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7 Best Cities For Expats In Mexico

7 min read

7 Best Cities For Expats In Mexico

Mexico is one of the top expat destinations in the world, and for good reason. Reportedly, 9 out of 10 expats living in Mexico are happy with their lives there. 

The allure of Mexico’s diverse cities, each offering its unique blend of experiences, is an undeniable pull. 

But with excitement often comes questions and uncertainty. Since Mexico's multiple cities present astonishing benefits, picking just one is tricky. After all, deciding where to plant your expat roots is a serious question. 

However, as an expat who’s visited over 110 countries, lived in 9 of them and even written a book on how to move to Mexico, I’ll be your trusted companion on this expedition. I’ll lay out the 7 best cities for expats in Mexico, helping you decide which one suits you best. We’ll break down the distinctive features of each city. Mexico’s expat landscape is vast and diverse, from bustling urban centers to serene havens. 

The sea of choices can be overwhelming, but I’m here to break down the essence of each city, revealing its offerings and expat-friendly attributes. No matter what you’re looking for, Mexico has something for you, so your ideal expat destination awaits your discovery. Let’s dive in.

 

Monterrey captivates with its dynamic blend of towering modernity, industrial prowess, and warm Northern hospitality against a backdrop of majestic mountains

Monterrey captivates with its dynamic blend of towering modernity, industrial prowess, and warm Northern hospitality against a backdrop of majestic mountains

#7 MONTERREY: WHERE MODERNITY MEETS TRADITION

Monterrey is a city that boasts innovation while preserving its cultural roots. If you’re searching for a dynamic lifestyle, this could be your spot. At first, the majestic skyscrapers might appear to be the complete opposite of tradition, but rest assured that this city blends the old and the new. The heart of Monterrey features both modern architecture and centuries-old churches, showcasing a fabulous juxtaposition of innovation and heritage.

According to Numbeo, the purchasing power in Monterrey is around 25% higher than in Mexico City, but this doesn’t mean this is an expensive city. The cost of groceries is fairly reasonable, as is that of rent. For example, while a downtown one-bedroom apartment in most Western cities is well over $1,500-2,000 USD a month, in Monterrey, it is around $850 USD. 

Also, moving around the city is a breeze whether you’re driving or relying on public transport. Note that it’s advisable to get a Mexican driver’s license, but your home country’s might work as well. The public transport system is efficient and reliable, crowned by its convenient metro and bus systems. Just so you get an idea, the metro system boasts three lines that facilitate seamless connection around the city for a very affordable price. The basic transport card costs MXN 30 – around $1.76 USD – for 8 trips, which makes moving around a bargain.

 

Related content: Mexico Permanent Residency Made Easy

 

Querétaro enchants visitors with its picturesque streets, colonial architecture, and a delightful blend of old-world charm and contemporary vibrancy

Querétaro enchants visitors with its picturesque streets, colonial architecture, and a delightful blend of old-world charm and contemporary vibrancy

#6 QUERÉTARO: COLONIAL ELEGANCE AND QUALITY OF LIFE

Located in Mexico’s heart, Santiago de Querétaro is a turning point in the nation’s history as it played a major role in its fight for independence.

The city’s rich heritage is evident in its well-preserved downtown, evoking European charm. With a wealth of amenities, Querétaro offers an enjoyable living experience, ensuring comfort and convenience for its residents. 

One of the city’s standout features is its affordable healthcare, allowing you to enjoy top-notch medical services without breaking the bank. The mild climate graces Querétaro with spring-like weather year-round, a perfect setting for exploration. Also, we cannot neglect the Querétaro International Airport, seamlessly connecting you to other Mexican cities and major US destinations. Your travel possibilities are endless.  

In addition to all these benefits, the icing on the cake is Querétaro’s affordability, offering a low-cost yet high-quality lifestyle. The city combines historical significance with modern neighbourhoods, providing multiple housing options. The historic centre’s Spanish colonial buildings stand as a testament to the city’s heritage, while Querétaro's UNESCO World Heritage site status underscores its importance. This thriving city presents a variety of experiences, seamlessly combining the past with the present and combining culture with convenience.

 

Guadalajara, a city of mariachi melodies and tequila sunsets, where tradition and modernity entwine in a captivating urban embrace

Guadalajara, a city of mariachi melodies and tequila sunsets, where tradition and modernity entwine in a captivating urban embrace

#5 GUADALAJARA: WHERE INNOVATION MEETS CULTURE

Guadalajara is Mexico’s second-largest city, offering a unique blend of opportunities and experiences within a more manageable urban setting than Mexico City. Though smaller, Guadalajara offers all essential amenities and more, fostering an environment that facilitates connection-building. 

Beyond its urban landscape lies a cultural haven waiting to be explored. Guadalajara beckons with its rich heritage, serving up traditional Mexican culinary delights and igniting vibrant nights with its lively nightlife.

Lately, Guadalajara has earned its status as a digital nomad hub, making it one of Latin America's most sought-after destinations. This appeal is based on a wallet-friendly cost of living, an inviting warm climate and an abundance of coworking spaces offering free Wi-Fi. However, the country’s affordability extends beyond that. Your daily essentials, such as meals, utilities and internet services come at low prices. 

Finally, you can also find affordable rentals, but if you want to stretch your housing budget, opt for the neighbouring towns of Tlaquepaque and Zapopan without compromising connectivity to Guadalaja. The convenient train system helps you get there in a matter of minutes.

 

Related content: The Beauty Of Living In Mexico

 

Mérida invites with its colonial elegance, Mayan heritage, and a leisurely pace that embodies the heartwarming soul of the Yucatán

Mérida invites with its colonial elegance, Mayan heritage, and a leisurely pace that embodies the heartwarming soul of the Yucatán

#4 MÉRIDA: YUCATÁN'S GEM OF TRANQUILITY AND HERITAGE

Merida is a haven for expats seeking a harmonious blend of cutlery, safety and modernity. Nestled in the Yucatan Peninsula's core, Merida offers many experiences that promise an enriching and fulfilling expat life.

Merida presents a rich heritage and lively traditions, including Mayan influences, historic ruins and local festivities that offer a glimpse into a world filled with history. Every corner is part of the Yucatan Peninsula’s identity, from the enchanting streets to the captivating festivals.

Another relevant feature of Mérida is its safety. Mérida is still considered the safest Mexican city and the second safest city in all of the Americas, only surpassed by Québec City. While you always need to keep your head up and your wits about you as you would anywhere else, Merida provides a safe environment for you to explore, forge connections and thrive. 

While steeped in tradition, Merida doesn't compromise on modern amenities. You can find comfort in its well-designed neighbourhoods, excellent healthcare, and reliable services. In terms of housing, from charming colonial homes to contemporary apartments and everything in between, you can find accommodations tailored to your preferences. 

Mérida is also a gateway to the treasures of Yucatan. You can explore mystical cenotes, ancient ruins and nearby beaches. Also, the city boasts a strategic location, equipped with the Mérida Airport and easy access to Cancún International Airport. Embarking on exciting journeys becomes a breeze in Mérida.

 

Puerto Vallarta beckons with its pristine beaches, charming streets, and a relaxed coastal vibe that captures the essence of paradise

Puerto Vallarta beckons with its pristine beaches, charming streets, and a relaxed coastal vibe that captures the essence of paradise

#3 PUERTO VALLARTA: COASTAL PARADISE WITH CULTURAL FLAIR

Puerto Vallarta is a coastal gem, a paradise for expats looking for a remarkable living experience. This city boasts a wealth of enticing features that make it a top choice for those wishing to relocate.

Its coastal charm beckons beach enthusiasts. You can dive into multiple pristine beaches, including Playa Los Muertos and Playa Camarones. Hidden treasures like Yelapa, a boat-accessible village, and the turquoise waters of Las Gemelas Beach add to the coastal allure. The city pulsates with energy thanks to its endless leisure activities, ranging from boating adventures to live music on the beach.  

The city’s charm extends beyond entertainment and fun. Puerto Vallarta offers modernity with a blend of convenience. The supermarkets often stock imported US goods and local products, so the city has it all. Also, the healthcare system is convenient, featuring clinics, hospitals and emergency services. As for housing, Puerto Vallarta boasts options that cater to all preferences. You can find condominiums in gated communities, serene semi-rural settings, and properties with ocean or mountain views. 

All these factors explain why Puerto Vallarta has become an expat magnet, attracting retirees, digital nomads and younger expats.

 

Mexico City is a vibrant metropolis that seamlessly blends rich history, contemporary culture, and a tapestry of flavors

Mexico City is a vibrant metropolis that seamlessly blends rich history, contemporary culture, and a tapestry of flavors

#2 MEXICO CITY: THE URBAN EPICENTER OF MEXICO

Mexico City is one of the largest cities in the world, offering a life full of enticing benefits for expats. The city’s affordability is noteworthy, offering the lifestyle of other major cities at a fraction of the cost. Even dining out remains a pocket-friendly option, with an abundance of culinary delights available. The public transportation system includes the famous metro, which boasts 12 lines that serve the entire city and offers trips at a mere MXN 5 ($0.29 USD). 

The weather presents a near-perfect balance between mild humidity, warm and sunny days, and pleasantly cool evenings. Also, the city basks in modernity while its heart beats with history. Ancient civilizations and colonial remnants intertwine effortlessly, offering access to museums, galleries and historic sites that celebrate Mexico City’s rich history.

The city's social tapestry is just as captivating, welcoming you to dive into vibrant open-air gatherings, live music, and an exuberant nightlife that stretches into the early hours of the morning. However, the allure of Mexico City is not limited to its boundaries; it’s a gateway to the country’s treasures. Affordable flights, buses and car rentals provide easy connectivity to explore the various corners of Mexico. 

Whether you seek upscale living or an artistic haven, the city's unique neighbourhoods cater to your preferences, promising an ideal sanctuary amidst urban splendour.

 

Related content: Live Your Best Life With A Mexico Digital Nomad Visa

 

Explore the Enchanting Allure of San Miguel De Allende, Where History Meets Vibrancy

Explore the Enchanting Allure of San Miguel De Allende, Where History Meets Vibrancy

#1 SAN MIGUEL DE ALLENDE: ARTISTIC HAVEN WITH OLD-WORLD CHARM

Nestled in the heart of Mexico's Colonial Highlands, San Miguel de Allende attracts expats with its hidden charm and multiple appealing advantages. Just a brief four-hour drive northwest of bustling Mexico City, this enchanting town offers a temperate climate that sets the stage for a delightful year-round lifestyle.

A truly captivating feature of San Miguel de Allende is its commitment to preserving history, and the colonial downtown is proof of it. Within the city's centre, a harmonious blend of homes, churches, and architecture transport expats to an era reminiscent of Old-World Europe.

However, there is much more to this town than its architectural marvels. San Miguel de Allende nurtures a vibrant community where both expats and locals bask in the safety of its low-crime environment. Walking down its cobblestone streets, you can also find lots of local markets filled with fresh produce and restaurants offering delicious cuisine.

Also, San Miguel de Allende is a haven for those who yearn to immerse themselves in rich cultural traditions, a fusion of heritage and modernity you can feel in every corner. Whether exploring local galleries, savouring global cuisines, or engaging with local artists, the town offers an amazing setting for cultural exploration.

 

Aerial view of Independence Monument in Mexico City

Aerial view of Independence Monument in Mexico City

CONCLUSION

Mexico’s various cities boast a wealth of opportunities for expats searching for a new chapter in their lives. Each destination unveiled its unique charm, blending history, culture, affordability, and modern amenities to create an enriching experience. From Monterrey's fusion of innovation and tradition to San Miguel de Allende's artistic haven and everything in between, these cities offer tailor-made environments for different expat preferences.

While each city’s benefits vary, one crucial commonality is the importance of learning Spanish. Embracing the language enriches the cultural experience, making immersion easier, and fosters meaningful connections with locals and a deeper understanding of Mexico's vibrant heritage.

Whether seeking adventure, tranquillity, or a vibrant social scene, these cities listed here invite expats to embark on a journey of discovery and growth. As you go through your expat journey, remember that Mexico is a welcoming country, ready to unveil its treasures to those who dare to explore.

 

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Mikkel Thorup

Written by Mikkel Thorup

Mikkel Thorup is the world’s most sought-after expat consultant. He focuses on helping high-net-worth private clients to legally mitigate tax liabilities, obtain a second residency and citizenship, and assemble a portfolio of foreign investments including international real estate, timber plantations, agricultural land and other hard-money tangible assets. Mikkel is the Founder and CEO at Expat Money®, a private consulting firm started in 2017. He hosts the popular weekly podcast, the Expat Money Show, and wrote the definitive #1-Best Selling book Expat Secrets - How To Pay Zero Taxes, Live Overseas And Make Giant Piles Of Money, and his second book: Expats Guide On Moving To Mexico.

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