Should You Live Outside The “Expat Bubble?”

Moving to Mexico can be as rewarding as you want or as overwhelming as it can be. Either way, you probably don’t know anyone, you feel lost, and everything is new, right down to buying groceries.

At least back home, you probably speak the language, so asking for directions, good restaurant recommendations, or where you can buy a specific item are all run-of-the-mill questions.

However, once you arrive in Mexico, all bets are off. Especially if you’re exactly fluent in Spanish, things can get awkward.

This is why some people prefer to live in expat communities around Mexico. These include:

  • Ajijic
  • Puerto Vallarta
  • Huatulco
  • Los Cabos
  • Rosarito
  • San Miguel de Allende
  • Mexico City

To name a few. And it makes sense. A lot of services here are in English. There are regular expat meetups where you can instantly make friends. Many locals speak at least a little bit of English, so communicating is easier. And it’s an excellent option for you to make a soft landing in Mexico.

For many, the soft landing becomes a permanent home. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. So please, don’t let anyone get after you for wanting to take the path to least resistance.

I know when we moved from Mexico to Texas, we lived in a city where the primary language spoken was Spanish. Yes, you read that right. In the United States, there are places where English is a second language. So it made it much easier for my parents to master the English language slowly. 

But I also want you to be aware that there is a lot of Mexico outside the expat bubble. And why do I point this out?

Because living in Mexico is a whole experience, for many, the people are the main reason they stay. This is why I think it is crucial for you to try to mingle as much with locals and not only with other foreigners. Your life will be enriched, I promise.

You’ll have a different outlook on Mexican culture than you would if you only stayed in the expat bubble.

My perception of American culture changed when we moved from South Texas (mini Mexico) to Austin. And it was for the better. I became more involved in wanting to learn about the history of the United States and how laws worked, but more importantly, I recognized that there was a lot more world than just my Latin culture. 

You’ll experience the same when you have local friends. They will help you integrate and help you have an easier time living in Mexico. 

You’ll gain confidence in all aspects of your new life. You’ll become more and more independent and learn how to do everything without the constant help of facilitators or friends.

We sell a product that gives you a good start on moving to Mexico. And we also give you a variety of contacts that can help you take off with a smoother landing. But our relocation guide is also not the end all be all. And I want you to gain confidence in your everyday life. 😉

One of the main reasons people leave is because they either feel lonely or the culture shock is too much to handle. And while being homesick is 100% normal and part of your adjustment period- it should be just that—an adjustment and not your norm.

Because nobody wants to feel isolated for a long period of time.

Which is why I encourage you to make friends with the locals. Start learning Spanish as soon as you can. You don’t have to be great to start, but you do have to start to be great,

And if you do find yourself living in an expat community, try to still try to meet the locals there too. Force yourself out of your comfort zone. Not everyone is going to be your best friend at first. That’s ok.

With time, you’ll slowly start to find your tribe.

You will soon start to love the fact that you’re involved. And believe me; your neighbors will be just as excited when you have “exito” or success learning the legalese and the bureaucratic nightmare Mexico can be.

Interaction means understanding the Culture and politeness rules. In Latin Culture, there are cultural nuances for almost everything you do, and knowing how, when, and where to use them goes a long way. 

And your new friends will be excellent resources for local information on any subject.

Don’t be afraid to interact. Host a dinner party or an event at your house to welcome your new amigos. Mexicans love socializing and being invited for a drink or something low-key. And don’t worry if someone tries to give you a hug or a kiss on the cheek. That’s normal in Mexico amongst friends. 

My goal for you is to not only move to Mexico with less stress. But I want you to thrive in your new life too! 

To your new life in Mexico ❤️

Mariana Lange

Mariana Lima-Lange was born in Mexico and immigrated to the U.S. when she was a child. She spent every summer visiting family throughout Mexico and is very knowledgeable about Mexican culture, lifestyle, and traditions. She is fluent in both Spanish and English.

Reader Interactions


  1. Richard Sybrant says

    While I don’t plan to move to Mexico until 2024, it sounds like you are telling me I can get a lot done ahead of time. I am active and in my 70’s.

    • Mariana Lange says

      Yes you can and you should. Starting with learning some basic Spanish

  2. Melissa says

    I have been to Mazatlan twice and love it! My original plan was Myrtle Beach and work until I have one foot in the grave but then I saw a few articles featuring an Xpat there – that made me visit and fall in love with my future home.

    Does your book have realtors for Mazatlan? I am like 99% sure that is where I want my forever home to be but I want to start with renting an apartment.

    Thank you,

    • Mariana Lange says

      Hi Melissa – yes our online guide has recommendations for realtors in Mazatlan.
      Although, just FYI it is not a book. It is more like an online course with an online directory 🙂

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