8 Best Places to Live in Mexico, According to Real Estate Experts

From coastal resorts and ancient Mayan towns to sprawling urban centers, Mexico has no shortage of beautiful destinations to call home.

View of Cerro de la Silla mountain from Macroplaza in Monterrey

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Mexico is the ultimate vacation destination, with thousands of miles of beaches, mouthwatering cuisine, fascinating culture, and traditions steeped in thousands of years of history. But our southern neighbor has become increasingly popular with digital nomads and expats, too, due to its affordable cost of living and health care, warm weather, reasonably priced housing and low property taxes, and stable economy. In 2022, a record number of Americans relocated to Mexico, with Mexico City as a top destination. 

Read on for eight of the best and most welcoming places to relocate to in Mexico for safety, economic opportunities, and a wealth of recreational activities.

01 of 08

Mexico City

View of Zocalo in Mexico City

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The country's capital is a bustling metropolis steeped in history and culture and firmly rooted in the present. While the city fell four spots in the 2022 economic competitiveness index, it still ranked fifth in the 2022 Urban Competitiveness Index compiled by the Mexican Institute for Competitiveness (IMCO). In 2022, around 40 percent of real estate sales in Mexico City were to foreign buyers, and according to Mexico Sotheby's International Realty, this number will go up to 60 percent this year. 

If you're looking for upscale neighborhoods to relocate to in Mexico City, check out Lomas de Chapultepec and Jardines del Pedregal, home to the city's business and political elite, where houses usually run in the millions of dollars. Expats prefer the Coyoacán and San Ángel areas for their colonial-style homes and vibrant arts scene, along with the Roma and Condesa neighborhoods, which are popular among families and young professionals, according to Daniel Sánchez of Mexico Sotheby's International Realty.

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Street of Puebla and Federal Palace

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Located at the foot of one of Mexico's highest volcanoes about two hours southeast of Mexico City, Puebla's historic downtown is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that entices visitors with 16th- and 17th-century churches and colonial buildings clad in azulejos tiles. The larger metropolitan area of Puebla is also in the top 15 most competitive cities in Mexico and one of only three allocating more than 10 percent of its federal budget to improving public transportation.

"The luxury real estate market in Puebla has been growing in recent years, attracting buyers with its unique blend of traditional and modern features," Sánchez shared, noting that some of the most popular neighborhoods include La Paz, La Cañada, and gated communities such as Las Fuentes, Campestre del Bosque, La Concepción, the Golf Club, and the Country Club. 

He added, "The city's proximity to Mexico City and its thriving cultural scene also make it an attractive location for those looking for a second home or investment property."

03 of 08

Riviera Maya

Paradise beach Akumal on the Caribbean coast of the Gulf of Mexico. White sand, palm trees and wood boats

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This 100-mile stretch of white-sand coastline on the Yucatan Peninsula needs no introduction. Riviera Maya, which runs south of Puerto Morelos all the way to Sian Ka'an, south of Tulum, is a favorite vacation spot for millions of Americans. Unsurprisingly, this picture-perfect region steeped in Mayan history and culture is also a sought-after destination among expats. Tulum, with its hip, wellness-focused vibe and fantastic restaurant scene, along with Playa del Carmen, known for its nightlife, all-inclusive resorts, and picture-perfect beaches, are both wonderful options for those considering relocation.

"One of the main differences between Playa del Carmen and Tulum is that in Playa, the real estate offers and home prices are given by [the properties'] proximity to the sea, since there is access to the beach practically throughout the city," Liszett Torres, a broker at Riviera Maya Sotheby's International Realty, explained. "In Tulum, access to the beach is practically dominated by the boutique hotels and very few beachfront houses. Playa del Carmen also offers a relaxed and natural lifestyle, but in a much more consolidated city than Tulum, with paved streets and all public services available."

04 of 08


A shopping street in Merida lit up at night

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Yucatán's capital regularly ranks among the safest cities in Mexico. The Spanish occupied Mérida in the mid-16th century, but the city has a rich Mayan heritage. In fact, some of its colonial buildings were constructed with stones from dismantled Mayan dwellings. Aside from its colorful architecture, residents also enjoy proximity to the Gulf of Mexico's beaches, which are less than an hour away from the city. 

Merida residents enjoy one of the most competitive economies among Mexico's largest cities, with retail trade dominating the local market. The city also has a large Indigenous population, and about eight percent of the total number of inhabitants speak an Indigenous language.

05 of 08

San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

Colorful buildings on a street in San Miguel de Allende

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Fantastic food, a great art scene, an affordable cost of living, beautiful architecture, a lively international community, and year-round spring-like weather — the list of reasons to move to San Miguel de Allende goes on and on. But if you'd like to make this beautiful hilltop city your home and buy property here, you've got to hurry because the real estate market is on fire.

"2022 was our most successful year in our 10 years of operation," Larry Stebbins of Agave Sotheby's International Realty told Travel + Leisure. "The market is fast-moving, and we are seeing a changing demographic with younger, educated, and mobile working families moving to San Miguel." Stebbins added that condos and small homes start at $250,000, and luxury properties reach up to $4 million.

06 of 08

Puerto Vallarta

A couple walking down the beach in Puerto Vallarta with views of hills in the background

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With a record number of passengers arriving in Puerto Vallarta in 2022, this bustling Pacific Coast city is experiencing tremendous growth in interest. Visitors flock here to bask in the hot Mexican sun and experience the culture and nightlife. Those who decide to make it their home also benefit from its near-perfect year-round weather, affordability, access to good health care, and excellent economic opportunities

"According to MLS data, since 2017, the total number of recorded property transactions has doubled, and an average two-bedroom condo has increased in value over 25 percent from $275,000 to $346,000," Darlene M. Carucci, a broker at Puerto Vallarta Sotheby's International Realty, shared. She added that while sales slowed down at the end of last year, it was mainly due to a lack of available properties for sale, not buyer demand.

07 of 08


View of Cerro de la Silla mountain from Macroplaza in Monterrey

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Monterrey is a major economic force in Mexico, known as the country's industrial capital. Because of its proximity to the U.S., many companies have established operations there, benefiting from quick access to the U.S. market. 

"Thanks to this, Monterrey is able to attract people from all over the world who wish to get a better quality of life and higher paying jobs. In addition, we have one of the best education environments in Latin America, with three top universities such as the University of Monterrey, the Autonomous University of Nuevo León, and the Monterrey Institute of Technology, which make it the city in Mexico with the highest percentage of English-speaking individuals," Alex Roma, a luxury property specialist at Monterrey Sotheby's International Realty, explained.

But it's not all work and no play. The city is surrounded by the dramatic Sierra Madre Oriental mountain range, transforming it into a haven for outdoor enthusiasts.

08 of 08

Los Cabos

A view from the hilltop of the action on a beautiful sandy beach in Cabo San Lucas

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As one of the safest and most economically competitive cities in Mexico, Los Cabos makes a perfect home for expats. Of course, many people who relocate here are also drawn by the diversity of its landscape, with miles of sandy beaches, dramatic desert vistas, and the beautiful Sierra de la Laguna mountain range, a UNESCO-protected biosphere reserve, at its doorstep.

"My favorite neighborhood is the community of El Tezal in Cabo San Lucas. A short distance to downtown, coveted bay views from a large number of properties, and enough services available to not 'need' to go downtown are all great reasons to love El Tezal. Unsurprisingly, this area is also ripe with new developments and opportunities," Alex Hugessen, a broker at REmexico Real Estate/Luxury Portfolio International, told T+L.

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