The media often highlights the crime rate and drug-related dangers, but there’s a safer side that rarely makes headlines. So, all in all, is Mexico a safe place to live as a digital nomad? For us, it’s a resounding yes. With a little common sense and knowledge of where the safest places are, you’ll be just fine.
The rich culture, delectable cuisine, 35 UNESCO World Heritage sites, and a mixture of coastlines and sprawling cities, Mexico has lots of qualities remote professionals look for in a temporary home. Ahead, we’ll dive into the beach towns, big cities, and the places in between that we found to be the safest cities in Mexico.
When picking each safe place, we consulted the 2020 Mexico Peace Index from Vision of Humanity and US State Department reports for Mexico travel advisories, then refined our list based on a remote worker’s needs. Things like wifi speeds and reliability, costs of living, public transportation, and access to unique experiences were all considered for our list of the safest cities in Mexico. Let’s get to it.
Located on the Yucatán peninsula, Mérida is drenched in colonial history and has all of the modern conveniences of city life, the perfect digital nomad combination. Wander through the narrow street to find Plaza Grande or down the Paseo de Montejo and feel like you’re in a pastel-colored version of Paris for a moment. Mérida is the answer to ditching resort towns and experiencing the ancient, authentic beauty of Mexico.
Safety rating: Yucatan state is ranked #1 of the 32 Mexican states in Mexico’s Peace Index for the 3rd consecutive year
Cost of living: Spending between $600-800 per month including rent, eating out, transportation, and entertainment is typical for travelers staying in Mérida for a few months.
Average rent cost: Rental prices in Centro Historico and Paseo de Montejo, which are the most popular areas for remote workers, are between $400-600 for a 1 bedroom apartment with utilities.
Wifi speed and reliability: Within Centro and Paseo de Montejo, cafes have strong and reliable wifi (various parks and plazas have free wifi too). There are also local coworking spaces in the northern part of the city.
Digital nomad community: Mérida is starting to gain more traction amongst digital nomads. One expat noted the community tends to skew towards professionals between 30-50 years old and there’s less of a party scene.
Things to do: Plaza-culture is alive in Merida with the main squares being the main place to hang out or catch a live event. For day trips, visit Chichen Itza to see some of the most famous Mayan ruins, Valladolid, or a nearby cenote.
Getting around: If you live in Centro Historico or Paseo de Montejo, it’s easy to walk everywhere. Ubers are affordable and reliable for getting around town too.
Climate: Mérida is warm all year round, the hottest temperatures come from April-July with the rest of the year sitting between 18-29°C (65-85°F).
Oaxaca City lies on the foothills of the Sierra Madre, and is one of the most historically significant places in the country. The entire city center is a UNESCO World Heritage site. For people who like cities, but not CDMX or NYC size cities, Oaxaca might be just right for you. It has everything you need to be comfortable, live a moderate pace of life, and will cost you about 25% less than Mexico City. Plus, you’d be hard-pressed to find better mole or mezcal anywhere in the world.
Safety rating: Oaxaca state is ranked #13 of the 32 Mexican states in Mexico’s Peace Index
Cost of living: Oaxaca is one of the best budget-friendly destinations while never missing out on truly unforgettable gastronomical or cultural experiences. Including upscale meals and eating out until your heart is content, remote workers can live comfortably spending $1,200-$1,400 per month.
Average rent cost: For a furnished 1 bedroom apartment apartment near the city’s center, it’ll run you about $400-$600 per month with utilities included from Airbnb. Prices tend to go up in January and February for high season.
Wifi speed and reliability: Internet speeds are around 15mbps and tend to be reliable throughout the city. The top coworking space, called Convivo, boasts 200mbps in addition to live events and unique food options that combines local flavors with Asian-style dishes.
Digital nomad community: More and more remote workers are setting up shop in Oaxaca, especially after Travel & Leisure named it #1 of the top 25 cities in the world. WiFi Tribe has hosted a few Chapters in Oaxaca and it has quickly become a community-favorite destination.
Things to do: You should eat, eat, eat, and drink, drink, drink. Eat moles, tlayudas, and as many tacos as you can, then drink mezcal, hot chocolate, and coffee while pepping up in the many photo-worthy cafes. Shop locally by picking up ceramics, rugs, and other textiles from the nearby artisan towns just outside the city. Taking a longer drive will get you to Hierve el Agua, mezcal distilleries, or Sierra Norte.
Getting around: Cafe hopping and exploring Oaxaca’s night life on foot is the easiest way to get around. Or rent a bike and zip around the center which is set up well for cycling.
Climate: Temperatures stay pretty consistent in Oaxaca all year. Days hover around 26°C (80°F), hitting 32°C (90°F) on the hottest days, and only dropping to 15°C (60°F) in the dead of night.
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Enter the pueblo mágico of Valladolid, just a 2-hour drive from Mérida and in the middle of the Yucatán peninsula. It’s not yet a digital nomad hotspot, but locals and expats have created a community-oriented atmosphere that will make you feel at home. Time seems to move slower here as the city embraces it’s ancient history, culture, and close-by historical sites. Valladolid is the perfect combination of small city life that’s manageable and affordable.
Safety rating: Just like Mérida, Yucatan state is ranked #1 of the 32 Mexican states in Mexico’s Peace Index for the 3rd consecutive year
Cost of living: Including groceries, dining out, and a monthly furnished rental, digital nomads in Valladolid can spend between $1,000-$1,200 per month. It clocks in slightly more than Mérida due to lack of big box stores and their cost savings.
Average rent cost: Most short term rentals tend to be stand-alone houses or apartments with simple kitchens. On Airbnb, a month-long stay near the city’s center runs between $300-$600 for a fully furnished space.
Wifi speed and reliability: Wifi is generally realiable here with speeds normally at 15mbps. Like most places, make sure to ask for a speed test at any long term accommodations before committing. Some digital nomads have reported dodgey connections.
Digital nomad community: The Local Nomads spent 3 months in Valladolid and raved about the community vibe. While the demographic skews older, the locals and expats in the city have an entrepreneurial spirit that many digital nomads will connect with. Valladolid is aware of their potential influx of remote workers flocking to the city and is already thinking about how to capitalize on the opportunity–like starting their 1st coworking space.
Things to do: There are too many cenotes to count nearby, even one in the historic center called Zaci. Similar to Mérida, this is a great jumping off point to visit Chichen Itza and Ek Balam. When you’re craving the Caribbean coast, take the 1.5-2 hour drive to Cancun, Tulum or Playa del Carmen in Quintana Roo so you can see all the Riviera Maya has to offer.
Getting around: By foot or bike are popular modes of transportation in Valladolid as the city’s size is very manageable to get around. While Uber doesn’t work here, taxis tend to run 25-30 pesos per ride.
Climate: A warm place all year round, the best time beat the heat is from mid November-March, it’s less muggy and the warm temps are more pleasant.
4. San Cristóbal de las Casas
Move away from the coasts and head inland to find San Cristóbal de las Casas. A mixture of countryside, highlands, and medium-sized city life full of colonial style architecture, this is a place where markets come alive and a cozy cafe is just around the corner.
Safety rating: The state of Chiapas is ranked #3 of the 32 Mexican states in Mexico’s Peace Index.
Cost of living: This is where San Cristóbal de las Casas shines as remote workers can get by on an affordable budget and still take advantage of everything the city has to offer. Expect to spend about $700-$1,000 per month if you plan to eat out often and primarily work outside of home from cafes.
Average rent cost: Housing is very affordable here, with furnished 1 bedroom apartment in a prime location with fast wifi costing around $500 per month. Check local nomad Facebook groups and Airbnb to find short-term rentals in the area.
Wifi speed and reliability: While connections can be spotty around down, the travelers over at Bucket List Bri found an Airbnb with 80mbps internet so there are reliable options. Local coworking spaces are good backups, especially Co.404 and Centralita.
Digital nomad community: With plenty of cafes to work from, lots of housing options, and lively expat Facebook groups, the digital nomad scene here is alive. Slightly off the popular coastal city path, this is a spot find a community full of foreigners and locals alike.
Things to do: Get your hiking on in the highlands and climb Cerro Don Lauro. Or visit the nearby indigenous villages to support local cultures and feel immersed in the ancient histories of Mexico.
Getting around: Taking about 20-25 minutes to get across town, walking is the easiest way to traverse the city. Taxis are very affordable to quickly get around, and are cheap to get to nearby indigenous villages like Chamula and Zinacantán.
Climate: Mid-March to mid-May is the best time of year to visit San Cristobal de las Casas for 21°C (70°F) days and 10°C (50°F) nights. Outside of these months, the weather stays between 7-18°C (45-65°F) with also no humidity all year round.
5. San Pancho
Just north of Puerto Vallarta and close to Sayulita, San Francisco (aka San Pancho) is another dreamy seaside town in Mexico’s Riviera Nayarit. It’s a haven for artists, yogis and eco-conscious travelers who want to ditch the typical tourist destinations. But that doesn’t mean there’s not a lot to do here–between open mic nights, yoga classes, horseback riding and of course days spent on the beautiful beaches, there’s plenty of activities to fill your days.
Safety rating: The state of Nayarit is ranked #5 out of the 32 Mexican states in Mexico’s Peace Index.
Cost of living: More affordable than Playa del Carmen and Puerta Vallarta, renting in San Pancho will run you under $900 per month for quality accommodations, eating out, and attending local festivals and entertainment.
Average rent cost: Contributing to the affordable characteristics of this area, monthly rents hover around $400-$500 for a furnished 1 bedroom apartment.
Wifi speed and reliability: Internet is slightly less reliable compared to nearby beach towns, but it’s still workable for lots of remote professionals.
Digital nomad community: There’s an expat community and digital nomad scene in San Pancho. Those aforementioned artists, musicians, and outdoor enthusiasts flocked here and fostered a laidback, surfer community vibe where you’ll feel welcomed.
Things to do: Like the locals, head to the beach for daily sunsets over the Pacific coast that will make your jaw drop. Inside of town, there’s lots of live music, festivals, artisan shops, and restaurants to explore. Adding to San Pancho’s eco-conscious vibe, there are also volunteer opportunities with turtles Project Tortuga or at a thriving community center called EntreAmigos.
Getting around: No need for taxis here most days, walking around this beach town is the quickest way to get to the beaches, restaurants, and outdoor activities. Taxis also make it easy to getaway to nearby towns for a change of scenery, like Sayulita or Lo de Marcos
Climate: January to April offers the best weather, featuring warm, sunny, and clear days with humid-less nights. As a bonus, this high season time is when the majority of special events and festivals happen in town.
Venture through this preserved colonial city which is slightly off the beaten path for most American and Canadian travelers. But being under the radar has its perks: less traffic and tourists, and more Spanish-speaking locals and culture. There are great restaurants, an up-and-coming art and nightlife scene that should be explored during your time in Puebla.
Safety rating: The Mexican state of Puebla is ranked #8 of the 32 states in Mexico in Mexico’s Peace Index.
Cost of living: Dinners out are affordable (the food is an underrated gem of Mexico), coworking passes are reasonable, and rentals are some of the most least expensive on this list making Puebla a budget-friendly Mexican city.
Average rent cost: For a 1 bedroom apartment in Centro Historico, NomadList quotes under $300 per month. Explore other neighborhoods like Angelopolis for more modern (but slightly outside of town) accommodations or even in Cholula which is a university town 20 minutes away by car.
Wifi speed and reliability: Internet speeds are average in Puebla coming in at 12mbps.
Digital nomad community: Knowledge of Spanish will be helpful here as locals aren’t always comfortable speaking English. There’s less of a sustained digital nomad community in Puebla, most remote workers stay for a few weeks rather than months.
Things to do: The Cholula Pyramid, the world’s biggest pyramid (yes, the world’s), resides just a 20 minute drive from Puebla and is a must-see. Another record breaker is the oldest library in the America’s, Biblioteca Palafoxiana. To break a sweat, climb Malinche volcano which is the 6th highest mountain in Mexico.
Getting around: Staying in Centro Historico will make Puebla a walkable city–but stay in Angelopolis or Cholula and you’ll rely on Uber and taxis to get around.
Climate: The peak season to visit Puebla falls between March-May, where temps are the warmest. But the whole year is temperate as even the “cool season” weather has 21°C (70°F) afternoons.
7. Santiago de Querétaro
If you’re looking for a big city that isn’t Mexico City or Guadalajara, then Santiago de Querétaro could be just the ticket. While it’s the 24th largest city in Mexico, it’s retained its colonial charm while facing towards a modernized future. Walking the many pedestrian streets, you’ll bump into over 1,000 historical monuments (which earned the historical center a UNESCO World Heritage site status). To make the trip here even easier, there’s an international airport just 30 minutes outside of the city center.
Safety rating: Being a safe city is often mentioned by digital nomads who have lived here. The state of Querétaro is ranked #14 out of the 32 Mexican states in Mexico’s Peace Index.
Cost of living: This is another part of Mexico where living comfortably on a small budget is very doable. Starting from $600 per month for longer stays and $900 for remote professionals who are just passing through, Santiago de Querétaro is a great place to save money.
Average rent cost: Living near historical center remains an affordable area for expats looking for housing, a 1 bedroom fully furnished apartment goes for $300-$400 per month.
Wifi speed and reliability: NomadList says internet speeds are, on average, 14mbps. There are also plenty of coworking spaces and cafes that are perfectly set up for remote professionals looking to work outside of their home.
Digital nomad community: You’ll need some Spanish knowledge here, but that means more local friends. Santiago de Querétaro remains under the digital nomad radar (take advantage while that’s still the case!) so while this is a big city, there are still small-town community vibes to make you feel welcome amongst locals and the expat community.
Things to do: When you’re done exploring the colonial monuments, close by getaways include San Miguel de Allende and Guanajuato.
Getting around: Focus on living in the central downtown area to make getting around a little easier. Otherwise a car may be necessary to efficiently get from point A to B. Ubers are available here when you want to explore the neighborhoods outside of the central areas.
Climate: To experience the warmest weather here, visit between April and June when temperatures are in the mid 25°C and above (80s°F).
8. Puerto Escondido
In Puerto Escondido, you’ll swap the cobblestone streets and historical sites for rustic beach roads and snorkeling sessions. A surfer’s paradise with low-key, inclusive vibe that prides itself on the slower lifestyle (think a 180° turn from New York City). If wellness is important to you, you’ll hit your stride in PE being surrounded by vegan and healthy eats.
Safety rating: Oaxaca state is ranked #13 of the 32 Mexican states in Mexico’s Peace Index
Cost of living: As Puerto Escondido is still on the upward swing towards modernization, costs of living remain affordable for digital nomads. Meals out run less than $10 and staying caffeinated will cost less than $2 per cup of coffee. But beware: like many places in Mexico, cash is king here so make sure to hit the ATM at the airport as there aren’t many in town.
Average rent cost: According to Nomad List, a fully furnished apartment that’s near the center can cost between $300-$500 depending on demand in the high season. Puerto Escondido has become a very popular remote worker destination, so you may experience higher rental costs due to the current demand.
Wifi speed and reliability: Given it’s laid-back reputation, the wifi speeds here are between 10-20mbps.
Digital nomad community: You won’t find many retirees in Puerto Escondido as the remote professional community skews towards younger people who left the rat race in search of a slower-paced life and good waves. In the high season, there’s a consistent base of digital nomads calling PE home.
Things to do: Surf, swim, and take all of the yoga classes to take advantage of slower paced life here. Don’t forget to take the two-hour drive down the Pacific coast to Huatulco National Park for more beaches, coral reefs, and unique wildlife.
Getting around: Rent a moto bike for a stay to zip around, or simply walk to the beach and nearby restaurants. For interest points around town, there are taxis and colectivos available that are still cost-effective.
Climate: It’s best to visit from December through March when the humidity takes a backseat to clear skies and optimal temperatures. While it consistently stays between 23-32°C (75-90°F) all year round, between June-September the heat and mugginess can be oppressive.
Find more digital nomads in Mexico
WiFi Tribe runs Chapters all over the world, but we have a special place in our heart for Mexico. Between the culture, eats, friendly locals, and unique sights to explore, any of the the cities on this list are great places for digital nomads to continue their journey.