- Download our Moving to Mexico Guide (PDF)
Thoughts of warm weather and a relaxed atmosphere are what attract droves of foreigners to Mexico's shores every year, particularly retired expats hoping to stretch out their pensions and unfold their sun loungers. Mexico has seen such a large influx of foreign pensioners that retired communities have sprouted up all along the coastline, some integrating into Mexican towns and culture, others resembling small pockets of America.
Living in Mexico as an expat
That said, Mexico doesn’t only attract retirees: the robust industrial and thriving manufacturing centres in its large cities also attract younger, working expats from America, Canada and further afield. Relaxed visa regulations also mean businesses and employees from Mexico’s northern neighbours have little red tape to contend with.
Teaching English in Mexico is also gaining popularity among expats, and the country’s natural beauty and gorgeous coastline mean jobs at resorts and in tourism are often up for grabs too.
As far as public transport is concerned, getting around in Mexico is easy, with several airlines, efficient bus services, reliable subways, and many taxi services available in major metros.
Accommodation-wise, expats can expect a real-estate market more affordable than most, with even Mexico's most expensive metro, Mexico City, priced much lower than its US, UK or Canadian equivalents.
Cost of living in Mexico
Indeed, Mexico affords expats a quality of life not usually attainable in their home countries. With affordable housing, cheap food and inexpensive transportation, the country allows for quality living on a modest budget. Those earning a foreign currency will live particularly well in Mexico.
Expat families and children in Mexico
Contrary to popular belief, Mexico is an excellent choice for raising a family. Though public schools tend to be underfunded and probably not up to expat standards, the country boasts a range of excellent private and international schools. Private healthcare in Mexico is cheap and first-rate, and the country has become something of a medical-tourism destination as a result.
There’s also plenty to get up to for families, including exploring Mexico’s many canyons, waterfalls, coastlines, rainforests and national parks. Of course, the country is also blessed with rich history and culture, which it celebrates at various occasions throughout the year, presenting great opportunities for expats to mingle with locals, such as on Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) or Cinco de Mayo.
Climate in Mexico
The North American country is known for its tropical climate and humid weather, but due to its varying altitudes, weather can vary quite drastically from region to region. The rainy season generally occurs between June and November.
All in all, Mexico offers a welcoming government, warm weather, cheap beachside property and a favourable exchange rate, ensuring a luxurious lifestyle for many expats, and a dream emigration destination for others.
Population: About 131 million
Capital city: Mexico City
Neighbouring countries: Mexico is bordered by the USA to the north and Guatemala and Belize to the southeast.
Geography: Mexico is a large country sitting at the bottom of the North American continent. It has an extremely varied geography from coastal lowlands to a high plateau in central Mexico. Two large mountain ranges run north to south, the Sierra Madre Oriental and the Sierra Madre Occidental. The country also consists of many islands spanning out into the Pacific Ocean.
Political system: Federal presidential constitutional republic
Major religions: Christianity and Roman Catholicism. Other religions are tolerated and freely practised.
Main language: Spanish is the main language, though there are over 60 indigenous and minority languages.
Money: The official currency in Mexico is the Mexican Peso (MXN), which is divided into 100 centavos. It is relatively easy for an expat to open a bank account in Mexico, despite the considerable amount of paperwork. There are many universal ATMs throughout the country.
Time: GMT-5 to GMT-7 with daylight savings. The state of Sonora is GMT-7 year-round.
Electricity: 127V, 60Hz. Standard plugs in Mexico are two- or three-pin, flat-blade attachments.
Internet domain: .mx
International dialling code: +52
Emergency numbers: 911 for all emergencies. For roadside assistance from the Angeles Verdes, call 078.
Transport and driving: Mexico has an extensive and affordable public transport system. Cars in Mexico drive on the right side of the road.
What do expats say about living in Mexico?
"This is an unhurried, patient culture. Leave your hurry and anxiety behind. Cultivate patience. It´s useful to suspend logic at times, too." Read some personal insights on living in Mexico from our expat interview with Susan.
"Because it is a huge tourist destination, there are waves upon waves of happy people coming here to relax, enjoy the beach, and the food. New vacationers always bring fresh and positive energy to town. It also makes the locals happy since they benefit from the tourism. So everyone’s happy." Read more of expat Kirsten's interview about Mexico.
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Are you an expat living in Mexico?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Mexico. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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