Have you been looking for the ultimate digital nomad Mexico guide?
Well…This is it!
We spent 7 months living as digital nomads in Mexico and we are going to spill everything you need to know about it.
And you’re probably on this blog because you’re also thinking of being a digital nomad in Mexico? Well, you’ve come to the right place because we’re going to share everything from:
- finding accommodation
- wifi speeds
- cost of living
- the best cities to live
- and so much more!
Mexico is a large and diverse country with rich culture, great food and deep history. You’ve got everything you could want in one country: mountain hikes, stunning beaches and beautiful weather year-round.
Digital nomads have started to flock to Mexico as it has started to rise in the ranks of the best digital nomad hotspots. With a growing community and plenty of coworking spaces popping up everywhere – we think Mexico will continue to become a top digital nomad destination.
Ready? Here we go!
Why Become A Digital Nomad In Mexico?
What does Mexico have to offer digital nomads…you ask?
Short Answer: Lots!
There are a couple of reasons why this country has gained so much popularity amongst digital nomads in recent years. Here are some of the reasons digital nomads enjoy living in Mexico:
1. Affordable cost of living: You can spend a couple of months as a digital nomad in Mexico living on a tight budget or you can live it up on an extravagant budget. The choice is yours – that’s the best part about being a Mexico digital nomad.
2. Mexican food (duh): If you love Mexican food, we’re going to become best friends! We love tacos, tortas, guacamole and everything in between. It’s honestly a foodie’s heaven, you can have any cuisine you want all-around Mexico as a digital nomad.
3. High standard of living: Want to live by the beach or in the mountains? You totally can as a digital nomad in Mexico. It’s easy to get comfortable with the lifestyle in Mexico and it’ll make you want to stay!
4. Gateway to Latin America: We think Mexico is a great country to start your Latin America digital nomad tour. After having been Colombia digital nomads and Guatemala digital nomads, we think that Mexico is the most English-speaking of all 3 countries! Lots of people also start in Mexico and work their way down to South America.
5. So many things to do: Mexico is so diverse! There are mountains, deserts, jungles and beaches – basically any kind of landscape you’d like! You can dig deep into the rich history of Mexico like the Spanish influences and Mayan culture. The list of things to do as a digital nomad in Mexico is endless!
If you’re ever thinking about checking out the digital nomad Mexico scene…this is your sign to just do it! You won’t regret exploring one of the most beautiful countries in the world as a digital nomad.
The Complete Digital Nomad Mexico Guide
We spent 7 months living in 3 different cities as digital nomads in Mexico and still feel like we’ve just barely scratched the surface. It’s been one of the best experiences we’ve had and we were shocked at how well equipped Mexico as a whole is for digital nomads.
There are plenty of coworking spaces all across Mexico and digital nomad communities are also popping up everywhere. Mexico is a digital nomad destination that is here to stay!
If you’re trying to plan your own digital nomad Mexico adventures, look no further than here! We want to share everything we wished we knew before becoming Mexico digital nomads. From the smallest things like buying a SIM card to the big things like finding accommodation or the cost of living.
Let’s jump straight into the digital nomad Mexico guide…
What’s The Visa Situation For Mexico?
Most tourists entering Mexico are eligible to spend a 180-day tourist visa. It all depends on the passports that are granted this visa on arrival. Some countries might have to apply for a Mexican tourist visa.
This is very generous for travelers because you can spend a whole 6 months exploring this huge country. However…as of November 2021, Mexico seems to have changed its tune to giving 180-days.
While you are technically allowed to have 180-days in the country, it is up to the immigration officer’s discretion how many days you really get. We arrived in Cancun and got 180 days. We have started to hear people say they only got 10 days as opposed to 180 days – this is where it gets tricky. You’ll get an FMM card and that’s where you’ll find how many days you get to stay in Mexico.
Important: Keep your FMM card safe and make sure it stays in good condition. They require you to give this back when you depart Mexico or else you’ll pay a fine of some sort. Our friend paid around $500 pesos just because his was torn a little. Crazy!
How to Get a SIM Card in Mexico?
Getting a SIM card is pretty simple in Mexico. We always like to get a local SIM card because it’s usually cheaper than keeping an international number. There are several phone companies in Mexico:
- AT&T Unidos
We recommend buying a Telcel SIM Card. One of my good Mexican friends, Abraham, told me that this was the best SIM card if you want good coverage across the country. If you plan on traveling across Mexico and living in different cities as a digital nomad, buy a Telcel SIM card.
What does a SIM card cost in Mexico?
You can buy a monthly plan which costs around $14 USD at the time of writing. The plan doesn’t include any calls or text but you get 3 GB of data and unlimited social media usage.
Where to buy and recharge your Mexican SIM card?
You can buy a SIM card at any official phone store. They can be easily found in any of the malls all across Mexico. You can recharge your data at the same places or you can even recharge it at any of the major grocery stores like Chedraui or Mega Soriana.
When Is The Best Time To Visit Mexico For Digital Nomads?
It honestly depends on which part of Mexico you’re living in!
If you’re on the east side of Mexico in cities like Playa del Carmen or the Yucatan peninsula, it’s best to visit from October to May. The best time to visit Playa del Carmen specifically in April, May, August and September. We typically like to visit during the shoulder months because it means cheaper rental prices and fewer crowds of tourists. The best time to visit Merida is from October to April. You don’t want to visit Merida during the height of the summer because the humidity gets way too intense!
If you’re planning to visit the west side of Mexico in cities like Puerto Vallarta, Sayulita, it’s best to visit this area from April to June which are shoulder months. The most popular times to visit are from November to March but that means higher rental prices and more tourists!
Do You Need To Speak Spanish as a Digital Nomad In Mexico?
I’ll be honest with you: you’ll need to learn some basic Spanish especially if you want to travel across several cities.
When you travel to places that are used to having English-speaking tourists like Playa del Carmen, Cancun, Merida or Baja California Sur then it’ll be much easier to get around and speak English. We started our digital nomad Mexico adventures in Playa del Carmen which is where we recommend starting too! We took Spanish classes 3 times a week and it made a world of difference.
Spanish School In Playa del Carmen
We went to the Chichen Itza Language School. We had a great Spanish teacher, Andrea, who gave us a great foundation of the language.
If you want to live in digital nomad cities that are less known like San Cristobal de las Casas for example, some basic Spanish honestly goes a long way. When you speak Spanish fluently as well you can probably get better prices than a foreigner who can’t and that’s just the reality!
Bottom line? You don’t need to speak Spanish to have digital nomad Mexico travels but it certainly helps to know a little Spanish!
The 3x Best Cities To Live In As Mexico Digital Nomads
Now that you’ve got Mexico on your mind, you’re probably wondering which cities are the best ones for digital nomads to live in Mexico. Here are the 5 best cities for digital nomads in Mexico:
1. Playa del Carmen, Mexico
We think Playa del Carmen is the #1 digital nomad hub in Mexico! We lived there for 1 month thinking we would go elsewhere but ended up staying for 3 months. The kind of lifestyle you can live in Playa del Carmen is amazing!
Located in the Quintana Roo aka Riviera Maya, you’ve got the beautiful Caribbean coast at your fingertips! The internet can be pretty fast, you’re only 10 minutes walking from the beach, you’ve got some of the best coworking Mexico has to offer spaces and there’s a vibrant digital nomad community. What more could you want?!
Well…how about a lower cost of living? The downside to living in Playa del Carmen is paying the painfully high rental prices. Since we were there in 2020, the prices of apartments on Airbnb have doubled, sometimes tripled!
✅Pros of living in Playa del Carmen:
- High standard of living
- Easy to make friends
- Walking distance to the beach
❌Cons of living in Playa del Carmen:
- Tourist town which gets crowded
- High rental prices
We loved being Playa del Carmen digital nomads and we think you’ll fall in love too!
2. San Cristobal de las Casas, Mexico
San Cristobal de las Casas is a colonial city located in the mountains of Chiapas. This charming town is filled with beautiful architecture and cobblestone streets – it’s easy to romanticize the town. We were wondering where to go after Playa and many of our friends recommended San Cris – so off we went!
While living in San Cristobal de las Casas, we loved our time there and it was so easy to do life things like buying groceries or having wine at the best tapas place, La Vina de Bacco. The thing you should know (which eventually made us want to leave) is that it gets VERY cold! If you’re like us and travel to escape the winter…this small, mountain town is about the coldest we would want to endure.
We think San Cris is a great digital nomad destination that’s still very new and maybe even a hidden gem! You’ll be glad to know there’s a coworking space with fast enough wifi speeds and you’ll enjoy eating at some of the best restaurants in San Cristobal de las Casas. Best of all? This is probably the lowest cost of living on this entire list – it’s very budget-friendly!
✅Pros of living in San Cristobal de las Casas:
- Low cost of living
- Easy to make friends
- Very walkable
❌Cons of living in San Cristobal de las Casas:
- Gets very cold
Being a San Cristobal de las Casas digital nomad is a very close second to PDC! We think it offers a very different experience and you’ll be surprised at how well set up it actually is for digital nomads in Mexico.
3. Mexico City, Mexico
Mexico City is rising to the top of the cities digital nomads love to live in. The infrastructure is equipped with fast wifi, great apartment rentals and coworking spaces. We see a lot of digital nomads get comfortable in Mexico City.
This huge city is bustling with culture, history and the best Mexican food. Mexico City is truly a foodie’s heaven! The cost of living can be very cheap in terms of food…however, the rental prices are pretty expensive on Airbnb.
✅Pros of living in Mexico City:
- Amazing Mexican food
- Vibrant digital nomad community
❌Cons of living in Mexico City:
- Hustle, bustle vibes
There has already been a couple of digital nomad conferences held in Mexico City and it just shows that there’s a big digital nomad community that already exists. We feel the number of digital nomads in Mexico City will continue to grow and has all the potential to become a digital nomad hub!
Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
Want to live by the mountains where you can hike AND live close to the beach? You got that in Puerto Vallarta! Located on the west side of Mexico, you get the best of both worlds in this beautiful city.
If you want to live and work by the beach, Sayulita is the best Mexican beach town around!
How To Find Accommodation in Mexico As Digital Nomads For Reasonable Prices
Finding accommodation in Mexico as digital nomads isn’t very difficult. There are plenty of ways to find a place to stay regardless of which cities you decide to live in. Here are some of the best ways to get accommodation in Mexico:
Airbnb / VRBO – Easiest way
Looking for your place as a digital nomad in Mexico? Booking through Airbnb is the easiest and most convenient way to find a place as a digital nomad. We usually book our places through Airbnb unless we decide to stay at coliving spaces.
While you do get the convenience of the Airbnb platform, you do pay for it! You will usually pay double (maybe even triple) for the same apartment if you just found it yourself. The other reason you would pay that premium is because of the security that Airbnb offers. Your hosts want a good review and Airbnb manages the entire relationship which is great.
Facebook Groups – Great deals are found this way
There are usually DN Facebook groups that you can join for a specific city – definitely join those because they are so helping in giving local tips or setting up meetups. You can also find the rental groups on Facebook where real estate agents usually post about the apartments they have and usually include the price in the post. You can also post yourself and the criteria you’re looking for in a rental and you can expect agents to comment with a listing.
You’ll probably get a great price compared to Airbnb but…Here’s the thing: You will likely need to pay a deposit and enter a contract with a minimum amount of rental days. We’ve heard that sometimes you’ll get a deposit back and sometimes you won’t and it’s usually at least a month’s rent. This is what has stopped us from doing this now.
See & Call – Cheapest prices are found this way
Already a Mexico digital nomad? You’ve got an advantage working for you and that’s the fact that you’re already on the ground. We call this method of finding accommodation “See & Call” and it’s honestly the best way to find the best and cheapest deals. Here’s how:
- Go to the neighborhood you want to live
- Walk around for 30 minutes to an hour
- Look for the “Renta” signs with phone numbers on them
- Save those numbers and addresses on your phone
- Call the numbers and ask to see the apartment
From there you can see the place and negotiate with the owner/real estate agent. The only caveat with this option to find accommodation is that you’ll want to speak some pretty decent Spanish! This makes the whole deal so much easier to negotiate and they might even give you cheaper prices.
Coliving Spaces – Great for community
We love staying at coliving spaces because you instantly get a community around you. They are usually set up for digital nomads which means there’s great wifi and it’s filled with like-minded people.
Here are some of the best coliving spaces across Mexico:
They are slightly more expensive than just renting an Airbnb but you do get a community out of it which means you’ll always have friends to do things!
Where To Stay
If you’re wondering which areas are the best places to stay, we do have some guides you can check out for the 3 cities we’ve been to:
- Where To Stay In Playa del Carmen
- Where To Stay In San Cristobal de las Casas
- Where To Stay In Merida
How To Get Around Mexico As A Digital Nomad?
Getting from city to city is pretty easy in Mexico. You can do day trips, weekend trips or completely move to a new city, easily! Here are some of the ways to get around this large country:
Take a Bus
If you’re in a certain area and you want to do a day trip or weekend trip, it’s easy to get around by bus. The main bus company is called ADO Bus and these buses travel all across the country.
They are very cost-effective, surprisingly comfortable and convenient! You can buy a bus ticket as early as a couple of hours before you leave – perfect for spontaneous trips!
Take an Airplane
I was so surprised by how many airports there are in Mexico! There are so many towns that have international airports and domestic airports all across the country – it makes flying the fastest choice.
The most popular airlines that fly most places in Mexico are:
- Viva Aerobus
It’s surprisingly affordable to fly across Mexico as a digital nomad but you’ve definitely got to plan a little further in advance to get those deals.
Taxis, Ubers and Colectivos
Taxis in Mexico are easy to find everywhere. They don’t give you a fair price if they know you’re a foreigner so expect to haggle before you get in.
Ubers are only available in select cities like Merida, for example. They are very convenient and cost-effective compared to taxis. TTA TIP: If you’re not sure what to pay for a taxi, always check the Uber price first and you know the kind of price to expect.
Colectivos are a popular way to get to and from nearby towns. It’s a shared form of public transport and it’s the cheapest way to get around. We definitely recommend knowing some basic Spanish so you don’t end up in the middle of nowhere.
What’s The Wifi / Internet Speeds Like for Digital Nomads Across Mexico?
There’s not one general wifi speed for one country. We have gotten higher internet speed in countries like Thailand (but we might be biased too just fyi) but it’s not as bad as you think!
The best information about the wifi speeds we can give is our test speeds across several cities:
- Playa del Carmen Internet Speed: 15 to 50+ Mbps
- Merida Internet Speed: 20 to 80+ Mbps
- San Cristobal de las Casas Internet Speed: 3 to 50+ Mbps
We never got speeds over 100+ Mbps although some of our friends did get those speeds but they also bought their own routers. So super fast wifi is possible in Mexico for digital nomads but that just wasn’t our experience. We could still get all of our work done with 30+ Mbps so it worked out for us!
Where’s The Best Coworking Spaces in Mexico For Digital Nomads?
As Mexico continues to become a digital nomad destination, coworking spaces are popping up everywhere! Here is the 7x best coworking Mexico has to offer:
- NEST Coworking – Playa del Carmen, Mexico
- El 3er Espacio – Mexico City, Mexico
- Centralita Coworking – San Cristobal de las Casas, Mexico
- Los Amigos Coworking – Tulum, Mexico
- Vallarta Cowork – Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
- Conexion60 – Merida, Mexico
- Sayulita Cowork – Sayulita, Mexico
Coworking spaces are great for you to get productive work hours in, meet some like-minded people and even go to workshops and events. We usually cowork wherever we are and we love it so much more than working from home!
What’s The Cost of Living For Digital Nomads in Mexico?
The overall cost of living for digital nomads in Mexico is pretty affordable. But it does depend on where you stay and the kind of lifestyle you want to live. We can’t say one magic number for the cost of living in Mexico but what we can share is our personal experience and costs in the 3 different cities we lived in as digital nomads.
We believe this is the average monthly breakdown for 2 digital nomads in Mexico:
|Activities & Entertainment||$150|
To help you get a better idea of the general cost of living in Mexico for 2 people, we’re sharing what we spent in each city we lived in. Please keep in mind that this is only on a monthly basis and it’s for 2 people (Matt and me) with a comfortable lifestyle!
- Cost of Living in Playa del Carmen: $1,949 USD
- Cost of Living in San Cristobal de las Casas: $1,825 USD
- Cost of Living in Merida: $2,588 USD
If you want to get into the details of what we spent, you can check each individual cost of living guide. By what we spent, you could say this average is around $2,000 USD for a couple in Mexico. You can definitely do much cheaper than this like less than $1,000 USD for a single person per month. Rent is really what makes the difference and it also depends on the kind of lifestyle you want to have!
Is There A Digital Nomad Mexico Community?
Worried about not finding a digital nomad Mexico community?
Don’t be. The digital nomad Mexico scene is alive and well!
If you stay at the popular digital nomad hubs like Playa del Carmen, Puerto Vallarta or even Tulum – it’s easy to make friends and get into the community.
There are plenty of Facebook and Whatsapp groups you can join! We joined a Saturday beach volleyball group and a coworking Wednesday group. There’s even a famous Tuesday Trivia Night by Laura in Playa del Carmen.
Here are some of the best ways to find a community as digital nomads in Mexico:
- Coworking spaces
- Digital nomad programs/retreats
- Coliving spaces
- Digital nomad conferences
- Meetups and events
- Stay at digital nomad hotspots
Even as a digital nomad couple, we still get lonely sometimes. It’s definitely worth it to put yourself out there and get outside of your comfort zone. We have met some of our best friends on the road! We hope you join the digital nomad communities because you meet like-minded people and have fun together whichever country you’re in!
What Are The Best Things To Do In Mexico As Digital Nomads?
I think the better question is…what can’t you do in Mexico?
When you’re not working, there are plenty of distractions to keep you busy while you’re a digital nomad in Mexico. The list of things to do in Mexico as digital nomads are just endless:
- swim in cenotes
- hike to waterfalls
- chill by the beach
- explore the desert
- eat all the tacos
- whale watching
- scuba diving
It’s honestly one of the best countries if you want to do all kinds of things during the weekends or if you get some time off work. When we were living in Playa del Carmen – we did day trips to Cozumel, Tulum and Cancun.
Our suggestion would be to choose your digital nomad destination wisely because the location does matter! The Riviera Maya is a great place to call home because of all the other wonderful towns you can visit nearby and the same goes for Puerto Vallarta.
Is Mexico Safe For Digital Nomads?
One of the most popular questions we were asked on our Instagram was “Is Mexico safe?”. It’s a very valid question to have – but not just because it’s Mexico.
I’ve said this before and I’ll say this again:
This isn’t your grandma’s Mexico!
While we had a few hesitations at first about traveling around Mexico because of how it is portrayed by the news, friends and family about how dangerous it is…we wanted to see this country for ourselves. Our personal experience was that we felt pretty safe the entire time we were there. We do know there were a couple of horrible things happening in the area from our WhatsApp groups but we personally didn’t experience anything.
One of the main things on your Mexico packing list should be an open mind. Be open to learning about the culture, the friendly people and don’t be so scared. As always it’s important to be cautious and aware of your surroundings no matter where you travel!
Here are some safety tips we apply as digital nomads in Mexico:
- Don’t accept drinks from strangers
- Send your location to friends
- Don’t stay out past 11 pm
- Take a photo of your passport and FMM visa
If you’re really worried about safety, we wrote a guide on the safest places to live in Mexico so you can have a little more peace of mind while traveling in Mexico.
Conclusion: Is Mexico A Great Country For Digital Nomads?
That was a lot! We hope this was a comprehensive digital nomad Mexico guide for you and makes your move so much easier. If you think we missed anything, please let us know below!
We truly believe Mexico is an amazing country for digital nomads to spend a couple of months living that life! There is potential for it to become the next Thailand or Indonesia for digital nomads because of things like:
- affordable living costs
- delicious food
- high standard of living
- great value for money
- solid digital nomad communities
- beautiful culture to learn from
- and so much more!
We loved our lifestyle in Mexico so much that we even considered getting the temporary residency but alas we are continuing our digital nomad travels and writing about it on our Two Tickets Anywhere blog.
We hope you have the best digital nomad Mexico adventures!