Planning to make Mexico your next destination as a digital nomad or expat?
Of course you are! You’ve got all you could ask for in 1 country:
- stunning beaches
- warm weather (or cold if you want)
- beautiful culture
- amazing food (tacos for days, am I right?)
- great infrastructure
- decent wifi
But do you know what stops a lot of people from visiting the gorgeous country of Mexico?
You’ve probably heard the usual things people say when you bring up Mexico – crime, homicide, assault, robberies and so much more. The media especially shines a spotlight on the bad things that happen in Mexico (which can happen anywhere).
But no one really talks about how safe it can actually be. One of the safest places to live in Mexico has been ranked #2 in the whole conglomeration of North American cities (including the USA and Canada). We lived in Mexico for 7 months and we entered with some hesitations but after *really* being there…
We both agreed that Mexico is safe – you just have to discover the safest places to live in Mexico.
And that’s what I’m going to share on this blog post, so keep reading!
Is Mexico Dangerous?
Let’s get this question out of the way.
There are definitely parts of Mexico that are more dangerous than others. Homicide, weapons crime, organized crime and violent crime are all things that exist in every state of Mexico. But what country doesn’t have those things either right?
According to BBC, Mexico is the lower country for murder rates compared to countries like Venezuela, El Salvador and Jamaica.
Look – I’m not saying it’s NOT dangerous at all because you do have to use your streets smarts and you NEED to make sure you choose the right place to live in Mexico. I’m just saying it’s also not this horrible place that’s been painted across the tabloids.
While we were living in Playa del Carmen, we felt very safe although we heard some pretty bad assaults that occurred while we were there. You have to be smart, vigilant and careful. Don’t let the fear of the unknown stop you from experiencing a beautiful country like Mexico.
Is Mexico Safe For Digital Nomads, Remote Workers and Expats?
Short Answer: Yes, Mexico is safe for digital nomads, remote workers and expats.
BUT there is a caveat – you have to find the safest cities to live in Mexico otherwise it can quickly become unsafe. There are several cities and/or states to avoid in Mexico and it’s important you don’t just happen to book an Airbnb there.
If you choose the safest places to live in Mexico – you’re not likely to walk into any trouble. We spent 6 months being Playa del Carmen digital nomads and San Cristobal de las Casas digital nomads – we felt safe the entire time! While we heard a couple of horror stories while we were there – we personally never experienced anything.
5x Safest Places To Live In Mexico For Digital Nomad And Expats
Want to become a digital nomad in Mexico or are you an expat looking to settle…
But need to find a safe, comfortable city that gives you some peace of mind?
You’ve come to the right place! The top 5 safest places to live in Mexico are:
- Merida, Yucatan
- San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas
- Oaxaca City, Oaxaca
- Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca
- Sayulita, Nayarit
We have combined our research work with our personal experience to hopefully give you the best idea on safety in Mexico. We have even lived in two of the safest places to live in Mexico and we can totally attest the research below holds up.
We have based this list of the safest places to live in Mexico on Vision of Humanity’s Mexico Peace Index and we also combined our own personal experience to give you the best picture. We truly believe there are plenty of beautiful cities with a great quality of life in Mexico. There’s great potential for there to be more digital nomad hotspots in Mexico which is why it’s worth investigating the safety issues further.
Let’s get started!
#1 Safest Place To Live In Mexico: Merida
Merida is a beautiful city filled with colonial architecture and Yucatecan charm. The historic center has plenty of cultural events that run almost every night like watching a game of Pok-Ta-Pok. This safe city is the capital of the Yucatan peninsula which certainly has some great benefits for digital nomads, remote workers or expats. You’ve got easy access to Yucatecan cuisine, plenty of cenotes to choose from and gorgeous beaches just a 25-minute drive away. What’s not to love about Merida?!
We spent almost a month being Merida digital nomads and personally experienced how safe this city truly is. I can’t say there was ever a time we thought to ourselves “We better be vigilant here”. That’s not to say nothing ever happens but it was seriously so calm and peaceful – we can see why it’s such a popular tourist destination and has a large expat/retiree community.
Did you know… Merida was ranked #1 safest place to live in Latin America and ranked second safest place to live in North America?
There are low crime rates, beautiful streets to walk along (where you don’t have to worry about petty theft) and just some very friendly Mexicans to welcome you to Merida. The pace of life is definitely a bit slower compared to places like Playa del Carmen or Tulum but if you’re looking for the safest place to live in Mexico – look no further than Merida!
Safety Ranking: Merida is ranked #1 safest place to live in Mexico according to the Peace Index by Vision of Humanity.
Wifi Speeds: The wifi is decent across Merida – we got speeds of 25+ Mbps in most places.
Coworking: The best coworking space in Merida is Conexion60. We got internet speeds of 100+ Mbps and it’s a really comfortable place to get some work done.
Weather: The best time to visit Merida is from November to April. Avoid visiting Merida when the heat gets too intense which is from May to October.
Community: Merida is one of the more popular expat cities amongst 30-50 year old professionals. There are fewer crowds of young kids wanting to part in Merida.
Getting Around: The best way to get around Merida is via Uber unless you live close to the city center then it’s pretty walkable to everywhere you want to go.
#2 Safest Place To Live In Mexico: San Cristobal de las Casas
San Cristobal de las Casas is a small, charming, colonial town in the mountains of Chiapas. You’ll find a vibrant arts and crafts community here which makes it great for shopping from locals! There are several hikes surrounding the city and plenty of great days trips from San Cristobal to places like Montebello Lakes or El Chiflon waterfall. The best thing about living in San Cristobal de las Casas is the warm, friendly people that never fail to say “buen dia” whenever they pass you and the great expat / digital nomad community that continues to grow.
We spent nearly 3 months in this Pueblo Magico and felt safe the entire time! We can see why San Cristobal de las Casas continues to grow as a popular tourist destination – you get high quality of life at an affordable cost. The only thing about being San Cristobal de las Casas digital nomads was the weather for us (it got waaaay too cold for our liking).
While walking the gorgeous cobblestone streets, we didn’t feel like we could be victims of petty crime and people were pretty friendly. If you like the small-town feel vibes then San Cris could be a great spot for you. We can see why it has become one of the safest places to live in Mexico and personally experienced this ourselves.
Safety Ranking: Chiapas is ranked #3 safest place to live in Mexico according to the Peace Index by Vision of Humanity.
Wifi Speeds: The wifi is hit or miss in San Cristobal – we got speeds of 25+ Mbps at coworking spaces but lost data on our phones frequently.
Coworking: The best coworking space in San Cristobal de las Casas is Centralita Coworking or Co.404. We got wifi speeds of 35+ Mbps, it’s a great place to work and it’s easy to make friends there.
Weather: The best time to visit San Cristobal de las Casas is from February to May. Avoid visiting San Cristobal de las Casas when the rain comes which is usually from June to October.
Community: There’s a big arts community along with a huge expat community of people who have lived there for a while. The digital nomad community isn’t huge but as it becomes more popular, we expect more digital nomads to flock to San Cris.
Getting Around: The best way to get around San Cristobal de las Casas is walking! That’s what we loved about it – it’s so walkable (only 15mins walk to wherever you wanna go usually). The taxi drivers are also pretty fair in their pricing (usually pay only 50 pesos to go anywhere in San Cris).
#3 Safest Place To Live In Mexico: Oaxaca City
Mezcal. Culture. Food. Colorful Streets. Oh Oaxaca! There is so much to love about this major city in Mexico. Located in the state of Oaxaca, it’s most famous for its grand Dia de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead) celebrations that people from all over the world come to experience. You’re in luck if you love Mezcal – Oaxaca actually produces 92% of Mexico’s mezcal (that’s a lot!).
A popular thing to do in Oaxaca is to actually visit the mezcal farms and do several tastings. This is definitely an underrated city and if you love all things food, culture and history – Oaxaca is one of the best places to visit in Mexico.
But what about the safety? It’s pretty safe in Oaxaca city! It’s not a huge city like LA or Mexico City – which makes it a little less prone to petty crime. This also means the pace of life isn’t too fast (but not too slow either). The cost of living in Oaxaca is considerably low when compared to the cost of living in Playa del Carmen. The streets are safe to walk through during the day and night. People are also generally pretty friendly here – don’t be afraid to say “buen dia”.
Safety Ranking: Oaxaca is ranked #13 safest place to live in Mexico according to the Peace Index by Vision of Humanity.
Wifi Speeds: The wifi is is pretty consistent with the speeds you’ll get across Mexico. Expect around 15 to 25+ Mbps.
Coworking: The best coworking space in Oaxaca City is Centrico Cowork Jalatlaco.
Weather: The best time to visit Oaxaca City is from October to April. Avoid visiting Oaxaca when the rain comes which is usually from May to September.
Community: There’s a vibrant community of expats that have lived in Oaxaca city for several years now (they tend to be from the ages 30-50). There is a growing digital nomad community thanks to Wifi Tribe which has held chapters here.
Getting Around: The best way to get around Oaxaca city is by walking! It’s pretty walkable but if you’d like there are plenty of taxis around.
#4 Safest Place To Live In Mexico: Puerto Escondido
Another popular tourist destination in the Oaxacan state is Puerto Escondido. You’ve got big white-sand beaches that go for miles with a vibrant digital nomad community. Surfing is also a popular thing to do in Puerto Escondido. If you like Oaxaca city too much, you can visit Puerto Escondido on weekend trips and get the best of both worlds if you ask me.
As you can see the state of Oaxaca has 2 of the safest places to live in Mexico which makes it a great spot to plant your feet.
Safety Ranking: Oaxaca is ranked #13 safest places to live in Mexico according to the Peace Index by Vision of Humanity.
Wifi Speeds: The wifi isn’t stable at all in Puerto Escondido. The internet connections tend to drop in and out which can eventually get pretty annoying. Expect around 10-20+ Mbps.
Coworking: The best coworking space in Puerto Escondido is at Selina Hostel. For some reason, they don’t really have great coworking options here.
Weather: The best time to visit Puerto Escondido is from November to April. Avoid visiting Puerto Escondido when it’s rainy season which is usually from May to October.
Community: There’s a vibrant community of expats and remote workers living in Puerto Escondido. There is a growing digital nomad community that loves the chill, beach lifestyle.
Getting Around: The best way to get around Puerto Escondido is hiring a motorbike especially if you want to explore a couple of beaches.
#5 Safest Place To Live In Mexico: Sayulita / Nayarit Area
Sayulita is a beach town located in the state of Nayarit. It has become a popular destination for people escaping the city vibes of Puerto Vallarta. The beach town has cute handicrafts markets, beautiful streets to walk along and just a chill small-town feel. While the cost of living tends to be higher here when compared to the cost of living in San Cristobal de las Casas for example. I will say – you do get a higher quality of life if you choose to live in Sayulita.
Sayulita is one of the safest places to live in Mexico if you want a small beach town. It’s a very close community so if anything happens – the people tend to help out!
Another popular beach town in the state of Nayarit is San Pancho. Both towns have easy access to a beach plus a small town close community vibe – what’s not to love?! Well…there could be one thing and that’s the internet connection. as it’s a small beach town, the wifi is pretty unstable and you get low speeds of 5 to 15+ Mbps (if you’re lucky).
Safety Ranking: Nayarit is ranked #5 safest places to live in Mexico according to the Peace Index by Vision of Humanity.
Wifi Speeds: The internet connection isn’t stable at all in Sayulita. The wifi tends to drop in and out which can eventually get pretty annoying. Expect around 5-15+ Mbps.
Coworking: The best coworking space in Sayulita is at Sayulita Cowork. For a small town, it’s pretty great they even have a coworking space available!
Weather: The best time to visit Sayulita is from November to April. Avoid visiting the Nayarit area when it’s rainy season which is usually from May to October.
Community: There’s a vibrant community of expats and remote workers living in Sayulita. If you’re a chill, laid-back beach person then there’s a great community waiting for you.
Getting Around: The best way to get around Sayulita is by hiring a motorbike especially if you want to explore a couple of the nearby beaches. You can also rent bicycles to get around town which is pretty fun!
Bonus: San Miguel de Allende
San Miguel de Allende is a charming city that’s considered a UNESCO Heritage site. The walk through the city is stunning – you’ll be constantly pulling your phone out to take pictures. Although it’s not close to a beach, it’s still a magical town that continues to exceed people’s expectations.
I had to include this colonial city on the list because it allows you to have a higher quality of life and it gives you peace of mind because it’s one of the safest places to live in Mexico.
2x Most Dangerous Places To Live in Mexico
According to the Mexico Peace Index, the 2 least peaceful states are Colima (#31) and Baja California (#32). Interestingly enough – the Quintana Roo state which has some of the most popular tourist destinations like Playa del Carmen, Cancun and Tulum sits at #30 on the list making it one of the least peaceful states too. We spent 3 months living in Playa del Carmen and felt safe the entire time but we do know of some things happening in the community during our time there.
Here are the 2 most dangerous places to live in Mexico:
It’s notoriously known to be one of the most dangerous tourist destinations in Mexico. Most advise tourists/foreigners to stay within the hotel and resort zones to be safe. If you venture further out, your safety decreases significantly.
Tijuana (Baja California)
This Mexican city is known for its dangerous criminal activity. As I mentioned above, Baja California, where Tijuana is located is at the bottom of the Peace Index making it one of the least peaceful states to live in.
Where Is The Safest Place To Live In Mexico?
You can’t beat being named in the top 3 safest cities in North America for several years in a row for nothing. There’s a reason Merida is one of the safest places to live in Mexico (if not the safest)!
While we were living in Merida, we found that people did pride themselves on being a very safe city. Most people followed traffic rules (as much as you can lol) and they were pretty friendly towards us. We felt not just safe but VERY even walking at night. It was great to somewhat relax and just soak up the beautiful culture, colonial architecture and delicious Yucatecan food without worrying every second about our safety.
If Merida for any reason isn’t an ideal place to live for you – any of the other 4 Mexican cities we mentioned will do just fine too!
Stay vigilant, use common sense and don’t do anything stupid regardless of where you go as a digital nomad, remote worker or expat! You’d be surprised how far common sense can take you 😉