WiFi Tribe’s Digital Nomad Guide to Mexico
Over the last ten years or so, Mexico has become a haven for digital nomads looking for affordable lifestyles, new cultures to explore, and friendly neighbors to practice their Spanish with.
Mexico is a very large and diverse country. It’s got everything from big cities to mountains to chill beach towns. Exploring Mexico is easy with cheap domestic flights – plus both Cancun and Mexico City are huge international travel hubs.
As a remote worker, it’s important to have a stable and productive work environment as well as an inspiring and robust social life. Mexico has plenty of destinations that satisfy both of these needs, as well as a great climate and delicious food.
With COVID-19 affecting travel for the foreseeable future, it’s expected that the majority of nomads from the U.S., Canada, and other North, Latin, and South American countries will look to Mexico for their next move.
That’s why we’ve gathered the top 10 most popular places in Mexico for digital nomads and broken them down into pros and cons. So read on to find the perfect spot to set up your remote workstation.
Top 10 Places to Live and Work in Mexico
The main factors in these breakdowns are livability and workability for young professionals who travel frequently.
1. Mexico City (CDMX)
Mexico City is the top pick for me and many other digital nomads. It’s a modern city with all the amenities of New York, Austin, or LA at a fraction of the price. The city has a thriving scene of young professionals, especially in the neighborhoods of Roma Norte and Condesa.
Airbnbs and other rentals are high quality and most have great wifi. There are plenty of coffee shops filled with both foreigners and Mexican remote workers on the grind. Coworking spaces abound in every neighborhood.
The nightlife is top-notch and varied. You can find high-end cocktail bars, clubs, plenty of LGBTQ+ establishments, along with local pulquerias and mezcalerías. You’ll never run out of dining options, whether you want to grab some of the best Japanese food of your life or just need a few delicious tacos from a street stand to get you through the day.
How long to stay: At least a month, but you can stay as long as you want and not get bored
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- Thriving nomad and young professional environments
- Great standard of living for low cost
- Bumble and Tinder are super active (plus plenty of other opportunities to meet people)
- Most people speak at least a little English
- Easy to get around via the bus, subway, or Uber ($3-$6 per ride anywhere in the city)
- Poor air quality from pollution
- Elevation sickness is a serious concern at 7,200 feet (2,250 meters) above sea level
- Traffic can get super intense
- Street noise and other big city problems
- Weekend trips usually involve a flight or long bus ride
2. Playa del Carmen
Coming in at a close second is Playa del Carmen, often referred to simply as Playa or PDC. Located about 45 minutes south of the Cancun International Airport, PDC has been a hotspot for vacationers, retirees, and more recently, the digital nomad community.
Playa has a solid infrastructure and is filled with shopping malls, cafes, a few coworking spaces, and plenty of comfortable modern accommodation. Everyone speaks English in this interesting blend of beach town, resort town, and city. It’s also my top pick for weekend trips, as it’s super easy to travel to many beautiful nearby destinations.
You’ll find a wide variety of foreigners here. It’s not uncommon to see families with children, snowbirds fresh off of their cruise ship, and young professionals with their noise-canceling headphones on enjoying lunch in the same restaurant.
Playa is a great place for people who want to relax and get some work done. I like to visit when I have a big project that I need to focus on, but also want sunshine, the ocean, and a pretty solid social scene around me.
How long to stay: I usually stay for one month at a time, but some people love it so much they decide to call PDC home
- Fast internet
- Solid infrastructure
- Great accommodation
- Lots of working professionals in their 30s to 40s
- Amazing weekend trips
- You have to share your space with vacationers and tourists
- Very few authentic Mexican establishments
- Be prepared for 90-degree weather (32 celsius)
- If you’re looking to escape U.S. culture, look elsewhere
3. Puerto Escondido
Puerto Escondido is definitely a controversial number 3 pick, but I had one of the best months of my life here in January 2020, just before the pandemic hit. PE is a chill surfer beach town – think Canggu but with only 10 to 20 percent of the tourism.
You’ll eat healthy, drink fresh juice every day, and find plenty of yoga and people pursuing lives of mindfulness and health. I spent every evening after work on the beach playing volleyball with strangers who became friends or just watching sunsets that give the Gili Islands a run for their money.
Wifi is definitely an issue. Be prepared to get a Telcel chip and hotspot yourself if it goes down. Download speeds are definitely in the single digits. You won’t find lavish amenities, and hot water comes and goes.
If you’re interested in meeting alternative thinkers, getting a tan, and straight up chillin’, I strongly recommend Puerto Escondido. But if you’ve got a ton of work to do, and can’t afford to take a half-hour break when the wifi goes down, you’re probably better off elsewhere.
How long to stay: 2 to 6 weeks
- Huge, beautiful beach
- Top tier sunsets
- Easy to meet people
- Good food (not mexican, definitely more avocado toast than enchiladas)
- Chill, wellness-oriented vibes
- Finding good wifi can be tricky if you don’t have your own mobile setup
- Accommodation is basic and can be a little pricey
- Not the most productive work environment
- Health care isn’t up to U.S., Candian, or Mexico City standards
Many people would put Tulum above Puerto Escondido, or even Playa del Carmen, but I put it here because it is definitely a specific taste. Tulum’s main draw is the beautiful bougie beach fronts, Instagram worthy work and chill spots, and exclusive parties with local and international DJs.
Tulum is also well located for great weekend trips, and has a reputation for being an easy place to meet like-minded people. It’s situated in some of the most beautiful land of Mexico with cenotes, historical sites like Chichen Itza, Lake Bacalar, and other natural wonders all within driving distance.
You’ll have to pay for access to all this goodness though. Rent for a month can easily get up to and surpass NYC and SF prices. Entrance to parties starts at $10 to $20 USD and can get upwards to $1,000+ for a table and bottle service.
There are some familiar companies with roots in Tulum. Both Selina and Outsite have highly rated coliving and coworking accommodations.
How long to stay: My suggestion, book Tulum for a week and see if you like it. You can always extend your stay.
- Beautiful nature
- Strong wellness community
- Young, hip, open-minded vibes
- Not a ton of tourists
- Vegan friendly
- Less walkable than PDC and other beach towns
- If you’re not into health and wellness or DJ sets, there won’t be a ton to do
- The only thing authentically Mexican is the nature
5. Oaxaca City
Oaxaca City is a small city right in the middle of the southern state of Oaxaca. It’s best known as a foodie paradise, though it doesn’t get as much international attention as Mexico City. It’s home to some of the best mezcal distilleries and Mexican restaurants in the country.
Oaxaca City is good for people who like smaller sized cities and find places like NYC and CDMX too hectic. It’s got a slow and steady pace of life. It’s filled with art and museums and surrounded by beautiful nature.
Accommodation and wifi speeds are good enough to not have to worry about getting work done. There are a few highly rated coworking spaces as well.
One major con is that it’s pretty isolated. You’ll have to fly to Mexico City first to get to or from Oaxaca City airport. This makes weekend trips pretty tough. The social scene is definitely a bit older with lots of retirees and not as many nomads.
How long to stay: You can probably see everything there is to see in a week or two here, but I’ve heard of people enjoying stays lasting a month or longer.
- Ideal weather
- One of the most underrated food scenes in the world
- Not too touristy
- Stunning architecture
- Smallish town
- Fewer nomads than CDMX or PDC
- Not as connected
- Fewer day trips
- Nowhere near a beach
6. Puerto Vallarta
Puerto Vallarta was my most recent discovery in Mexico. Unfortunately, I arrived right at the beginning of the COVID pandemic, so the whole town shut down. I definitely will be back though.
PV has a place in Mexican history going back hundreds of years, unlike the other beach towns on the list. This gives it a very unique and appealing mix of authentic local culture and resort town amenities. There are a few cafes and coworking spaces, but definitely less than other spots on the list. However, accommodations are usually super comfortable and have stable wifi.
PV is a mecca for LGBTQ+ nomads and expats. It’s one of the top gay travel destinations in all the Americas. Meeting people is easy, everyone is super friendly, and the nightlife is lit.
The nomad scene is definitely not as prominent as PDC, most people are retired or on vacation. However, there are some great weekend trips to Sayulita, Nayarit, and the Marietas Islands.
How long to stay: I’d recommend 4 to 6 weeks
- Amazing nightlife (LGBTQ+ friendly)
- Authentic Mexican history and culture
- Convenient amenities
- Good food
- Good weekend trips
- The younger crowd is mostly on vacation
- There are a lot of hills to climb
- The beaches in town aren’t great
- Fewer cafes and coworking spots
Guadalajara is Mexico’s second city. It’s a major financial and cultural hub with some of the top rated universities in Latin America. It also is experiencing a tech boom that has earned it the name the “Silicon Valley of Mexico.” It is also a great hub with plenty of international and domestic flights in and out of GDL.
Stable wifi and plenty of coworking spaces make Guadalajara a great place to work from. The digital nomad scene isn’t quite as thriving as Mexico City, but it’s easy to find and meet other Mexican and international remote workers.
There are plenty of great cultural sites to see in Guadalajara, and there are some great day trips including Lake Chapala, Ajijic, and the circular pyramids of Guachimontones. Puerto Vallarta and Sayulita are easy to get to if you want to escape to the beach for a bit.
How long to stay: I’d book 2 weeks and see how you like it
- Friendly to foreigners
- Great climate
- Good place to work from
- Very cheap
- Amazing cultural hub
- Not a huge nomad/expat scene
- Very rainy summer
- Mosquitos are a health concern
- Traffic is terrible
Guanajuato is on my list of places I need to go back to. I celebrated Dia de Muertos here in 2019 with my friend Jo, and we absolutely loved it. It’s a university town so it definitely has a youthful energy and hipster feel. The nightlife is great, the bars and cafes are very unique and cool, a very far cry from most college towns in the U.S..
Guanajuato is a bit of a hike from anywhere, you have to fly into Leon and drive about an hour. But for anyone looking for a unique, off the beaten path experience, it’s definitely worth it. There are one or two coworking spaces and a few laptop-friendly cafes.
It’s a small city, we got to see most of the touristy sites within a couple days. It’s definitely hilly so be prepared to walk up and down a lot of steps every day. I would suggest doing a week or two here when you’re in more of a backpacking, adventurous mode.
- Super unique
- Very cultural experience
- Art everywhere
- Really cool bars, restaurants, and cafes
- Friendly people
- Not much of a nomad scene
- Difficult to navigate the hills
- Not much English is spoken
- Accommodation and wifi is mediocre
How long to stay: 1 or 2 weeks
We’ve all heard of Cancun. Many of us have been there. To be honest, I haven’t spent much time in Cancun, I prefer going just down the road to PDC. But Cancun is super easy to get to for Americans and Canadians, everyone speaks English, and you won’t have any trouble finding any modern amenity you’re looking for.
Cancun is definitely a resort town filled with all-inclusives and modern accommodations. If beaches and nightclubs are your thing, this is the place for you. There are plenty of coworking spaces and a few cafes to work out of.
You’ll be sharing the place with lots of spring breakers and tourists of all ages from all over the world, but you’ll definitely be comfortable. Communicating isn’t an issue, everyone speaks at least decent English.
If you want an all-inclusive experience, or just want to try it out and see what all the fuss is about, I’d give Cancun a try. You always have the option to extend your stay or head down to Playa.
How long to stay: 1 week and extend if you like it
- Beach life
- Night clubs
- Modern American amenities
- Easy to work from
- Can be pricey
- Not an authentic Mexican experience
- Definitely more of a resort town than nomad hotspot
- Drunk spring breakers abound
10. San Miguel de Allende
I’ve heard nothing but great things about San Miguel de Allende from the expat/retiree crowd. When I ask my nomad friends, they generally respond with “it’s pretty cool.”
San Miguel is best known for its idyllic Spanish architecture and artistic community. There are plenty of cafes and restaurants, and one or two coworking spaces. The scene is definitely friendly but on the older side.
You would definitely be comfortable in San Miguel for a month, but I don’t know any nomads who have stayed that long. You can see pretty much everything in a weekend. This would be an ideal place to take your family for a week if you don’t want to do a beach vacation, or make a great weekend trip from Guanajuato.
How long to stay: A few days
- Clean streets
- Most people speak English
- Not really a nomadic community
- Not as authentic or hip as Guanajuato
- Definitely a gringo experience
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