In fact, many rentals online may have misleading pictures and may look totally different in person. Don’t fall into the trap of assuming the picture is up to date even if the price seems to be too good to be true.

Even though there is a rise in rental listing websites like Vivanuncions.com.mx and Inmbuebles24, these still aren’t fully adopted platforms in Mexico.

A lot of great rentals in Mexico aren’t posted anywhere online. To find a rental in Mexico, I highly recommend using word of mouth first. When you meet people, let them know you are looking for a rental. When you walk around a neighborhood, look for signs on windows that say “se renta” or “se alquila” and send a message to the phone number listed through WhatsApp. (Like the example in the image)

If you end up renting a house or apartment through a realtor, make sure you are using a reputable one. There are plenty of horror stories out there from expats who moved to Mexico, gave a realtor a deposit for a place, and never saw the keys to their rental. There are plenty of fraudulent and dishonest people out there, so make sure you only work with a vetted and honest realtor who will have your best interest in mind.

Buying Real Estate

When it comes to owning property or land in Mexico, you should know that as a foreigner, you don’t always have the same rights as a Mexican national. That doesn’t mean you cannot buy property in Mexico as a foreigner. You’ll have to buy it under a Fideicomiso or through a corporation- which a real estate attorney can help you with.

I want to caution you about buying real estate without hiring the right “notario public” or Notary. Many expats who have done this end up losing their properties or a lot of money in a Mexican court fighting for their property because they didn’t know their property did not have a clean title. It’s also important that you have a will or “testamento” in Mexico which can save you years in probate court.

Mexico doesn’t have a multiple listing system (MLS) like you might be used to in the U.S. and Canada. Therefore, knowing what is a “fair price” to pay for a property can be a challenge. Most real estate companies are only aware of the price of the houses they manage and have in their inventory but aren’t aware of ALL the closings in one particular area. That’s why it’s important to hire a reputable real estate company with various listings, know the area very well, and give you a fair analysis of the real estate market in that area.

Even then, it would be best if you still did your own research before ever buying real estate in Mexico. Walk the neighborhoods, talk to locals and neighbors, and check the listings online for various real estate companies. You can find an excellent deal through word of mouth! Don’t underestimate it.

When you are ready to purchase land or property in Mexico, make sure you hire a real estate attorney (aka Notario Publico) that can draw up a contract, do a title search, and verify your rights to owning this property in Mexico

Please make sure you talk with an expert in this kind of ownership before moving forward with a purchase!

Get a list of our recommended realtors and notaries throughout Mexico in our Complete Mexico Relocation Course

Property Taxes in Mexico

Property taxes in Mexico are extremely low. Some people pay less than $200 USD A YEAR! And no, that is not a typo. Real estate taxes in Mexico are 2% of the assessed value. 

The cost of your real estate taxes in Mexico will depend on the age of the property, the location, and of course, the size of the property. Your taxes go to SAT Servicio de Administración Tributaria. Real Estate Taxes are paid annually, but you get a substantial 25% discount if you pay your property taxes before the end of the year. And if you’re retired, you get an even BIGGER discount of 50% off your real estate taxes also known as “predial”.

Renting out a property you own in Mexico is considered an income source. Therefore you are subject to paying IVA impuesto sobre el valor añadido.

And if you sell a property in Mexico, you are responsible for paying capital gains. UNLESS you are a temporary or permanent resident! Becoming a resident of Mexico has its benefits.

Before you buy real estate in Mexico, I highly suggest you rent for 6 months to a year in the area and fully assess if this is the right place for you to call your home. The rental process is much easier than buying a property, it requires a lot less money upfront, and you have the flexibility to move to another area if you don’t like where you live. Selling a house in Mexico isn’t as easy as it is in the U.S. or Canada. If you don’t have a good real estate agent, and if it’s not priced to sell, it could sit on the market for years.


Currency & Banking

Wondering which banks we recommend in Mexico? Want to know how to open a Mexican bank account? Check out our Mexico Relocation Course

The official currency in Mexico is the Mexican Peso. 

pesos

The exchange rate fluctuates throughout the year, so giving you an estimated exchange rate would be pointless as this changes daily. To give you an idea, the exchange rate from 1 USD to Mexican Pesos this morning was $20.48 MXN. A few hours later exchange rate was $19.88 MXN. But for ease of explaining let’s just use the average $20 MXN= $1 USD exchange rate. For Canadians, the average exchange rate is $16 MXN= $1 USD

There are platforms like XE that update exchange rates by the minute to give you the most accurate information. And depending on who your bank is, you might be able to get this information online with them as well.

There are both bills and coins in Mexico. Whole numbers are known as pesos, and cents are known as centavos.

The following are currency denominations for pesos:

  • 1,000 Pesos
  • 500 Pesos
  • 200 Pesos
  • 100 Pesos
  • 50 Pesos
  • 20 Pesos
  • 10 Pesos (coin)
  • 5 Pesos (coin)
  • 2 Pesos (coin)
  • 1 Peso (coin)

The following are currency denominations for centavos: 

  • 50 centavos
  • 20 centavos
  • 10 centavos

Getting Around in Mexico

Walking

If you’re solely looking at getting around inside a city, I highly recommend walking around. Some parts of your city are better explored by foot, scooters, or bikes than driving.

Especially beach towns like Huatulco, Tulum, Playa del Carmen, and Puerto Vallarta, which have a large population of scooters, bicycles, and pedestrians.

Mexican cities usually have a mix of residential and commercial throughout the city. Unlike cities in the U.S., where the concentration of retail and business is usually in one pocket, in Mexico, you could be in the outskirts of town and still have plenty of conveniences within walking distance.

Unless you live in a very rural area where the concentration of businesses and retail is too far to get to on foot, I recommend walking a lot in Mexico. It could be easier at times than navigating street signs or other traffic.

Plus, you’ll get good exercise!

City Buses

City buses are usually run by the local government and have set schedules. They are a great way of transportation when you need to travel a longer distance within the city or town. However, not every city has a local bus. Many smaller cities use colectivos which I cover below.

Although they usually have a set schedule, it can be challenging to find any information about this online. Asking the bus driver could be your best bet of knowing what times the bus runs. I have always found that asking people on the street is the best way to hop on the right bus. Another reason to practice your Spanish!

However, most local buses don’t have any formal timetable and route. So it’s best to ask neighbors or confirm your route with the bus driver before jumping in. 

In most big cities like Guadalajara, Monterrey, and Mexico City (CDMX) there is a rapid transit system. They have their own lanes and are mostly used as commuter buses within the city. The Metrobus should have a set schedule, and timetables are available online. Fares are usually around 5-6 pesos ($0.20- $0.30 USD) each way.

Colectivos

A colectivo is typically a large van or small bus that takes a crowd of people in a local community from one part of town to the next. In some places, they are known as micro, combi, or peseros. It’s also important that you know most of these buses are not run by the city or government. They are independently owned and operated and may differ in fees, schedules, routes, and vehicle types.

They often make a few stops throughout their journey and will usually pack as many people in them as possible. If you aren’t in a hurry and don’t mind waiting for the colectivo to stop a few times along the way, then this is a great alternative to a taxi ride. They cost anywhere from $2-$5 pesos per ride! (~10-25 cents USD) It’s very affordable and a great way to get around town if you don’t have a car.

colectivo

Long Distance Buses

coach bus in mexico

Many Mexican families don’t have a car, so traveling to visit other cities is usually done by long-distance bus. They range in all sizes, amenities, and direct vs. frequent stops. 

Traveling by coach bus in Mexico is inexpensive, safe, and very comfortable. Some of the popular companies are ADO, ETN, and Turistar. These buses are incredibly comfortable and have modern amenities like:

  • Full Bathrooms Onboard
  • Personal TVs with Movies on Demand
  • Air conditioning
  • Fully Reclining Seats
  • WiFi
  • And Plenty Of Overhead Storage

Coach buses in Mexico have their timetables online, and fares are based on the type of bus, distance, and number of stops. Direct buses are usually more expensive, but you can travel without having to worry about taking your car and enjoying movies along the way. It’s especially great if you don’t know the lay of the land yet.

Taxis

In most cities, you should avoid hailing a taxi off the street out of caution. Not all taxis marked as “taxi” in Mexico are registered, so you could be at risk of getting ripped off, or worse, robbed.

Registered taxis in Mexico are a very reliable way of getting from one point to another. To avoid any surprises, you should ask the driver for confirmation on your fare based on where you are headed.

To get a reliable and safe taxi in Mexico, you should only get one from a “Sitio,” a dedicated stand of taxi dispatchers. And if this doesn’t exist near you, you can call a radio taxi. You can usually find the phone number to a radio taxi through hotels, restaurants, or in some cases, online.

Be prepared to pay in cash as most taxis that I know of in Mexico only accept cash as payment. And be prepared to have exact change as most taxi drivers don’t carry change with them or pretend not to keep a larger bill.

Once you have established a relationship with a taxi driver, it is common to receive their direct number to arrange future pickups, even as a long-distance private driver.

Uber and Didi

The growing popularity of ride-sharing services like Uber and Didi has made it easier for people who don’t carry cash to call for a ride. Not only is this method safe and reliable, but more recently has been more popular in terms of service and sanitation.

The only watch out for ride-sharing services is they aren’t usually allowed to pick you up at airports in Mexico. Therefore you will have to call a cab from a sitio or figure out some form of public transportation when you arrive at an airport.

Otherwise, they are a reliable and safe alternative to taxis. However, Ubers and Didis tend to be 2x more expensive than calling a cab.

Uber is usually a cashless ride share service, whereas Didi is often paid in cash.

Subway/ Metro

Major cities like Monterrey, Guadalajara, and Ciudad de Mexico have rapid transit metro systems. By far, the largest and the most routes are in Mexico City. In fact, aside from the NYC subway system, Mexico City’s metro system is the largest in North America.

In Monterrey and Guadalajara, the light rail system connects the outskirts with the city center and doesn’t have as many lines to connect parts of the city.

Driving Your Own Car

Driving your own car in Mexico will give you the most freedom to go wherever you want, whenever you want. However, it’s important to note a few important details to ensure you are doing so legally.

  • You MUST carry Mexican auto insurance- VERY IMPORTANT.
  • You can drive a foreign plated vehicle as a tourist for up to 180 days.
  • You Can Drive A Foreign Plated Vehicle as A Temporary Resident for the length of your residency visa.
  • You Must Have A Temporary Import Permit (TIP) On A Foreign Plated Car.
  • You CANNOT Drive A Foreign Plated Vehicle as A Permanent Resident.
  • Have A Valid U.S. or Canadian, or European Driver’s License.

There are usually two types of highways in Mexico; The free one “la libre” and the paid one “la cuota.”



Working in Mexico

Not everyone moves to Mexico with a cushy pension or social security check. And not everyone moves to Mexico with a huge “cash balance” in their bank account to live off on.

If you need to fund your new life in Mexico or just want to earn a little extra money to do some traveling or other fun things, there are options for you!

If you come to Mexico on a tourist visa, also known as an FMM, you should know you CANNOT work in Mexico legally.

Sure there might be places that can hire you and pay you cash under the table. However, you need to know that working without a work permit means breaking the law in Mexico and can affect you in the future if you plan on getting residency.

Don’t Do It!

Luckily, getting a residency visa is so easy and straightforward that there should be little reason for you to work in Mexico illegally. 

You Need A Residency Visa To Work in Mexico

Most people coming to Mexico and looking for work will need a residency visa to be eligible to work in Mexico. The type of visa you have will dictate if you have to apply for a work permit or not. 

If you have a temporary visa, work permission is not implied and your employer will need to apply for a work permit through INM Instituto Nacional de Migración (Mexico’s Immigration Authority.) 

Otherwise, if you have a permanent visa, work permission is implied. Although you are still liable to notify INM of the change of employment status as a permanent resident.

There are a few specific exclusions that allow foreigners the right to work without having to apply for a work permit. If you believe you have this right, you should consult with an immigration attorney or facilitator first. 

Finding A Job In Mexico

And by law, Mexican companies must first make sure they can’t fill the job they offer you by a Mexican national. That can be your biggest obstacle. 

Depending on your skills and eligibility, you may be able to find jobs in some of the popular categories for expats:

  • Teaching English As A Second Language
  • Teaching English Online
  • Answering Calls In English At A Call Center
  • Selling Time-Shares At 100% Commission
  • Sales Positions At Real Estate Companies Catered to English Customers
  • Roles That Require You To Be Bilingual (Spanish/English)

You should know that Mexico’s minimum wage is about 142 MXN A DAY (That’s about $7.25 USD A DAY!) It may not be enough for you to live comfortably. Interestingly enough, most Mexican households of 4, get by on $20,000 MXN/Month! (less than $1,000 USD/month)

The type of jobs you might find in Mexico will depend on your experience, skills, and of course your salary requirements. In Mexico, finding a job can be a challenge regardless of whether you are a national or a foreigner.

The more experience you have in a specific industry, the more likely you are to finding a job in this sector. The exception being certain professional jobs like doctors, accountants, and architects which are reserved for Mexican nationals only.

For most of you though, having a work permit is necessary in Mexico if you plan to accept money for a service or transaction in Mexico.

Money Making Ideas in Mexico

Getting a job might be a challenge in Mexico, and in some cases impossible. But Mexico is a developing country full of untouched opportunities you can capitalize on.

If you can’t find a job, why not make your own income opportunity?

I’ve seen people creatively come up with services based on their community and the current state of affairs. During the pandemic, I’ve seen neighbors and other acquaintances offer grocery delivery and other favors for a fee in the most rural areas. 

I’ve heard of people starting their own pet sitting service through word of mouth, and in a few months, they had a full-blown business taking care of other people’s pets!

I know plenty of expats who have blogs, youtube channels, and other internet businesses that make them a few extra dollars on the side. In some cases, some of these online businesses are fully replacing their income!

I know people who rent some of the rooms in their houses on Airbnb and make a nice profit each month without having to sacrifice their time and effort. 

I know a few expats who have written an e-book on a subject they are passionate about, are selling it on Amazon Kindle, and are bringing in an extra few hundred each month. And the best part is they have zero inventory at home and can run this business from anywhere!

The possibilities are endless!


Retiree Benefits

Mexico really takes care of its elderly! There are various discounts given to people of retirement age, and the discounts really add up to serious savings.

To get these discounts, you’ll need to apply for an INAPAM card. The requirements are that you be 60 years or older, are a Mexican national or a legal resident of Mexico, and have proof of residence in Mexico.

Adulta mayor con su credencial INAPAM

The Mexican government has partnered with thousands of private and public businesses all over Mexico to offer INAPAM cardholders discounts. There are thousands of discounts throughout Mexico however some of the most notable ones are:

  • 50% Off property taxes
  • Discounted tickets to sporting events, movies, theater, and concerts
  • Discounted bus, boat, and train fares
  • 20% Off airlines tickets
  • Discounted hotel stays
  • Discounted adventure parks and resorts
  • Discounted water utility bills
  • 10-15% off at pharmacies
  • Discounted hispital bills
  • Discounted doctor’s visists
  • and so many more!

Residency Visa Options

Skip the headaches, the wasted time, and the wasted money — use one of our recommended Mexico immigration lawyers or facilitators. Details are in our Complete Mexico Relocation Course.

Mexico does a really good job of making it easy for foreigners to apply and receive a resident visa. The process is not difficult, and in most cases, expats chose to do the process from beginning to end on their own.

Of course, this all depends on your Spanish comprehension, your time, and any other special circumstances. However, hiring an immigration consultant or attorney is usually very inexpensive and saves you a lot of trouble!

Temporary Visa (Visa Temporal)

Most expats moving to Mexico from the U.S., Canada, or Europe will need to start the process of applying for any visa in their home country. Unless you have family ties to a Mexican national, the process is usually done in a Mexican consulate near your home. 

You can get a temporary visa for 1 year initially, and be eligible to renew it for up to 3 more years. After which you will either have to start over or become a permanent resident. 

To be eligible you must:

  • Show Income of roughly $2,000 USD/monthly or
  • Show Investments or Savings Balance of roughly $35,000 USD
  • Own A Home In Mexico Worth roughly $260,000 USD

Benefits of a Temporary Visa:

  • Eligible to apply for a work permit
  • Eligible to get a Mexican drivers license
  • Ability to import a foreign plated vehicle (up to 4 years)
  • Ease of opening a Mexican bank account
  • Eligible to apply for INAPAM at age 60+

Permanent Visa (Visa Permanente)

If you plan on living in Mexico longer than 4 years, you are retired, and you qualify- you should apply for a permanent resident visa.

Many people chose to apply for a permanent resident visa because their income qualifies them, and they would rather not have to deal with immigration for renewal. Your permanent resident visa is valid indefinitely.

And after 5 years you are eligible to apply for citizenship.

To be eligible you must:

  • Show Income of roughly $3,500 USD/monthly or
  • Show Investment or Savings Account Balance of $140,000 USD
  • In most Consulates- Be of retirement age receiving a pension.

Married couples have different criteria to be eligible. However, it is usually a small change in the income requirements for a family. 

Benefits of a Permanent Visa:

  • Work permit implied- simpler process to apply for jobs.
  • Eligible to get a Mexican drivers license
  • Visa Is Valid Indefinitely. No need to renew
  • Eligible for Citizenship After 5 Yrs
  • Ease of opening a Mexican bank account
  • Eligible to apply for INAPAM at age 65+
  • Discounted real estate taxes 

About the Author

Hi – I’m Mariana Lange – A Mexican National Who Loves Mexico! I was born in Mexico City but was primarily raised in Guadalajara. My parents, siblings, and I moved to Texas in the 90s. Every summer my parents would send me back to Mexico City and Guanajuato with my extended family for 3 full months.

That’s how I became fully bilingual and completely bi-cultural. I would spend my summers in various parts of Mexico like Cancun, Playa del Carmen, Toluca, Queretaro, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico City and Morelia visiting family members all over the country. My entire extended family still lives in Mexico so I split half my time between the U.S. and Mexico. I’ve also lived all over the world including Germany, Italy, and Panama. So, I know what it’s like to move to another country.

I met my husband, Dustin, in Austin, Texas where we adopted our fur baby Loolu.

A few years ago, Dustin and I were getting tired of the rat race in Austin. The cost of living is increasing a lot every year, and we feel like we might have to work until we die. And now, with COVID, we see inflation as we’ve never seen before. I know that many of you might feel the same way. You know you don’t want to work forever, but you don’t see any other way to afford your lifestyle. I started looking into a few countries where the cost of living could be lower without sacrificing our quality of life.

We looked at Spain, Portugal, Ecuador, Panama, Costa Rica, and Mexico. But Mexico kept coming up as our number one option. For starters, I grew up here, but it also helped that both Dustin and I have spent a lot of time in Mexico and are familiar with various cities and the culture.

I began to research everything I could about moving to Mexico as a foreigner and found that a lot of the information I found online had either never been updated or failed to be accurate. I found a lot of great free resources online about moving to Mexico and retiring in Mexico. But I also found terrible and wrong advice.

It’s so frustrating when you want to get a clear answer. Right?

That’s when our website, Mexico Relocation Guide, was born. I began to put together a handy website where I can share accurate, easy to follow, and up-to-date information with YOU in mind. And to take it one step further, the information I share isn’t based solely on my research. It has also been written, verified, and fact-checked by several professionals like immigration lawyers, insurance brokers, real estate agents, the Mexican government, and such. That way you’re getting accurate and up-to-date advice.

Dustin helps me manage all things website-related. I focus on creating content, our Youtube channel, and other social media. And together, we run Mexico Relocation Guide!

It’s a team effort! 

I’ve met a lot of people who love living in Mexico! However, I have also met some folks who believed stories they read online of Mexico being a paradise where you can live like royalty on pennies- with all of the comforts of back home. Some people I’ve met moved to Mexico without visiting first. And some of these people were greatly disappointed when the reality of their new home was not the rose-colored-glasses vision they had read about. So, some people move back home with a tremendous financial loss and a lot of undue stress.

Mexico isn’t for everyone!

To avoid that costly mistake, I highly recommend that you check out our Mexico Relocation Course.

I’ve spent hundreds of hours researching the right way to move to Mexico so you don’t have to. I put all the information together in an easy-to-follow Relocation Course that gives you a simple plan to make your move to Mexico easier. In our COMPLETE Mexico Relocation Course there are over 150 topics with answers to your most pressing questions about retiring and living in Mexico. And as I mentioned earlier, all the information in the course has been fact-checked and partially written by professionals. Because no one wants to base their important decisions on wrong information! We also update the online course consistently and have a private Facebook community where you can get answers to your questions in real-time.

I’ve carefully selected, vetted, and listed different recommendations for things like:

  • Private Relocation Tour Guides
  • Real Estate Agents
  • Immigration Experts
  • Doctors and Dentists
  • Veterniarians
  • Movers
  • Facilitators
  • Expat Emergency Services
  • And contacts that can be very useful on your move!

If you’ve been dreaming of retiring or living in Mexico and don’t know where to start, this guide is for YOU! I share the good, the bad, the pretty, and the ugly, so you’ll know if Mexico is right for you! We take care of answering the top questions you’ll have about relocating, so the only thing left to do once you’ve purchased the guide is to pack your bags and explore different areas of Mexico!

You only have one life. Don’t dream your life- Live your dreams!

The beauty of the Mexico Relocation Course is you get lifetime access for only $295 USD. That means you only pay once and enjoy access to the online course forever! Don’t you hate when you buy a book and a year or two later it’s no longer relevant? You don’t have to worry about that! Our online course is conveniently updated with new information so you’re always getting the latest advice.

Because moving to Mexico is a life-changing decision and you want the most accurate information! That’s my goal. To make sure you feel you have the right tools to make that decision.

Welcome. We are so glad you are here!