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33 Pros and Cons of Living in Mexico

Table of Contents

If you’re thinking of moving to Mexico, or are just curious about what life is like here, you’ll want to read this list of pros and cons.

Mexico has a lot to offer expats, from its warm climate and friendly people to its diverse culture and affordable cost of living.

But there are also some drawbacks to living in Mexico, including the crime rate and the difficulty of getting a visa.

So before you consider working as a digital nomad or retiring in Mexico, decide whether these pros and cons are deal breakers for you.

When you’re ready to move abroad, find the cheapest flights with this tool.

Pros and Cons of Living in Mexico

mexican flag

1. Pro: Amazing Climate

The climate in Mexico is one of the biggest pros of living here.

The weather is warm and sunny most of the year, and the beaches are beautiful.

Expats who move to Mexico can enjoy spending their days outdoors, soaking up the sun and enjoying the fresh air.

2. Con: BUT Hurricane Season and Earthquakes

However, the warm climate comes with a few drawbacks.

Mexico is located in an area where hurricanes are common, and the country is also prone to earthquakes.

So if you’re thinking of moving to Mexico, be sure to purchase hurricane and earthquake insurance.

You may even consider leaving for your vacations from June to October to skip peak hurricane season.

3. Pro: Immersion for Learning Spanish

If you’re looking to learn Spanish, Mexico is the perfect place to do it.

Not only will you hear Spanish everywhere you go, but you’ll also be able to practice with native speakers.

Most Mexicans are patient and happy to help you learn their language.

And, unlike in Spain, people were much more forgiving of my terrible Spanish accent.

4. Con: You Will Need to Learn Spanish

However, if you don’t speak Spanish, you will have a hard time living in Mexico.

While some people do speak English, it’s not as common as you might think.

You’ll likely find yourself in situations where you can’t communicate with anyone.

So unless you’re fluent in Spanish or are willing to learn, this probably isn’t the place for you. Or at least you’ll be stuck in English communities and not interacting with locals.

Need help learning a new language? I recommend iTalki! I’ve tried ALL the apps, but iTalki is the only way I’ve managed to learn as much as living in the local country.

5. Pro: Allergy Friendly Food – Especially for Celiacs

If you have food allergies, you’ll be happy to know that Mexico is a very allergy-friendly country.

There are many gluten-free and vegan restaurants, and it’s easy to find allergen-free food in grocery stores.

I have celiac disease, and I was able to find safe food options without any issues. Thank god for corn tacos!!

6. Con: Watch Out for Scams!

Mexico is unfortunately known for its scams, so be on the lookout when you’re living here.

There are many people who will try to take advantage of tourists and foreigners, so it’s important to be aware of these scams.

Some common scams include taxi scams, timeshare scams, and ATM skimming.

Police scams are also common, where you’ll get a “ticket” or be told your license needs to be held and you have to go to a secondary location to get it. You’ll have to pay a bribe to get your license back, otherwise there’s a chance you’ll never see it again.

7. Pro: Cheaper than Living in the US

The cost of living in Mexico is much cheaper than living in the United States.

Rent, groceries, and transportation are all much more affordable here.

You can easily live a comfortable life on a budget in Mexico.

Rent on average is $500 USD a month for a 1 bedroom apartment. However, this is much higher in large cities like Mexico City.

Water costs under $1 USD. Your groceries, including bread ($1.77), eggs ($1.62), 1kg of apples ($2.43), and chicken breasts ($5.50) will average $300 USD a month for 1 person.

Even the “expensive” cost of living in Cancun is nearly 1/3 of what it is in New York!

8. Con: But It’s Not All Cheaper

However, there are some things that are more expensive in Mexico than in the United States.

For example, things like furniture and electronics are taxed at a higher rate here.

These are considered luxuries and have to be imported, which means they’ll likely cost 30% more than they do in the US.

However, it’s relatively inexpensive to import them if you drive them yourself from the US.

Book cheap airline tickets and accommodations with to save money when you’re moving abroad!

mexico prayer flags

9. Pro: Lovely People and a Relaxed Lifestyle

One of the best things about living in Mexico is the people.

Everyone I’ve met here has been so friendly and welcoming.

They’re always happy to help, even if they don’t know you that well.

And, they’re always up for a good time! Mexicans know how to enjoy life and take things slow.

This is a huge change from the fast-paced lifestyle many Americans are used to. Tbh, even “slower” paces in the US will be a bit speedier than in Mexico.

10. Con: You’ll Never Be “Mexican”

No matter how long you live in Mexico, you’ll always be considered a foreigner.

You’ll never be fully accepted into Mexican culture, no matter how hard you try.

And, that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

But it’s something to keep in mind if you’re thinking about moving here with the expectation of not being an outsider.

You may become like family to some Mexican locals, but you won’t be seen as Mexican yourself.

11. Pro: Mexican Food FTW!

If you love Mexican food, then you’ll be in heaven here.

There are so many delicious and authentic dishes to try.

And, it’s pretty easy to find all the ingredients you need to make your favorite Mexican meals at home.

You’ll never get tired of the food here!

And the local street food (which is safe to eat!) is really cheap.

I adore the mix of tacos and empanadas and tamales you can get that you won’t find in any Mexican restaurants in Canada or the US.

12. Con: Water is Scarce and Not Drinkable

One of the biggest issues Mexico is facing right now is a water crisis.

In some parts of the country, water is rationed and people only have access to it a few days a week.

And, even when you do have water, it’s not safe to drink.

You’ll need to buy bottled water for drinking – even brushing your teeth.

If you drink the water, you’re very likely to get a severely upset tummy.

If you, like me, don’t want to add to the plastic trash pile-ups, you can filter your water.

You’ll need a filtered water bottle like this one.

13. Pro: Cheap Data Plans

If you’re a digital nomad or need to work online, you’ll be happy to know that data plans are much more affordable than in the US – and epically more affordable than in Canada.

You can find lots of cheap SIM card options for 30+GB of data. These SIM cards will cost under $50 USD a month.

Meanwhile, Canadian cell plans with 1GB of data cost over $75 a month. So there’s a reason we have so many snowbirds heading to Mexico!

14. Con: Unreliable Internet

While you can get affordable data plans, the internet is often unreliable.

This is definitely a con for digital nomads and anyone who needs to work online.

The internet regularly comes in and out. Even plans that promise epic speeds and great signal aren’t reliable, especially in smaller towns.

You’ll need to invest in the data plans to help compensate for this and work in Mexico (and then you can work from the beach!).

I use this travel hot spot when I’m abroad to get great internet anywhere!

15. Pro: Large Expat Communities

If you’re worried about moving to Mexico and feeling isolated, don’t be.

In most larger towns and cities, you’ll find large expat communities.

This is especially true in popular retirement spots like Ajijic and San Miguel de Allende.

It’s easy to meet other foreigners and make friends here. You can even join social clubs and groups that cater to your interests.

👉 Want to make friends around the world? Join Meetups today for free!

16. Con: Don’t Expect Anything “ASAP”

If you’re used to the fast-paced lifestyle in the US, you’ll need to adjust your expectations when moving to Mexico.

Things move a lot slower here.

It’s not uncommon for things to take weeks – or even months – to get done.

So if you need something done urgently, don’t expect it to be done ASAP.

You’ll also need to expect the same of deliveries. One-day delivery really isn’t a thing in Mexico.

Guanajuato houses

17. Pro: Range of Cheap Accommodations

Whether you’re looking for a long-term rental or just a villa or an apartment, you’ll find lots of cheap accommodation options in Mexico.

Rent is incredibly affordable – even in larger cities like Mexico City.

Of course, if you want to live in a more luxurious place, you can find that too. But it won’t cost nearly as much as it would in other countries.

Average rent for a one-bedroom is about $500 USD. Meanwhile, houses go for about $750 USD a month.

These vary by location. Mexico City will be more expensive than a small town near Puerto Vallarta.

18. Con: You May Need a Mexican Guarantor

When you’re looking for a place to live, you may be asked to provide a Mexican guarantor.

This is someone who can vouch for you and will be responsible for paying your rent if you don’t.

If you don’t have a Mexican guarantor, you may need to pay higher rent or put down a larger deposit.

Or you may lose out on the place entirely.

Book cheap airline tickets and accommodations with to save money when you’re moving abroad!

tulum pyramid

19. Pro: Rich Culture and History

One of the best things about living in Mexico is the rich culture and history.

There’s so much to explore – from ancient ruins to beautiful colonial towns.

You can spend months exploring all that Mexico has to offer and still not see everything.

20. Con: History of Corruption

Unfortunately, Mexico also has a long history of corruption.

This is something you need to be aware of when moving here.

There have been (and continue to be) problems with government officials being corrupt.

This can make things difficult – especially if you’re trying to get something done through the government.

Bribes are quite normal.

21. Pro: Visas are Easy to Get

If you’re a citizen of the US, Canada, or most European countries, you can easily get a visa to live in Mexico.

You can apply for a tourist visa, which allows you to stay in the country for up to 180 days.

Or you can apply for a business visa, which allows you to stay for up to one year.

It’s relatively easy to extend these visas as well.

22. Con: Low Local Salaries

While the cost of living in Mexico is quite low, salaries are also low.

If you’re looking to work here, you won’t be making nearly as much as you would in the US or Europe.

Of course, this varies by job and location. But it’s something to keep in mind.

However, if you’re a digital nomad, this won’t bother you at all.

I recommend this platform to find jobs as a foreigner.

23. Pro: Easy Travel via Bus & Air Travel

Travelling around Mexico is quite easy – and affordable.

There are plenty of bus companies that can take you wherever you want to go.

And if you’re looking to travel to other countries, there are plenty of flights out of Mexico City‘s airport.

The flights are relatively inexpensive, especially compared to flying within Canada.

24. Con: Be Vigilant for Safety

While Mexico is overall a safe country, there are some areas you should avoid.

There’s been an increase in violence in recent years – particularly in the Mexican states of Guerrero, Michoacán, and Tamaulipas.

So it’s important to be vigilant and do your research before travelling to any new place.

You’ll also want to be careful of pickpockets and petty thieves in crowded areas.

mexican blue beach

25. Pro: Gorgeous Natural Environments

Mexico is home to some of the most gorgeous natural environments in the world.

From tropical beaches to mountains and deserts, there’s something for everyone.

People come from around the world to see the cenotes in the Yucatan and the windswept palm trees of Cancun!

And if you love hiking, Mexico has some incredible trails with stunning views.

You can even go whale watching or visit active volcanoes!

26. Con: Expect Classism & Racism

Mexico is a country with a lot of classism and racism.

This can be difficult to deal with, especially if you’re not used to it.

You may find yourself feeling uncomfortable or out of place in certain situations.

But it’s important to remember that Mexico is a large and diverse country. And not everyone will exhibit these negative views.

Try to surround yourself with more open minded people and stay in more liberal, city areas.

27. Pro: Amazing Things to Do (That Are Cheap!)

There are so many incredible things to do in Mexico – and most of them are quite cheap.

From exploring ancient ruins to snorkelling in crystal-clear waters, you’ll never get bored here.

And since the cost of living is relatively low, you can do all of these things without breaking the bank.

Find the best local tours with this search engine (and the best deals)!

28. Con: BUT Loud Nightlife

While there are some great things about the nightlife in Mexico, it can also be quite loud.

If you live in or near the city center in major cities, you may find yourself being kept up at night by the noise.

This is something to keep in mind if you’re looking for a more quiet and relaxed place to live.

Retirement communities would be a better fit for you in Mexico if you want to go to bed early.

29. Pro: Low Taxes

If you live in Mexico, you’ll be happy to know that the taxes are quite low.

In fact, they’re some of the lowest in North America.

So you can keep more of your hard-earned money instead of giving it to the government.

You also won’t have to pay much, if any, tax if you work for foreign companies.

30. Con: Complicated Bureaucracy

One of the most frustrating things about living in Mexico is the bureaucracy.

Everything seems to take forever to get done, and it can be very confusing.

You may find yourself getting frustrated with the system quite often.

But it’s important to remember that this is just part of life here. And once you get used to it, it won’t be so bad.

And most of the bureaucracy happens when you first move to the country and need to set up bank accounts and transfer your license (if you decide to). So long term, you’ll face less and less.

31. Pro: Amazing Produce and Fresh Fish

If you love fresh fruits and vegetables, you’ll be in heaven in Mexico.

The produce here is incredibly fresh and inexpensive.

You can find tropical fruits like mangoes, papayas, and guavas everywhere.

And the seafood is also amazing – it’s super fresh since Mexico is a coastal country.

The grouper I had in Puerto Vallarta still has a special place in my heart!

32. Con: You’ll Need to Pay for Private Healthcare & Schools

If you want your children to go to private school or if you need top-notch healthcare, you’ll have to pay for it.

The public schools and hospitals are free – but they’re also not very good.

So if you can afford it, you’ll want to opt for private options.

They aren’t massively expensive and are readily available, but it’s something to consider when moving to Mexico.

mi amor mexico

33. Pro: Your Money Will Go Further with Exchange Rates

The Mexican Peso has been slowly but steadily gaining value against the US Dollar in recent years.

So if you move here with American Dollars, your money will go further.

This is great news for anyone looking to live a comfortable life on a budget.

You’ll be able to afford more of the things you want and need. And you’ll have more room in the budget for epic Mexican adventures!

Transfer your money for cheap with!

Types of Mexico Visa Options

Americans and Canadians can stay in Mexico for 180 days without a visa, regardless of whether you are working or there for pleasure.

However, to help document your stay in Mexico, you’ll need a Forma Migratoria Multiple (FMM), basically a tourist card, that you can show at the border into Mexico.

You will need a new one every time you leave and re-enter Mexico.

It costs about $20 USD and takes a day or so to process.

Other visa options include:

Best Places to Live in Mexico

There are so many wonderful places to live in Mexico! But these ten cities are some of the best options, whether you’re looking for a beach town, a big city, or something in between.

1. San Miguel de Allende

2. Puerto Vallarta

3. Playa del Carmen

4. Mexico City

5. Tulum

6. Merida

7. Oaxaca City

8. Cabo San Lucas

9. Puerto Escondido

10. La Paz

Book cheap airline tickets and accommodations with to save money when you’re moving abroad!

How to Tip in Mexico

Tipping in Mexico is not required, but it is appreciated.

In restaurants, it’s common to leave 10-15% of the bill as a tip.

For taxi drivers, you can round up the fare to the nearest dollar or leave 10%.

And for tour guides or other service workers, $5-$10 USD per day is a nice tip.

Of course, you can always tip more if you received exceptional service.


Retiring in Mexico Pros and Cons

Some pros of retiring in Mexico include the lower cost of living, the beautiful weather, and the many activities and attractions.

Some cons of retiring in Mexico include the language barrier, the complicated bureaucracy, and the need for private healthcare.

What is it Like Living in Mexico as an American?

It’s generally pretty easy to live in Mexico as an American.

There are a few things to consider, like getting a tourist visa and making sure you have private healthcare, but overall it’s a very welcoming country for Americans.

How much money do you need to live in Mexico comfortably?

This really varies depending on your lifestyle and where you choose to live.

In general, though, you can live a comfortable life in Mexico for around $1,000-2,000 USD per month (per person).

Of course, if you want a more luxurious lifestyle, you’ll need a higher budget.

Can you live in Mexico on $1000 a month?

Yes, you can live in Mexico on $1000 a month.

This will obviously be a tight budget, but it is possible to find affordable housing and food options.

You may need to make some sacrifices, but it is doable.

For example, you’ll likely end up in a smaller town or in a small one-bedroom apartment.

Conclusion: Is it Worth Living in Mexico?

So is it worth living in Mexico?

The answer really depends on what you’re looking for.

If you want an adventurous, cultural experience with beautiful weather and friendly people, then yes, living in Mexico is definitely worth it!

But if you’re looking for a place with an American lifestyle and no language barrier, then Mexico might not be the best choice.

It really depends on your individual preferences.

But one thing is for sure – living in Mexico is an experience you’ll never forget!

When you’re ready to move abroad, find the cheapest flights with this tool.

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🌎 What is the best country to live in as an expat?

It depends – the best country to live in as an expat will depend on your unique needs. I developed this free quiz to help you figure out where is right for you!

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It depends – picking a country to live in is hard. That’s why I developed this $7 course to share all of the steps I’ve taken when deciding to move to 20+ different countries, and how I handle homesickness when I get there.

Ultimately, making the choice of where to move is going to be hard. But the hardest thing is deciding to move abroad at all!

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You can find work abroad via local job boards or temp agencies. My favourite way to work is remotely, so I always look for jobs on when I live abroad. They hire for 100% remote roles only.

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Learn languages in no time with iTalki! Moving abroad is an opportunity to learn the language. You don’t need to know it before you leave home.

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Yes!VPNs allow you to access more of the internet. From US Netflix in the UK to social media sites banned in Asia. It’s a really helpful and cheap thing to ensure your online activities aren’t restricted.

🧳 What’s the best luggage for living abroad?

This is my favourite luggage set for long term travel. You can read more about my review of types of suitcases for travel here.

🏡 How do I tell my friends and family I want to live abroad?

Take this $7 course and learn the exact script I used to tell my family I was moving abroad … and then when I did it again. I even include tips for prepping your family, and for how to handle family who aren’t supportive.

✈️ What’s the best site to buy cheap flights?

To find cheap flights, I recommend Skyscanner. (Read more)

🏨 What’s the best site to find cheap hotels?

To find cheap hotels, I recommend (Read more)

Or stay for free with Trusted Housesitters!

🚗 What’s the best site to rent cars abroad?

To find cheap rental cars, I recommend Discover Cars.

🚗 What’s the best site to find tours?

To find epic tours, I recommend Viator.