The Best Places in Mexico for Digital Nomads in 2022
Thinking of moving to Mexico to work remotely? If so, you’ll be joining the thousands of people who either live temporarily or permanently in Mexico while working online. There are many reasons why Mexico is an excellent choice for a home away from home, so it’s no surprise that it’s so popular. However, there are also some things to know before you buy your ticket and hop on a plane. Read on to get the ins and outs of working remotely while living in Mexico, and our top picks for the best places in Mexico for digital nomads in 2022.
Can I work remotely in Mexico?
As an American citizen, you are eligible for a 6 month tourist visa, which you don’t need to apply for beforehand. Technically, there isn’t a legal limit to the amount of tourist visas that you can have, and in the past, many foreigners have simply left at the end of their 6 month visa, only to return and get a new one.
While this sounds like an easy option, ojo! (Watch out!) In recent years, immigration officials have become stricter, seeking foreigners that are living in Mexico with tourist visas. Legally speaking, the tourist visa isn’t for people who live or work in Mexico. If your stint is short enough, or if you’re just curious about life in Mexico and want to try it out to see if it’s a good fit for you, the tourist visa can be a good initial step. But once you decide that you want to stay, we highly recommend that you get a resident visa to avoid problems.
There are 3 main visa options applicable to foreigners working or living in Mexico. They are the #1 & #2- Temporary Visa (with or without work permission) and the #3- Permanent Visa. As a digital nomad, the visa that you most likely need is either a Temporary Visa (without work permission) or the Permanent Visa, depending on if you plan to stay in country indefinitely (the exception would be if you plan to work digitally with a Mexican company, in which case you would need work permission in Mexico.)
Why Mexico Is a Great Place for Digital Nomads
While there are so many great places around the world to work remotely, Mexico should really be at the top of your list! Boasting of internationally renowned gastronomy, vibrant culture, varied landscapes with incomparable biodiversity, warm, friendly people, and delightful, temperate weather, Mexico’s magic has always captivated foreigners. More recently, Mexico attracts digital nomads because of the existing community, the technological infrastructure that makes their work feasible, the abundance of co-working spaces, the availability of international goods, and the affordable cost of living.
One of the great things about working remotely in Mexico is the level of modernization that the country has. While this isn’t true for every location, there are many cities and smaller towns with well-established and consistent internet, making it easy and comfortable to work remotely.
If you’re looking to relocate to Mexico long-term check out this ultimate guide to expat-friendly communities in Mexico.
The Best Places in Mexico for Digital Nomads in 2022
The key to making Mexico the perfect digital nomad haven for you is all about location. Picking a place that has the elements that you need for work – such as consistent high-quality internet, a community of like-minded people with similar jobs, or cool co-working spaces – as well as meeting your personal needs – like culture, great views, nearby nature, recreational activities that you or your family enjoy, LGBTQIA+ friendly, a social scene that you vibe with, affordable rent, etc – is critical. Everyone’s needs are different! Below I’ve listed my favorite places in Mexico for digital nomads in 2022.
Welcome to the Big City
As the capital of Mexico, and one of the largest cities in the world, this metropolis has absolutely everything you could desire. From bustling markets with high-quality inexpensive produce and delectable street food, to huge live music venues, incredible museums, parks, and 5 star restaurants, Mexico City runs the gamut. If I were to compare Mexico City to a place in the U.S., I would say it’s like N.Y.C. It has a cool gritty vibe, a world-class art scene, outstanding cuisine, and a niche for literally whatever you’re into.
It’s great for singles, women, LGBTQIA+, Black travelers, families, really anyone. Like any major city, there is some crime, so be aware of your surroundings, but community abounds in the big city, once you scratch the surface. A great neighborhood for digital nomads is La Colonia Cuauhtemoc, which is located in the heart of the city, where you have access to anything and everything.
If Mexico City resembles N.Y.C., then Guadalajara is like L.A. The laid back, cool kid of Mexico’s big cities, there is a lot of money in Guadalajara, making many parts of it posh and beautiful. It also has an epic music and art scene, and anything you might want to find is available there. Not far outside of the city, you have seemingly blue mountains of Jalisco, whose color comes from the blue agave that makes Tequila, and a variety of small quaint towns (including the drink’s namesake) which make for fun day trips. Inside the city, there are tons of good co-working spaces and high-quality internet. Guadalajara is known for fashion and design. It has great nightlife, live music, and easy access to high-end amenities.
The Goldilocks Zone (not too big, not too small… just right)
Oaxaca has recently become one of Mexico’s hottest new destinations, but for those in the know, it’s always been one of the greats. Perhaps the most famous of all Mexican cuisine (though the topic is hotly debated), get ready to eat like never before. Beyond gastronomy, more than 20 indigenous groups call the state of Oaxaca home. Famous for mind-blowing artisanal works, such as textiles, pottery, and sculpture, and edgy, political protest art, the capital city has beautiful museums, architecture, events, restaurants, bars, and art centers making it a great home base for digital nomads
While Oaxaca is a medium-sized city, it’s jammed packed with things to see and do, including plenty of good places to work, like the peaceful and architecturally aesthetic library or more active coworking spaces. Beyond the city limits, day trips abound to natural wonders like Hierve el Agua and ancient Zapotec ruins like Monte Alban and Mitla. There is a strong current of counterculture in Oaxaca, making it inviting to anyone who chooses to call it home.
A Caribbean colonial city with lots of history, Campeche was once the site of the greatest pirate attack of all time. It has an imposing seawall which surrounds the city, harkening back to that time. For visitors and residents, this means there is a beautiful boardwalk with sea breezes, and inside the city wall, there’s a European feel, full of outdoor cafes, bright pastel colors, live concerts and noteworthy architecture.
Campeche has all of the beauty of the Mayan Riviera but without its obnoxious tourism. The foreign and tourist community is largely European, giving it a different vibe. Inexpensive (compared to the rest of the region), and particularly chill, Campeche is great for a digital nomad who is looking for an easy-going, no fuss destination with beachy weather and immaculately clean, safe streets.
A medium-sized city with a very modern feel, Xalapa is known for its music and art scene, great museums, parks and delicious cuisine. Its colonial center dazzles with monumental colonial buildings, beautiful cafes and plenty of cozy places to work online. The high-altitude of Xalapa makes it cool and foggy, a great place to drink a cup of its world famous coffee, which is grown in the region and exported internationally, and dig into your day’s work.
The University is definitely the star of the show. Its library and verdant outdoor spaces with free wifi are great for online work, not to mention the free concerts and art events like the philharmonic orchestra, ballet, theater, and concerts of traditional styles of music from Veracruz. While the foreign community isn’t very large there, sometimes that’s the encanto of moving to another country. The foreign community that does exist in Xalapa is mainly affiliated with the University. In short, Xalapa is a lesser known gem with a rich culture and big city offerings.
Also a University town, Guanajuato feels smaller than it is. Famous for its two massive festivals, the Guanajuato International Film Festival and the Cervantino theater festival, which are the two largest in Latin America; it is a beloved cultural center for theater, dance, and film. There are several cafes and university locations catering to students that make good options for digital nomads.
Visually, Guanajuato is enchanting, from the colorful houses built into the mountainside to the colonial plazas and churches that pepper its streets. It’s safe and easy to move around. As a working class town, rent is quite affordable, and the internet is often included in rent. That being said, it’s a great place to get involved in nonprofits and give back to the community. Also, don’t expect English to be spoken! It’s a great place to make an effort and practice Spanish. It’s a particularly good choice for young families and singles.
Keeping It Small
San Miguel de Allende
Voted the world’s best city in 2021, after winning the title for three consecutive years, San Miguel lives up to its fame. Despite being small, there is a constant stream of events, festivals, all-star restaurants, quaint cafes, and art galleries. Nearby San Miguel there are towns worth visiting, like the Sistine Chapel of Mexico in Atotonilco, Dolores Hidalgo, famous for Talavera pottery and unusual ice creams, the abandoned mines in the ghost town of Pozos, and several options of natural hot springs to get out of town and de-stress after long hours of screen time. A city full of digital nomads, its small size makes it easy to meet people; and with such an eclectic international community, there are plenty of opportunities to collaborate, co-work, or get to know people who understand your lifestyle.
San Cristóbal de Las Casas
Unique among the typically recommended digital nomad locations in Mexico, San Cristóbal de las Casas has an esoteric energy. The city has a totally different look with its lack of colonial architecture. Its cool and foggy cobblestone streets are filled with mystery. The indigenous culture that is prominent in the area is marked by traditional black fur skirts, herbal healing, and shamanic traditions.
Several eco-villages have cropped up in and around San Cris, providing co-living communities for people seeking something different. In town, many cafes provide good stable internet to get you into your work groove. A small city, you can expect beautiful artisanal items like textiles, street murals, a sizable European population, art events, and nightlife, including local breweries, and authentic markets filled with magic. Getting under the skin of San Cris is well worth it.
A small beach town, this digital nomad hotspot is relaxed and fun, right on the beach, great for surfing and yoga, seafood and nightlife, like salsa or bachata dancing. For being so tiny, the location independent online community is quite large, and for that reason, highly accommodated by the town. There are lots of good cafes and coworking spots to get your work done before you hit the beach to unwind. Not far, there are several small villages, like San Pancho, that have a growing community as well, if you are seeking something more tranquil. An abundance of beautiful sunsets and sandy shores to work from, colorfully adorned and full of fantastic restaurants, this is a beach lover’s dream.
Now that you have the scoop on the best places in Mexico for digital nomads in 2022, I hope you feel inspired to pack your bags and check out one of the fabulous places mentioned above. Mexico is welcoming, friendly and easy to love. Most people who move here can’t get enough!