With all that Mexico has to offer expats, it is no wonder this country is growing in popularity among the retirees. It has gorgeous beaches, culture and history, fresh local produce at a fraction of the cost of what they’re used to paying, and gorgeous homes for much less. In Mexico, you can enjoy a better life for a lot less than what you’d have to pay in most other countries. Even better, for those coming from Canada or the United States, it’s just a hop, skip, and a jump away from home. That really adds to the appeal.
Anyone who holds a Mexican passport can also gain visa-free entry to 144 other countries, including those of the European Schengen area. More money in your pocket means more money to travel, and that passport is a pretty great benefit for travel enthusiasts.
So, all of this begs the question, which cities are the best for expats to try and go start their new lives? Here are some of Mexico’s most popular expat locations.
- Puerto Vallarta
Puerto Vallarta is a resort town in Mexico, in the Jalisco state on the Pacific Coast. It has a gorgeous cobblestone city center, where you can find the Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe church, boutique shops and a range of restaurants and bars. It is also home to El Malecón, a strip of the beach where you can find art and other entertainment activities.
This coastal destination has been an expat haven for at least the past 60 years. You’re bound to find many of your own nearby, who know just what it’s like to start over in a new country. Popular activities here include lazing on the beach, diving, horseback rides and boating. Puerto Vallarta also has an active nightlife scene for those who’d like to partake.
- San Miguel de Allende
This is a colonial town rich in culture. It features Spanish architecture and has an identity for being particularly passionate about arts and crafts. San Miguel de Allende is full of small shops full of pottery, paintings, sculptures and more. It also features art galleries, restaurants, and scenic plazas.
Located in Mexico’s central highlands, this city is popular among expats for its weather just as much as for anything else. It has a desert climate, with warm days and cool nights most of the year. An estimated 10,000 expats live here from all over the world, so you could even get by speaking English if you really wanted to.
- Playa del Carmen
If the Caribbean coast appeals to you more than the Pacific, Mexico’s Riviera Maya represents a 125-mile-long beach strip that starts at Playa del Carmen and ends in Tulum. Playa del Carmen is a highly popular expat destination, thanks to its big city vibes combined with gorgeous coastline. It’s only a short trip away to Cozumel, a renowned diving spot.
Playa del Carmen is home to the famous Avenida Quinta (5th Avenue), which runs parallel to the shore and offers 20 blocks of restaurants and shopping. It’s just about as popular as the beach itself. Playa (as the locals call it) is one of the fastest growing cities in Mexico, and possibly in Latin America. This is a city where you’re bound to always have something to do and are sure to make new friends.
This city offers the best of both worlds: history and access to the coast. It is located along the Pacific shoreline in the Mexican state of Sinaloa. This area is renowned for big-game fishing, a popular sport among retirees, so if fishing is your interest, this city could be a high contender.
Mazatlan has an old historic town center with 19th-century landmarks that include performance halls and the Conception basilica. The more modern part of the city is full of restaurants and hotels for visitors. Anyone who lives here can live within walking distance of the beach and Old Mazatlan at once.
Finally, there’s Guanajuato, a city for those looking to live a life truer to Mexican culture. While there are still hundreds of expats living here, it is a more low key destination that appeals to those looking for a place that sticks more to the Mexican culture and has less Western influence.
The city is full of colonial architecture just like many of the others, but it is less modernized. It is full of art festivals, museums and churches, and old silver mines and tunnels. It is often likened to the smaller, medieval towns of Tuscany. Choose Guanajuato for a bit of that old world feel.