Well pour me a tequila and call me Juan – it’s only Mexico! From the dusty canyons of Chihuahua (not the dog!) to the lush jungles of the Yucatan, this corner of North America (yes, it is North America!) is a jewel of a destination.
You can find pretty much anything you’re searching for short of snowy ski runs. Sparkling Caribbean islets with coral gardens? Go east to Cozumel. Golden Pacific bays where there’s endless surf and splashing whale pods? Puerto Vallarta is a good starting point. Prefer mountain bluffs, soaring volcanos, and pine forests filled with fluttering butterflies? The central plateaus have you covered. And that’s not even mentioning the cities, which pulse with taco-sizzling cantinas and punchy Mexicana wrestling bouts.
Digital nomads in Mexico enjoy pretty decent internet connections, uber-cheap living costs, great inter-city bus links, and – of course – great year-round weather (read: a lot of sun!) on top of that. If your wanderlust is tickled, be sure to read on for in-depth info on the hottest Mexican DN destinations, the seasons, and more…
Mexico for digital nomads at a glance
- Pleasant climate (especially in CDMX).
- It’s really cheap!
- Burgeoning digital nomad scene.
- Some areas are downright dangerous.
- Loads of sunburned tourists.
- Internet in rural places is rarely reliable.
The cost of living in Mexico
One of the first things that newcomer digital nomads in Mexico notice is just how far a wad of pesos can go. Yep, we’re talking a whole plate of tacos with red beans and veggies for under 20 MXN ($1) – plus however many habaneros you think you can handle!
Of course, if you crank up the luxury – and loads of laptop warriors do in these parts – you can expect to fork out more for accommodation and eating. That’s especially the case in major digital nomad and tourist hotspots like Cancun, the Yucatan, and the Riviera Nayarit.
For ballpark figures, a few examples of the prices of daily costs in Mexico are:
- A coffee in a cool café in CDMX (that’s Mexico City): 30-50 MXN ($1.60-$2.25).
- A month-long flat rental by the Pacific Ocean with balcony and kitchen: 25,000 MXN ($1,300).
- A bus ticket on a VIP deluxe coach from CDMX to Guadalajara 800 MXN ($41).
- Taco at a taco stand 15-25 MXN ($1).
The weather in Mexico
Mexico’s a big place. Ranging from the deserts that border the USA to the jungles that roll into Central America, it covers more climactic zones than you can shake your horchata at.
The upside of that is there’s something to suit all sorts of weather inclinations. Digital nomads in Mexico that love the sun can bathe in Caribbean rays. Those who like the cooler breezes of the highlands have cities like CDMX. You’ll just want to watch out for the rainy seasons, and be ready to deal with huge crowds on public holiday dates.
To help with your choice of where to go and when in Mexico, here’s a handy lowdown on what different seasons and months can be all about:
The rainy season (May – October)
The curse of the tropics exists in Mexico, too. Down on the Caribbean coast, across the rainforests of Chiapas, and all the way to the beaches of Puerto Vallarta, you’ll encounter the downpours of the monsoon between May and October. Peaks are in July and August, and temperatures soar to nothing short of stifling hot (AKA, make sure you Airbnb has a pool!).
It’s common for rains in the monsoon period to last only an hour or so. You’ll usually be able to see the storm approaching and get inside. Typically, downpours will hit about lunchtime, leaving mornings clear and afternoons cooler.
Going high is one way to escape the searing heat and rains. Colonial towns like San Miguel and Morelia, along with big cities like CDMX and Guadalajara, are protected by mountain ranges and altitude. Up there, these months are always more bearable.
The dry (and high) season (November – March)
The mercury slackens off and the rains stop (mostly) to match with the winter months of November to March. It’s this phenomenon that makes the likes of Puerto Vallarta, the Yucatan, and Tulum a doozy for snowbirds escaping the north.
But it’s not just the warm days that bring the crowds at this time of year. Digital nomads making for the Yucatan will want to beware of the booming hordes of spring breakers that arrive February to March. They can change a place like Cancun completely, and aren’t the best company if you’re not a fan of downing endless tequilas and keg stands.
The month of January is often considered the sweet spot for beach hunters. From Baja to Sayulita, digital nomads in Mexico have loads of places to pick from on the coast. It’s really only the seasoned surfers looking for the heaviest waves and barrels who might prefer the summer months on the shore.
Finding places to stay in Mexico
From small casitas on the beachside to stylish inner-city apartments amid the high-rises of CDMX, there are all sorts of places on the menu for digital nomads in Mexico. The trick is knowing where to look to get the best deals and options…
In the more popular holidaying towns, which also typically happen to be the most popular DN towns, Airbnb still reigns supreme as the go-to resource for finding a flat. The great thing about this is that vacation lets tend to be in the safer, more happening parts of a city, so the location will often take care of itself. There are also good reductions for those staying four weeks or more.
If you don’t mind sharing your pad with someone else, Dada Room opens up a whole world of opportunities. It basically puts you in contact with renters who have a spare place in their flat and are looking for someone to fill it. In bigger cities like CDMX and Guadalajara, there can be hundreds of people searching at any one time, so you can nail down that abode in no time at all.
Get on the ground
Seriously – there’s really no better way to bag a flat in Mexico than by actually being there! This is especially the case if you want to cut the costs of long-term rentals and are visiting destinations that have a high turnover of expats and DNs (think Puerto Vallarta, Playa del Carmen, Cancun). Look out for signs that read ‘renta’ wherever you go. And be ready to haggle a little with the landlord – be tough but friendly, because they will be.
Being a digital nomad in Mexico is still a relatively new thing. However, that hasn’t stopped a few co-living spots from popping up. Basically, these options are limited to Mexico City and offer a ready-made community of DNs to meet and mingle with, alongside stylish and comfortable accommodation set at weekly and monthly rates. Check out CoCo Hub (in buzzy La Condesa neighborhood) or the micro suites of Selina.
Visas and visiting Mexico
Mexico offers a whopping six-month tourist visa to oodles of nationalities, including EU-zone countries, the UK, the US, and Canada. Of course, the keyword here is tourist visa. That means you really should look to apply for a longer-term or working visa as a DN.
Thankfully, Mexico has that base covered. A Temporary Resident Visa for Mexico offers uninterrupted stays of between six months and four years, so you won’t have to worry about border runs or any of that nonsense. You’ll also get other rights, from the ability to open a bank account to the ability to buy land.
The top destinations for digital nomads in Mexico
From surf-side small towns where the smells of sizzling tacos mix with the Pacific to hip urban neighborhoods in the heart of Mexico City, the destination options for DNs here is seemingly endless. Here’s a pick of some of the very best…
No other place in Mexico has embraced DN culture like CDMX. The booming capital, it’s blessed with a pleasant climate (some rain, mid-70s warmth, cool evenings) and has all sorts of cultural and historical attractions. Neighborhoods you’ll want on your map include the hipster heaven of La Condesa, where cafes and arty galleries pepper the corners, and photogenic Roma, with its Art Deco mansions and excellent coffee houses.
Playa del Carmen
Cloud-white beaches meet turquoise seas all around Playa del Carmen, which might just be a clue as to why this city of Quintana Roo is so beloved of the location-independent crew. Yep, you’ll be able to score beach condos with views of the Caribbean Sea. And no, the crowds aren’t as bad as in party-mad Cancun. Playa is changing though. Some recent crime spouts and a huge uptick in medium-term rents are causing concern, but it’s still a doozy.
Okay, bias alert: We fell in love with this little beach town on the Riviera Nayarit when we whizzed through in 2019. In fact, from the people we spoke to, pretty much everyone does. Picture pastel-painted cantinas lining a cobbled street, coconut trees swaying by a surf-washed beachfront, chilled taco stands and margarita bars, and loads of great Airbnbs with monthly rental discounts. If you love salt, sand, and chilling, you honestly can’t go wrong in San Pancho. But please don’t tell everyone about it!
San Miguel de Allende
San Miguel de Allende has been an American expat favorite ever since retired GIs came here to recuperate following the Vietnam War. It’s a gorgeous town, even if it’s stone-faced streets are bursting with tourists. A pink-tinged church at its center draws the crowds, but you’ll also find botanical gardens rife with cacti, and some really great Mexicana eateries (we challenge you to the habanero sauce at Don Taco Tequila!).
A left-of-field pick that even return visitors to Mexico might not know of is Morelia. This beautiful colonial town in the highlands of Michoacan state (of which it’s the capital), it is vibrant and full of life. Set up your laptop on the main plaza to hear soft mariachi music drifting through the Baroque cathedral spires. Nice.
If you’ve got anything to add to this ultimate guide for digital nomads in Mexico, we’d sure love to hear about it in the comments below! That could mean anything, from new coworking spaces to upcoming DN destinations between the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea.
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