mexico digital nomad

Choosing your Mexico digital nomad destinations: points to consider

While there are lots of enticing Mexico digital nomad destinations, are they the right ones for you? Mexico is such a big country but how would you know what fits your lifestyle, your work routines, your budget, etc? Read on and find out.

Reader Mail: Hi Trisha! I love your digital nomad lifestyle! I can see that you are having a blast in Mexico. I am in the United States and have started working from home when the pandemic started.

How hard it is to be a digital nomad in Mexico? I’m starting to get used to working from home and I see no problems with moving to Mexico unless I discuss it with my employer.

Should I do that? My question is, what are the best Mexico digital nomad destinations? Muchas gracias!
– Ashlie Noel, USA

Hey Ashlie,

Thank you for reaching out! I have been living in Mexico as a digital nomad for the past three years and have tried different destinations in the country.

There were many places I visited in Mexico that are quite more challenging than the others. As a matter of fact, I left my old base, Sayulita in October 2020 after two years of living there because the Internet situation in Sayulita was really bad for the type of job that I do.

Being a small town, Sayulita’s infrastructure is not that developed yet so no matter how much I wanted to push the beach lifestyle, I still needed to prioritize my job.

I now live in Nuevo Vallarta where there are better Internet providers. It’s just a 30-minute drive from Sayulita so I can still visit whenever I want. All I’ve given up is living in front of the beach but Nuevo Vallarta is also a city with a beach!

I hope you’ll find your digital nomad base in Mexico! If you have any questions that weren’t answered in this post, please feel free to send me a message on Instagram.

Good luck and let me know what you decide!

Xx,
Trisha

Why Mexico is the best place right now for digital nomads

Mexico is open

I have no idea how we survived being open since July 2020. We only did a lockdown from April-July, and from then on, Mexico remained open to tourists with very low entry requirements despite COVID.

We live a normal life here and all activities are with very low restrictions. Canada recently suspended all flights to Mexico until April 30, 2021, but Mexico is still accepting tourists from all over the world, even Americans.

The majority of our tourists here in Puerto Vallarta (and Vallarta greater areas) are from Canada but since the flight suspension, I’ve seen a big spike of Americans fleeing to Mexico not just because of COVID but because of political reasons.

I am not very involved or updated with US politics as I refrain to tackle subjects I am not an expert in. But a majority of the Americans I met and talked to did give COVID a reason to escape their country. A lot of people are really just tired of politics.

Related: Countries with digital nomad visas 2021
mexico digital nomad

My digital nomad gang in Sayulita, Mexico (all travel bloggers and full-time content creators).

Mexico is cheap

Last night, I was at dinner with one of the Americans I met here in my city and he asked, “I plan to quit my job and move to Mexico.

I have vacation homes in Los Angeles that are generating income which is enough for me to leave my job. What kind of life will $3,000 USD give me here in Mexico?”

I looked at him and answered, “a lot.” You can get a great rental home with ocean views at this price! Food and groceries in Mexico are also not very expensive.

At a minimum, I am only spending $600 USD per month for groceries and these are high-quality products.

Meaning, I don’t buy local/national brands because I have a health requirement that pushes me to only purchase and use products that are of high quality (i.e. salt, vinegar, sugar, etc).

But if you are not picky and can use local Mexican goods, you can easily live here for $350 USD per month on groceries!

digital nomad travelwifi

The cost of living in Mexico varies from place to place but what I’ve observed is that rent doesn’t go over $600 USD per month unless you want a beachfront house.

I’ve experienced renting long-term in different areas in Mexico and my budget was always between $400 – $600 USD.

In Oaxaca, I even found a studio for $300 USD! As most of our housing dynamics are different, it really depends on how big of a space you need or if you want to live in a fancy area.

As for me, I always make sure that there are at least 2 bedrooms because I work from home. I do everything at home! A big kitchen is also my requirement because I barely eat out.

Lastly, I always find a house with a yard because I have 2 big puppies – they need the space otherwise, I will suffer throughout the day if they don’t have the space to move around.

Mexico has a generous 180-day tourist visa program

All tourists entering Mexico are given a 180-day tourist visa but check your citizenship for requirements. I am a Philippine passport holder and Filipinos are required to apply for a Mexican tourist visa.

Meaning, we have to go to the Embassy, undergo an interview in order to be granted a tourist visa. It’s always best to check if you need a visa to enter Mexico. It really depends on the citizenship!

6 months tourist visa? I’ve been a digital nomad for 10 years and have been to lots of countries but Mexico has the longest tourist visa program that I have ever experienced!

Imagine, you don’t need to leave the country to do visa runs because 6 months is a long time! In the event that your visa runs out, you can simply cross to Guatemala or the USA to renew your tourist visa.

They will give you another 180 days upon return with no problem! I’ve already done this four times and I was never asked for anything.

You can easily apply for a digital nomad visa in Mexico

Applying for a digital nomad visa in Mexico is also very easy. This is the one-year temporary residency program where you can also ask for 2 up to 4 years of stay.

I found that having a temporary resident visa in Mexico is easier as a digital nomad. You are entitled to have a Mexican bank account, driver’s license, and all the perks that a Mexican national can have.

Immigration is also very strict here (at least in my area). There are random border patrols and I’ve been stopped a lot. Although it’s not going to be a problem if you have a valid tourist visa, as a Filipino, the safest bet for me is to have a legal residency card. This way, the police will ask fewer questions.

I was recently granted a 4-year temporary resident visa in Mexico under special conditions. But check if you are qualified to apply for this visa by reading my article.



Points to consider when choosing your digital nomad base in Mexico

What do you do as a digital nomad?

Whenever I receive questions from digital nomads who are planning to move to Mexico, I always ask this question. Although the country has the same Internet provider (a big company called Telmex), their coverage in every area of Mexico is different.

I feel like before dreaming of living the beach life (like what I did in Sayulita), you need to prioritize your work first. Otherwise, the move will not work.

Re-evaluate what Internet speed you need in order for you to do (and complete) your job. Are you a Youtuber? Then you need higher bandwidth to upload videos.

Are you a blogger that’s just regularly using WordPress to upload blog posts? Then a normal Internet speed is alright with you. Are you someone who’s constantly on a video conference/call?

Answer all these questions and set an Internet speed in mind that will be okay for the job that you do. After that, you can choose where to base yourself in Mexico.

I have individual posts on Mexican cities for digital nomads and in each of those destinations, I elaborated my experiences as a Youtuber, blogger, and remote worker. Check them out and see which city fits your needs.

Cost of living in Mexico

If you choose to live in the city as a digital nomad, Mexico is cheap. Rent prices are low for what the house is. I have videos of different rent prices on my Youtube channel just for you to have an idea of what a Mexican long-term rent looks like.

You can easily live in Mexico as a digital nomad for less than $1,000 USD a month, depending on your lifestyle. Being from the Philippines, I always find a lot of countries more expensive but I did not feel that in Mexico.

If I feel this way and you are from the USA, CA, and Europe, I am pretty sure you will find Mexico 10x cheaper than I do.

Tip: If you see a generic Mexico digital nomad guide on Google, those costs are not accurate as each city is different. It’s best if you search for the exact area you are interested in so use the keywords like ‘Puerto Vallarta digital nomad’, ‘Tulum digital nomad’ etc.

Safety in Mexico

The same applies when using the search term ‘is Mexico safe?’ on Google. If only we can remember, some places are safer than others and that doesn’t apply to Mexico only – it happens in any country in the world.

Mexico gets a lot of bad press in terms of safety so I always tell people to search for the area they are looking for. Based on my experience with the many places in Mexico I visited, I never had the constant feeling of safety but the majority of them, I really felt safe.

Safety is also subjective so there may be places that you feel safe and I didn’t – it’s a personal subject that you’ll never know unless you experience a certain place.

My advice is to go to Mexico, choose a destination, feel the place, and decide to stay or go when you are already here. After all, we are digital nomads so it’s never difficult for us to just pack our bags and leave.

Additionally, domestic flights within Mexico are also cheap (most of them less than $100 USD) so you can always book a flight and move on to the next Mexican destination.

Digital nomad communities, coworking spaces, and cafes with strong wifi

Although this isn’t one of the requirements I am looking for when deciding where to base myself, it might be a big deal for you. Most of the Americans ask me about the digital nomad communities in Mexico.

As working remotely is becoming more and more acceptable, this country has been a hub for digital nomads for the last few years.

But many Americans come here with a little fear of not having a community. Don’t worry about that! All major cities have coworking spaces and wifi cafes where you can connect, collaborate and make friends with fellow digital nomads.

Do you need to speak Spanish?

Not necessarily but as someone who speaks both Spanish and English fluently, I realized the difference between our experiences if you don’t speak Spanish.

First, rent is cheaper. You can definitely avail of local prices if you can speak Spanish.

For example, if you are an ex-pat who cannot communicate in Spanish, your rent will be $800 USD while if you can speak Spanish, you can rent the same $800 USD house for $590.

I also feel like most Americans who live here say they don’t want to hang out with Americans because that’s what they do back home but in the end, they have no choice but to have American friends because they do not speak Spanish.

Not all Mexicans can speak English and in my area, 85% of my friends are Mexicans or Latinos. I barely have gringo friends here which saves me a lot on rent and other things.

Aside from that, I can say that I am truly living the Mexican culture in my everyday life here.

Best Mexico digital nomad destinations

At P.S. I’m On My Way, I always aim for honest and transparent journalism. Although there are many digital nomad destinations in Mexico (this country is big!), I am only going to talk about places that I have personal experiences with.

I will still continue to travel around Mexico and update this post as I go!

#1: Mexico City

I lived for a few months in Mexico City and really enjoyed the vibe there. The people are friendly and almost everyone in the area where I lived can speak English. Internet speed is at 18 Mbps in most home routers and cafes.

The Co-Working space culture is slowly growing. Apartment costs are very affordable if you’ll share with roommates. For example, I shared a 3-bedroom apartment for $300 USD per month without bills.

Long-term Airbnbs are at $25 USD per day for one person but you can definitely ask hosts for long-term rental discounts. It’s relatively easy to find apartments in Mexico City as long as you know the right people.

The only negative thing about being a Mexico City digital nomad is that it is very contaminated. In 1992, the United Nations declared Mexico City the most polluted city in the world.

This city has a high altitude (7382 ft above sea level) and its oxygen levels are 25% lower and fuels do not combust completely.

Additionally, Mexico City is sinking by an estimated one meter (3.2 feet) every year while it is facing a water crisis at the same time.

Read: The best Mexico City Roma apartments for digital nomads
mexico digital nomad

Palacio de Bellas Artes is considered to be the most important theatre and the most important cultural center in Mexico

Mexico city digital nomad quick facts

📡 Internet speed: super-fast (25 MBPS avg). Mexico City has an advanced infrastructure than most cities
🏠 1br studio rent in a nice area: $440 USD per month
🏠 Vrbo long-term rent: $883 per month
💵 Cost of living for local: $598 USD per month
🍛 Meals: $5 USD (restaurant). Street food can be as cheap as $1 USD!
🍺 National beer (bar): $1.95 USD
☕️ Coffee: $2 USD

Choose Mexico City if: you love the city, vibrant nightlife, excellent food choices (there are many restaurants/cafes here!), culture, super cheap transportation, more expat and digital nomad communities.

Do not choose Mexico City if: You are crazy anal about COVID. Mexico City has the highest COVID cases in the country. All restaurants and bars are shut down until further notice.

Mexico City has a very high air pollution rate so consider that, too. The altitude is also very high so expect shortness of breath while walking. Although I did not really feel this when I was there! You’ll get acclimatized after 2-3 weeks.

➢ Click here to see all posts about Mexico City

#2: Merida

Merida’s WiFi is on the faster side, but overall, Mexico doesn’t compete with places that have a fiber connection. If you need lightning-speed internet or work on huge video files, etc.,

You might want to consider a portable WiFi device, but if that doesn’t apply to you, you should have no issues.

Many expats who are living in Merida reported they feel very safe in this city. The demographic in Merida skews older.

Overall, the ex-pat and DN community is more of the 30s-50s crowd. There are plenty of cantinas and bars, but in general, it’s not a high-energy party town.

See also: The digital nomad guide to Merida

merida digital nomad

Merida digital nomad: quick facts

📡 Internet speed: Fast (11 MBPS avg)
🏠 1br studio rent in a nice area: $168 USD per month
🏠 Vrbo long-term rent: $797 per month
💵 Cost of living for local: $346 USD per month
🍛 Meals: $5 USD (restaurant). Street food can be as cheap as $1 USD!
🍺 National beer (bar): $2.20 USD
☕️ Coffee: $1.47 USD

Choose Merida if: you’re not concerned about nightlife and safety matters to you. Most of my friends said they feel very safe living here.

Do not choose Merida if: you want a very active social life. There aren’t many things to do in Merida but the Yucatan Peninsula is beautiful! You can easily do short drives to cenotes from Merida.

➢ Click here to see all posts about Merida

#3: Puerto Vallarta

It’s relatively easy to come by fast WiFi speeds as a Puerto Vallarta digital nomad. Although some may not think this is fast enough, we get a 10 Mbps download and 2 Mbps upload at home.

It’s good enough for us to both teach English online through video lessons, which are quite demanding on the internet. There are several neighborhoods that have fiber optic cables installed and a friend of mine had a speed of 40 Mbps download and 10 Mbps upload. The co-working spaces have similar speeds.

Puerto Vallarta is also the gay capital of Mexico. Lots of LGBTQ digital nomads feel safe here! They have a gay neighborhood that I really love to visit. I’ve seen it myself – there is freedom of expression for LGBTQs here.

See also: Local things to do in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

P.S. I live here so if you are in the area, let me know! I’d love to meet up!

The cost of living in Puerto Vallarta is also very cheap. It is actually one of the cheapest I’ve seen all over the country! This is actually one of the reasons why I stayed long-term in this area before moving to La Paz, Baja California.

Puerto Vallarta Digital Nomad quick facts

📡 Internet speed: super-fast (23 MBPS avg)
🏠 1br studio rent in a nice area: $269 USD per month
🏠 Vrbo long-term rent: $500 per month
💵 Cost of living for local: $350 USD per month
🍛 Meals: $3 USD (restaurant)
🍺 National beer (bar): $1.22 USD
☕️ Coffee: $0.81 USD

Choose Puerto Vallarta if: you love living in the city with vibrant nightlife and a super accepting gay community! There are also lots of food choices and it’s one of the cheapest cities to live in, in Mexico. PV is super cheap!

Do not choose Puerto Vallarta if: I really can’t think of anything. I’m pretty biased since I am based here!

➢ Click here to see all post about Puerto Vallarta

#4: Playa del Carmen

Playa del Carmen has an ideal balance of natural sights to explore, a lively party scene, and all the essentials that make digital nomad life a breeze.

Smack bang in the middle of resort-heavy Cancun and Tulum, the jungle rave and boho capital, Playa is an interesting blend of the two. Living in Playa del Carmen as a digital nomad is one of the greatest decisions I’ve made in my life!

Also known as just ‘Playa’ by the locals, living in Playa del Carmen isn’t everyone’s cup of tea but I’ve certainly grown to love it. I’ve traveled all around Mexico and while there are many places that I enjoy for a visit, Playa is to me, one of the most pleasant cities to live in.

Recommended: Living in Playa del Carmen as an American expat

mexico digital nomad

Playa del Carmen digital nomad: quick facts

📡 Internet speed: Fast (11 MBPS avg)
🏠 1br studio rent in a nice area: $342 USD per month
🏠 Vrbo long-term rent: $1,500 per month
💵 Cost of living for local: $449 USD per month
🍛 Meals: $3.50 USD (restaurant)
🍺 National beer (bar): $1.71 USD
☕️ Coffee: $1.14 USD

Choose Playa del Carmen if: you love the nightlife and being social. PDC has a big expat and digital nomad community that constantly holds events.

Do not choose Playa del Carmen if: you are not into nightlife and don’t want to be around foreigners

➢ Click here to see all posts about Playa del Carmen

#5: Oaxaca City

Oaxaca is has been growing as a base for digital nomads for the past few years, and as it continues to grow, it keeps getting better equipped for remote workers.

For those interested in culture and food, nature and history, local and ex-pat communities, the cost of living, and the feeling of being at home, Oaxaca is an excellent choice for digital nomads!

Oaxaca has a unique digital nomad scene. Where there are some cities, such as Chiang Mai, Medellin, or Playa Del Carmen, which happen to attract more travel bloggers and many who are just passing through.

Oaxaca’s digital nomad scene is much more the online artists, graphic designers, and web developers (though still has its share of travel bloggers passing through).

You might also like: The ultimate road trip guide to the state of Oaxaca
oaxaca city digital nomad

Convivio CoWorking Space launch party in Oaxaca City, August 2020 with my blogger gang!

Oaxaca City digital nomad: quick facts

📡 Internet speed: Fast (16 MBPS avg)
🏠 1br studio rent in a nice area: $200 USD per month
🏠 Vrbo long-term rent: $988 per month
💵 Cost of living for local: $346 USD per month
🍛 Meals: $3.91 USD (restaurant)
🍺 National beer (bar): $1.95 USD
☕️ Coffee: $1.30 USD

Choose Oaxaca City if: you’re on a budget. Oaxaca is one of the cheapest cities in Mexico and I am talking from experience! Oaxaca City is pretty safe, too! If you are a foodie, this is a great place for you too! Oaxaca is the food capital of Mexico.

Do not choose Oaxaca City if: concerned about good healthcare. I found out that there aren’t a lot of good hospitals here.

➢ Click here to read all posts about Oaxaca City

#6: Guanajuato City

Being a digital nomad in Guanajuato was incredibly easy. There is a large university in Guanajuato, which means there are also lots of options in terms of coffee shops to work at, bars and restaurants to drink and eat at, and different events and festivals going on.

There is an abundance of Airbnbs in the city and many hosts are willing to rent their places for the long term at a discounted price.

A lot of these hosts know that digital nomads are looking to rent their place, so they will either post on their listing the upload and download speeds of their internet or they are willing to do a test for you.

Guanajuato digital nomad: quick facts

📡 Internet speed: fast (16 MBPS avg)
🏠 1br studio rent in a nice area: $253 USD per month
🏠 Vrbo long-term rent: $1,200 per month
💵 Cost of living for local: $400 USD per month
🍛 Meals: $3.67 USD (restaurant)
🍺 National beer (bar): $1.48 USD
☕️ Coffee: $1.73 USD

Choose Guanajuato if: you love old cities! I find GTO really peaceful and there’s a little bit of nightlife that isn’t that hardcore.

Do not choose Guanajuato if: you are looking for a lot of things to do. Though GTO is a beautiful city, you need to go out of the city in order to explore. But the state of Nuevo Leon is beautiful!

➢ Click here to read all posts about Guanajuato

#7: Sayulita

I’ve met many artists in Sayulita who are working remotely. Mostly from Canada and the United States, digital nomads choose Sayulita because of the beach and the tropical vibe.

Photographers are the most common digital nomads here as there are many opportunities for the photography business here. I rarely met people who are in the digital marketing niche but most of them are in finance.

There are a lot of opportunities to collaborate with fellow digital nomads in Sayulita, especially if the work that you do is related to art and photography.

Related: Things to do in Sayulita and how you can support local
places to visit in Mexico

Sayulita is the most visited in the Riviera Nayarit, next to Puerto Vallarta.

Sayulita is beautiful and lots of digital nomads have aspired to live here – the beach, small-town surf vibe, close-knit community.

However, it is way expensive than most Mexican beach towns (not Tulum levels though) and the Internet is super slow. I lived here for 2 years and decided to move on because I wasted a lot of time working on the slow Internet.

Sayulita digital nomad: quick facts

📡 Internet speed: slow (15 MBPS avg)
🏠 1br studio rent in a nice area: $400 USD per month
🏠 Vrbo long-term rent: $1,500 per month
💵 Cost of living for local: $550 USD per month
🍛 Meals: $6.67 USD (restaurant)
🍺 National beer (bar): $1.71 USD
☕️ Coffee: $2.40 USD

Choose Sayulita if: you don’t need to have fast Internet. Living here has been amazing for me but not work-wise.

Do not choose Sayulita if: you need heavy Internet and not used to public life. Sayulita is a very small town, everyone will know you from less than a month of your stay.

➢ Click here to see all posts about Sayulita

#8: Puerto Escondido

Puerto Escondido has been a recent favorite in the Oaxacan coast but I have to be honest – I come here a lot and Internet has always been difficult.

So far, there are only 2 co-working spaces in Puerto Escondido but if you want Internet in your own home, that would be a little complicated because fiber optic is not a thing here… yet.

See also: Essential Puerto Escondido travel tips for first-timers

puerto escondido travel tips

As a young digital nomad, I do love living in Puerto Escondido as a digital nomad because of its very vibrant culture. This Mexican town has the reputation of being a party area but I don’t think they’re as crazy as Sayulita nightlife.

Puerto Escondido digital nomad: quick facts

📡 Internet speed: slow (15 MBPS avg)
🏠 1br studio rent in a nice area: $300 USD per month
🏠 Vrbo long-term rent: $1,000 per month
💵 Cost of living for local: $350 USD per month
🍛 Meals: $5 USD (restaurant)
🍺 National beer (bar): $1.71 USD
☕️ Coffee: $2 USD

Choose Puerto Escondido if: your digital nomad job does not require heavy upload/download speeds. Also, live here if you like beaches and small-town vibes.

Do not choose Puerto Escondido if: your job requires a faster Internet speed.

➢ Click here to see all posts about Puerto Escondido

#9: La Paz, Baja California Sur

It’s super hard to decide where to go in Mexico during the summer so I had two options: humid (Puerto Vallarta) or dry (La Paz) heat. I don’t think one is better than the other but dry heat won!

From June to October, it is extremely hot in Mexico but La Paz is great because I love that it’s windy at night. In Puerto Vallarta, we get zero winds, and even if it rains in the evening, it does not cool down. It makes it even hotter!

Read: Is La Paz safe for tourists?

la paz solo travel

La Paz digital nomad: quick facts

📡 Internet speed: good (35 MBPS avg)
🏠 1br studio rent in a nice area: $300 USD per month
🏠 Vrbo long-term rent: $700 per month
💵 Cost of living for local: $400 USD per month
🍛 Meals: $5 USD (restaurant)
🍺 National beer (bar): $1.71 USD
☕️ Coffee: $2 USD

Choose La Paz if: you love the sea and modern infrastructure. La Paz also has direct flights to the US which are short so you’ll love to make this your base! Internet speed is super great, too!

Do not choose La Paz if: you don’t like dry heat. La Paz is in the Baja Peninsula which is very desert-y so expect extremely hot weather! But I love this better than the humid weather on the Pacific Coast.

➢ Click here to see all posts about La Paz Mexico

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Mexico Digital Nomad destinations on Pinterest: save it for later!

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

  • Bjoern
    August 13, 2021

    I have a question:

    you are referring eg. for Playa del Carmen
    📡 Internet speed: Fast (11 MBPS avg)

    and Puerto Escondido
    📡 Internet speed: slow (15 MBPS avg)

    11 > 15 MBPS ?`
    Is that correct?
    If I need more internet speed I have to move to a “bigger” city?

    reply

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