What you need to know about being digital nomad in Mexico
Mexico is an excellent choice for taking your work on the road. In this article, we'll have a general overview of life as a digital nomad in Mexico, explore the best cities, legal information and more.
From the bustling cities and picturesque little towns to the stunning beaches of the Riviera Maya and the vibrant culture, Mexico offers something for every digital nomad.
With its affordable cost of living and an array of exciting and adventurous activities, Mexico is one of the best countries for digital nomads to enjoy the freedom and flexibility of working remotely.
In this article we’ll talk about the reasons why Mexico is a great choice for digital nomads, the legal details that you need to know before moving, best places to settle, and provide an overview of the lifestyle. You'll also find tips and advice on how to get the most out of your digital nomad experience in Mexico.
So, if you're ready to make the switch, let's dive in and discover what it's like to become a digital nomad in Mexico.
The digital nomad life in Mexico can be an exciting and rewarding experience if you are looking for a change of pace. Mexico is home to a unique culture, mind-blowing festivals, hospitable people and many different cities and regions, all of which have their own unique flavors and attractions. From the bustling cities of Mexico City and Monterrey to the beaches of Tulum and the natural beauty of Chiapas, there is something for everyone in Mexico.
When considering the digital nomad life in Mexico, the first thing to think about is the cost of living. Mexico is an affordable country to live in and this holds true for digital nomads as well. Depending on where you live, housing costs can be very reasonable and access to high-speed internet is readily available. To give you an idea, an apartment in Mexico City on Air BnB cost around USD 400 – 800 per month, somewhat more expensive in very touristy destinations like Playa del Carmen and Cancún and cheaper in places like Mérida and San Cristóbal de las Casas.
Additionally, it is possible to find co-working spaces in many cities, which are often reasonably priced and can be an excellent way to meet other digital nomads.
The food scene in Mexico is another important factor to consider when thinking about the digital nomad life. Mexican cuisine is varied and delicious, offering something for every taste and budget. Street food is also widely available, providing a cheap yet tasty way to fuel up while exploring the country.
Safety in Mexico is something you probably care about. While most areas of the country are safe, it is important to research each destination beforehand, asking locals and other digital nomads in forums. Generally, the northern states and cities bordering the USA, are more troubled than the rest of the country.
The Yucatan Peninsula (Quintana Roo and Yucatán states), Chiapas, Tlaxcala, and Campeche are the safest states. Mérida is considered the safest town in Mexico and the low crime rates reflect this.
Overall, the digital nomad life in Mexico can be an excellent experience if you’re looking for an exciting and rewarding change of pace. Affordable living costs, delicious food, and stunning sights, explain why Mexico is such a popular destination among digital nomads.
Do you need a visa?
Another key factor that makes Mexico a great choice for digital nomads is the possibility of staying 180 days visa free for many nationalities, including USA, Canada and EU countries. Since you will be working remotely, there’s no need to obtain a work permit, meaning that you’ll be ok with your tourist permit.
So, if you are planning to stay in Mexico for less than 180 days and hold a passport of one of these countries, then you do not need a visa. However, if you would like to stay in Mexico for longer than 180 days, then you will need one.
The first step in obtaining a visa is to determine the type of visa you will need. Generally speaking, if you are planning to travel and work in Mexico, then you will need a Temporary Resident visa. This type of visa can allow you to stay in Mexico for up to four years.
Volunteering in Mexico
Volunteering is a great way to explore Mexico while having a real cultural experience. As a digital nomad, you can participate in different projects throughout the country, exchanging your time and abilities for accommodation.
This is a great way to save money, specially if you are starting your nomadic lifestyle and don’t want to be worried about spending too much of your earnings or savings. So you find a host who is looking for a certain kind of help in the Worldpackers platform, and lend them a hand for a limited number of hours per week. In retribution, they provide you with a place to stay and usually food as well.
In addition to the money-saving benefit, you’ll learn new skills, meet new people, and make a positive impact during your trip.
The variety of volunteering opportunities is very wide, from being part of the staff of a hostel to eco-villages that need a hand with gardening and maintenance work and NGOs where you can make a difference.
These are just some examples of volunteering opportunities in Mexico:
Teach English or French while living in an ecological reserve of Zitacuaro, an absolutely non-tourisy place where you can learn a lot about the local culture.
San Cristóbal de las Casas is one of the best cities for digital nomads in Mexico. You can save on accommodation costs and learn about traditional food while exploring the place by helping in the kitchen of Casa Lab, a “cultural and gastronomic laboratory”, as they describe it.
With its vibrant tech scene, plenty of coworking spaces, low cost of living, great food and heaps of cultural activities, its no wonder why Mexico City is one of the preferred destinations for digital nomads.
You can find all kinds of activities: museums, bars, restaurants, concerts, recitals, art exhibitions, cultural events, and lots of things that will make you want to have more than a couple of days to discover its corners.
Although safety can be a concern in your choice, the city is generally quite safe. Of course it's wise to be aware of your surroundings, as in any large city.
Merida is an increasingly popular destination for digital nomads due to its affordability and vivid culture.
Located in the Yucatán Peninsula of the country, Merida offers a diverse array of activities and attractions that are ideal for digital nomads. The city offers a variety of affordable accommodation, reliable internet connection, and plenty of co-working and co-living spaces. The digital nomad community here is not the party-goers youngsters that mainly attract Playa del Carmen, Cancun and Tulum.
Mérida has a diverse selection of restaurants, markets, and art galleries, and also is home to a wide variety of festivals and events throughout the year, including the annual Merida International Film Festival and the Festival de las Culturas y Tradiciones de Yucatán. The city also has plenty of outlets for digital nomads to explore, such as the Riviera Maya, Holbox or archaeological sites like Chichen Itzá and Uxmal.
In addition to its affordable housing and cultural attractions, Merida is also known for its warm and friendly locals who are more than happy to welcome foreigners.
Save money on accomodation, meet a lot of people and learn new skills by volunteering in Mérida, there are many open positions to choose from.
Playa del Carmen
“Playa” has become the number one choice for digital nomads in Mexico, and is also one of the top tourist destination. So if you are looking for a place in which to experience authentic Mexican culture without much foreign influence, then definitely this is not the place for you.
On the other hand, if you’re after white sand beaches, parties, great weather and a lively international atmosphere, then Playa del Carmen ticks all the boxes. What's more, its proximity to the island of Cozumel, Mayan ruins and cenotes of the Yucatán Peninsula makes it an ideal spot for day trips and weekend getaways.
Obviously, rent and cost of living in general are higher than in most of Mexico.
Tulúm is a stunning destination located a bout two hours south of Cancún, also in the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico. It is known for its beautiful white sand beaches and crystal clear turquoise waters, making it an ideal choice for digital nomads seeking to chill after typing on their laptops.
The combination of its natural beauty, ancient ruins, and relaxed atmosphere make it one of the most popular travel destinations in Mexico.
Although quieter than Playa del Carmen and Cancun, Tulum’s nightlife is also vibrant, with bars and clubs to suit everyone's taste.
The capital of Oaxaca state is a city with many hues and a lot of culture of its indigenous roots. It is totally rich in traditions, arts, culinary delights and the best mezcal in the country.
Here you will find very typical clothing of the region, both to contemplate and to go shopping Oaxacan style.
With temperatures typically ranging from 70°F to 90°F (21°C to 32°C) throughout the year, it's the perfect place to take advantage of the outdoors. There are plenty of beautiful beaches all along the coast of the state to visit in your free time.
The affordability of Oaxaca City is another great benefit for digital nomads. Rental prices are generally quite low compared to other cities in Mexico, making it an optimal place to stay for extended periods of time. Additionally, there are plenty of affordable restaurants and cafes to choose from. Don’t miss out the “tamales oaxaqueños”!
Help local projects in exchange of accommodation by volunteering in Oaxaca. A very interesting opportunity is making videos and photography for a Chocolahj, collaborating in their work to rescue an original cocoa seed of Oaxaca of extinction.
San Cristóbal de las Casas
San Cristóbal de las Casas is a lovely colonial city in the southern state of Chiapas. With its rich culture and history, beautiful natural surroundings, and low cost of living, “Sancris” makes an ideal spot for digital nomads looking for a relaxed and cultural experience.
The are a great variety of activities and sights in and around the city. For the outdoors type, there are a multitude of hiking trails, waterfalls, and cenotes, where visitors can explore the lush forests and swimming in the cool, crystal waters of Chiapas. For those days in which you prefer a more leisurely sightseeing experience, there are plenty of colonial churches, museums, and markets to explore. San Cristobal is also home to some unique cultural events, such as the Día de Muertos celebrations and the Huichol Festival, making it one of the best places to visit in Mexico.
Nací en Buenos Aires pero prefiero vivir rodeado de diversas culturas por largos períodos de tiempo.
Empecé a viajar en 2009, con 21 años, y lo he hecho de forma ininterrumpida desde entonces. Tras más de doce años en ruta puedo decir que el viaje se convirtió en mi estilo de vida.
Más de mis viajes en Instagram @marcandoelpolo y marcandoelpolo.com