From the affordable cost of living to incredible domestic travel opportunities, here are 9 reasons to move to Mexico.
It’s been four years since I decided to move to Mexico, but I can still remember sharing my plans with family and friends like it was yesterday.
Sure, I got a few “you’re crazies,” but overwhelmingly, the first thing out of people’s mouths was:
As many as 1 million U.S. and Canadian citizens currently call Mexico home, according to International Living. So, what’s the big draw?
After this post, you’ll know the reasons I decided to move to Mexico back in 2017.
If you’re curious as to why I chose Querétaro for my home in Mexico, check at this post with five reasons I think it’s one of the best places for expats to live in Mexico.
9 Reasons to Move to Mexico
“Why did you move to Mexico?” is, hands down, one of the most frequently asked questions I get from readers and subscribers.
I’m originally from Michigan in the United States. But before Mexico, I lived in Madrid, Spain. That’s where my moving to Mexico story starts.
In Jan. 2017, I was halfway through my second year of living in Madrid and teaching English with the North American Language and Culture Assistants program. As much as I loved living in Spain, I was starting to feel a little restless.
It felt like it was time for a new adventure.
Over a bottle of wine at one of our favorite spots in Madrid, Taylor (my partner) and I started brainstorming different possibilities for where we wanted to go next.
Here are a few of the countries we were considering:
This is strange to even write out and will probably surprise you, but Mexico wasn’t even on our radar until my mom suggested it.
The moment my mom suggested Mexico, all the other countries sort of just fell away. I couldn’t believe I hadn’t thought of it myself.
Let’s dive into the reasons to move to Mexico…
#1: Generous Tourist Visa
One of the very first things that sold me on moving to Mexico was the 180-day tourist visa for U.S. passport holders (as well as passport holders from all the countries on Mexico’s “no visa” list).
The chance to live in Mexico for six months without having to pursue any type of visa made moving here low stakes. In most places, strict immigration policies make it nearly impossible to give living in a country a trial run.
When your 180 days are up, you just exit the country and that immediately resets your tourist visa for another six months.
I lived in Mexico for two and a half years on a tourist visa before applying for a temporary residency. Benefits of temporary residency in Mexico include being able to open a bank account and register a vehicle in your name.
If you’re a digital nomad or expat who doesn’t need to seek work in Mexico, there’s no rush to get your residency card. On just my tourist visa, I was able to:
- Rent an apartment
- Purchase health insurance
- Contract internet
- Get a gym membership
- Build a nice life
#2: Affordable Cost of Living
Moving somewhere with an affordable cost of living was very important to me.
To be honest, that criteria alone ruled out returning to the U.S.
It was easier and more affordable to move to an entirely new country than it was to go back to the United States.
When I moved to Mexico in 2017, I had right around $2,000 USD in my bank account.
By U.S. standards that’s not much, but in Mexico, I was quickly able to establish financial stability and start building a life I’m proud to call mine.
Thanks to the affordable cost of living in Mexico, I have been able to:
- Furnish a home from scratch
- Pay off my credit cards
- Build an emergency fund
- Quit teaching English online
- Start freelance writing
Without the day-to-day pressure of constantly thinking about money and trying to make ends meet, living in Mexico has granted me the space to learn new skills and pursue my passions.
#3: Inexpensive Healthcare
Moving to Mexico has given me the freedom to pursue working for myself. Was I living in the U.S., I’d likely need traditional employment if just for one reason:
As of right now, there aren’t really affordable options for freelancers or self-employed individuals. Just the idea of paying for healthcare coverage deters many people from starting their own businesses.
In Mexico, I pay around $800 USD per year for healthcare coverage through Grupo Nacional Provincial (GNP) which is the largest private healthcare insurer in the country.
I plan on doing a more detailed post about health insurance in Mexico soon, but in the meantime, here’s a helpful guide from Laura of Eternal Expat.
Thanks to inexpensive healthcare in Mexico, I am able to work toward becoming a full-time content creator.
#4: Dependable Infrastructure
Dependable infrastructure isn’t universal in Mexico (it isn’t universal in the U.S. either), but in bigger cities like Querétaro, Guadalajara or Mexico City, the power supplies are reliable.
I’ve dealt with a few internet/electricity issues in Querétaro, but on the whole, I receive better service here than I did in the U.S. and for a whole lot cheaper.
My electricity bill is less than $4 USD per month. For high-speed internet with a fiber optic connection (150 Mbps download speed), I pay $24 USD per month.
When Taylor and I were both teaching English online with VIPKid, we had no issues video conferencing simultaneously.
#5: Great Place to Learn Spanish
I knew moving to Mexico would be good for my Spanish, but living here has helped me to progress more than I imagined.
Especially living in a city like Querétaro that isn’t inundated with international tourists and expats, I am forced to use my Spanish on a daily basis.
This is a huge contrast to living in Madrid where people would start speaking to me in English before I even opened my mouth.
Furthermore, the majority of Mexicans I’ve interacted with have been extremely patient and kind which has helped to build my confidence.
In Spain, people—perhaps, trying to be helpful—were constantly correcting me. It put me on edge and made me nervous to speak.
On the whole, Mexico has been a much better place than Spain to learn Spanish. I’ve realized that making mistakes isn’t the end of the world and that, at the end of the day, what’s most important is that people understand you.
#6: Easy Travel to the U.S.
When I was living in Spain, I was only traveling back to the U.S. once or twice a year. At the time, that was fine.
However, with my new country, I knew I wanted to live somewhere that travel back to the U.S. was easier and more affordable. I wanted to be able to make the trip multiple times per year.
I’m at a stage in my life where friends are getting married and starting families. It’s important to me that I’m able to be around for those momentous events.
Similarly, my relatives are getting older (my grandma is 91). Not only do I want to spend more time with my loved ones, but I like having the ability to quickly get back to Michigan if they need me.
#7: Favorable Time Zone
Another reason that I decided to move to Mexico is the fact that most of Mexico is on Central Standard Time (CST) which is only one hour difference from my friends and family back in Michigan.
When I was living in Spain, the extreme time difference made it difficult to find times to schedule phone calls and FaceTimes. Living in Mexico, it’s a lot easier to stay in touch.
#8: Domestic Travel Opportunities
Just two weeks prior to moving to Mexico back in 2017, I published a blog post answering some of the FAQs about my move to Mexico. I cited one of my reasons for wanting to move to Mexico as “travel to South America will be more convenient.”
Looking back, I can’t help but laugh.
After living in Europe where it was normal to country-hop on the weekends, I imagined a life in Mexico where we would regularly fly to South America to hike Machu Picchu and play volleyball on the beaches in Brazil.
But in reality and for a variety of reasons—chief among them the fact that we are in a global pandemic—I have not been to South America yet.
If four years ago you would have told me that after all this time living in Mexico I still hadn’t made it to South America, I would have been furious. It was (and still is) my dream to backpack the entire continent.
While I look forward to my future trips around South America, I’m not mad in the slightest that they haven’t happened yet.
Because there’s so much to see and do here in Mexico.
Since moving to Mexico, I have:
- Climbed pyramids
- Jumped off a 30-foot platform into an underground cenote
- Hiked up the third-largest monolith in the world
- Swam alongside hundreds of dolphins
- Hitchhiked to a petrified waterfall
- Eaten countless street tacos
- Spent the night in a cemetery during Día de Muertos
- & so much more!
Seriously, this country has it all.
You could spend a lifetime (and I might) traveling around Mexico and never get bored.
#9: Connecting with My Culture
I’m a second-generation Mexican American, but growing up, I didn’t know a whole lot about what it meant to be Mexican.
My maternal grandparents immigrated to the United States in the mid-1940s and settled in a small town on Lake Michigan where virtually no other Mexican or Latinx families lived.
By the time their fifth child was born (my mom in 1958), English had overtaken Spanish as the primary language spoken at home.
Decades later, the demographic questions on the first page of every standardized test gave me more pause than any question on the ACT ever did.
With the exception of some passive-aggressive inquiries from the moms of guys I dated (What are you? Where are you REALLY from?), I more or less identified as white growing up.
My light skin and Anglo surname are privileges.
But when my #2 pencil was hovering over the empty bubbles:
White (Non-Hispanic) or Latino
I honestly didn’t know which to fill in. Logically, I knew I wasn’t the former, but I definitely didn’t feel like the latter either.
I saw moving to Mexico as an opportunity to connect with my culture and learn about my family’s history.
One of my most rewarding experiences in Mexico to date is building an altar for Día de Muertos—a tradition I hope to pass on to my own children someday.
What are the advantages of living in Mexico?
I touched on some of these advantages of living in Mexico already, but here they are in bullet-point form plus a few more:
- Generous tourist visa
- Reasonable financial requirements for residency
- Affordable cost of living
- Inexpensive and quality healthcare
- Dependable infrastructure
- Great place to learn Spanish
- Friendly people
- Easy travel to the U.S.
- Favorable time zone
- Incredible domestic travel opportunities
- Delicious cuisine
- Rich culture and history
Even if you can’t trace you family back to Mexico, living here is very valuable for understanding the relationship between Mexico and the U.S.
The two countries are more interconnected than most people realize and will only become more so in the years to come.
Mexicans are the largest population of Hispanic origin living in the U.S., and according to the Pew Research Center, the Mexican-origin population in the U.S. grew 76% (20.9 million to 36.6 million) from 2000 to 2019.
More Posts About Reasons to Move to Mexico
- 11 Best Places to Live in Mexico for Expats in 2021
- An Expat’s Guide for Living in Querétaro, Mexico
- 9 Things That Are Unbelievably Cheap in Mexico
Do you regret moving to Mexico?
If there’s one thing I pride myself about with this blog, it’s my commitment to keeping things real.
Had there every been even a moment that I regretted moving to Mexico, I would tell you.
But, there hasn’t.
I’ve called Mexico home for going on four years now, and I’ve never once regretted my decision to move here.
In fact, the pandemic reaffirmed my decision to move to Mexico.
When so many around the world were wondering how they were going to keep the lights on and put food on the table, Taylor and I were confident that even if we were to lose our jobs we could stretch our savings for a long time with the affordable cost of living in Mexico.
Final Thoughts on Reasons to Move to Mexico (Advice for Expats)
Of course, just because I’ve never regretted moving to Mexico doesn’t mean there aren’t some things that would have been nice to know before I moved here.
Here’s my advice for expats considering Mexico:
If you’re thinking about moving to Mexico, be sure to check this post with 11 important things you need to know before moving to Mexico. Seriously, #4 had me crying myself to sleep.
Got questions about moving to Mexico? Feel free to leave them in the comments below!
Good article. Helpful
Alex | Backpacking Brunette says
Thanks for reading, Michelle!
Is $2,100/month US Social Security enough to qualify to move to Mexico? My primary reason for wanting to move there is the lower cost of living that will allow me to save for a downpayment on a house or preferably to qualify for a construction loan sooner. I have been to Mexico several times and have been loved it for a very long time now. Thanks to your videos I’m getting serious about the move.
Alex | Backpacking Brunette says
Thanks for reading, Daniel! Yes, your social security meets the financial requirements for permanent residency in Mexico.
José Patiño says
I’m planning on visiting early next year, I was born in Mexico City and moved to Iowa when I was 9 years old. I have lived mostly in the Midwest for the last 46. I wouldn’t mind spending two or three months out of the year in Mexico.
The transition would be easy because I still speak fluent Spanish and I could be a dual citizen of both countries. I’ve contacted the Mexican consulate in Omaha Nebraska and all I need to do is fill out a form present the proper documentation like my birth certificate to get this Accomplished.
Alex | Backpacking Brunette says
Thanks for reading & taking the time to leave a comment, José! How exciting that you’ve already taken steps toward dual citizenship. When you say that you would like to live in Mexico for part of the year, are you thinking about returning to Mexico City? CDMX has a lot to offer, but perhaps after so many years in landlocked Iowa, you’re ready for the coast. Best of luck with your future move to Mexico!
My name is L.J. And I am doing the Camino starting in France with my girlfriend this September. I am 74 years old and she is a few years younger. We hike quite frequently but still nervous about the trek to the ocean.
I listened to your video about learning to speak Spanish but could not find any links. We speak hardly any Spanish and probably waited too long, but better late than never.
Can you tell me what I am doing wrong?
Your video’s by the way are “excellent”. You are a natural.
Thanks for any advice you can give us.
Meaghan Janisse says
I so agree with all this! Love your site! Which city are you in in Mexico now? 😍 I’m living in Puerto Escondido 🥰
Alex | Backpacking Brunette says
I’m living in Queretaro still, but I got married in Puerto Escondido in February!
Love from India !! I am also planning to come Mexico …
Can I get Vlog for you activity :
Jumped off a 30-foot platform into an underground cenote
Hiked up the third-largest monolith in the world
Swam alongside hundreds of dolphins
Hitchhiked to a petrified waterfall
Eaten countless street tacos
Spent the night in a cemetery during Día de Muertos
& so much more
Glad for you , if it wasn’t for my teen daughter I would of left USA long time ago , here is ridiculous expensive , everything goes by your credit score , ridiculous prices , you live to work , I always admire people that take this kind of decisions , USA us done nothing going for regular working people , they brain wash you saying USA is the best Wich is not true at all , wish you luck , cheers
Spaniards are more arrogant. They speak Castilian. That is why they were correcting.
It’s like comparing speaking French in France v.s. Canada. The French literally laughed at me. 😀