Is Mexico on your mind?
Lately, it seems like it’s on everyone’s mind these days – even ours since we have visited twice in 1.5 years! Mexico has continued to grow in popularity. We can totally see why:
- the beaches
- the warm weather
- the beautiful Mexican culture and
- the drool-worthy Mexican food
But there’s probably one question on your mind before you start daydreaming of life in Mexico and that’s…
What’s the cost of living in Mexico?
Whether you are planning to retire in Mexico or you’re a digital nomad/remote worker looking to stay for a couple of months – it’s an important question to evaluate for yourself. While there isn’t a straight one-fits-all answer, there is an average cost of living in Mexico. We will also share our detailed cost of living in Mexico for the 3 different cities we did live in.
Let’s get started!
Why Live in Mexico?
Where do I even start?!
The tacos. The burritos. The tortas. The ceviche. The guacamole.
And that’s just the food! Need I say more?
For real though, there are so many reasons to live in Mexico apart from the food (although I’m pretty sure that’s one of the main reasons people go to Mexico). Here are some of the reasons to live in Mexico:
Affordable Cost Of Living In Mexico: Accommodation seems to be on the rise in Mexico, however, once your rent is covered – the food, entertainment and general cost of living in Mexico are pretty affordable for digital nomads, remote workers and retirees.
High Quality of Life: You can live a very comfortable life in Mexico. The wifi isn’t the fastest in the world but that’s okay because Mexico has beautiful nature, hikes and beaches to explore during your off-time. It’s also easy to fly/drive from one city to another if you want weekend adventures. It’s easy to have a high quality of life in Mexico!
What about the safety issues in Mexico?
Whenever you tell your friends and family that you’re going to Mexico – their reaction is slightly on the negative side right? That’s okay – it’s probably because they have never been and only see what’s being said on the TV.
While we were in Mexico, in all 3 cities, we have felt very safe. Obviously, we are seasoned travelers and take the necessary precautions as I’m sure you would too. While there are dangerous places to live in Mexico, there are also some of the safest places to live in Mexico.
Detailed Breakdown Of The Average Cost of Living in Mexico
What’s your rent going to cost?
What about your entertainment and activities cost?
How about healthcare costs?
When you’re living abroad in a totally new place, your costs is one of the most important to consider if not the most important). You need to know if you can afford the cost of living in Mexico with the kind of lifestyle you’re imagining for yourself.
The cost of living in Mexico depends on where you decide to stay. There are cities where rent is almost as expensive as New York and there are also cheaper cities. That’s why I’ve made it an average of some of the most popular cities in Mexico and I’m also going to share what it costs to live in Playa del Carmen, San Cristobal de las Casas and Merida in our personal experience.
Here is the full breakdown of the average monthly cost of living in Mexico for 2 people:
|Accommodation (medium-sized apartment)||$700|
|Activities & Entertainment||$150|
The average cost of living in Mexico for 2 people with a comfortable lifestyle is: $1,848 USD
Average Accommodation Costs – $700
This is the average price for a place that’s decent. We’re not talking about hostels, shared dorms or shared bathrooms. This price is for a decent studio/1 bedroom apartment. Our Airbnb in Playa del Carmen (photos below) cost us around $700 which was a steal.
Accommodation costs vary from city to city and it is always going to be your biggest expense. Some places have gotten really expensive (like NYC-level prices) and I can’t fathom paying those prices. Other places are much cheaper and in turn, the whole cost of living in those areas is also generally low. While $700 USD is the average, in cities like Tulum and Mexico City – accommodation costs can go up to $1,500 – $2,000 USD per month.
Groceries / Food Costs – $285
I don’t know why but we can’t seem to do our groceries any lower. We have no idea how some people spend less than $50 on groceries a week (if that’s you, can you tell us your secrets?).
The prices for groceries at any of the major grocery stores like Mega or Chedraui are pretty low for things like avocado, tortillas, protein and vegetables. Here is an example of how much staple grocery items cost:
- 12 Eggs: 33 pesos ($ 1.68USD)
- 1L of Milk: 27 pesos ($ 1.36USD)
- Loaf of Bread: 46 pesos ($ 2.32USD)
- Apples: (43 pesos/kg ($ 2.17USD/kg)
There’s also Costco and Sam’s Club available in some cities which could be a great way to lower your costs. Overall – it’s honestly not expensive to do groceries and it’s some of the best produce we have ever seen.
Dining Out Costs – $300
These dining costs really vary from person to person. Some people love to go out for dinner or lunch and that’s where they like to spend their money. Others don’t enjoy eating out as much and cook more. We like to think we are in the middle and try to do half that’s how we came up with the number of $300.
The average meal depends on what kind of cuisine you have – if you have local food it’ll be cheaper and if you have Italian or any other cuisine, it tends to be higher.
Transport Costs – $50
This depends on where you decide to live in Mexico. When we were in Playa del Carmen, we barely spent anything on transport because it’s such a walkable city. Merida on the other hand is a completely different story – if you live far from the city you’ll be taking Ubers everywhere (which racks up).
The public transportation across Mexico is pretty good in terms of buses – you have ADO which goes pretty much everywhere for very low prices ($10-20 for a ticket). However, public transportation within the cities is different. You can take taxis and Ubers in some cities and others you just need a bike to get around.
Coworking Costs – $170
If you’re a digital nomad or remote worker, there are plenty of coworking spaces in Mexico. They all cost around the same, however, coworking in Merida was the most expensive we have encountered (around $340 for 2 people).
The coworking space in San Cristobal de las Casas was the lowest we’ve paid (around $80 USD each). It all depends where you are but on average expect to pay around $170 USD.
Entertainment Costs – $150
Again…this really depends on you. Figure out what kind of activities you like to do and they honestly aren’t too bad in Mexico. You can take day trips from Playa del Carmen to Cozumel, swim in cenotes and visit any of the beautiful beaches. Some activities like chilling on the beach can be free whereas going to Cozumel can add up (ferry cost, transport and restaurants, etc).
Again, this is just an average – how much you want to spend is up to you. You can also have high spending months for entertainment then go on a couple of months of low spending. The best thing is that it’s easy to control your spending in Mexico while still doing fun stuff!
Travel Insurance / Healthcare Costs – $84
Affordable healthcare costs are one of the reasons people travel to Mexico. If you need any medical help, it’s easy to make appointments and get your procedures done at least half the cost of saying the US medical care.
We use travel insurance wherever we go (and you should too btw) and we have evaluated some of the best digital nomad insurance companies. We use and recommend SafetyWing Travel Insurance. They are very affordable at only $42 USD per month and cover most things you could need (even COVID).
Our Personal Cost of Living In Mexico
While this is the average cost of living in Mexico, we also wanted to share our personal experiences with living expenses. We stayed in 3 different Mexican cities – Playa del Carmen, San Cristobal de las Casas and Merida. You’ll see our detailed breakdown of our cost of living in each city.
Cost of Living In Mexico – Playa del Carmen
We spent around 3 months living in Playa del Carmen and I have to say we got a great deal on our apartment which is why our costs turned out to be so low.
Nowadays that just isn’t possible. Being a Playa del Carmen digital nomad is super popular right now and I think that’s part of the reason the prices have skyrocketed.
Here’s our cost of living in Playa del Carmen, Mexico:
|Activities & Entertainment||$194|
|Travel Insurance (SafetyWing)||$80|
Our cost of living for one month in Playa del Carmen for 2 people is: $1,949 USD
Cost of Living In Mexico – San Cristobal de las Casas
San Cristobal de las Casas is such a hidden gem (although it’s starting to gain popularity) and we loved our time there.
We spent 3 months living in San Cristobal de las Casas and it was actually the lowest of all 3 cities. Other than the cold weather, San Cris offers a great lifestyle with a very very affordable cost of living.
Here is our cost of living in San Cristobal de las Casas as digital nomads:
|Activities & Entertainment||$142|
|Travel Insurance (SafetyWing)||$80|
Our total monthly cost of living in San Cristobal de las Casas for 2 people is: $1,825 USD
Cost of Living In Mexico – Merida
Merida is one of the safest cities in all of North America. Yup!
When you’re living in Merida, you will be enchanted with the beautiful architecture, the mix of Mayan and Spanish culture and you can have peace of mind that you’re safe!
Here is what a monthly stay in Merida cost us:
|Activities & Entertainment||$241|
|Travel Insurance (SafetyWing)||$80|
Our total monthly cost of living in Merida Mexico for 2 people is: $2,588 USD
The cost of living in Merida Mexico was pretty expensive for us but we think that’s our fault. You can definitely do it cheaper than us and still have a great time in Merida.
Cost of Living In Mexico: Most Expensive & Cheapest Cities
Choosing the best places to live in Mexico can be difficult because they are all so amazing! But there is one way to narrow down the list and that’s by the cost of living.
According to Wise, here are the lists of the most expensive and cheapest Mexican cities to live for any digital nomad, remote workers, retiree or expat.
Here are the 3 most expensive Mexican cities to live in:
- Los Cabos
Here are the 3 cheapest Mexican cities to live in:
Want somewhere in the middle? While the costs of these places are starting to rise, it’s still a great quality of life in any of these 3 Mexican cities:
- Mexico City
- Playa del Carmen
- Puerto Vallarta
The best thing about living in Mexico is that you have options. If a city gets too expensive for you, there are cheaper cities around and if you want to bougie it up for a while – you can definitely do that too!
Did The Cost Of Living In Mexico Surprise You?
The average cost of living in Mexico for 2 people with a comfortable lifestyle is $1,848 USD. The average cost of living in Mexico for 1 person is usually around less than $1,000 USD.
YES – you can definitely do it cheaper (you always can). We believe this is a great budget for a couple living in Mexico comfortably. You won’t need to sleep in a hostel dorm and only eat street tacos (although they are amazing). This budget allows you to actually enjoy your life in Mexico – wherever you choose to plant yourself.