Information on Taxes in Mexico


By international living

As an expat in Mexico, the taxes you’ll pay will depend, in part, on your situation. If you own property in Mexico, you’ll pay property taxes. If you rent out that property or own a business, have a job, or have interest-bear­ing bank accounts, you’ll owe income tax. Even if you have none of these, you’ll still pay sales tax (known as Value Added Tax or VAT) on most retail goods and services.

If you will be doing business in Mexico or even if you will be employed by a Mexican company, it’s a good idea to meet with an international tax specialist, in your home country, before you move. He or she can advise you how to best minimize your tax obligations, especially if you have significant assets in both Mexico and your home country.

Income Tax in Mexico

You will owe income tax in Mexico if you hold a job, run a business, rent out a property you own, or hold an interest-bearing bank account or security in Mexico. In most of these cases, you will need to file a Mexican tax return.

If you are a U.S. citizen, note that the United States taxes citizens and permanent residents on their worldwide income. Canada taxes citizens on worldwide income unless they have officially moved their legal residence outside Canada. If you earn any income in Mexico it must be declared on your U.S. or Canadian tax return. You will get credit on your home-country return, however, for taxes you have already paid in Mexico.

Income tax in Mexico varies greatly. Like the U.S., your tax rate will depend on the amount of your earnings, deductions, and other factors. Mexico’s individual income tax rates range from 1.92% to 35%. Non-residents (those in Mexico on a work visa/permit) pay 15% to 30%. Mexico’s corporate tax rate is a flat 30%.

Mexican Real Estate Taxes

There are three types of tax that you’ll have for residential property over the years that you own it:

  1. A 2% acquisition tax when you buy the property
  2. Annual property taxes (known as predial)
  3. Capital gains tax when you sell the property.

Many communities in Mexico commonly use a property’s “assessed” value as the basis for these taxes, and the official assessment can be much lower than the property’s market value—in some cases, as low as 30% or 40% of the actual sales price. So on a $100,000 home that has an official “assessed” value of $40,000, you’ll pay $800 in acquisition tax. Under Mexican law, using an assessed value less than the actual commercial value for tax purposes is technically illegal. But we don’t know anyone who doesn’t do it.

Property taxes (predial) in Mexico are very low. It is quite common to have annual property taxes of $100 or less, and they seldom run higher than about $300.

If you sell the property, you’ll owe capital gains tax. Capital gains tax can be figured two ways in Mexico:

  1. You can pay 25% of the declared value of the transaction, or
  2. You can pay 30% of the net value—the difference between the assessed values at the time you bought the property and when you sell it, taking into consideration how long the property was held, any improvements made, any commissions paid, and other allowable expenses. (If there is a significant difference between the assessed value recorded for the property when you bought it and the value you claim when you sell it, you could be in for a big tax bite.) You should calculate your capital gains tax both ways with the help of an accountant or notario and pay the lower one.

Value-Added Tax

In Mexico, a Value-Added Tax is applied to the sale of most retail goods and services. This tax is 16% in most of the country and 11% in border areas. You will see this VAT added onto the bottom of sales receipts just as would see sales tax added, north of the border.

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Want To Retire To Mexico? Here’s What You Need To Know

Cabo San Lucas in Mexico
By Oliver Lovett | Live and invest overseas
Every year more expats choose to retire to Mexico. If you are looking to retire and socialize with fellow Americans you will be able to find plenty of places. In fact Mexico has the largest population of U.S. expats anywhere in the world.
We always recommend that you try before you buy. Rent for a few months and immerse yourself in everyday life before moving. Get a feel for mundane tasks like bill paying and grocery shopping. A benefit of this is you can get a more accurate idea of how much your cost of living in Mexico will be. If possible spend time in Mexico during the rainy season. This will allow you to find out how you will cope with the humidity and daily downpours.

Clearing Up Some Mexican Myths

Mexico has a reputation of being an unsafe country, full of drug cartels and bandits. While there are places you should avoid, this is the case anywhere in the world. If you take the same basic safety precautions you would take anywhere else you should be fine. For example don’t advertise your wealth or park an expensive car in the driveway for everybody to see.
Something else worth consideration is the difference between violent crime and property crime. Violet crime is nearly all gang related, and should not impact on your Mexican retirement. Of course, areas with a high property crime are the areas you should stay away from. Take steps to ensure your property is save such as bars on windows or security cameras. A dog or electric fence are also strong burglar deterrents.
Another myth that needs clarifying are Mexican prices. Not everywhere in Mexico is cheap. Mexico City for example can be very expensive in parts. Likewise, real estate in the major tourist areas can also be costly. Admittedly they are much cheaper than what you would pay for the same kind of thing in the States. But don’t make the mistake that everywhere in Mexico is a bargain.

Things To Be Aware Of

Not Everyone Speaks English

people speaking english
In the big cities, major expat and tourist areas most people speak English. If you move here you can get by without learning Spanish and be comfortable.
If you move outside of these areas though you will find that most people speak only Spanish. An intermediate level of Spanish in these places is nearly essential. Setting up utilities, dealing with tradesmen and lots of other menial tasks involve speaking Spanish. As a result, these may be next to impossible if you cannot communicate.
If you don’t already speak Spanish, the challenge of learning a new language can be a great opportunity. Lots of expats fail in their retirement overseas because they have nothing to do. Learning a new language can provide your life with a purpose. This is so important in enjoying your life.
Mexicans value freedom of the individual in the same way that the U.S. did in years past. There is far less bureaucracy and red tape here and you are mostly left to do as you please. This can make a refreshing change. However you will need to keep up your end of the bargain and not complain unnecessarily.

You Need To Keep Your Guard Up

As a foreigner, most people will assume you are wealthy. The first thing to be aware of is the exchange rate. If you can’t quickly convert the from dollars to pesos you be in a vulnerable position.
Taxi drivers may try to take advantage of you. If you can speak Spanish you will be in a better position. Speak with locals to find out what a fair price is.
It also pays to beware of police officers in Mexico. Unsuspecting tourists and expats are bread and butter for some police officers who will use any offence as a chance to solicit a bribe. Often police threatening you with a fine for a minor offence expect you to pay a bribe.

You Will Need To Be Resilient

Moving to Mexico is one of the easier overseas moves you can make. However you will still need resilience if you want to succeed south of the border.
Power outages are fairly common in Mexico and you will have to get used to being without power at certain times. Random water outages are also fairly common. Sometimes the water company will put out a warning, but more often than not it will be a surprise.

INAPAM Program

As in many Latin American countries, Mexicans show great respect for elder generations. The government of Mexico creates special programs that reflect this sentiment.
The INAPAM or Instituto Nacional para las personas Adulatas Mayores comes in the form of a discount card. If you are over the age of 60 you are eligible for this card and the range of discounts that comes with it.
Some of the discounts you can get from the INAPAM include:
  • A discount of 5-7% on medications
  • Up to 50% on busses if you book in advance
  • Up to 50% off at the cinema
  • 40% discount on property tax
  • Free entry to many museums
  • Around 10% off at many restaurants
  • Discounts in many department stores
  • Discounted water bills


There are lots more discounts available for INAPAM holders, it is always worth asking to see if you can get a discount.

Where To Retire In Mexico

Deciding where to retire in Mexico depends on what you want from your retirement. Mexico has varied landscapes, climates and cities. As a result there is something to suit all tastes.
From Mexico’s colonial cities to its pristine, white sand beaches, it’s hard not to find a spot fitting your retirement specifications. The choices are endless and the best part is they are yours to make. You can choose from a variety of climates, elevations, and scenery. Here are a few of our favorite places for retiring in Mexico:


Akmal beach palm trees, white sand and blue sea

English Spoken

You will have no difficulty in finding English speakers here. There are lots of expats and lots of tourists as well. Spanish will of course be helpful but is by no means essential. Many expats never learn Spanish beyond a basic level.

Health Care

The Akumal Medical center offers quality healthcare for everyday ailments. It has a 24 hour ambulance call out service. They also offer emergency transfers to local hospitals or airports. The Riviera Maya hospitals are around a 30 minute drive.

Real Estate

Due to the fast-growing growing popularity of the Riviera Maya, Akumal could be a good investment. The real estate market is well developed and people here are used to dealing with expats. The market is fairly liquid and you shouldn’t have too much difficulty selling or renting out your property.

Other Info

Meaning “Land of the Turtles” in Mayan, Akumal has some of the most spectacular waters in Mexico. The town has a nice location Riviera Maya, close to the big tourist towns of Playa del Carmen and Cancun. Akumal is perfect for those looking for something a little quieter in the Riviera Maya. Flights to and from the U.S. are very convenient.

Akumal is one of Mexico’s best places for snorkeling. You won’t be able to dive at the turtle nesting grounds, but you can find areas where it is possible to dive with turtles


English Spoken

There is not much English spoken in Morelia. If you want to thrive here you will need to learn Spanish. The Baden Powell Institute has a good reputation and is used to dealing with expats. The also organize tours to help you get settled and learn your way around.

Health Care

Morelia has hospitals and health centers of an excellent standard. Hospital Memorial, while not cheap, offers health care to a U.S. standard. Prices are still far less than you would pay in the states. Hospital Angeles is another 24 hour hospital offering quality health care. There are plenty of affordable medical centers that will take care of minor illnesses.

Real Estate

As mentioned, you will need to speak or at least plan to learn Spanish. That said, there are a few bilingual estate agents you can use such as Mexatua. The market is starting to heat up as fears over the cartels are subsiding. Like many places in Mexico, the dangers are often overplayed by the media. If you are looking for colonial property at a good price, Morelia should be near the top of your list.

Other Info

If you want to retire in Mexico and enjoy a cooler climate you could consider Moriela. A city of about 1 million people. At an altitude of close to 2,000 meters it has a year round spring feel.

Morelia is a relatively undiscovered retirement destination. In the last couple of years the mainstream media are picking up on it. A classic Spanish Renaissance town, Morelia is a UNESCO World Heritage site. You can find pink stone buildings and horses and donkeys still used to transport people and goodsDespite the old world charm Morelia has all the modern amenities such as reliable internet, and even U.S. department stores.

Morelia benefits from direct flights to San Francisco, Los Angeles and Chicago. Morelia is perfect if you are looking for a more authentic Mexican retirement.

San Miguel de Allende

San miguel is one of the best places to buy real estate in Mexico

English Spoken

There is a small expat population so you can’t rely on being able to speak only English. However, as a growing tourist town people are making the effort to learn English. Shops, bars, cafes, restaurants and other service industry places usually have some staff who can speak English. You will need to learn Spanish, but will be able to get by until you can.

Health Care

San Miguel de Allende has plenty of hospitals. The newest one, Hospital MAC is modern with a range of specialists. Many of the staff here are bilingual. This is a private hospital and so medical insurance is advisable. People with existing medical conditions can live in San Miguel de Allende and be confident in the treatment at hand.

Real Estate

You can find everything from luxury real estate through to affordable living. The market is booming here and liquidity is high. There are lots of estate agents who can help you buy and guide you through the process of purchasing real estate here.

Other Info

San Miguel de Allende is based in Guanajuanto state in the center of Mexico. The picturesque town with its colonial buildings, and clean mountain air, has long been popular with artists. More recently, it has become a popular expat destination. Nowadays, a tourist industry exists alongside the traditional agricultural industry.

The towns famous historic center has changed very little over hundreds of years. You can walk down cobblestone lanes and easily imagine you are living in a different age. There are a range of eclectic shops, boutiques and restaurants and galleries, you will never be stuck for things to do if you retire here.

Cabo San Lucas

retire to mexico for some of the world's best beaches

English Spoken

Most of the population here speak at least some English. If you want to move to Mexico but don’t want to learn Spanish, Cabo is a great choice. Any effort to speak Spanish will be appreciated though and there will always be situations where speaking Spanish will help.

Health Care

The area has three modern hospitals which are maintained to U.S. standards. The prices are much lower than in the U.S. which is one of the benefits of retiring in Mexico. You can also fly to San Diego for treatment if required. There are lots of health centers to take care of minor complaints.

Real Estate

There is real estate to suit all budgets in Los Cabos. From luxury to budget. The market is growing and you can expect fewer and fewer affordable properties going forward. Real estate agents are used to dealing with expats and will be able to help you with viewings and the purchasing process.

Other Info

Cabo is conveniently located for the retiree and with direct flights to a number of U.S. cities. It actually consists of two towns. One is San Lucas, a lively area with bars, nightclubs and hotels. The other is San Jose which is quieter and more residential. San Jose is where you can go for local festivals and San Lucas for fine dining.

The area has modern hospitals which are maintained to U.S. standards. You can also fly to San Diego for treatment if required.


medira mexico colonial town

English Spoken

Merida has a large English speaking population. Many of the locals speak some English, and there are lots of expats and tourists. By plugging into the expat community you can easily build up a network of English speaking contacts.

Health Care

There are lots of quality hospitals including government hospitals. You can find treatment for most complaints here. Many of the doctors and health care providers speak English.

Real Estate

The Yucatan area is doing well for real estate and Merida is no different. The most popular place to buy real estate is in Merida’s historic center. Recent estimates show that nearly half of all home here are owned by foreigners. Merida is a tourist hotspot and an investment here comes with rental potential.

Other Info

Merida is definitely one of the most picturesque retirement locations in Mexico. Beautifully maintained colonial buildings line cobblestoned streets. Merida has a number of museums and galleries to explore. You are also close to Mayan ruins.

Merida is a destination which is becoming popular with both retirees and digital nomads. It is also well policed and has one of the lowest crime rates in Mexico. Merida is also one of the cleanest big cities in Mexico, and one of the least polluted.

Merida is a spacious and tranquil city, free of the overcrowding which you can find elsewhere in Mexico.

Puerto Vallarta

Puerto vallarta bay in Mexico

English Spoken

Many of the Mexicans here speak some English especially if they work in the services industries. The locals you meet in your daily life will probably only speak Spanish. The area sees a lot of tourists many of whom expect to speak English all the time. If you can speak a little Spanish it will be appreciated.

Health Care

The town has excellent medical facilities and plenty of pharmacies. The Amerimed trauma Centre is a U.S. standard ambulance service and air evacuations are also available. Lots of the hospitals were created with assistance from the United States. As a result you will find that English is widely spoken. There are three hospitals and a number of medical centers. 

Real Estate

The real estate market here is thriving. There are lots of established agents who can help you find properties. There are also lots of proven companies who can offer rental management services. A large number of snowbirds who come here for the winter. If you want to live here out of season you can earn big money from rental during the winter.

Other Info

The romantic resort town of

Puerto Vallarta. The town offers top-notch shopping, and fine dining. There are easy flights to the United States and English speakers for socializing. Also a beautiful location on the Pacific. The cost of living for a couple in Puerto Vallarta comes to as little as US$1,590 per month. You’ll see carbon copies of the stores you see back home—Walmart, Starbucks, Costco—stocked with the same brands you’re used to buying every day. But if you’d like to make a clean break from the American way, you have plenty of opportunity for that, too. The different areas of Puerto Vallarta have their own unique character.The climate of Puerto Vallarta, which is similar to Hawaii, has made it a popular retiree location for yearsThe nearby Sierra Madre Mountains are perfect for hiking and provide a wonderful backdrop for the city. As such there are plenty of amenities such as golf and fishing. It is a great location for birders and there are hundreds of species including some very rare ones.

You Can Retire in Mexico for Low-Cost or a Life of Luxury

Retiring in Mexico has always been a top choice for North Americans. Mexico allows you to escape the cold winters andstretch retirement budgets. It’s also a great place to seek out an adventure. Mexico is hands down the easiest retire-overseas option for North Americans. For many retirees, Mexico offers many of the benefits of back home, without much of the hassle. The need to be close to children and grandchildren might detract some from Europe, Asia, and even South America, but not Mexico. Trips back and forth to the U.S. are quick and easy. If your family members are from the U.S. or Canada they won’t even need a visa for to come and visit you.
Furthermore, you can retire in Mexico whether you are on a budget or trying to live out your dreams on a well-established nest egg. The average Social Security retirement check for is still less than $1,400 per month. So, even at the high end of the spectrum, many couples can live in Mexico on one person’s Social Security.

How Will You Spend Your Days Once You Retire In Mexico?

You can spend your days strolling the beaches of the Riviera Maya, sipping a “café Americano” from your terrace in Álamos. Or shopping in one of Puerto Vallarta’s bountiful boutiques. If you are the type who enjoys the outdoors, hiking, biking, diving, rock climbing, Mexico has more than enough to keep you engaged. Mexico also offers shopping, wine tasting, fine dining, and the theatre. That’s the thing about Mexico, you can retire here no matter your lifestyle, and find your way.

Retirement abroad: Where baby boomers are able to stretch their retirement savings

shutterstock_159843518By James Leggate | Fox Business

Are you at risk of outliving your retirement savings? Many Americans are making their money go a little further by retiring overseas, and there are some perks beyond pure affordability.

About seven in 10 baby boomers are working past age 65 or expect to, according to a report from the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies. It estimated that boomers have a median of just $152,000 saved for retirement.

In the U.S., men could, on average, outlive their personal savings by eight years, and women could by 11 years, according to the World Economic Forum.

The Transamerica report also found that 67 percent of workers said they dream of traveling during retirement, and that the cost of living is the top factor for people when deciding where to retire.

For many retirees, moving abroad can mean they get to live out their dreams of traveling while still benefiting from a lower cost of living than they’d have in the U.S. Eligible U.S. citizens may receive their Social Security payments outside the U.S., unless they’re in a handful of barred countries like North Korea.

As of 2016, the State Department estimated more than 9 million U.S. citizens were living abroad and more than 500,000 people living outside the U.S. received some kind of Social Security benefit, according to the Social Security Administration.

The website Live and Invest Overseas analyzed locations around the world, looking at factors like cost of living and real estate prices, as well as issues like health care, infrastructure and crime. It then used the data to come up with a list of the 10 best places to retire — or otherwise live — overseas.

Some of them may be surprises — ever think you could retire to France or Italy? Here are the 10 best places to live overseas, according to Live and Invest Overseas:

10. George Town, Malaysia

George Town is the capital of Malaysia’s Penang region, and English is widely spoken there, according to the website. The city features a rich historic heritage, nearby beaches and inexpensive-yet-delicious food. Malaysia is also very tax-friendly for people coming from overseas, as only income earned from within the country is taxed.

9. Città Sant’Angelo, Italy

Abruzzo offers everything that Tuscany has but at a much lower cost, according to the website. Città Sant’Angelo is a small town that offers residents a traditional Italian lifestyle. But retirees moving there will likely need to learn Italian.

8. Annecy, France

This city is located in the French Alps and known for its skiing. But it also boasts many pieces of history, dating back to the Gallo-Roman Empire. The region, Savoy, is also home to many great restaurants including some with Michelin stars, according to the website.

7. San Ignacio, Belize

This community is located in Belize’s inland Cayo region, which is also home to the country’s capital and a U.S. embassy. The fast-growing region features rain forests, pastures and distant mountains.

6. Occitanie, France

Occitanie offers quaint countryside living in the south of France without the big prices of the more popular Provence. Property prices in Occitanie are almost half what they are in Provence, according to the website. Plus, wine from the region’s village of Saint-Chinian is becoming increasingly popular.

5. Valletta, Malta

Malta is a “jewel in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea,” according to the website. The small EU nation has a high standard of living, friendly English-speaking residents and easy access to other European countries.

4. Cuenca, Ecuador

This walkable city features cobblestone streets, reliable infrastructure and first-rate-yet-inexpensive health care, according to the website. Ecuador also uses the U.S. dollar as its currency, so retirees won’t have to worry about tracking exchange rates.

3. Mazatlán, Mexico

Mexico has long been a popular place for Americans to retire, due in part to its accessibility and weather. Mazatlán stands out as an attractive option thanks to its walkable city center, beautiful beaches and homey feel, according to the website.

2. Cascais, Portugal

Cascais sits on Portugal’s coast. The town is “one of the world’s most affordable places to embrace a luxury-standard lifestyle on the ocean,” according to the website. It’s also a very walkable community with friendly locals.

1. Algarve, Portugal

Also on Portugal’s coast, the Algarve region sits at the very southwest corner of Europe, on the same latitude as Delaware. The website said Algarve has “the best climate in Europe” but is also welcoming and safe.

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The 8 best places to retire in Mexico


By Yucatan times

Mexico is a big, extraordinarily diverse country that offers two long coasts, mountains and colonial cities. There are also Mayan ruins, jungle, rain forest, rivers and lakes. You could say that Americans have voted this country the best place in the world to live outside the U.S. in the way that really matters — with their feet.

Mexico’s proximity to the U.S. is perhaps the biggest plus for American retirees, because being in Mexico makes it easy for them to return home to see their grandkids as often as they want. Plus, the excellent infrastructure makes living easy, residency is straightforward and both real estate and the cost of living in general are very affordable.

Mexico is also familiar, and has many businesses Americans recognize. Across the country you find American franchises from McDonald’s and Pet Depot to Walmart and Starbucks. Almost anything you use or consume in the U.S. is also available in Mexico, though how easily available depends on where you base yourself in the country. The more remote or rural your location, the farther you’ll have to travel to shop at the nearest Walmart.

English is so widely spoken in Mexican cities it could be an official language. Living outside a major city or tourist zone, it’s better to speak a little Spanish, but you really can get by in this country with English.

Mexico could be the retirement spot for you if you seek an adventure overseas, but don’t want to give up all the comforts of home. The challenge is that the country offers many appealing lifestyle and climate alternatives, and you need to decide where you might be happiest. Consider these eight retirement options in Mexico:

1. Puerto Vallarta. In Puerto Vallarta, the warm weather and picturesque location are enhanced by the colonial charm of cobblestone streets and Spanish architecture. Locals are fun and friendly, the seafood is fresh and delicious and this region of Mexico is the birthplace of tequila. In other words, Puerto Vallarta has all the elements of a party just waiting to happen.

In addition, Puerto Vallarta boasts beautiful beaches, abundant opportunity for water sports, great restaurants, a lively art scene, modern, convenient shopping options, a large expat community with English widely spoken and good access to the U.S. All of that combines to make this one of the most affordable and turnkey options for a Pacific coast retirement.

2. Tulum. The town of Tulum is at the center of the Riviera Maya, an area stretching from Playa del Carmen in the north to Punta Allen in the south along the Caribbean and inland to the Mayan ruins of Coba. This area is easily among the most exotic and beautiful geographical areas on Earth. Rocky coastlines intermix with white sand beaches, spectacular cenotes (crystal-clear swimming and diving pools), tropical jungles and remnants of Mayan temples.

Tulum is separated from the beach by a wide swath of marsh and jungle that is mostly undeveloped. A good road runs from the town to the beach, then follows along the beach for several miles in two directions — one side connects to the picturesque Mayan ruins of Tulum, the other enters the UNESCO World Heritage site of the biosphere reserve of Sian Ka’an. This is truly a nature-lover’s playground. The unpretentious town enjoys a lively cafe, restaurant and bar culture. Dining and drinking out are the favorite socializing activities for expats and retirees here.

3. San Miguel de Allende. San Miguel de Allende is a small town in the heart of Mexico known for its romantic ambiance, beautiful city center and rich and interesting history. For these reasons, San Miguel de Allende has been a favorite among foreign retirees since the late 1960s.

Nestled between low hills on three sides, the semi-desert valley is mostly flat in the historic center, great for walking and chock full of delightful ways to fill your days and nights. The number of first-class restaurants and fine shopping options per block is unmatched anywhere else in Mexico.

The city’s big, historic hacienda-style houses have been renovated into patio restaurants, coffee houses, upscale cantinas and niche shops, most owned and managed by Mexicans native to San Miguel, who are famous for being friendly and gracious. Plus, the town is blessed with great weather.

4. Mexico City. A mythical and modern metropolis founded by an advanced indigenous people, Mexico City is a mesmerizing hub of human civilization. This is a world capital of art, culture and anthropology with a rich and fascinating history, an abundance of breathtaking architecture and top-tier gastronomy.

At once sophisticated and chaotic, traditional and modern, Mexico City is a place of delicious contradictions that has the feel of many cities in one. This “city of palaces” combines the baroque grandeur of Rome or Vienna, romantic canals like those of Venice, cuisine on par with that you might associate with Paris and the quiet charm of a Spanish-colonial pueblo.

5. Guanajuato. The silver mines of Mexico’s central highlands provided the incredible wealth that brought Spain to world prominence in the 16th century and also created Guanajuato, the crown jewel of Mexico’s colonial cities. The steep canyon walls of Guanajuato are zig-zagged by twisted alleyways, and most residents live in homes that look down upon the town in the valley below.

It’s an impressive and romantic landscape, but not exactly friendly to people who are disabled. This city of old world architectural marvels might not be a good choice for someone who has difficulty walking or does not want to own a car.

6. La Bahia de Navidad. La Bahía de Navidad, on Mexico’s Costa Alegre, translates to “Christmas Bay on the Happy Coast.” The bay’s beautiful, sweeping, crescent-shaped coast and beach are home to Barra de Navidad, at the southeast end of the bay, which shares the beach with its neighbor, Melaque, on the northwest end. These two towns, separated by just a short walk across the beach, are very different.

Barra de Navidad is chic, charming and upscale, with good restaurants and jumping nightspots, anchored by the elegant Grand Bay Hotel. Melaque is more rustic and laid-back. This is a typical oceanside Mexican village where fishing, agriculture and tourism provide a relaxed lifestyle for the locals. Both of these towns receive thousands of winter visitors each year. The bay is well connected by air to the U.S., Canada and the rest of Mexico, with flight times of just a few hours.

7. San Cristobal de las Casas. San Cristobal de las Casas is not your typical Mexican resort or quaint tourist development. This is a high altitude and high attitude colonial city dating to 1528 and set in a lush green valley amid the sometimes fog shrouded mountains of Chiapas State, at 7,000 feet. San Cristobal de las Casas is one of Mexico’s few remaining colonial gems. The downtown is laid out according to the typical Spanish grids, with streets named after heroes and events from the country’s history.

San Cristobal is an elegant center of sophisticated shops and restaurants of every imaginable persuasion. Whether you feel like Lebanese or Argentine food tonight or the latest fashions from Mexico city, it’s all here.

8. Morelia. Sixteenth-century Morelia, one of Mexico’s finest but least-known cities, was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1991. When you see it, you’ll wonder why it took them so long. Morelia is a breathtaking city with classic Spanish Renaissance structures all of pink stone. Walking among them is like taking a walk back in time. Horses are still a mode of travel and goods are sold from the backs of donkeys. Yet, this city is also firmly established in the 21st century, with internet cafes and even a Walmart.

Perhaps the most unique thing about this picturesque town in the hills of Mexico is that, despite its ease of access from the U.S. and direct flights from San Francisco, Los Angeles and Chicago, Americans seldom make their way here. Few Americans have ever heard of this lovely, livable town in Mexico.

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The 13 Safest Places in Mexico for Travelers

mexicoBy Ed Hewitt | Smarter travel

“Is Mexico safe?” It’s a question many American travelers have asked themselves, especially in the wake of a sweeping security alert for Mexico issued by the U.S. State Department. Such travel advisories can be confusing, but this one is pretty clear and even includes a color-coded map revealing the most dangerous (marked in red) and safest places in Mexico (marked in blue).

Mexico is a vast country, with heaps of beautiful and interesting places to see, and some 28 million Americans safely travel there each year. To help you plan your own trip, I’ve gathered some of the safest places to visit in Mexico, complete with information on why you should go and where to stay.

The Safest Places in Mexico

Keep in mind that bad things can happen even in the safest places in Mexico, and destinations that don’t appear on this list could still be great spots for a vacation. No matter where you go in Mexico, you’ll want to follow common-sense rules such as drinking only in moderation, getting a cab instead of wandering around after dark, and leaving your valuables at home.

Mexico City

Mexico city, mexico is safe for travelers

Despite a longstanding reputation as a dangerous city to visit, Mexico City only has an advisory to exercise increased caution, and for good reason; the downtown core in particular is considered quite safe, and the city has numerous attractions for visitors—including street art, colorful markets, and more than 150 museums.

Where to Stay: The small, beautifully decorated Nima Local House Hotel is one of the best luxury hotel options in the city. For a more affordable option, consider the Chillout Flat Bed & Breakfast, which earns plaudits for friendly service and homemade granola.


Puebla, mexico is safe for travelers
Byelikova Oksana/Shutterstock

Once considered a nice day trip from Mexico City (it’s two hours away by car), Puebla is emerging as a primary destination in its own right. After all, it’s not a small village; Puebla is Mexico’s fourth-largest city, with some of the country’s best examples of Spanish colonial architecture. Additionally, at 7,200 feet above sea level, Puebla never gets too hot, and it’s considered one of the safest places in Mexico.

Where to Stay: There are numerous places to stay in Puebla that won’t break the bank. One of the best is the Casona Maria Hotel Boutique, with its pretty courtyard and convenient location within walking distance of the historic center.

San Miguel de Allende

San miguel de allende, mexico is safe for travelers
Bill Perry/Shutterstock

San Miguel de Allende is one of the safest places in Mexico, as evidenced by its popularity with expats. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is situated almost right in the middle of Mexico and offers cobblestone streets, Spanish colonial churches, and plenty of great restaurants.  The nearby Sanctuary of Atotonilco, less than 10 miles away, is also a World Heritage Site and an important pilgrimage site for penitent Mexicans and tourists alike.

Where to Stay: With its cozy common areas and brightly painted rooms, Casa de la Noche is an appealing place to rest your head.


Tulum, mexico is safe for travelers
Diego Grandi/Shutterstock

As Playa del Carmen has been the site of some troubling violence in the past, the coastal town of Tulum to the south may be a safer alternative. It is also less touristy than other resort towns on the Yucatan Peninsula, offering well-preserved ruins of the former Mayan city walls and other historic structures right in town. The State Department has explicitly stated there are no restrictions on travel to Tulum or to Chichen Itza, the magnificent archaeological site just an hour up the road.

Where to Stay: Guests appreciate the clean, comfortable rooms and fast Wi-Fi at the centrally located Posada Luna del Sur.


Huatulco, mexico is safe for travelers

A beach town located in Oaxaca to the southwest of Puerto Escondido, Huatulco offers tons of water activities such as snorkeling and scuba diving, some nearby surf spots, and tours of coffee farms to boot. Huatulco is considered one of the safest places in Mexico.

Where to Stay: For an indulgent resort experience you can’t do much better than Secrets Huatulco Resort & Spa, where amenities include multiple swimming pools and tennis courts, yoga classes, watersports, and seven restaurants.

Merida and Valladolid

Merida and valladolid, mexico is safe for travlers
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Gerardo Tanaka Pacheco, Senior Account Executive for MSL Group, the public relations firm for, recommends these two towns as great alternatives to other nearby tourist hot spots. “A lot of people go to Playa del Carmen and Tulum, but on the Yucatan Peninsula there are these two beautiful colonial cities that are so welcoming, colorful, and full of traditions that travelers won’t regret visiting them,” he says.

A great example of Spanish colonial influence, Merida is a walking-friendly town that is connected to Chichen Itza by a toll road, which is considered the safest way to travel in Mexico if you are driving. The Mayan influence remains strong here, and the area has its own style of cuisine that diverges considerably from what you will find in other parts of Mexico.

Midway between Merida and Cancun is Valladolid, a colorful and friendly city that’s within easy driving distance of several beautiful cenotes.

Where to Stay: In Merida, consider snagging a poolside room at the Luz En Yucatan. In Valladolid, you can’t go wrong at the centrally located Hotel Posada San Juan.


Bacalar, mexico is safe to visit
Rina Klyuchnikova / Shutterstock

Pacheco says that Bacalar, also on the Yucatan Peninsula, is “an amazing place, kind of unknown and definitely uncrowded. This is one of my favorite secrets spots in Mexico; the lagoon there is unbelievable.”

Called the Lake of Seven Colors, the lagoon stretches for 42 kilometers and is fed by underground rivers.   Like Todos Santos mentioned below, Bacalar holds the official designation as a “Pueblo Magico,” or Magical Town, due in large part to the lagoon. In addition to being one of the safest places in Mexico, Bacalar is also very affordable.

Where to Stay: At the Bacalar Lagoon Resort, you can get a view of the lake right from your cabana.


Guanajuato, mexico is safe to visit
Carlos Araujo / Shutterstock

Why visit Guanajuato? Think old mines, a mummy museum, and streets so narrow that one is called the Alley of the Kiss because couples can smooch one another from opposite sides. You can visit Guanajuato as a day trip from nearby San Miguel de Allende or use it as a home base in itself. Visitors to the area are mostly native Mexicans, so you can immerse yourself in the culture fairly well; try a miner’s enchilada if you get a chance.

Where to Stay: For a cozy stay right near the funicular into the center of town, book one of the eight rooms at Casa Zuniga B&B. There’s a homemade Mexican-style breakfast every morning.


Campeche, mexico is safe for travelers to visit
Jess Kraft/Shutterstock

Another UNESCO World Heritage Site located on the western coast of the Yucatan Peninsula, Campeche is a walled Spanish colonial city that has been superbly restored nearly to its former glory. The walled center is somewhat of a museum piece, but the life of the town surrounding it might even be the main attraction. There are also significant Mayan ruins in the state of Campeche, of which the city is the capital; these aren’t as well known as the famous ruins to the east, and as such they’re less crowded.

Where to Stay: Try for a balcony room or suite at the modestly priced Hotel Socaire.


Queretaro, mexico is safe to visit
Glass and Nature/Shutterstock

Queretaro’s streets are a wondrous mix of old and very old, as grid-like Spanish streets connect to the pre-Hispanic winding lanes from the time of the Otomi. From rock climbing and art galleries to architecture sightseeing, there is a ton to do in this central Mexican city.

Where to Stay: La Casa del Atrio, across from the Museo de Arte, is both popular and affordable.


Yelapa, mexico is safe to visit

Yelapa is “Mexico’s last authentic beach town,” says Pacheco, “and is definitely under the radar. [Expect] great seafood, great beaches, nice hotels, and none of the inflated prices.”

I’ve included Yelapa for folks who want a deeper Mexican experience, but note that it’s in one of the State Department’s orange zones—so you’ll want to do a bit more research before choosing this part of Jalisco.

Where to Stay: The Hotel Lagunita is right on the water, with amazing views and a pool from which to enjoy them.

Todos Santos

Todos santos, mexico is safe to visit
Mel Brackstone/Shutterstock

This surf town in Baja California Sur features world-class waves and lots of natural beauty—and it’s just far enough north of touristy Cabo San Lucas to offer respite from the crowds. Todos Santos is slowly being discovered, but its stone streets and uncrowded beaches have earned it the official Pueblo Magico designation.

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10 Reasons to Visit Loreto, Mexico

loreto_mexico_baja_surBy Villa del palmar Loreto

Loreto, Mexico is a hidden jewel on the Baja Peninsula with peaceful charm and dazzling landscapes. With plenty of unique things to do in Loreto and incredible beauty to bask in, discovering the top 10 reasons to visit Loreto Mexico is without a doubt a pleasure for those who make the trip. Inside this Loreto travel guide, you’ll find ten of the best reasons to make Loreto, Baja California Sur your next vacation destination.

1. The Peaceful Tranquility

Loreto, Baja California Sur is still relatively new on the tourism radar and even though it isn’t the most popular destination in Mexico, it is a place where you can find the tranquility of only the most exclusive vacation destinations. In Loreto, you won’t find rows and rows of tourists sunbathing on the beach and partying until the sun comes up. The energy that draws visitors to the Pueblo Magico (Magic Town) throughout the year is much more laidback. The city starts to shut down around ten each night, making Loreto, Mexico the place to go for a relaxing and rejuvenating trip.

2. The Ability to Be at One with Nature

This destination in Mexico is well known for its crystal clear waters and jagged rock formations that rise strikingly from the sea. The city itself is located on one of Mexico’s most important reserves, the Loreto National Marine Park, that is home to over 800 species of fish and marine life. One of the best things to do in Loreto is a guided hike where you can learn about the wildlife and environment surrounding the city. There are also several Loreto tours that will help you explore the terrain and discover breathtaking views of the sea. You can even visit a number of the Islands of Loreto, each of which offers a unique experience that ranges from historical sites to breathtaking Loreto beaches.

3. Isla Coronado

Just off the shores of the city, the Islands of Loreto offer some of the best Loreto activities. Different Loreto tours will take you by boat to explore the islands. Along the way, you can spot the marine life: tropical fish, pelicans, sea lions, and even dolphins. Isla Coronado is the most famous of the Islands of Loreto for its white sand and natural bay where you can spend a day relaxing, swimming, and exploring the footpaths that wind their way over the rocky landscape.

4. Loreto Whale Watching Opportunities

From January until March, the majestic humpback and blue whales migrate down the Baja Peninsula, seeking warm waters for giving birth. Observing these creatures in their natural habitat is one of the most popular Loreto activities. Different boat companies will take you to sea to view the animals coming up for air and diving back down. For a once in a lifetime experience, enjoy the Blue whales, the largest mammal on the planet, on one of these magical Loreto tours that are by far, one of the best reasons visit Loreto, Mexico.

5. The Food

The food in Loreto, Mexico is exquisite with more local and fewer processed ingredients. Being far from a large city means that many chefs grow their own seasonings and rely on locally produced fruits, vegetables, meats, and seafood. Indulge in fine dining at one of the elegant resort restaurants or wander through the town for authentic Mexican dishes, like torta sandwiches, sizzling tacos, or Chocolate Clams, a native dish you may only find in Loreto, Baja California Sur.

6. Craft Beer

Across the world, beer drinkers have become more select when it comes to their beverage, and Loreto is no exception. El Zopilote Brewing Company has become a favorite spot for locals and visitors to sample craft beers. Since there aren’t the large clubs you would find in other larger vacation destinations, El Zopilote is the perfect choice for some laid back nightlife.

7. History

The history of this Magic Town is by far one of the best reasons to visit Loreto, Mexico especially if you like to learn while on vacation. Loreto, Baja California Sur was the first Spanish colonial city on the Baja Peninsula, and the home of many Jesuit and Franciscan missionaries. You can glimpse the city’s past as you wander down cobblestone streets surrounded by colonial architecture in downtown. Mission Loreto is a church that has been standing over the city since the late 1600s, and visiting this cultural centerpiece of the city and its museum are some of the top things to do in Loreto in every Loreto travel guide. There are also a few other historical sites to check out while visiting Loreto, such as the salt mines on Isla Carmen, the San Javier Mission, and the Museum of Jesuit Missions.

8. Incredible Sunsets

Because the city is on the west coast, the sky is lit up in brillant pinks and oranges every night as the sun makes its way to the horizon. Take a walk on the beach or sit with a glass of wine as you watch this dazzling show every night in this truly beautiful destination in Mexico.

9. Water Sports

There are a variety of Loreto activities that will keep you active and on the water. Try paddle boarding or kayaking for an active but rejuvenating day. Many vendors in the town and along the beaches will rent you a board or boat for a blissful day on the Loreto National Marine Park where you’ll discover a wealth of tropical fish and other marine life. Go further out to sea on a fishing trip or on a tour around the Islands of Loreto.

10. The Hospitality

The best reason to travel to Loreto, Mexico is the warm hospitality that will make you feel at home. From the highly-trained resort staff to the local vendors and taxi drivers, the people of Loreto, Baja California Sur love sharing the beauty of the city with those who come to enjoy it. You’ll find that those you encounter are friendly, helpful, and eager to share their culture with you.

Whether you try everything on this Loreto travel guide or blaze your own trail, you’ll discover many reasons to love this peaceful destination in Mexico when you come visit the soothing city of Loreto. Take a look at, a great site about destination guides on Mexico.

San Miguel de Allende, Mexico Destination Guide

arton27720By Lauryn Axelrod

Nestled high in the cool hills of the Mexican altiplano, San Miguel De Allende is one the hippest, busiest, most charming towns in Mexico.

More importantly, this seductive little city offers the alternative traveler numerous inexpensive and high-quality opportunities to study Spanish or the arts. So much so, that many travelers come to visit and never seem to make it home.

San Miguel de Allende was even designated as the Number One Best City in the World and the Number One Best City in Mexico, Central and South America for 2017 in Travel + Leisure‘s 2017 World’s Best Awards.

Founded in 1542 by Fray Juan de San Miguel, and home to the heroes of the Mexican Independence, San Miguel (or SMA as it is called by the local expats) is a perfectly preserved Colonial city of more than 160,000 people.

Cobblestone Streets

San Miguel de Allende, Mexico Destination Guide
Shoeshiner hard at work in the jardin

With clean-swept cobblestone streets, brightly painted haciendas urbanos, a shady and peaceful Jardín, gorgeous churches, and a fiesta every week (it seems), it is reminiscent of old Mexico – graceful, gentile, and urbane.

There’s a reason for this. In 1926, San Miguel was declared a National Monument, and no ugly modern development has intruded since: there are no traffic lights, billboards, flashing neon signs or fast-food chains within the city center.

In the 1930’s, the Instituto Allende, a national art school, was established and SMA became an artists’ colony — a mecca for aspiring painters and artisans from Mexico and beyond. Those aesthetic sensibilities helped preserve and develop the towns’ character and appeal.

Today, the number of artists and artisans has grown along with other art schools, workshops, boutiques, galleries, and markets. The expat population has also grown (numbering between 2-5,000, depending upon the season), and with it came Spanish language schools, the largest bilingual library in Mexico (Biblióteca Publico), English language papers, theatre, concerts, lectures and restaurants.

Great Weather

San Miguel de Allende, Mexico Destination Guide
Angel statue in the Jardin

Combine all these things – throw in cool, sunny, dry weather most of the year, reasonable accommodations, an astounding number of happenings and goings-on for a small town, and the ability to walk anywhere — and you have a near perfect destination for alternative travel.

There are five Spanish language schools in San Miguel that cater to travelers, all offering inexpensive and intensive group or one-on-one lessons for a few hours or a few months, held in shady courtyards. Most schools also offer courses in Mexican history and culture, and some can arrange inexpensive accommodations with a local family.

San Miguel de Allende, Mexico Destination Guide
Sunset in the town square

The most popular and well-established is the Instituto Allende, Latin America’s oldest and largest arts and language school for English speakers. Housed in the sprawling, lush former palace of the Counts of Canal, the Instituto offers beginners through advanced students the opportunity to study one, two, four or six hours per day, for one week or months at a time, either in a conversational group or one-on-one.

The Instituto also offers lectures and, of course, art classes in painting, weaving, silversmithing, ceramics, photography, sculpture, lithography, and more taught by well-known local and expat artists.

More Schools

Other popular schools include Warren Hardy Spanish, which offers 2 1/2 week courses designed to get you speaking Spanish fast, and The Centro Mexicano de Lengua y Cultura de San Miguel, featuring small classes (no more than 5 students at a time), and special courses for teachers, kids and families.

Don’t want to take a formal class? Need more practice? Hire one of the 20 or more private tutors in town to come to your hotel, B&B, or apartment for $14-$15/hour. Or join the Conversaciónes con Amigos, a free conversation group that meets at the Biblióteca in the evenings twice weekly.

San Miguel de Allende, Mexico Destination Guide
Bullfight in the arena.

The best way to take advantage of all SMA has to offer is to combine language studies with art courses. Again, the Instituto Allende is the favored school, offering everything from 6-week courses to a full MFA through the University of Guanajuato. Courses vary monthly, but almost always include the standards.

Bellas Artes (El Nigromante), is a government cultural center named after Ignacio Ramirez, a 19th Century San Miguel intellectual, that offers arts and crafts courses year round, including dance and music. Monthly tuition for foreigners is $80/month, plus lab fees for specific courses. Bellas Artes also offers numerous exhibits, concerts and performances by Mexican and foreign artists and troupes throughout the year.

Academia de Fotografia

If all you want to do is take pictures (easy to do in San Miguel), the Academia de Fotografia specializes in photography courses. There are also numerous local and expat artists that offer courses in their studios around town.

San Miguel de Allende, Mexico Destination Guide
Boy with leg, in the square

If you need something more physical, you can always take yoga, Pilates or other movement courses offered around town. Don an apron and sign up for a Mexican cooking class with one of 5 local chefs, attend a free lecture at the Biblióteca Publico, or a concert at the Teatro Angela Peralta. Catch an English movie at the Biblioteca’s Teatro Santa Ana or the Villa Jacaranda Cine-Bar.

Live music – from salsa to gypsy – is offered nightly at Mama Mia and Agave Azul. Just pick up a copy of Atención, the English weekly, on Sunday mornings to see what’s happening.

Between classes, make sure to visit the sprawling Tuesday Flea Market to buy anything you might ever need from puppies to bicycle parts. Shop for fresh food and flowers at the covered Mercado, stock up on Huichol Indian beaded bracelets, Oaxacan crafts and woven rugs at the Mercado de Artesanias, or check out any of the literally hundreds of shops that line the cobbled streets.

Silver, ceramics, artisan crafts, antiques, tin, folk art, clothing, art, are all inexpensive and plentiful. Artist studios and galleries are also open to visitors (pick up a gallery guide), as are the churches, including the confection-like, towering Parroquia at the Jardín and the ornate Oratorio.

San Miguel de Allende, Mexico Destination Guide
Laundry day

Make sure to spend at least a few minutes a day relaxing in the shade of the Jardín listening to the strolling estudiantinas (student musicians) or walking through the tropical gardens (with resident snowy egrets) in the Parque Juarez or the Botanical Gardens. Take the Sunday morning House and Garden Tour to get a peak at some of the treasures hidden behind the brightly painted walls of the town.

Attend a bullfight at the Plaza del Toros Oriente (don’t miss the Pamplonada- Running of the Bulls– in September), or dance the night away at one of the local (and almost weekly) fiestas.

No matter what time of year, it’s hard to be bored. Most people spend at least a few weeks studying and absorbing the sabor of San Miguel. B&B accommodations can run as low as $35/night, and there are at least one hundred from which to choose.

There is a hostel in town ($8/night), and apartments can be rented for $500/month. Of course you can go upscale, too. The best places to splurge include Casa de Liza en el Parque, a gorgeous B&B near the Parque Juarez with lush grounds, a pool, impeccably decorated casitas and overflowing breakfasts, and Casa de Sierra Madre, the discreet favorite of many visiting celebrities.

Festivals, Festivals, and More Festivals

San Miguel de Allende plays host to a large number of fun, popular festivals every year. Whether you’re into film, writing, music, or whatever it may be, you’ll be able to find a festival that exposes you to San Miguel de Allende’s cultural, artistic, architectural, and environmental significance.

A vibrant festival. Carlos Lopez photo
A vibrant festival. Carlos Lopez photo

La Calaca is an annual arts and culture festival combines public and private sector activities in San Miguel de Allende. Integrating traditional celebrations (Dia de Muertos or Day of the Dead) with the city’s modern arts movement. Between performances, workshops, processions, parties, and conferences that explore, promote, and honor traditions regarding death, you will discover a lot about Mexican art and culture while perhaps becoming more comfortable with the idea of death.

The International Festival of Jazz & Blues is one of the longest-running and most prominent festivals of its kind in Mexico, and among the most important festivals in Latin America. Featuring popular local and international acts, it’s easy to witness some world-class music at The International Festival of Jazz & Blues.

The largest and most prestigious bilingual, co-cultural literary gathering in the Americas is known as the San Miguel Writers’ Conference & Literary Festival. Workshops, consultations, speaker panels, storytelling, and open mic nights draw teaching professionals, industry experts, prominent authors, emerging writers, and many more to San Miguel de Allende’s Writers’ Conference & Literary Festival.

Sabores de San Miguel is a culinary festival featuring chefs from various destinations and a whole bunch of different cuisines. The festival takes place in San Miguel de Allende’s Parque Juarez and offers wine tastings, conferences, showcases, live music,  and activities for children.

An even bigger culinary festival is The San Miguel de Allende Food Festival. As San Miguel’s biggest annual festival and one of the most anticipated culinary events in the country of Mexico, the San Miguel de Allende Food Festival hosts over 50 national and international chefs, more than 100 exhibitors (restaurants, artisans, hotels, local food producers, etc.), plenty of food writers and other media personnel, and roughly 2,000 food lovers from Mexico and all over the world.

Sunlit restaurant. Carlos Lopez photo
Sunlit restaurant. Carlos Lopez photo

Festival attractions include tasting menus, wine tastings, live entertainment from several music groups, product exhibits, and the “Chefs Table,” the festival’s keystone event.

San Miguel de Allende is a Culinary Dream

There are plenty of different options and venues for great food in San Miguel de Allende (too many to list, in fact), making this Mexican City a food lover’s wildest dream.

The Mercado Centro San Miguel debuted in San Miguel de Allende’s city center earlier this year. It is a gourmet market home to 27 vendors offering one-of-a-kind culinary experiences to visitors. This particular venue can hold up to 200 guests.

Also situated in San Miguel de Allende’s city center is the new Doce 18 Concept House. This location is divided into several different areas including sections for flower and coffee vendors, eating and drinking venues, artisans and craftspeople, a bookseller, and more.

The Doce 18’s Dining Room is home to the Jacinto 1930 restaurant. This ode to Mexico’s colonial heritage features a maize-based menu from Chef Matteo Salas. The Kitchen area of the Doce 18 holds food vendors such as Birdie’s Burgers, San Mike Pizza Gourmet, and Taco Lab.

Out of Town Excursions

San Miguel de Allende, Mexico Destination Guide
The market

Occasionally, you might want to get out of town for excursions: lie in the sun, picnic, and swim in the warm pools at La Gruta hot springs; visit the nearby ceramic village of Dolores Hidalgo or the silver-mining ghost town of Pozos; wander the narrow lanes, underground tunnels, and college town cafes of medieval Guanajuato; take the Saturday morning tour of the nearby grand haciendas and ranchos; go horseback riding or hiking in the hills.

There are also numerous volunteer opportunities in and around San Miguel, from teaching English to working with the elderly or helping improve the environment. All the local social service and volunteer organizations can use your help.

Frankly, it doesn’t get a whole lot better than this. But be careful: the expat community here can attest to the seductive nature of San Miguel. All it takes is a few Spanish classes, a few art classes, the allure of cloudless days and starry nights, cheap beer and good food, and home begins to seem much less appealing.

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The 5 Safest Places to Live in Mexico

Las-5-mejores-playas-desconocidas-en-MéxicoBy International Citizens

Safe Mexican Cities and Towns for Internationals

There are so many incredible places to live in this world. New and exciting opportunities await you the moment you step off the plane, bus, or train. Mexico is more than a great place to vacation – it’s a gorgeous country with lots of amazing places to work, live, and play. The country does have a reputation for being a risky place to visit or live. Here we answer the question: Is Mexico a Safe Place to Live?

If you’re looking to retire in a foreign country or are looking for a lifestyle change with fresh job opportunities, consider the breathtaking country of Mexico. Whether you prefer a quiet surf town or a luxury resort city, it’s important to make sure you’ll be safe in your new home.

Here are the top five safest places to live in Mexico as an expat, retiree, nomad or international citizen.

Some Safe Places in Mexico to Live in

1. Sayulita, Nayarit

If you’re looking for a calm lifestyle, the sleepy surf town of Sayulita offers a slow-paced way of life.

Located about an hour north of Puerto Vallarta, Sayulita is the perfect spot for nature lovers and wildlife enthusiasts. Anyone who would rather spend more time outdoors than indoors is sure to love this laidback west coast town.

2. Campeche, Campeche

Quiet and relaxed, Campeche is a beautiful little town rich in history. Full of museums, historic sites, and ancient ruins, this hidden gem is located on the coast of the Yucatan Peninsula. It’s the perfect spot for expats looking for somewhere a bit off the beaten path, as it hasn’t quite been “discovered” by the masses yet.

3. Tulum, Quintana Roo

If you’re looking for an area with an extremely low crime rate, Tulum is a beautiful choice. It is one of the more expensive cities in Mexico, but it’s a favorite of many expats.

The weather, to summarize, is incredible. High temperatures during the day range from the mid-80s to low-90s (Fahrenheit), while low temps at night rarely dip below the mid-60s. It’s the kind of place you visit and never want to leave.

4. Mazatlan, Sinaloa

Located on the Pacific coast, Mazatlan is the northernmost resort city on the beautiful Mexican Riviera. With its socially diverse culture, Mazatlan is the perfect place if you want to spend time hiking, riding ATVs, or zip-lining through the forest.

Beautiful beaches, ancient cathedrals, and historic sites make it a fabulous place to live. Mazatlan also boasts a lower cost of living compared to other Mexican cities, making it a favorite among expats.

5. Cancun, Quintana Roo

Cancun is known for its gorgeous beaches, amazing weather, and beautiful vacation resorts. But it’s also a place where you can enjoy a big city feel in a smaller town. But everyone wants to know; Is Cancun Safe?

It’s equipped with excellent restaurants and shopping that you might find in big cities, yet it maintains a small-town feel. The tourist population is high, but that means there’s always somewhere to go and something to do.

In Cancun, you can spend your days lounging on the beach, swinging in a hammock with a good book, or snorkeling. If you’re looking for an adventure, you can take a day trip to see the ancient ruins of Chichen Itza or spend the day on a jet ski jumping over waves. Cancun has something to offer everyone.

Special Mention: Mérida, Yucatan

There is a Mérida in Spain, Venezuela, and the Philippines, but the one in Mexico is the largest. Mérida is the vibrant capital of the Mexican state of Yucatán and has a rich Mayan and colonial heritage. The city’s focal point is Plaza de la Independencia, bordered by the fortresslike Mérida Cathedral and white limestone Iglesia de la Tercera Orden, both colonial-era churches built using relics from ancient Mayan temples. The culture here is an interesting mix of Spanish, Mayan, British, French, Lebanese and a bit of Dutch. It has a safety index of 76.65, as well as cheap and fresh tamales sold on the street for you to enjoy before heading over to one of its many museums or markets. (Source)

Is Mexico City  Safe to Live In

The short answer is yes. Although there is a high rate crime it is isolated to certain areas of the city. Expatriates and foreigners living in Mexico city are able to enjoy a high quality of life and live safely within the city boundaries. It is recommended that you take precautions as you would in any major city. You are advised to learn the language to facilitate communication with the locals. Take the time to research safer areas to live and talk with people who have lived in the city for a number of years.

10 Most Popular Cities for Expatriates in Mexico

  1. Lake Chapala, Jalisco
  2. Ensenada, Baja California
  3. San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato
  4. Mérida, Yucatan
  5. Riviera Maya, Quintana Roo
  6. Mazatlan, Sinaloa
  7. La Paz, Baja California
  8. Guadalajara, Jalisco
  9. Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco
  10. San Cristobal de las Casas Chiapas

This beautiful country has so much to offer and the hardest part may be deciding on which beautiful town you want to live in.

As with any country, there are safe places as well as areas with high crime rates that you should always avoid. If you’re ready to relocate, read our Moving Abroad Checklist, do your research and find the city or town that offers everything you’re looking for.

With a little research, you’re sure to find the place that’s perfect for you.

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