la paz cost of living

La Paz cost of living: is this the cheapest place to live in Baja California?

Is La Paz cost of living cheaper than anywhere else in Baja California? I lived in La Paz for a while and in this post, I will share with you what I spent monthly and how you can live for cheap in this Mexican city.

Reader Mail: Hola Trisha! I love all your living abroad blogs. It gives me a push to finally leave my life in the US so I am starting my hunt! Thank you very much for all the free information you provide.

I am interested to know more about your time in La Paz Mexico. How is the cost of living in La Paz? I see that Baja California is really expensive so I want to get some insights from you!

I am a digital nomad and I am planning to save this year. Do you think $1,500 a month is okay to live in La Paz? How much did you pay for your rent and what other expenses should I prepare for?

Lastly, should I choose La Paz over Cabo? What is the difference in terms of cost?

Thanks again for your work! If I finally come down to Mexico, I would love to take you out to dinner or coffee!
– Samantha, USA

living abroad planner

Hey Samantha!

Thanks for your e-mail. I will be happy to answer your questions about La Paz cost of living in this post! Coming from Puerto Vallarta, I really found La Paz more expensive than the Mexican coast.

Baja California, in general, is more expensive than the south since it’s the closest vacation spot for Americans. You will probably feel like you’re just back home in the US because of how this city looks exactly like San Diego but with a mix of the vibrant Mexican culture.

La Paz is definitely cheaper than Cabo so if you are trying to save, I suggest choose La Paz since your finances will go a long way here. I will still be living in Baja California for the next year so send me a message when you arrive!

Xx,
Trisha

Why move to La Paz Mexico?

If you choose to move to La Paz, you will have a mix of both – being in a big city and at the same time, having access to the ocean. Many Americans are living in Cabo San Lucas but if you want a real Mexican vibe with a little California feel, La Paz is on the top list of the best places to live in Mexico.

Related: The lush and affordable living in Cabo San Lucas

la paz cost of living

💲 Currency

The currency in Mexico is called Mexican peso (MXN). To date, $1 USD = $20 MXN, which can buy you a taco in a street food stand. The easiest way I manage my La Paz cost of living is by using Wise, an international bank for expats and digital nomads that works in all countries.

💵 La Paz cost of living range

You can easily live in La Paz for $1,500 USD though I only did it for $1,000 USD. I was lucky to know how to speak Spanish so finding apartments in La Paz and haggling worked for me well.

I will also discuss my personal expenses in this article so you’ll have a clear idea of what you need to spend monthly. Remember that we all have different lifestyles so I can’t really tell you how much money you need to live in La Paz. It’s up to you!

🛂 Visas

I have a 4-year Mexico residency visa but you can also live in La Paz on a tourist visa. It won’t be a problem! Mexico gives a generous 6-month visa to tourists so you can just exit the country before it expires. 6 months is a great time to live in La Paz and stay in Mexico!

But if you are really serious about moving to La Paz as a digital nomad, retiree, or expat, you should apply for a Mexico non-lucrative visa which entitles you to live in Mexico for a year.

You just need to prove your financial capability in order to be qualified for this visa. You should also be working for a company outside of Mexico and is earning at least $2,000 USD per month.

🧑🏿‍🤝‍🧑🏻 Expat community in La Paz

La Paz expats are super active and are always meeting, connecting, and giving advice through Facebook groups. The best group to join is Loco La Paz Ex-Pats where you can check current events and COVID updates.

I swear, this group helped me a lot when I first moved to La Paz – everyone’s super proactive in sharing information! I usually met older expats (50 and above) living in La Paz while the digital nomad age group is between 23 – 42 years old.

🧒🏻 Child friendliness

La Paz is super child-friendly and I’ve seen this because I lived in a neighborhood with families. Kids bike on the streets freely as La Paz has a dedicated bike lane all over the city.

There are also no stoplights so everyone is more cautious in slowing down. Cars also voluntarily stop when you’re crossing the street which is highly unusual in other Mexican cities.

🐕 Pet friendliness

I would say it’s not as pet-friendly as Puerto Vallarta or Sayulita where I can bring my dogs to restaurants. Many restaurants in La Paz don’t accept pets which was sad because I couldn’t bring my dogs all the time when I go out!

Dogs are allowed to be unleashed on the beaches but you will probably have a hard time finding a house that allows pets.

🚓 Safety in La Paz Mexico

La Paz gets a lot of bad press in terms of safety but I felt extremely safe when I was living in La Paz. I didn’t have a car so I walked everywhere even late at night.

The police are patrolling 24/7 all over the city so that gives me a little security blanket. La Paz is one of the Mexican cities badly hit by COVID so the police are around to make sure that curfews are implemented.

My landlord also lived close by so as a woman living in Mexico alone, it’s very important for me to have someone around in case of an emergency. My landlord is also super nice and has treated me as part of their family!

Related: Moving to Mexico – a guide that’s easy to understand

Quality of life in La Paz Mexico

I always use the Quality of Life Scale (QOLS) to measure the domains of a good quality of life. First, in terms of material and physical well-being, I am able to afford groceries ($75 for 2 weeks), eating out ($15 USD per meal) and other luxuries like mani-pedi ($40 USD) and massages in La Paz.

Dental care is super cheap in La Paz, too! Well, cheaper than the US but not really that cheap in terms of Mexican standards.

It is also very easy to make friends in La Paz because of the expat groups so you won’t feel alone when you are here – there are always people to meet! I am so lucky to be living in a Mexican neighborhood in La Paz where the people have always been kind to me, especially when I first moved.

See also: The cost of living in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

la paz cost of living

Many expats say you need a car to live in La Paz but honestly, I got by with walking and taking public transportation which I deem comfortable for the quality of life I am aiming for.

I sold my car when I left Puerto Vallarta thinking that I won’t need it in Baja California. But Baja California is a car area – you really need a car but I did not feel that need in La Paz.


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La Paz cost of living: how expensive is it to live in La Paz Mexico?

Your baseline La Paz cost of living is $1,200 USD a month which is really a good price. This price will give you a great quality of life living in La Paz! Of course, your lifestyle will always be the baseline for your costs. I will also share my lifestyle below but here are the estimated prices.

Monthly expense
Estimated monthly cost
Rent
$650 USD
Electricity
$15 USD during the winter, about $100 USD during the summer with AC on
Water
$10 USD
Housekeeper
$140 USD (once a week visit, $35 USD per visit)
Groceries
$225 USD
Transportation
$100 USD

What I spend monthly

I just need to be clear that your La Paz cost of living will be based on your lifestyle. I eat out at least 3 times a week (for work) but I mostly cook at home. To give you a better insight, here’s what I spent monthly while living in La Paz Mexico.

🏡 Housing/rent

I paid $650 USD for a 2-bedroom house in the Pueblo Nuevo neighborhood (literally right next to Chedraui Colima). I shared with a friend so we split the bill to $325 USD per person.

The house was a condo-type with no oceanview whatsoever. Just a basic apartment with everything that I need. The house is also fully furnished and I did not have to buy appliances or furniture.

🛍️ Grocery shopping

I was literally next to Chedraui, a popular Mexican supermarket chain so I didn’t have to stock food. All I did was walk to the supermarket whenever I needed something.

It was just a 2-minute walk and I hate stocking food. I almost end up throwing a lot (not just food, but money as well) if I buy in big bulks so having the Chedraui next to me was really convenient and cheap.

I spend $75 USD for two weeks and this includes wine, cheese, vegetables, fruits, and fish. I do not eat meat but I spend more on gourmet products.

If there are no supermarkets near you, the Rappi app can deliver groceries for you from Walmart and Chedraui. Pharmacies can also deliver through this app.

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🐾 Dog stuff

Of course, my two dogs are always part of my monthly costs. I always buy dog food from Costco (in Puerto Vallarta) but when I moved to La Paz, I had to improvise. The Costco in Baja Sur is in Cabo San Lucas which is an hour drive from La Paz.

I ordered food from PetCo and if it’s not available, I just buy the normal food in Chedraui. A 10 kg dog food cost $28 USD while 25kg costs $34.86. This is the Purina brand which is the most common dog food sold in Mexico.

For pet grooming, I pay $20 USD for 2 medium dogs and I only do the grooming once a month.

💅 Beauty and wellness

Manicure and pedicure (gel) cost $35 USD in a very nice spa in La Paz. While there are many, I opted for the spa that was walking distance in my house but I found that some of the salons near the Malecon were cheaper.

Gym membership is about $15 USD but gyms in La Paz are closed because of COVID. The closure is also applicable to pilates and yoga studios so what people do is work out at the beach.

You may also like: Living in Merida, Mexico – is this the best destination for families?

📶 Wifi

The Wifi bills were included in my rent but if this is not included in yours, you will pay about $20 USD per month (35 MBPS) plus $50 USD installation fee. The most popular company in La Paz is Telmex because it has better coverage.

Wifi is usually included in long-term rentals but if you are to do the installation on your own, your landlord can help with that, too. You don’t have to worry about it as most Telmex staff don’t speak English. It will be a pain to do it on your own!

As a digital nomad, it’s always important for me to have a portable wifi device in case of emergency. If you plan to purchase one using this link, you can use my 10% code PSIMONMYWAY upon checkout.

🔌 Electricity bill

I moved to La Paz during the summer and the house I was living in was really hot. I used the AC 6 hours per day and paid $31.11 USD per month. Which, for me, wasn’t so bad because I was expecting to pay $100 USD or more!

Because of COVID, the electricity company in La Paz called CFE did a 50% discount for all residents since many people lost their jobs because of closures and low tourism.

🚰 Water bill

My water bill was also included in my rent but in Mexico, the default water bill rate is $6 USD per month and they don’t even have a meter for this! No matter how much water you use, you will just pay a default amount.

🧹 Cleaner/housekeeper

In Puerto Vallarta, I only paid $25 USD for a cleaner to come once a week and do deep cleaning but in La Paz, I paid $35 USD. I felt I was being scammed by the housekeeper I hired so I asked my neighbors for the price. They said that $35 USD is really the base price.

Food costs in La Paz

There are lots of restaurants in La Paz so I made sure I tried the best ones by eating out thrice a week. This was costly than what I am used to in Puerto Vallarta and to be honest, I had more bad food in La Paz than good ones.

Item
Price in USD (est)
Street taco
$2 USD
Restaurant food (malecon)
from $15 USD
Restaurant food (Mexican)
from $10 USD
Fast food restaurant (combo meals)
$6 USD
500g boneless chicken breast
$6.67 USD
1 dozen of eggs (non-organic)
$1.29 USD
1 dozen of eggs (organic)
$3.16 USD
Bread (Mexican bakery)
$2.90 USD
1 kg tomatoes
$1.49 USD
1 kg apples
$2.14 USD
1 kg potatoes
$1.10 USD

Each supermarket in La Paz have different prices and the prices above are from Chedraui. Walmart, in my experience, is always cheaper but has lower quality. You can also see grocery prices using the Rappi delivery app.

Recommended: Visiting Espiritu Santo Island in La Paz, Mexico

la paz cost of living

Housing/rent costs in La Paz

As usual, you will always find better and cheaper apartment rental rates in La Paz if you can speak Spanish. Initially, the landlord wanted $950 USD for the house I was renting but I managed to put it down to $650 USD because of my language skills.

If you don’t speak Spanish, don’t worry about it as you can always rent on Airbnb then just find a rental when you are already here. That is if you don’t mind paying the ridiculous taxes that Airbnb charges (which is about $200 USD).

Item
Price in USD
1-br apartment in Zona Romantica
$678 USD
85 m2 (900 sqft) furnished accommodation in normal area
from $332 USD
45 m2 (480 sqft) furnished studio in expensive area
from $380 USD
45 m2 (480 sqft) furnished studio in normal area
from $235 USD
2-br condo in the center
$1,000 USD
2-br condo with oceanview
$1,688 USD

I really like my neighborhood in La Paz (Pueblo Nuevo) but most expats prefer to live in the center with oceanview where rents are more expensive. I actually don’t like living in condos because of my dogs so I always find a house for them to have a space to be in.

There are many oceanview condos in the center that start from $1,600 USD per month. They are fully furnished and you can share it with a friend you are moving with. Usually, they have 2 bedrooms.

For singles, this is a lot to pay for rent, especially in Mexico so I advise that you also take a look at the Facebook marketplace where locals who are not equipped with Airbnb post their listing. There are many options there for cheap and you don’t need to pay crazy Airbnb taxes/fees.

Related: What’s it like to live in Playa del Carmen, Mexico as an American?

la paz cost of living

Transportation costs in La Paz

Here’s the shitty thing – Uber works in La Paz but there are not a lot of drivers! I even had a week where I encountered the same driver in 4 rides. He told me that because of COVID and the extreme summer heat, drivers tend to not work because the fares are also not that expensive.

I live 10 minutes away from the center (Malecon) so I pay around $2 USD for an Uber ride. During rush hour, the fare can go up to $7 USD (which for Uber in La Paz is actually a lot!).

Item
Price in USD
1 liter (1/4 gallon) of gas
$1 USD
Uber rides
from $5 USD
Bus fare
$0.50 USD

I also use public transport which is not that efficient since there aren’t bus stops in La Paz. You can hail wherever you want and the bus will stop for you. Don’t worry, it’s safe and it’s really very spacious! The bus fare in La Paz is around $0.50 USD (one-way).

Ubers also go to Todos Santos and Cabo for $50 USD (one-way). You can also get one if you want to visit Balandra beach but you need to haggle. The fare to Balandra starts at $35 USD.

For visiting beaches in La Paz, you can either rent a car or just take the Playa Bus, the official bus for touring all the beaches in La Paz. Mind you, there are a lot!

La Paz cost of living on Pinterest: save it for your move!

la paz cost of living

Trisha is one of those people who left their comfortable life to travel the world and learn about life. Her style is to stay in one place she likes for 3 months (or more) to know what it feels like to eat, cook, speak, and sleep in another culture that isn’t hers. She'd like to believe she's not traditionally traveling but she just chooses to be somewhere else all the time. In no particular order, her favorite cities in the world are Barcelona, Buenos Aires, Hong Kong, Mexico City, and Tel Aviv.

Comments

  • September 2, 2021

    I am planning to take up remote work full time and I definitely am looking for places that are not expensive. And reading from your posts, I am so tempted to consider Mexico. La Paz definitely looks like an option and thanks for detailing out all the expenses one by one. It will help me in planning.

    reply
  • September 3, 2021

    Thanks for this super detailed post about the cost of living in La Paz. I won’t move there in the near future (or ever) I think, but I find it very interesting to read about the cost of living in different parts of the world. I would prefer a place with more good restaurants though….

    reply
  • September 3, 2021

    Woww what a well -thought out post! Soo much detail. You even took the time to itemize your groceries! THIS is what a cost of living post should look like.

    reply
  • September 3, 2021

    La Paz is definitely a beautiful and inexpensive place to live in Mexico. Compared to California, where I live, I’d say it’s dirt cheap! No wonder so many Americans consider leaving everything behind and moving to Mexico. My only concern would be safety. I hear many bad stories about Mexico lately, but it may not be the same everywhere. It’s good to know that also live in La Paz on a tourist visa.

    reply
  • September 3, 2021

    La Plaz certainly looks more affordable than other places in US. It was good to get an idea on the different aspects of costs involved if one ever decides to shift. It’s a beautiful place though and so much affordable too.

    reply
  • Agnes
    September 3, 2021

    Great you are listing the prices for living in La Paz. It’s so a detailed and helpful post. This is extremely useful for digital nomads. I hear that Baja California is pretty expensive. It’s great to know that La Paz is definitely cheaper than Cabo. It’s also good to know that it’s a safe place.

    reply
  • September 3, 2021

    Having never been to the Baja Peninsula, it was interesting to read a bit more about La Paz. Interesting to know it is on the list of the best places to live in Mexico. With a 6 month tourist visa that would be enough time to really get to know this area. And it appears pretty budget friendly too. With spa prices that good my nails would always look amazing!

    reply
  • September 4, 2021

    This is a super helpful guide for anyone looking to live in La Paz. I can see why so many people consider making the move to La Paz, looks pretty cheap and sounds like you felt safe. Definitely less expensive than living in the UK!

    reply
  • September 5, 2021

    I explored Mexico for 3 months but mostly south of Mexico. Would love to return to Mexico and explore northern part too. Baja California is definitely on my list. Your post is really helpful since I like to do slow travel!

    reply

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