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Guest writer Alex tells us about her experience moving to Mexico.

7 Reasons Why Expats & Digital Nomads Should Move to Mexico

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Today we’ve got a special guest! Alex, of Backpacking Brunette, is here to tell us about her experience living abroad and why she thinks expats and digital nomads should consider a move to Mexico.

Alex is originally from the United States but now lives in Querétaro, Mexico. She’s a wealth of knowledge with tons of details about life abroad and travels to share. If you’d like to get in contact with her, read more of her articles about Mexico, or follow along with her adventures, you can find links to do so at the end of this post.

Here’s Alex!

Alex after she moved to Mexico.

Is a move to Mexico right for you? Keep reading to learn why Mexico is one of the best countries for expats and digital nomads.

Eager to experience life abroad, you’ve decided you want to move to another country. But, with the whole world to choose from (or close to it), you aren’t sure where exactly to make your new home.

Whether you’re an expat or digital nomad, the decision of where to move can be an overwhelming one.

After reading this post, you will know seven reasons why expats and digital nomads should move to Mexico.

If you’re just beginning to research potential countries or Mexico is already on your shortlist, this detailed explanation of what makes Mexico an ideal place for expats and digital nomads alike will give you the information you need to decide if Mexico is the right country for you.

Move to Mexico

Why listen to me?

I know, firsthand, the weight of the decision you’re wrestling with right now. After two years of living in Madrid, Spain, I knew it was time for a new adventure but wasn’t sure where in the world that adventure should be.

In Oct. 2017, I booked a one-way flight to Mexico City, and from there, I boarded a bus to a city I’d only recently learned to pronounce: Querétaro.

While I didn’t know much about Mexico when I moved here, I have learned a lot in the three years that I’ve called it home. Since I didn’t do as much research as I probably should have before moving here (hey, I was only 25 years old!), it feels like I stumbled upon a jackpot of a country, and so you don’t overlook it amidst your own research, I’m sharing why Mexico is a solid choice for expats and digital nomads of all ages.

Guest writer Alex tells us about her experience moving to Mexico.

1. Affordable Cost of Living

As Lauren has mentioned multiple times in her famous Instagram mini-trainings, it’s important to solidify your priorities for your new country. When I was deciding where to move after Madrid, my top criteria (after it being a Spanish-speaking destination) was a place with an affordable cost of living.

Mexico offers just that while still providing a high quality of life. In short, you get a lot for your money here, and it’s a much lower cost than Madrid! This is especially true if your income is in U.S. dollars or euros. I don’t even live in the most budget-friendly city in Mexico (far from it, actually) and still am more than comfortable living on $2,000 USD per month.

You can certainly live on much less in Mexico, but with that income, I have been able to pay off my credit card debt, establish an emergency fund, travel frequently, eat out regularly and pretty much buy whatever I want whenever I want it. Furthermore, the affordable cost of living in Mexico has allowed me to transition from teaching English online to being a full-time freelance writer.

Curious to see what kind of apartment $478 USD gets you in Mexico? Check out this YouTube video!

2. Generous Tourist Visa

It’s difficult to know if you’ll like living in a country until you’re, well, actually living there. Unfortunately, strict immigration policies make it tough to give a country a trial run. For example, U.S. citizens are limited to a three-month tourist visa for countries in Europe’s Schengen Zone.

By comparison, Mexico issues U.S. passport holders (as well as passport holders from numerous other countries on its “no visa” list) a 180-day tourist visa. You can try out life in Mexico for six months to see if it’s a good fit for you. If after six months you’re still not totally sold, you can exit the country and immediately reset your tourist visa for another six months.

I lived in Mexico for two and a half years on a tourist visa before applying for a temporary residency. If you’re a digital nomad or expat who doesn’t need to seek work in Mexico, you can build quite a life for yourself on just a tourist visa. With only my tourist visa, I was able to rent an apartment, purchase health insurance, and lead quite a happy life here.

Colorful streets in Mexico

3. Dependable Infrastructure (In Bigger Cities)

Mexico is a big country, and just as you need to prioritize what you’re looking for in a country, you must prioritize what you’re looking for in a city as well. For example, if you’re a digital nomad who needs reliable, high-speed internet, you should consider moving to one of Mexico’s bigger cities like Querétaro, Guadalajara, or Mexico City itself.

Although small town beach life sounds idyllic, a good WiFi connection can be as scarce as Mexican candy without chamoy, and it’s not unheard of for the electricity to go out unexpectedly. While I’ve dealt with a few internet/electricity issues in Querétaro, on the whole, I receive better service here than I did in the U.S. and for a whole lot cheaper.

My electricity bill is less than $4 USD per month, and for high-speed internet with a fiber optic connection (150 Mbps download speed), I pay $24 USD per month. When my partner and I were both teaching English online, we had no issues video conferencing simultaneously thanks to the incredible internet speed.

4. Overall Safety

Contrary to what Fox News would like you to believe, there are many safe places in Mexico. In fact, Querétaro is widely regarded as one of the safest places to live in Mexico. I’ve lived here for three years now and can honestly say I’ve never felt unsafe—not even uncomfortable.

While I always advise travelers to be aware of their surroundings, you shouldn’t let the fear of getting caught in cartel crossfire hold you back from a move to Mexico. In my experience, Mexicans are very helpful, friendly people. If you need assistance or have a question about whether or not someplace is safe, just ask. People actually living in Mexico are a much better source of information than the sensational American news media.

According to International Living, some of the safest cities for expats in Mexico are Playa del Carmen, Puerto Vallarta, Mérida, Lake Chapala and San Miguel de Allende. I encourage you to compare the crime statistics for any one of these cities to a city of similar size in your home country for some perspective. For the most part, the places you should avoid in Mexico are places you probably wouldn’t want to spend time in any way.

Alex walking down a street in Mexico

5. Infectious Entrepreneurial Spirit

In addition to being warm and welcoming, Mexicans are extremely entrepreneurial, especially young people. Since moving here, I’ve met countless people who own their own business (in some cases, several). From Mexico City to Mérida, co-working spaces have popped up all over the country to support the growing demand from freelancers, small business owners and digital nomads.

Similarly, people are willing to take on multiple side hustles if it means they can continue to be their own boss. My neighbor works as a freelance graphic designer and photographer in addition to designing custom mobiles and working at her parents’ traditional candy store. She’s one of the many creatives I have the pleasure of calling a friend and her dogged pursuit of new creative outlets inspired me to start creating content for YouTube.

Mexicans’ entrepreneurial spirit is infectious, and if you decide you want to start your own online business or go freelance, the temporary resident visa is a good option. While you won’t be able to work in Mexico (don’t worry: online is fine), benefits include the ability to register a vehicle and open a bank account. Plus, with your temporary resident permit, you won’t have to leave Mexico every six months as you do with the tourist visa.

The main requirement is proving economic solvency which you can read all about in this detailed guide for how to apply for temporary residency in Mexico.

6. Thriving Social Scene

One of the biggest concerns for people considering moving to another country is whether or not they’ll be able to make friends. Even though they plan to move on eventually, many digital nomads share this worry as well. Finding “your people” is essential to being happy in your new life abroad.

The more Spanish you know before a move to Mexico the easier time you will have establishing a social circle of locals. You can look forward to late nights of sipping mezcal, listening to music and lots of laughter. I like to use websites like Meetup and Couchsurfing to meet new people here as well as just striking up conversations with strangers (which is interestingly enough how I found my apartment).

I like living in Querétaro because I’ve been able to assimilate within the community and improve my Spanish skills. However, if you’re looking for more of that traditional expat experience or simply a place where English is widely-spoken, some of the best expat communities in Mexico are found in San Miguel de Allende, Lake Chapala, Huatulco, and Ensenada.

A bar in Mexico- the social scene is a big reason to move to Mexico

7. Good Weather, Good Food & Plenty of Things to Do

When I talk to expats and digital nomads about their list of must-haves for a country, good weather and good food almost always seems to come up. Mexico has no shortage of either.

As much as I love the beach (especially the Pacific Coast), I don’t think I could live somewhere with intense humidity. I prefer the dry heat of Querétaro with its many sunny days and cool nights. The hottest months of the year are April and May, and there’s a rainy season that’s started in late-summer the past few years. This Michigan girl likes the fact that temperatures drop in the winter, but you don’t have to worry about snow.

It’s a miracle I haven’t put on weight with all the delicious things they are to eat and drink here. From tacos al pastor shaved off the rotisserie right in front of your eyes and guacamole with crunchy grasshoppers to smokey mezcals and flavorful craft beers that can hold court with even the most hipster American breweries, Mexican cuisine will delight your palate in a thousand different ways (and that’s just one side of the menu).

Street Tacos

Fuel up on good food and take advantage of the good weather to enjoy all that this country has to offer. Mountains, beaches, jungles, waterfalls, archaeological sites, sprawling cities, tiny pueblos: Mexico is a traveler’s paradise. Seriously, the destinations that dominate my bucket list today are places I’d never even heard of just a few years ago. Just like living here, traveling, particularly to off the beaten path destinations in Mexico, is easy on your wallet.

A well-established system of first and second-class buses make it easy and safe to travel around the country even if you don’t have a car. Budget airlines offer affordable domestic flights, and if somehow you run out of things to do here, you can find flights to anywhere in the world from the Mexico City airport which is the biggest in Latin America. I’ve scored some pretty sweet deals to fly home back to the U.S. and visit loved ones.

Final Thoughts on Why Mexico is One of the Best Countries for Expats and Digital Nomads

Whew, I know I threw a lot at you, but I’m confident Mexico is one of the best countries for expats and digital nomads. If I would have had this information when I was deciding where to move after Spain (if only I’d worked with an expat coach like Lauren!), I don’t think I would have racked my brain quite as hard or lost nearly as much sleep lying awake and wondering if I was making the right choice by moving to Mexico.

I thought I would live in Mexico for two years and move on, but now three years later, I’ve applied for temporary residency, plan to become a permanent resident once I’m eligible and can see a future here that includes raising a family. The way I feel in Mexico is something I hope for every digital nomad and expat to experience abroad.

If you’re thinking about a move to Mexico, download my completely free Move to Mexico Quickstart Guide. This 25-page ebook includes:

  • Answers to my 10 most frequently asked questions about living in Mexico
    Apartment hunting tips that will make finding a place to live a whole lot easier
    Renting in Spanish cheat sheet with exact phrases to message a potential landlord

Alex of Backpacking Brunette

About Alex:

In 2014, Alex called the newspaper where she had accepted a post-graduation internship to say she was moving to Spain instead. The editor told her she was ruining her life, but five years and countless adventures later, Alex begs to differ.

She currently lives in Querétaro, Mexico. When she’s not blogging on Backpacking Brunette, you can find her reading, watering her many plants or reaching for another taco. For glimpses of her daily life in Querétaro and info about moving to Mexico, subscribe to her YouTube channel and follow her on Instagram.

Are you an expat or digital nomad considering moving to Mexico? What about Mexico makes it a contender for your new home abroad?


If you’re interested in moving abroad to learn Spanish, be sure to check out my article: Best Spanish-Speaking Destinations for Digital Nomads!


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