Where Do Americans Retire in Mexico?

The dream of retiring in a place where the sun always shines, the beaches beckon, and the margaritas flow doesn’t have to be just a daydream for many Americans–it can be a reality in Mexico. With its rich culture, vibrant communities, and the promise of an adventure around every corner, Mexico has become a magnet for those looking to enjoy a lower cost of living without skimping on the quality of life.

Guanajuato, Guanajuato. One of the best places to live in Mexico
Guanajuato, Guanajuato – One of the best places to live in Mexico

Some of the most popular retirement locations for Americans in Mexico include San Miguel de Allende, Puerto Vallarta and Riviera Nayarit, Playa del Carmen and the Riviera Maya, Tulum, Ajijic, Guanajuato, Pátzcuaro, Querétaro, and Oaxaca. Once you understand the visa and residency requirements for Mexico, you’ll be well on your way to a new life in this beautiful country.

A Brief History of American Retirement in Mexico

Decades ago, the pioneers of American retirement in Mexico were few, searching for a peaceful, affordable place to spend their golden years. Today, the landscape has changed dramatically, with thousands of Americans calling Mexico home, drawn by its natural beauty and modern amenities.

Top Destinations for American Retirees

Each year, many Americans choose to retire in Mexico for its cost-effective living and high-quality lifestyle. Here’s where they’re planting their new roots:

San Miguel de Allende

living in san miguel de allende
Living in San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato. One of the best places to retire in Mexico.

For those looking for art, history, and a vibrant cultural scene, San Miguel de Allende is unmatched. This UNESCO World Heritage site offers a colorful life amidst historic architecture.


Famous for its traditional Day of the Dead celebrations, Pátzcuaro is a cultural gem located in the heart of Michoacán. Surrounded by lush hills and serene lakes, it offers a peaceful retreat with a strong sense of community and rich indigenous heritage.


The murals in Ajijic are scattered throughout town
The murals in Ajijic are scattered throughout town

Nestled on the shores of Lake Chapala, Ajijic is a picturesque village that boasts a perfect climate year-round, a tight-knit expat community, and a tranquil setting. With colorful streets, art galleries, and local markets, Ajijic is ideal for those looking to immerse themselves in Mexican culture while enjoying the comforts of home.


Boasting a booming economy, high quality of life, and a beautiful historic center, Querétaro attracts retirees who seek modern amenities amidst colonial charm. Its safety, healthcare facilities, and vibrant cultural life are big draws.

Puerto Vallarta and Riviera Nayarit

Puerto Vallarta Mexico
Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco. One of the top places to retire in Mexico.

Beach lovers and sun seekers flock to Mexico’s Pacific coast, where Puerto Vallarta and Riviera Nayarit offer golden sands, blue waters, and an active lifestyle with all the comforts of home.


This UNESCO World Heritage city, with its vibrant facades and winding alleyways, offers a unique living experience steeped in history and culture. Guanajuato’s lively festivals, rich arts scene, and friendly locals make it a captivating choice for retirees who crave a dynamic urban environment.

Playa del Carmen and the Riviera Maya

The Caribbean coast is another gem in Mexico’s crown, with its turquoise seas, lush landscapes, and a perfect blend of relaxation and adventure.


Ensenada, Baja California. One of the best places to retire in Mexico
Ensenada, Baja California. One of the best places to retire in Mexico

Situated on the Baja California Peninsula, Ensenada offers a coastal lifestyle with a cooler climate than other Mexican beach destinations. Known for its seafood, local wines, and outdoor activities, it’s perfect for retirees who want to spend their golden years by the ocean.


The cultural capital of the Yucatán Peninsula, Mérida, blends deep history with modern luxury. Its safety, affordable cost of living, and rich Mayan and colonial heritage make it an attractive spot for retirees looking for a vibrant city life surrounded by stunning natural wonders.


Retire in Oaxaca, Oaxaca
Retire in Oaxaca, Oaxaca

Famous for its culinary scene, artisan markets, and colorful celebrations, Oaxaca offers a deep connection to Mexico’s indigenous cultures and traditions. Retirees are drawn to its rich cultural tapestry and mild climate.

Beyond Sun and Sand

Retiring in Mexico is about more than just finding a beautiful place to live; it’s about creating a fulfilling life. Engaging with local and expat communities can be vital to a rich and rewarding experience. 

Cities dense with activities, clubs, and volunteer opportunities can provide a sense of belonging and purpose. Across the country, Mexico’s healthcare system is high quality and affordable, a detail which makes it even more attractive to many retirees.

Sunsets and Savings

Moving to Mexico can offer a unique opportunity to redefine retirement, blending adventure with tranquility and luxury with affordability. Whether you’re drawn to the cultural richness of San Miguel de Allende, the serene beauty of Lake Chapala, or the vibrant shores of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico will welcome you with open arms and endless possibilities!

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.

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