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9 Top Places for Expats to Live in Mexico

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Huehues in Yauhquemehcan, Tlaxcala
Credit: Jorge Luis Iriberri | Wikimedia Commons

Planning a move to Mexico or within Mexico but not sure what expat community may be right for you? To help you out, we’ve put together our 9 top places for expats to live in Mexico.

Beaches

Cancún

Beach with palapa umbrellas in Cancun
Credit: Javarman | Fotolia

Powdery white sand beaches, warm Caribbean water and year-round great weather attract 5 million tourists to Cancún each year and thousands of expats who have chosen to make Cancún and its Riviera Maya neighbors to the south their home. Whether you choose Cancún, Playa del Carmen, Tulum or Cozumel as your home, a large expat community awaits your arrival. If you’re looking for an active outdoor life, Cancún is hard to beat.

Los Cabos

Beach in Cabo San Lucas
Credit: Chris Gardiner | Fotolia

Over 320 days of sunshine, year-round warm weather and beautiful beaches define the expat lifestyle in Los Cabos. You can choose from the pulsating night life of tourist-magnet Cabo San Lucas, the more traditional side of Mexico in San José del Cabo or quieter areas along the southern tip of Baja California Sur. Wherever you choose to live, Los Cabos is an easy place for expats to feel welcome and at home.

Puerto Vallarta

Triton and Nereida statue in Puerta Vallarta
Credit: Cgordon8527 | Pixabay

Puerto Vallarta is a blend of laid-back beach town ambience and international resort living wedged between tropical green mountains and the deep blue Bay of Banderas. The locals call it PV or just Vallarta and it’s known widely as the “Jewel of the Mexican Riviera.” For expats, PV is more than just its magnificent beaches and tourist attractions. The city also is well known for its restaurant scene and a variety of social and cultural events, from concerts to local charity benefits to the annual Puerto Vallarta Film Festival.

Mérida

Catedral de San Ildefonso in Merida
Credit: Brandon Bourdages | Shutterstock

Technically not a beach town but just 20 miles from the water, Mérida has been attracting larger numbers of expats in recent years who are looking for a tropical climate, a culturally diverse city, proximity to the beaches of the Gulf of Mexico and historic colonial homes to renovate. It’s the capital of the state of Yucatán and is the financial and cultural center of the Yucatán Peninsula.

Big Cities

Mexico City

Aztec display in Mexico City's Zocalo
Credit: Tash Creative | Bigstock

Expats, tourists and the New York Times all seem to agree that Mexico City – or CDMX – is the place to be. Recently, the Times chose this sprawling megalopolis of over 20 million people as its #1 travel destination, saying “there’s nowhere in the world quite like it.” From restaurants to museums to shopping, Mexico City is for expats who love urban living and exciting nightlife.

Guadalajara

Street in Guadalajara
Credit: Angelcaidox | Deviantart

The second largest city in Mexico, Guadalajara is known throughout the country as the most Mexican of all Mexico’s cities. It’s not only the birthplace of mariachi music, tequila and the sombrero, but also has been a pioneer in the development of rodeos. Expats looking for many of the same things Mexico City has to offer can find the same lifestyle in Guadalajara, just on a smaller scale.

Colonial Highlands

Lake Chapala

Lake Chapala in Ajijic
Credit: Neldahinojosa | Wikimedia Commons

Known to local expats as lakeside, the towns and villages along Lake Chapala’s northwestern shore are retiree heaven. No other place in Mexico comes close to the number of retirees sprinkled along the shores of Lake Chapala. Attracted by one of the best climates in the world, a low cost of living and breathtaking views, expats from the U.S., Canada, Europe and other places around the world have flocked over the years to Lake Chapala. They are not all retirees, although an estimated one-third of expats living there are no longer working.

San Miguel de Allende

Street in San Miguel de Allende
Credit: (WT-en) Fabz at English Wikivoyage | Wikimedia Commons

Known internationally for its beauty, culture and creative community, San Miguel de Allende has been attracting waves of expats from around the world for over seven decades. SMA, as the locals call it, was declared a World Heritage Site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 2008. The city is well known for its thriving art scene and colonial Spanish architecture.

Guanajuato

Colorful hillside homes in Guanajuato
Credit: Susie Blauser | Bigstock

Known throughout Mexico as a vibrant, color-splashed college town with a rich silver mining history, the city of Guanajuato attracts many expats who are interested in culture and fall in love with the city’s dramatic setting and colonial past.

You can find detailed profiles on each of these cities by clicking on Cities in the navigation bar on the Expats In Mexico homepage. We’ll also be adding Mazatlán, Oaxaca and Ensenada in the near future.

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