Mexico is an absolutely beautiful country, and the truth is, there are so many more than just five “best places to live in Mexico. It is full of amazing destination for expats. If you want to live among culture and beauty, and amazing people, Mexico might be your dream destination. Mexico offers mountains and beaches, art and music, and a rich cultural history. Best of all, Mexico has a nominal cost of living, compared to the United States.

There are dozens, if not hundreds, of places that adventurous Americans could easily call home in Mexico, but we’ll give you our choices for the five best places to live in Mexico.

Moving to Mexico

Mexican flag -- 5 best places to live in Mexico

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If you dream of an easier life, one in which fun and relaxation take precedence over work, Mexico might be your calling. In most locations, you can maintain a decent standard of living for about $750 per month. That’s about half of what most Americans spend on just housing. Sounds good so far, right; well, it gets better. Whether you are a city person, a beach person, or love art and culture, Mexico has a city for you. If you’re a little of each, nearly everything is within an easy drive.

An Overview of Mexico’s Landscapes

If you crave variety, Mexico has a little of everything. They have thousands of miles of beaches, along with both the Caribbean and Pacific coastlines. They have mountains, deserts, lowlands, and volcanoes. As a matter of fact, Mexico’s most famous drink is named from the volcanic Mount Tequila.

At over 18,000 feet, Mexico’s highest mountain is Volcano Pico de Orizaba. It is taller than Mount Whitney, the tallest mountain in the Continental U.S. Mexico’s lowest point is about 32 feet below sea level.

What Kind of Climate Can You Expect in Mexico?

Mexico’s climate is as varied as its landscape. The coastal areas are hot and humid, especially during the summer. If you crave a more temperate climate, head inland toward Mexico City or Guadalajara. The elevation makes it dryer and much cooler. High temperatures typically stay in the 50s to 70s Fahrenheit.

Most of the country can expect a rainy season from June to October. February is Mexico’s driest month. The biggest downside to Mexico’s warm climate is that the entire coastal area is subject to hurricanes.

The Five Best Places to Live in Mexico

Mexico has small towns that are chock-full of charm, history, and culture. In many ways, Americans will feel right at home in Mexico. In urban areas, most people speak at least some English. America’s major chain stores and restaurants, like Starbucks and McDonalds, dot the city streets. It also has some of the largest and most cosmopolitan cities in the world.

The following are my choices for the five best places to live in Mexico.

Lake Chapala

Lake Chapala, surrounded by palm trees and a lush hill -- five best places to live in Mexico

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Located toward the middle of Mexico, and about an hour south of Guadalajara, Lake Chapala is a favorite for American retirees and tourists alike. The latitude is similar to Hawaii, but the elevation is similar to Denver, which means that Lake Chapala’s climate is moderate and very livable.

The villages surrounding the lake are an expat’s haven. It’s home to more than 30,000 foreigners, many of whom are artists, musicians, and writers, who are attracted to the area’s beauty and architecture. Years ago, the lake was in trouble, but it has since been cleaned up, and it’s well-maintained. Now, the area is filled with cafes, shops, and galleries. Its cost of living is about half what it is in the United States.

Mexico City

Mexico City is not just the largest city in Mexico; it’s among the largest cities in the world. Mexico City is ancient, but it’s also modern. It has canals like Venice, gorgeous architecture, museums, galleries, and all the amenities of a contemporary city.

Mexico City is anything but boring. Its temperate climate encourages you to explore the sites. The city boasts world-class restaurants, of all cuisines, and shopping to rival New York or Paris.

Riviera Maya

Image of torquoise ocean with a palm tree and hill on the beach -- five best places to live in Mexico

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If margaritas on the beach are more your scene, Riviera Maya might be your destination. With its rocky coastlines and white sand beaches, Riviera Maya is often called one of the most beautiful places on earth. On one side of Riviera Maya are Mayan ruins. The other side features the UNESCO World Heritage site of the biosphere reserve of Sian Ka’an.

There’s lots of modern fun in Riviera Maya as well. There are restaurants of all types, bars, and a phenomenal nightlife.


Street lined with buildings, a large clock in the middle of what appears to be a town square, with mountains in the background -- five best places to live in Mexico

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If you are a history buff, Morelia, in Central Mexico, is tailor-made for you. It’s not a well-known city, which might be attractive in and of itself. It made our list of the five best places to live in Mexico because of its character. The hillside town is filled with pink stone Spanish Renaissance structures. People in Morelia still travel on horse and donkey, yet the city has an international airport and modern infrastructure.

Its high altitude makes it hot during the day in Morelia, but nights are cool and comfortable.

Puerto Vallarta

No five best places to live in Mexico list is complete without the beach resort town of Puerto Vallarta. It’s a favorite tourist and expat destination for modern beach living. It’s famous for its gorgeous beaches, cobblestone streets, and Spanish architecture. Of course, there are the beaches.

If you move to Puerto Vallarta, know that the weather is hot and humid. But its shopping, nightlife, restaurants, and art scene more than make up for it. Puerto Vallarta is a haven for American expats and tourists. Many, if not most, of the residents, speak English.

Historic Cities of Mexico

Officially, Mexico is only about 200 years old, but its history is rich and beautiful. The rural parts of Mexico are still inhabited by indigenous people. Centuries-old architecture and ruins dot the countryside. Some date as far back as biblical times and some of the historic cities seems as if time has stopped. Any of these towns could have easily made the list of the five best places to live in Mexico. But I thought they needed a category of their own.


Overhead shot of Mayan ruins -- five best places to live in Mexico

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Teotihuacán, known as “the place where gods were created” is Mexico’s largest pre-Columbian city. The Mayan city, which is about 30 miles from Mexico City, at one time had close to 200,000 residents. The Teotihuacán empire was overthrown in the 7th century, but the city still survives, as does its architecture. Weather, however, has taken its toll, despite conservation efforts.

San Cristobal de las Casas

Small city street surrounded by Spanish homes -- five best places to live in Mexico

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Located in Mexico’s Central Highlands, San Cristobal de las Casas is famous for its cobblestone streets and markets. San Cristobal de las Casas is in the middle of several indigenous Tzotzil and Tzeltal villages. The town features all the amenities expats could need, along with a historic and authentic feel.

Because San Cristobal de las Casas is located in the highlands, the weather is temperate and mild. It is, however, prone to earthquakes and some of its structures show damage from the 2017 Chiapas earthquake. Fortunately, it spared the town, though.


Colonial facades in Merida, Mexico. The fore building is mustard yellow with white trim. In the background is a red clock tower

Image CC by-SA 3.0, by Adam Jones, Ph.D., via Wikimedia

The Mayan culture is alive and well in Merida. The city offers a 17th century feel with Mayan ceremonial dances, mock Mayan weddings, and open-aired serenades. Explore the Mayan ruins just outside the city. You’ll also experience a European feel with European-style buildings lining a grand boulevard that’s modeled after the Champs-Elysees.

Merida offers a more coastal climate than many of Mexico’s historic cities. Expect hot and humid weather pretty much year around.


Oaxaca at night, with the streets lit. Low Spanish buildings line the streets. The sky is cloudy, but the lights turn it dark blue. -- five best places to live in Mexico

Image CC by 3.0 unported, by Apsu09, via Wikimedia

Oaxaca is one of the more famous of Mexico’s historic towns. The town features a diverse population of indigenous people, but it also caters to tourists. It has a variety of cafes, modern hotels, business offices, and shops. Explore the nearby ruins of Monte Alban.

In July, thousands from across the country and across the world attend the annual Guelaguetza Festival.

Temperatures in Oaxaca are warm. The hot season runs from March to May, with temperatures above 85 degrees. During the rest of the year, temperatures are still warm, but below 80 degrees.

So, About Those Five Best Places to Live in Mexico

Mexico is a large and diverse country with everything from bustling modern cities to remote countrysides. Many in Mexico speak English, it won’t take you long to learn Spanish. The more indigenous languages may be more difficult.

Overall, the Mexican people are very friendly and very accommodating toward Americans. The mountains, beaches, and ancient architecture will keep you plenty busy. And the low cost of living should allow you plenty of free time.

If you have any cities to add to the five best places to live in Mexico be sure to leave us a comment below!


Featured image CC by-SA 3.0, by Fcb981, via Wikipedia

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