Mexico's proximity to the US makes it a hugely popular option for American expats and retirees. Blessed with an affordable cost of living, two stunning shorelines, vibrant cities, and swathes of glorious scenery, it's understandable why so many Americans have decided to make Mexico their second home. If you're considering making the move, you'll find plenty of options to consider, from busy, beachside resorts to idyllic colonial towns. If you're struggling to decide which option makes the best choice, don't miss our pick of the ten best places to live in Mexico for Americans.
Ajijic is a friendly, picturesque town with a lot to recommend it. Thanks to its elevation of 5,000 feet above sea level, it offers all-year-round glorious weather. Its location on the shores of Lake Chapala, Mexico’s largest lake, is perfect for nature lovers. For those who prefer more urban pursuits, the town's cobbled streets are packed with enough boutiques, galleries, and restaurants to provide plenty of entertainment.
The UNESCO town of Guanajuato is an old silver mining town packed with charm. Rich in color and history, it offers a blissfully relaxed way of life and an incredibly attractive cost of living. The average rental property here will set you back just $289 per month, while the monthly cost of living is an equally attractive $764. As you'd expect from a university town, it has a lively, youthful vibe and a welcoming, diverse community. Amenities are bountiful, and there's always some kind of activity or event to get involved in.
Usually, you have to make a choice: do you want the big city lights or the beach? Mérida offers the best of both worlds. This city of nearly a million people is the capital of the Yucatán Peninsula, a stunning region dotted with small villages and blessed with a sublime shoreline. It's got everything you need by way of amenities, along with a laid-back beach lifestyle that's perfect for digital nomads and retirees. The cost of living is just as attractive as everything else, leaving you with plenty of cash to play with come payday.
7. Puerto Peñasco
Puerto Peñasco is a lively seaside resort located just an hour from the US border. Thanks to its convenient location, it's been a playground for Canadians and Americans for years. The shoreline is delightful, with warm, calm waters and broad. sandy beaches. The weather is hard to fault, letting you enjoy the sights and attractions of the city all year round. And the cost of living? Ideal. For less than $100,000, you can pick up a two-bedroom beachfront property in one of the most desirable areas of the city. Cast your net a little wider, and you'll be able to get by for even less.
6. San Miguel de Allende
Investment U may have voted San Miguel de Allende as one of the best places to retire in Mexico, but its attractions appeal to way more than just pensioners. Widely considered to be one of the most beautiful places in Mexico, the city is renowned for its stunning architecture, its thriving arts scene, and its fantastic array of amenities. Located just 60 miles from the state capital of Guanajuato and 170 miles from Mexico City, San Miguel de Allende makes an excellent destination for expats looking to enjoy a low crime rate, a low cost of living, and a low-key, relaxed lifestyle.
5. Playa del Carmen
Drive just 57 miles south of Cancún and you'll find Playa del Carmen, a supremely attractive town with a large population of expats. Blessed with a gorgeous shoreline and outstanding cultural and retail opportunities (if shopping's your thing, don't miss the famous Quinta Avenida (5th Avenue), which is packed with 20 blocks of restaurants and shops), the town's a great choice for anyone looking to combine the attractions of the city with the joys of the beach.
4. Mexico City
According to Nomads Nation, Mexico City ranks as one of the best places to live in Mexico. With its cosmopolitan culture, inspiring architecture, and vibrant nightlife, it's not hard to understand why. The cost of living is attractively low - expect to get comfortably by on as little as $933 per month. Thanks to its diverse range of neighborhoods, there's something to please everyone, from bohemian areas like Roma to foodie paradises like La Condesa. If you want to immerse yourself fully in the vibrancy of the city, Centro Histórico won't disappoint. In fairness, it isn't all sunshine and rainbows. It's more expensive than many other areas of Mexico, the pollution is through the roof, and some parts of the city are best avoided if you value your safety. But if you choose your neighborhood wisely and apply common sense, it's a great place to call home.
Puebla is a popular tourist destination. Thanks to a mile-long list of attractions, it's also a hot destination for people looking to make their visit a little more permanent. With breathtaking colonial architecture, a legendary food scene, a convenient location just south of Mexico City, and a cost of living that will let you get by on as little as $700 a month, it's understandable why so many expats have chosen to make Puebla their home.
The town of Tulum is located at the center of the Riviera Maya. The area, which stretches from Playa del Carmen to Punta Allen, is widely regarded as one of the most geographically beautiful in Mexico. Littered with pristine white sand beaches, tropical jungles, and Mayan ruins, it's the kind of place that needs to be seen to be believed. Tulum represents all that's great about the region. In between the beach and the town is a swathe of jungle and marshland that connects the Mayan ruins on one side with the biosphere reserve of Sian Ka’an on the other. The town itself is a vibrant center with some great restaurants and lively bar culture. If you want a town that combines natural beauty with an active social scene, Tulum could be your perfect match.
1. Puerto Vallarta
As International Living says, Puerto Vallarta has been an expat haven for over 60 years. Once a small, sleepy village, it's now transformed into a major international resort, occupying nearly 30 miles of Banderas Bay shoreline. Blessed with warm weather, a picturesque location, and a center that's packed with cobblestone streets and colonial architecture, it's unquestionably a great destination for expats. Property is very affordable, as are food, entertainment, transportation, and health care. The community is fun and vibrant, while the lively arts scene, glorious beaches, enticing food options, and stellar retail opportunities won't leave you disappointed.
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Written by Dana Hanson
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