Best Places To Retire In Mexico On A Budget


Is Mexico City Safe To Live In

Living By The Beach For $420/Month In Mexico | Unlocked

The short answer is yes. Although there is a high rate of crime it is limited to certain areas of the city. Expatriates and foreigners living in Mexico City are able to enjoy a high quality of life and live safely within the city boundaries. If you move there, you should take precautions as you would in any major city. You should also learn the language to make it easier to communicate with the locals. Take the time to research safer areas to live in and talk with people who have lived in the city for a number of years.

Also read: Moving to Mexico From the US

San Pancho Travel And Visit Specifics

Airport to SP: Cheapest is the bus, by far. Taxis are going to run you a fair bit more. The bus makes a number of stops, but its not so bad. I had a friend who luckily was able to pick me up my first day, but after that I frequently made the trek into Puerta Vallarta via bus. Where ever you book for accommodation will also be able to arrange a taxi pick-up if you reach out beforehand. If you are already in the area, the bus is straightforward and takes 45 minutes to an hour from downtown PV.

Finding Accommodation: I recommend arriving in San Pancho before trying to find a place to stay, otherwise you will only find vacation rentals listed. Once you are in town, you can rent a bicycle for the day or walk around town and you will see many signs for rent. You can also talk with local expats and ask around. With average Spanish, you will have no problem finding something in just a few days, especially if its low season . If you dont speak Spanish, or you came in high season, pop into the real estate agencies. They handle rentals too and are fantastic resources on any city mentioned.

If youre in Sayulita, my friends rented a nice place from Villas Vista Suites for three months I would start there for online hunting. If youre using Sayulita as your base, consider the Aurinko Bungalows or Casa Pia as a mid-range option and then daytrip over to San Pancho. These all come recommended, and if you plan to move to the area they are a good base.

Final Thoughts On The Best Places To Live In Mexico

One of the biggest mistakes I see expats make when they move to Mexico is failing to recognize just how big Mexico is.

The places on this list are far from the only places in Mexico where people have found happiness and built rewarding lives for themselves. Just a few of the places Ive seen on other roundups include:

  • Ensenada
  • Tulúm
  • Playa del Carmen

Lists of best places to live in Mexico are a good place to start, but before you commit to moving to a city, you should give living there a trial run to see if it lives up to your expectations. Remember that living in a place is a lot different than vacationing there.

Thanks to Mexicos generous tourist visa, you can try living in Mexico for six months without needing to pursue temporary residency. If you can, travel around and check out a few different cities to see where you feel most at home.

The city you end up choosing might surprise you.

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Consider The Necessary Expenses

The most significant and first expense you will encounter is rent. To be on the safe side, calculate at least $450 for a livable one-bedroom apartment that has all necessities.

For utilities, the electricity bill will likely cost between $25 to $50 a month. Gas will be about $25 a month, cable TV will be $30 and basic telephone service will be $20.

Eating out in a nice restaurant will cost you up to $15 per person. Grabbing a quick lunch at a local cafeteria goes for $3 to $7. Street food is available for as little as $1. A kilo of fresh fruits like mangos or oranges costs around $1 in season. A kilo of avocados sells for about $1.25.

The Best Part Of Moving To Mexico

{2021} 11 Best Places to Live in Mexico for Expats

But what will really blow your mind is just how easy it can be to move here. I should know

In fact, I moved to Mexico with only a pickup truck and a credit card.

Whats more, the consulate offered same-day visa service for my residency, so I had to deal with none of usual bureaucracy all I needed was my pension deposit slips.

In fact, I could have qualified without having a pension or proving income Mexico is one of the only countries in the world where you can qualify for residency by showing only a bank balance or IRA.

And residency even comes with an import tax waiver on anything you want to bring from home.

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Mexico For Digital Nomads Expats And Retirees

Mexico is one of the most popular travel destinations in the world, and a staple for Americans on holiday. Many people relocate to Mexico as a result of having a remote job, a location-independent business or a pension. Furthermore, long-term residence options make settling in the country easy for expats, digital nomads and remote workers. Are you trying to decide whether or not to make the move to Mexico too?

Some cities like Playa Del Carmen and Mexico City became digital nomad hubs due to their affordable cost of living, but they arent necessarily the cheapest though.

You can easily spend $1,500 to $2,000 in those cities if youre not keeping an eye on expenses, compared to other locations where you can get by on less than $1000.

Therefore, one of the most important parts of relocation to Mexico is picking the best place to live in order for your finances to breathe.

Quertaro Offers A High Quality Of Life At An Affordable Cost

Querétaro is by no means the cheapest place to live in Mexico, but it is still very cost-effective to call Querétaro home.

Just to give you an idea about the cost of living in Querétaro, our rent for our two-bedroom apartment in the historic city center costs $11,500 MXN .

As for the quality of life, Querétaro is known throughout the country as the Orgullo de México . One example of city pride is how well its maintained. People who are visiting me from other parts of Mexico will often comment on the cleanliness of Querétaros streets.

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What To Consider When Retiring In Mexico

Other than the places to retire in Mexico, there are other elements to take into consideration.

First of all, when moving to the Quintana Roo state, youll want to consider the $38 tourist tax when entering the country. Sure, this may not be a big deal, but if you retire in Tulum, for instance, and want to visit your relative a few times a year, this could quickly become a significant amount. Also, the tourist tax can be soon be gotten on Visitax, and time isnt an issue.

Talking about budget, life in Mexico is affordable, and you can live very comfortably on $2,000 to $2,500 as a couple. This includes health insurance, a car, a maid, and a lovely apartment.

Needless to say, this amount could easily double when living in the States.

Last but not least, youll want to retire in a safe place, and well list all the best places to retire in Mexico for safety and more here below.

Heres A List Of The Best Places To Retire To On A Budget

International Living’s list of best places to retire

1. Panama

Panama isnt as straightforward as other countries on this list. Depending on where you decide to settle in Panama, your cost of living could be as little as US$800 or go up to about US$2,000. It all depends on your chosen location.

Say you decide to relocate to Panama City, your cost of living would most likely be about US$2,000. In truth, we dont recommend Panama City as a retirement haven anymore. We do, however, recommend relocating to the countrys interior to towns such as Pedasí or Santa Fe. By doing so, your cost of living could go down to about US$1,000 .

2. Portugal

If youre looking to retire in Europe, the cost of living in Portugal is among the lowest on the continent. This, along with affordable and stellar health care, enviable weather, and English being spoken by most has made this destination increasingly popular among expats. You could live quite comfortably on a budget of about US$1,300.

3. Belize

Belize is an English-speaking Caribbean paradise located about three hours by plane from the United States. Just like in any other country, if you buy fruits and vegetables from local producers and purchase meat from your local butcher or fisherman, you will find yourself successful in keeping your monthly expenses relatively low. Ambergris Caye is one of the most popular places among expats.

4. Colombia

5. Vietnam

6. Ecuador

7. Mexico

8. Thailand

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Barra De Navidad Or Melaque

I spent a summer living in Barra de Navidad and I really enjoyed it.

Im only 33, so it was a little too slow-paced for a full-time move. But I understand why a lot of people think that this is one of the best places to retire in Mexico.

Barra de Navidad and Melaque are two small and sleepy beach towns that are located at the southern edge of the state of Jalisco. Its about 30-minutes north of Manzanillo, which is also the nearest airport.

The nice thing about Barra de Navidad and Melaque is that they offer a great small-town vibe while being close enough to a bigger city to be able to get affordable groceries and excellent healthcare.

Ive personally had excellent medical attention in nearby Manzanillo. Its actually a very popular place for medical tourism in Mexico. The doctors are excellent, speak English, and charge a lot less than other cities around Mexico.

Barra and Melaque are incredibly popular with expats, especially Canadians. You can check out .

Its hard not to fall in love with the little beachside town of Barra de Navidad.

Pros And Cons Of Retiring In Mexicosinterior


  • Experts consider that areas in and around Guadalajara, Mexico, have some of the mostpleasant climates. The weather, in the interior, especially at 3000 feet, is better than on the coast. It seldom gets colder than about 55 degrees in the winter and 90 degrees in the day. However, some people have trouble with the rain in some areas during the summer. .
  • Most of Mexicos folk traditions, Mayan and Aztec ruins, historical monuments, and colonial towns are away from the beach. You cannot get to know the culture of Mexico without at least spending some time in the interior.


  • You cannot participate in water sports in the interior or sit on the beach daily.
  • Interior areas are less relaxed than the coast. It is easier to meet expats and locals by the beach because these areas attract people with fewer family obligations than the Mexicans who live in the interior.

These are the only real minuses I can see to choosing to live in the interior versus the coast. Most pluses of Mexican coastal communities also apply to the Mexican interior.

The interior also has active, friendly expat scenes, and the flora and fauna are varied and worth seeing.

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Quertaro Has A University Atmosphere

With so many universities within the city limits, there are a lot of students living in Querétaro and they help to give a really progressive, young vibe to the city.

It seems like every other week here, a new cafe or a hipster cocktail bar is cropping up somewhere. One of my favorite spots is Cervecería Hércules, which is a craft brewery located inside an old textile factory.

Im not sure if this is just the people I know or if this speaks to the city as a whole, but I get the vibe that Querétaro is a very creative city. From artists to entrepreneurs, the city is home to people following their passions and building a life that they love. I find that such an energizing kind of thing to be around.

San Cristobal De Las Casas

Retirement destination: Mazatlan, Mexico

The state of Chiapas in the southeastern part of Mexico is highly regarded around the world for its cultural heritage. And San Cristobal de Las Casas is right in the middle of it.

Surrounded by mountains and a jungle ecosystem, San Cristobal de las Casas is a pueblo magico . This designation is given in Mexico to destinations of high historical, architectural, gastronomic, and cultural value. It also means towns are responsible to keep certain architectural styles and try to preserve that heritage.

This is worth pointing out because it becomes obvious as you enter San Cristobal. The houses have a baroque style with big patios, adorned steel balconies, cobblestone streets, and ornamental patterns of the neoclassic period.

San Cristobal de las Casas has become a destination for people looking for the nice weather of the Mexican peninsula, but looking for a more quiet atmosphere and slower lifestyle than the beach towns.

About 10% of the population are expats, but the real number of non-Mexicans is much higher if you account for tourists that are just there temporarily. Most of them come from the US and Canada, but there is also a big Argentinian community in the area.

The town is a popular destination for retirement, not just for expats. In fact, it is one of the few places in Mexico where the 40+ years old demographic makes up the majority of the population .

The approximate monthly cost of living in San Cristobal de las Casas for a couple is:

Housing / rent

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Is It Affordable To Live In Mexico

Mexico is one of the most affordable countries to relocate to for expats. There are some cheaper places, but you must consider all of the advantages and disadvantages of each location. When people think about moving to another country, they frequently consider the following criteria: ease of obtaining visas for travel and cost of living.

Is It Safe To Retire In Mexico

I think this is probably the most important question these days.

Yes, it is safe to retire in Mexico, and I will explain why.

Over the past 22 years, I have lived and worked in all major tourist Mexican destinations. I met a ton of expats who chose to retire in Mexico.

Not once did I meet someone unhappy or affected by crime.

For the most part, all of the folks I got to know, and serve, seemed very happy to have chosen Mexico for their retirement.

Of course, someone may get affected in isolated cases of misfortune. But this can happen anywhere. Not just in Mexico.

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Considerations When Choosing The Best Place To Retire In Mexico

Mexico is a massive country. It is incredibly diverse, both geographically and culturally. It can be difficult to decide where to live because there are so many excellent options.

When deciding on a destination, youll want to consider your preferences. In this section, Ill outline a few things to consider to help you choose the best place to retire in Mexico.

Best Places To Live In Mexico: Sayulita

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Big cities or, even, large towns arent the right fit for every expat. If you prefer a quieter way of life, check out one of Nayarits most beloved beach towns: Sayulita.

Located approximately one hour north of Puerto Vallarta, this chill surf spot is perfect for people who want to slow down and sip an ice-cold cerveza while enjoying the playa. The people are friendly, and the area has low crime rates.

Sayulita is popular among retirees for its affordability, but as more co-working spaces crop up, digital nomads are settling here and living out their fantasies of working from the beach.

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San Miguel De Allende

Located in the same state as the city of Guanajuato , San Miguel de Allende has been attracting expats for decades.

It is without a doubt one of the most popular places to retire in Mexico and it has a huge community of retired expats in Mexico.

Known best for its booming art community, San Miguel de Allende is a wonderful place for those that are looking for that during their retired years. Youll find painters, sculptors, writers, and more in this creative town.

Each year they host tons of different events including a writers festival, a film festival, and a music festival. There is an art school here that attracts international artists year-round.

Its also a truly beautiful city, so its no wonder it inspires so much creativity in its residents.

Youll have everything you might need if you retire in San Miguel de Allende. From incredible restaurants to easy access to nature. The surrounding area is one of the best places to hike in the entire country.

Read more about San Miguel de Allende here.

Why Tulum Is Great For Retirement

Located on the stunning Mexican Riviera, Tulum is a small, upscale town with one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Home to gourmet restaurants, ancient sites, and natural attractions, it offers something for everyone.

English is common in Tulum, and infrastructure in the region is on par with anywhere in the United States. Its located on the Caribbean coastline of the Yucatan peninsula, making it less than 400 miles from Havana, Cuba.

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Best Places To Live In Mexico: Mexico City

When I first moved to Mexico, I swore I could never live in Mexico City. But the more time I spend there the easier it is for me to imagine calling it home.

Many foreigners write off living in Mexico City before they even visit, believing its wholly unsafe. However, high crime rates are limited to certain areas, and some of the safest places to live in Mexico are neighborhoods in Mexico City such as Roma, Condesa and Polanco.

Digital nomads feel right at home in Mexico City with its many cafes and co-working spaces where they can set up office. Like most capital cities, there are a lot of transplants from all over the world which makes meeting people easy.

Especially if youre considering moving to one of Mexico Citys trendier neighborhoods, its important to note that the cost of living in Mexico City is more expensive than in other places on this list. But for a slightly higher price tag, you get access to world-class restaurants, fabulous shopping and over 150 museums.

Mexico City is also one of the most LGBTQ+ friendly cities in Mexico.

The Mexico City airport is the busiest airport in Latin America with affordable flights not just to the U.S. but all over the world.

For more about what its like to live in Mexico City as an expat, check out my friend Lauras blog Eternal Expat.

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