Best Places To Live In Mexico: Top 5 Cities Most Recommeded By Experts

Looking for somewhere new to live? Even before remote work and digital nomads were commonplace, Mexico was still a great place for expats looking to settle. Mexico is home to bustling city, gorgeous beaches, sprawling mountains, and no shortage of food and culture. The best places to live in Mexico each have their own unique set of characteristics — which one you choose will be up to your personal preference.

The weather, cost of living, and hospitable locals make Mexico the perfect hub. There is also no shortage of good food and tourist attractions, so you should never run out of things to do. Whether you’re just visiting or looking to buy property, Mexico is a key destination for both tourists and expats alike. Some of the most popular destinations in Mexico are by the beach. 

It might be in your best interest to snag a place by the beach ! A study shows that going to blue places like the beach, where you’re surrounded by turquoise waters, gives your mood a boost. Researchers with the Barcelona Institute for Global Health studied the benefits of different environments on mood and found that short walks near water are especially helpful. Mexico has no shortage of crystal clear waters and pristine beaches, with an entire hospitality and tourism industry centered around famous coastal destinations.

Ready to explore? StudyFinds did the research for you and found the best places to live in Mexico. We’ve reviewed ten expert sources and composd our list based on the top recommendations across these sites. Let’s find your new home! Know a destination in Mexico that’s perfect to live in but not on the list? Add it in the comments below.

a city with many buildings in Mexico, best places to live in Mexico
(Photo by Alex Person on Unsplash)

The List: Best Places to live in Mexico, According to Experts

1. San Miugel de Allende

According to Be My Travel Muse, “San Miguel is a small, centrally located city just an hour from Querétaro, 1.5 hours from Guanajuato, and three hours from Mexico City. Its great location is just the beginning, though. This charming, foreigner-friendly destination has a robust art scene, a national culinary reputation, and scenery to die for. The climate is mild all year round, with warm, sunny days most of the year.”

“The town of San Miguel de Allende is in Mexico’s central heart. It’s one of the safest cities in Mexico. It is also one of the most popular places for travelers and foreign residents in the world,” writes International Citizens Group. San Miguel de Allende’s unique culture and architecture have earned it UNESCO World Heritage Site status. Set in the hills, its climate is warm to temperate, usually sunny and dry. Its historic street layout makes the city walkable.”

“Considered one of the prettiest small towns in Mexico, San Miguel is a Spanish-colonial jewel glowing in pastel colors. With a rich arts-and-crafts tradition, San Miguel has small shops a-plenty where you can spend hours admiring (and buying) pottery, painting, sculptures, hammered-tin mirrors and lamps…the list is endless. You can also enjoy its many art galleries, restaurants, and scenic plazas,” says International Living

2. Puerto Vallarta

Nomads Nation ranks this city 2nd on its list and says, “With its warm climate and stunning beaches, this is a fun and friendly place to live. The Romantic Zone and Old Town might get busy with tourists, but a little further out of the center, you’ll find local life and great accommodation choices. The friendly Agua Azul area is a quick bus ride from the center; this is where you’ll find a slower pace of life and beaches that are practically tourist free.”

“Puerto Vallarta is a sizable town with many expats who choose to settle here because of its beautiful beaches and excellent year-round weather. If you’re new to Mexico, Puerto Vallarta is an ideal place,” writes A Broken Backpack. “This is because it offers many home comforts and amenities for remote workers, such as stable internet connections and coworking spaces like Vallarta and Natureza. Both retirees seeking laidback living and expats who want to spend their days off relaxing on the beach find Puerto Vallarta one of the best places to live in Mexico.”

“With a record number of passengers arriving in Puerto Vallarta in 2022, this bustling Pacific Coast city is experiencing tremendous growth in interest. Visitors flock here to bask in the hot Mexican sun and experience the culture and nightlife. Those who decide to make it their home also benefit from its near-perfect year-round weather, affordability, access to good health care, and excellent economic opportunities”, says Travel + Leisure

3. Lake Chapala

Expatra ranks Lake Chapala 2nd on their list and writes, “In Jalisco state, you will find the old-world, charming town of Chapala. It has cobbled streets, colourful gardens and lush green mountains, which thrive in its pleasant year-round spring-like climate. Most expats rent or buy homes in Chula Vista, Ajijic, Riberas del Pilar among others, but each neighbourhood has its individualistic style.”

Expat Exchange recounts how an expat described the area: “There are several villages on the North West edge of Lake Chapala. Yes, villages. This is not a metropolitan area. Guadalajara is about 30-40 minutes away with an international airport — so that is a plus. We are at about 5000 ft. between the mountains and the lake, and have wonderful weather. Right now we are experiencing a cold snap, but this is very unusual.”

“Lake Chapala is Mexico’s largest lake, and the surrounding area is also home to the largest concentration of U.S. expats in the world. Expatriates from the U.S. and Canadian have been attracted to the Lake Chapala area by homes with gentle arches and hand-painted tiles, and adjoining gardens that bloom year round. It’s a part of the world where it’s easy to afford a cook, a maid and a gardener. Lake Chapala, Mexico’s largest lake, is about 50 miles long from east to west but not much more than 12 miles wide at its broadest point,” writes MarketWatch.

4. Mérida

International Citizens Group  states, “Mérida is the capital of the Yucatan region, a city of about 900,000. It has what many foreigners seek Mexico for. You’ll find a warm to hot climate, tropical greenery, and a lower cost of living in one of the world’s safest cities. Mérida is also both walkable and cycling-friendly. Its flat streets are easy to navigate. When you want a change, it’s easy to visit Yucatan’s beach towns and Mayan historical sites.”

“Hot, humid weather is one of Merida’s drawbacks and anyone moving here should spend time in the city deciding if the weather is a game changer. Some people decide to look elsewhere. Others who stay share this expat’s mentality, “Merida is a great city with lots of free activities for adults and children” says Expat Exchange. “It is sophisticated, with diverse areas to live in and friendly people, and a good public transportation system.”

“Like San Miguel, Mérida is a Spanish-colonial city. But Mérida is a very different animal. Unlike small-town San Miguel, Mérida is a metropolis of almost a million people, with universities, major corporations, museums and its own international airport with direct flights to the U.S. In addition, Mérida is in the semitropical Yucatán Peninsula, at the opposite end of the country from San Miguel. It’s just a half-hour by car from the Gulf Coast, where the white-sand beaches are punctuated by little beach towns and you can still find beach homes for around $100,000,” describes MarketWatch

5. Mexico City

“Mexico City has it all. It has the largest population, 22 million people. It features centuries of deep history, superb culture, and legendary cuisine,” raves International Citizens Group. “The city is always changing, seeking to improve its famous public transport and urban life. Its residents thrive in a uniquely Mexican global city. It is ideal for expats who want to feel connected to the wider world while living in Mexico. Professionals find both opportunities and good salaries here. The city also has the most international schools in Mexico and the country’s best healthcare.”

“If you are a ride-or-die city person and not intimidated by the mega-metropolis that is Mexico City — the absolute epicenter for nearly everything in the country — here you’ll find the best restaurants, nightlife, concerts, you name it. There are seemingly endless things to do, which makes it a no-brainer that so many people leave feeling like they’ve only scratched the surface,” writes Be My Travel Muse. “You’ll find people from all around the world living here, which creates a truly cosmopolitan atmosphere unmatched anywhere else.”

“Mexico City is also surrounded by amazing national parks and hiking destinations and has an easy-to-use bus system that makes getting out to them without a car a breeze. Mexico City’s central location also makes taking buses or cheap flights to explore the rest of the country both easy and affordable. There are tons of expats, digital nomads, and local groups and meetups to make friends at and an endless list of shows, concerts, sports, and events to attend. If you’re a night owl, you’ll quickly find that this is truly a city that never sleeps,” concludes Slight North

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Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. StudyFinds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations. This post may contain affiliate links.

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About the Author

Saloni Ordia

Saloni is a freelance B2B SaaS writer who excels at creating in-depth product-focused content. When she is not writing, you can find her in the kitchen whipping up new recipes or curled up with a rom-com novel.

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  1. Excelente article about Mexico’s Best cities to live, but there are many more.

  2. Saludos desde el sur de Texas. Thanx for your article. I wish it were true. We have family all over México and it is not safe anywhere, especially for Americans. The news can be biased; family us not. México has become a narco state starting with AMLO. He is protected by his narco affiliates. Mexican is full of robberies, kidnappings, assault, murders, and 90% of this violence is NOT reported.
    All Americans need to stay out of México.

  3. Thank you for the information sharing. How I wish, I could visit all of them!!!!

  4. Thank you. Thank you, for not mentioning Oaxaca.
    I moved here, and love it.
    People, prices, and climate are great.
    Last thing I want is for it to be discovered.
    Oh yeah. No beaches. Stay away.

  5. I’m from Houston and living in Mexico City and you’re full of shit. It’s incredible here. Way better than shitty Texas.

  6. You should talk about the gentrification these “expats” are bringing with them every time they move here.

  7. It’s amazing how the same mistakes and misconceptions keep showing up in these dumb “best” articles. For example, Mexico is divided into stares, not provinces, regions,areas, etc. When so called travel writers report from say Billings, Montana, they say that. However when reporting from a city in Mexico, they always leave out the state.

    Do your research first, especially when writing about the spirit of Mexico, I have as many as ten fatal flaws in one paragraph.

  8. Rosarito Beach, Baby!! Affordable cost of living, right on the ocean and easy access to Los Estados Unidos if you need to go there for medical appointments, shopping, etc….

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