Cheapest cities in Mexico

Hello everyone,

Budget is an important consideration when moving to Mexico. Ideally, expats would settle down in a city in Mexico where the cost of living is low but where they could also enjoy a decent quality of life. Would you be able to give a few tips to someone planning a move to Mexico by answering the questions below?

What are the cheapest cities in Mexico?

Why are they cheap? What singles them out as a city where the cost of living is low?

What is the average budget for one person living in these cities?

Is it easy to find a job as an expat in these cities? What is the overall quality of life like?

Are they expat friendly? Would you recommend these cities to someone looking to settle in Mexico?

Please share your experience,

Bhavna

Bhavna :

Hello everyone,

Budget is an important consideration when moving to Mexico. Ideally, expats would settle down in a city in Mexico where the cost of living is low but where they could also enjoy a decent quality of life. Would you be able to give a few tips to someone planning a move to Mexico by answering the questions below?

What are the cheapest cities in Mexico?

Why are they cheap? What singles them out as a city where the cost of living is low?

What is the average budget for one person living in these cities?

Is it easy to find a job as an expat in these cities? What is the overall quality of life like?

Are they expat friendly? Would you recommend these cities to someone looking to settle in Mexico?

Please share your experience,

Bhavna

Well, Bhavna,

I guess the answer to your question would be it depends.

Generally speaking the more tourists the more expensive. Often the bigger the more expensive.
What I would advise is that people make a list of what is really important to them and see if they would be willing or able to flex that bottom line. Perfect is hard to do and is often very expensive.

The next thing I would advise is to visit more than one part of the country, followed by start learning about the country, the people and language Commit to leaving the stereotypes at the border. Realize that visiting a resort several times does not make you an expert on Mexico.

As for jobs, I would advise you to get a company in your country to send you to Mexico. If that doesn't work be aware that Mexico will give priority to Mexicans for jobs. It makes sense many Mexicans are very well educated because a college education is more or less available to all. If you have a desirable, needed trade bring your A game and apply.

As for the quality of life, be open to a major difference and go with it. It is not your country somewhere else. What I have found is that I became much less stressed fairly quickly and I have learned quite a lot. Yes, the streets are often in poor repair and government offices often have long lines as do banks. But I learned the days and the times to avoid those lines or at least get shorter lines.

It's nice to have people smile and say good morning or offer to help or give advice. It's nice to have a reasonable rent cost and fresh food which is not expensive. I walk in what I call the peoples market, an open-air market with the actual farmers selling fresh produce. There are also other more traditional supermarkets I visit. Time to get used to fresh butter,  eggs sitting out in the open (because they don't require immediate refrigeration like in the U.S.) and fresh fruit and vegetables. 

Except for the government appointments, you will find that time is pretty fluid in Mexico you will have to learn to adjust to that also.

Wow, couldn't agree more with "travellight" above post.

Adios y buen dia a todos, GyC.

A better forum topic would be; “What are the top 10 things Expats consider when choosing a place to live in Mexico.”

Who is to say that expats are looking for cheap places to live?

I don’t think most expats are economic refugees.

Rather, I would like to think that expats are more interested in security, Mexican culture, & the an English-speaking community.

Melanie_In_Mexico :

A better forum topic would be; “What are the top 10 things Expats consider when choosing a place to live in Mexico.”

Who is to say that expats are looking for cheap places to live?

I don’t think most expats are economic refugees.

Rather, I would like to think that expats are more interested in security, Mexican culture, & the an English-speaking community.

Actually Melanie,
Many want to live somewhere more affordable. That is one of the top concerns. I would rate the concerns as Safe, cheaper, and comfortable.
' don't think I can afford to stay here and I don't feel safe, can I make it there'  would be the basic concern in a paraphrased single sentence.

Cheaper cities I have stayed in include: Tepic, Urapan, Culiacan, Cuidad Valles, Rioverde, Dolores Hildalgo, Lagos de Moreno, Irapuato, San Juan del Rio, and more.

Uruapan

Hello everyone,

Thank you for your feedback, very much appreciated.

Indeed Travellight, from what i have been reading on the different forums so far, it will depend on what the member is looking for, his needs, requirements etc...Some prefer to be close to health facilities, infrastructure. I think someone mentioned by cheapest might not always be the best


Noted,  Melanie  :top: Will have a word with the Team about your suggestion. Feel free to   propose if you have any topic suggestions - This applies to all members of the forum.

Have a nice day,
Bhavna

Budget is an important consideration but not everything.  We live off my modest social security and a small pension and live comfortably here in Mexico but a sense of adventure was an equally important motivation for moving to Mexico. 
As to where is most affordable, I don’t really know.  However, had we chosen to stay in Canada or the US, we would have been facing poverty.  Both of our homes in México are in small communities outside larger cities.  We have to drive into the “big cities” for grocery shopping and medical.  Both homes (Baja and Quintana Roo) are in tourist areas where there are plenty of fellow expats.  I think the cost of the houses might have been less if we had bought in the cities, maybe?  We preferred the ocean, more land and rural character and I love gardening.
We have friends who are selling their coastal property and are building their house in a small, off the beaten path, Mayan village.  They may be on to something.

Hola I have lived in Playa a year and found a fairly inexpensive apartment at $385 usd. There are so many wealthy new developments going up its driving me to go elsewhere though. What part s of Baja and Yucatan do you recommend? I've tried Merida but too big for me. I like Campeche and Bacalar ! Never been to Baja. I am also Canadian from Niagara Falls and can't really afford to live there anymore! As but true.  Muchas Gracias Philip

philforrester1 :

Hola I have lived in Playa a year and found a fairly inexpensive apartment at $385 usd. There are so many wealthy new developments going up its driving me to go elsewhere though. What part s of Baja and Yucatan do you recommend? I've tried Merida but too big for me. I like Campeche and Bacalar ! Never been to Baja. I am also Canadian from Niagara Falls and can't really afford to live there anymore! As but true.  Muchas Gracias Philip

Hi Phil, if your intention is to become a fulltime resident of Mexico not snowbirds then you should check the Riviera Nayarit coast. My wife and I move fulltime in Mexico since August 2017, no regrets affordable housing but price varies depending on what your looking for (annual rentals could go from <$6000 pesos/month to >$20000 pesos/month). They are various little towns and some of them have everything needed within walking distance.

Here's a link to check
http://explorenayarit.com

Adios y buen dia a todos, GyC.

philforrester1 :

Hola I have lived in Playa a year and found a fairly inexpensive apartment at $385 usd. There are so many wealthy new developments going up its driving me to go elsewhere though. What part s of Baja and Yucatan do you recommend? I've tried Merida but too big for me. I like Campeche and Bacalar ! Never been to Baja. I am also Canadian from Niagara Falls and can't really afford to live there anymore! As but true.  Muchas Gracias Philip

Interesting question Phillip,

If you have been to Merida and Campeche can I assume you don't mind a little heat? There are a number of smaller towns on the Yucatan coast. Bacalar is lovely but I'm sure the prices will go up and the wealthy will move in because it is quite popular, especially at this time of year. If you sort of like Merida but not to live in you might want to try its neighbor Progreso.

If you want costs to stay fairly low avoid anything advertised as a vacation spot that advertises a lot of resorts or big hotels. You might look at Valladolid, Sisal, and Chetumal. I have lived in Campeche for many years and I stay because due to the area and general geographical position it will never become Merida. It's a small old city that is pleasant and tranquil. But if I were to move Chetumal would probably be at the top of my search list

I just spent a week on the coast of northern Yucatan (mainly Progreso, Chelem & Chuburna).  This was my 4th trip there in the last 6 years.  I've decided to rent first on a trial basis - 5-6 months, then make the decision about becoming permanent.  The reasons I have decided on this particular area:

Beach / Ocean - both are beautiful

I want to be close to good medical and veterinary care.  Merida is 30 minutes away and the most recommended hospital there (Star Medica) is in north Merida - closer to the beach!  Also, Progreso has a decent hospital.  Progreso is a good cross between a large and small city.  It's basically a busy small town with lots going on.  Although it's not a "touristy" place, they do have a couple of cruise ships a week and the Malecon strip along the beach is loaded with fun restaurants, hotels and cool shops.  You can do your grocery shopping and banking there without having to go into Merida.

Just west of Progreso are 2 delightful little beach villages (Chelem & Chuburna).  There are lots of expats and some really lovely homes.  Many people from Merida have their beach vacation homes there, which often are unoccupied for months out of the year.  To me, these 2 communities so close to Progreso and Merida, are the best of both worlds - small villages with charm, character and beauty, while also being very close to modern conveniences and good medical services.  There are many cultural and historical attractions, ruins, cenotes, etc., very nearby.  And the cost of real estate and rentals is reasonable for a nice beach area.

I've been to Sisal and Campeche.  Sisal has very nice beach and water, but it's too isolated and too far from Merida, should you have an emergency.  Campeche was a lovely town, but it's there by itself, with not much else nearby.  These are just some thoughts to add to your possibilities!

Gracias.   I will go to Pacific coast next .It is replay hot in Yucatan. Also checking some higher elevations for moderate weather.  Philip

Well, juleed, I see you say you are from Baton Rouge and I am from the Mobile area having lived for some time on the shores of Mobile Bay just north  of Dauphin Island. i spent my youth on the beaches of Alabama and Northwest Florida and I, consequently, have a bit of experience with Gulf Coast beach erosion. Be cautious about purchasing beach land in those beach towns just west of the Progreso Pier as I have read of significant beach erosion in those towns you mentioned since  the Progreso Pier was constructed.  This may or may not be serious but I think you are wise to rent for a while in that area until you are more familiar with any beach erosion problems that  could be a future problem for you as a landowner.

We settled in Baja, the corridor between Cabo San Lucas and San Jose. Housing costs are cheaper in the hills vs. being on the water. Our electricity rates has averaged $35-50 per month, water about $30 per month. Electric rates are very expensive during the summer months when the AC is on. Grocery shopping at the local Mexican chains e.g. Chedraui for fruits, vegetable and staples is good. However, we shop at the carniceria for our meats.

We do love it here. No bad days in Cabo! The weather is fantastic from November-April. It does get really hot in June - September; w/August/September humid with the storms/hurricanes. Otherwise, humidity is very low.

Our decision process in settling here was safety, health care, cost of living and beach.  Major hospitals (Hospital H, Lukes, Blue Net) are located here with very good staffing. I am sure Baja is expensive in relation to most Mexican communities but we accepted cost of living vs. the other items on our list.

I agree with Travelight posting. Go with the flow!
Mike

Here are some of cheap sities in mexico:
Cancun - $1,106
Queretaro - $886
Hermosillo - $1,047
Toluca - $942
San Cristobal de las casas - $1,102

If you want to go on a vacation you can also visit skybooker.com for cheap flight tickets and hotel bookings

WHEREVER THERE IS AN INFLUX OF EXPATS, THE PRICES R HIGHER. HERMOSILLO BEING ONE OF THE WORSE. MY NIECE HAD A CONDO THERE AND THE MONTHLY RENT WAS $1500 MONTH WHERE I LIVE, I HAVE A 2 BEDROOM APT AND ON LY PAY $280 USD. BEWARE OF COASTAL CITIES LIKE CANCUN, VERA CRUZ; CARTELS CONTROL THOSE AREAS. LOOK UP ON STATE DEPT 'HOT' LIST AS TO WHICH CITIES AND AREAs to avoid.

Something you should see grapenut

https://www.businessinsider.com/state-d … cks-2019-1
The US consulate in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, has issued a warning about the area to US citizens.

After a series of attacks on police in Ciudad Juarez last week, the US Consulate General there issued an alert about potential violence the city, which borders El Paso, Texas.

These are current reports this year.

A lot of people worry about Sonora because of Hermosillo and the border towns but Puerto Penasco is a wonderful coastal community, also referred to as Rocky Point, where tourists from Arizona and California come and expats are moving. The Mexicans are coming to live here too because it is peaceful and kept safe due to the city wanting to draw the tourist trade. I only pay $2100 pesos monthly for a simple one bedroom but I'm not the condo type and I live among the raza.

Mexico is currently( June 2019) going through big changes. As many of you already know violence is on the rise, federal funds to state governments have been drastically cut (health care, the elderly, infrastructure projects, tourism, education, etc.) Most of my English -speaking clients, neighbors, and friends are not aware of the full extent of the impacts. I urge anyone who is reading this to research the current state of security, economic, & political climate in Mexico. This is not meant to produce fear, but rather to invite people to read about what is going on from Mexican news sources.

Melanie

Melanie_In_Mexico :

Mexico is currently( June 2019) going through big changes. As many of you already know violence is on the rise, federal funds to state governments have been drastically cut (health care, the elderly, infrastructure projects, tourism, education, etc.) Most of my English -speaking clients, neighbors, and friends are not aware of the full extent of the impacts. I urge anyone who is reading this to research the current state of security, economic, & political climate in Mexico. This is not meant to produce fear, but rather to invite people to read about what is going on from Mexican news sources.

Melanie

True the new government is reducing financing to many institutes and federal agencies and firing tens of thousands of government employees and gutting some federally funded agencies and secretaries that were helping Mexico become an industrialized country. This government will take Mexico backwards and cause many citizens to de cut from aid they were recieving. A bad situation is starting to be noticed by the informed and seems to just be the start of the new government's anti-establishment policies.

alleycat1 :
Melanie_In_Mexico :

Mexico is currently( June 2019) going through big changes. As many of you already know violence is on the rise, federal funds to state governments have been drastically cut (health care, the elderly, infrastructure projects, tourism, education, etc.) Most of my English -speaking clients, neighbors, and friends are not aware of the full extent of the impacts. I urge anyone who is reading this to research the current state of security, economic, & political climate in Mexico. This is not meant to produce fear, but rather to invite people to read about what is going on from Mexican news sources.

Melanie

True the new government is reducing financing to many institutes and federal agencies and firing tens of thousands of government employees and gutting some federally funded agencies and secretaries that were helping Mexico become an industrialized country. This government will take Mexico backwards and cause many citizens to de cut from aid they were recieving. A bad situation is starting to be noticed by the informed and seems to just be the start of the new government's anti-establishment policies.

Yes, this has been a problem since before the election and since it is just getting worse. Everyone talks about it carefully. It is the same pattern seen in all of the Americas as well as other parts of the world. We just have to communicate, read and understand. It is a problem for us all everywhere. It will require our full attention.

[at]Melanie. you state that ex pat are not economic refugees. Perhaps not in Mexico, but in their own country yes they very well might be.

South of the border, every one thinks gringos are made of money. But the main reason they go south is because more likely they would have a hard time to survive in their own country. Yes I am sure there are plenty more of reason, but financial freedom might be the main one, especially if a health issue is involved.
And in regards of security, Myself I would stay away of expats compounds. My main reasons are some gringos acts like the world owes them, some refuse to integrate with the local community, and some of them... yes they scream money and let every one know it, thus making the compound a target for crime. I prefer local, smaller locations. After the locals knows you and if you are not an A-hole, crime will not be your main concern. Locals are friendly, they hear things, and if you are good to them, they more likely will either let you know if you are at risks, or simply take the matter into their own hands. I have seen a bunch of grand ma chasing small town drug dealers out of their area. No one messes up with a granny with a broom.
That is the kind of Mexico I love.

Pretty much what I have found also. Mrjfortin

I totally agree! I live among the people and have a small but sufficient 1 bedroom for 2100 pesos per mo. The lady next door makes homemade flour tortillas just about every weekend and sells them for 20 pesos for 10. I shop where they shop, buy my propane and water how and where they do. It helps that I speak spanish fluently and that I'm not the typical 'ugly American'. Live within the country,  not just in it! So far the closest I've gotten to the expat community is reading the monthly paper which was helpful and very interesting but I'm happy here in Puerto Penasco, Sonora. I'll get around to the expats eventually...

Isn’t the phrase Mexican culture and a English speaking community kind of a oxymoron? Most expats that want a English speaking community end up in places like Ajijic and SMA. If you want Mexican culture Guadalajara or Merida. I have lived in several areas but due to medical needs we are now headed to Ensenada . I don’t know yet which category that area fits in .

It would be naive to think that because ajijic and SMA have large numbers of English speakers that the towns are void of Mexican culture. They are still 90% Mexican  populations in those towns. And in those towns one can choose which components of the population they interact with and how often. The value of a deeply entrenched expat community is the safety net it provides for emergencies or lifestyle needs during the initial adjustment phase if non- fluent in Spanish. Even for those who have decent day to day Spanish skills, dealing with bureaucratic, technological or medical vocabulary can be daunting. You can have the best of both English speaking and culturally Mexican lifestyle anywhere in Mexico as long as you manage your time and interests.

Well said! It is more about who you associate with and what activities you engage in.

I lived in Ajijic a couple of years without a car everyday I got up went downtown and was surrounded by expats on the streets, coffee shops , restaurants. Cost of living / houses restaurants everything driven up . Nice 1 bedroom for 650 in off season , 1350 in winter months. My spainish teacher , taxi driver, housekeeper I adored but literally no Mexican neighbors . I moved to Playa Del Carmen it  was actually more international had Friends from Venezuela, Columbia , Netherlands and Mexico but again prices are very high for Mexico 700 for a small 1 bedroom condo . SMA I was told in Ajijic by expats who had been there very similar to Ajijic . Maybe they were wrong?

I think there are many similarities to Ajijic and SMA but the point is you can control the experience instead of letting it control you. Higher rents in high season in tourist areas is to be expected. Cheaper living is possible off the beaten track but your Spanish better be good. With gentrification comes price increases and that’s a world wide phenomenon but without gentrification cities crumble.

Gentrification? Really ?  I am so out of this website. Can’t hit the unsubscribe button fast enough.

alleycat1 :

Cheaper cities I have stayed in include: Tepic, Urapan, Culiacan, Cuidad Valles, Rioverde, Dolores Hildalgo, Lagos de Moreno, Irapuato, San Juan del Rio, and more.

Is that Uruapa?  Loved that place till the norcos took control.  I live 20 K from Centro GDL.  Plenty cheap here.

JohnnyDanger....the name must fit! Lol.  My sister in law that has lived up in El cerro by the antennas in Guadalajara for decades says it's getting real sketchy. She's afraid for the first time in her life and she's a national. Both her fam and my cuñados fam are thinking to relocate here to Puerto Penasco, Sonora where there brother and I live. There's a lot of violence in other parts of Sonora but Puerto Penasco is calm and safe.

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