Where Should You Live in Mexico? Quick and Helpful Guide

Where you live should be interesting, adventurous, and fun! Not only a place where you get to survive and live another day. But a place you can thrive!  

When you move to Mexico, I encourage you to ask yourself, “What’s In My Backyard?” 

Without a doubt, what your house or condo looks like, how many rooms it has, etc, is a very significant decision. But what about your neighborhood? Your town or city? What does it have to offer? What doesn’t it have? 

You can remodel your condo or home, but you can’t rearrange geography or a city center/downtown.      

For most people, having fun is of tremendous importance. But the word fun has many definitions.   

Are you a homebody? Are you very active? Just those two basic questions about your lifestyle will help determine what you want around you.    

Mexico is a vast country. From its northernmost point to its southernmost point is 2500 miles.   Just to give you a comparison, between Maine and Florida, there are 1600 miles. Can you picture the diversity as you leave New England, drive through the Southern States, and arrive in Florida?

There’s a famous phrase by Jimmy Buffet “Changes in latitudes, changes in attitudes.”  And man, is it very true.

West to East is another 1200 miles in between. And between the Pacific coast and the Gulf of Mexico, there are beaches, deserts, forests, cities, towns, lakes, rivers, canyons, sand, gravel, snow and a magnificent mountain range in between. If you didn’t know this, Mexico’s highest mountain peak is 18,000 feet above sea level! And Mexico has the 2nd largest reef on its coast, cenotes, and dense tropical jungle.   

It’s a very special place in the world.

Pico de Orizaba is 18,491 ft above sea

Mexico Is SO Much More Than Beaches

You’ve seen pictures of palm trees, sandy beaches, and glorious sunsets. With thousands of miles of waterfront, this is certainly the most popular image of Mexico.

But Mexico is so much more than just beaches, resorts, or some of the popular archeological sites. 

There is a vast amount of bio-diversity, cultural differences from the south to the north, and even weather differences that are night and day.

So, before moving to Mexico, it’s important to ask yourself, “What do I WANT in my backyard?”

And as you do your research and begin to narrow down the places you’d like to live in, ask yourself, “What IS IN my backyard?”  I can not emphasize enough the importance of research in selecting your new Mexican home/backyard! I’ve heard from hundreds of expats who have moved to Mexico over the years that they had no idea how diverse Mexico was. Or they had no idea how different one city is from the other. Or how much the landscapes change. Or how much the food differs from one place to the next.

It’s really awesome to talk to these people, actually. A lot of them have been on one of our recommended relocation tours. And during a tour, they may realize they actually prefer living in a city instead of a beach. Or they might prefer a small town instead of a popular expat city. Or that they prefer a cooler climate than hot weather year-round.

But they had no idea there were options!

The Important Must-Haves

  • Beaches
  • Desert
  • Mountains 
  • Rural town
  • Small city
  • Big city

What about climate?

  • Do you like hot weather?
  • Or do you prefer cool weather?
  • Humidity? or Dryer atmosphere?

Narrow that down. And I caution you to rely on Facebook groups or videos on how someone else might feel about a place. Because hot for them might be 95 degrees, but hot for you might be 80. Many parts of Mexico are shorts, sandals, and t-shirts year-round kind of places. But there are plenty of towns and cities where it’s sweaters, long pants, scarves, and boots. 

And perhaps one of the most important things you should consider is your mobility. How much walking are you willing/capable of doing? Many towns in Mexico that are very popular with expats have the old-world charm. This means cobblestones, older streets with uneven streets, and sidewalks. And walking on them can be challenging, especially if you have mobility problems. We did a group tour in November, and we had one customer who was pretty active but had a previously broken ankle and needed t use a cane. Needless to say, she hated walking on the cobblestone streets of Ajijic and San Miguel de Allende, and I think it’s fair to say she won’t be moving there anytime soon.

What Are Some Nice To Haves?

Start with the big questions, and narrow those down. Then start asking yourself some of the nice-to-haves.

Another important question you should consider is how you will get around. Are you bringing your car? Or do you plan to buy one here? If not, what is the local transportation like?  Do you see yourselves on a scooter?   

What about your leisure time? What will you do for fun? Do you fish?  Play golf? Like museums, art, history?

Do you want to adventure out on day trips? 2-3 day trips or one-day trips?

How much English is spoken in this community? Are there Spanish immersion schools? Or language meetups for you to practice your Espanol? Are there any foreigner meetups or particular places where foreigners hang out? That way you can meet others who are in your same shoes? 

What about hospitals? If there isn’t one in a rural part of Mexico you plan to live in, what’s the nearest big hospital? And how would you get there in case of an emergency?   

What about shopping, restaurants,and nightlife?   

So, you see the list of questions you should ask yourself can get quite large. But I think it’s important for you to take some time, be honest with yourself, and write some of these down. That way, you can narrow down the places you’d like to scout first.

Once you’re ready to do some scouting trips, encourage you to check out our private relocation tours.

Some Research You Might Miss

One part of your research you might miss could revolve around the non-negotiables. For example, we know of a family that moved to Huatulco recently. They love it there.  Absolutely wonderful. 

But, they are members of a specific church.  And the nearest one is? About 350 miles away. So, they left. Somehow they missed doing the research about this. Maybe they didn’t realize how important this was to them until they got here, and then made that discovery   

Where Can You Do Your Research?

Google Maps is a great place to start. You can quickly see a towns’ size, it’s geography, distance to larger cities, highway systems. You can zoom in and you can find airports, parks, golf courses, marinas, neighborhoods, resturatnts, parks, etc.     

Zoom in more and you will see individual buildings, (many stating the name of the business). You can see what condition the roads are in. You really can get a feel for what it’s like to be there. You will find hotels, supermarkets, department stores, hardware stores and gas stations. And you can even see pictures of what they look like inside.  

There are some limitations if the info is a few years old. Or if a business has not paid to have their name listed, you’ll just see a building. You can get an idea of what neighborhoods look like. You will be able to make many decisions about what you like and don’t like. Most important, you are looking at facts.

I do a lot of city videos where I show you neighborhoods, rentals, weather, culture, things to do, shopping options and even restaurants. And the goal is to show you how diverse Mexico truly is. And to show you not only the good but also the bad. Because my goal isn’t to try to convince you to move to Mexico. My goal is to show you Mexico, and if you decide to move here- then I show you how to do it the right way. The path to the least amount of surpriuses.

But these are just to give you a glimpse into a town or city. The real proof is in the pudding. And no one will experience a place like you will. You have to be there to feel what it’s actually like. Do you enjoy the weather? Do you enjoy the vibe? Do you feel safe? Do you like the food? Shopping options? Etc.

My Youtube Channel- Mexico Relocation Guide has a variety of city videos

Wikipedia is a very good source of information.    For a specific town, you can find facts, charts, and statistics from credible and verifiable sources.  You can learn about annual weather, tourism numbers, city economy, transportation, crime, cultural events, and more.    

Just Googling a question can lead to factual information.   

And then there is Facebook. What a mixed bag of info! If you ask a subjective question, you will get lots of opinions from people who have lived,  and are still living there. To people who were there 15 years ago. To someone who has spent a week there.

Lots of mixed opinions! With people from all walks of life and with all levels of expertise. I’m not saying you won’t get valuable information either. In some cases, you get really helpful information from Facebook.

If your question is not detailed enough, you will likely get a lot of worthless responses and info. Be selective in what you ask. Go ahead and ask for recommendations, where to find unique items, best dentist, veterinarian, etc. Just know that you’re asking a sea of strangers. Consider the source.

Moving to Mexico Is A Big Decision

Moving to Mexico, involves time, expenses, complexities, and emotions.   

It’s a huge decision that will change your life! For many, It’s a one way trip. There are people who moved to Mexico that had never visited before. Let alone done any research on their new home. And It works for a few.   

However, there are many more who find it’s not to their liking. They WISH, that they had done more research, asked more questions. They WISH that they had taken the time, spent the money, to come and see in person, what their new lives would look and feel like. 

There is much work involved in determining what you want in your backyard, and finding it.  Some of your research won’t be easy and will take time.  But trust me, it will pay off. There are many aspects of moving to Mexico that are not discussed here and much more to do. But when you have completed that process, you will finally be able to enjoy your new home.   

And your new backyard. And that’s the most important part of being here. Finding YOUR Happy Place!

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

Comments

  1. dave says

    All good advice . Other points might be driveability i.e. safe to drive or distance to the US border. We have dogs and will NOT put them in the cargo hold of a plane. Then we have the creepy crawlies, snakes , spiders , and bugs in general . Finally my constant worry… Water insecurities. i.e. it is said La Paz will be the 1st City (in the America’s) to run out of water. Those in charge know they must do something to change this. But at the same time seem to be denying there is a problem. 6.6 inches (167 mm) of rain fall annually is hardly enough for their growing population. Worst of all is they are not alone in this. Just my thoughts Dave.

  2. Mark Adams says

    Hi I have lifetime income around $6000 do I qualify for permanent residency and if I am qualify how long I must wait to finalize my permanent residency and how I can
    open personal bank account to transfer US dollar to Mexican bank. How much cash I can bring with me.
    Thaks MARK ADAMS

    • Mariana Lange says

      Hi Mark
      here are the income requirements for residency in Mexico
      https://mexicorelocationguide.com/visa-requirements-for-mexico/

      When you move to Mexico as a resident you will be able to open a bank account which can be used to transfer dollars from the US to Mexico.
      You can bring as much cash as you want but anything over 10,000 USD and you will have to pay taxes

  3. Susan Q says

    ¡Hola, Mariana! I am definitely more of a “sweaters, long pants, scarves and boots” person and love mountain living but finding areas with that type of climate has been difficult. Could you please suggest a few areas to investigate? Thanks!

    • Mariana Lange says

      Anywhere in Morelos or Estado de México states will be chilly at night. Not so much during the day

      • Susan Q says

        Thank you, Mariana. I will look into both.

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